My GoPro Hero9 Max Lens review will give you an in-depth analysis of this mod made by GoPro. Is it necessary to purchase it? Let’s find out.
GoPro launched the Hero9 Black action camera alongside its new accessories including the media mod and max lens mod.
SEE ALSO: GoPro Hero9 Black Media Mod review.
For the media mod case, I was a bit disappointed to learn that we cannot use the media mod for Hero8 Black for the new camera.
The max lens mod comes as a result of GoPro re-introducing the removable lens system in the Hero9 Black which was not there with the Hero8 Black.
This accessory is a step forward in bringing the spherical video taste to the GoPro Hero9 Black, no wonder it was named after GoPro Max.
SEE ALSO: GoPro Hero9 Black vs. Hero8 Black
You can use the Max Lens Mod for video, photo, and Timelapse modes on your Hero9 Black.
The maximum video resolution when using this accessory is 2.7K which is better than GoPro Max which has a maximum of 1080p in Max SuperView.
Apart from allowing you to capture and record more with your camera, the Max Lens Mod ids also good in ensuring you get a very stable video.
This is mainly because the wide FOV will give more room for HyperSmooth to crop into the video and give a butter-smooth outcome.
In this review, I will give you my thoughts on this accessory and tell you what to expect if you are thinking of getting one.
What’s in the Box?
The GoPro Hero9 Black Max Lens Mod comes in a clean black box for the retail units.
The unboxing experience is good although GoPro has not included a lot of items in the box which is much expected anyway.
You will get the Lens Mod in a nice little silicon case and a cleaning cloth with a GoPro logo on one corner.
It is a good move by GoPro to include a cleaning cloth because the best way to keep your lens in good condition is to ensure regular wiping and cleaning.
Features of the Hero9 Black Max Lens Mod
The Max Lens has several features that make it a worthy purchase.
Many people who buy this accessory do it mainly because they want to max out their Hero9 Black camera FOV.
I will outline all the features the Lens Mod has in this section:
- It has an Ultra-wide angle of 155˚ field of view for improved perspective and enriched depth of surrounding.
- Supports video resolution of up to 2.7K60 with Max HyperSmooth for resilient video stabilization.
- Horizon leveling for vertical, horizontal, and full 360-degree camera rotation.
- It offers Max Timewarp for a butter-smooth TimeWarp video in Hero camera.
- The Max Lens Mod is waterproof down to 5 meters / 16 feet when installed to the Hero9 Black camera.
Installing the Max Lens Mod on Hero9 Black camera
The Max Lens mod is very straightforward to set up. You do not need any particular instruments to complete the installation.
As you already know by now, the lens on the Hero9 Black is removable. This is the reason we have this accessory in the first place.
Follow the steps below to accomplish a smooth installation of the Max Lens mod on your camera:
1. Remove the protective lens from the Hero9 Black camera. Taking this off would not affect the waterproof capability of your camera, so do not worry about water damages.
2. The protective lens is removed by twisting it either to the left or right side slightly. Once you have twisted to your preferred direction, you will then pull the lens slowly from the camera until it pops out.
3. Once you have removed the protective lens from the Hero9 Black, make sure you put it in a place you can easily remember since it is very possible to misplace it.
4. Take off the Max Lens from the silicon cover that it comes in.
5. Align the slots of the Max Lens mod and the camera on the lens area, put it in place, and twist it until it locks completely
You will notice that the Max Lens mod is a lot bigger than the protective lens for the Hero9 Black.
Once you have installed the Max Lens mod on your Hero9 Black camera, you will need to activate it in the camera settings before you start using it.
Activation is very easy, just swipe down your touchscreen and click on the icon on the bottom right side, it will turn blue.
If you cannot find the Max Lens Mod icon by swiping down the touchscreen, it means you have hidden it in the camera preferences. By default, the icon should appear when you swipe down.
For you to display the Max Lens mod icon, go to settings then click on preferences. Under the preferences option, click on mods and select max lens mod. You will have two options; ‘show’ and ‘hide’.
This is simply the best feature of the Max Lens mod according to me. The Hero9 Black indeed has an in-camera horizon leveling feature.
But for the Hero9 Black, you can only use horizon leveling when shooting in the linear mode which is a bit limiting for me. When you turn to extreme angles then the horizon will start shifting
For the Max Lens mod, you can use horizon leveling in all angles. Even when rotating the camera in 360 degrees, the horizon will still be locked when using the Max Lens mod and the footage will stay level.
This feature appears like magic to me and it is impressive to see the kind of technology that GoPro puts in its accessories to ensure we get a breathtaking experience when using their products.
