GoPro HERO8 vs HERO9 Black

Here's a detailed breakdown of how the GoPro HERO9 Black compares to the HERO8 Black.
GoPro HERO9 Black vs HERO8 Black
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GoPro released the HERO9 Black in September 2020. It replaced the HERO8 Black, which was about a year old at that point. The Black edition cameras are GoPro’s top-of-the-line flagship action cameras with all the bells and whistles. And, as with the HERO8, there’s only one camera in the HERO9 lineup.1

GoPro HERO10 Black!

GoPro has released the GoPro HERO10 Black. It's the latest in their line of flagship action cameras. It sports the new GP2 processor for faster performance. Shoots 5.3K60 and 4K120 video, 23MP photos, has improved low-light performance, and HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization. And it shares most accessories with HERO9 (same battery, housing, Media Mod, etc).

The HERO10 Black is available for order directly from GoPro.com. The MSRP is $499.99, but you can get it for $399.99 with 1-year subscription to GoPro or if you're already a GoPro subscriber.

I have more details here, and you can read about my experience with the HERO10 overheating here.

So how do they compare, and which should you get? Is it worth upgrading from the HERO8 to the HERO9?

Those are the types of questions I’m trying to address here. My objective is to lay out how the HERO9 Black compares with the HERO8 Black. I have both of these models and have been shooting extensively with both. So this detailed comparison is based on my hands-on, real-world use. And I’m trying to out the differences and similarities in plain English rather than just an endless specs comparison table (although I have them too, below). Hopefully, this will be useful if you’re wondering whether it’s worth upgrading or trying to choose between good deals on both models.

Overall, the cameras are far more similar than they are different. But there are a few key differences that might tip the balance if you’re trying to decide whether to upgrade. You can find much more detailed information below, but here’s the quick version of changes with the new HERO9 Black compared with the HERO8 Black:

New:

  • Front-facing screen. It’s now a full-color screen that you can use for live-view. The smaller front screen on the HERO8 Black is black and white and only for status.
  • 5K30 video. HERO8 Black maximum resolution is 4K.
  • Larger battery. It’s both larger capacity and large physically. While it does offer the potential of longer shooting times, some of the extra capacity is consumed by the new and upgraded features.
  • 20-megapixel image sensor. The HERO8 Black has a 12-megapixel sensor.
  • Lens Mod. Has features such as an even wider field of view, better horizon leveling, and better video stabilization. This clips on in place of the lens port, an approach that won’t work with the HERO8 Black because of the fixed lens port on that model.
  • Detachable lens port. This is less a new feature than a resurrected one. On the HERO8 Black, the lens port was fused to the body and non-removable. But Black editions before that had a removable lens port.

Improved:

  • Improved HyperSmooth 3.0 in-camera video stabilization
  • Improved TimeWarp in-camera hyperlapse processing
  • Improved side door design. The HERO8 Black’s side door design is one of my pet peeves with that design. The new design is far less likely to fly off when you’re opening it.
  • Larger, clearer, sharper back screen.
  • Faster image processing, which translates in practical terms to a shorter lag between shots and a more responsive shooting experience.

Going Backwards:

  • HERO9 Black is not compatible with remote controls, including the Smart Remote. You can still use the GoPro mobile app to control the camera wirelessly, but accessories like the Smart Remote, REMO voice remote, and Wifi Remote won’t work with it. UPDATE: This was true at the time that the HERO9 Black was released, but they’ve since released a new remote, just called The Remote, that’s designed for the HERO9 Black. You can find more details about it here.

Just Different:

  • The new camera’s body is slightly larger than the older model.
  • Slightly tweaked and refined menu and settings display.

You can find both models at GoPro.com: HERO9 Black | HERO8 Black.

You can also find them at Amazon: HERO9 Black | HERO8 Black
and B&H Photo: HERO9 Black | HERO8 Black.

GoPro HERO9 Black
  • 5K Video - Shoot stunning video with up to 5K resolution, perfect for maintaining detail even when...
  • 20MP Photo with SuperPhoto: Capture crisp, pro-quality photos with 20MP clarity. And with SuperPhoto,...

GoPro HERO9 Black vs. HERO8 Black: Design & Build

They look very similar at first glance, but there are some key differences.

On the outside, both of these cameras look very similar. They’re both that standard small rectangular box (as opposed to, for example, the cube-shape of the Session models). They’re both waterproof without the need for a separate waterproof housing. They have similar—but not the same—dimensions and weight. And they both have a large touchscreen on the back, a single side door, and the shutter/record button on top. And they both have a built-in mounting point that folds down from the bottom of the camera.

But there are some differences in their design and layout that lead to practical differences.

Front Screen

The HERO9 Black has a full-color live-view front screen. The HERO8 Black has a black and white screen that’s only used for status information.

You’ll immediately notice from just looking at the camera is that the HERO9 Black now has a full-color front screen that can be used as a live-view preview screen. The most obvious use for that is when the camera is pointing at you, such as if you’re shooting selfies or vlogging. You can now actually see exactly what’s in the frame rather than pointing, guessing, and hoping.

It’s a much smaller screen than the one on the back, but it’s very useful if you’re in front of the camera and want to make sure that the shot is framed just how you want it. You can technically do that with the HERO8 Black, but on that camera, it requires separate accessories, or, as GoPro calls them, mods, that add a flip-up screen from the back (the Display Mod also works on the HERO9 Black, but it’s much less relevant on that camera since it already has the built-in preview screen on the front). The newer approach is far more streamlined, and you don’t have to buy a separate accessory to make it work.

There are also a few different ways you can use that front screen. You can use it as a full-color live preview. A good reason not to leave that on all the time is that it sucks through far more battery power.

You can also use it as a status screen to display the usual things like shooting mode, remaining battery power, remaining storage capacity on the SD card, and shooting duration. The larger size and higher resolution make it sharper and more useful than the older style on the HERO8 Black.

GoPro

Or you can have it turned off, which is the best option if you’re trying to conserve battery power.

Size and Dimensions

The HERO9 Black is slightly larger than the HERO8 Black.

