If you're a seasoned action camera veteran looking for a comprehensive list of the best GoPro action cameras on the market, feel free to scroll further down the page, where you'll find our top picks. Newcomers, however, should start with our brief guide that explains how to find the best GoPro for you.
Breaking from GoPro's 4:3 sensor tradition, the Hero 11 Black features a brand new 27-megapixel chip with a near-square 8:7 native aspect ratio. Recording 8:7 videos enables creators to crop landscape and portrait orientation clips from the same take, changing the game for those who want to publish to both YouTube and TikTok. A new HyperView mode is also available which compresses the full 8:7 image into a standard 16:9 frame for a stretched super-wide effect, ideal for exaggerating fast-paced action.
The Hero 11 Black packs everything you'd expect from flagship action cam. Spec-wise it supports 5.3K video recording at up to 60fps, 4K at up to 120fps and both 2.7K and Full HD clips can be recorded at up to 240fps. The Hero 11 also features GoPro's most effective video stabilisation yet, HyperSmooth 5.0. When enabled the camera is able to smooth out the wildest of camera movements, resulting in cinematically-smooth clips. There's even a Horizon Lock function which is able to correct a full 360-degrees of tilt, ensuring you're always able to maintain a perfectly level shot. Overall, the Hero 11 Black's image quality is the best we've encountered from an action camera.
The Hero 9 Black was the first Hero to benefit from GoPro's latest redesign, which means it packs both front- and rear-facing colour LCD displays, built-in mounting prongs and native 10m water resistance straight out of the box. It's also compatible with GoPro's latest accessories, including the firm's range of Mods for external microphones, lights and displays, along with the new Enduro battery.
Obviously, price is a big factor here, and many of the older models are now much more affordable than the newest ones. For your budget then, you might end up finding that an older GoPro is best. It also depends on the features you need. The GoPro Max, for example, offers 360-degree video, which is something not found on other models in the lineup.
While the outside hasn't changed from the Hero9 Black, the GoPro Hero10 Black sports a new and improved processor on the inside, which translates to video recording as high as 5.3K/60 fps, as well as 2K video at 240 fps, and 4K video at 120 fps. On top of that, it has a larger 23MP image sensor, and manages to shave off a tiny bit of weight.
What's most impressive is the Hero10's upgraded image stabilization; in our testing, we found that the camera can be tilted by as much as 45 degrees while still smoothing things out. However, this puts a serious dent on battery life, which is unchanged from the Hero9. But, you can use the same battery, as well as the same accessories, as before.
The Hero8 Black was the first GoPro to have its mounting \"fingers\" built directly into the camera, which makes it a bit easier to attach accessories. You no longer need to use a case if you want to attach it to accessories, such as a tripod or helmet mount. Unfortunately, it also means that cases and lens adapters you had for older GoPros won't work with this model.
All GoPro models have a rear display which you can use to frame your shot and adjust settings, as well as a front-facing LCD that shows your recording time, battery life, and more. However, the Hero9 and Hero10 have color displays on the front, which can also be used to frame yourself in a shot.
One of the defining features of the best GoPro cameras has been electronic image stabilization, which goes a long way towards smoothing out shaky action cam footage. GoPro calls its technology HyperSmooth; hyperbole aside, it's very effective. Newer (and pricier) GoPro models have more advanced versions of HyperSmooth.
We've got a separate guide to the best GoPro accessories, but if you're still deciding which is the best GoPro camera to buy and just want an idea of how much extra you might need to budget for add-ons, here's a brief overview:
GoPro also launched livestreaming for its Hero10, Hero9, Hero8 Black, Hero7 Black and GoPro Max cameras. However, in order to use this feature, you must be a GoPro Plus subscriber, which costs $49.99 annually. The subscription also provides unlimited cloud storage of GoPro footage, no-questions-asked camera replacement, and up to 50% off GoPro accessories.
Smartphone cameras are great, but there are a few situations where they're not ideal. The mostly-glass construction won't take too many hard knocks and while some models offer water resistance, you probably still shouldn't be dropping it in saltwater.
