GoPro has become synonymous with the activity of action videography in the way that Google has become synonymous with the word search engine. Every year Go Pro comes out with their new HERO range, and every year it is their “best camera yet”. But is the GoPro HERO 9 just another incremental change or is it a true game-changer?
This year’s release comes with a whole host of new features, along with improvements on existing specifications, while staying true to the favourite features they’ve established over the years.
First up, the key specifications have been improved accross the board. With a brand new 23.6MP sensor, the HERO 9 is now capable of taking 5k video in 30fps and 4k in 60fps for crisp slow mo footage. The new 5k video allows for you to take screen-grabs of up to 14.7MP, which is a huge improvement when compared to the 2MP screen-grabs from a 1080p video. This means you no longer have to decide between taking a crisp photo or just going straight to video. GoPro also boasts a 30% increase in battery life from their last model, letting you video at a higher quality, for longer.
But as I mentioned before, this wasn’t just a productivity boost, there’s plenty of brand new design features in the HERO 9. The addition of a colour front-display has been something users have been wanting for years, letting them see what they are filing whether it’s facing towards or away from them.
This is going to vastly improve your ‘selfie-game’, while still keeping all those important things like battery life and recording status front and centre. They have also introduced Hypersmooth 3.0 and Horizon-Leveling, another set of improvements on their hybrid hardware-software image stabilisation, which really ups the professional feel on otherwise bumpy videos. One of the more unique additions is that of what GoPro is calling Hindsight which gives users the capability to capture up to 15 or 30 seconds of video before you even press record by keeping a looping recording for those moments where you never know where something cool might happen.
They have added a powerful new accessory to their range of GoPro Mods in the Max Lens, a replaceable exterior camera lens that provides further mechanical image stabilisation and a wider field of view than ever before which, when coupled with the selfie-screen and shotgun mic mod, makes for an extremely powerful content creation package.
It is clear that GoPro are active in the community and listen to their customers as this year they also gave the GoPro HERO 9 the ability to function as a full HD webcam. In an era where going outside and travelling, GoPro’s main use-case, is rare they have ensured that the GoPro remains relevant by function as part of the home office until the time where outdoor activity becomes commonplace once more. Not only have they picked up on the need for in-home use of the Hero 9, but this is also the first year in which the packaging for the Go Pro will use plastic-free, reusable packaging, this asserts GoPro as a company that cares about the planet whose natural beauty they dedicated their business to capturing.
I always worry with ranges like GoPro or iPhone that the yearly new edition just feeds into our tendency to always want what is new, without necessarily improving or changing the product. This is not the case with Go Pro HERO 9. This year’s iteration brings many features that people have been begging for for years, and I know I for one will be making the most of this summer just so I can have some cool stuff to capture with it.