HERO9 Black HERO8 Black
Width 71.0mm / 2.8 inches 66.3 / 2.6 inches
Height (mount folded up) 55.0mm / 2.2 inches 48.6 / 1.9 inches
Depth (from front of lens port) 33.6mm / 1.3 inches 28.4 / 1.1 inches
Weight (w/battery & SD card) 159 grams / 5.6 oz 125 grams / 4.4 oz

New Mod Accessory

The HERO9 has a new MAX lens Mod accessory that provides a wider perspective. (It’s an optional extra.)

The HERO8 Black brought with it some new, dedicated Mod accessories, including the Media Mod(external mic, external mic port, HDMI-out port, and docking points), the Light Mod (a video light), and the Display Mod Front Facing Camera Screen.

There’s a new version of the Media Mod specifically for the HERO9 Black that fits around the camera’s larger body. The Light Mod is still relevant and compatible. The Display Mod is still compatible, but is less relevant now that the HERO9 Black has its own built-in preview screen on the front.

But the most innovative and interesting of the new accessories for the HERO9 Black might be the Max Lens Mod. It replaces the camera’s lens port and adds a wider FOV, more aggressive video stabilization, and better horizon leveling. There’s been a delay in making it available, so I haven’t yet had a chance to try it out, but I will aim to update here when I have.

Compartments

Both have a single compartment door. The HERO9 Black has a better door design.

Like the HERO8 Black, the HERO9 Black has a single compartment for the battery, SD card, and USB-C port. Older models split those between two compartments, one on the side and another on the bottom. On the HERO8 Black and HERO9 Black, the single compartment is on the side (both cameras have a flip-out mounting system on the bottom that takes up most of the bottom panel).

And while it might sound like a little thing, the HERO9 Black has an improved compartment door design. The compartment door on the HERO8 Black seemed to fly off anytime you touched it. The door on the HERO9 Black stays put unless you really want it off. That said, it’s still not perfect. Having the door open or off, which you need to do if you’re filming with the USB-C port for external power, leaves the battery exposed and prone to falling out.

GoPro The HERO9 Black is on the left.

HDMI Output

Neither camera has an HDMI-out port built-in. To get an HDMI stream out of the camera, you’ll need to add a Media Mod accessory (optional extra).

Neither of these cameras has a built-in HDMI-out port. You can add that with the Media Mod accessory. Each camera has its own dedicated Media Mod that’s sized for that camera, so you need to make sure to get the right model.

Lens Port

The Lens Port is removable on the HERO9 Black. It’s fixed on the HERO8 Black.

Another key difference is with the lens port. With the HERO8 Black, GoPro adopted a design that had first been used on the HERO7 Silver and White. It’s a smaller, slimmer lens port that is fused to the body and not detachable. The benefit of that method is that it offers less chance of a leak through the lens port itself (and simpler and cheaper to design and build), and it doesn’t stick out as far from the camera body. The downside is that you can’t use some of the lens port filters and that if you scratch or break the lens port glass, there’s no cheap, easy way to replace it without replacing the whole camera.

GoPro

With the HERO9 Black, GoPro has gone back to the older design of a lens port that sticks out further but can detach completely and can be replaced if it gets damaged. You can find the replacement lens ports here.

But the most interesting thing about it is that it makes way for the new Lens Mod accessory. At the time of writing, it’s not yet available, so I haven’t had a chance to try it out (I’ll update here once I get to use it). But it offers some very interesting features, including an even wider field of view, better horizon leveling, and even smoother video stabilization.

Waterproof Body

Both have a waterproof body and are rated to the same depth rating.

They’re both waterproof without the need for a separate underwater housing, both rated down to 33 feet (10 meters).

If you need to go deeper than that, you can get a separate dive housing that’s stronger and offers more protection against water pressure. (Another reason users often like to use the Protective Housing even when they’re not SCUBA diving is that it offers increased protection against bumps and knocks and dust and gravel. It’s much cheaper to replace a Protective Housing than to replace the whole camera.)

But because of the different body designs, you’ll need to make sure to get the Protective Housing specifically for that model—they’re not interchangeable.

GoPro HERO9 Black vs. HERO8 Black: Controls & Interface

Their controls and interface are very similar, with some minor tweaks for the HERO9 Black.

The ways in which you control and interact with the camera are very similar between the HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black. There are some tweaks to the menu system and the naming conventions, but, in general, not much that will trip you up if you’re moving between them. (With one major exception; more on that below.)

Both use the touchscreen on the back as the primary way of accessing the menu system. Both can be controlled wirelessly via the GoPro mobile app. Both have voice control. And both use the same kind of shutter button on top for starting and stopping recording or taking a photo.

Shooting Presets & Menu Tweaks

Both use the shooting presets approach that was introduced with the HERO8 Black.

And both have quicker access to the Protune settings rather than the walled-off approach on older GoPros (more on this in the Protune section below).

Buttons & Touchscreen

Both have the same touchscreen system on the back that acts both as a live view display as well as the primary means for accessing the settings and preferences in the menu system.

The screen on the HERO9 Black is larger, bright, and sharper. You don’t really notice it until you put them up side by side, but the screen on the HERO9 Black is better.

Something worth noting is that the front screen on the HERO9 Black is not a touchscreen.

GoPro The HERO9 Black is on the left. The menu systems are very similar, but the new models has some tweaks. From this shortcut dashboard, on the HERO8 Black you tap the Preferences button to get to the main settings. On the HERO9 Black, you swip sideways to bring up a Preferences / Connections choice. GoPro The HERO9 Black is on the left. GoPro The HERO9 Black is on the left.

Remote Control

Both cameras can be controlled wirelessly with GoPro’s mobile app using a combination of wifi and Bluetooth. They use different remotes.

The HERO8 Black works with the Smart Remote and REMO remote.

When it was released, the HERO9 Black didn’t work with a standalone remote control, because it’s not compatible with the Smart Remote. But GoPro later released a new dedicated remote for the HERO9 Black. It’s called–you guessed it–The Remote. It’s generally similar to the Smart Remote in that it’s waterproof and looks similar. One key difference is that it can control only 5 GoPros at once, compared with the 50 of the Smart Remote. I have a more detailed review of The Remote here.

