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62 responses

  1. Brian
    October 22, 2019

    Ray, how do you think the camera compares to the Insta360 One X?

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 22, 2019

      Hard to say, I haven’t had any hands-on time with the One X. Maybe down the road, honestly not sure if there’s a lot of interest there. :-/

    • Brian
      October 22, 2019

      Thanks Ray. I had an Insta360 One (non X) until I broke it in Hawaii a few weeks ago. It was exposed to the slightest bit of seawater in my dry bag and that was enough to kill it.

      I was planning to replace it with the One X anyways, as I had always found the image quality lacking on the One (got it cheap). With the Max, if the image quality is at parity or better than the One X, I’m sold – some level of waterproofing/durability is pretty desirable IMO.

    • David Corsi
      October 23, 2019

      Most reviews show the direct from camera footage quality comparable between one X and the MAX with the edge to MAX for better colors and contrast before grading. The app for MAX also appears as easy to use with additional features over the One X, plus the built in screen, plus the waterproofing. That doesn’t mean Insta isn’t planning on launching a MAX beating sequel soon but today for me the One X only has an advantage on price.

  2. Luke Hollomon
    October 22, 2019

    Thanks for the review Ray! I’ve been waiting for this one to drop. I bought one a few weeks ago and can’t wait to get it in. I’m sad about what’s missing, but I’m specifically getting it for the 360 capabilities, to wear on my helmet while cycling. Hopefully some of those photo capabilities will be added in as future software updates.

    • Luke Hollomon
      October 22, 2019

      Jsyk, your GoPro mods link just goes to the Hero 8 Black at Clever Training, not the mods.

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 22, 2019

      Thanks!

      Yeah, I hope we’ll see some updates with firmware. It seems like other early-access reviews are kinda saying the same thing: It’s great at what it does, but it lacks what it should have too.

      I agree on the photo bits, I can’t see any technical reason why those features couldn’t make it into this camera. Certainly enough processing power for them, since many of those functions were there back in the Hero 4-5 days.

  3. Brian
    October 22, 2019

    Sorry one more question (dumb) question Ray:

    My last experience with Gopro was with my Hero 4 Silver, which I still own. Without jumping into the specs, can I assume the Max is a major upgrade on all fronts (video quality / picture quality etc.) despite the limited feature set at launch?

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      It’s funny. In most cases, yes, it’ll be a big upgrade – primarily stabilization. That’ll be huge. But also the less tangible stuff like better app connectivity and upload via WiFi to GoPro Plus, etc…

      On the other hand, for quality, that actually might not be a big (if any) jump. Your Hero 4 Silver goes far higher in resolution than this does. And I think off-hand even same in photos. Plus you’ll have way more photo modes.

    • Brian
      October 23, 2019

      Thanks! Looks like I may sit this one out. As an aside I ended up preordering the Skydio 2 last week based on your preview article. So at least one new toy coming!

  4. Adam
    October 22, 2019

    Nice write up, could have used a comparison to the Garmin 360 which I find to be the king of 360 cams. I bought a second one after I lost my first in London. A simple Session GoPro under my cycle computer mount let’s me capture better 4K details but the Garmin 360 shines for its ability to capture *everything* and then let you edit out a multiple angle film

    • Doug
      October 23, 2019

      Interesting you should mention Garmin. As I read I wondered where they were from a 360 but also generally in the camera market. I suspect they’re exiting but maybe Ray has more insight into where Garmin is going?

      On a separate note, Ben Cathro did a nice video on the Sony FDR3000 about picking up some of the action which is lost by gimbal & now GoPro 8 – which Ray commented on in a podcast about loving the sense of action. BUT Sony are a long time in announcing a replacement since it’s 2016 release. Again, are they exiting action cams?

    • Doug
      October 23, 2019

      ‘Loving’ should be ‘losing’ 🙂

    • Paul S.
      October 23, 2019

      Sure does look like Garmin is leaving the market. My 360 is almost 2 years old now, and VIRB Edit hasn’t been updated since December. The Ultra is about 3 years old.

      I think at this point the only advantage the 360 has over the Max is the ability to pair to sensors, so you don’t have to do much to get metrics overlaid on your video. The ones Ray describe above are primitive compared to what a VIRB/VIRB Edit can do. Of course, you can use VIRB Edit on GoPro video, but my impression has always been that that works well only for recording rates/modes that the VIRBs support, and Garmin is being left behind in that regard. I also wonder just how long VIRB Edit will be around.

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      Good point, I’ll enable the VIRB 360 in the chart.

      Like Paul says though, at this point I’ve gotta believe Garmin is exiting the market. They just don’t have the marketing capability you need to win this segment.

