GoPro’s latest top model, the Hero 9, has grown significantly compared to its predecessor: A larger screen on the back is now supplemented by a second display on the front, which can show a live preview of the camera image for the first time. The square, colored screen can also be used to align the image section for selfies.
The matt black camera survives dives to a depth of 10 meters, and two small brackets can be folded out of the housing for attachment to the helmet or a handlebar bracket. Apart from a USB-C port and a micro SD slot, there are no other connections.
One battery charge was enough with activated WLAN and activated display for about 53 minutes. Without both, up to an hour and a half are possible.
Hero 9 can also be used as a webcam
The Hero 9 can be started with three buttons and the rear touchscreen or with a few voice commands like “GoPro!” serve. Control via the GoPro app is more convenient if the camera is linked to the smartphone via WLAN. Then you can use the iPhone display as a viewfinder, for example, and stream it live on Facebook or YouTube via the mobile network. The Hero 9 – like its predecessor GoPro Hero 8 – can be used as a webcam via USB.
Depending on the resolution, the Hero 9 films with an angle of 69 to 119 degrees. An interchangeable lens with 155 degrees is available for an additional charge of 100 euros. As a result, it covers a larger field of view than the ultra-wide angle of an iPhone. The “Horizon Leveling” function, new in the Hero 9, automatically straightens the image, but reduces the viewing angle.
Film in 5K
The camera records up to 120 frames per second (fps) in Full HD and up to 60 fps in 4K. It also masters a 5K mode in which it records videos with 5120 × 2160 pixels and 30 fps. However, the frame rate is not sufficient for rapid recordings. But if you produce videos in Full HD and 4K with static perspectives, you can film in 5K and change the image section in post-processing.
We liked the image quality, but it didn’t come close to that of an iPhone 12. Videos were convincing with good sharpness and vivid, if somewhat exaggerated colors, the Hero 9 quickly compensated for changes in brightness and the image stabilizer effectively prevented wobbles. Noise quickly appeared in photos taken at 20 MP in poor lighting conditions.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black offers good image quality but is quite expensive. Anyone who films sports in 4K can use the GoPro Hero 8 or DJI Osmo Action Cam action cameras, which are around 100 to 200 euros cheaper.