In the last couple of years, GoPro has successfully diversified its product range to include drones, headphones, and more. The most recent product on the market is the GoPro Max. This budget-friendly camera is designed for beginners or amateurs who are just starting out with action cameras. It features some key features that set it apart from other beginner-level GoPro cameras.
In this blog, we will be looking at some of the features and what you can expect from the GoPro Max.
GoPro Max Review
- 360-degree capture
- It can also be used as a single-lens camera
- Software tools that are intuitive
- Strong stabilization
- Audio quality in-camera
- Waterproof without the need for a case
- Mounting clips with integrated locking mechanism
- Image quality
- Great camera
- Fits most existing mounts and handles
- Effective resolution is actually 1080p
- Capture rates of single-lens cameras top out at 60 fps
- Editing time is longer to get the best from spherical footage
- Video taken in Hero mode doesn’t look as good as a Real Hero
- Lacks Full Manual Control
GoPro Max- Design And Screen
At 64W x 69H x 25D mm, the Max is bigger than most traditional action cameras. The Max’s matte rubberized body is similar to the Hero 8 Black and Hero 7 Black. The GoPro Max has a lens on both sides, but only one screen and the GoPro boasts six microphones scattered across its body. Touch-sensitive LCD displays are 16:9 and 11.7 inches. It is responsive and bright, making it ideal for indoor and outdoor usage.
The record button is located at the top of Max. It can be used to fire up a customized recording preset, even from cold. The power/mode button is located to the left. It switches on the camera, cycles through the shooting modes, and the battery flap is also there. This is where you will find the microSD card slot, as well as the USB-C port.
The Hero8 line has been equipped with clever flip-out mounting feet that pop out from Max’s base, which reduces the need to purchase housing.
The Max’s lenses don’t have the same scratch resistance as the Hero8 Black’s glass, which GoPro calls its most durable to date. The lenses don’t have removable glass protection, so avoid scratching the camera. The good news is that the box contains rubber lens guards to protect the camera from scratches when not in use.
This is not to say that the GoPro Max can’t be durable. It’s waterproof to 5m, and you can attach half-orb lens guards to either side if you know you’re going for some hard work. However, these will impact the quality of the video.
GoPro Max- 360 VIDEO
The GoPro Max replaces the GoPro Fusion and shoots 5.6K footage. It is more sensible to compare the Max to the GoPro Fusion than to compare it with the Fusion. However, the Insta 360 One X is slightly more expensive in the UK but slightly less in the US.
The GoPro Max is shorter which makes it easier to use as an action cam. However, it is thicker. This is likely due to the first quality difference in footage quality, the stitch-line. The Insta 360 has a less visible line, but the GoPro Max is more prominent. However, the GoPro Max is superior in all other aspects of video quality.
With 5.6K footage, you can comfortably take 720p quality with some cropping. The colors are richer than the Insta 360 One X’s, and although there is no HDR mode, the Max has plenty of them.
360-degree video capture has the advantage of stabilization looking sensationally stable. The GoPro Max’s footage proves that. It looks almost like the camera is floating on top of a drone or gimbal when there is plenty of light.
Detail is strongest in the center of the lens, as with all 360-degree cameras. It is weakest towards the stitch line. While you may be able to relax with framing, it is important to remember that you should be careful.
You can also upload the 360 videos to YouTube or Facebook, and then use a VR headset to experience immersive video
Further, chromatic aberration can occur when there is a lot of backlit detail. In this case, purple fringing can be seen in the footage. However, the footage from the forest was the most fringing that we saw in about a month. Most cityscapes and country scenes were handled well.
Nighttime is when a judder can creep in with every step.
The GoPro Max will not be able to handle dark scenes, but you can see it walking through urban streets with lots of light pollution. This footage is perfectly usable for social sharing and not something we would use in a feature film.
Max TimeWarp is the final 360-capture mode. It can be edited much in the same manner as GoPro Max’s standard footage but also has the benefit of zooms, pans, and tilts.
Sometimes the video will struggle indoors, and blurriness may be noticeable. This could be fixed if there were a higher frame rate, but it’s still 30fps. The Max works well outdoors, especially in sunlight. The Max is a 360 video camera that can compete with normal video, but it does provide the highest quality 360 videos for less than $500.
GoPro Max- Hero Mode
Hero Mode is the second major video setting that Max can use. The Hero line of GoPro cameras is well-known for its name. Hero cameras only use one lens, and Hero Mode on Max uses one of the two lenses that are available to it. You can shoot normal video, not 360, with the Max.