      That said, I still think Garmin could actually probably go to GoPro and offer to license some of the more advanced dashboarding type features. I know GoPro bought Dashware, but that doesn’t really cover underlying connectivity, which Garmin nailed. Plus, there’s some former Garmin employees at GoPro these days.

    • Rob F
      October 24, 2019

      Garmin quitting action cameras makes me sad, but isn’t shocking. My VIRB Ultra 30 is about three years old and is still the “current” model. Comparing the user interface between my GoPro (4? It’s a bit old at this point) and my VIRB Ultra 30 is huge. I love the way I can seamlessly switch between video and photos; it’s simple enough I can hand the camera to my 6 year old niece, explain the button does pictures and the switch does video, and she’s away doing the two at will (as opposed to “press the menu button, interpret the hieroglyphics to set it to video/photo mode, back out the menu”). Then there’s the sensor connectivity / ease of data overlays with the Garmin.

      I really hope the GoPro interface has improved in the last few years. If not, I dread the day my VIRB dies and I have to find a modern replacement.

  5. Gordon Freeman
    October 23, 2019

    Hello! Is the 115 mins battery life your own measurement or is it GoPro stated? And did you get a feel how much space the video takes on the microSD card in like GB/h?

    I was also wondering about the video quality on low light.

    Asking these questions to get a feel about how adequate the camera would be for use as as dashcam e.g. for cycling…

    • Paul S.
      October 23, 2019

      Hard question to answer about storage because that all depends on the video settings. I can tell you that on my VIRB 360 (4k, 30fps) it records about 40 Gb/hr. Higher quality, higher frame rates, more storage necessary per hour, and vice versa.

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      For battery time – it’s their estimate. But it’s been pretty good for me. I easily did an entire day of swim/bike/run filming on and off without issues. I’d have killed a normal Hero 8 battery easily within half of that.

      As for low-light quality, it’s a bit better than the Hero 8 actually, probably due to the F2 vs F2.8 lens on the Hero 8. There’s a brief night-clip at the end of the comparison video, or almost the end of it.

      As for storage, it varies a ton, in the Google Drive link I put up lots of footage in different resolutions to see the file sizes. But most of it for single-lens is actually less than the Hero 8 Black, because it’s lower resolutions. Also, it’s HEVC now – so that saves a ton of space as well.

    • Gordon Freeman
      October 23, 2019

      Thanks! I hadn’t realized the lens is F2. I think it gives me an idea, I own the non-4K Kodak SP360 which I believe is an F2.8 for the same sensor size and approx same focal length (albeit with much fewer pixels). Must be quite an improvement!!

      Great review as always btw.

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 24, 2019

      Funny, I was sorting stuff earlier this week and came across my SP360 camera. So I feel your pain. The quality between that (even the 4K version) and this is earth-shattering. It’s like Paris Hilton Video vs 8K RED camera difference.

    • Greg Hilton
      October 25, 2019

      I must be struggling with Friday afternoon, but I can’t see the link to the files on Google Drive? Is it embedded in the review somewhere??

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 27, 2019

      Sorry, I forgot to include the Google Drive link here in the post: link to drive.google.com

      I’ve also got a few more things I want to stick up there, just for fun, that I shot over the last few days. Some flat-profile stuff.

  6. Greg Hilton
    October 23, 2019

    Do you think some of the missing features could be done with firmware updates?

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      Definitely, especially some of the photo ones I’ve gotta believe. Whether or not GoPro does them…unknown.

  7. Greg Hilton
    October 23, 2019

    I’m looking to upgrade my GoPro Hero 5, the big thing for me is the reframing, especially for skiing etc,from what I’ve seen you can create some very cool “Drone like” effects.

  8. julien
    October 23, 2019

    Hi ray
    thanks for your full review. i have downloaded your 360 raw files with .360 extension. I wan’t to compare the image quality and the work flow to finalcut pro.
    Do you use gopro player for mac? (link to gopro.com)
    on the website, gopro is saying that is coming soon. Do you have any beta version to test the workflow?
    Thanks for your time,
    Julien from france

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      The 360 RAW files require new GoPro apps (PC or Mac), which I don’t believe have been posted yet. GoPro sent the beta apps out to media/etc.

      I was going to stick up in the Share some of the converted ProRes files (which work in FCP/etc…), but at 60GB a pop (for a few mins), I’ve gotta re-think where I put them exactly. :-/

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      Actually, decided to just update my Google Drive share (I’m primarily a Dropbox and OneDrive guy, but with Dropbox there’s daily transfer limits that I crush when I share out links, even on the biz plans).

