The GoPro Hero 9 and iPhone 12 are both popular devices for capturing photos and videos. The GoPro Hero 9 is a dedicated action camera geared for extreme sports and outdoor experiences, whereas the iPhone 12 is basically a smartphone with a strong camera.
In this blog, Lucidcam will explore the key features and differences between the GoPro Hero 9 vs iPhone 12 and much more.
Table of Contents
GoPro Hero 9 Vs Iphone 12
- HyperSmooth 3.0 is a powerful tool.
- A great addition to your home is a front-facing color display
- Great outdoor performance
- More than their predecessors
- Touchscreens that are too slow
- Low-light performance is poor
- Future-proofed with 5G
- Colorful OLED display
- MagSafe is fascinating.
- This year’s cameras are comparable to the previous year’s.
- Only acceptable battery life
- Price increase compared to iPhone 11
Design and Building
GoPro Hero 9
- Form factor redesigned
- 40% larger battery
- Display of new front-facing colors, 1.4inch
- Performance of touchscreens is slow
While the GoPro Hero 9 Black can still be identified as a GoPro and features the same design elements as the predecessors, the new model offers a different form factor to the GoPro Hero 8 with both advantages and disadvantages.
It’s huge, the most immediately noticeable difference. This GoPro is the largest GoPro released to date, measuring at 71% 55×33.6mm. That’s in comparison to the Hero 8 Black at 62x45x33mm.
It also weighs in at 41g more at 158g. This is partly due to the 40% larger battery (more on that later) and the addition of a new color display at the front of the action camera.
The 1.4in square color display, housed to the left of the lens, offers a big change from the basic monochrome display on previous models that’d only show stats like current battery life, how much space is left on the card and current resolution/framerate.
This is a great addition to vlogging. It allows you to easily frame up your shot. However, the square display doesn’t show the entire image from the front camera.
You only see the central part of the shot. You don’t lose any functionality. It still displays the important information from previous monochrome displays in corners.
It’s a good way to ensure your face is visible in the shot. The addition of a bright red LED at the front will help you and others around you know that you are currently recording.
Although the rear-facing 2.27inch touch screen is bright and vibrant, it has its limitations. The Hero 8 Black display is slightly larger than the Hero 8 Black, but it is still surrounded by thick bezels. This is a minor issue, but it does affect responsiveness.
Instead of using physical buttons for navigation, the camera system relies heavily on touch input. You can tap and swipe your way through the interface to change settings, change shooting modes, and view captured footage.
This is not uncommon, but it can cause a little lag when you tap and swipe through the menus. Sometimes, it won’t even respond at all. This can be frustrating, especially considering the high price of Hero 9.
Redesigned form factors make the Hero 9 Black feel stronger and more solid in hand. This gives you confidence that it can take on any challenge.
It can even be used for a dunk. The Hero 9 Black is water-resistant up to 10 m without the need for a case. A new drain microphone also helps drain excess water from the camera.
There are a variety of accessories that can make the GoPro Hero 9 Black perform in more extreme environments. These include a chest mount for mountain biking.
The problem is that the GoPro Hero 9 Black’s modified form factor makes it incompatible with older accessories. This makes the new camera difficult to sell to those who already have an accessory collection.
It’s all good news for the GoPro Hero 9 Black. There’s a red button at the top that triggers a video or takes a picture, a power/mode switch on the left, and a side door that conceals the battery, a USB port for charging, and a microSD card slot.
Apple does not alter the iPhone’s physical design from one generation to the next. Therefore, any changes are generally welcomed with enthusiasm. The iPhone 12’s flat-edge design can be regarded as one of the more minor changes.
The flat edges are nice and provide a welcome change from the many years of rounded iPhones. They also improve the iPhone 12’s durability when used in conjunction with Apple’s new Ceramic Shield material. Previous iPhones’ rounded frames actually made them less durable.
While we will conduct our own drop tests, the Ceramic Shield display performed well in the EverythingApplePro torture test on YouTube. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro didn’t crack at the hips or shoulders when dropped. However, the display on the iPhone 12 did crack from 10 feet.
Despite all that, my hands aren’t accustomed to the sleeker design. The iPhone 12 is one of the few smartphones that has flat sides. The edges of the iPhone 12 dig into your palm and make it a little more difficult to hold.
