I got my hands on the original GoPro HERO 35mm back in 2005. At the time, I thought of it as nothing more than a mere toy to play around with and film skateboarding stunts. However, in an unexpected twist of fate, I've found myself using GoPro cameras on a daily basis for the last 15 years, both as a hobbyist and as a professional post-production consultant.
Since then, GoPro has released over 20 different camera models, each iteration being superior to the ones we've seen before. Considering I'm someone who has used all of these cameras throughout the years, I decided it would be great if I've written a detailed guide reviewing all the existing GoPro models and ranking them from best to worst.
Best GoPro Action Camera
#1 GoPro HERO9 Black
The absolute best GoPro camera is, of course, the brand-new GoPro HERO9 Black. If I had to describe this camera using one sentence, I'd say "It's like GoPro HERO8 Black but much better!"... and we all know how great HERO8 Black was is.
New Design & Distinct Look
GoPro HERO9 Black is about 10% larger than it's predecessors. Some fans heavily disliked this change, but I think it's extremely beneficial overall. It allowed GoPro to incorporate some new hardware changes to HERO9 Black and make it more powerful, similar to DSLR cameras.
Worry not, as it's still very much light and pocketable. If you've used GoPro cameras before, but not extensively, you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference. It's only noticeable to experienced GoPro users that live with their action camera by their side.
Improved Resolution & Video/Photo Quality
GoPro HERO9 Black comes with a 23.6MP sensor. HERO8 Black had a 12MP sensor, so you can assume the difference is noticeable. And it is! Photos and videos taken using HERO9 Black are so crispy and clean that, unless you're an industry professional, you won't ever need a DSLR camera.
When it comes to videos, you can now record in 5K. I want to say this is something we've never seen before when it comes to GoPro cameras, but that wouldn't be completely true. Previously GoPro MAX introduced a 5.6K resolution for their spherical (360 degrees) videos. However, that's a whole different type of recording and it had it's downsides.
Otherwise, HERO9 Black videos are simply amazing. Don't listen to the skeptics - you'll be able to tell the difference.
GoPro Hindsight - Time Travel
Although HERO9 introduced many new features, Hindsight is the one I want to talk about specifically. It allows users to start their recording 15 or 30 seconds before the capture button was pressed.
So, what's the catch? There isn't one. It works exactly as advertised.
You set Hindsight to 30 seconds and press the record button. After you stop filming, the video in your storage will contain footage of whatever your GoPro lens was pointed at for half a minute before you started recording.
This is useful in different situations, especially when filming stunts for an extended period of time. If you have any experience doing that, you know how frustrating it can get when you manage to perform whatever you were trying to do properly after your 100th try, and the cameraman pressed the capture button one second too late. Hindsight takes care of that.
Finally, I want to mention the massive improvements GoPro HERO9 Black brings to the table, compared to previously known GoPro technology.
First off, video stabilization, dubbed HyperSmooth, has been reworked. In the past, HyperSmooth had its issues and it just wasn't good enough for mountain biking or similar high-velocity activities. Using HERO9 Black, even if you're going downhill at 100 mph, your videos will be noticeably less shaky.
Next, TimeWarp 3.0 and TimeLapse 3.0 have been greatly improved. Previous iterations of TimeWarp didn't support sound when you slow down your videos. However, using GoPro HERO9 Black, you can record audio up to 0.5x of original video speed.
Other important features have also been improved, and some new ones introduced, such as scheduled capture, horizon leveling, the swappable lens cover, and many others.
So... Should I buy HERO9 Black?
Yes! Unless you already own HERO8 Black and you believe you simply won't find a use for HERO9s increased durability, battery life, and footage quality.
#2 GoPro HERO8 Black
Until HERO9 was announced, HERO8 was the best GoPro 2020 had to offer. It's mostly praised for its stabilization upgrades but it also manages to improve in every other area compared to its previous models - mainly image and video quality.
If you already used one of the older HERO models, you'll notice that GoPro HERO8 doesn’t have an HDMI port and its USB-C port is positioned horizontally instead of vertically. For some people, this change shouldn’t be significant but for others, it can be a problem.
Fans that have used Hero 5/6/7 accessories, unfortunately, can’t use them on Hero8. It is also slightly larger than HERO7 so think in advance what additional equipment you will need before buying HERO8. Some of the best accessories for GoPros overall are exclusive to Hero8.
#3 GoPro MAX: Best 360 GoPro
Compared to other popular action cameras, MAX is more expensive. Still, for the (premium) price, you get a lot of features, which is exactly what you'd expect from one of the highest-quality 360 cams available.