If you’re shooting with the HERO9 Black and don’t see the option to connect a remote in the camera’s menu system, make sure you’ve upgraded the firmware to at least v1.5 (released 12/17/2020). That firmware added compatibility with The Remote, and it came out after the camera was initially launched.

Voice Control

Both models can use voice control.

So you can do some of the basics like start and stop video recording, switch modes, or take photos with voice commands. You can’t change settings by voice command.

Both also have Wake on Voice so that you can turn it on with a voice command.

GoPro HERO9 Black vs. HERO8 Black: Batteries & Charging

They use different batteries. The battery for the HERO9 Black is slightly larger in physical dimensions and in capacity.

The headline feature here is that the HERO9 Black has a larger battery. It looks fundamentally the same, but it is noticeably larger, and the batteries are not interchangeable (same goes for their dual-dock chargers).

Before you get too excited about longer shooting times, though, it’s worth knowing that you’re not always going to see much longer shooting times. That’s because a good chunk of the extra battery power is going towards powering the more power-hungry features of the HERO9 Black. That includes the full-color front screen, the larger back screen, and processor-heavy HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization. So, yes, it’s a good thing that the battery is larger—anything that potentially increases the battery life is most welcome. But not all of that extra power is going towards a longer life. A lot will depend on the combination of settings and features you’re using, along with environmental factors such as the ambient temperature (lithium batteries perform poorly in very cold and very hot conditions).

GoPro The larger HERO9 Black battery is on the left. GoPro The HERO9 Black battery is on the left. GoPro The HERO9 Black battery is on the left.

Charging Options

Charging and powering the camera works the same way on both models.

For charging the batteries, both have the same options, with some qualifications. You can connect the camera directly to a power source via a USB-C cable and charge the battery in the camera. If you’re using the right kind of high-output USB-C power source, like GoPro’s own SuperCharger, you can take advantage of fast charging.

Because the batteries are removable, you can also use an external charger for the convenience of having spares on hand to swap out. But the batteries are subtly different physical sizes, and you can’t use HERO9 Black batteries in a charger cradle for HERO8 Black batteries (and vice versa). There are now two versions of GoPro’s Dual Charger, for instance, one for the HERO9 Black and another for the HERO8 Black.

Both use a USB-C charging cable (both come with one in the box).

GoPro HERO9 Black vs. HERO8 Black: Shooting Video

The HERO9 Black increases the maximum video shooting mode to 5K30.

Overall, there’s a lot of overlap between the video resolution/framerate options offered on the HERO9 Black with those on the HERO8 Black.

The headline upgrade is that the larger sensor of the HERO9 Black makes available 5K video. The dimensions are 5120 by 2880. The fastest framerate available in 5K is 30fps. It’s worth noting that while 5K is larger than 4K across, the 4K4:3 setting is actually taller. Here’s an illustration of what I mean:

GoPro

Below that, they share a lot of resolution/framerate combinations, starting with 4K60 and working down. There has been some consolidation in the new model, with some of the smaller and less-used resolutions being dropped. Here’s a master list of the available options:

ResolutionFramerate (NTSC / PAL)High BitrateStandard BitratePixelsAspect RatioDigital Lenses
5K30100605120x288016:9Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2510060Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2410060Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
4K60100603840x216016:9Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
5010060Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
3010060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2510060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2410060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
4K 4:330100604096x30724:3Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2510060Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2410060Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2.7K120100602704x152016:9SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
10010060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
6010060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
5010060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2.7K 4:360100602704x20284:3Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
5010060Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
1440p12078601920x14404:3Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
1007860Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
606045Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
506045Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
306045Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
256045Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
246045Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
1080p24078601920x108016:9Wide, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
2007860Wide, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
1207845SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
1007845SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
606045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
506045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
306045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
256045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
246045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow

The fastest frame rate available on both is 240 fps (frames per second). The slowest frame rate on both is 24 fps. Both offer in-camera video stabilization and Protune options for some manual control. Both offer video aspect ratios of 16:9 and 4:3.

And some of the features have been improved with the new model, most notably, the HyperSmooth in-camera video stabilization, which has been upgraded from version 2.0 to 3.0 and now takes advantage of the extra pixel buffer afforded by the larger sensor.

Video Bitrates

Both the HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black have a maximum video bitrate of 100 Mbps.

That’s relatively high for an action camera (the DJI Osmo Action also has a 100 Mbps video bitrate), but much lower than the 400 Mbps and up bitrates available on some larger, higher-end cameras like the Fujifilm XT-4 and Panasonic LUMIX GH5.

Larger bitrates mean that more data is used to record the video. That means less compression and, potentially, higher quality. In practice, the difference isn’t always especially visible. The most likely places to see a difference are with highly detailed scenes viewed at a full resolution and with post-processing and editing. And it can come into play if you’re processing the video and then recompressing it.

High video bitrates mean that a lot of data gets written to the memory card quickly. To avoid problems, you need a memory card to keep up. I’ve put together some SD card recommendations for the HERO9 Black.

But those highest bitrates aren’t available in all resolution/framerate combinations. I have a master video modes table below that lays out which bitrates are used for which combinations.

And for most, there’s both a High bitrate and a Standard bitrate mode. On older GoPros, you had to first turn on Protune to get the higher bitrates (standard was equivalent to having Protune turned off). But since the HERO8 Black, there’s now a dedicated High/Standard bitrate switch that you can access directly (scroll down when in the video settings for presets).

One thing to note is that whether the file is compressed with the HEVC or H.264 codecs (more on that below), it uses variable compression, so in practice, you can end up with bitrates just slightly above or below these target bitrates.

Fields of View / Digital Lenses

Both have the same FOVs with the built-in lens. The HERO9 Black has a new MAX lens for a wider perspective (it’s an optional extra).

The HERO9 Black uses the FOV terminology introduced with the HERO8 Black of having lenses rather than FOVs. They’re the same thing and work the same way. The new terminology is trying to correspond more closely to a traditional camera lens. So if you’re used to working in those focal lengths, they’re probably more intuitive (although they’re approximations of a true optical focal length).

There’s a total of four FOVs available, although they’re not all available at every resolution. There are actually five, but the widest of them is when using the dedicated Max Lens accessory, which hasn’t been released yet as of the time of writing. There’s also a Linear + Horizon Leveling option, which isn’t a truly distinct FOV but rather a combination of a FOV and a feature.

