It can be difficult to decide whether to purchase a GoPro 8 or a GoPro 9, given that the two brands offer such different features. The GoPro 8 is much cheaper than the GoPro 9, but it also does not have any 4K resolution videos. The GoPro 9 is more expensive, but it offers 4K resolution and even higher frame rates for capturing high-intensity footage.
In this blog, we will look at the different features offered by these two models to help you decide which one is right for you.
GoPro 8 Vs 9
A New Design
- Hero 8: 66.3 x 48.6 x 28.4mm
- Hero 9: 71.0 x 55.0 x 33.6mm
- Hero 8: Monochrome status screen on the front
- Hero 9: Colour live preview screen at the front
- Both: Mounting arms built-in
- Both: Colour touchscreen at the back, Hero9 larger
- Both: Waterproof up to 10m
The camera is still very pocketable, so it doesn’t really make a big difference. The downside is that any old cases and Mods, such as the Media Mod, won’t fit onto the new GoPro. It’s still a good thing it has been enlarged in size.
The New Hero 9 Black has a larger touchscreen at the back than the GoPro Hero 7 or Hero 8. It measures 2.27 inches.
Unfortunately, in our testing, we found it to be slow and unresponsive. However, GoPro has promised a firmware update in November. This extra size is still very useful, regardless of whether you are framing photos or switching settings in a hurry.
More Resolution To Enjoy
The GoPro Hero 9 Black’s 23.6MP sensor is almost twice as powerful as the Hero 7 Black or Hero 8 Black. This allows it to capture 5K video and 20.2MP photographs.
Although more resolution does not necessarily translate into better image quality, we have found that it delivers more detail on the GoPro Hero 9 Black.
Frame grabs now measure 14.7MP and can be used for small prints and social shares, as long as there is no motion blur. Although this may sound huge, the Hero 8 Black shoots at 4K. This means that 12MP stills are available, which is sufficient for most social media posts.
The Hero 9 Black’s 20MP stills make it a great choice if you are a big fan of photos. Although the overall quality of the images is similar, cropping can be a great way to improve detail in well-lit environments.
Both cameras share the same image/data processing processor, the GP1; they support RAW image capture and GoPro’s advanced HDR image processing.
- Hero 8: 12MP photos
- Hero 9: 20MP photos
- Both: SuperPhoto + HDR
- Both: RAW support
- Hero 8: 1220mAh battery
- Hero 9: 1720mAh battery
- Both: GP1 Chip
GoPro’s Hero flagships were powered by one 220mAh battery for generations. Although they didn’t last very long (4K shooting took just over an hour), this was due to their small size. GoPro has increased the Hero 9 Black’s battery capacity to 1,720mAh, which the company claims increases its endurance by 30%.
This gives the Hero 9 Black a significantly higher performance in Full HD video capture, recording for more than two hours and ten minutes in our tests as opposed to the Hero 8 Black, which recorded for only one hour and thirty minutes.
According to GoPro, the Hero 9 Black’s larger battery size means that it can handle extreme cold more effectively. This should result in a stronger action camera for skiing.
However, Hero 9 did overheat when we were shooting a 5K video. It stopped working after 30 minutes and became very hot. This is because Hero 9 can’t shoot at full resolution.
New Front Display
The Hero 9 Black is similar to the DJI Osmo Action and features a touchscreen and a full-color front display. This will help vloggers set up shots and give anyone filming without the rear screen an easy preview.
The Hero 9 Black’s front screen is not touch-sensitive, and it isn’t smooth when previewing the 5K video. It can’t be disabled in the settings. This could cause problems if you want to save battery life. It will, however, time out after a few seconds, just like the rear display.
These screens are in color. The front screen on the most recent model can be used as a live view. The 8 Black’s traditional monochrome status display only displays status information.
The Return Of The Interchangeable Lens Cover
To meet mixed reviews, the Hero 8 Black dropped removable lenses from its Hero line. GoPro has created an interchangeable lens mod called the MaxLens Mod for 2020.
The Hero, 9 Black’s field-of-view, is smaller than the GoPro Hero 8 Black’s, but the Max Lens Mod can increase the Hero 9’s resolution to 60fps (with a 155-degree field) and shoot at 2.7K resolution (60fps).
Max Lens Mod supports horizon locking as on the GoPro Max. This allows the camera to maintain a level horizon line even when it is rotated through 360 degrees. It is available in October 2020 for $79.99 / PS79.99 / AU$129.95
Stabilization Slightly Improved
GoPro’s HyperSmooth image stability is unmatched. GoPro also introduced Boost to increase Hero 8 Black’s steady footage.