The iPhone 12 is 0.29 inches thick, which is almost identical to the Pixel 5’s 0.31-inch thickness. The Pixel5 is thinner in the hand because it conforms to your palm’s curves.
I also feel that the iPhone 12’s 6.1-inch screen is too tall, and you won’t mind me if you dismiss this as a minor nitpick. I’m a long-time iPhone 11Pro user. The 5.8-inch screen size is the best compromise between pocketability and displays real estate.
However, Apple has made the iPhone 12 series a much more compact device. The 5.4-inch iPhone 12 miniature is the best option for those looking for a smaller device.
Although I applaud Apple for creating a small flagship phone for 2020, I feel that a 5.4-inch display may be too small for modern users.
The iPhone 12’s design is still my favorite. Although the iPhone 12’s bezels are much smaller than the iPhone 11 or XR, I find it pleasing that Apple has reduced them. However, a smaller notch would have been appreciated.
While I don’t like the new blue color, I find it a bit boring. I do like the mint green available and the simple design. There are three colors available for the iPhone 12: black, white, and red.
The iPhone 12 feels more premium and luxurious than the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 has the same IP68 water resistance as the Pro (20 feet for 30 mins), which is far superior to other handsets. There’s also the Ceramic Shield, which Apple claims is four times less likely than the Pro to break when dropped, which we look forward to seeing in action.
In short, the design of the GoPro Hero 9 and the iPhone 12 differ greatly. The GoPro Hero 9 is significantly bigger and thicker than the iPhone 12. It also features a totally different camera configuration. The iPhone 12 features a single back camera, but the GoPro Hero 9 has two rear cameras.
The GoPro Hero 9 also includes a color LCD screen on the rear, however the iPhone 12 does not. The GoPro Hero 9 can also capture 4K video at 60 frames per second, however the iPhone 12 can only take 4K video at 30 frames per second.
Software and Features
GoPro Hero 9
- For 5K video recording, boosted 23.6Mp resolution
- The incredible HyperSmooth 3.0 stability is remarkable
- GoPro Labs introduces new shooting modes
The GoPro Hero 9 Black, the 2012 Hero 3 Black, is the first GoPro to gain an increase in resolution. This latest model now has a 23.6Mp resolution instead of 12Mp. This increased resolution allows Hero 9 to shoot at 5K@30fps and includes HyperSmooth Boost stabilization for both 5K and 4K recording – something that is not possible with Hero 8.
However, a higher resolution does not necessarily mean a better image quality. Other factors can also influence the final result, such as image processing, sensor size, lens quality and lens quality.
It’s important that you note that the Hero 9 Black has the same 1/2.3inch sensor that its predecessor. This will impact image quality in a few moments.
There are many action cameras available, some of which are much more affordable than the GoPro Hero 9 Black. But, the secret sauce of GoPro – the amazing HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization – is what keeps people coming back to it time and again.
This is truly amazing technology. It makes bumpy off-road BMXing look like Hollywood-recorded footage. When you change direction, it changes to smooth panning without shaking or shuddering.
TimeWarp 3.0 offers a similar concept and super-smooth, stable time-lapses that are ideal for long car trips.
By cropping the footage slightly, impressive electronic and software-based stability is possible. This gives the camera the freedom to move the shot around and smoothen out the footage as it records. Although it is not optical image stabilization, you won’t be able to tell when it’s in use.
A number of other smaller features have been added to Hero 9 Black. These features were first teased by GoPro Labs, which allows users to try out upcoming software features.
Hindsight is one of the most interesting features. It allows the camera to continuously record and overwrite video as it anticipates something happening. You can hit the shutter button and save 15-30 seconds of video after something happens. No more trimming too-long clips.
The action camera can also be used for scheduled capture or duration capture, which expands its potential uses.
This time, the GoPro software is unchanged. You’ll find icons on the screen to enable HyperSmooth and HyperSmooth Turbo, change the recording mode or adjust crop/focal length.
You will also find a tab that looks like a pill at the bottom that displays the various shooting modes you have, both pre-set and custom, depending on your requirements.
