GoPro Comparison: A Look At All GoPro Models

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Since somewhere around the Hero5 Black, GoPro cameras have offered a phenomenal action camera experience with optical performance to rival traditional point-and-shoots. While we love the GoPro brand, there’s an overwhelming amount of choice out there.

Should you just get the Hero8 Black, or is the Hero9 worth it? What about the GoPro Max? Are all these cameras really the same or is there a difference? This GoPro comparison article will dive into the GoPro product line in detail.

We’ll try to cover cameras that suit a broad range of needs. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for bleeding-edge tech, or a fisherman who just needs a new camera for his rod, we’ve got you covered.

GoPro Comparison: The Current “Official” Product Line

If you go to the GoPro site right now, you’ll see four cameras displayed more prominently. These are:

  • The GoPro Max
  • The GoPro Hero9 Black
  • The GoPro Hero8 Black
  • The GoPro Hero7 Black

While these are far from the only options out there, they are the cameras most likely to receive continued support and updates from GoPro. If longstanding product support is important to you, it’s probably best to pick one of the options above in our opinion.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Hero7 Black is likely to be pushed off this line of promoted products relatively soon; the Hero10 isn’t miles away. We run through the four main cameras still officially promoted by GoPro below.

GoPro Hero9 Black

GoPro HERO9 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Touch Rear Screens, 5K Ultra HD Video, 20MP Photos, 1080p Live Streaming, Webcam, Stabilization

The most recent in the GoPro Hero line, this camera comes with a ton of power and intelligent features. Certain features like wind noise reduction and image stabilization have come leaps and bounds in recent years. This is not an inexpensive camera, but it works hard to earn your money.

In our opinion, it’s well worth picking up if you can afford the investment.

Specs

It’s important to note that raw specs aren’t everything when it comes to assessing a camera’s performance. Within the context of a GoPro comparison page, though, we’ll list them here so you can decide for yourself:

  • 5K(30fps), 4K(60fps), 1440p and 1080p video capture
  • 20 megapixel still photo sensor
  • Waterproof up to 33ft
  • “HyperSmooth 3.0” – advanced electronic image stabilization technology
  • 8X Slo-Mo
  • Touch screen
  • Time lapse capable
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth enabled
  • 101 minutes of battery life (when filming at 1080p)

Compared to older GoPro Hero models, these specs represent a significant bump up in power. This is one of the GoPro models to consider if you prioritise specs when looking for a new action cam. Most notable, perhaps, is the 30% increase in battery life when compared to older GoPro camera models.

Pick up a value pack that includes a free extra battery and you’re looking at a camera that can last you a reasonable amount of time when exploring.

Modify Your GoPro Hero Experience

A key element of this GoPro is the ability to modify your experience. A number of optional accessories can be purchased to take your GoPro game to the next level. Need cutting-edge image stabilization and optical performance? Pick up the “Max” lens mod.

Want to push your audio recording to its limit? Add on an extra microphone. For those who like extra wiggle room when setting up the composition for their shots, an extra large display mod can be purchased to boost your available viewing space.

The GoPro Hero9 is built with versatility and expandability in mind; if you’re in the market for a next-gen action cam, this option can grow with you.

Streaming and “Smart” Features

Another key focus for this GoPro model are the streaming and “smart” features that come as standard. It’s easy to set up a live stream in 1080p with the Hero9. If you’re a YouTuber or content creator, this functionality may appeal to you.

The LiveBurst feature, for example, records 1.5 seconds of footage before and after each shot you take. This gives users the flexibility to choose the image that works best for them.

Other features like Hindsight captures 30 seconds of video before you even press the shutter button, making it far more likely you’ll get the video you’re looking for. These “intelligent” features, combined with functionality like the brilliant time lapse feature, make this one of the best GoPro models money can buy.

Pros:

  • Phenomenal optical performance
  • Optional mods to enhance your experience
  • Improved wind noise reduction
  • Killer “smart” features like voice control

Cons:

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Quite expensive

GoPro Max

GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera with Touch Screen Spherical 5.6K30 HD Video 16.6MP 360 Photos 1080p Live Streaming Stabilization

Perhaps confusingly, the GoPro Max isn’t necessarily the most powerful GoPro model in terms of RAW performance. Don’t get us wrong; it’s certainly a capable machine. It’s just that its “Max” functionality comes more from its additional lenses than its sheer power.

The four lenses and three microphones on this model are built to take stunning 360° videos and 270° panoramic stills. For truly immersive camera work, the GoPro Max is worth considering. The built-in “Hero Mode” also lets users shoot traditional GoPro videos.