      In any case, I’ve put two ProRes converted files up there, covering some 100GB. Says 4hrs left, but my guess is it’ll be done in under an hour.

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 27, 2019

      Here’s that Google Drive share btw: link to drive.google.com

  9. Paul S.
    October 23, 2019

    So it has a barometric altimeter. Can you calibrate it, or do you just have to hope for the best like a VIRB?

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      Just hope for the best.

  10. Audun
    October 23, 2019

    Why did you exclude the section in the summary where you usually talk about the competing products in the market? I don’t mean your comparison tool, but your actual comments. How does it compare to other products? Does it have any competitors in the 360 camera market? For example the Virb 360? Noticable differences in picture quality? Any reason to buy a Fusion Max if I have a Virb 360 already?

    Regards,
    Audun

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 23, 2019

      I don’t really view the Garmin VIRB 360 as a competitor to be honest. At two years old with the last update nearly a year ago, I wouldn’t really recommend that camera to anyone unless they had a really specific sensor-driven 360* need.

      As for other competitors, it’s mostly Insta360, but I don’t tend to talk about competitors/products unless I’ve actually used the products. Too much nuance gets lost otherwise.

      For the VIRB 360 to Max, that’s a tricky one. It depends on how you use the VIRB360 honestly. If you primarily use it for 360* content then it’s mostly a wash. Whereas if you primarily use the single-lens mode, then the stabilization aspects of the GoPro Max would be a huge upgrade. If you primarily use the sensors and overlays and such, then the Max would be a huge downgrade.

      Hope this helps!

    • Paul S.
      October 23, 2019

      The other advantage that the 360 has is the external power contacts. Buy a powered clip, plug it into an external power source, and you can record for hours without swapping batteries. Otherwise the internal battery only lasts an hour.

    • Adam
      October 23, 2019

      I can see its age being an issue. What about form-factor, battery life, external charging abilities (note how the G360 doesn’t require any doors to be open for this), 360 stabilization, real time control via remote or phone?

      Not to sound like a fanboi but I see the Max as a basic no frills 360 camera with the power of the Hero8 when using just a single lens. But with that comes with an awkward oblong camera without ability to record past an hour.

    • Adam
      October 23, 2019

      *bingo*

    • Eugene
      October 23, 2019

      I was going to ask about sensors, since you have a couple pics where the GoPro has a map overlay, does it support pairing with any kind of external sensors?

      What are the black marks on the case, big scratches?

    • Mar
      October 24, 2019

      Raindrops 😀

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 24, 2019

      RE: Sensors

      No other sensors

      RE: Black marks

      Indeed, rain drops. Everywhere I go outside this week to take photos, it starts raining like 30 seconds later. Sigh. You can actually see the progression of it throughout the post, since I largely take pictures in order of text. More and more water on the top of the camera while I keep wiping the sides in between shots.

    • Audun
      October 26, 2019

      Thanks for answering, Ray! I still feel some comment comparing it to the VIRB 360 should be in the review, since there’s bound to be some people reading it who’s mainly looking for a 360 camera in addition to their regular GoPro (or other “normal” action camera) and will be looking at the 360 performance. I mean, since you’ve also tested the VIRB 360. (Are you still using it by the way?)

      Anyway, great review, as usual from you 🙂

  11. Justin
    October 23, 2019

    I’m trying to decide on the Max or 8 for a bike commute camera. I think it’d be great to have the option to see people behind/next to me. However I’m concerned the resolution isn’t there to capture license plates in case there’s an incident, and youtube’s compression isn’t helping me out. Would you upload some high-res stills from video grabbed from 4k (Hero 8) and 1080 cropped 360 video in roughly the same orientation for a comparison?

    • Adam
      October 23, 2019

      I have my Garmin360 helmet mounted and the resolution between it at the Max are basically the same. I’m able to slow down and capture license plates without issue, depends on lighting. You’d need to do it on your local computer, Youtube and others kill the details

  12. Thomas Carter
    October 24, 2019

    The keyframe feature looks very cool, I assume the Fuison doesn’t get the same feature? I think it already got Overcapture which looks like a much simpler version in that you can can get a similar output of a “2D” footage from the 3D but you just drag your finger or mover the phone around in 3D space to get the shot

  13. Kinomap Laurent
    October 25, 2019

    @Ray: in a running scenario, with a head strap, what’s the best option for you to get a steady shot: a GoPro 8 or a GoPro Max?
    GoPro 7 made it finally possible to have a quite ok rendering without gimbal like you can see here for example: link to videos.kinomap.com
    I guess the 2 new GoPro make it even better.
    Thanks!

