Since their introduction, GoPro’s HERO cameras have consistently outperformed the competition in the action camera market. It is the first action camera to capture true 5K video and the first GoPro to include a built-in front-facing view screen – as well as a touch-enabled view screen on the rear of the camera. Their latest flagship offering, the HERO 9 Black, continues that tradition. Its predecessor, the HERO 8 Black (which was released in 2019), is also a fantastic action camera in its own right.

These are the most recent models from the top action camera manufacturer, and they are the GoPro Max and Hero 9 to be released. The Hero 9 is the newest in a long line of “Hero” cameras from GoPro, and it has the greatest video quality of any GoPro camera to date, according to the company. A second-generation 360 camera, the Max is capable of capturing unique views that are not feasible with previous GoPro cameras. It also has a lower resolution “Hero Mode,” which effectively turns the Max into two cameras in a single package.

Specifications for the GoPro Max and Hero 9

SpecsGoPro Hero 9GoPro Max
Video Resolution5K @ 30fps4K @ 60fps360 Mode5.6K @ 30fps3K @ 60fpsHero Mode1440p @ 30fps,1080p @ 60fps
Max Bit Rate100MBPS78MBPS
Video ModesTimelapseTimewarp360 ModeHero ModeTimelapseTimewarp
StabilizationHyper smooth 3.0Hyper smooth 2.0
LivestreamYes -1080pYes -1080p
Audio2 Channel Microphones/ Audio Mod Availablex6 Microphones / Ambisonic Audio

Photo Resolution20MP360 Mod18MP
Photo ModesSuperPhotoContinuous PhotoBurstLiveBurstNight ShotStandardIntervalPower Pano

Screen1 LCD Touchscreen1 Front LCD Display1 LCD Touchscreen
Memory128Gb MicroSD128Gb MicroSD
BatteryLi-Ion, Approx 600 Photos, 60 Minutes of VideoLi-Ion, 45 Minutes of Video
Other FeaturesBuilt-in MountVoice ControlHindsightBuilt-In MountVoice Control
credit threesixtycameras

Max vs Hero 9: Stabilization & Action Shots

gopro max vs gopro hero 9
image credit threesixtycameras

The main reason action cameras are purchased is for footage when you’re moving. Vlogging or daredevil exploits may be all it takes. If so, this equipment should have effective stabilization. And in the last several years, GoPro has successfully implemented software stabilization, eliminating the need for additional equipment.

A specific term for this piece of software is called Hypersmooth and it enables you to capture moving video without having to worry about your movie being unwatchable. Both the Hero 9 and the Max ship with Hypersmooth, although they operate in a somewhat different manner.

Hyper smooth has the newest version of its stabilization algorithm loaded on the Hero 9, and it is among the finest implementations of the technology that we’ve seen. I’ve done extensive testing and it does a fantastic job at smoothing out action pictures. For the most part, it functions well, however trying to turn the camera upside down doesn’t provide good results.

the greatest stability, do this GoPro has a video mode just for action shots. In this mode, the video quality is reduced to 2.7K, but you will have access to a “boost” that will help you while shooting in high motion. You must compromise some smoothness if you want to retain the best quality.

The Hero 9’s 3-axis stability can’t best the Max. Generally speaking, 360-degree cameras have an advantage over conventional action cameras since they have more footage to work with. Extreme action pictures may be made to appear professional, thanks to the software that is often referred to as Hypersmooth.

This extra level of rigidity comes with the little drawback of reduced image quality while shooting in 360 degrees, but I believe it’s worth it.


Timewarp is both the Hero 9 and Max’s video mode. It is basically a moving timelapse, and in the past, only very high-budget films were able to use this technique. Budget cameras may achieve the same end result as more expensive models by using software stabilization.

Timewarp shots allow you to shoot in any direction while maintaining the HD clarity and resolution of the Hero 9. Time warping may take more time and need more post-production work, but the results are markedly different.

Max vs Hero 9: Design

HERO9 Black Camera Quick User Guide | GoPro
image credit GoPro

Both the GoPro Max and Hero 9 carry on the long-standing heritage of outstanding build quality that GoPro has instilled in all of its products over the years. The Hero 9 is the first GoPro to have two displays, a big touch screen on the back and a tiny display on the front, making it the first GoPro to do so. Because you no longer have to guess if the camera is aimed properly, self-filming and vlogging become much easier.

The Max has a single big touch screen, but while filming in 360 degrees, you don’t have to worry about where the camera is looking since you’ll always be in the picture if you’re in the shot. Both cameras include a built-in GoPro mount, and they are both water-resistant to a depth of 50 meters (164 feet).