First of all, GoPro MAX is a camera that can record in 360 degrees and will satisfy both casual users, adventure vloggers, and extreme athletes.
Unfortunately, GoPro MAX doesn’t support 4K. This is a letdown for some since many other GoPro models or smartphones go up to 4000 pixels. On the brighter side, it uses double-lens technology and is marketed as being three cameras in the body of one.
What are you talking about? Am I really getting three cameras for the price of one?
Well... not exactly. The feature that GoPro refers to as "three separate cameras" is a revolutionary functionality of switching between different camera modes at will.
The first mode is a traditional Hero-like action cam. It utilizes one of the two available lenses and it's best used as a classic GoPro for filming anything ranging from casual occurrences to extreme POV stunts riding your bike.
Next, you can use digital lenses, which there are four of. The available POVs are distortion-free linear, wide, narrow, and MAX SuperView. The first three are fairly common, but we'll explain SuperView. Using additional sensors, it records in 4:3 and then stretches it to 16:9. This results in a wider, almost panoramic recording that's best used when you want to wider than wide.
Finally, you didn't think GoPro MAX has two lenses just for show, did you? Using both lenses, you can record 360-degree videos effortlessly. When viewing the footage, it's possible to adjust the FOV using GoPro's touchscreen or supporting software on PC/Mac.
Superb Audio Quality & More
Another great feature is an excellent audio performance. GoPro MAX has six microphones providing very impressive stereo sound. Because of this, it is widely regarded as the GoPro sporting the best sound quality. It can prioritize one microphone no matter what camera you are using.
Furthermore, it's professional stabilization, timewarp, and impressive software will surprise you.
What We Disliked
You can edit any video on spot using the provided software. However, for editing in terms of color-correcting, exposure, etc… you will probably need additional software.
For people that enjoy nighttime adventures, the sad news is there is no night-mode for GoProMAX.
Also, if your journey lasts longer than a day, or if you plan to record using timelapse, we recommend that you bring a pair of additional batteries.
For anyone in need of high-quality 360 footage, this is our recommendation. But if you are looking for a better quality video, you should probably buy HERO8 Black or even HERO9 Black because of the possibility of a 4k recording. If you are interested in a more detailed comparison, check out our GoPro MAX Review.
#4 GoPro Hero7 Black
HERO7 Black is the best GoPro for the money - period. Otherwise, this camera’s greatest features are its stabilization ability and picture quality.
We also recommend HERO7 Black to people that are interested in recording their hiking, driving bike, or motorbike adventures, they will be surprised with the quality of stabilization but also the quality of the video.
There are a lot of different mods and options that can be used for recording or taking pictures. Unfortunately, you probably won’t take great pictures or videos in the dark and in places with low light.
Another great feature is that it can easily be controlled by a smartphone but the problem with that is that Wi-Fi uses a lot of battery, so like for any other camera, we recommend you buying few pairs of batteries. Extra batteries and an additional SD card are what you must-have for every GoPro.
This camera is a great buy and we fully recommend it to anyone who is interested in taking the recordings of his hobbies from amateur to professional level. Some people who bought Hero7 Black complained that the camera overheats, this can be a problem if you are recording in hot areas, so be careful not to leave your camera in direct sun or in hot environments.
#5 GoPro Hero7 Silver
This camera supports two modes: 4K and 1440p. Rarely who needs to record in 1440p, and unfortunately, you can’t record in 1080p.
The first thing you need to do when you buy this camera is to update firmware, but after that using the camera is pretty easy for anyone.
The camera has great stabilization and it takes great pictures even in extremely sunny scenes. Neat features of this camera are voice controls and it can record underwater.
Problem for most people with this camera is that it has a non-removable battery. With the battery you get, you can record for about an hour, so for anyone interested in recording longer periods, this isn’t our recommendation.
This camera is not our recommendation, especially because of its limitations in terms of lengths of recording. It’s been a few years since it was released and the price dropped, so if you are looking for a GoPro under 200 $ it is worth it.
#6 GoPro Hero7 White
GoPro Hero7 white is one of the cheaper GoPro cameras. But even though it's cheap, it provides you with smooth 1440p video and great photo quality.
The greatest problem of this camera is that it doesn’t have a swappable battery. Additional batteries is something everyone should bring when they are planning an adventure up ahead that will take multiple hours or even a whole day but unfortunately this camera provides you with limited possibilities.
If you are looking for a small waterproof camera you can bring anywhere, this will probably satisfy your needs for the price. But today, in 2020, every phone probably has better picture and video quality than this camera.
