GoPro has released the Hero 9 Black and in many respects, it is the best camera they have ever made. It is a little larger to accommodate a slightly larger battery and screens and it offers a new 5k mode that is very filmic like with pretty good dynamic range. It has Hypersmooth 3 technology which does away with most gimbal situations and it can serve as a minute and reliable blog camera.
However, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is in some ways the end of an era for GoPro and the action camera market. It now heralds a new subscription model that aims to hook their market with a lower price for the camera if the subscription to GoPro.com is added at check out. Gone are the days of class-leading technology and in are the days of survival at all costs. Can we really blame GoPro for trying to make it?
GoPro Hero 9 Black Main Features:
- 23.6MP Sensor, 5K30 Video & 20MP Photos
- 240fps 1080p Video* 8x Slo-Mo
- Live View Front Display/Rear Touchscreen
- Webcam Mode & 1080p Live Streaming
- HyperSmooth 3.0 Image Stabilization
- 33′ Waterproof without External Housing
- PowerTools & Protune Feature Suites
- Time-Lapse & Night-Lapse
- Built-In Flip-Out 2-Prong Mount
- 30% Longer 1720mAh Capacity Battery
1080p Frame rates:
- Linear Lens 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
- Linear + Horizon Leveling 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
- Narrow Lens 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
2.7K Frame Rates:
- Wide Lens 120, 60 fps
- Linear Lens 60, 30, 24 fps
- Linear + Horizon Leveling 60, 30, 24 fps
- Narrow Lens 60, 30, 24 fps
If you decide to get a Hero 9 which in our view is still the best action camera you can buy, you may be inclined to lower your cost by subscribing to GoPro.com and shaving $100USD from the camera price.
1-year subscription to GoPro1
without subscription Subscribing to GoPro gets you:
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Up to 50% off at GoPro.com2
- Total camera replacement3
32GB SD card included
So what is wrong with this camera?
There are few things we don’t like on this camera which is a good thing, it has outstanding 5k 30fps footage, it has larger screens and better Hypersmooth in 4k, it has a larger battery, and it is a very refined product with a quality build. It is in fact the best GoPro we have ever seen but sadly there are things we need to mention.
GoPro Hero 9 Black Slow Motion Fail:
The biggest issue we have is the stagnation of 1080p frame rates. 120 and 240fps in full HD remain essentially the same quality as they were in the Hero 6 Black. Sure you get better Hypersmooth stabilization in 240p but quality-wise, the pixelation, and overall soft look of the slow motion footage is here with no apologies.
There has not been a consolidated effort to offer 480fps or even 320fps footage in 1080p even as the camera has grown to accommodate 4k 60p and 5k 30p recording modes. In other words, slow motion is mostly frozen in place except for one little glimmer of hope. GoPro needs to become a leader in frame rates again, it was and still is one of the most important considerations for its users.
That hope is in the form of 2.7k at 120fps which is detailed, offers excellent color and dynamic range for such a small camera and sensor. They did a really good job extracting those 120 frames and we feel that this should be your default slow motion option on this camera. 1080p is simply to soft to even consider it for full HD quality, it is still more like a 720p upscaled mess.
5k is essentially the star on this camera and it is probably the main reason to get this camera over the Hero 8 Black.
GoPro Hero 9 Black Video Test 5K by KabyNougat: