Let us settle one of the major debates in the action camera industry- GoPro 8 vs 9. I’ve been using the GoPro 8 for a while now and wanted to get an upgrade on my birthday 2 months later. But at the same time, I want to be sure that the new camera I want to invest in is worth it. After using this particular brand, I genuinely feel it is one of the best action cameras anyone can get their hands on.
I have gone skiing, surfing, kayaking, and so much more, and my GoPro 8 has been a perfect companion. However, the attractive sibling GoPro 9 has entered the market, and I have been eyeing it as a birthday gift myself.
And being highly interested in the field of photography, I always go for proper research before making any purchases. And that’s it! Here I am to tell you everything you need to know about GoPro 8 vs 9. Is it worth upgrading to the successive version if you already have a GoPro 8? And if you need to choose between the two, which one should you go for?
Let’s begin the comparison.
- 1 GoPro 8 vs 9- the key differences you need to know
- 2 GoPro 8 vs 9- which is better?
- 3 FAQs
GoPro 8 vs 9- the key differences you need to know
Comparing two flagship GoPro action cameras is not an easy task. And there are a significant number of differences you will be interested in.
I want the comparison to be as systematic as possible, which is why I will explain the differences in aspects like the bill quality, design, features, price range, etc.
So let’s get started!
Build and design
If you keep both cameras next to each other, you will notice that the GoPro Hero 9 is approximately 10% bigger than Hero 8. It also weighs slightly more (158g vs 126g). The design of both cameras is very similar, and both resemble rectangular boxes.
Both the bodies are waterproof, and you do not need any separate waterproof housing. And both of them come with a touch screen to view the footage and images. That touch screen in the GoPro 9 is slightly bigger than the one in GoPro 8, and the difference is around 1.95 inches.
The front screen on the GoPro Hero 9 is a full-color live view one, while the GoPro Hero 8 has a black and white screen where you can only see the status information.
The GoPro Hero 8 and 9 have a single compartment door, but the design is better in Hero 9. Neither has an HDMI output port, but you can add it by purchasing a separate accessory. In Hero 8, the lens port is fixed, but you can remove it in Hero 9.
While testing the Hero 9, I felt the power button slightly raised. And honestly, it made it easier to press and hold the button.
If I have to give an overall statement regarding the build and design factor, the GoPro Hero 8 feels lightweight and compact. And even though the Hero 9 is a little bigger, it wins this round because of the color screen in the front.
Resolution and display
The difference in GoPro 8 vs 9 is more significant in this department. Hero 9 must feel like a topper student who already knows they have secured the highest marks in the exam. The sensor resolution is approximately double as compared to Hero 8. The Hero 9 has a 23.6 sensor and allows you to shoot 5k videos.
Even though extra reservation does not always mean better photo quality, but the Hero 9 has managed to deliver extra details and better clarity. Hero 8 does not allow 5k, but you can quickly shoot in 4k, which is sufficient for social media content.
But I must mention that even Hero 8 is not far behind in image quality, and I have not had any significant complaints since I started using it.
User interface and controls
The user interfaces and control of a camera matter a lot to me because, in situations where you are traveling and engaging in adventurous activities, convenience plays a significant role.
I have observed that the way of interacting with the camera interface is similar in both GoPro Hero 8 and 9. There are just a few changes in the menu system, and the names of some settings look different, but you will get used to it quickly.
You will have to access the menu using the rear touch screen in both cameras. GoPro 8 and 9 offer go Pro mobile app support to control the camera remotely. Voice control support is available on both, and the shutter button is similar.
The front screen on the GoPro Hero 9 is bigger, but I also expected it to be touch sensitive. But unfortunately, it is not. GoPro Hero 8 and 9 support remote control, and you can take advantage of the features by controlling them wirelessly via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
However, when you try to connect a remote with the Hero 9, you might face some minor issues in the beginning. But once you update the firmware to the latest version, it should work fine.
Regarding the user interface, I feel Hero 8 does a pretty good job, and you get a lot of convenience for the price you are paying. But Hero 9 still has that edge due to the upgrades here and there and for just taking the camera to its utmost potential.
Okay, be prepared because we are going deep in this department. They are quite a few differences in features. And, of course, it is always expected with a new update.
The GoPro 8 has a 12MP lens which lets you record 4K videos at 60 frames per second. The GoPro 9 goes ahead in this department and offers you a 20MP lens. And apart from the same rating while shooting 4K videos, you can also shoot 5k content at 30 fps.
There is an additional upbraid in terms of resolution in the GoPro 9. Irrespective of how challenging a situation is, the GoPro 9 can apply cropped stabilizations. I will not say that the GoPro 8 was far behind in terms of stabilization, but if I want to shoot a video while riding down a rocky hill, I might reach out for the GoPro 9.
Both the cameras are waterproof up to 33 feet and can reduce the noise in content beautifully. Another feature I enjoyed in the GoPro 9 is the in-camera horizontal leveling. The GoPro 8 couldn’t do that without depending on the app, and I appreciate the brand for adding this feature to the GoPro 9.
