Whenever there is a new release under the umbrella of the GoPro Hero series, there is just one word that fits every time – Better. GoPro Hero 9 Black is one of the latest releases of the series, and it is creating a lot of buzz in the market for all the right reasons.
We recently got our hands on this super powerful, versatile, and modern camera, and here are our observations and experimental results for you.
Table of Contents
GoPro Hero 9 Black Review
In terms of features, this GoPro is one of the most capable action cameras right now, laced with all the latest features.
Improved built and handling
GoPros or action cameras do not have a vast window of experimentation when it comes to the physical aspects. But Hero 9 Black has the most significant redesign compared to all of its predecessors.
Every aspect of this redesign is pretty pleasant, significantly the increase in size. An added inch or so made room for larger screen size and improved user interference. The grip also feels better now. Also, this improvement made it possible to house a bigger battery and use the camera without a cage.
The other two noticeable changes in design are a new 1.4-inch color display on the front and a larger 2.27-inch rear touchscreen. Color display, a much-needed update is full HD, and the output is pretty vibrant, but we are not very big fans of this touchscreen.
When the camera gets hot (common for all GoPro cameras) due to continuous use or weather conditions or when using underwater, you might come across some terrible cases of screen lags. The touchscreen can go unresponsive for up to minutes.
You can also add alternative lenses with it.
With the rear LCD, there are a bunch of buttons and shortcuts for different settings. Sides feature ports for charging, cards, microphones, and wired connections. Overall, GoPro Hero 9 is still pretty straightforward to operate with good ergonomics.
There is no comparison of hero nine black’s 5K video in the market. With a 23.6-megapixel sensor compared to Hero 8’s 12-megapixel sensor, it can shoot a complete 5K at 30fps videos. The 5k is almost 50% in resolution and offers expansive room for cropping compared to 4k.
Post-production usually affects the resolution of footage, but after our experimentation, it turned out that the video stayed crystal clear and sharp even after editing.
It supports aspect ratios of 16:9 and 4:3.
One pretty disappointing issue is the high level of noise in low-light shooting. Footage quality is almost ruined. There is no better camera than this one if your adventures mainly involve outdoors and daylight. If not so, this camera can be a massive disappointment for you despite all of its features.
Technical details of all the video resolutions are mentioned in the specs section.
This is the signature feature of the GoPro Hero series. Hero 9 Black came up with the most refined version of Hypersmooth, namely HyperSmooth 3.0
Forget about rough and jerky footage because your camera is moving with you in your adventures. This technology combines advanced scene analysis and a rolling shutter correction algorithm to automatically correct for shaky footage.
Another updated signature feature of this series that we came across is TimeWrap 3.0. It offers super-smoothed time-lapse videos by time-lapse video with GoPro’s motion stabilization.
After the improvements, with just a single tap on the bigger rear screen, you can set the timewarp 3.0 to real-time and slo-mo. Real-time can also record audio with video after the update.
9 Black Hero allows the capture of 20MP stills.
Still quality is pretty impressive, but that’s not something new for action cameras of the Hero series. The colors are vibrant, and the images turn out pretty sharp.
It supports both RAW and JPEG format. With that, it also has features of HDR and Super Photo. These files are more significant, so processing takes some time Overall, we do not find any stark differences in image quality compared to Hero 08.
Hero 9 Black is water-resistant up to 33 feet (10 meters). You won’t be needing an additional casing up to this limit, but if your adventure involves even an inch more than 33 feet, we do not recommend you risk your camera. Put your camera in a protective casing before submerging it deeper.
Our field battery tests proved the GoPros’s claim of better battery life.
It uses a 1720 mAh battery powered by a USB port. The average battery time it offers is between 84-90 minutes, shooting 4K/30p with HyperSmooth on. Using mixed shooting modes, it can go with continuous use of 5-6 hours.
Perfect performance in terms of battery, but one issue is still consistent: camera heating. This feature is just passing from one generation of Hero Black to another. Shooting with Hero 9 Black, you would need overheating breaks.
The camera can get very hot especially shooting at 5k @ 30p video, and get an automated overheating shutdown anytime after the continuous shooting of 25 minutes.
For outdoor shootings, we recommend you to keep a spare battery with you.
GoPro Hero 9 specs:
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 2.8 x 2.2 x 1.3″
- Weight:5.6 oz / 158 g
- Image Stabilization: Digital
- Waterproof Depth Rating: 33.0′ / 10.0 m (Camera)
- White Balance Modes: Auto
- Built-In Mic: Yes
- Built-In Speaker: Yes
- Wi-Fi: Yes
- Battery Rechargeable Battery Pack: 1720 mAh
- Charging Method: USB
- Shutter Speed: 1/25 – 1/2000 Seconds (Photo)
- ISO Sensitivity Photo/Video: 100 to 6400
- Burst Photo: 30 Photos / 3 Seconds
- Display Type: Fixed Touchscreen LCD (2.27″)
- Secondary Display Front: Live-View Monitor
- Sensor Type: CMOS Sensor
- Sensor Resolution: Effective: 23.6 Megapixel
- Memory Card Slot: Single Slot: MicroSD/microSDHC/microSDXC
- Video Format:
- 2704 x 1520 at 50/60/100/120 fps (100 Mb/s MP4 via H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC)
- 1920 x 1440p at 24/25/30/50/60/100/120 fps (MP4 via H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC)
- 1920 x 1080p at 24/25/30/50/60/100/120/200/240 fps (MP4 via H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC)
- 4096 x 3072 at 24/25/30 fps (100 Mb/s MP4 via H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC)
- 5120 x 2880 at 24/25/30 fps (100 Mb/s MP4 via H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC
- 3840 x 2160 at 24/25/30/50/60 fps (100 Mb/s MP4 via H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC)
- 2704 x 2028 at 50/60 fps (100 Mb/s MP4 via H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9, 4:3
- Still Image Support: JPEG, 20 MP
- Outputs: 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
- No other action camera is capable of delivering more detailed 5k video
- Reliable battery life
- Water and crush resistant
- HyperSmooth 3.0
- Front-facing color display
- 7 MP images
- Scheduled Captures
- Bigger Display
- low-light performance isn’t excellent
- In terms of price, its predecessors are still a better option for most people.
- Touch screen often goes unresponsive
When tested outdoors, GoPro Hero 9 Black provided us with some of the best results an action camera can offer.
The camera features such as battery life, user interference, camera stabilization, 5K footage, still images, et cetera everything was tremendous, but indoor results were somewhat disappointing. Image noise and graininess were notably higher in footage shot in poorly lit situations.
But as GoPro stated in their marketing campaign of hero 9 black targeted outdoor use. Perfect indoor results were not expected anyway.
We saw multiple new updates, including improvements in design, new software tricks, upgraded sensors, better and larger display, and new-generation image stabilization. Overall, it is a pretty nifty camera.
If you are on a tight budget, or your hobbies/professional needs include shooting in dimly lit situations, i.e., Blue hour photography, astrophotography, street light photography, this gadget is not for you.
As a hobbyist or professional action photographer, if you are looking for a durable camera with stellar results, we highly recommend <– Affiliate Link 🙂 Hero 9 Black.
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