You can shoot in Hero Mode in either 1440p (or 1080p) resolution. There is no 4K resolution, however, that would be quite a challenge. There are a variety of frame rates available, including 60fps to 50fps, 30fps, 40fps, and 24fps.
My Hero mode video is not the best I have ever seen. Your phone is likely to produce a better quality video than Max in Hero Mode. Why use it? GoPro’s hypersmooth stabilization (more details later) can be used to help keep your video steady. You can also combine 360 and Hero modes video using the GoPro app. Hero Mode allows slow-motion video as well as a timelapse option.
The Max’s TimeWarp function, just like the Hero 8 Black allows you to create an amazing moving time-lapsed video. This is great for showing distant travel at warp speed. Timelapse mode allows you to create static, time-lapsed video sequences.
The Power Pano is a photo mode that is exclusive to Max. You can take 270 degrees panorama with this mode. These panoramas look very similar to those you can take with your phone but instead of taking many images and stitching them together (often with many errors), the Max takes a seamless Power Pano in one shot
Although the photos may not be the best quality, they are still fun and you can make some unique selfies thanks to the screen.
GoPro Max- Action And Vlogging
The GoPro Max is not a traditional action camera and can’t compete with a standalone Hero8 Black. Its resolution is 1080p 16/9 or 1440p 4/3.
It has four digital focal lengths, 13mm, 16mm, and 19mm. Smart horizon leveling is also available. Content always faces the correct way when it’s fired up. The picture was not tilted when we literally tossed the camera into the air, spinning it along the way. This is great for video logging and makes the footage look extremely gimble.
ProTune is also a great option for advanced users. It allows you to control the bitrate, shutter speed, and white balance of your video. This means that even though the capture does not have a cinematic look, it can be customized.
Single-lens footage is strong despite its low resolution. Full HD content will look good with respectable clarity. The Max can still handle action, despite being less rugged than a traditional GoPro. It has waterproofing, incredible stabilization, and a GPS. PowerPano captures 6MP panoramics in an instant, which looks amazing. Traditional 4:3 photos are shot at 5MP, which is poor indoors as well as at night. However, it looks great in well-lit environments.
The GoPro Max works with both the Android and iOS GoPro app, just like the Hero8 Black. You can edit 360-degree footage using it. This allows you to transform kaleidoscope-style videos into something that will look great on a flat screen.
The GoPro app uses keyframes to process footage. This allows for a smooth pan and zoom across your video. It makes accidental and unintentional captures look very special. The iOS app has more features and is more reliable than the Android app. It also offers more control over transitions and a stable phone-to-camera connection.
In fact, the app was the most frustrating aspect of the entire GoPro Max experience. We would have liked horizon leveling for editing to keep things level. Also, object tracking would have made keyframing a lot easier.
The Android app saves files inside it, which is a problem more than anything. 360-degree footage cannot be shared in batches. To access the files on the phone, we had to sign up for GoPro’s cloud service. We then uploaded them and downloaded them to our computer. The whole process was tedious and could have been avoided if file management had been simpler.
GoPro’s optimization for Apple products also extends to computers. GoPro desktop software does not support 360-degree editing for Mac OS. Windows users will have to use GoPro Quik. After installing a plugin or using the mobile app, you can download 360-degree footage from GoPro Quik and edit it in Premiere Pro.
GoPro Max- Battery & Connections
- The GoPro Max’s 1600mAh battery will last you for 360-degree photography, vlogging, and smartphone pairing. However, you should only be shooting short clips (a few seconds every hour). You can also carry a spare battery or a USB-C charger for more prolonged use.
- GoPro Max’s sound recording quality is excellent, capturing what GoPro calls “spherical” audio. However, the mics can be sensitive, so if you are holding the camera, you might be covering it or rubbing it. To be safe, vloggers need to invest in a selfie stick.
- Voice control is also supported by the Max, which is a big advantage over the Insta 360 One X. It also features a GPS. WiFi onboard means that the camera can connect to your smartphone, but it can also connect to the internet and Livestream at 1080p to YouTube, just as the Hero8 Black.