While testing this feature, I noticed that almost every single video I shot turned out much better. And it is one of the features that inclines me more toward the GoPro 9.
There are a few more exciting things tools in the GoPro 9 that I want to discuss in brief-
Time-reversal- The GoPro had this feature too, but the GoPro 9 has the advanced version. Many GoPro users call this feature the time reversal process, where the GoPro 9 can capture up to 30 seconds of footage before you even press the record button.
Doesn’t this seem so relaxing? You do not have to feel that you just missed any action. Moreover, it is effortless to activate this feature.
Scheduled captures– this is another exciting feature in the GoPro 9, where it supports scheduled recording. Want to record the perfect sunset video?
No worries, you can simply schedule a timelapse and let the camera start recording 15 minutes before the estimated sunset time. When the camera is supposed to start recording, it will wake up automatically and do its job. I don’t know about you, but I was very impressed with this feature.
Time warp 3.0- the GoPro 9 does not see improvements just for the sake of it. I have observed that each feature has been carefully thought out to make the entire shooting process convenient for you. With the introduction of the Time warp 3.0 feature, you can even record audio when you slow down your fast motion footage to its average speed or even lesser.
You may feel that GoPro has complicated the process by introducing many new features. But trust me when I say this, they are not complicated at all, and you can use them efficiently.
Video shooting performance
The first cool thing about using the GoPro 9 is that you get 5k video support which is not available in the GoPro 8. You get a rate of 30 frames per second with 5k, which is pretty decent. If you want to shoot more expansive scenes, the 5k can do a better job. However, the 4k frame is taller in comparison.
The fastest frame rate on both cameras is 240fps, and the slowest is 24fps. The new GoPro 9 also lets you enjoy the HyperSmooth in-camera video stabilization. And that relieves me as I’m prone to shaky hands while shooting.
Both GoPro 8 and 9 feature a maximum bitrate of 100Mbps. Bitrate refers to the amount of data needed to record any video. So the higher the bitrate, the higher will be the data requirement. When the bitrate is high, it means you get better quality videos. But at the same time, I will add that the difference is not easily visible.
Here are some extra differences you will come across in GoPro 8 vs 9.
- The GoPro 9 lets you set a fixed duration while recording videos and is very helpful when you want to capture content during a known period. There is no limit while using this feature. GoPro 8 gives you only up to 30 seconds, which is not wrong but more appropriate for social media uploads.
- Both GoPro 8 and 9 support shooting videos in slow motion. However, you cannot use this feature if you use the 5k resolution in GoPro 9.
- The built-in lenses are the same in both cameras. But if I have to pick a difference, the lens in the GoPro 9 offer a broader perspective.
- In the live streaming department, GoPro 8 and 9 perform very similarly. If you’re a vlogger who loves recording their day-to-day lives and streaming them for their viewers, you’ll love using this feature.
You can easily do live streaming on various social media platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Live. The only difference is that while the live streaming mode came in later for the GoPro 8 via a firmware update, it was a standard feature that came with the GoPro 9.
- Want to highlight some critical sections in your video? You can achieve that using the Highlights tag available in both cameras.
Capturing still images
We discussed the differences in recording videos in the previous section. Now let us discuss how the GoPro 8 and 9 perform while clicking still images. Honestly, when I purchased the GoPro 8, it wasn’t for clicking still pictures.
I have used it more for shooting videos because I feel that’s how you can use GoPro action cameras to their full potential. After all, there is a reason why they are termed action cameras.
However, now that I’m sharing the differences between GoPro 8 vs 9 in terms of multiple aspects, it’s fair to test out the photo-clicking capacity too.
You can click RAW or HDR images using both cameras, but the quality is noticeably better in the GoPro 9. And I feel the 20MP vs 12MP sensor contributes a lot to this performance. The resolution seems higher and better in the images clicked by the GoPro 9. But again, the GoPro 8 isn’t bad at this, either.
I don’t prefer selecting the RAW format because I usually want things done quickly. But using the RAW output format delays the process significantly. I have to export the images to another format before touching them or editing them.
There is another issue you might already be familiar with if you have dealt with RAW GoPro profiles. There are hardly a few applications available that can read the RAW format. So overall, it becomes very inconvenient for me.
I wasn’t satisfied with the low-light performance of either camera. But when there is one disadvantage, there is another advantage to balance it. Every person who uses any camera has some particular settings they are comfortable in and which go with their overall style. GoPro 8 and 9 have custom shooting presets, using which you can create shortcuts to use your preferred settings combinations easily.
GoPro 8 and 9 perform similarly in terms of ISO range, manual shutter speed, exposure compensation, focus capabilities, shooting modes, etc. Features like continuous shooting, LiveBurst, night mode, digital zoom, self-timer, etc, work on both cameras.