This chart shows which fields of view (or digital lenses) are available at which combinations of resolution and framerate.

ResolutionFramerate (NTSC / PAL)Digital LensesPixelsAspect Ratio
5K30/25
24
Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow5120x288016:9
4K60/50Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow3840x216016:9
30/25
24
SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow
4K 4:330/25
24
Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow4096, 30724:3
2.7K120/100
60/50
SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow2704x152016:9
2.7K 4:360/50Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow2704x20284:3
1440p120/100
60/50
30/25
24
Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow1920x14404:3
1080p240/200Wide, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow1920x108016:9
120/100
60/50
30/25
24
SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Narrow

And here’s what used to be known as fields of view on earlier models correspond to the digital lens focal lengths on the HERO9 Black:

Field of View Digital Lens
SuperView 16mm
Wide 16-34mm
Linear 19-39mm
Narrow 27mm

The ranges in the Wide and Linear options are factoring in the digital zoom feature.

The standard one is the basic Wide / 16mm-34mm, which is the default one that we’re used to with GoPro footage. SuperView crams even more scene into the frame, but it’s also more distorted. And it’s not available in every resolution/fps combination. Linear digitally corrects for lens distortion. Linear + Horizon Leveling adds digital horizon leveling in-camera (the Lens Mod will add a different method that will presumably make it available with other FOVs). And Narrow is essentially a combination of Linear and zoomed in.

Filetypes and Codecs: H.264 (AVC) / HEVC (H.265)

Both cameras use a mix of HEVC (H.265) and H.264 video encoding.

All of the video files produced on both the HERO9 Black and the HERO8 Black have a file extension of .mp4. So they’re all using the mp4 video container, but they’re not all the same inside. That’s because there are two different codecs used: HEVC (H.265) and H.264 (AVC).

GoPro introduced the HEVC (H.265) codec with the HERO6 Black. It’s a newer, more efficient codec than the older H.264 one and offers better compression that results in a better combination of video quality and file size. The catch is that files encoded with HEVC are not yet anywhere nearly as widely compatible as ones using the older H.264/AVC codec.

On both of these cameras, there’s an option in the preferences for choosing HEVC or H.264 + HEVC. (Note that if you’re using the GoPro mobile app, these show up in the Video Compression option as High Efficiency and Most Compatible.)

But the way this is implemented is a bit confusing. The first option is obvious enough: it will use HEVC for all video recordings. The second option isn’t quite as obvious. It doesn’t mean the same as a RAW + JPG option you often find on cameras, for example, where it records both formats simultaneously. If you choose the H.264 + HEVC, it won’t record two versions. What it will do is use H.264 for most of the video options. But with some of the high-end video modes, you can still only record them with the HEVC codec. If you’re recording 4K60, for instance, it will only record using the HEVC codec regardless of whether you’ve chosen the H.264 + HEVC option. So H.264 + HEVC doesn’t mean H.264 and HEVC; it means H.264 when available and HEVC when it’s not.

Something to be aware of when using the HEVC option is that the GoPro mobile app can’t preview HEVC files directly in playback. You’ll have to download the entire file to your phone or tablet and then try to play it back locally.

In-Camera Video Stabilization

The HERO9 Black has improved HyperSmooth video stabilization.

One of the notable new features of the HERO9 Black is the new and improved in-camera electronic stabilization, now called HyperSmooth 3.0. It takes advantage of the larger sensor of the HERO9 to allow even more aggressive digital stabilization. That is, there’s extra resolution around the edges that provides even more buffer for the stabilization algorithm to work with.

I’m in the process of putting together some side-by-side examples and hope to post those soon.

Protune for Video

Both have identical Protune options for video.

Protune is GoPro’s name for an expert mode, or a collection of settings that allow you to override the standard automatic defaults. Used properly, these can potentially lead to better-quality video footage.

With older models, including the HERO7 Black, you first enable Protune, which then makes available the extra settings. That is, they’re hidden until you enable Protune.

Starting with the HERO8 Black, and continued with the HERO9 Black, the Protune options are still there, but they’re handled a bit differently than in previous models. With the new model, they’re more readily accessible in normal shooting because of the way that you define shooting presets.

Beyond that, the Protune options on both cameras when shooting video are identical. Here’s a rundown of the various Protune options available when shooting video with the HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black.

Protune OptionHERO10 BlackHERO9 BlackHERO8 BlackHERO7 BlackHERO6 BlackHERO5 Black
BitrateLow (default)
High
Low (default)
High
Low (default)
High
---
ColorVibrant (default)
Natural
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
White BalanceAuto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
3000K
4000K
4800K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Manual Exposure / Shutter*Auto
1/fps
1/(2xfps)
1/(4xfps)
1/(8xfps)
1/(16xfps)
Auto
1/fps
1/(2xfps)
1/(4xfps)
1/(8xfps)
1/(16xfps)
Auto
1/fps
1/(2xfps)
1/(4xfps)
1/(8xfps)
1/(16xfps)
Auto
1/24
1/25
1/30
1/48
1/50
1/60
1/96
1/100
1/120
1/192
1/200
1/240
1/384
1/400
1/480
1/960
1/1920
1/3840
Auto
1/24
1/25
1/30
1/48
1/50
1/60
1/96
1/100
1/120
1/192
1/200
1/240
1/400
1/480
1/960
1/1920
Auto
1/24
1/25
1/30
1/48
1/50
1/60
1/80
1/96
1/100
1/120
1/160
1/192
1/200
1/240
1/320
1/400
1/480
1/960
ISO Limit6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
1200
800
400
SharpnessHigh
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
Exposure Compensation-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2
Raw Audio TrackOff (default)
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
WindAuto (default)
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto Audio Mode GroupAuto
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto
Wind Only
Stereo Only
--
* Note on manual shutter: The specific options available in the manual exposure / shutter section vary by the framerate you've chosen. The available shutter speeds you'll see available will be limited to multiples of the framerate you're using. As an example, if you set it to record at 1080p60, you won't see the option for a manual shutter speed of 1/96 but you will see 1/120 and 1/240. In general, the scale goes 1/fps, 1/(2xfps), 1/(4xfps), 1(8xfps), and 1(16xfps).

