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The best GoPro cameras in 2021: from the new Hero10 Black to thrifty older models

Included in this guide:

Best GoPro camera
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thinking about the best GoPro camera for you? One might assume that the latest GoPro Hero10 Black is the obvious choice, but it's not that simple. GoPro has an extensive catalogue of cameras, some with different specialties, all at different price points. Depending on your needs and your budget, you may be able to find something that suits you better.

After all, do you really need 5.3K resolution? Unless you’re a professional filmmaker, possibly not, and this means that an older GoPro model might well be the more sensible choice. Or, do you fancy doing something different, and experimenting with 360º imaging? GoPro offers specialized cameras just for that purpose!

GoPro cameras may be waterproof and shockproof, but they aren't just for underwater adventures. So the fact that they're among the best waterproof and underwater cameras is something of a given, but they're also up there with the best travel cameras around too. If you're a vlogger, it's worth knowing that GoPros can also be some of the best YouTube cameras too!

As we're on the GoPro Hero10 at this point, there are lots of cameras in the back catalogue. While GoPro doesn't keep everything in production, plenty of models back to around the Hero8 Black are still widely available, and often at slashed prices compared to the latest products. This means that picking the one that's right for you can be a bit of a daunting business. That's where we come in! 

So, to return to the question of the day, which is the best GoPro? As with many tech decisions, it really depends on what you're looking for and what your budget is. It's safe to say the Hero10 Black is the best that's currently available, with its 5.3K video, front-facing screen and sophisticated HyperSmooth 4.0 image stabilization system. However, cameras from the Hero8 and Hero9 range are still fantastic in their own right. Then there's the slick 360-degree GoPro Max, a marked improvement on the GoPro Fusion. It's a fantastic choice for those who like to push the technology envelope; if this is you, it might be worth checking out our guide to the best 360 cameras.

The best action camera arena is a competitive one, and there are lots of rivals out there for GoPro's crown. If budget is a real concern of yours, then check out our list of the best cheap action cameras for a selection of models available for less than $100. However, ultimately, GoPro is still the best game in town when it comes to action cameras, and if your budget allows, it's a good idea to pick something with that official branding on it.

So let's count off the cameras. 

The best GoPro camera in 2021

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: GoPro)

The new flagship action camera doubles the frame rates

Specifications
Weight: 153g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: up to 60fps
4K video: up to 120fps
1080P: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 23MP
Battery life: 1-32hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+ Faster user interface+Increased frame rates+Hydrophobic lens coating
Reasons to avoid
-Incremental upgrade on Hero9 Black--Bigger than the Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black-Not compatible with older batteries

Welcome to the newest and best GoPro around. Though launched without much fanfare and looking identical to the Hero9 Black in almost every way, the Hero10 Black nevertheless constitutes a significant upgrade. That’s all down to its use of the all-new GP2 processor, which powers both a speedy user interface, doubles the frame rates and fuels the best image stabilization tech yet. 

The highlight is 5.3K video at up to 60fps, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of GoPro’s new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization – in all modes – alongside 23MP photos and best-ever low-light performance. Add a nifty cable for super-quick camera-to-app content transfer and auto-upload of videos and photos to the cloud while it recharges and the Hero10 Black was worth the wait. 

(Image credit: GoPro)

Last year's flagship is now better value

Specifications
Weight: 158g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: up to 30fps
4K video: up to 60fps
1080P: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 20MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+Superb image stabilization system+Excellent 5K video+Built-in accessory mounts
Reasons to avoid
-Bigger than the Hero8 and Hero7-Not compatible with older batteries

2020’s flagship saw a key addition to GoPro; a front-facing color LCD screen, which allows you to frame yourself while vlogging, when used as a webcam, or just for selfies. The resolution got a boost too, with a 20 megapixel stills capability and a 5K video shooting. The latter will be overkill for many, but it also allows 14.7 megapixel grabs from video, which could be hard to resist. 

At 2.27-inch, its rear display is larger than that found on the GoPro Hero8 Black, and its Hypersmooth 3.0 video stabilization system is very smooth. Thanks to its removable lens cover there’s also an option to add a Max Lens Mod accessory to the Hero9 Black, which will bring a few  GoPro Max-style features including 360º horizon lock and an ultra-wide 155º Max SuperView mode. Either way, even the ‘basic’ Hero9 Black is a thoroughly advanced piece of kit.

