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GoPro Hero 9 Black -A waterproof and HD camera worth it!

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The GoPro Hero 9 Black is by far the most powerful and flexible action camera available. However, its additional capabilities don’t deliver enough real-world advantages over its predecessors to justify the price.

GoPro has spent years establishing itself as the go-to brand for action cameras. Its HyperSmooth stabilization delivers a significant improvement over the competition. However, as smartphone cameras have improved, it has become more difficult to justify investing hundreds of dollars in a dedicated action camera.

The improved sensor and front display are the two most significant improvements. In the ideal settings, the new 23.6MP sensor takes 5K footage with slightly higher detail than the Hero 8 Black.

But probably the most significant advantage is its electronic stabilization. The Hero 9 Black is capable of providing HyperSmooth Boost – GoPro’s most powerful stabilization – in all shooting settings. As a result, it is a top performer for individuals who want high-quality 4K video.

Features at a glance:

  • Two screens: Front screen and rear screen
  • 5K Ultra HD Video,
  • 20MP Photos,
  • 1080p Live Streaming,
  • Webcam
  • Waterproof and rugged -Waterproof to 33ft
  • Time Lapse/ TimeWarp 3.0, Time/Night Lapse
  • With Image stabilization
  • 20MP Photo with SuperPhoto
  • HyperSmooth 3.0
  • 20MP + SuperPhoto, HDR, RAW photos
  • Slo-mo 8x at 1080p
  • Compatible with the Quik app
  • Compatible with over 30 mounts + accessories
  • Detachable lens
  • mod compatibility to customize 
  • With GoPro subscription Unlimited cloud backup + auto uploads
  • Set the time to record with Schedule Capture
  • LiveBurst
  • 4 Mods- Max lens mod, media mod, display mod, and light mod

Price & Availability

GoPro Hero 9 Black

The GoPro Hero 9 Black costs a hefty £379.99/$379.99, making it more expensive than the majority of the alternatives in the best action camera table.

Formerly branded as GoPro Plus, the latter offers benefits such as limitless cloud storage and camera replacements. While GoPro certainly hopes you’ll continue to pay the $49.99 / £49.99 / $69.99 yearly membership after the first year, you may cancel the auto-renewal service.

For those interested, the bargain is only available on the GoPro website. The GoPro Hero 9 Black is also available on Amazon in the UK and Best Buy in the US.

Design

GoPro Hero 9 Black

The GoPro Hero 9 Black is still readily recognizable as a GoPro. This features the same signature design aspects as its predecessors. However, the newest in the range provides a revamped form factor relative to the GoPro Hero 8. Which comes with both advantages and disadvantages.

The most obvious difference is that it is large. It’s the largest GoPro has ever launched. It measures 71 x 55 x 33.6mm over the Hero 8 Black’s 62 x 45 x 33mm, and it’s 41g heavier at 158g. This is due in part to a 40% bigger battery – more on that later. Also, the addition of a new color display on the front of the action camera.

These new capabilities felt like a reaction to the DJI Osmo Action, a new rival that made GoPro action cameras feel a little obsolete in certain aspects. In some ways, the Hero 9 Black still does, in part because the additional features all have minor drawbacks.

Front Color Display

The 1.4in square color display, located to the left of the lens, is a significant improvement over prior versions’ simple monochrome displays, which merely displayed metrics like current battery life, card space remaining, and current resolution/framerate.

It’s a wonderful feature for vlogging, providing a simple method to frame a picture, but the square display means you’re only viewing the center of the image from the front camera. It also retains the crucial information of prior monochrome displays in the corners, so you don’t lose any usefulness.

Still, it means you’ll be able to ensure your face is in the frame, and it provides folks surrounding a sense of what you’re photographing. This is further helped by the inclusion of a bright red LED on the front, which alerts you and anyone around you that you’re recording.

Rear-Facing Display

The rear-facing 2.27-inch touch display, while brilliant and vibrant, is not without flaws. The display, although being somewhat bigger than the Hero 8 Black, is nonetheless surrounded by thick bezels. While this is a minor concern, the larger issue is touch response.

Touch Controls

That’s not unusual, but there’s noticeable slowness when touching and swiping through the different menus, and it occasionally doesn’t respond at all. This may be a horrible experience at times, especially given how much the Hero 9 costs.

Water-Resistant

The new form factor gives the Hero 9 Black a stronger and more durable feel in the hand, giving you confidence that it can withstand just about everything you can throw at it. This includes submerging it in water up to 10 meters deep without the need for a casing, and the addition of a new drain microphone aids in the effective drainage of excess water from the camera.

Features

The combination of GoPro’s class-leading HyperSmooth stabilization which was first seen on the Hero 7 Black and innovative software capabilities like TimeWarp have long been the company’s secret sauce. While the Hero 9 Black enhances these capabilities and expands its adaptability, it fails to provide a compelling reason to switch from the Hero 8 Black.

