Action cameras continue to be a niche category, popular mostly among adventure and travel enthusiasts. Even though new brands have entered the segment, offering more economical options, GoPro still remains the go-to name for many.
With the new HERO9 Black, GoPro is aiming to cement its position in this segment further. Priced at Rs49,500, the HERO9 Black offers a leap of sorts over its predecessor, the HERO8 Black, which is currently available on Amazon.in for Rs30,990.
The new camera retains the compact matchbox-like figure and rugged build quality, which the HERO series is renowned for. The HERO9, however, is a tad wider and at 158g, also weighs more than the HERO8, which was around 126g.
The wider form factor can be attributed to the new 1.4-inch front-facing colour LCD display, which offers ‘Live Preview’, allowing creators to shoot selfies and ‘velfies’ (video selfies) with a better understanding of their pose and placement within the frame. The previous-gen camera had a much smaller monochrome screen and could only display the battery and time status.
For navigating through the shooting modes and settings, the camera has another 2.27-inch colour LCD touchscreen on the back. The interface is simple and easy to figure out even for first-time users.
The new camera offers several other upgrades, including a 20MP sensor and the option to record in up to 5K resolution. Compared to that, the HERO8 had a 12MP camera and could record in 4K at max. However, to appreciate or get even a preview of a 5K video, users will need a smartphone or laptop that supports 5K resolution. The camera also supports mods, which means you can snap on additional accessories, such as the lens mods, to get more out of the camera.
Image stabilization is a big deal in any camera, more so in an action camera. Such cameras are used mostly when a person is always on the move. That is one area where HERO9 Black shines. It comes with the upgraded ‘HyperSmooth 3.0’ image stabilization feature, which brings in camera horizon levelling, offering gimbal-level stabilization and smooth video recording even when the user is moving fast. Horizon levelling allows the camera to level videos on a horizontal axis. In the previous model, the feature was only available through the GoPro app.
Another cool new addition is ‘Hindsight’ mode. When enabled, this feature allows the camera to capture up to 30 seconds of footage even before the creator has started the recording. It comes in handy in case users press the shutter button late.
The camera’s output is top notch and looks easily on par with videos shot through a mid-range DSLR camera. Anything beyond 2.7K resolution looked impressive with plenty of detail. Videos recorded in the evening and early morning looked well-lit and crisp. According to GoPro, the new camera can shell out up to 30% more battery life than its previous model.
Overall, the HERO9 Black is a good upgrade over the HERO8, despite coming with a heftier price tag.