• Read more GoPro Hero 9 reviewGoPro Hero 8 vs 9 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

2019’s flagship is now excellent value

Specifications
Weight: 126g
Waterproof: 10m
4K video: up to 60fps
1080: up to 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 20MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+Great image stabilization system+Excellent 4K video+Great range of frame rate options+Built-in acccessory mounts
Reasons to avoid
-Screen is smaller than some rivals

Despite now being surpassed, 2019’s GoPro model remains one of our favorite action cameras available. Sure, it doesn’t do 5K and it has an older image stabilization system, but like the Hero 9 Black it has the mount built-in. Like the Hero9 Black, you can accessorize the Hero8 Black with a series of bespoke optional extras called Mods; Media Mod improves the production value of your videos, Display Mod adds a second monitor that’s perfect for vloggers, and a Light Mod LED light adds illumination. These add-ons cost you more, but if you’re looking for a good value action camera and you don’t need 5K or a front-facing screen, then the Hero8 Black is a great option. 

• Read more GoPro Hero8 reviewGoPro Hero 7 vs 8 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

The latest 360-degree GoPro model and perhaps the best 360 cam of all

Specifications
Megapixels: 16.6MP
Screen: Touchscreen
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps
Max video resolution: 5.6K (30fps)
Waterproofing: 5m
Voice control: Yes
GPS: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Super-stabilized 360 footage+Video quality is customizable
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K video capture-A little pricey

A genre-bending, category-redefining one-man-band of a camera, the GoPro Max is a significant improvement on the previous 360-degree GoPro camera, the Fusion, and brings 360-degree video into the realm of being a potential professional tool, rather than a gimmick. The Max shoots 5.6K video in all directions, offering a little less raw resolution than the Hero 8 but making up for it with plenty of other tricks: including four digital focal lengths, horizon leveling, HyperSmooth stabilization and ProTune video editing software, to name a few. We've been really impressed with the Max in our initial tests, and we don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it could really change the look and feel of YouTube and vlogging in the near future.

Read more: GoPro MAX review •  GoPro Max vs Hero 8

(Image credit: GoPro)

5. GoPro Hero7 Black

The now ageing Hero7 Black can sometimes be a bargain

Specifications
Megapixels: 12MP
Screen: 2in touchscreen
Connectivity: Wi-Fi (5GHz), Bluetooth
Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps
Max video resolution: 4K (60fps)
Frame rates: 60fps (4K), 240fps (1080p), 240fps (720p)
Waterproofing: 10m
Voice control: Yes
GPS: Yes
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimated
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous 4K video+HyperSmooth feature impresses
Reasons to avoid
-Voice commands need refining-Occasional unresponsive screen

While the GoPro Hero10 Black is out grabbing headlines, the now aging Hero7 Black is still worthy of attention for its debut of HyperSmooth, the basic version of GoPro’s image stabilization technology that brings a smooth, stable, flowing look to even handheld video. It remains impressive as does the original TimeWarp feature. A refinement of HyperSmooth, TimeWarp enables you to create a TimeLapse while walking around a scene, but also increase the speed by 30x for short, shareable and silky-smooth TimeLapse videos. It's enabled by a massive increase in the memory inside the GoPro Hero7 Black, which also gets a fresh new user interface. Add gorgeous video footage and the Hero7 Black remains an excellent action camera.

Read more: GoPro Hero 7 vs 8 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

6. GoPro Hero7 Silver

With a new low price, this action cam is now great value

Specifications
Megapixels: 10MP
Screen: 2in touchscreen
Connectivity: Wi-Fi (5GHz), Bluetooth
Max continuous shooting speed: 15fps
Max video resolution: 4K (30fps)
Frame rates: 30fps (4K), 60fps (1080p)
Waterproofing: 10m
Voice control: Yes
GPS: Yes
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimated
Reasons to buy
+Bargain deals can be found+4K video quality
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks high frame rates of more expensive models-No HyperSmooth option-Discontinued - so hard to find at a sensible price

The younger brother to the Hero7 Black, the Hero7 Silver is now discontinued – but can still be found listed by a few retailers. Key difference between this and the Hero7 Black are that it lacks HyperSmooth recording, only offers 60fps in 4K shooting mode, and has a non-removable battery (so you can't carry a spare around with you). If you can afford the more expensive Black version then it's definitely worth doing so, as that HyperSmooth stabilization is a real game-changer, but if not then this makes for a solid budget alternative.

Read more: The best GoPro accessories

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  


An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.