However, compared to the other best GoPro cameras that cost a lot more money, Hero7 White has most of the features more expensive GoPro cameras have like touch screen, voice control, time lapse, stabilization, and the possibility of taking great underwater recordings and pictures.
We recommend this camera for beginners that don’t need a lot of options and features and are just entering the world of action cameras but if you are looking to record longer videos, you will probably be better off with an older camera with a swappable battery.
#7 GoPro Fusion
For anyone in need for a 360 camera with a low budget, this is probably your best bet. This camera isn’t the best 360 camera on the market but for the price of around 200 euros you probably won’t find a better one.
This camera has great video and outstanding photo quality. What people really like about this camera is that the stitching is very easy, but not very fast, of course you will need a good computer and editing skills to make everything perfect.
You will have great experience recording skydiving, driving bikes or motorbikes and skiing or snowboarding.
What you need to have in mind is that you need to have a lot of storage both on your computer and on your camera, raw footage has about 1 GB per minute before stitching, and it could take a lot more after stitching.
Overall this is a great camera, and even greater since it’s cheap for its abilities but this camera needs 2 micro SD cards to even function, one for front and one for back camera, and every minute takes a lot space.
Rendering can take a lot, and you will probably need a newer computer if you are ready to work with this camera.
#8 GoPro Hero6 Black
GoPro Hero6 Black
When it was released, this was probably the best Go Pro camera you could find. Today, it's by no means a bad pick, but it isn't as impressive as it was.
It comes with a lot of great features, you can connect your camera with your phone and automatically send footage to your phone. To view and edit the footage, you must have GoPro approved device or software.
Like any other GoPro camera, it has amazing stabilization, video and photo quality for the price. Of course, this camera is a few years old and the newest phones probably have better video and photo quality, but when in need for an action camera with a lower price, we recommend you this one.
A lot of problems that people have with this camera are the result of not having a larger micro SD for it.
#9 GoPro Hero5 Black
GoPro Hero5 Black
There are a lot of great things with this camera, it’s portable, it has great audio and video quality and like every other GoPro camera it has a great stabilization for the price.
This camera is a little older and its price still hasn’t fallen down a lot. It has a lot of great features for it’s age, it has voice controls, touch screen, the possibility of live streaming and a great time-lapse option.
In lowlight, when the sky is cloudy or the environment is shady this camera has a lot of problems with taking pictures and the grain is quite visible no matter the resolution or quality.
People that need gloves while recording will have a problem since you can’t use the touch screen without the gloves that are made for that.
The audio isn’t really great, probably because of the waterproof design, but you also can’t use an external microphone unless buying an adapter provided by the GoPro company.
The problem many people had with this camera is that the camera wasn’t really waterproof even though they followed the instructions. A lot of people didn’t have this problem and said that the camera was waterproof, so the problem is that this GoPro camera can come with manufacturing issues. Even though it will take time, if this happens, and you followed all the rules, GoPro will send you a replacement
Overall, this is one amazing GoPro camera.
#10 GoPro HERO (2018)
GoPro Hero (2018)
If you can get this camera for under 250 euros it will probably be worth the price, this camera is a little old for today's needs but like any other GoPro you really get the quality for the price.
Important thing about this camera is that you need a phone that supports 5 Ghz or otherwise it won’t connect.
Like with most of the GoPro cameras, you will probably need a lot of time to understand how to use it since it doesn’t come with a good instruction manual and people often complained that this camera isn’t really reliable.
Sometimes it has problems with charging before the first use, there are a lot of cases of this camera not working as it should and it often stops working for no reason.
If your camera is working, the biggest problem can be overheating and short battery life.
Good thing about this camera is that it uploads the footage quickly to your phone. After all this camera is a GoPro so it’s portable, has great features and a great video and photo quality.
We wouldn’t recommend this camera since there are a lot better choices and it has many negative reviews.
GoPro Camera Buying Guide
For today's needs and monitors, you must have a video camera that supports 60 frames per second but also, depending on your needs, has a possibility of switching to 30 Fps.
For all you professionals, we recommend buying a camera that can record in 4K - that’s our main suggestion.
In 2020, more and more phones have the possibility of recording in 4K, so if you need high-quality footage you need to get a camera that supports 4K recording.
For someone that needs to record videos of greater length and lower video quality or for someone that simply doesn’t need or want to spend more money on a camera, it’s okay to buy a camera that can only record in 1080p or 1440p.
For both photo or video quality, you can’t make a mistake with any GoPro camera since all of the available models support 4K videos.