The Hero 9 Black now shoots at full 5K resolution with Hypersmooth 3.0 as well as Boost. This is a significant improvement over the Hero 8 Black, which had Boost capped at 4K/30p and only in Wide view.
The Hero 9 Black’s additional resolution is perhaps the most important. It has the ability to apply the cropped stabilizations in more challenging situations. The GoPro Hero 8 Black’s stabilization may be sufficient for you if you don’t shoot in very juddery conditions. Downhill mountain bikers are likely to reach for the Hero 9 Black.
In-camera Horizon Leveling
We have already talked about the new Max Lens Mod, which allows GoPro Max-style Horizon Locking on the Hero 9 Black. However, you don’t necessarily need a mod to perform basic horizon leveling.
The new GoPro action cameras can automatically level out your footage from the box using the onboard sensors. This is something that Hero 8 Black couldn’t do with the GoPro app. Although this doesn’t compensate for extreme tilts, it will keep them looking steady and level.
Rewind The Clock
You’ve seen Prince of Persia or Sands of Time. Now, consider Hindsight the action cameras equivalent of a dagger of time.
Hindsight, a Hero 9 Black headline feature, can capture up to 30 seconds of footage before you touch the record button. This means that you don’t have to rush to capture the action.
It is easy to activate. You can place a Hindsight shortcut in your viewfinder so that it can be toggled on or off easily. This works with all resolutions.
Hero 8 Black users will have to keep their fingers on the record and be quick. They could fill up their memory cards while trying to capture the perfect moment.
The Hero 9 Black has many more tricks. Scheduled Captures are another feature that’s missing from the Hero 8 Black. This allows for scheduled recording, all of which can be controlled within the camera.
You can set the Hero 9 Black for a timelapse and have it recorded fifteen minutes before sunrise. The Hero 9 Black will then wake up by itself. This could be useful if multiple Hero 9 Blacks are being used to record an event simultaneously for easy syncing.
The third evolution of old favorites means that they are back. HyperSmooth 3.0, TimeWarp 3.0 both have received incremental improvements over Hero 8 Black. The latest TimeWarp 3.0 now records audio when your fast-motion footage is slowed down to Real Speed at half-speed.
It is up to you and your budget whether you choose the Hero 8 Black or GoPro Hero 9 Black. The latest GoPro is best if you are looking to vlog often or have a lot of GoPros. The Hero 8 Black is the best value for money, offering 4K video quality and excellent in-body stabilization. GoPro’s current subscription package is a great deal, especially for Black Hero 8 Black.
Although GoPro cameras don’t have a lot of experience with stills, they can capture decent landscapes in a pinch. Both models can take RAW or HDR, the GoPro Hero 9 Black having HDR upgraded to 20 MP. The Hero 8 Black has 12 MP. This is quite an upgrade.
The Hero 9 Black also has the ability to grab 14.7 MP from video. This is a killer feature that allows you to get decent-quality photos of jumps and turns, as well as other moments.
Live Burst is 1.5 seconds buffer on the shutter for photos and is available on the GoPro Hero 9 Black as well as the GoPro Hero 8 Black.
Live Streaming And Webcam
The firmware update that allowed the Hero 8 Black webcam use was made earlier in the year. However, the Hero 9 Black comes with it as standard. It can be integrated into any video conferencing platform and works at 1080p. You can live stream 1080p video from the Hero 9 Black to YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Profiles.
TimeWarp 2.0, a Hyperlapse mode that creates super-smooth motion times lapses with the GoPro Hero 8 Black, is a fun Hyperlapse mode. It’s now available in the GoPro Hero 9 Black with an enhanced version that includes TimeWarp 3.0.
These cameras allow you to take amazing hyper-lapse photos without having to crop 10%. It’s also available at all frame rates, resolutions.
Controls & Interface
You can control the camera in the same way with both the GoPro Hero 9 Black and HERO8 Black. While there are some minor tweaks to the menu system or naming conventions, it is not difficult to use the camera if you move between them. (With one exception, more details are below.
Both devices use the touchscreen at the back to access the menu system. Both can be controlled wirelessly using the GoPro mobile application. Both can be controlled by voice. Both have the same shutter button at the top to start and stop recording or take a photograph.
Shooting Menu Tweaks & Presets
Both employ the same shooting presets approach as the GoPro HERO 8 Black.
