How to Choose A GoPro (Reviews, Comparisons & Advice)

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Deciding which GoPro to buy can be a challenge because the world-famous action camera has a wide variety of different makes and models on the market. 

While they are all designed to be compact cameras that pack a huge punch when it comes to video and photography, different models offer different specs and capabilities in different price bands. 

The perfect GoPro for you will depend not only on your budget but on whether you need 4K video or not, how deep you want to be able to take it underwater and whether you want functions such as built-in WiFi or voice activation. 

The latest model might not necessarily suit your needs, while older models can be friendlier on your wallet and still offer a comprehensive range of settings.

To help you decide which GoPro to buy, here’s our ultimate guide to the different GoPros available today. 

Which GoPro to Buy? The Top 5 Best GoPro’s

PRODUCTDESCRIPTION 
How to choose a goproGoPro Hero 7
-Photo: 10 MP
-Video: 4K30
-Waterproof: Yes
-Video Stabilization: Standard
-Voice Control: Yes
-SloMo: 2x
-Time Lapse: Yes
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How to choose a goproGoPro Fusion
-Photo: 16.6 & 18 MP
-Video: 5.2K30
-Waterproof: Yes
-Video Stabilization: Spherical
-Voice Control: Yes
-SloMo: 2x
-Time Lapse: Yes
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How to choose a goproGoPro Hero+LCD
-Photo: 8 MP
-Video: 1080p
-Waterproof: Yes
-Video Stabilization: No
-Voice Control: No
-SloMo: No
-Time Lapse: Yes
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How to choose a goproGoPro Hero 8
-Photo: 12 MP + SuperPhoto
-Video: 4K60
-Waterproof: Yes
-Video Stabilization: Hypersmooth 2.0
-Voice Control: Yes
-SloMo: 8x
-Time Lapse: Yes
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How to choose a goproGoPro Session
-Photo: 10 MP
-Video: 4K30
-Waterproof: Yes
-Video Stabilization: Yes
-Voice Control: Yes
-SloMo: Yes
-Time Lapse: Yes
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Quick Answer: Best GoPro By Needs


Things to Consider When Choosing A GoPro


GoPro Models and Life Span

Horse Trekking in Kyrgyzstan

With the recent releases of the latest model, the GoPro Hero 8 Black in October 2019, the brand’s legacy of producing compact, high quality and resilient action cameras continues. 

GoPro has really cornered the market, but with fierce competition arising from the likes of DJI and their new action camera, the increasing competition only means that the GoPro will continue to improve. 

There are currently a wide range of models on the market and deciding which GoPro to buy can be a headache. The latest model will always be the most expensive, as GoPro continues to sell previous models, but will slash the price when the new, updated version hits the stores.

This means that it’s not always better to get the latest model, because if you’re concerned about your budget then you can get a great deal on older models – just make sure the specs are good for your needs. 

Older models tend to be discontinued but it’s still possible to find them online or second hand, but generally speaking it’s difficult to get hold of any models lower than the GoPro 4, and given the good price of later versions, there’s no real reason to anyway, unless it’s just for nostalgic purposes! 

GoPro also tends to release different versions of each individual model with the Silver and Black variants being the usual varieties, each with their subtle differences.

As well as the numbered series, there are also the more compact GoPro Sessions to consider when deciding which GoPro to buy, as well as the entry-level Hero model, although these may well be discontinued soon. 

The lifespan of a GoPro is a long one if it’s taken care of because these are action cameras that are designed to withstand a lot. If you want to always keep up to date with the latest models though, then just be aware that historically, GoPro has released a new model around October of each year.

Different Models, Different Specs, Different Budgets

Shark Cage Diving in South Africa

Different models have different specifications, of course, and it’s important to check the fine print and to see just what exactly the camera is capable of when you are deciding which GoPro to buy.

Battery life is a huge consideration, and as GoPro continues to release newer models, generally the battery life is improving, especially given the increased functionality of the cameras. 

When deciding on specs, you’ll also need to consider your budget, as you’ll be paying more for more functions and higher quality. More expensive models come with 4K, but you can get a cheaper version with just 1080p instead.

You need to decide if the extra cost is worth it for the higher quality, and if you just want a GoPro to take on holiday every now and then, it might not be worth the extra cash.