Swiping up at the bottom of your display will take you to your gallery. This allows you to quickly review recent photos and videos. Swiping down at the top of the screen will open the extensive Settings menu. Although it can be slow at times, this is not a problem if you only need to change the shooting mode or crop the image.
You can also use the GoPro Quik app on Android and iOS to edit your footage. It offers a live view of your camera and basic recording settings. Additionally, you can wirelessly transfer footage to your smartphone to share.
The 12-megapixel, f/2.2 lens front-facing camera still uses a 12-megapixel sensor. Face ID’s TrueDepth system is unchanged from its previous generation.
The selfie camera has portrait mode, advanced bokeh, depth control, Portrait Lighting, next-generation Smart HDR, and 1080p HD video recording. The camera also has cinematic video stabilization and wide color capture, Live photos, burst mode and auto image stabilization.
As we have already mentioned, the front-facing camera now has a Night mode and Deep Fusion computations.
Apple just launched a handy new feature with iOS 14.5 – now you can unlock your iPhone even while wearing a mask. This functionality requires an Apple Watch running WatchOS 7.4 or later.
If Face ID detects that you are wearing an unlocked Apple Watch, the iPhone will unlock automatically. The watch will vibrate and make a sound to notify you that your iPhone is unlocked.
GoPro Hero 9
- Produces detailed, well-stabilized videos outdoors in well-lit environments
- Multiple shooting modes and resolution/framerate combinations
- As with all previous GoPros, indoor/low-light performance is poor
The GoPro Hero 9 Black takes amazing, well-stabilized videos. It’s also decent at photography. However, it has the same sensor as the predecessor, so there’s not much to be proud of in terms of overall performance.
The new 5K@30fps mode captures greater detail than 4K, especially when combined with the 100Mbps bit rate code for maximum capture performance.
HEVC storage files are smaller than those of 4K, so you won’t have to buy a microSD card with a high capacity to capture 5K footage.
It is not clear if you actually need a 5K resolution. You won’t notice the 5K resolution if you are viewing it on a smartphone or a PC monitor. In fact, not many 5K monitors can play the file at its native resolution.
The video can be cropped without losing much detail. However, it is worth asking yourself if this will actually be used before you shoot.
The camera’s resolution is not the most important thing. However, it performs well compared to its predecessor due to the 1/2.3 sensor. You can expect great video performance outdoors, with sharp detail and vivid colors that will blow away most of the competition.
However, it is not the best camera for all situations. Highlights (like the sky) can appear bright and exaggerated. It also doesn’t perform well in low-light conditions. Noise levels rise as the light level decreases. These are issues that were present in the predecessors.
The Hero 9 Black shines because of the many shooting modes available. Aside from the headline 5K@30fps, you can also shoot 4K at 60fps and 2.7K at 120fps.
You may access a slow-mo feature that takes up to 240fps if you drop your resolution to 1080p. There are two aspect ratios to choose from: 16:9 and 4:3. To get even closer to the action, you may employ digital zoom.
You can save your favorite shooting modes to make them easy to access in a variety of situations.
It might seem that the 1,720mAh larger battery, which is 40% more than the predecessor, means longer battery life. GoPro claims that the overall battery life has been improved by 30% compared to Hero 8 Black’s 1,220mAh.
The combination of high-resolution capture and the addition of a full-color front display means that you won’t see any significant changes in the battery life.
My experience was that I could use the camera intermittently for around five hours. This included taking a few stills, videos and timelapse shots on a trip with Colchester Zoo. Between shots, the camera would turn off, which allowed me to save battery life.
Although I was able to capture nearly an hour of footage and a few stills, those who want to capture more footage over a longer time period will need to purchase a backup battery.
It is worth noting that the GoPro Hero 9 Black has a larger battery and you cannot use spare batteries from older models. You will have to purchase a new one.
The outside of the iPhone 12’s camera system isn’t much different. The rear dual-lens rear cameras are set up in the same way as for 2019. Both ultrawide and wide optics are supported by 12-megapixel sensors.
Upgrades have been made, so don’t let your eyes fool you. A new 7-element design has been added to the primary camera, with an f/1.6 aperture. This aperture is the largest ever in an iPhone.
These changes result in a 27% increase in low-light performance. This, combined with advances in Smart HDR, and Deep Fusion, should allow for more detail even in the most challenging conditions.
