I have been using GoPro cameras for many years. They are pretty much my go-to option for recording my rides and I have not seen any reason to switch brands.
The video is of acceptable quality, the cameras are small and portable, and they shoot in formats that are mostly free of issues when it comes to editing and processing the video they shoot.
I used a Hero 4 Session for several years and the footage seemed okay while I used it. It wasn’t until I upgraded to the Hero 7 that I started shooting video that I felt was of high enough quality to use in videos like those I post to this channel. When the Hero 8 was released last year, the improved motion stabilization was a game changer and I was happy to upgrade. I have posted other reviews about the Hero 8 camera’s features and mounting options.
The Hero 9 contains a lot of upgrades like 5K video, its new sensor, 20mp still photos, front color video display, and improved rear display. These features are all fantastic and will serve customers well. Other features like 1080p live streaming, and 360º horizon leveling are handy features for specific users. They appeal to fewer people but are still great to have. HDR Night Lapse video, RAW audio, voice control, folding mount fingers (a carry-over from the Hero 8), and advanced wind-noise reduction are debated by some users as unnecessary, but probably still cater to small audience.
For me, A great new feature is called HindSight. HindSight always saves the last 15 or 30 seconds of whatever the camera is pointed at when it is turned on, eliminating the problem of losing the first few seconds of video when the record button is pressed. I can see that saving me from on-the-bike situations where I press record quickly and cut off a moment I wish I could capture.
One of the first things users will notice is the size of the camera. The Hero 9 is significantly larger than previous models. It is also heavier, weighing in, with battery, at 158 grams. This is in stark contrast to the Hero 7’s 116 grams and the Hero 8’s 126 grams. You feel the difference when the camera is mounted on your helmet. That being said, I didn’t feel a big enough difference to make me consider mounting the camera somewhere else; I’ll keep it on the chin bar.
The Hero 8 and Hero 7 both use the same form factor batteries, with minor differences that I never experienced any issues with in the field. I regularly used older batteries in my Hero 8 without issue. The Hero 9’s batteries, with their larger size, are incompatible with older models, but they do hold a longer charge. GoPro says up to 30% more battery life. I didn’t see that degree of improvement, but I haven’t yet tested this claim in depth.
The Hero 9 features the return of the removable lens cover. This was sorely missed on the Hero 8, making replacement of the lens cover impossible and possibly costing users lots of money in terms of replacement versus repair. This feature also makes room for GoPro’s new “Max Lens Mod”. This product allows even wider angles when shooting, handy for sure, but also makes it more difficult to find a good protective case.
The camera’s stability is remarkable. It records smooth video at my preferred recording rate of 4K and 24 frames per second. I was able to capture clips that I felt were enjoyable to watch and that contained fewer jarring distractions. I found the Hero 8’s stability to be fantastic, and this is even better. Is this better than using a gimbal? Well, I can’t say. I have never used a gimbal, and now I don’t feel I need to start.
Overall, I think the Hero 9 is a definite improvement over its predecessors in many ways. From stability to HindSight to the new front screen, I think it is a proven upgrade over the Hero 8, and a must-have upgrade over the Hero 7 for dedicated shooters.
If you have anything to say about the Hero 9, please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for watching, please click the Subscribe button below, and I’ll see you out on the trails!