(Pocket-lint) – GoPro finally did it: put a color screen on the front of a camera, aligning it more with the DJI Osmo Action, and during that time we decided we had also need a bigger battery. This means that you can finally see yourself when filming and you can film for longer.
That said, its predecessor – the Hero 8 Black – was and still is a great action camera. So should you find the supplement for the 9 or will the Hero 8 do all you need?
Design and displays
- Hero 8: 66.3 x 48.6 x 28.4 mm
- Hero 9: 71.0 x 55.0 x 33.6 mm
- Hero 8: monochrome status screen on the front
- Hero 9: front color live preview screen
- Both: Integrated mounting arms
- Both: color touchscreen on the back, larger Hero 9
- Both: waterproof to 10m
The Hero 8 Black was an important product for GoPro, freeing the company from the constraints of having to adapt their technology to a specific size body, just to fit into the mounting accessories. Instead, it integrated mounting arms at the bottom of the camera, allowing you to mount it on any accessory, without a clip-on cover, and that came back in the Hero 9.
This has seen GoPro increase the size of its flagship action camera by a noticeable amount – but not a huge one. It’s a few millimeters taller, wider, and thicker than the 8 Black, but the tradeoff should be worth it for a bigger battery and more powerful internals. In addition, the larger screen and the color screen on the front.
Speaking of these screens, the latest model’s front screen is in full color and can be used as a live preview display, while the 8 Black has the more traditional monochrome status display that only shows you information. state.
Both cameras feature a similar design in terms of button and port placement. They both have the shutter release button on the top and the mode / power button on the left edge. However, the 9th Gen’s mode / power button protrudes further from the surface and is much easier to press and feel without looking. The Hero 8’s button is flush with the surface and is therefore virtually impossible to find by touch.
Directly below it, the Hero 9 also has a speaker designed to pump water, a feature similar to what Apple has been using in its watches for some time. So if you take it underwater to test its resistance at 10m depth, it will expel any water that seeps into the speaker channels.
Video capture and streaming
- Hero 8: up to 4K / 60 FHD / 240 images
- Hero 9: up to 5K / 30, 4K / 60, FHD / 240
- Both: 1080p live streaming
Both Heros support a wide range of resolution and frame rate combinations at different focal lengths, thanks to the “digital lenses” built into the software.
When it comes to resolution, the Hero9 is the champ here. It can shoot up to 5K resolution at 16: 9 ratio with wide, linear and narrow “lenses”. At 4K resolution, it can go up to 60 frames per second and up to 240 frames per second at 1080p. It can also shoot at 2.7k resolution and various resolutions using up to 4K at 4: 3 ratio. Hero 8 is similar, except it achieves 4K resolution. It also does not have a horizon leveling feature available at certain settings.
Both cameras can be used for live streaming and both can do so at 1080p resolution. The two also use a combination of EIS and algorithms to stabilize footage using a feature called HyperSmooth. With the Hero 9 this has been improved, making it even smoother than before while also offering the horizon leveling feature. Plus, if you buy the additional Max lens, you get horizon leveling on everything, even when you rotate the camera 360 degrees.
Photos and performances
- Hero 8: 12 MP stills
- Hero 9: 20 MP stills
- Both: SuperPhoto + HDR
- Both: RAW support
- Hero 8: 1220mAh battery
- Hero 9: 1720mAh battery
- Both: GP1 chip
There are two big performance improvements with the Hero 9: photo resolution and battery life. It has a 20-megapixel sensor compared to the 12-megapixel sensor of the previous model. Likewise, it has a larger capacity battery, with an additional 500mAh in addition to the 8th generation 1220mAh battery for a total of 1720mAh.
GoPro says you’ll get 30% more video capture time with that battery, which is really useful for action cameras. There is nothing worse than draining the battery during a downhill bike session.
Both cameras have the same image / data processor – called GP1 – and support RAW image capture as well as GoPro’s advanced HDR image processing.
- Hero 8: $ 299 with a subscription ($ 349 without)
- Hero 9: $ 399 with a subscription ($ 499 without)
The cheapest way to buy a new Hero camera is to purchase an annual GoPro subscription. If you buy the Hero 8 with the subscription, the camera will set you back $ 299 / £ 279, while the Hero 9 is $ 399 / £ 329. If you buy the cameras without the subscription, the Hero 8 costs $ 349 / £ 329 and the Hero 9 is $ 499 / £ 429.
Considering the added value of the subscription – which gives you unlimited cloud storage, a replacement camera when yours breaks, and accessory discounts – it makes a lot of sense to go for this with lower initial expenses. You get a 12 month prepaid subscription with this price. GoPro is obviously hoping that users will stay longer than a year and continue to subscribe thereafter.
Considering the price difference, the Hero 8 Black is actually very good value for money. It’s $ 100 / £ 100 cheaper than the Hero 9 but does a lot of the same things.
That said, with its new color display, higher resolution sensor, and longer battery life, the extra expense is well worth it for the Hero 9. Especially considering its price tag with l The subscription is only a little higher than the Hero’s price. 8 Black without subscription.
If you want the best action camera, grab the Hero 9. If you’d rather save the money, or come from an older model like the Hero 5 or Hero 6, the Hero 8 will do you just fine and is still a major upgrade on these two.
Written by Cam Bunton.