Other Features for Shooting Video

Here’s a rundown of other key features and how they compare between the HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black.

Duration Capture

The HERO9 Black introduces a new Duration setting that will end the recording a preset time after it’s started. It’s especially well suited to using with the also-new Scheduled Capture mode (more on that below).

The options are:

  • No Limit (aka Duration Setting is Off)
  • 30 seconds
  • 1, 5, 15, 30 minutes
  • 1, 2, 3 hours

It will be especially useful when capturing events of known duration or when you’re mounting the camera out of reach and other remote control options are practical or convenient.

The longest durations, of course, will almost certainly require that you’re running the camera on external power—you’d have to be very lucky to get three hours of video recording on a single charge.

The HERO8 Black has a much simpler version of this that’s called Clips. But with that, you only get the options of 15 or 30 seconds, which are great for social media quick hits.

Scheduled Capture

The HERO9 Black adds a new Schedule Capture mode.

A brand-new feature with the HERO9 Black is the Schedule Capture mode. It lets you schedule a shot up to 24 hours in advance. The camera stays in a low-battery standby mode to preserve battery power and then turns on and makes the capture at the designated time. The camera stays on for as long as you’ve got set in the separate Auto Power Off setting.

Slow Motion (Slo-Mo)

The HERO9 Black has the same slow-motion capabilities as the HERO8 Black.

In one way of describing it, it’s capable of up to 8x slow motion. Put another way: it can shoot at up to 240fps (which you can then play back at 30fps, giving the 8x slow option). It’s important to note, though, that the 8x slow motion is only available at 1080p. At 4K, the highest slow-motion rate is 2x (slow motion is not available at 5K on the HERO9 Black). Here are the maximum slow-motion rates at the various resolutions:

Resolution Max Slow Motion Rate
4K 2x
2.7K 4x
1440p 4x
1080p 8x

There’s also a slo-mo icon on the back screen (the snail) that lets you toggle the playback and recording speeds. Again, it depends on the resolution and framerate you’re on. At 4K, for example, the maximum framerate available is 60fps, so if you play that back at 30fps, you’re getting 2x slow motion.

Livestreaming / Live Video Feed

Like its predecessor, the HERO9 Black has the ability to stream live video from the camera through the GoPro app. This is something that GoPro started to lean heavily into with the introduction of the HERO8 mods that are especially suited for vlogging. (The new front preview screen of the HERO9 Black is an even bigger step in that direction.)

You can then share that stream through services like Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch, and Vimeo. GoPro has also launched their own streaming service.

Horizon Leveling

The HERO9 Black has improved horizon leveling.

This feature was first introduced with the HERO8 Black and has been improved with the HERO9 Black. It does pretty much what it sounds—levels out the horizon to give the footage a more gliding, cinematic look. There is now an in-camera method when using the Linear + Horizon Leveling FOV option.

There’ll be another—and presumably better, with more compatibility with other FOVs—way soon that this can be done in-camera on the HERO9 Black, but it requires the Max Lens accessory that isn’t yet released at the time of writing.

Portrait Orientation

Both cameras have portrait orientation shooting.

The Portrait Orientation feature allows you to film vertically rather than the usual horizontal (or landscape) orientation. This is something YouTube and some other web video services have embraced, mainly because so many people film with their phones held upright. The camera has a built-in sensor that tells it which way is up and should switch accordingly.

Voice Control

Both models have voice control for basic camera operations.

Like several of the previous models, the HERO9 Black has voice control, so you can start or stop recording with your voice. You can also tag a highlight by voice command while filming. Some examples of commands you can issue related to shooting video are:

  • GoPro, start recording
  • GoPro, stop recording
  • GoPro, HiLight

Highlights / HiLight Tags

You can make notable moments in your video using the HiLight Tags feature. These can be added in real-time as you’re recording or during playback. These can make it easier and quicker to find specific spots in your footage later on.

QuikCapture

This isn’t specifically a video feature, but it can certainly be used for that. It’s the feature that lets you define the shooting mode the camera powers up and automatically starts shooting in when you push the shutter button when the camera is powered off. If you want a quick way to start capturing video (or photos, or time lapse), it’s a good option.

Looping

The looping feature records for a preset time, and then it goes back over to re-record over it. So it’s similar functionality as something like a dashcam or security cam, but that’s not really the best use of it on a GoPro.

It’s particularly useful when you know something’s going to happen that you want to capture, but you don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen. With a constant cycle of short clips, you can just stop it when the action has happened. 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).

The default loop length is 5 minutes, but you have the option of setting it to 20, 60, or 120 minutes.

Auto Low Light

This setting will dial down the framerate if the automatic exposure algorithm calculates that it would lead to better exposure. It’s only available when there’s room to dial it down (i.e., if shooting at 60fps, it would have room to fall back to 30fps).

Things Worth Knowing

  • NTSC / PAL. As usual, you can switch between NTSC and PAL on both models, but the way to do it is less obvious than usual. Rather than an NTSC/PAL switch, you go to Preferences > Anti-Flicker and switch between 50Hz (PAL) and 60Hz (NTSC). If you want to access the related manual shutter speed settings for video, you’ll first need to make this switch before the shutter speeds become available (e.g., a shutter speed of 1/100 isn’t available in NTSC/60Hz mode).
  • HDMI Output. Unlike previous Black editions, the HERO9 and HERO8 Black editions don’t have HDMI outputs built-in. You can, however, add one with the separate (i.e., it’s an optional extra) Media Mod (be sure to get the correct version for the camera).

GoPro HERO9 Black vs. HERO8 Black: Shooting Photos

The headline improvement with the HERO9 Black over the HERO8 Black when it comes to taking photos is to do with the higher resolution of the sensor. Instead of the old 12MP sensor, the new camera has a 20MP sensor.

Beyond that, there’s a lot of overlap in the photo feature sets. Both shoot RAW, share the same fields of view (at least, for the built-in FOVs; the Max Lens Mod for the HERO9 Black will add an extra capability for that camera), have very similar enhanced photo features, and both have similar limitations.

