Every year like clockwork GoPro revises their action camera. Some years, the updates are more meaningful than others, but there tends to be at least one notable new feature from model to model. This time, it’s the introduction of 5K resolution on the most trusted action camera out there.
GoPro first introduced 4K on the Hero 3 in 2012 and has been upgrading the capability every year, increasing the recording frame rates, low light performance, and stabilization. The Hero 7 was the first model to use Hypersmooth, reducing the need for a gimbal, a feature that seemed like it was made for mountain bikers.
The Hero 9 Black starts with 5K resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio, available for shooting at 24 and 30fps. As far as shooting in 4K, the GoPro’s capabilities stay the same as they did on the Hero 8, with 60, 30, and 24fps available in Wide and Linear, and 30 and 24fps available in SuperView. Now though, there’s a detachable lens again and GoPro has a Black Max Lens Mod available for an additional $100, which they say helps improve the HyperSmooth stabilization and widens the field of view even more.
GoPro has other available Mods, like the Media Mod with a directional microphone, a Light Mod with a top-mounted LED rack above the camera, and a Display Mod, with a large flip screen for vlogging.
The photo capabilities jump from a 12 megapixel camera in the Hero 8, to 20MP in the Hero 9. On the front of the Hero 9 Black is another LCD screen to display what the camera is recording, also welcome addition for vloggers. And, GoPro claims in-camera stabilization improvements with HyperSmooth 3.0. The back screen has also grown in size.
Mountain bikers should also welcome the built-in mounting features that carry over from the Hero 8 to the Hero 9. Two little wings pop out of the bottom of the camera, so it isn’t necessary to wrap the camera in a case before mounting it on a Chesty or helmet.
Unfortunately, for anyone who hopes to use their existing GoPro batteries on the Hero 9, they won’t work. GoPro has made a bigger battery, which they say has 30% more life. That makes older GoPro batteries unusable on the new model. That also makes the Hero 9 larger than the previous versions.
Other features include water resistance to 10 meters, live streaming with 1080p resolution, voice control to start and stop videos, and a raw photo format.
The price for the new GoPro Hero 9 Black is $450 without a subscription to GoPro. With a subscription, buyers get unlimited cloud storage, discounts on the GoPro website, and access to a camera replacement program for $350. The yearly cost of a GoPro subscription is $50-$60, depending on the payment plan. GoPro does not currently have less expensive Silver or White version of the Hero 9, like they have done with other models in the past.
Buyers can order the GoPro Hero 9 online at Amazon.com.