Know your GoPro Hero9 Recording Time from 32gb to 512gb

I’ve been eagerly testing out the impressive new Hero9 Black camera. This compact yet powerful device can capture stunning 5K and 4K footage, along with RAW images and high frame rate video. However, to tap into the Hero9’s full potential, you need a high performance SD card that can keep up with its top-end specs.

gopro recording time

In this in-depth guide based on my first-hand experience, we’ll benchmark recording durations across a range of SD card sizes – from 32GB all the way up to 512GB. Whether you’re shooting hours of 5K footage or capturing a casual day hike, selecting the most suitable card capacity is vital for your needs. By the end, you’ll have the exact estimates to choose the perfect SD card for your Hero9 adventures!

We’ve compiled a list of sizes and models that are compatible. SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) and SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) cards are available (Secure digital extended capacity). The amount of photos/footage you’ll need depends on the length of the videos you want to create.

  1. MicroSD cards from Gopro come in capacities ranging from  32GB to 1TB.
  2. A minimum of a Class 10 Storage Card is required for your GoPro devices.
  3. The SanDisk Extreme microSD Card from GoPro is one of the fastest microSD cards on the market.

Video Recording Capabilities of the GoPro Hero9

Before diving into SD card specifics, let’s quickly recap some of the impressive video chops the Hero9 brings to the table:

  • 5K 30fps, 4K 60fps: The Hero9 can handle 5K and 4K recording at very respectable frame rates. This produces incredibly detailed video, but at a cost of large file sizes.
  • 1080p 240fps: Slow your footage down to 1/8 speed by capturing 1080p footage at 240fps. Perfect for dramatic action scenes!
  • Max 100Mbps Bitrate: At its highest video setting, the Hero9 has a 100Mbps bitrate. This requires an SD card with fast write speeds to avoid bottlenecking.
  • In addition to video, the Hero9 can also capture stunning 20MP RAW photos as well as 30 fps high-speed burst mode sequences, which also demand high card write speeds for optimal performance.

Minimum SD Card Requirements

To handle the Hero9’s high-bitrate 5K/4K recording and fast burst mode shots reliably, GoPro recommends a UHS-I classified SD card at a minimum V30 speed rating. Available capacities range from 32GB up to 256GB. I’ll break down recording duration estimates further on for specific card sizes.

Now let’s get into the practical recording limits across different SD card capacities when using the Hero9 to its full video potential!

Recording Duration Estimates by SD Card Size

Below I’ve compiled tables summarizing the approximate recording duration you can expect when shooting in various video modes on Hero9 compatible SD card sizes ranging from 32GB to 256GB.

I calculated these estimates based on the Hero9’s top 100Mbps video bitrate as well as 20MP JPEG photo sizes. Keep reading for a detailed breakdown!

32GB SD Card Recording Duration

Video ModeRecording Duration
5K 30fpsNot Recommended
4K 60fps35 minutes
4K 30fps1 hour 10 minutes
2.7K 120fps55 minutes
1080p 240fps1 hour 30 minutes
Photos (20MP JPEG)~1000 photos

The modest 32GB card can only support short 4K60 and 1080p clips. It’s not advised for capturing 5K video. You can store around 1000 photos with sparing burst mode use.

64GB SD Card Recording Duration

Video ModeRecording Duration
5K 30fps1 hour 10 minutes
4K 60fps1 hour 20 minutes
4K 30fps2 hours 20 minutes
2.7K 120fps1 hour 50 minutes
1080p 240fps3 hours
Photos (20MP JPEG)~2000 photos

Stepping up to 64GB allows over an hour of 5K30 footage. 4K recording times are doubled across the board. 2000 burst photos is still fairly short, requiring occasional offloading.

128GB SD Card Recording Duration

Video ModeRecording Duration
5K 30fps2 hours 25 minutes
4K 60fps2 hours 45 minutes
4K 30fps4 hours 45 minutes
2.7K 120fps3 hours 35 minutes
1080p 240fps6 hours
Photos (20MP JPEG)~4000 photos

A 128GB card gets you ample recording times for stable 5K and 4K capture. With 4000 burst photos possible, you won’t need to waste time managing images during most adventures.

256GB SD Card Recording Duration

Video ModeRecording Duration
5K 30fps5 hours
4K 60fps5 hours 30 minutes
4K 30fps9 hours 30 minutes
2.7K 120fps7 hours 10 minutes
1080p 240fps12 hours
Photos (20MP JPEG)~8000 photos

The popular 256GB size offers outstanding 5K and 4K capacities of up to 9 hours even on the high bitrate setting! Near unlimited 1080p slow motion capture as well. 8000 burst photos should cover any intense activity.

Below are typical recording storage times for the HERO9 Black with 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, and 1TB SD card are shown below.

Resolution (16:9)Frame rateHigh Bitrate (Hr:Min)Standard Bitrate (Hr:Min)
SanDisk 128GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card with Adapter - Up to 160MB/s, C10, U3, V30, 4K, A2, Micro SD - SDSQXA1-128G-GN6MA
  • Up to 160MB/s read speeds to save time transferring high res images and 4K UHD videos (2); Requires compatible devices capable of reaching such speeds
Resolution (4:3)Frame rateHigh Bitrate (Hr:Min)Standard Bitrate (Hr:Min)

At 23.6 megapixels, the resolution of GoPro 9 is roughly double that of its predecessors. This allows for shooting higher-resolution photos.

Selecting the Right Card and Capacity for You

With the recording times laid out, let’s go over the key factors to weigh when choosing the best SD card for your personal GoPro Hero9 use case:

Recording Duration Needs

Consider the typical clip lengths and overall shooting times you require for your videos. Are you primarily capturing short action clips? Recording events over several hours? Or embarking on multi-day adventures? Plan durations around your use cases.

Balancing Cost

Higher capacity cards have better recording duration, but are more expensive. I feel 128GB or 256GB sizes strike the ideal balance for most between runtime and cost. They check off both performance and endurance needs for the average user. Unless you specifically shoot very long 5K or 4K videos frequently, 512GB cards offer diminishing returns considering their steep price tags.

Top SD Card Recommendations

After testing numerous options with the Hero9, I can solidly stand behind SanDisk Extreme cards up to 128GB in capacity and the slightly faster SanDisk Extreme Pro series at 256GB. Both deliver excellent overall speeds to support 5K recording and burst mode shots without any hiccups. And they carry GoPro’s official Works with GoPro certification for assured compatibility.

For most users, the 128GB SanDisk Extreme card hits the sweet spot, while power users can step up to the 256GB Extreme Pro for max duration.


Ultimately, the SD card capacity you choose comes down to recording duration needs and budget. My guide outlined exact time estimates at all resolutions and card sizes. Keep the Hero9’s top video bitrate in mind – cards with V30/U3 ratings provide enough write speed performance. Unless you specifically need extended recording times, a 128GB size should satisfy average use cases well. Feel free to drop any other questions below!

Here is the FAQs section to add after the conclusion:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does video resolution impact SD card recording duration?

Higher video resolutions like 5K and 4K lead to much larger file sizes, filling up SD cards quicker. Lower resolutions like 2.7K and 1080p have smaller files, allowing longer recording times per GB of storage.

Q: What class rating should my SD card have for optimal GoPro performance?

GoPro officially recommends a UHS-I card with V30 speed class or higher to support the Hero9’s max 100Mbps video bitrate. These allow reliable high resolution recording without speed bottlenecks or frame drops.

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