Model Specs

They’re not the whole picture, but the GoPro Max technical specifications can be found below:

  • 360° Video (6K Source), 5.6K Stitched (3K Source), Stitched HERO Video options: 1440p, 1080p
  • 18 megapixel source lens or 16.6 megapixel stitched photos
  • Waterproof up to 16ft
  • 2X slow-mo
  • Time lapse capable
  • Wind noise reduction
  • Electronic image stabilization
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth features
  • Touchscreen
  • 85 minutes of battery for 360 videos and 105 minutes for 1080p video

Max HyperSmooth

GoPro boasts that this is the best level of image stabilization they’ve ever produced. This model is designed to create buttery-smooth images in even the shakiest of conditions. This feature is especially noticeable if you film footage of your bike treks.

HyperSmooth has existed for several years now, but the GoPro Max improves the tech significantly.

Digital Lenses for Every Occasion

This is one option in this GoPro comparison with four camera lenses to choose from. The available options are “Narrow, distortion-free Linear, Wide and Max SuperView”. In short, this gives users new levels of versatility when filming on the go. The Max is built to capture it all, no matter how big your subject is.

Reframe

The companion GoPro app that takes advantage of this model’s Wi-Fi functionality makes it possible to tweak your 360° footage. The Reframe app can modify your clips and present them as if you shot them with a “normal” camera. It also lets users add some pretty awesome “ultra-fisheye” effects to their work.

Pros:

  • Stunning 360° videos
  • The Reframe app is really cool
  • Four digital lenses to choose from
  • Brilliant video stabilization

Cons:

  • Only waterproof up to 16ft
  • The battery life isn’t great

GoPro Hero8 Black

GoPro HERO8 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 1080p Live Streaming Stabilization

If you still want killer performance but would like to save a little money, the Hero8 Black is worth considering. It’s a touch older than the Hero 9 Black, but is no slouch either. With adjustable focal lengths, expandable functionality and the familiar GoPro stability, the Hero8 Black still holds its own.

Hero8 Black Tech Specs

Read on for the tech specs of the Hero8 Black:

  • 4K video at 60fps, 2.7K at 120fps, 1080 at 240 fps
  • 12 megapixel still photos
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth enabled
  • Wind noise reduction
  • Waterproof up to 33ft
  • 8X slo-mo
  • Electronic image and video stabilization
  • Time lapse features
  • Touch screen

You may have noticed that while the Hero8 Black doesn’t quite match the Hero9 Black in terms of raw power, this doesn’t represent a massive step down in performance. If you can tolerate not having current-gen specs, we strongly recommend considering this option.

You’re might not notice a difference if you don’t have specific photography requirements.

Modify Your GoPro Hero

Just like the Hero9 Black, this model can be modified for enhanced performance in a wide range of contexts. The available mods include an additional enhanced microphone, a larger LCD screen and a powerful LED flash. These optional extras can take your GoPro game to the next level.

HyperSmooth 2.0

The next thing to mention in this GoPro comparison is HyperSmooth 2.0 that comes as standard with the GoPro Hero 8. This slightly older iteration of the GoPro image and video stabilization tech still performs very well.

HyperSmooth 3.0 is a considerable boost when compared to the older 2.0, but that doesn’t mean your Hero8 footage won’t be smooth. One thing to point out, however, is that your available field of view can actually be larger in certain contexts when using the older 2.0 iteration.

In certain modes, when using “Linear+Horizon Leveling”, the Hero9 can crop your footage pretty significantly. This isn’t likely to be a dealbreaker, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Flexible Lens Options

This model comes with a fair amount of versatility thanks to its variable lens setup. The same Narrow, distortion-free Linear, Wide and SuperView options we mentioned earlier are ready and waiting.

Considering that the GoPro Hero 8 is now around $100 cheaper than more recent options, this flexibility is great to see.

Better Low-Light Performance

The Hero 8 introduced significantly better low-light performance to the GoPro line of products. Videos shot at night are now far clearer and better quality overall. These improvements were further developed in the 9 and Max GoPro models.

Pros:

  • An “affordable but powerful” option
  • Still has multiple lens options and accessories
  • Great low-light performance
  • Tough, waterproof body

Cons:

  • Still fairly expensive
  • HyperSmooth 2.0 is good but has now been surpassed

Hero7 Black

GoPro Hero7 Black — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 720p Live Streaming Stabilization

We’re now at the end of the “officially supported” line of GoPro Hero cameras. The Hero7 Black is perhaps beginning to show its age in areas like wind noise reduction, but it’s still a very capable camera. If your needs are casual in nature, this one probably won’t disappoint.