Likewise, the more expensive models have better video stabilization, and higher resolution when it comes to photography, but again, you pay more for more functionality, and you might not need it. 

Compare the price, your needs, and the specifications of the different models within each range, to decide which GoPro you should buy. 

GoPro Accessory Considerations

Snorkeling in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

GoPro has been so successful in its field, in part because of the huge number of accessories that are compatible with the camera. The GoPro can really pack a punch on its own, but throw in some of the great attachments or harnesses and you’ve got a real winner in the action camera world. 

When deciding which GoPro to buy, you’ll want to make sure that you can use the correct accessories that you need for your photography.

Many of the best accessories are actually third-party accessories – which are also a lot cheaper than the official GoPro products – and these won’t necessarily be up to date with the latest model of GoPro, as manufacturers need time once the camera has been released to produce their products to fit. 

Some accessories may only fit particular types of GoPro, and older models might not have the same range of accessories as others. For example, the early GoPros are generally not compatible with most of the Over Under Domes on the market, because they are a completely different shape and design. 

Some models may need different accessories entirely, for example, the Hero 4 comes with a specialized waterproof housing which allows it to be taken down to 40 meters – which is perfect for Scuba divers – however, the camera itself isn’t waterproof.

The latest GoPro models are waterproof in themselves, but only down to 10 meters. Beyond this, you need to purchase specialized housing anyway if you’re taking it scuba diving – most diving trips will end up below 10 meters even at the shallowest of sites.


Which GoPro to Buy: Recommendations


GoPro Hero 9

The newest model of GoPro to hit the market is the GoPro Hero 9 and it’s hands down one of the best GoPros out and it should be the one you are looking to buy if you are looking for a new GoPro. This little action camera is unbelievable and offers amazing filming quality from anyone. It is true, one of the huge keys behind GoPro’s magic is that it is extremely easy to use. Another huge key is they are indestructible, you can drop them, run them over, smash them, get them wet (Gopro 9 is 100% waterproof) and it will work as well as it did the first day you got it.

The GoPro Hero 9 has extreme clarity in its video and still photos. It has a groundbreaking 23.6MP sensor that allows you to shoot video in 5K and 20MP still photos. Its large touch screen allows users to zoom and flip between control options easily. But the screen isn’t just on the back as that has been the case with all of the other GoPros out on the market, That’s right the GoPro 9 now has a live preview screen on the front that allows you to see what you are filming so you can get that perfect shot.

I hate shaky videos and with the GoPro 9, you will not have any shaky videos at all with their built-in HyperSmooth 3.0 technology that by the way, no other action camera has. Something else that is cool is it has sports for extra mods like a light or microphone. This is huge for anyone wanting to use it as a vlogger camera.

You may ask ok how does it compare to the next best GoPro that’s the GoPro 8. Besides the price, The GoPro 9 allows you to not only view from the back but also the front. Another noticeable huge thing compared to the GoPro 8 is the GoPro 9’s battery life. It’s better than it was but it’s still not as great as the GoPro 7 was. But the GoPro 7 didn’t have any of the features nor the shooting capability. Another huge difference is the 5k and the 20 MP photos.

Don’t let the GoPro 9’s price scare you away. I’m going, to be honest with you, don’t go buy an off-brand action camera. You will not be happy with it, there’s a reason why GoPro is the industry leader in action cameras and have been for years now.

SPECS:

  • Photo: 20 MP + SuperPhoto
  • Video: 5K60
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Video Stabilization: Hypersmooth 3.0
  • Voice Control: Yes
  • SloMo: 8x
  • Time-Lapse: Yes
  • TimeWarp 3.0

Check GoPro Hero 9 price at Amazon

GoPro Hero 8

How to Decide Which GoPro to Buy

This model to hit the market, in October 2019, is the Hero 8 Black, and it’s definitely one of the top models to consider when deciding which GoPro to buy. If you want to be ahead of the game then this is the model for you, because it has the best specs out there.  

The price is still standing around $300 USD even though they have released a new model, but you are paying for the highest-quality action camera from the brand. The Hero 8 Black has 4K video, HDR, and can shoot at a fantastic 60FPS, meaning you can get super slow-mo shots.

