Can You Zoom In On a GoPro?

Do GoPros have zoom? Yes, some of the newer models do, but there are some limitations that are worth knowing. Here are some examples.

GoPro Zoom
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Recent models like the HERO10, HERO9, and HERO8 cameras have had a zoom feature that works in video and photo modes. So, technically, yes, you can zoom in on a GoPro.

But there’s more to it, and there are some limits to its effectiveness. That’s because it’s a digital zoom, not an optical zoom.

What that means is that the “zoom” feature is done by software by narrowing in on the center of the frame.

There’s another, much more effective way to zoom. That’s by adjusting the lens optics. That’s why sports and nature photographers lug around those massive long lenses, and it’s why the lens barrel moves in and out on smaller, compact cameras. But GoPros have a fixed lens, so optical zooming isn’t possible.

Basically, GoPro’s version of zoom is a digital zoom that is a glorified crop.

So it takes the existing image data and narrows down on it. Because you can’t magically create extra detail from the visual information in an existing image (despite what we see in TV shows and movies), the finished result might look larger and closer, but it has the same image information and therefore isn’t as sharp. 1

When shooting photos, you can get the same result by using the crop feature that every respectable image editing app will have.

There is somewhat more of an advantage when shooting video. And that’s because the video file that’s saved at the target resolution (or uprezzed). That makes it much more convenient when it comes to sharing or editing the video.

Practical Examples of GoPro Zoom

Here’s are some practical examples of the GoPro zoom. These are side-by-side shots fully zoomed out and fully zoomed in.

This first one is when shooting video with the Wide FOV.

GoPro Zoom Example with HERO6 Black
GoPro Zoom Example with HERO6 Black

Here’s another in the video mode:

Video Zoomed Out 4KVideo Zoomed In 4K

And some more in the photo mode:

GoPro HERO7 Black Zoomed Out
GoPro HERO7 Black Zoomed In

  1. Some cameras have proprietary algorithms that can enhance digital zooms to make them look better. Sony’s ClearImage is one example. And there are various software apps that handle uprezzing with interpolation, such as Photoshop, or other proprietary methods, such as Gigapixel AI. GoPros don’t currently have anything like that.[]

The Latest Model: GoPro HERO11 Black

Released in the fall of 2022, the HERO11 is GoPro's current model. Well, actually two models.

First, there's the flagship Black that has all the bells and whistles and sets the standard for action cameras.

GoPro HERO11 Black
  • Shoot 5.3K60 & 4K120 video at up to 120Mbps bitrate
  • Take 27MP photos
  • Waterproof to 33ft / 10m without a separate housing
  • Built-in mount point
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 In-camera Video Stabilization creates smooth video without a gimbal
  • Shoot up to 8x slow motion

A couple of months later, they released Black Mini. It's smaller and shares many of the flagship models capabilities, but it's also stripped-down in important ways. For instance, it doesn't have a touchscreen, its battery isn't removable, and it shoots video only (so no photo mode).

GoPro HERO11 Black Mini
  • Shoot 5.3K60 & 4K120 video at up to 120Mbps bitrate
  • Compact form factor
  • Waterproof to 33ft / 10m without a separate housing
  • 2x built-in mount point
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 in-camera video stabilization
  • Shoot up to 8x slow motion @ 2.7K
  • Built-in battery
David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. I've been shooting with GoPros for years, starting with the HD HERO, and have owned and used every model since. More »