So here’s a detailed rundown of the photo modes available on the HERO9 Black compare with those on the HERO8 Black.

20MP vs 12MP Image Sensor

The HERO9 Black’s photo resolution is 20 megapixels. The HERO8 Black’s resolution is 12 megapixels.

The HERO9 Black has a 20-megapixel sensor. It produces photos that measure up to 5568 by 4192 pixels. I say up to because that’s the resolution of the RAW files. JPGs, which include extra processing, come out at 5184 by 3888 pixels.

The HERO8 Black has a 12-megapixel sensor. It produces photos that measure 4000 by 3000 pixels.

So the HERO9 Black has significantly higher resolution. But they’re both squeezing the information from the same (or very similar) sensor. This means that the upgrade doesn’t lead to as much improvement in image quality as you might expect. Low-light performance is still pretty poor on both cameras, for instance.

Here are some side-by-side examples shot with a HERO9 Black and a HERO8 Black. These are in standard photo mode, with JPGs, and full auto mode. They’re straight out of the camera without any processing. You can click on each image to get a full-size version.

GoPro HERO9 Black Example Photo
GoPro HERO9 Black
GoPro HERO8 Black Example Photo
GoPro HERO8 Black
GoPro HERO9 Black Example Photo
GoPro HERO9 Black
GoPro HERO8 Black Example Photo
GoPro HERO8 Black
GoPro HERO9 Black Example Photo
GoPro HERO9 Black
GoPro HERO8 Black Example Photo
GoPro HERO8 Black

Photo Output Formats: JPG & RAW

On both cameras, you can choose between JPG or RAW+JPG in many of the photo modes. The JPG-only option is called Standard rather than JPG, but they’re referring to the same thing.

The other is RAW. Both of these cameras can also save RAW files when using many of the still photo modes. It’s based on Adobe’s DNG format and uses the file extension .gpr. I say many, because there are exceptions when you’re shooting in some of the processed modes such as SuperPhoto and HDR; I cover them separately, below.

There are two main disadvantages to using the RAW output format on either of these cameras. The first is that you really need to process RAW files and export them in another format, such as JPG, before you can do much with them. That’s partly to make them look better—unprocessed RAW data doesn’t look very good and isn’t very usable for many users—and partly to put them in a file format that other people, labs, and online services can actually use. That part is true of RAW files from any camera, but where it becomes more of an issue with GoPros is that there are very few apps that can read the GoPros’ RAW image format. Even though the .gpr format is based on Adobe’s .dng format, there aren’t many imaging apps that can work with them. The most notable exception is Adobe Lightroom Classic. If you don’t use Lightroom, I’ve posted a workaround that uses a free app to convert GPR files to DNG.

Partly because of that, GoPro has also built in a safety net. And that is that when you choose the RAW format for your photos, it actually saves both a GPR and a JPG version at the same time. So it’s really what other cameras would call RAW+JPG. That has a few advantages. One is the safety-net aspect—if you can’t open the RAW files, you can use the JPG as a fallback. Another is that the flexibility that you can use the smaller and ready-to-go JPG versions for quick sharing or using in the mobile app while also having the master RAW version available when you get around to downloading the files to your desktop.

It also has a couple of disadvantages. One is that saving both files at once uses up more space on your memory card.

The other is that it slows things down when shooting. After all, it’s crunching the RAW and saving a JPG version. That delay means you have to wait for a few seconds before you can take the next shot, which can get annoying. But I’m happy to report that the HERO9 Black has improved in this area quite a lot—there’s a much shorter lag between shots.

On both cameras, RAW (.gpr) is available in Photo, Night, Time Lapse Photo, and Night Lapse Photo modes. One of the notable upgrades with the HERO8 Black is that RAW is now available Burst Mode as well. But there are exceptions and qualifications; here’s a detailed breakdown.

HERO9 Black RAW HERO8 Black RAW
Available in Photo, Night, Time Lapse Photo, and Night Lapse Photo modes Available in Photo, Burst, Night, Time Lapse Photo, and Night Lapse Photo modes
Not available with SuperPhoto/HDR Not available with SuperPhoto/HDR
Only available with Wide digital lens Only available with Wide digital lens
Not compatible with digital zoom Not compatible with digital zoom
Not available for continuous photos Not available for continuous photos
For Time Lapse Photo, the interval must be at least 5 seconds For Time Lapse Photo, the interval must be at least 5 seconds
For Night Lapse Photo, the Shutter setting must be at least 5 seconds For Night Lapse Photo, the Shutter setting must be at least 5 seconds

As you can see, it’s not available with the Continuous Photo mode, but the way it’s handled in that case is particularly confusing; more on that in the Burst Photos / Continuous Photos section below.

Fields of View: Wide, Linear, & Narrow

The fields of view, or FOVs, determine how much of the scene is captured. Or the lens’s perspective.

The HERO8 Black now has digital lenses. In reality, they’re just new names for the old FOVs.

FOV Digital Lens
Wide 16-34mm
Linear 19-39mm
Narrow 27mm

Both cameras have the typical ultra-wide-angle view that we’re used to from GoPros and most other action cameras.

There are some other perspectives available.

The default is called Wide, or W. GoPro says that it’s the equivalent of a 16-34mm zoom.

There’s also a Linear FOV, or L. This uses the camera’s built-in software to try to correct the optical distortion of the fisheye lens by straightening lines that would otherwise be bent. The scene also gets cropped from the sides. Linear FOV is especially useful when shooting from drones and trying to avoid massively curved horizons, but it can be useful whenever you want a more natural-looking perspective. GoPro says that the Linear FOV is the equivalent of a 19-39mm zoom.

Finally, there’s a Narrow FOV, or N. GoPro says that this is the equivalent of a 27mm lens on a full-frame camera (there’s no range with this one because the digital zoom isn’t available with the Narrow FOV.

Note that there’s a SuperView FOV available when shooting video, but it’s not available in the Photo mode.

And the forthcoming Max Lens Mod is slated to add an even wider field of view.