If you loved the stabilization on the Hero 7 Black, then you’re going to love the Hyper smooth stabilization on the Hero 8 Black even more. A big update on the body itself is the fact that the Hero 8 Black has an integrated mounting system. 

SPECS:

  • Photo: 12 MP + SuperPhoto
  • Video: 4K60
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Video Stabilization: Hypersmooth 2.0
  • Voice Control: Yes
  • SloMo: 8x
  • Time-Lapse: Yes
  • TimeWarp 2.0

Check GoPro Hero 8 price at Amazon


GoPro Fusion

How to Decide Which GoPro to Buy

GoPro Fusion captures spherical video and photos, recording everything so you can find the best shots later. Play it back in VR or use over capture to create traditional videos and photos you can share right on your phone.

With Ultra smooth stabilization and 5.2K video, FUSION is like having a professional film crew with you wherever you go.​ Note-exposure value compensation affects the brightness of your video or photo.

Adjusting this setting can improve image quality when shooting in environments with contrasting lighting conditions. Options for this setting range from minus 2.0 to plus 2.0. The default setting is 0. Higher values result in brighter images.

SPECS:

  • Photo: 16.6 & 18 MP
  • Video: 5.2K30
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Video Stabilization: Spherical
  • Voice Control: Yes
  • SloMo: 2x
  • Time-Lapse: Yes

Check GoPro Fusion price at Amazon


GoPro Hero 7

How to Decide Which GoPro to Buy

The GoPro Hero 7 Black is one of the most popular models on the market too, and it’s very similar to the GoPro Hero 8 Black which has just been released, but with a few inferior specs and design differences. 

There’s no body integration for the mounting, although, for many, this isn’t an issue as this is the standard of GoPros until now. Camera-wise, the Hero 7 Black is just as good as the Hero 8 Black, but it lacks the newer stabilization and software improvements of the latest release.

To be honest though, if you want a bargain, then the prices on the Hero 7 Black will be slashed with the new release, and you’ll be able to get a quality camera at a lower price.

The Hero 7 Silver is a slightly less capable version of the Hero 7 Black, and this will see an even lower pricing band. The main difference between the Black and the Silver is that the silver doesn’t shoot 60FP, only 30 FPS, while the camera is only 10 MP, and the battery is built-in, meaning you can’t carry any spares around with you.

SPECS:

  • Photo: 10 MP
  • Video: 4K30
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Video Stabilization: Standard
  • Voice Control: Yes
  • SloMo: 2x
  • Time-Lapse: Yes

Check GoPro Hero 7 price at Amazon


GoPro Hero+LCD

How to Decide Which GoPro to Buy

This item has been discontinued by GoPro but there’s still some out on the market. So I’m going to leave it in this post so you can at least compare it to the others. This is the perfect entry-level GoPro with Wi-Fi and touch display. Capture incredible moments and relive them on the spot. HERO+ LCD delivers 1080p60 video and 8MP photos and features the convenience of a touch display.

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connect to the GoPro App to allow for shot preview, total camera control and easy content sharing to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more from your phone or tablet.

Rugged and waterproof to 131’ (40m), with the ability to power up and record at the press of a button, HERO+ LCD is the convenient life capture solution for all of your adventures.

SPECS:

  • Photo: 8 MP
  • Video: 1080p
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Video Stabilization: No
  • Voice Control: No
  • SloMo: No
  • Time-Lapse: Yes

Check GoPro Hero+LCD price at Amazon


GoPro Hero5 Session

How to Decide Which GoPro to Buy

Another dependable model that’s in the budget range, is the GoPro Session, which differs significantly from other models, particularly in the design section.

First off, the GoPro Session is cube-shaped and looks completely different from the Hero range. It’s also not quite as capable when it comes to the specifications, and unfortunately, only shoots in 1080P, while the camera is only 8MP.

This is a truly old school action camera, more reminiscent of GoPros original releases, and it’s super compact and super cheap, as well as being waterproof.

SPECS:

  • Photo: 10 MP
  • Video: 4K30
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Video Stabilization: Yes
  • Voice Control: Yes
  • SloMo: Yes
  • Time-Lapse: Yes

Check GoPro Hero5 Session price at Amazon


Trekking in Patagonia

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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.



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