Depending on your interests, whether you will record videos that last for few minutes, or hour-long footage, we suggest you that you prepare additional money for the SD cards.
We don’t suggest you rely primarily on the SD card that comes with the camera since it will probably not be enough if you plan on recording lengthy footage or time-lapses.
Since you will probably want to edit your videos, we recommend that you also have in mind that you need space on your computer hard drive.
Keep in mind that 4K videos, time-lapse, and slow-motion videos can take up a lot of space - much more than you expect them to. So, don’t be cheap when buying SD cards. We even suggest that you carry a spare one with yourself.
Almost all of the GoPro models are very different to each other. For example, if you compare Hero7 Black, White, and Silver, you'll see that, although Black is very pricey, it also has distinct features like 10x slow-mo and hyper smooth 4K.
Thus, we recommend going through our guide once again after you decide on how you plan to use your GoPro camera. If you aren't going to do any extreme sports car racing or mountain biking, you might get away with a less expensive model that has fewer features.
However, we do suggest you buy a GoPro that has the possibility of connecting with your phone. Also, never buy a camera that doesn’t have a swappable battery and always make sure to bring a lot of storage with you. Depending on your needs, keep in mind that you will need to spend extra money on additional equipment.
GoPro Camera FAQ
Are GoPro's Worth It?
GoPro cameras are known to be the best action cams available in the market. There are a lot more companies that started producing them recently but none of them stand up to GoPros. When it comes to both extreme sports activities and traveling - if you know how to properly use a GoPro, the sky's the limit.
As with every other product on the market, there are some problems and bugs with GoPro cameras, but at the end of the day, GoPros are more than worth the price.
Is GoPro Camera Better than iPhone?
It depends on the situation. For an average person that is interested in capturing the moment, taking out your iPhone and taking a picture or recording will probably get you what you want.
However, those of you that love extreme sports and travels will do much better with a GoPro. Action cameras are much better at taking pictures and they are more useful in harsh weather conditions.
GoPro cameras can record underwater, on low temperatures, and overall make much better videos and pictures for less money.
If you are looking to take casual pictures of everyday life I recommend an iPhone. But, if you need high-quality pictures, want to record videos in extreme conditions, or a camera that you can, for example, attach to a helmet, then GoPro is perfect for you.
Which Is Better? GoPro or DSLR?
You can never beat the quality, the field of view, and the possibilities of DSLR no matter how hard you try.
The main difference here is that DSLRs are big and bulky and you often need a whole backpack for your equipment. Meanwhile, a GoPro can fit in your pocket, on your helmet or you can even carry it in your hands without getting tired.
GoPro cameras are the best because of their practical use and size, but they are also a lot cheaper than DSLRs. All in all, both camera types have their uses.
Should I Get a GoPro for Traveling?
Definitely, GoPro is probably the best choice for traveling. It can fit in your pocket or backpack and you don't have to worry about it being a burden to carry around. My suggestion is that you have extra batteries with yourself at all times and that you test and set up your GoPro before the trip. You should even watch a couple of tutorials or read a few blog posts just in case.
People often record their travels using their smartphone, but smartphones are often needed for other things and have limited battery hours. On the other hand, GoPro cameras are practical and can capture the moments much better than an average smartphone.
Is GoPro Good for Vlogging?
Using GoPro for vlogging is a great idea. It’s portable, waterproof, and easy to use.
The only downside is that, depending on your needs and environment, you will probably need some additional equipment.
The main problem here is that you need to plan the quality and the length of your recording. Big files and short battery life are probably the biggest issues of GoPro cameras. If you can circumvent that using SD cards and an external battery, GoPro cameras are the best choice for vlogging.
Which GoPro Has the Best Battery Life?
GoPro camera with the best battery life is definitely Hero8 Black. It can record 4K videos for up to 70 minutes! However, extra batteries are a must for every GoPro camera user.
Is GoPro Hero7 Waterproof?
GoPro Hero7 Black is the best choice for underwater recording. There are cameras that are waterproof but not only Hero7 is waterproof, it is also praised for its ability to take pictures and record underwater.
Furthermore, it's compatible with the GoPro Super Suit which can allow you to go as deep as 196ft (60m) underwater.
Does GoPro Hero7 Record Sound?
All Hero7 models record sound and they have really impressive audio quality.
What GoPro Should I Buy?
There you have it, these are the best GoPros currently available.
If you're looking for the absolute best model with the most features, go for GoPro MAX. A less expensive choice with almost as many impressive qualities is Hero8 Black. Finally, if you're looking for a quality cam that's very affordable, check out the Hero7 Silver.