Things Worth Knowing

The Linear and Narrow FOVs are the results of software manipulation, not optics. That is, they’re processed by the camera’s onboard software. That means that they only work with the Standard (JPG) output format. If you’re shooting in RAW, only the Wide FOV (without the digital zoom) will be available. But you can get a similar effect in post-production using shots taken in the Wide FOV if you’re using Lightroom Classic.

The Linear FOV cannibalizes parts of the image to work, so you’ll notice some cropping from the edges of the scene and potentially some stretching as well.

GoPro HERO9 Black
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  • 20MP Photo with SuperPhoto: Capture crisp, pro-quality photos with 20MP clarity. And with SuperPhoto,...

Custom Shooting Presets

Both cameras use custom shooting presets.

So you can create your own shortcuts for specific setting combinations you use often.

These can really help speed up switching between groups of settings.

Manual Exposure Controls / Exposure Control

Both the HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black offer some manual control over exposure.

GoPros are designed to work well on automatic everything right out of the box. If you want more control over the exposure when shooting photos, you can control two of the three sides of the exposure triangle.

Using the Protune options (more on those below), you can manually set the ISO and shutter speed. The one you can’t control is the aperture; GoPros have a fixed-aperture lens that’s rated at ƒ/2.8.

There’s also another option that gives you some control over the exposure that’s kind of semi-manual. That’s a feature called Exposure Control. The standard automatic exposure calculation is taken across the whole scene in the frame. Exposure Control lets you choose a more specific point in the scene to base the automatic exposure calculation on. An example might be if you’re photographing a person on the snow, but it’s exposing for the whole scene, and therefore their face is dark. You can select the face as the area to expose for so that it brightens that up (and will probably overexpose the background at the same time).

ISO Range

Both the HERO8 Black and HERO9 Black have an ISO range of 100 to 3200.

The HERO9 Black doesn’t break any new ground over its predecessor regarding ISO. The range is still 100 to 3200.2

Something worth noting is that if you switch to Night Photo mode, the available ISO range is more limited, from 100 to 800.

The way to change the ISO is to go into the shooting options. You can set an ISO Minimum and an ISO Maximum. The automatic exposure will stay within those confines, preferring the lowest ISO it can get away within that range.

If you’re trying to match another sequence of images and want to assign a specific ISO, you can just set both the ISO Min and ISO Max to the same number.

Manual Shutter Speed

On both cameras, you can override the automatic exposure controls to assign a shutter speed. But you can’t just set anything—there’s a specific set of selections. They are:

  • Auto
  • 1/125
  • 1/250
  • 1/500
  • 1/1000
  • 1/2000

If you need slower shutter speeds, there’s a workaround. That’s to shift out of the regular Photo mode into the Night Photo mode. There you’ll find different shutter speed presets of:

  • Auto
  • 2 seconds
  • 5 seconds
  • 10 seconds
  • 15 seconds
  • 20 seconds
  • 30 seconds

Exposure Compensation

Both the HERO9 Black and the HERO8 Black offer exposure compensation up to two stops above and below the automatic exposure value.

Focus

Like every other GoPro, both of these models have a fixed-focus lens. So you can’t adjust the focus.

But the upside is that it has an extraordinarily deep focus. It’s very hard to take a photo with a GoPro that’s out of focus (motion blur is a different issue), even if the subject is right up close to the camera.

SuperPhoto & HDR

The sensors used in GoPro cameras are not especially impressive in low-light conditions.

Both of these cameras offer some enhanced image modes that take advantage of the camera’s built-in processing power before the image is saved to the memory card. N

Both cameras have image enhancement features known as SuperPhoto and HDR, but the algorithms have been tweaked and improved in the newer HERO9 Black.

Protune

Both of these cameras use the same method of accessing the Protune options. It’s a quicker and improved method compared to that which previous cameras used.

On these cameras, the Protune name is still there, but the settings aren’t segregated out anymore but are more directly accessible. To me, it’s an improvement and complements the new custom shooting presets feature nicely.

Here’s a master list of the Protune options available in Photo mode:

Protune OptionHERO10 BlackHERO9 BlackHERO8 BlackHERO7 BlackHERO6 BlackHERO5 Black
ColorVibrant (default)
Natural
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
White BalanceAuto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5000K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5000K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5000K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5000K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
3000K
4000K
4800K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
ShutterAuto
1/125
1/250
1/500
1/1000
1/2000
Auto
1/125
1/250
1/500
1/1000
1/2000
Auto
1/125
1/250
1/500
1/1000
1/2000
Auto
1/125
1/250
1/500
1/1000
1/2000
Auto
1/125
1/250
1/500
1/1000
1/2000
Auto
1/125
1/250
1/500
1/1000
1/2000
ISO Min3200
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
1600
800
400
200
100
ISO Max3200 (default)
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
1600
800
400
200
100
SharpnessHigh
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
Exposure Compensation-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2
* The shutter settings were added to the HERO5 Black with a firmware update in April 2017 (v.02.00).

Burst Mode, Continuous Shooting, & LiveBurst

Both cameras have ways to capture rapid sequences of images. Both have Burst, Continuous, and LiveBurst modes.

Burst Mode

The first is the Burst mode. It captures a predefined number of images over a predefined length of time.

They’ve actually dropped back the fastest and longest sequences from the HERO8 Black to the HERO9 Black. With the HERO8, you could get up to 60 frames in 10 seconds or 30 frames in one second.

With the HERO9 Black, the longest sequence is 30 photos (in 3, 6, or 10) seconds, and the fastest is 25 photos in one second.

Here’s the master list:

HERO9 Black Burst HERO8 Black Burst
60/10
60/6
30/10
30/6
30/3
30/1
25/1
10/3
10/1
5/1
3/1

There’s also an Auto option, which works slightly differently in that it will capture as many images as it can while still prioritizing exposure. I have a more detailed explanation and examples here.

Continuous Photo

A similar feature is Continuous photo. Rather than capturing a predetermined number of photos, the Continuous capture feature will keep shooting while you hold down the shutter button. That is, if you press the shutter and release it right away, it will take a single photo.

Both cameras work the same way with Continuous Photo. If you press the shutter and hold it down, it will take a sequence of continuous photos. It can shoot at either 3 or 30 photos per second, depending on the lighting conditions.

