GoPro just announced their latest camera: GoPro Hero9 black, but what are the biggest changes?
A visible change is the front facing color LCD screen. But also lots of changes on the inside – a very significant one compared to the minor changes during the last years. Let’s check them out in detail:

GoPro Hero9 black vs GoPro Hero8 black - 5k video, 20mp photo, hypersmooth 3.0

GoPro Hero9 black vs GoPro Hero8 black


GoPro Hero9 black vs GoPro Hero8 black


New Specs & Features with Explanation

Front Facing LCD screen

DJI Osmo Action already offers this conveniant feature. GoPro tries to attract more vloggers using their camera. With Hero8 they already announced extension mods and a flip up LCD screen. But getting a front facing screen requires the Media Mod as well as the LCD Mod – so 2 very expensive add ons. Now you have it out of the box to frame your shots while doing your vlog.


Since many years (since GoPro Hero 4 black) GoPro is using a 12MP 4:3 sensor – and that’s fine for 4K 16:9 video. Now GoPro switches to a larger resolution sensor – 23.6MP. This serves 3 reasons:

  1. you can get higher resolution photos – 20 MP photos
  2. you have a higher video resolution available – 5K video
  3. it has a significant impact on 4K video stabilization – Hypersmooth 3.0

Resolution & Frame Rates

Of course there will be the new addition to the list of resolutions – 5K 30fps video. As for the other resolutions it is similar to GoPro Hero8 black: 4K 60fps, 2.7K 120fps & 1080p 240 fps. There is no 720p option any more on both GoPro Hero8 black and Hero9 black.

Hypersmooth 3.0

As mentioned the higher resolution comes along with another huge benefit in terms of video stabilization. So how does image stabilization work? The camera crops into the frame the have more video information available outside the framed shot. Then the framing is adjusted to even out the shake of the camera, also using data from a gacro sensor that records the movement of the camera. Now having a higher resolution than 4K – 5k with Hero9 black – enables better stabilization in 4K without the need to crop the image and therefore a wider FOV. I expect Hypersmooth 3.0 to be a big leap compared to 2.0.
We also saw this move from Insta360 with their Insta360 One R – 1″ module.


If you take a lot of photos with your GoPro the new Hero9 black is definately worth considering to upgrade. Photo Resolution is pushed from 12 MP to 20 MP, of course all features like RAW & HDR photo will be available.


Often requested by users, and it seems now also implemented for Hero8. You will be able to connect your GoPro Hero9 black to your computer to use it as webcam. I don’t know why GoPro implemented this (seems easy to do) feature so late. During Corona Times a lot of camera manufactureres released firmware updates to transform their cameras into webcams – even Sony, Canon,… DSLRs.


The battery was always a bottleneck on GoPro cameras – they didn’t last very long. Now GoPro increases the capacity from 1220 mAh to 1720 mAh – thats’s 40% more! Not only the front facing screen will require more juice, also the higher resolution and better image stabilization. A very needed upgrade.

Case (Packaging)

The packaging of GoPro Hero9 black changes and is actually a camera case. Usually GoPro cameras were displayed in a plastic box the sat on top of a cardboard box. Now the camera is stored within a fabric case that is surrounded by a paper cover. Great to save waste on the one hand and offer an additional feature to the users on the other hand.
Not much else included in the box, just the typical GoProquick release mount for the bottom of the camera.

Lens Mod

With GoPro Hero8 the lens cover was fixed an not removable. This was an issue for many users as it meant you can’t replace the lens cover when it scratched. With GoPro Hero9 the lens cover is removable again and a new feature was added: Lens Mods. You can ad the “Max Lens Mod” for ultrawide FOV.

Extension Mods

Since the GoPro Hero9 black is a bit larger than Hero8 black the Media Mod is not compatible! There is a new Hero9 Media Mod.



No doubt, GoPro Hero9 black is the best action cam GoPro ever built.
Is it worth the update from Hero8 black?
As always – depends on your needs. If you don’t have the expensive Extension Mods the front facing LCD screen is geart to frame your shots while vlogging. If you take a lot of photos you will benefit from the higher resolution. In terms of video resolutions I’m not sure if 5K is a resolution you will choose. Of course you can bin it down to 4K. But image stabilization in 4K takes a huge leap forward.