Both have faster access to Protune settings than older GoPros. (more information in the Protune section).
Buttons & Touchscreen
The touchscreen system that is on both the front and back of the device acts as both a live view display and the primary way to access the settings or preferences in the menu system.
The HERO9 BLACK screen is brighter, larger, and sharper. It’s hard to notice until you place them side-by-side, but the GoPro Hero 9 Black screen is larger and brighter.
It is worth noting that the HERO9 BLACK’s front screen is not a touchscreen.
The GoPro mobile app can control both cameras wirelessly using Bluetooth and wifi. They both use different remotes.
The GoPro HERO 8 Black can be used with the Smart Remote or REMO remote.
The HERO9Black didn’t come with a separate remote control when it was first released. It is not compatible with Smart Remote. GoPro released a new remote control for the GoPro Hero 9 Black. The Remote is its name. It looks and functions very similar to the Smart Remote, as it is waterproof. It can only control 5 GoPros simultaneously, as opposed to the 50 that the Smart Remote can. The Remote is a detailed review that I have here.
If the HERO9 Black doesn’t have the option to connect a remote to the camera’s menu, you should upgrade the firmware to at most v1.5 (released December 17, 2020). This firmware was released after the initial launch of The Remote. It added compatibility to The Remote.
The GoPro HERO 9 Black increases video shooting modes to 5K30.
The ‘digital lenses’ built into both Heros allows for a wide variety of frame-rate and resolution combinations at different focal lengths.
There is a lot of overlap in the video resolution/framerate options on the HERO9 Black and those on the GoPro HERO 8 Black.
The GoPro HERO 9 Black’s larger sensor makes 5K video possible. This is the headline upgrade. These dimensions measure 5120 x 2880. 30fps is the fastest framerate in 5K. Notably, 5K is wider than 4K, but the 4K4/3 setting is taller.
Both have a frame rate of 240 frames per second (frames per second). Twenty-four frames per second are the slowest frame rate available on both. Both provide in-camera video stabilization and Protune options to allow for manual control. Both provide video aspect ratios of 16/9 and 4/3.
The new model has some improvements, including the HyperSmooth in-camera video stabilization. This was upgraded from version 2.0 and 3.0 and now takes advantage of the larger sensor’s extra pixel buffer.
The GoPro HERO 9 Black, as well as the GoPro HERO 8 Black, have a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps.
This is a relatively high bitrate for an action camera (the DJI Osmo Action has a 100 Mbps bitrate), but it’s much lower than the 400 Mbps or higher bitrates on larger cameras such as the Fujifilm XT-4, Panasonic LUMIX GH5, and the Panasonic LUMIX GH5.
A larger bitrate means that more data is required to record the video. This means that there is less compression and potentially higher quality. The difference in practice is not always obvious. High-detail scenes that are viewed at full resolution with post-processing, editing, and recompression are the most likely to show a difference. It can also be used if the video is being processed and then recompressed.
However, the highest bitrates may not be available at all resolutions or framerate combinations. Below is a table that lists the bitrates used in each combination.
For most users, you can choose between a Standard or High bitrate mode. To get higher bitrates on older GoPros, you needed to turn on Protune first. Standard was equivalent to turning off Protune. The HERO8 Black now has a dedicated High/Standard bitrate toggle that you can access directly (scroll to the bottom of the video settings for presets).
It is important to remember that the file may have been compressed with either the HEVC codecs or H.264 codecs (more below), but it uses variable compression so that you can get bitrates that are slightly higher or lower than these target bitrates.
Additional Features for Video Shooting
Below is a comparison of the key features between the GoPro Hero 9 and GoPro Hero 8 Black.
Capture of Duration
The HERO9 BLACK introduces a new Duration setting. It will stop the recording at a predetermined time after it has begun. This is especially useful when used with the new Scheduled Capture mode
There are many options:
- There is no limit (also known as Duration Setting Off).
- 30 seconds
- 1, 5, 15, 30, minutes
- 1, 2, 3, 4 hours
This is especially helpful when you need to capture events of known duration or when the camera mount is out of reach.
You will need to run the camera for longer periods of time. It is almost certain that the camera requires external power. If you can get three hours of video recording from one charge, then you would be lucky.
Clips is a simpler version that the HERO8 Black offers. However, this only gives you the option of 15 or 30-seconds, which is great for quick social media hits.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black now has a Schedule Capture mode.
