GoPro is the company that popularized action cameras and they are also still one of the best when it comes to these compact digital cameras such as how they are coming up with the incredible GoPro Hero 9 Vs 8. The two are close brothers and as an improvement Hero 9 will also be the overall better camera but, whether the price gap is worth to spend on, it is you to decide. To know what the upgrades are, here is the comparison.
In this comparison, we are going to talk about:
- What to Consider in an Action Camera
- What are GoPro Hero 9 and 8
- How are the Design of GoPro Hero 9 and 8
- How are the Specs of GoPro Hero 9 and 8
- How are the Video Quality of GoPro Hero 9 and 8
- What else GoPro Hero 9 and 8 can offer
- GoPro Hero 9 Vs 8
Action cameras are not new anymore since they have been around for quite some time now so most people must be familiar with how they work already. At the core, an action camera is just like any digital cameras we may already have but is much smaller and is video-centric instead of meant for taking high-quality photos. It doesn’t mean that their still photos are bad but there is very little to adjust here unlike when you are shooting with typical digital cameras.
As the main purpose and focus are different, the factors we look for in an action camera are also different to when buying a camera for taking still images and photography in general. Action camera’s most important spec is their resolution because this is what decides the overall image quality they can capture. Most can do 4K already but 1080p is still a popular option on the entry-level and budget cameras. The higher the resolution, the cleaner the footage will be and better when watched on a larger screen.
An accompanying spec that you will have to consider as well is their frame rates or how many frames the camera is capturing every second. Many cameras are labeled as 4K but when their frame rates are lower than 30fps chances are it is not native 4K but an interpolation instead so the image quality won’t be the same as the native ones. A higher frame rate is best for making slow motion video, especially for sport and action footage where the subject is moving fast.
At the basic action cameras must have image stabilization due to the nature of how they are used. Of course you can find cheap cameras without the feature or have one but it doesn’t work as reliably. Nowadays there are so many budget options with good stabilization so we highly recommend getting one of them because it will be helpful. With a good stabilization we can handheld the camera while walking or mounting it on a scooter and still get great footage without additional accessories.
In addition we do think the shape and design of an action camera is also necessary to consider. Most of them are square or boxy, but there are also cameras with unique shapes such as Insta360 One X2 Vs Go 2 that can allow for a different and simpler mounting process. The Go 2 more specifically, it has a magnet at the back of the unit which makes it able to stick to anything metal whether it is the back of your phone or a light pole at the side of the road.
|Gopro Hero 9||Gopro Hero 8|
|Shop now at Amazon||click here||click here|
|Product Dimensions||9.08 x 5.42 x 3.25 inches||1.14 x 1.89 x 2.6 inches
|Item Weight||2.11 ounces||4.4 ounces
About GoPro Hero 9 and 8
We have the freedom to choose any of the available cameras that seem to work best in our application since not all of us will be pleased with the same camera and not all of us are paying attention to the same abilities. Newer cameras may look awesome and it is for those who are looking to have the new things they come with but, in many cases we can stick with an older system, especially if the upgrade is not as interesting to you.
When it comes to action cameras, there are plenty to choose already, brands like AKASO and Apeman are great alternatives for their good image quality at a lower price point but for those who are aiming to get what the best our current tech can offer, GoPro is always the choice. They continuously upgrade the camera and always offer something new to enjoy. In terms of tech this company also often brings some of the best such as the image stabilization and audio quality.
The only drawback is probably how they can get quite expensive, especially when you compare them to many other alternatives today, making GoPro not as versatile when it comes to a wider range of users. But, for enthusiasts with no budget issue, GoPro Hero 9 and 8 must be two promising options to consider. These two are the current new offerings from the company but Hero 8 is no longer the flagship, instead the MAX is what accompanies the Hero 9.
Separated around a year, we have expected a lot coming from the new Hero 9 and there are some interesting new abilities here as well but depending on what you want to achieve and whether these features are necessary in your application, we do think the current $100 price gap is quite a lot if you don’t have the Hero 8 yet and if you already got the Hero 8, it may not worth to buy a new camera.
GoPro Hero 9 and 8 Design
From the outer point of view, the GoPro Hero 9 and 8 are not very far apart from each other but the new camera is slightly bigger and the most noticeable part is the screen is also wider so if you want to have a larger screen then Hero 9 is the one to go. The problem is this screen is surprisingly laggy which is weird because Hero 8 is very responsive. Another difference is the additional second screen at the front of Hero 9.
The Hero 8 also has the screen but it is now full color so not only stats, it also shows you the preview for a self-recording convenience. Out of these differences, Hero 9 and Hero 8 are very similar to each other including for the waterproofing ability which is like a standard for their cameras. The unit itself is still robust and should sustain some stress in typical application.
GoPro Hero 9 and 8 Specs
Now for the most important part, let’s see what GoPro Hero 9 and 8 can offer starting from the basics. The two are very much similar but Hero 9 is adding 8MP more into the sensor that should improve the details on the image or produce better stills if you need to crop it later. Right out of the box the most noticeable is actually the field of view because Hero 9 is wider and we love this lens since it captures more of the scene yet still looks very natural.
GoPro Hero 9 and 8 Video Quality
In terms of video quality, they are more similar than different but side by side, not identical as well. GoPro has been known to play a lot with contrast so you will get a more prominent color from Hero 9 than in 8, which gives it a slightly warmer tone as well, especially on your skin. Note that Hero 9 bump up the recording mode to 5K while Hero 8 was only 4K yet, this is only noticeable in result if you will view the video on a large 4K display as we get crisper details from the new camera.
On the other side we will talk about the audio and stabilization of GoPro Hero 9 and 8. We all know that GoPro is one of the best when it comes to internal microphone even against the similar cameras at the same price point but in comparison Hero 9 did better than Hero with a cleaner and sharper result that sounds more natural as well. The stabilization is still superb but personally it is too subtle so we don’t see a meaningful difference as Hero 8 was already amazing in this part.
GoPro Hero 9 and 8 Features
Lastly, we want to talk about the additional features you will find on the Hero 9 which is not present on the previous camera and one of the most interesting is horizon levelling, without the mod. Yes, you can use this feature which was first introduced in MAX but just by activating the mode without installing the mod. The difference is your footage will look a bit jittery or not as smooth and not as wide as when using the mod.
In addition, the Hero 9 also offers new features for taking stills with scheduled capture besides the previous features like timer, Protune, and RAW images. Speaking of stills in low light, in testing the Hero 8 seems to capture brighter images but as you zoom into the details, Hero 9 works better with noise reduction.
Gopro Hero 9 vs 8
Both cameras are impressive and you can see some differences here and there with Hero 9 being the overall better cameras, not necessarily prominent on the image quality but the additional features it comes with. The 5K looks impressive on a large screen, the horizon leveling is also useful even without the mod, and you get two color displays on the camera. The drawback besides cost is that the screen is sluggish which is kind of annoying since it is an expensive camera so we hope at least it is as fast as the Hero 8.
You can go amazing with any of them based on which seems more interesting. If these mentioned features are going to be useful in your application then we recommend getting the Hero 9 but if you just want a reliable action camera, the Hero 8 is still very much worth the price.