I turned my eye to Insta360 One R which is an awesome action camera concept in my opinion. It consists of a recording module with screen and you can attach different camera modules – waterproof in all combinations. This way you can either have a 4K action camera with front or back facing screen, you can turn it into a 360° camera or add the impressive Leica module that holds a large 1″ sensor, usually only built in DSLR and mirrorless cameras. I definately recommend checking out this concept: Insta360 One R – Review.


Price and Availability

Usually I find the best prices on Amazon. On the GoPro website Hero9 is 349 USD with 1-year Subscription to GoPro; while Hero8 sells for 299 USD.


GoPro Hero8 black vs GoPro Hero7 black

Both cameras Hero8 and Hero7 are still featured on the GoPro website. Here you can compare them:

GoPro Hero8 black vs GoPro Hero7 black - all specs compared / Comparison Review

GoPro Hero8 black vs GoPro Hero7 black – all specs compared


GoPro Hero8 black vs GoPro Hero7 black


New Specs and Explanation

Resolution & Frame Rates

In this category there are minor changes. Both cameras offer max. 4K resolution with up to 60fps, 2.7K resolution up to 120fps and 1080p with up to 240fps. Interestingly the 720p and 960p option was removed for Hero8 black. Both cameras use the GoPro GP1 processor. One change was done to the resolution of live-streaming, with Hero8 black you can stream in 1080p, with Hero7 black it was limited to 720p.


Now that’s an upgrade I’m excited about. Hero7 black had a bitrate of 78 Mbps in 4K resolution with .h265 codec. 78 Mbps was considered low by many users since many competitors offer 100 Mbps – but they used .h264 codec to do so (e.g. DJI Osmo Action). For Hero8 black a bitrate of 100 Mbps is announced for 4K and 2.7K and, I do expect it to be in .h265 codec, that means better video quality and more details!

Body Design (Frame, Ports, Battery…)

With Hero8 black GoPro introduced Expansion Mods, accessories to mount on your camera. The frame mount was removed with Hero8 and the GoPro mount is now foldable and integrated into the bottom of the camera. Great news, you don’t need to carry the frame with you anymore to mount the camera. Therefore the battery compartment was moved from the bottom to the side of the camera; it’s still the same type of battery. The new Hero8 black does not have a HDMI port integrated, you need to get the Media Mod, that also includes a 3,5mm jack. The lens cover is not removable anymore and that comes with pros and cons: Pro – you don’t have to take it off to get the camera inside an underwater case. Con: it’s not easily replaceable when scratched. Both cameras are waterproof for up to 10m without case. Both cameras have 3 microphones integrated, with Hero8 one of them was moved to the front for better audio when talking into the camera.
Hero8 black is heavier than Hero7 without frame, but lighter than Hero7 when inside the frame.

GoPro Hero8 black (foldable mount, fixed lens) vs GoPro Hero7 black (frame mount, replaceable lens)

GoPro Hero8 black (foldable mount, fixed lens) vs GoPro Hero7 black (frame mount, replaceable lens)


Expansion Mods (Media Mod, DisplayMod, Light Mod)

First of all you need to get the Media Mod, that wraps-around your camera, which holds a directional built-in microphone (shotgun mic), a HDMI port, a USB-C port, a 3,5mm jack for external microphones and 2 cold shoe mounts for accessories. On those shoes you can either mount the Display Mod, a flip-able 2″ Display with built-in battery that connects to the HDMI port of Media Mod. You can mount Light Mod, a 200 lumen waterproof light with built-in battery. Or you can mount third party accessories.

GoPro Hero8 black Extension Mods (Media Mod, LCD Mod, Light Mod)

GoPro Hero8 black Extension Mods (Media Mod, Display Mod, Light Mod)


Digital Lens

With Hero8 it is getting easier to select the field of view. Simply tap on the screen to select the digital focal length of the lens and see & compare the impact immediately on the screen. Good news for vlogger who don’t want that wide angle look: linear FOV is available in 4K resolution on Hero8 black! (Narrow FOV is available in 2.k resolution).