You can check out the video below by MicBergsma to get a clear picture of how horizon leveling performs when having the Max Lens mod and when using the in-camera option with the camera.
You also get the option to turn off Horizon Leveling for the Max Lens mod but you will still get the SuperView.
Is GoPro Hero 9 Max Lens Mod Waterproof?
The Max Lens mod is waterproof down to 5 meters / 16 feet.
As I mentioned earlier, removing the protective lens for the Hero9 Black will not affect the waterproof rating of the camera.
In as much as the Max Lens is waterproof, I recommend that you avoid using it underwater.
When using a camera with high FOV underwater, you tend to get a refracted image which is the last thing you may want from your photography and filming.
The waterproof capability for the Max Lens mod is good enough to be used as security for accidental splashes and rain.
Video Resolution and Stabilization
When using the Max Lens Mod with the Hero9 Black, you will have a maximum video resolution of 2K with 60 frames per second.
This is a significant drop having in mind that the Hero9 Black camera can manage a high resolution of 5K with 30 frames per second.
However, the resolution is high when you compare with the GoPro Max 360-degree camera which maxes out the resolution at 1080P when filming in Max SuperView.
By now, you are aware that the Hero9 Black uses HyperSmooth 3.0 for video stabilization.
Going with my review on the camera, we found out that HyperSmooth 3.0 is a very good stabilization technology and it performs even better than HyperSmooth 2.0 that is there with the Hero8 Black.
Now with the Max Lens mod on the Hero9 Black, the camera will use Max HyperSmooth which is at higher levels in terms of video stabilization only comparable to the GoPro Max in this category.
Ultra-wide angle of 155˚ Field of View
With the Max Lens mod on the Hero9 Black, you are assured of a boosted field of view which is supposed to mimic what is offered by the GoPro Max.
The FOV on the Max Lens mod stands at 155 degrees which is the highest for any Hero camera by GoPro.
Have a look at the video below which shows Abe Kislevitz using his Hero9 Black with a Max Lens Mod. Notice the amazing FOV the camera shoots in and the horizon leveling:
TimeWarp is similar to Timelapse video in many aspects. The only difference between the two is that for Timelapse video, the camera has to be in a steady position when filming whereas, for TimeWarp, you can move around with the camera when you are filming.
GoPro Hero9 Black has the in-camera TimeWarp 3.0 which is a slight improvement from previous generation Hero cameras.
However, with the Max Lens Mod installed, the GoPro Hero9 Black will now have Max TimeWarp which is an even better version.
The Max Lens Mod will improve the user experience in TimeWarp by recording an ultra-smooth video hence eliminating shakes and wobbles that could have otherwise been seen when not using the Max Lens mod.
Can the Max Lens Mod work with the Hero7 Black?
Having in mind that the Hero7 Black camera also has a removable lens set up, does it necessarily mean that you can attach the Max Lens mod?
Unluckily, you cannot use the Max Lens with the Hero7 Black.
Apart from the camera’s size difference to the Hero9 Black, the Max Lens requires software integration with the camera, and the Hero7 Black doesn’t run on compatible software.
The Good and the Bad of the Max Lens Mod
- The every-angle horizon leveling feature is amazing
- Increased FOV and improved image stabilization
- Smooth TimeWarp videos
- Cannot be used with the Hero7 Black
- Ultra-wide angle does not match up the GoPro Max Hero mode
The GoPro Hero9 Black is a good camera in itself without adding further accessories.
But if you would love to revamp your user experience then it is a good idea to consider some compatible accessories including the Max Lens Mod and the Hero 9 Media Mod.
The Max Lens mod does a very good job of turning your Hero9 Black camera to mimic the GoPro Max without being a spherical camera.
The horizon leveling feature is my favorite in this accessory, I love the fact that the camera will keep my rectangular view in place no matter how I roll the camera.
Other features like Max SuperView and image stabilization are also a step up and I am happy to have seen how the accessory performed.
GoPro included a waterproof rating for the Max Lens mod. This is a good step in ensuring that your lens is protected from sudden water spills including rain.
With such a rating, you will also have confidence when cleaning your lens.
I would recommend this Lens mod to anyone who uses their Hero9 Black for extreme rugged situations, where it is impossible to get a good view using the Hero9 Black without the Lens mod.
Using this lens accessory will guarantee you a good rectangular view thanks to the horizon lock, and a super smooth video thanks to the improved stabilization.
Thank you for reading my GoPro Hero9 Black Max Lens Mod review!
I hope you found it valuable. If you have any questions or concerns, please post a comment below and I will surely get back to you.