While there's more competition now, GoPro still has one of the best all-around ecosystems of action cameras. And thanks to some product lines refreshing over the past couple of years, the sheer number of options has been reduced to make choosing one much easier. So which GoPro should you buy
The Max shoots 360 footage at 5.6K, which can be easily cropped down to a watchable 720p. Detail is stronger in the centre of each lens, but colours are rich enough and video generally proves impressively steady.
SD memory cards come in a handful of sizes. Most compact, DSLR and mirrorless cameras use standard SD cards, which are the size of a postage stamp. GoPro cameras use microSD cards. These memory cards are much smaller and they are the same format used by most smartphones with expandable storage.
And it stands to reason that you can save even more by stepping back even further and looking at the GoPro Hero 8. This one-time flagship model is still fantastic, offering 4K video and support for MediaMods which vloggers are likely to find especially flexible.
The camera is built around the same 23MP 1/2.3-inch sensor as its predecessor, and features the same 10 meter waterproofing. There are some new shooting modes, which includes new 5K/60p, 4K/120p and 2.7K/240p shooting capabilities. The latter of those two bring new fun slow-motion options which are ideal for social media cut-scenes and b-cam footage, particularly as the Quick app for GoPro will take care of the editing for you.
There are a few fresh software tricks, too: HindSight, for example, allows you to save action that happened up to 30 seconds before you hit the shutter. It might not have been a radical upgrade over the Hero 8 Black, but now that a firmware fix has mostly resolved issues with auto-exposure and touchscreen responsiveness, the GoPro Hero 9 Black should definitely be worthy of your consideration. Other even older options will represent better value if 5K and a front-facing aren't on your list.
We go through a similar process to analyze each GoPro's image stabilization (called HyperSmooth in its most recent models), which is crucial to maintaining image quality during movement, and look at the quality of any special shooting modes too, including slo-mo and timelapses.
Images, and the devices that capture them, are my focus. I've covered cameras at PCMag for the past 10 years, which has given me a front row seat for the DSLR to mirrorless transition, the smartphone camera revolution, and the mainstream adoption of drones for aerial imaging. You can find me on Instagram @jamespfisher.
The Max is certainly a specialty tool, but one that can reward creators with skill in the field and in the editing room. It's an especially attractive pick for vloggers because of its microphone quality, which is the best you'll find in any GoPro.
If you shoot a lot of videos, the Hero10 will let you transfer them to your phone using a USB-C cable, which is much faster than sending clips to your mobile device wirelessly as is the only option with the Hero9. The lens cover is now hydrophobic, so it resists water sticking to it, which should minimize drops of water on the lens during activities like surfing.
The Hero9 has the same body as the Hero10 and Hero11, which looks similar to the older models, but is slightly larger in all dimensions. The biggest change is a front-facing, full-color screen. This may seem minor, but it makes it much easier to line up your selfie shots. The lens cover is also removable, in case you scratch it or want to install the aforementioned Max Lens mod. The folding mounting bracket, one of our favorite features from the Hero8, is thankfully still here (and is still on the Hero10 and Hero11). Like other GoPros, the Hero9 is waterproof down to 33 feet (or 10 meters) without a housing.
With this monster sensor squeezed into the tiny camera we can now shoot using a new 8:7 aspect ratio, which captures a huge perspective allowing for all kinds of crop factors in post.
So rather than having to choose whether you shoot in landscape or portrait mode, you can use the 8:7 aspect ratio on the larger sensor which gives plenty of room for cropping later without losing any image quality.
The biggest difference between the HERO9 and the HERO10 is that the HERO9 uses an older processor, which doesn't perform quite as well in low light. It also has fewer frame rate options, though 5k up to 30 fps and 4k up to 60 fps is nothing to sneeze at, and you still get 240 fps when shooting in 1080p, giving you a lot of flexibility for high-speed recording. All in all, if you can live without the additional frame rate options and better low-light performance of the HERO10, this camera offers most of the same features at a lower price point, making it one of the best GoPro cameras you can get for the price. 59ce067264