One somewhat confusing thing about using Continuous photo is the way it reacts to different output settings. Continuous photo only saves JPG files, not RAW. If you’re pressing and holding the shutter and it’s only taking a single photo, it’s most likely because you’ve got the output set to RAW, SuperPhoto, or HDR. If you change the output setting to Standard, it should fix the issue.

LiveBurst

They also have another rapid-fire photo shooting mode: LiveBurst. While it shoots a rapid sequence, as both Burst and Continuous Photo do, it does it a bit differently. It’s very similar to the regular burst mode, but it’s especially useful for fast action when you’re not exactly sure when it’s going to start.

That’s because LiveBurst pre-rolls the shutter to capture 1.5 seconds before and after you hit the shutter. When you press the shutter, it saves a rapid sequence of 90 still images. You can then choose which photos you want from that sequence or save it as a short video clip (a 3-second 4K video clip). (The HERO9 Black also adds a brand-new HindSight feature; it’s conceptually similar to LiveBurst but is specifically for shooting video.)

The upside is that it greatly increases the chances you’ll get the shot you want. The downside is that you’ll have to sort through large sequences of images to find it.

There are a couple of things worth knowing about shooting in LiveBurst mode. One is that it doesn’t use the full 20MP sensor. You can select between 8MP and 12MP image sizes; the default is 8MP.

Another thing worth knowing is that Protune options are not available in LiveBurst mode.

Digital Zoom

The lens on GoPros is fixed. While it’s technically possible to attach an external lens, I’ve yet to come across one that actually works well. So, for the most part, you have to work with a fixed ultra-wide focal length.

Both cameras have a digital zoom. But it’s not an optical zoom. That is, zoomed in, the camera will still create images in a full-resolution image file, but they don’t have any more detail than you’d get by cropping a non-zoomed image. You can find more details on GoPro zoom and examples here.

Night Photo

GoPros have a regular Photo mode and also a Night Photo mode.

The most important distinction with the Night Photo mode is that you can select longer shutter speeds. The available options on both cameras are:

  • Auto
  • 2 seconds
  • 5 seconds
  • 10 seconds
  • 15 seconds
  • 20 seconds
  • 30 seconds

There are some other minor differences once you switch to Night Photo. There’s a more limited ISO range available, from 100 to 800 (compared to 100 to 3200 in the regular Photo mode). And you can’t choose HDR or SuperPhoto as output options (you can only choose between Standard and RAW).

Self-Timer

A self-timer doesn’t sound like much of a feature. Cameras have had them for decades. But surprisingly, it’s something that has only been available on the past couple of GoPro models.

The self-timer on both cameras has three options:

  • Off
  • 3 seconds
  • 10 seconds

GoPro HERO9 Black vs. HERO8 Black: Shooting Time Lapse

Both of these cameras have quite powerful features for shooting various kinds of time lapse photos and footage. There’s a lot of overlap.

Both shoot time lapse photos, time lapse video, night lapse, and hyperlapse.

Time Lapse Intervals

Both can shoot at these intervals: 0.5 (default), 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds and 2, 5, 30, and 60 minutes. With those longer intervals, you’ll almost certainly want to be running the camera with external power of some kind.

These are available in both time lapse photo and time lapse video modes.

TimeWarp 2.0 vs TimeWarp 3.0

Both of these cameras shoot hyperlapse. That is, time lapse when the camera is in motion. The key innovation here is that the footage is stabilized and smoothed, creating and much better viewing experience.

On the HERO9 Black, it has taken advantage of the more aggressive stabilization and larger sensor size to upgrade to TimeWarp 3.0.

So they both do fundamentally the same thing, but the footage out of the HERO8 Black will be smoother in some cases.

Which HERO8 Accessories Are Compatible with the HERO9?

I have a more detailed answer to this question separately, but here’s a quick rundown if you’re upgrading from the HERO8 Black to the HERO9 Black and are wondering which accessories will work.

Mounts & Grips. In general, you can use the same mounts, grips, selfie-sticks, etc. That’s because both cameras use the standard GoPro three-pronged mounting system. And both cameras have the fold-down attachment as part of the camera body.

Housings & Cages. Most housings, cages, or mounts that go around the camera body won’t work. That’s because the cameras are slightly different physical dimensions (the HERO9 is slightly larger). So you’ll need dedicated versions of things like the Protective Dive Housing.

Batteries. They use different internal batteries, so you can’t use HERO8 batteries in the HERO9, and vice versa.

External batteries that are separate from the camera will work. Both cameras use a USB-C connection. There’s a handful of external batteries that combine a battery and housing or cage that goes around the camera body. These won’t work for two reasons: the camera bodies are different dimensions, and the USB-C ports are in slightly different positions.

SD Cards. You can use the same SD cards in both cameras. Both cameras have a maximum video bitrate of 100 Mbps.

Remotes. The HERO9 Black uses a dedicated, new remote called The Remote. The Remote is also compatible with the HERO8 Black (after you update that camera’s firmware).

The HERO8 Black also works with the older Smart Remote. The HERO9 Black is not compatible with the Smart Remote.

Media Mod. Both cameras have a Media Mod. The Media Mods share the same features, but they’re dedicated models for each camera due to the different camera body sizes.

Lens Filters. The lens port design is different in both its dimensions and in that the HERO8 Black’s lens port isn’t removable. So most lens filters will need to be designed for the specific camera model.

Where to Buy

You can find them at GoPro.com, where you can often find great deals on their cameras: HERO9 Black | HERO8 Black

You can also find them at Amazon (HERO9 Black / HERO8 Black) and B&H Photo (HERO9 Black | HERO8 Black).

GoPro HERO9 Black
  • 5K Video - Shoot stunning video with up to 5K resolution, perfect for maintaining detail even when...
  • 20MP Photo with SuperPhoto: Capture crisp, pro-quality photos with 20MP clarity. And with SuperPhoto,...

  1. By comparison, there were three cameras in the HERO7 lineup: the Black, Silver, and White. The 360-degree MAX camera was released around the same time as the HERO8 Black, but it doesn’t strictly fall in the HERO lineup.
  2. In the Video Mode, the maximum ISO is 6400, but in the Photo Mode, it’s 3200.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-09-22 at 11:39. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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