There aren’t any major changes under the hood. Going all the way back to the Hero 3 Black in 2012, GoPro flagships have featured 12MP sensors. However, the Hero 9 Black takes the bold step of increasing this resolution to 23.6MP with a new sensor. This enables it to capture 5K/30p video and 20MP stills, as well as support the more robust HyperSmooth Boost stabilization mode at all resolutions and frame rates.

Of fact, more resolution does not always imply better image quality. Other elements such as image processing, lens quality, and sensor size can all have a significant influence on the end output. The 1/2.3in sensor on the Hero 9 Black is likewise the same size as its predecessors, making it substantially smaller than the 1-inch Edition module for the Insta360 One R.

However, the improved 23.6MP resolution is the key to unlocking the Hero 9 Black’s main features. There’s little question that the 5K/30p mode, especially when paired with the ‘High’ 100Mbps bit-rate, can record more information than any GoPro up to this point.

Resolution Boost & Other Features

That resolution upgrade also provides the Hero 9 Black with the additional pixels required to support HyperSmooth Boost stabilization, which helps smooth out judder from even the bumpiest mountain bike rides in both 4K/60p and 5K/30p modes. On the Hero 8 Black, this is just not feasible.

However, neither HyperSmooth 3.0 nor TimeWarp 3.0, GoPro’s movement time-lapses, are dramatically improved over their Hero 8 Black counterparts. HyperSmooth 3.0 essentially basically adds Boost stabilization in those two higher resolutions and frame rates, as well as some useful horizon leveling that was previously only available in the GoPro app.

Camera Performance

The GoPro Hero 9 Black records exceptionally well-stabilized, detailed movies, and it’s also decent in terms of pictures. However, with the same sensor as its predecessor, there’s not much of a change in overall performance.

Nonetheless, the new 5K@30fps option captures greater detail than 4K. Particularly when paired with the 100Mbps bit-rate coding for optimal capture performance. Because of the usage of HEVC, storage files aren’t much larger than 4K equivalents, so you won’t need to invest in a high-capacity microSD card to shoot 5K film.

The main question is whether a 5K resolution is indeed necessary. You won’t see the extra detail afforded by 5K if you’re watching it on a phone, PC monitor, or even a 4K TV – in fact, there aren’t many 5K monitors on the market that can play the video at its native resolution. One advantage is the ability to crop into the video without losing much clarity. However, it’s worth considering whether you’ll really utilize this before recording.

GoPro Hero 9 Black

1/2.3inch Sensor

Aside from resolution, the camera performs similarly to its predecessor, due to the use of the same 1/2.3inch sensor. Keeping this in mind, you can anticipate the same exceptional video performance in bright outdoor situations, recording crisp detail and rich colors that blow the competition out of the water.

However, it is not the ideal shooting experience; highlights might appear dazzling and overexposed, and it is not as capable in low-light circumstances, with noise levels increasing as light levels fall — flaws that plagued its predecessors as well.

The diversity of shooting modes available on the Hero 9 Black is where it really shines. Aside from the headline 5K@30fps, you can also shoot 4K at up to 60fps, 2.7K at up to 120fps, and 1080p with a dedicated slow-mo shooting option recording up to 240fps. You may also choose between 16:9 and 4:3 shooting settings. It also supports a digital zoom to get closer to the action.

Shooting Modes

You may save your preferred shooting modes for quick access, with a range of combinations available to fit a variety of scenarios.

Battery life

GoPro Hero 9 Black

You would think that the larger 1,720mAh battery – which is 40% larger than its predecessor – means greater battery life. After all, GoPro promises a 30% increase in total battery life over the 1,220mAh Hero 8 Black.

However, the combination of improved quality capture and the addition of a full-color display on the front means that battery life is unlikely to alter significantly.

It’s worth repeating that the bigger battery of the GoPro Hero 9 Black means you won’t be able to utilize spare batteries from previous versions – you’ll have to buy a new one anyway.

Is it worth getting a GoPro Hero 9?

The GoPro HERO 9 Black is one of the greatest action cameras on the market. Whether you want a sturdy, waterproof camera, something for vlogging, or just an all-around travel camera. Please do yourself a favor and acquire one.

Is GoPro Hero 9 good for still photos?

The Hero 9 can take raw photographs and now has better HDR capabilities. This brings it closer to the quality of a high-end smartphone. Holding down the picture button allows you to take bursts at up to 30 frames per second, depending on your preferences.

Conclusion

The GoPro Hero 9 Black is an excellent all-arounder and provides a durable, waterproof action camera experience with the ability to take up to 5K@30fps. The front-facing LCD display gives you a preview of what’s being filmed. It’s a more interesting feature, making it great for vloggers on outdoor expeditions.

When combined with a number of accessories, the Hero 9 Black is a flexible, well-protected action camera that can be used in a variety of situations.

However, the GoPro Hero 9 Black doesn’t provide much to lure Hero 8 or Hero 7 users, delivering the same all-around experience, though without the flashy new 5K recording option, and there is no noticeable improvement in low-light capabilities.

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