What resolution video can my GoPro output from the HDMI port

Categories: CamerasPublished On: February 22nd, 202334 min read
Nigel Paine
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GoPro HDMI output

Recently we have received a flood of questions regarding the HDMI output from GoPro cameras.

Why should this matter?
The main reason our customers ask this question is they would like to connect their Back-Bone modified camera to a monitor. Back-Bone is one of the most popular brands we sell. Back in 2014 they created a professional modification kit to allow users to attach interchangeable lenses on to the GoPro Hero 3+ Black camera.  Since then they have offered modified GoPro (and other) cameras which can take different lenses as well as attach on to microscopes, endoscopes and even telescopes.  Today the Back-Bone Hero 11 PRO camera is the most advanced GoPro available.

Back-Bone H11PRO modified GoPro camera

Whilst a GoPro is a point and press camera solution the Back-Bone system provides the ability to adjust lens focus and aperture. ¬†This is not easy to do when simply relying on the camera’s tiny screen. ¬†Instead it is better to plug the camera into an external monitor using the camera’s HDMI output. ¬†Some have features like focus peaking to help ensure the images are as sharp as possible.

The ability to live stream to a monitor also makes the camera more versatile and ideal for viewing or training purposes. ¬†Similarly a monitor allows you to replay and share images captured on the camera’s micro SD card.

However, as we will see below, the HDMI output resolution varies between GoPro models and whether the camera is idle, recording or in playback mode!

Sony DSC-RX0 peak focussing

A WARNING. Checking the internet about the resolution from GoPro HDMI output flagged up the fact that an awful lot of people writing that you can view images in 4K or higher РTHIS SIMPLY IS NOT TRUE!

GoPro cameras have traditionally been promoted as capable of shooting video at 4K resolution, indeed the GoPro Hero 9 and 10 are capable of shooting 5K and the new Hero 11 camera with it’s new IMX677L sensor is 5.3K. ¬†However, ¬†if you expect to be able to connect the camera to a monitor with an HDMI cable to view the full camera resolution then you are going to be disappointed.

What resolution video can my GoPro output from the HDMI port

The Differences

The whole subject of GoPro HDMI connectivity is a minefield since camera HDMI output resolutions change depending on:
1) the camera generation
2) whether the camera is in
– Idle mode
– Recording mode
– Replay mode

Add also the fact that GoPro model Hero 8 and later require an accessory called a Media Mod to allow you to even connect the camera to an HDMI cable.

The True Outputs Revealed

Here are the most recent camera designs to see what they are capable of in the HDMI department!

HERO 11 Black HDMI Supports:
Idle. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 8:7 / 1232×1080, 4:3 / 1440×1080, 16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† 60 FPS
Recording. 8:7 / 1232×1080, 4:3 / 1440×1080, 16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† 30 FPS*
Playback. ¬† 16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†30 FPS

* Possibly 720P upconverted to 1080p?)
NOTE:  Hero 11 can only output HDMI using the Media Mod

HERO 10 Black HDMI Supports:
Idle. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 4:3 / 1440×1080, 16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† 60 FPS*
Recording. 4:3 / 640×480¬†16:9 / 720×480. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†30 FPS
Playback. ¬† 16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 30 FPS.

* Reported frame doubling is used 30FPS to achieve 60 FPS)
NOTE:  Hero 10 can only output HDMI using the Media Mod

HERO 9 Black HDMI Supports:
Idle. ¬† ¬† ¬†16:9 / 1440×1080, 16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† 30 FPS
4:3 / 1440×1080, 16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† 30 FPS
Recording. 16:9 / 640×480¬†16:9 / 720×480. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 30 FPS
4:3 / 640×480¬†16:9 / 720×480. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 30 FPS
Playback. 16:9 / 1440×1080,¬†16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† ¬† ¬† 30 FPSIdle.
4:3 / 1440×1080,¬†16:9 / 1920×1080. ¬† ¬† ¬† 30 FPS

NOTE:  Hero 9 can only output HDMI using the Media Mod

HERO 8 Black HDMI Supports:
Idle.             4K/30 live output only when the camera was set to 4K/60 (but not 30)
Recording. 1440p for 4:3 content, and 1080p for 16:9.  30 FPS
Playback.    Full 4K resolution up to 30 FPS.

NOTE:  Hero 8 can only output HDMI using the Media Mod

HERO 7 Black HDMI Supports
Idle.             Output of live preview at 1080p. (reported frame doubling 30FPS to achieve 60 FPS)
Recording. Output while recording at 720p.
Playback.   Playback up to 4K from recorded media.

GoPro Hero 7 allows WiFi with recording up  4K/30

HERO 6 Black HDMI Supports:
Idle. Output of live preview at 1080p.   30 FPS
Recording. Output while recording at 720p.   30 FPS
Playback. Playback up to 4K from recorded media.  30 FPS

HERO 5 Black HDMI Supports:
Idle. Output of live preview at 4K/30  2160p. 30 FPS
Recording. Output while recording at 720p. 30 FPS
Playback. Playback up to 4K from recorded media. 30 FPS

HERO 4 Black HDMI Supports:

Playback. 1080/60

A Few Other Useful Points

In some cases connecting the HDMI cable to the monitor means the screen on the rear of the camera will go blank.
You can only view the camera image, menu, etc on the external monitor but the touch screen still functions for menu selection.

Using a monitor to focus Back-Bone modified cameras is a great idea.
Some monitors also have features like focus peaking to help ensure the images are as sharp as possible.

There is a very slight latency between the camera and external monitor.

The Media Mod uses a micro-HDMI connector.

It is recommended to connect a USB power supply or suitable external battery to the camera since the HDMI will use more power.

Some cameras actually require you to select HDMI output in the preferences. This allows you to select between monitoring the live view or replaying content saved in the camera.  This setting is odd because while the camera monitor is off but you can scroll and select images to view on the monitor.

Remember that HDMI cables are only good for transmitting a signal a maximum of 10-12 metres before the signal drops off)

Conclusion

You can view images from your GoPro on an external monitor or use it for live streaming.  However the actual output resolution is not the full resolution of the camera and varies depending upon the camera generation and whether you are using the camera while idle, recording or replaying images.  If you are using a GoPro camera with a monitor for training purposes you should take care which camera you use especially of you will be recording the images.

The Hero 11 Black and Back-Bone Hero 11 PRO cameras are currently the best GoPro cameras for this job.

Remember the image seen on the monitor is not 4K, as a maximum it is HD (1080) however it is possible to upscale the image.
The best way to view the full resolution image captured by any GoPro camera is to download the images and replay them from another device.