GoPro Hero8 black Digital Lens - now with 4K linear FOV

GoPro Hero8 black Digital Lens – now with 4K linear FOV


Time Warp 2.0

Time Warp is basically a motion timelapse feature. Due to the excellent built-in image stabilization the timelapse is very smooth and way better than a traditional one recorded while moving. What’s new with Time Warp 2.0? You can tap on the display, then the camera switches from timelapse to normal video, so basically slowing the video down until you tab the screen again.

Hypersmooth 2.0

When DJI released their DJI Osmo Action camera everyone was impressed by their image stabilization called “RockSteady”. They achieved a bit better stabilization than Hero7, but on the downside the image frame was cropped a bit more, so the field of view was narrower. (The camera needs additional image information around the shown framing). What’s new with Hypersmoth 2.0? With Hypersmooth 2.0 you can choose either wider FOV (field of view) or narrower FOV and better stabilization – GoPro calls it Boost. Hypersmooth is now available in all resolutions & frame rates. (On Hero7 black it was not available with 1080p 240fps and 2.7k 120fps).

Night Lapse Video

With Hero7 black you are able to record night timelapse photos and had to combine them for a video. With Hero8 black this new option allows you to create night timelapse videos within the camera. Unfortunately again an item that could have been implemented with Hero7, but is added exclusively for Hero8.

Custom Presets

Create custom presets or choose from: Standard, Activity, Cinematic and Slo-Mo. Basically you can create a custom pre-set for several scenarios: e.g. do an “action preset” with 4K 60fps, wide angle and a “vlog profile” with 4K 30fps, linear lens – when talking into the camera.

GoPro Hero8 black - Custom Presets

GoPro Hero8 black – Custom Presets



Also some minor changes in this section. Basically both models still offer 12 MP photo with .jpg and RAW option. It is stated that RAW is now available in all photo modes, still need to check where it was not available on Hero7. While Hero7 black offers HDR photo, Hero8 black is advertised with “improved HDR”. If you are doing time-lapses this change is interesting: Hero8 now offers longer intervals compared to Hero7: 2, 5, 30, 60 minutes. What a pity they didn’t update the firmware of Hero7.

Live Burst

In Live Burst GoPro Hero8 black is recording 1,5 sec before and after you press the button. It captures 90 “photos” and you can choose afterwards which one to pick. Basically the camera is recording a 3 sec 4K video clip, which you can either export as video, or choose a frame out of it. Therefore the photo has 4K resolution (= about 8.5MP) and not the 12MP resolution you achieve in photo mode; RAW is not available. The feature is similar to the “Live” photo feature on iPhones.



No doubt, GoPro Hero8 black is the best action cam GoPro ever built (or let’s say GoPro applied the best firmware to). If money is not an issue for you, go for GoPro Hero8 black.
Is it worth the update from Hero7 black?
I’m not sure, depends on your needs. Of course it is worth it if you need one of the new features. It’s worth it if you want the best image quality as the bitrate was increased. For vlogger Hero8 is interesting if you need an action camera as you can add the Extension Mods for your vlogs (Media Mod & Display). In general there is not that much news, mostly firmware updates that were exclusively done for Hero8 and could have be done for Hero7 as well.
Is it worth to upgrade from older GoPro models?
Hero5 and older: I’d say yes. Image stabilization (Hypersmooth) in 4K is awesome for steady videos in 4K resolution. Also 4K 60fps for Slow Motion in 4K and 1080p 240fps for ultra slow motion in 1080p – well worth the upgrade.
Hero6 black: Image Stabilization is a lot better, TimeWarp is great for motion time-lapses and Live Streaming can be interesting. If these features are not appealing to you, you can probably stick with your Hero6.

Price and Availability


GoPro Hero 7

as for Hero7 black the prices on amazon are often lower than on the GoPro website (329 USD):

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