GoPro’s first foray into the 360-degree motion was the GoPro Fusion, and whereas it was a robust first providing, the brand new GoPro MAX ($499) is a really completely different — and far improved — immersive motion digital camera that has so much to supply skilled videographers and voices alike. To make sure, the MAX has trade-offs, however taken collectively, it presents arguably the very best general mixture of options and worth for journey and journey vloggers who don’t wish to break the financial institution or haul an enormous quantity of package whereas they get out and discover.
It’s hip to be sq.
The new GoPro MAX’s kind issue is each acquainted and completely different for followers of the corporate’s Hero line. It’s nearly such as you stacked two Heros on high of one another, with a sq. field as an alternative of a small rectangle consequently. The design helps accommodate each the twin optics that GoPro makes use of to realize its 360-degree seize, in addition to the built-in touchscreen show that can be utilized as a selfie viewfinder, too, when working in Hero mode.
The ruggedized case can survive submersion in water as much as 16 ft deep, and it’s splash-proof as nicely. There are extra protecting lenses for the 2 dome-shamed cameras within the field, as nicely, which GoPro advises you employ in doubtlessly messy environments to guard the optics. Both back and front sides of the digital camera additionally function grills for microphones, which may seize 360 immersive audio when the digital camera is working in 360 mode, or act as actually spectacular directional shotgun mics when vlogging or working in Hero mode.
Like the brand new Hero 8, the MAX has built-in GoPro accent mounts that fold out of the physique on the underside. This make sure you received’t must pack the MAX in an exterior cage to connect it to the wide selection of obtainable GoPro mounts that exist on the market, slicing down on bulk and the quantity of stuff it’s worthwhile to pack while you take it out on the street.
The rubberized coating ensures you’ll be able to maintain a agency grip on the digital camera while you’re utilizing it with none equipment, and GoPro’s simple to entry and prominently positioned exterior buttons imply you’ll be able to management shutter and energy when you’re utilizing it in even the messiest circumstances. Removable batteries imply you’ll be able to cost and maintain a couple of available to make sure you don’t miss a chance to get some nice footage.
360 or to not 360
The MAX is a really succesful 360-degree digital camera, on par with a few of the greatest out there. It handles stitching routinely, and when paired with the MAX Grip + Tripod, it’ll even eliminate any awkward sew strains the place you’re gripping the digital camera. Using their software program, you’ll be able to then use the 360 footage to create a whole lot of compelling results throughout edits, together with panning and transitioning between views, zooming out and in and principally pulling off remaining edits that you simply wouldn’t even be capable to get with a couple of completely different cameras and shooters all going directly.
That stated, there are some limits to the 360 taking pictures: You can see the place GoPro’s software program has stitched collectively its two wide-angle captures to realize the impact, as an example, even when solely barely. And whereas the instruments that GoPro supplies for stringing collectively edits are surprisingly user-friendly, you’ll need to spend a while with it so as to profit from the instruments out there — novices can simply create considerably disorienting cuts earlier than they get their bearings.
The fantastic thing about the MAX, nevertheless, is that 360 is simply one of many capabilities it affords — and actually, that gives the idea for rather more attention-grabbing issues that almost all customers will get a lot extra worth out of. Foremost amongst these is HyperSmooth, which, when mixed with MAX’s unique horizon-leveling function, makes for a few of the smoothest, best-quality stabilized video footage you will get with any digital camera and not using a gimbal.
By default, horizon-leveling on the MAX will work in each panorama and portrait modes, and swap between these orientations while you flip the digital camera 90 levels. But should you lock the orientation to panorama, you’ll be able to rotate the MAX freely and the horizon stays degree, with footage staying clean and secure — to an nearly spooky diploma.

There can typically be a barely noticeable fuzziness while you pivot from one orientation to the opposite in captured footage, however it’s barely detectable, and it solely occurs should you rotate totally 90 levels. Otherwise, the horizon stays and photographs stays clean, no matter how a lot motion, bounce or jitters you might have holding the digital camera. It’s superb, and ought to be skilled in individual to actually respect how a lot tech went into this.
The excellent run-and-gun combine
That is one motive that is the digital camera you need with you while you’re out and about. But it’s not all of the MAX affords on this regard. GoPro has made use of the 360 seize to implement so-called “Digital Lenses,” which change the sphere of view, and alter distortion to get at remaining outcomes that may actually change the feel and appear of the video you seize. There’s a brand new “Narrow”‘ mode that’s much more constrained than the standard “Linear” mode GoPro affords, and a brand new Max SuperView mode that pushes vast past earlier limits for a extremely dramatic look.
Because the digital camera is capturing 360 content material at 6K, you don’t get 4K decision when it’s cropped all the way down to Hero mode. But you do stand up to 1440p in addition to 1080p choices, that are a lot for many vlogging and journey log functions. This is one space the place there’s a compromise to be made in trade for a few of the flexibility and comfort you get from the MAX, however for my part it’s a worthwhile trade-off.
As talked about, you additionally get a ruggedized digital camera that may even snorkel with you, in addition to a selfie display and extremely succesful microphones built-in (within the video above you’ll discover that there’s some deterioration in sound when it detects water). It actually looks as if GoPro did all the pieces they may to make sure that should you wished to, you could possibly simply simply seize the MAX and get on the market, with out worrying about packing any equipment past possibly their Shorty tripod or that MAX grip I discussed.
Bottom line
GoPro’s Fusion was a compelling digital camera for a particular set of customers, however the MAX feels prefer it could be flipping the script on the entire GoPro lineup. In quick, the MAX looks as if a fantastic default choice for anybody new to motion cameras or searching for a complete all-arounder that’s simple to be taught, however turns into extra highly effective in time.
The MAX’s superb stabilization can be in all probability higher suited to vlogging and social video than it’s to the precise motion digital camera set, as a result of it’s so clean and refined. You can alter to what extent it triggers, in fact, however general MAX simply looks as if a tool that may do magic with its built-in software program for aspiring content material creators who would moderately go away the DSLR and the gimbal at residence — or who by no means thought to select one up within the first place.

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