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Why I can’t recommend the GoPro 9 – What to know before you GoPro

In 2020 I got a GoPro 9 expecting it to be a catalyst in my video creation. While it did indeed mean I got out there and made a lot of videos, and have a lot of videos in store, I have found on the whole for it to be a disappointing purchase, although not completely worthless.

Problems with the GoPro

A lot of this you could probably blame on my inexperience. I didn’t realise that GoPros completely fail in low-light situations, meaning forests are all but impossible to walk through and capture smoothly. To catch footage in the forest, you have to duckwalk, and move very slowly or use a tripod, which sort of defeats the purpose of the camera. I’ve had to discard so much of my footage due to this, and it got so bad I stopped using the GoPro entirely for these situations.

Also, I didn’t realise that the mic cover for the media mod would come off so easily. I bought the media mod for the mic specifically, but lost the wind cover within a few weeks, and have since had to buy a second non-powered mic (which is working wonders by the way). It’s just unfortunate that the mic that comes with GoPros is so useless whenever there’s even a tiny amount of wind. If you’re going to buy the GoPro and want usable sound, the media mod is a must, but costs an extra $100 or so.

One other huge nuisance with the GoPro is changing the battery or memory card. If you have the media mod on, this just becomes way more difficult, but you have to take the GoPro off the tripod you are using by unwinding the screw, slide open the GoPro, replace the battery or card, and then close everything again. Once I nearly lost my memory card because it is spring loaded and if you’re not careful it shoots out really fast. Either way, replacing the battery or memory card is a tedious process that is really annoying to do when you’re outside, especially when it’s cold out.

These are my biggest reasons for not liking the GoPro 9. It’s really tough going out and climbing a mountain only to come back and realise that your gear has failed. I guess this is also part of the learning curve, but I wish I had known this before I got one.

Good points of the GoPro

In saying that, I think GoPros are good at taking video while driving, and it can be a handy thing to have in a pinch because it is very compact. From what I can tell, it’s also very good at capturing snowboarding and mountain biking, in good light that is.

However, if you’re going to spend a couple hundred dollars on a camera, I don’t think I would recommend it. I would only recommend it if you were going to be focusing entirely on these action shots, but even then other cameras might be better.

A GoPro Alternative

I don’t have one because I have my Sony a6500, which is pretty good (it’s really annoying for shooting talking videos because it turns off after 20 or so minutes from overheating), but I think the Sony VLOGCAM ZV-1 looks like a really good candidate for vlogging. It’s compact enough, has a built-in stabiliser, a decent mic, shoots 4K, and if you get the shooting grip and tripod, I think you would be in good company.

In all, only get the GoPro if you are going to be doing majority action shots. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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