Choosing the best camera can be a difficult task with so many options on the market. Finding the perfect camera for you takes some research and clarity to determine what you need most from your purchase. Some buy a camera to take action shots of the best quality. Others buy cameras for video shots with crisper sound. No matter the requirement, the market has an option available for every use case imaginable. 

This guide will examine the Zoom Q2n-4k and the GoPro Hero 9. Each camera has different strengths and weaknesses. The Zoom Q2n-4k is the preferred choice by musicians due to 4k resolution and clean sound. The GoPro Hero 9 is the go-to choice in action cameras with long battery life and hyper smooth stability.

If you are unsure which to choose, check out this breakdown of each camera’s features to help.

Zoom Q2n 4K Handy Video Recorder GoPro HERO9 Black 5K Action Camera
Price $200+ $450+
Camera Height 3.4 in 2.2 in
Sensor Resolution 16 MP 23.6 MP
Additional Features Built-in Speaker, Auto Power Save Built-in Speaker, Date / Time Stamp
Brand Zoom GoPro
Release Date 42705 44075
Optical Sensor CMOS CMOS
White Balance Exposure Mode Automatic, Preset Automatic, Preset
Feature High Definition, Action Camera Night Mode, Waterproof, Image Stabilizing, High Definition, Action Camera, Widescreen Video, Face Detection, Self Timer Delay
Camera Type Mountable Mountable
Screen Size 1.77 in 2.27 in
Display Style Built-in Built-in
Display Feature Touch Screen
HD Format 1080p, 720p, 4K 1440p, 1080p, 5K, 4K, 2.7K
Video Format MPEG-4, MOV, H.264 / AVC H.264 / AVC
Connectivity USB, HDMI USB, Wireless
Storage Media SD Card, microSD Card MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, SD Card, microSD Card
Connectivity Feature GPS
Microphone Mode Stereo Stereo

 Why choose Zoom Q2n-4k?

The Zoom Q2n-4k is a lightweight, durable option for users looking for an excellent combination of portable audio and video. This camera has carved out a great niche to provide musicians with the best option to get the video without sacrificing their recording. 

The Q2n was the original release, with the new upgrade to the Zoom Q2-4k providing a new look and features. One of the main ones being the upgrade to 4K video capability, of course. There is plenty of sound depth for any musician or band to record their music with clarity.    

What to expect? 

The Zoom Q2n-4k is versatile. It can hook up to your computer and act as a webcam with 720p WVGA video and 48kHz/16 bit audio. This accommodates musicians doing live streams and webcasts with high levels of audio quality. It also avoids multiple setups, acting as both the camera and the audio interface. You can also expect a small product. The Zoom Q2n-4k fits in your hand or pocket with ease. It is a wider-based action camera whereas many competitors are thin with a more defined height. The exact measurement is 83.0mm high, 68.5mm wide, and 58.7mm thick.

Specifications – Video 

 With the upgrade, Zoom focused on enhancing the video features more than the audio. They added a 1/2.3” 16M-flexible CMOS sensor to provide better quality and support 4k recording. The lens was also upgraded with a f2.8 and 150-degree field of view capability. The resolutions and frame rates that can be shot are 720p/24fps, 720p/30fps, 1080p/24fps, 1080p/25fps, 1080p/30fps,1080p/50fps, 1080p/60fps, 4k/24fps, 4k/25fps, and 4k/30fps. Remember, the Q2n-4k could only shoot at 1080p/30fps.

The camera can also record in MPEG-4 AVC or H.264 (MOV) formats for better flexibility. The wider lens also upgraded the zoom features and a change feature to adjust for different situations and settings. There are five total field view settings to choose from. 

Specifications – Audio 

The audio received less of a facelift but still a juicy upgrade. It can function as an audio recorder only if required. Audio is recorded in uncompressed .wav formats at the following bit rates: 96kHz/24bit, 48kHz/24bit, and 44.1kHz/16bit. 

The low-cut offering helps reduce external noise too. It can adjust to three different low-cut audio settings: 80Hz, 120Hz, or 160Hz. It comes equipped with headphone ports and other inputs to connect other audio sources. Here is a crazy number to consider when thinking of this camera. The max sound pressure level is 120dB. This compares to the same level as a military jet aircraft taking off. 

Why choose GoPro Hero 9?

The GoPro Hero 9 is an action camera designed for vloggers, action filmmakers, and those who love a good selfie. Past Hero models were built with more sport and action films in mind, but new upgrades make this camera more attractive to a wider audience. A new front display and larger rear display with an upgrade to 5k capabilities give the Hero 9 a big edge on the market. This is the best GoPro Hero yet with so many added features.

What to expect? 

The GoPro Hero 9 has upgraded to make it a better all-around camera than previous models. The biggest upgrade is a built-in 1.4-inch display front display. It can show live previews to frame a selfie or a piece to the camera. There are different formats to choose from like full-screen or actual to better adjust for style.

The other big feature added is the removable glass lens protector. This allows for the third-party usage of filters. There is also a touch screen with strong light resistance to allow usage on bright days. It is 71x55x33.6mm in size so you should expect a larger feel, more detailed shots, and improved and stable video resolutions. 