Let’s start with some Night Mode photos that show the iPhone’s improvements in low-light performance over the past year. These photos are stunning and dramatic for night scenes. The iPhone 12’s version is sharper.
It has more vivid colors inside the brick, better sensitivity to specular highlights and more realistic shadows. The iPhone 11 Pro isn’t much better than the older handset.
Apple still has some work ahead of it. Google appears to be the better of the two, as evidenced by the iPhone 12’s most impressive work compared to the Pixel 5’s. Apple’s software allows objects to be defined, giving the frame more depth.
However, Google’s algorithms produce a more visible result and less noise. The Pixel’s shot shows a lot more detail than the iPhone 12. There is some ugly vignetting around the edges.
The iPhone 12’s main camera is excellent in daylight. The Note 20 did a better job of painting this picturesque lakeside scene, especially within the distant trees.
However, the iPhone 12’s main camera is much more natural and realistic in its handling of colors. Samsung did a typical thing: it went too far with post-processing.
The iPhone 12’s limitations are painfully obvious when we zoom in on the fountain to the right. The iPhone 12 doesn’t have optical zoom. You will need to upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max for this.
Even then, the Note 20’s hybrid zoom of 3x won’t give you the same clarity as to the Note 20, which can see the ripples in the lake’s surface, the trees behind it, and the beads of water.
This is the exact same lake as before, but now viewed through ultra-wide lenses on the iPhone 12 or $749 OnePlus 8.T. These two shots are different in that the iPhone 12 messes up the white balance and produces a green cast in water and clouds. The OnePlus 8 T’s image is not sharp enough and severely distorts it along the perimeter.
These were taken using the Pixel 5 and iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 automatically applies cropping to portraits, whereas the Pixel 5 uses a more natural perspective.
The iPhone 12’s version looks sharper to me, but the iPhone 12’s version is still sharper. Smart HDR manages the contrast between Jesse’s skin and the shadows that cover his right shoulder.
The iPhone 12 applies a more precise and detailed bokeh to Jesse’s ears and hair, which is often the challenge in simulated shallow depth of field portraits such as these.
I tested the Deep Fusion mode of Apple’s iPhone 12. The Pixel 5 was used to capture a shot of a painting on canvas. Deep Fusion allows you to combine multiple exposures at different lengths to achieve optimal sharpness.
However, we were surprised to discover that Google’s handset produced the best output, drawing the hatchwork texture on the canvas with precision the iPhone 12 couldn’t match.
The iPhone’s overall treatment of colors, and the warmth it gives to the reds, the whites, and the background, makes for a much more appealing image.
Deep Fusion at work is best illustrated by this selfie that I took while the sun was setting. The iPhone 12 gave my sweater more nuance and richness than the Note 20’s blurry output.
Not surprisingly, the iPhone 12’s 12MP front camera captures more detail than Samsung’s 10MP sensor. However, Apple’s algorithms don’t uncannily drain contrast and over-brighten shadows like Samsung’s. It wouldn’t be hard to choose one of these for Instagram if I had to.
The iPhone 12 is among the top-tier in its price range for camera performance, but it’s not the most efficient in all situations. Even though the Pixel can capture challenging night scenes with less noise, I prefer it to an iPhone 12.
If I was working at a distance, the Pixel 5 would be my preferred choice for its superior digital super-res zoom or one of the Samsung devices, the Galaxy S20 FE, or the Note 20 for their 3x optical or GoPro Quik app.
When it comes to camera performance, there is no clear winner between the GoPro Hero 9 and the iPhone 12. Both devices have their strengths and weaknesses. The GoPro Hero 9 has better video quality and stabilization, while the iPhone 12 has better low-light performance and autofocus.
Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for in a camera. If you want the best video quality, go with the GoPro Hero 9. If you want better low-light performance and autofocus, go with the iPhone 12.
Both the GoPro Hero 9 and the iPhone 12 are excellent cameras and video recorders. They each have distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from the throng.
For individuals who wish to take use of its more sophisticated capabilities, such as 5K video capture and a 20MP image sensor, the GoPro Hero 9 is the superior pick. The iPhone 12 is a terrific pick for folks who want to capture good films and photos but aren’t worried about storage space.