Max vs Hero 9: Video Quality & Modes

The GoPro Hero 9 is the first GoPro in the Hero series to capture video at 5K resolution. This is a significant improvement over the Hero 8 and enables the camera to produce the highest-quality footage of any GoPro camera to date. When viewing video clips captured with the GoPro, it is apparent that the high quality produces footage that is extremely crisp.

GoPro has earned a reputation for having some of the finest color technology in the business, and the Hero 9 reaps the advantages of this to a significant degree. The camera is capable of capturing a wide dynamic range, colors that seem genuine, and details that are very well maintained. It performs best in the daytime but suffers at night, and you will most certainly hear noise in low-light situations with the Hero 9. Considering that all action cameras, even those with tiny sensors in their lenses, suffer from this restriction it should come as no surprise.

Video resolutions and framerates in a variety of combinations are available with the Hero 9, allowing you to be more creative with the videos you record. It is my personal choice to shoot in 4K at 60 frames per second since it is the most effective method to record smooth-flowing footage while maintaining excellent quality. The Hero 9 is capable of this, as well as super slow motion at 120 frames per second at 1440p and 240 frames per second at 1080p. Slow-motion is simple and quick to record, and the results will be much superior to anything you can take with your phone.

The Hero 9 is also the first GoPro to have a removable lens, which makes it a first in the industry. GoPro will be releasing more lenses in the future, which could potentially allow the camera to do new functions.

I’ve been using the Hero 9 when it was first released and have been very pleased with the video quality that can be captured with this little camera. In addition to the automatic settings, there are a number of manual choices to experiment with, and the final result is really remarkable for a camera that can easily fit in the palm of your hand.

A whole different beast altogether, yet in some ways even more amazing than the GoPro Hero 5. The Max is equipped with two lenses, which allow it to record 360-degree video at 5.7K quality. While this is greater than the Hero 9’s 5K pixels, the final result is less crisp footage since the 5.7K pixels must be distributed over 360 degrees, while the Hero 9’s 5K pixels can be contained inside about 120 degrees.

While the 360 video isn’t as crisp as a traditional video, it has tremendous creative possibilities. The whole environment around you is captured in 360 degrees when you photograph in 360 degrees. You won’t have to worry about pointing your camera towards the action since it will constantly be recording it. When filming in 360 degrees, there is simply no way to miss a single moment.

After that, you can shoot a 360-degree movie and reframe it using the very useful GoPro software (which allows you to select where the camera is pointed after you’ve shot the video). Here’s an example of how a reframed video was taken using the Max appears.

The kind of photos you can obtain with the Max is much superior to anything you can get with the Hero 9, but the quality of those pictures suffers as a result. In the event that you do not reframe your 360 videos, you may submit it as an immersive video that can be watched via a virtual reality headset (VR headset).

There is another option accessible in the Max, known as Hero Mode, which allows you to record “normal” video with just one of the two lenses. Those who like combining 360-degree footage with conventional video will appreciate this feature, which effectively transforms the Max into two cameras in a single package. Hero mode is restricted to resolutions of 1440p at 30 frames per second or 1080p at 60 frames per second. In 2020, resolutions will be restricted, but they will still be enough for filming material on social media platforms.


Although it is unlikely that you would purchase any of these cameras just for the purpose of taking photographs, it is good to have the choice when shopping. In this particular comparison, the Hero 9 is unquestionably the superior camera for photographic purposes.

The hero 9 features a variety of photo modes, including HDR and RAW, which may produce some really stunning images when used properly. Will it be able to compete with a DSLR? Absolutely not, in fact, some contemporary phones are capable of outshooting it, but for fast snaps, it’s no slouch in the performance department.

Unfortunately, the Max is unable to compete with the Hero 9 since it does not provide the same number of picture choices. Its sole benefit is that it can take immersive 360-degree pictures, which may be entertaining to experiment with; otherwise, I seldom bother to utilize the camera mode.

Which Should You Buy

The Hero 9 and the Max are like comparing a motorcycle with an automobile; both may be fantastic, but you will almost certainly choose one over the other. As I said at the outset of this article, hero 9 is built with the goal of achieving the highest possible video quality in mind, and it succeeds. It also has the most recent GoPro technologies, such as Hindsight shooting, a removable lens, and various display options. It is without a doubt the most technologically sophisticated GoPro camera to date.

In terms of editing, the Max is a dream come true; you’ll likely spend more time in the app fiddling with the footage than you would actually record it. You can take some really unusual pictures with the Max that are not feasible with the Hero 9, but the images will not be as crisp as they would be with the Hero 9.

There you have it; whether you want the most creative possibilities (buy the Max) or the greatest video quality, we’ve got you covered (get the Hero 9). Regardless, you will be very delighted, and I am pleased to see that GoPro is back on top of its game.


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