GoPro Max – Features
- Videos that can be auto stitched
- Max HyperSmooth
- In-camera Horizon Levelling
- SuperView Max digital lens
- Max TimeWarp
- Livestream 1080p
The GoPro Max is a much more powerful version of the GoPro Fusion. It has many new and improved features, which take the best parts of spherical video recording and expand on them. On-camera stitching is the most obvious. This was necessary for the Fusion, which required post-processing software. However, the Max stitches the two halves together and saves them as one spherical file.
Although it doesn’t always align the shots exactly, it is generally sufficient for home video purposes. It also makes editing much quicker.
The Max has improved image stabilization. The Max’s 360-degree perspective and digital stabilization software from GoPro Hero8 Black are combined. The new on-camera stabilization software from the GoPro Hero 8 Black is combined with Max’s 360-degree perspective to produce a video that has been stitched, stabilized, and has a flat horizontal line starting the moment it leaves the camera.
We recorded in 360 modes to test the limits on the image stabilization. The Max was thrown up in the air with as many spins as possible. However, the internal gyroscopes of the camera work in conjunction with the image processing software to produce a 360-degree video that doesn’t rotate at all.
Although you lose some clarity when the camera rotates quickly, it’s a great demonstration of how extremes this camera can go to in order to take level and stable footage.
These stabilization features are really useful in the TimeWarp function. The stabilized time-lapse mode of GoPro allows you to compress long time periods into a concise and punchy video. The Max does not have the Hero 8 Black’s ‘Auto’ speed setting, but unless you’re shooting in a 2D Hero format, you can still manually choose whether your time-lapse video should run at any of a few intervals from double speed up to 30 times faster than normal.
You also have full 360-degree TimeWarp photography on the Max. This allows you to capture everything around you and output it either as a 360-degree video or as a reframed 2-D video in which you can choose what is in each shot.
GoPro’s PowerPano feature allows you to capture a complete 270-degree panorama in one image. This mode uses the on-camera horizontal leveling to create a single, 6.2MP super widescreen shot that is perfectly aligned with no stitching errors and doesn’t suffer from any artifacts caused by movement.
The Max receives the same live streaming update as the Hero 8 Black. You can record 1080p 2D footage and then push it directly to Facebook, YouTube, or your custom Livestream feed using your data or Wi-Fi connection.
YouTube’s live streaming safeguards require that you have more than 1,000 subscribers to Livestream any content. However, it is possible to Livestream directly to Facebook or to set up a custom stream to one of the many video hosting sites such as Twitch and Vimeo.
Voice commands are also available on the Max, but I think manual controls are still quicker.
The Max GoPro was praised for its audio capabilities when it was first announced. The Max can record audio at the same quality of a shotgun microphone, which is quite impressive considering most internal camera audio is very poor.
It has 6 microphones all around the body, which is quite impressive. The max can record 360 ambisonic sounds, which is great for 360 videos. How does it sound? The Max performed far better than any other action cam in the audio department, according to my tests. The Max’s voice quality is excellent and the wind reduction technology works well.
It Can Also Be Used As A Single-Lens Camera
When using both its lenses at launch, the Max can only capture 24fps or 30fps. Many action camera users prefer a faster frame rate to capture fast motion or to allow for slower playback. The Hero8 Black can achieve speeds of up to 240fps in 1080p quality.
Although the Max can only achieve 60fps with a single lens, it will still produce a high frame rate. If you want to shoot at 24 or 30 frames per second, the Max still has that option. It matches a 13mm full-frame lens at its widest angle, which is wider than the Hero8 Black.
The camera has a 16mm wide-angle, 19mm wide linear to remove distortion, and a 27mm angle that is very similar to a smartphone’s main lenses.
All modes have very strong stabilization and horizon leveling. The camera captures a lot of information beyond the frame with some overlap, so you can use that information to keep the video level.
It’s disappointing that GoPro doesn’t offer the ability to create your own presets for the Max like it does for the Hero8. Although you can modify settings via the touch interface at any time, it would be great to be able to save several different recipes for different types of clips.
That’s all reviews of GoPro Max. You can check out other GoPro reviews:
- GoPro Hero 10 Black Review-4k120fps! Is It Worth The Money?
- GoPro Hero 9 Review 2022: Best Choice For You
GoPro has finally given 360-degree video capture a much-needed shakeup with the Max. This adds an action camera element into the Insta 360 mix. It won’t be as good as the Hero8 Black vanilla for action cam quality and could use some improvements.
The GoPro Max 360-degree camera capture tool is a great choice for creators or anyone looking to improve the way they capture content.