GoPro Hero7 Black Specs

  • 4k (60fps), 1080p (240fps) video
  • 12 megapixel sensor
  • Time lapse capable
  • Wind noise reduction
  • Roughly 150 minutes of battery life
  • Improved HDR performance
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth functionality
  • Touch screen
  • Waterproof up to 33ft

HyperSmooth 1.0

The GoPro Hero7 Black introduced us to the HyperSmooth stabilization we now know and love. It promises “gimbal-like smoothness without the gimbal”. While this marketing language is probably an exaggeration, it does a great job of keeping your videos smooth.

Is it worse than HyperSmooth 2.0 or 3.0? Yes, but you’re unlikely to notice too much of a difference. If you literally held the Hero7 Black next to the 8 or 9 for a direct GoPro to GoPro comparison, you’d be able to see that HyperSmooth has been improved over the years.

In day to day use, though, the original iteration of the technology still does a great job.

Voice Control

The GoPro Hero 7 also introduced new, intelligent voice control features. Users can control their camera just by speaking to it. Up to 16 commands are available and they do a great job of increasing user control when you can’t get to the touchscreen.

SuperPhoto

Another great introduction with the Hero7 Black was “SuperPhoto”. This is basically an enhanced approach to HDR which dramatically improves the color correction and noise reduction capabilities of the GoPro line. Features like this help your photos really “pop” when using your GoPro Hero 7.

Pros:

  • Way cheaper than new models but still packs a punch
  • Voice controls work well
  • Slightly better battery life than its newer counterparts
  • Still tough and waterproof

Cons:

  • No adjustable lens or mod functionality

Older More Affordable Options

But what about the Hero5 Black or Hero4 Black? There are some older GoPro models that are still worth considering. In fact, some of these options actually out-perform newer versions when it comes to battery life.

As they’re a little older, we’ll provide a brief overview of these GoPro models below.

Hero6 Black

GoPro HERO6 Black + Extra Battery - E-Commerce Packaging - Waterproof Digital Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K HD Video 12MP Photos Live Streaming Stabilization

The optimized GP1 processor on the Hero6 Black means it can still hold its own when it comes to frames per second and general image processing. This processor alone means the 6 represents a significant jump when compared to the older Hero5 Black.

One of the main things the Hero6 Black has going for it is its comparatively affordable price.

GoPro Hero6 Black Specs

  • 4K (60fps), 1440p, 1808o video recording
  • 12 megapixel still photos
  • Waterproof up to 33ft
  • WiFi-/Bluetooth functionality
  • Wind noise reduction from multi-microphone array
  • Touch screen

Hero5 Black

GoPro Hero5 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with Touch Screen 4K HD Video 12MP Photos

The GoPro Hero 5 Black can still perform fairly well, but it’s around this point where these cameras really start to show their age. This is most notable in image processing and the frames per second for 4K video performance. Still photos and videos can still look great, but expect a choppier, noisier experience overall.

We think the Hero5 Black would make a great companion camera to mount to your helmet if you regularly ride a motorcycle. It will also still hold up as a decent adventure camera, but don’t expect next-level performance.

Hero5 Black Specs

  • 4K(30fps), 2.7K, 1440p, 1080p video recording
  • 10 megapixel stills
  • Waterproof up to 33ft (no case needed)
  • Touchscreen
  • Built-in stabilization
  • Time lapse capable
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth enabled

Hero5 Session

GoPro Hero5 Session

The Hero5 Session is a tiny, ultra-portable GoPro with a few key differences from the Hero5 Black. One of the most notable differences is the approach to battery storage. The Hero5 Black has a removable battery. The Hero5 Session does not.

Another key difference is that the Hero5 Black has an LCD touchscreen, while the primary way to interact with the Hero5 Session is via a single shutter button. The session iteration of this GoPro is designed to be as compact and “invisible” as possible for shooting on the go.

Session Specs

  • 4K (30fps), 2.7K, 1440p, 10080p video resolution
  • 10 megapixel stills (slightly smaller sensor than the 5 Black)
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth features
  • Time lapse mode
  • Waterproof up to 33ft
  • No touchscreen

Hero4 Black

GoPro Hero4 Black

The GoPro Hero 4 line was the first to introduce 4K video recording at 30fps. This is something to keep in mind when looking for a new action cam, as older GoPro models record 4K at a far choppier 15 frames per second.

The Hero4 Black isn’t terrible by today’s standards at all, but once you’re into this price range, you might be better off picking up an action camera from a different brand; there are some great third-party options out there.