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 25, 2019

      Hi Laurent-

      I didn’t try a headstrap for running, just chesty. So can’t say for certain. I can poke out later today if I remember and do a quick comparison.

      My guesstimate would be that the Max would be better. Well, I mean, of course it’ll be better – but whether it’s meaningfully better is the real question. The one advantage you’d have with the Max though is you could theoretically keep it horizon-locked better.

      Btw, in related news, check this out: link to twitter.com

      Also, there’s some stuff upon Reddit for 3rd parties too.

  14. Michel
    October 25, 2019

    The new GoPro App is much better even the app on my Mac, i can finally edit my Fusion footages and it is very simple. But stil have to stitch with the fusion app.

    Thinking about buy this one, the fusion have some problems with stitching and strange spots on the footage.

  15. Niels
    October 26, 2019

    Thanks for the review. I can’t agree with you however on the 360 part. I bought the camera only for 360 (that it can’t compare to an 8 Black is obvious to me). It’s easy to export the 360 footage to a Oculus Quest and you get an awesome experience from that! Just tried a kitesurf video and my whole family can watch my session as if they are standing on the board with me!

    • Mark
      October 29, 2019

      Agreed! I discovered this almost by accident using tethered VR, and bought the inexpensive Oculus Go specifically to share my ‘highlight reels’ of exciting and scenic descents from Europe – shot in 360 (Virb 360). On bike descents, you can really tell how steep a descent is by turning around and looking back up the hill. Motion sickness impacts some viewers though – even with amazing levels of stabilization and path-following POV.

      Until/Unless there are easier ways to consume immersive 360, I think these cams will mostly be used for extreme fisheye/small world and similar flat projection effects. Personally I love throwing it up top of the helmet and appreciating that I never have to be authoring the POV – It’s always pointed….at everything.

      Will probably grab a Max at some point…the Virb is great, but suffers some exposure issues moving from shadow to sun lately.

  16. Martin
    October 26, 2019

    When you record in 360 5.6K mode, is it possible to reframe it leter on (using the keyframes) to 16:9 4K video? Would it look like the 4K on the Hero8?

    • Audun
      October 26, 2019

      According to this page link to gopro.com the Wide 16:9 format has a horizontal field of view is 118.2 degrees (for the Hero7, but I doubt the Hero8 is much different in this regard). The 5.6K 360 footage from the Max is 5376 pixels wide. Using simple math, 118.2 degrees from that would be 1765 pixels wide, so no, it would not look like the 3840 pixel (4K) wide footage from the Hero8.

      Correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

    • Martin
      October 26, 2019

      Haha, thanks. 🙂 Could not find a straight answer on the internet. Too bad that MAX cannot achive 4K when working in Hero mode. But marketing (“buy both Hero 8 and Max”) is the key issue here, I suppose.

  17. Phil
    October 29, 2019

    Hello Ray,
    so the gorpo max does not support / or is not supported by the gopro smart remote? Or did I get that wrong? That would be a bummer…

    • DC Rainmaker
      October 29, 2019

      Correct, it does not. No option to pair it either.

    • Han
      November 1, 2019

      I just checked the settings and you can use a wifi, a remo and a bluetooth remote. Perhaps this is new since the latest firmware update?

    • DC Rainmaker
      November 1, 2019

      Weird. I’ll force reset mine (it’s on latest firmware) and see if the options show up. Right now all I get is app. :-/

  18. MM15
    November 1, 2019

    Another product comparison: Rylo vs. GoPro Max??

  19. Leo Metcalf
    November 3, 2019

    Thanks for the review. Quick question, did you try to shoot video with the go pro Max underwater with the protective lens caps? I read somewhere else that that helps it focus underwater, but which didn’t give any details . If I buy it I plan to use it pretty much exclusively to film underwater, so knowing if the caps help the focus and stitching would really help me. Thanks! Leo

  20. Michel Kierczynski
    November 12, 2019

    Hey,

    I m also thinking of buying this camera for my commuting. Has Anyone start using it as An Helmet cam?
    Please share footage, i m curious ….

  21. Greg Hilton
    November 15, 2019

    Do you know what pole Abe used or which one did you use for shots on a pole? I just tried with the 3-way and a ski pole and the poles were visible in both shots!

    • DC Rainmaker
      November 15, 2019

      Both he and I are using the same Fusion Grip pole (now renamed Max pole): link to amzn.to

    • Greg Hilton
      November 15, 2019

      great thanks, further testing shows me I need to have the GoPro mounted in a “straight” line along the pole, rather than tilted up like I would a Hero…

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