Specifications – Video 

The video capabilities are very impressive. The 23.6 MP sensor has the ability to capture video at 5K in 30 frames per second (fps) at 100Mbps. Some cool features include TimeWarp 3.0 mode and Hypersmooth 3.0. TimeWarp 3.0 is the slower-motion mode to capture time-lapses. This is a favorite for action video filmers. TimeWarp 3.0 uses a speed ramp that incorporates audio for more improved time lapses. There is also a slo-mo only option. 

Hypersmooth 3.0 is a stabilization setting for the Hero 9.  

Boost Ultimate stabilization with tight cropping.
High Stronger stabilization with minimal cropping (10%).
On Stabilized video with minimal cropping (10%).
Off Records without video stabilization or cropping.

This can stabilize video across all resolutions for a better shot. There are two lens modes – 16-34mm and 19-39mm.

Other features include LiveBurst food motion photos. Burst which can shoot 25 photos per second. And Night Photo modes for better vision in the dark. 

The Hero9 can be used as a 1080p widescreen webcam and live streams at 1080p. Another cool feature is a 30-second looping video buffer for video. This keeps it uninterrupted to avoid missing unexpected moments during filming. 

Specifications – Audio

The Hero 9 is built with a three-mic arrangement. This means settings can be adjusted to auto wind processing, wind processing permanently, or all processing off. Raw audio recording can also be adjusted. The Zero processing mode provides three audio Wav files from the different mics. These would then need manual processing afterward in editing software.

The Hero 9 also has external mic capability with built-in ports.

Overall, the sound is strong on the Hero 9 but you do not receive the same type of coverage you get with the Zoom Q2n-4. The Hero 9 is an action camera with many features designed to improve the sound from wind and water submerging.   

What is the best choice for a webcam?

This decision must be made based on a few factors. Optimal sound and sizing would give the edge to the Zoom Q2n-4k while still providing high-quality video.

The GoPro Hero 9 is a bit bigger and tends to be more of a hassle to mound with more muffled sounds. Both would serve the purpose of a strong webcam, but when you consider price the Zoom Q2n would be the right purchase. It is a cheaper camera and the GoPro is designed for more high-level filming.  

What is the best choice for travel?

The GoPro Hero 9 would be our pick for best travel camera choice between these two for a few reasons. First, this is a more durable camera and the design makes it an easier option to hold and carry around. It is a thin camera larger in height than the Zoom Q2n-4k. We have heard complaints that the Zoom design is more difficult to carry around because of the thickness. 

Second, 5k video filming. There is a strong chance you will be utilizing video during travel so the higher quality video camera would be the better choice. It can be paired with additional add-ons as well for even better performance. 

Lastly, the front-mounted LCD selfie screen. Everybody takes selfies while they travel. This is a different element provided that the Zoom Q2n-4k cannot match. We choose the Hero 9. 

What are the accessories options?  

The Zoom Q2n-4k comes boxed with a lens hood, lens cap, AA batteries (x2), and a quick guide to streamline your setup. Some upgrade accessories that the Q2n-4k owners can buy include:

  •  WSU-1 universal hairy windscreen 
  • HS-1 hot shoe mount MA-2 tripod to mic stand adapter for Handy Recorders 
  • Zoom AD-17 AC adapter
  • BCQ2n battery case
  • MSM-1 mic stand mount

All of these options can enhance your camera filming, ease of use, and extend battery life for a better overall experience. 

The Hero 9 is a bit different. It can be purchased with a bundle to save on accessories at the initial purchase point. This bundle includes GoPro Handler floating grip, Magnetic Swivel Clip, spare battery, microSD card, and the camera itself. There is also a list of Mod accessories that can be added to your camera for enhanced filming. The options include both a media mod or a display mode. 

The traditional Hero 9 box comes with the Hero 9, the charging cable, a battery, and mounting hardware. This is the basic package along with cards to upgrade to the GoPro subscription. 

Which has the best warranty? 

GoPro provides a 30-day money-back guarantee to return your purchase if you do not like the product. It is a no-questions-asked situation. The product can be returned and fully refunded. 

GoPro also offers a 1-year warranty to cover any factory or manufacturing defects. GoPro will replace your product with a new product in this instance. Zoom also offers a 1-year warranty to cover similar factory defects like GoPro. Both companies cover damages that may be made on their own end.

To better product your product, we recommend purchasing insurance with it at the time of buying.   

Which camera has the best battery life? 

The Q2n-4K uses two AA batteries for power and provides up to 30 minutes of recording time in UHD 4K. Another recording life is one hour at 1080p and two hours at 720p.

The GoPro Hero 9 received a battery upgrade of 30 percent overall compared to the Hero 8. It can last for over 2 hours of straight recording in 1080p and 4k. 5k filming lasts about half the time. Overall, battery life is a clear-cut winner for the GoPro Hero 9. 

GoPro and Zoom Alternative 

In case these cameras don’t do it for you, there are other competing products available. One choice is the Akaso V50 Pro Action Camera. We would consider this the budget version on the market, most similar in style to the Hero 9. It prices around $100-$110. It is a 4K/30fps and 20MP image action camera with built-in WiFi and HDMI outputs. 

A few other features include a 2″ LCD touch screen, External mic support, and a 2″ LCD touch screen. For entry-level filmmakers and photographers, this could be a choice to get started in the action camera market. It carries a similar design to the GoPro Hero models but you can expect limited features and lower sound, video, and battery performance.