Strangely the Max didn’t feature on the main presentation video, which was odd to say the least. No matter, GoPro’s replacement 360 camera is here, and as far as features go, it looks very good indeed. GoPro has been under increasing pressure from highly capable competitors in this field, so the Max needed to be good.
GoPro claims it is three cameras in one. You can shoot single lens Hero style video, 360 footage, or Vlog using the front facing screen and a microphone that performs like a shotgun mic.
Many of the same features that are on the Hero 8 also appear on the Max, except with a ‘Max’ moniker appearing in front, such as Max Hypersmooth, Max Superview, and Max TimeWarp.
Notably functions such as the aforementioned TimeWarp function gain a whole new level of flexibility once you can pan and reframe the shot through 360 degrees during editing, making for some very dynamic sequences in the right hands.
The Max features 5K sensors capable of up to 30P in 360 mode. The usual caveat with 360 degree cameras applies here in that once you output the final video you will only be seeing 1080p as the viewing resolution, and even in Hero mode it only goes up to 1440p at 60p. So if you need or want 4K the Max won’t give that to you.
There are certainly some compelling reasons to look at the Max. The way GoPro has been making strides to make editing 360 video easy, as well as a focus on using the feature to reframe and make traditional non-VR style videos means that there’s a lot of areas where such a camera would be useful.
Do you go for the Max or the Hero 8? Well, the Hero 8 costs £379, while the Max comes in at £479, so if price is your stumbling block, the Hero 8 will clearly win. Otherwise it depends on the effort you put into your videos and whether you need the slow motion and high frame rate functions of the Hero. It would appear that you gain as much as you lose depending on which one you go for. The Hero 8 for example can go to 10m water depth without a housing, while the Max only goes to 5m. The output resolution is another area of consideration. If you need 4K then you absolutely have to have the Hero 8. But if normal HD resolutions don’t bother you then the Max might well be a good choice.