“My GoPro is antique (Hero 4 Black) and currently I can get the Hero 10 or the MAX for essentially the same price.  Ninety percent of its usage would be attached to my car. Which of the two would you recommend and why?”

What is the best camera for motorsports? Many use the GoPro but which is the best? The primary difference between the GoPro Hero 10 and the GoPro Max is that the Max is a 360 degree camera. Whilst in theory these are ideal for motorsports, in practise, the 360 cameras don’t always work.

The reason is because the camera can get confused between the camera tiling or you going around corner or braking into a hairpin. My guess is this is because the camera uses acceleration as a measure of camera tilt. The acceleration it feels in the car might trick the camera into thinking it is tilting when it is not.

The results is the video losing its orientation and kind of spinning or rotating around from where you intend to be looking. I believe the camera’s handling of this has improved but I would still flag it as a risk when considering a GoPro Max.

The 4 Things To Look For In An Onboard Camera

The four things I look for in an onboard camera are:

  1. 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second. This gives a good balance between quality video capture, memory card usage and speed. Whilst 24 or 30 frames per second is normal for TV, the added frames make this more useful for motorsports application, especially when looking to align the video and data.
  2. GPS capability. Given the Race Technology software, you can use your GoPro as a video data logger. Having data – speed, position and acceleration – enables faster and better driver analysis on the day.
  3. External power. The battery life on most GoPro’s is terrible. Your car gives you the opportunity to continuously power your camera thus reducing the worry about battery charging all day. I don’t believe the Max can shoot video when it is connect to external power.
  4. Is it on? There is often a question about whether the GoPro is on and recording. The Max does not have a front facing screen, so if you can’t see the back then you don’t know for sure what it is doing. The Hero also has the option to be programmed via the Google Labs scripts which can save you a lot of hassle remembering to turn the camera on and off at the track.

GoPro Hero v GoPro Max Spec References

Below is a table comparing some of the relevant specs.

Camera typeGoPro Hero 10GoPro Max
Video Resolution5.3K @ 60fps
4K @ 120fps
2.7K @ 240fps
1080p @ 240fps
360 Mode
5.6K @ 30fps
3K @ 60fps
Hero Mode
1440p @ 30fps,
1080p @ 60fps
Video ModesTimelapse
360 Mode
Hero Mode
Max Bit Rate100MBPS78MBPS
StabilisationHypersmooth 4.0Hypersmooth 2.0
LivestreamYes -1080pYes -1080p
Audio3 Channel Microphones with Noise Reduction/ Audio Mod Available6 Microphones / Ambisonic Audio
Photo Resolution23MP18MP
ScreenRear Touchscreen, Front DisplayRear Touchscreen
Memory256Gb MicroSD256Gb MicroSD
Battery60 Minutes of Video45 Minutes of Video
Record with powerYesNo (tbc)

My Recommendation For Your GoPro Choice

For motorsports, I would (and have) picked the GoPro Hero.

The Max is great and the 360 degree videos are fun. My worry would always be if the alignment of the video drifted meaning you have to keep adjusting your screen to see the video straight. The other issues with the Max are the lack of external power options, the ability to programme the camera with GoPro Labs and the lack of front screen – to see if the camera is recording properly.

The question you can ask yourself is how much you value the 360 degree video. For me I don’t think it adds much value to how I want to use the onboard video – driver coaching and line analysis. If you feel the 360 videos are what you want then the Max is the way to go.

Hopefully this perspective helps in your choice.

Be sure to read this further article on how to unlock 5 hidden GoPro settings which will make your experience using the camera easier.