The chances are high that you will like the performance of the GoPro 9 better than the GoPro 8. But I have to give credit where it’s due. Because the 9 is an upgraded version, choosing between the two should have been plain and simple.
But it is far from that because the GoPro 8 offers some fantastic features at the price range it is available in. And it is very much worthy of competing against its successor.
Remote control and connectivity
GoPro 8 and 9 perform great while connected wirelessly via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If you want to charge your camera, you can use a USB-C cable to connect it to a power source. If your charger is faulty, you can also use an external charger. But do not exchange the batteries between both models as you will damage them.
Regarding remote control, the Hero 9 did not include a separate remote control at the time of release, and it is not compatible with the Smart Remote either. With GoPro 8, you can use the Smart remote. If you face any issues while trying for remote control in the GoPro 9, try updating the firmware, which will solve most problems.
There is a significant difference between GoPro 8 vs 9 in terms of battery life. The size of the battery in GoPro 9 is larger than the one in GoPro 8. And due to this increased battery size, the battery life in the GoPro 9 is more too. GoPro 8 has a capacity of 1220 mAh, and the capacity in the GoPro 9 has gone up to 1720mAh.
Hence, if you do the calculations, you will conclude that the endurance power in the GoPro 9 is approximately 30% higher than in the GoPro 8. Another factor to consider here is that the battery life does not depend entirely on the size itself. It depends on multiple Celerio used in settings and even climatic conditions. For example, if the weather is too hot or too cold, it is not suitable for lithium-ion batteries.
But the size determines how a battery can tolerate extreme climatic conditions. For example, if you want to go skiing and record the whole experience, a camera with a bigger battery will be a better choice.
While testing the battery life of the GoPro 8 and 9, I noticed that when I switched to the 5k resolution in the GoPro 9, there was a little bit of overheating. And after I crossed the 30-minute mark, the camera became unbearably hot and stopped working altogether. So I cannot suggest you use the full resolution while recording.
On the other hand, if you choose the full HD recording mode, the GoPro 9 did a better job as I could use it for almost two and a half hours. However, the GoPro 8 worked for around one and a half hours.
If I do not consider the full 5k resolution, the GoPro 9 is better in terms of battery life.
This is the last factor in the comparison process. The GoPro 8 is obviously cheaper than the GoPro 9. However, the price of the GoPro 8 is perfect according to the features you are getting. At the same time, even though GoPro 9 is a little expensive, the extra features you are getting at that price difference make the experience worth it, in my opinion.
GoPro 8 vs 9- which is better?
Now we have reached the most crucial section of the article. Which one to choose between GoPro 8 vs 9? Both these models are top-rated by the brand. And from what I have seen in terms of performance, the hype around them is worth it.
I am already a fan of GoPro 8, as I have been using it for a while now. But if I have to be 100% honest, both GoPro 8 and 9 seem to be very ‘value for money.’ If you do not like a bigger-sized, slightly heavy camera, the GoPro 8 might be more suitable for you.
But in terms of performance, specifications, features, battery life, and tools, the GoPro 9 takes the crown. Yes, it is slightly expensive, but the difference is only around $50. And paying that extra money will give you that superior results too.
The ultimate decision depends on the budget you are willing to go for. The GoPro 8 is a brilliant choice at its available price point. And you will never regret that decision. But if you can stretch your wallet strings a little and reach the budget of GoPro 9, it is worth taking that leap of faith.
Is the GoPro 9 or 8 better?
Both GoPro 8 and 9 offer great features at their available prices. You can check which one fits your budget and choose either accordingly.
GoPro 8 is fabulous, but if you are willing to spend some extra money and invest in the GoPro 9, it has some significant upgrades, which can be a game changer in many scenarios.
GoPro 9 has a larger sensor, a better resolution, Time Warp 3.0, 5k video support, and more. You can go through the features to check which suits your requirements better.
Is there much difference between GoPro 8 and 9?
The differences between GoPro 8 and 9 are not groundbreaking but can make your own experience significantly better. The GoPro 9 is slightly bigger and heavier than GoPro 8. GoPro 8 has a 12MP sensor, while the GoPro 9 has a 20MP sensor.
The battery life is improved in the GoPro 9, and you also get 5k video support, which is not available in GoPro 8. There are a few more exciting tools to explore while shooting videos and images. But the GoPro 9 is available at a higher price point comparatively.
Is GoPro Hero 9 worth it?
If you already have a GoPro 8, you can check out the price difference and the extra features to determine whether it is what upgrading for you. But it is worth it if you do not have any GoPro cameras and are considering investing in a GoPro 9.
Does the GoPro Hero 8 and 9 use the same battery?
No, if you keep the batteries of both GoPro 8 and 9 next to each other, they may look similar. But in reality, they do not use the same batteries. The GoPro 9 uses a bumped-up battery, which offers you improved battery life.
The battery capacity of GoPro 8 is 1220 mAh, while it is 1720 mAh in GoPro 9. So you are getting approximately 30% more stamina in GoPro 9.