At the launch event for the new GoPro Hero 12 Black, the company confirmed that it is working on a successor to its 360 camera, the GoPro Max.
Asked specifically about when the successor to the Max would come, GoPro founder and CEO Nick Woodman replied that: "Oh yeah, I can confirm, we get this question a lot, there is an enormous interest in the next version of Max. And what I can confirm today is that it is in the works and it will be worth the wait".
It's about time, the original GoPro Max was launched way back in 2019, and was a successor to the company's first 360 camera, the GoPro Fusion. And we have all been waiting for the action camera company's next move.
The best GoPro cameras can be taken on your travels and used to capture the most daring of adventures, and the best 360 cameras can help you film that radical sports documentary that you always wanted to film – essentially getting every angle you can think of for post-production work in the studio.
We gave the original GoPro Max 360 camera a glowing review, and thought it represented the future of videography. So how could a next generation model build on the success of its predecessor?
GoPro didn't give any details as to when the next iteration will come - or what it might offer (they didn't even confirm a name, but we'll call it the Max 2 until we know better). But there has been plenty of speculation…
GoPro Max 2 rumors & patents
GoPro Max 2 rumors have been getting some traction for some time, so what could the new camera offer? Well, we could potentially see the action camera brand take a step further by offering a new 360 with better integrated software. Previously editing footage of the GoPro Max was a bit of a painstaking task, and we noted that the app experience needed work.
A recent patent application by GoPro shows a variety of images that could be chosen as a starting point for each frame or angle to be chosen. This will be done in editing software and would make the whole 360 degree camera editing nightmare become a smooth reality.
Within the application it is stated: "a video may include a capture of a scene, such as a wide-field of view capture of the scene. A punchout of the video may provide a framing of the captured scene. The punchout may be determined based on the context of the video, such as the type of captured scene within the video, the motion of the image capture device that captured the video, video, and/or the motion of one or more things within the captured scene."
That rather cryptic abstract from the patent application suggests that GoPro are working on software to help chose which frames within a scene are the best ones to keep, or edit into your wild action packed videos. This could also lend itself to producing non-360 degree videos, from using all of the 360-degree footage and then condensing that into unique angles for a "flat" video that can be viewed without any 360 viewing device.
As you can see from the images taken from this application, it clearly shows five images all taken at the same time, but at different angles from the 360-degree video, such as a close-up shot to a "mini-world" view of your surroundings.
This is a lot like the recently announced Insta 360 drone camera. However, I think that this software could be released and implemented within the next iteration of GoPro Max 360 camera. Logically, a lot of this would be done in software after the 360-degree video has been taken, but if you want a higher quality video than say 1080p, GoPro would have to introduce a 12K 360 image. Nothing currently suggests this is going to happen, but this would certainly put it in front of its competitors.
GoPro Max 2: What we want to see
Right now the GoPro Max is able to capture 5K video and 5.7K photos or 4992 x 2496 at 25 or 30 fps. To have a high res "flat" video, I would like to see 12K introduced to be able to deliver a 4K "flat" video.
Currently the GoPro Max has no slow-motion setting, therefore it is getting left being in the 360 camera race by the likes of Insta360. I would like the GoPro Max 2 to feature at least a 100fps mode, even if it was in 1080p...
Better dynamic range:
Even though footage from the GoPro Max might appear to be brilliant when viewing it singularly, once compared to rivals from Insta360 it is clear to see that the GoPro Max is lacking in dynamic range, leading to a overall worse image than expected from a GoPro product. If the new Max 2 offered better dynamic range, and was able to control highlight roll off better, it would have a winning product.
GoPro Max 2: When will it launch?
We just don't know the answer to this question. We'd hoped it would have been announced alongside the new GoPro Hero12 Black - but it simply was not the case. Let's just hope they don't wait until next September (when the Hero flagship update usually announced). But at least GoPro has now finally confirmed that a successor is actually on the way.