The Schedule Capture mode is a brand new feature in the HERO9Black. You can schedule a shot up 24 hours ahead of time. To conserve battery power, the camera is kept in low-battery standby mode, and then it turns on at the time set. The camera will stay on as long as the Auto Power Off setting is set.
Slow Motion (Slo-Mo)
The HERO9 Black is able to slow-motion the same as the HERO8 Black.
It can achieve up to 8x slow movement, which is how it could be described. It can shoot at up 240fps. You can also play it back at 30fps to get the 8x slow option. The 8x slow-motion option is only available at 1080p. The 4K resolution has the highest slow-motion rate at 2x. Slow-motion is not available on the HERO9Black at 5K.
You can also toggle between recording and playback speeds by clicking the slo-mo button on the backscreen (the snail). It all depends on what resolution you are using and the framerate. For example, at 4K, the maximum framerate is 60fps. If you play it back at 30fps, you will get 2x slower motion.
FOV/ Digital Lens
Both models have the same FOVs and built-in lenses. The HERO9 BLACK has a new MAX Lens for a wider perspective. It’s optional ).
The FOV terminology used by the HERO9 Black is lenses instead of FOVs. They are the same thing, and they work in the same way. This new terminology is meant to be more similar to traditional camera lenses. These focal lengths are more intuitive if you are used to working with them (although they approximate an optical focal length).
There are four FOVs, but not all of them at every resolution. There are five FOVs available, although the largest is the one that can be used with the Max Lens accessory. This accessory has not yet been released at the time of writing. Linear + Horizon leveling is also available. This option doesn’t have a distinct FOV, but it’s a combination FOV and feature.
Livestreaming / Live video feed
The HERO9Black Black can stream live video directly from the camera via the GoPro app, just like its predecessor. With the introduction of the HERO8 mods, which are particularly suited to vlogging, GoPro began to invest heavily in this feature. The HERO9 Black’s new front preview screen is a further step in this direction.
The stream can be shared via services such as Facebook Live, YouTube, and Twitch. GoPro also has a streaming service.
Both cameras can shoot portraits.
Portrait orientation allows you to shoot vertically instead of horizontally (or landscape). YouTube and other video sites have adopted this feature because many people shoot with their phones upright. Cameras have a sensor built in that will tell it which way is up and switch accordingly.
Both models include voice control for basic camera operation.
The HERO9Black, like many of its predecessors, has voice control. You can use your voice to start and stop recording. You can also voice-command a highlight to be tagged while filming. These commands can be used to shoot video:
- GoPro, record your footage
- GoPro: Stop recording
- GoPro, HiLight
Highlights / HiLight tags
HiLight Tags allows you to highlight important moments in your video. These can be added during recording or playback. These features can make it quicker and easier to locate specific areas in your footage later.
Although this isn’t a video feature, it can be used to create videos. This is the function that allows you to choose the shooting mode the camera will automatically start shooting in after it powers up. It’s a great option if you need to quickly capture video, photos, or time-lapse.
The looping feature records for a predetermined time and then go back to record over it. It’s similar to a security camera or dashcam, but it’s not the best way to use it on a GoPro.
This is especially useful when you know what’s coming but don’t know when. You can stop the continuous loop when you see the action. That way, you end up with one short clip rather than hours of dead footage, making post-processing much more manageable and saving storage space on your SD card (and cloud storage of hard drive, if you’re uploading/downloading to either of those destinations).
You can set the default loop length to 5 minutes. However, it is possible to change this to 20, 60, or 120 minutes.
Auto Low Light
If the automatic exposure algorithm determines that this setting would result in better exposure, it will reduce the framerate. This setting is only available if there’s enough room to lower the framerate (e.g., if you shoot at 60fps, it would be possible to drop back to 30fps).
Last but not least, If you want to record stunning videos or photos, You should use Gimbal to support that. Then you can check out Best Gimbal For GoPro Hero 9 2022: Top Brands Review
The GoPro Hero 8 Black Black is a great investment and value for money, despite the difference in price. Although it is less expensive than Hero 9, it does many of the same functions.
On the other hand, with the new color screen, higher resolution sensors, and longer battery life, an additional expense are worth it for Hero 9.
Both the GoPro Hero 8 Black Black and GoPro Hero 9 Black are the most popular GoPro cameras. The latest Hero 9 Black features are undoubtedly the best, but it also comes at a more expensive price tag. The Hero 8 Black is a great option for those with limited budgets. It offers many of the same functions as the Hero 9 Black.
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