Hero4 Black Specs

  • 4K (30fps), 2.7K (60fps), 1008p video recording
  • 12 megapixel still photos
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity
  • Time lapse mode
  • Waterproof up to 131ft
  • No touchscreen
  • No voice commands

Hero4 Silver

GoPro Hero4 Silver

The most important GoPro comparison between the Hero4 Silver and Black models is that the Hero4 Silver has a built-in touchscreen. In fact, it was the first GoPro model to use one. The drawback of this feature is that the Silver actually burns through its battery considerably quicker than the Black.

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Specs

The Silver iteration of these GoPros represents a step down in terms of video and still image performance:

  • 4K at 15fps (very choppy), 1080p at 60fps
  • touchscreen LCD
  • 12 megapixel still photos
  • Waterproof up to 33ft
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features (Bluetooth was introduced with the 4 line)
  • Time lapse function
  • No voice commands

Hero3 Silver, Black and Before

GoPro HERO3: Silver Edition

We’ve now entered a significantly older territory of GoPro models. To be clear, these options can still perform well in good conditions, but they’re now overshadowed by cheaper third-party options in our opinion.

We recommend considering options like the Hero3 Silver for use as a spare webcam or dashcam; they’ll do great in this context.

GoPro Hero Models – Cheat’s Comparison Guide

This section will run through some key action camera features that group these GoPros together.

Which GoPro Cameras Are 6K Capable?

This is something of a trick question. Only the GoPro Max is capable of 6K. It’s also the only GoPro model to offer 360 video.

Which GoPro Hero Cameras Film 4K at 60fps?

For buttery-smooth 4K video at 60 frames per second, you’ll need:

  • Hero 9 Black
  • Hero 8 Black
  • Hero 7 Black
  • Hero 6 Black

Which GoPro Models Have Some Form of 4K?

The following is a list of GoPro models with some form of 4K performance. It’s worth noting that less than 30fps is generally considered very choppy:

  • Hero 9 Black (6ofps)
  • Hero 8 Black (60fps)
  • Hero 7 Black (60fps)
  • Hero 6 Black (60fps)
  • Hero 5 Black (30fps)
  • Hero 5 Session (30fps)
  • Hero 4 Black (30fps)
  • Hero 4 Silver (15fps)
  • Hero 3+ Black (15fps)

Which GoPro Models Have Voice Commands?

Voice commands are a super-convenient way to control your Hero when you can’t reach the screen. The following Hero models (including the GoPro Max) offer voice control:

  • GoPro Max
  • Hero 9 Black
  • Hero 8 Black
  • Hero 7 Black
  • Hero 6 Black
  • Hero 5 Black
  • Hero 5 Session

Are All GoPro Cameras Waterproof?

All current GoPro models are waterproof. The thing to remember is that they don’t all stay waterproof up to the same depths. Most notably, the GoPro Max is only waterproof up to 16ft. Some older models, like the Hero4 Black, can go as far as 131ft.

Since around the Hero4 Silver, 33ft of waterproofing has been the most common depth available.

Which GoPro Options Have a Touchscreen?

A touchscreen is something we take for granted these days, but there was a time when its introduction to the GoPro line of cameras was noteworthy. The following models have a touchscreen:

  • GoPro Max
  • GoPro Hero 9 Black
  • GoPro Hero 8 Black
  • GoPro Hero 7 Black
  • GoPro Hero 7 Silver
  • GoPro Hero 6 Black
  • GoPro Hero 5 Black
  • GoPro Hero 4 Silver (not black)

Which is the Best GoPro to Get?

This depends largely on your use case, but we absolutely love the GoPro Max. Our main reason for this is its killer 360 video and 6K features. This is the first GoPro to offer options like this and the level of optical performance you get with them is seriously impressive.

If you still want killer performance but are less bothered by the Max’s “gimmicks”, we’d recommend either the Hero 8 or the Hero 9.

Which is the Best Value GoPro?

Again, this depends entirely on which features you most value. That said, the Hero6 Black still holds its own while being significantly cheaper than newer options. While we’re on the subject, anything older than the 5 Session probably isn’t worth your time.

There are so many third-party options these days that it’s probably worth looking there too.

Check out our GoPro alternatives page for more details.

More

Conclusion

There’s a staggeringly long list of available GoPro products, but not all of them are worth your time. If you care at all about your camera lasting for more than ten months, it’s probably worth opting for a more recent option.

The Hero 7 Black and onwards is your best best. This way, you’re more likely to enjoy firmware updates and warranty support further down the road. Don’t forget to check out third-party alternatives as well; they’re far better than they used to be.

Whichever camera you choose, we hope you have fun using it!