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.

Recent models like the 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.

Get the New GoPro HERO9 Black for $349.98

The brand new HERO9 Black is now available. It has a bigger battery, shoots up to 5K30 video, has a color front preview screen, built-in horizon leveling, upgraded HyperSmooth 3.0 and TimeWarp 3.0 video stabilization, and new HindSight, Scheduled Capture, and Duration Capture modes.

For the launch, GoPro is running a special deal where you get the HERO9 Black for $349.98 with a 1-year subscription to GoPro. Without the subscription, it's $449.99.

The subscription to GoPro gives you unlimited cloud storage, discounted no-questions-asked camera replacement, and up to 50% off GoPro accessories.

There's also a HERO9 Black Bundle for $399.98 with a 1-year subscription to GoPro or $499.99 without the subscription.

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, the digital zoom 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.

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Zoomed Out” label_two=”Zoomed In”]

GoPro HERO6 Black Video FOV: Wide


[/before-after]

Here’s another in the video mode:

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Zoomed Out” label_two=”Zoomed In”]


[/before-after]

And some more in the photo mode:

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Zoomed Out” label_two=”Zoomed In”]

Zoomed Out

Zoomed In


[/before-after]

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Zoomed Out” label_two=”Zoomed In”]

Zoomed Out

Zoomed In


[/before-after]

Which GoPros Have Zoom?

The digital zoom is available on these models.

  • HERO9 Black
  • HERO8 Black
  • HERO7 Black
  • HERO7 Silver
  • HERO7 White
  • HERO6 Black

How Do You Zoom with a GoPro?

On the GoPro models that have digital zoom, you do it an on-screen slider. It’s quite an imprecise method and can be hard to get it exactly where you want it.

Touch the small magnifying icon at bottom right.

The slider zoomed out fully.

The slider zoomed in fully.

It’s only available between shots. What I mean by that is that you can’t use it to transition while recording video. You’ll need to stop the recording, zoom in or out, then start recording again.

It’s also only available with the on-screen control. You can’t do it with the GoPro mobile app or with a remote.

Limitations & Things Worth Knowing

  • The zoom doesn’t work with the RAW image format when shooting photos—only JPG.
  • It also doesn’t work with some of the other shooting modes such as Burst Mode, Time-lapse Photo, or Time-lapse Video.
  • When shooting video, the zoom isn’t available at the 4K resolution. The highest resolution it’s available at is 2.7K.
  • Again when shooting video, the zoom isn’t possible while recording. To zoom in or out, you need to stop the recording, changing the zoom, and then resume recording.
  • The zoom slider is only available on the camera’s touchscreen. So you can’t use the zoom from the GoPro mobile app or with a remote.

Wrap Up: Can you zoom in on a GoPro?

Yes, you can with some of the newer models. It’s a digital zoom, not an optical zoom, and there are limits on how useful it is in practice.


  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.

More GoPro Tips & Tricks:

This post was last modified on October 5, 2020 10:46 am

View Comments

  • Nice article, thanks alot!

    Do you know what the maximum digital "zoom factor" is for Hero 7 recording 2.7k video in Linear mode? (sorry if zoom factor is not the right terminology... I'm looking for the x number, like 5x, 7x, 10x, etc). Thanks :)

    • Sorry, but I don't know what the equivalent would be. The linear FOV doesn't really fit neatly into the standard zoom magnification ratios because it digitally alters the perspective in different parts of the frame.

  • So what if you shoot in 2.7 k then zoom in a little would this give you 1080p quality after zoom?

    • Yes. Technically, if you do it in the camera it will output an image that's still 12MP in dimensions, so you get that consistency. But it's the same level of detail as cropping in post and then uprezzing the dimensions back to 12MP.

Share