GoPro Max vs GoPro Fusion: What’s Changed?

7th October 2019

GoPro have released their next generation 360 camera, the GoPro Max. The GoPro Max (also known as the Fusion 2) features a new design, new video modes and new hardware; it’s a big change in direction from the Fusion which was large, clunky and hard to use. While the Fusion featured excellent hardware the accompanying software was poor; have GoPro managed to rectify this and can they convince consumers that their new 360 camera is worth a shot. In this post we will be comparing the GoPro max and the GoPro Fusion to see what’s changed and whether it’s worth upgrading.

GoPro Fusion vs Go Pro Max (Fusion 2)

  • Design
  • Video & Photo Quality
  • Live Preview
  • Only 1 SD Card Required
  • 3 in 1 Camera
  • Improved Workflow and Un-tethered for Mobile
  • Audio Quality
  • Summary
  • Specs

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    SpecsGoPro MaxGoPro Fusion
    Video Resolution5.6K 30fps – HERO Mode: 1440p 60fps/ 1080p 60fps5.6K @ 24fps
    Photo Resolution16.6 MP18 MP (jpeg, RAW)
    Bit RateUp to 78mbpsUp to 70mbps
    StabilizationHypersmooth6 Axis Image Stabilization
    WaterproofFully Waterproof up to 16ftFully Waterproof up to 10ft
    SensorsGyroscope, GPS, WiFi, BluetoothGyroscope, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth
    Audiox 6 Microphone (ambisonic audio)x 4 Microphone (ambisonic audio)
    Battery1600 mAh1 Hour of Video
    Other FeaturesReframe, Time Lapse, Time Warp, Slow Motion, Power Pano, Protune, Voice Control, On screen shortcutsReframe, Time Lapse, Voice Control,
    PricePre-OrderCheck Amazon
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    The most obvious difference between the new Fusion Max and the original Fusion is the complete change in design. The original Fusion was large, thick and featured a basic LCD screen with only manual controls. The GoPro Max is much similar in size to other GoPro Cameras and features a full touch screen LCD screen. The smaller size of the GoPro Max makes it much more user friendly and the inclusion of a touch screen, a common feature on all GoPro cameras for years, means you can change settings on the fly quickly.

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    Video & Photo Quality

    When the Fusion was first released it could shoot 5.2K resolution 360 video; about a year later this was upgraded via software update to 5.6K at 24fps. The GoPro Max retains the same resolution but bumps up the frame rate to 30fps. While this doesn’t seem like a huge different you should remember that it’s been years since the Fusion was developed and GoPro uses superior sensors and video processing chips in their newer products. Expect a noticeable but not extreme improvement in video quality.

    When it comes to photos it seems the Max has taken a backwards step, reducing the resolution from 18mp to 16. Again, improved hardware may make up for this but it would have been nice to see an increase.

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    Live Preview

    The Max makes use of its new LCD screen by allowing the user to preview photos and videos shot with the camera almost immediately. For this to happen the camera needs to be able to stitch 360 media itself rather than using desktop software. One of the Fusion’s weak points was the fact you needed to upload files to a desktop and have it go through a stitching process before you can see your media at all. Being able to preview your files right away puts this in line with other GoPro cameras.

    gopro max vs Gopro fusion

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    Only 1 SD Card Required

    Another negative aspect of the first GoPro Fusion was the fact it required two SD cards to work; the new Fusion will be only require one. Again this improves the user-friendless of this device and makes it slightly cheaper too. The Fusion was able to shoot 360 video at a very high bit-rate thanks to this dual SD card set-up; it may be that the new Fusion Max may sacrifice some of this high bit-rate video for a mire simple set-up.

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    3 in 1 Camera

    GoPro is pushing the Max as a 3 in 1 camera with the ability to be an action camera, 360 camera and vlogging camera. The Max can use just one it its lenses to shoot stabilised video similar to a GoPro Hero or use both lenses to shoot 360 video. You can also use the LCD screen as a front facing camera to easily create vlogs on the go. The Fusion lacks these features.

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    Improved Workflow and Un-tethered for Mobile

    It seems that the primary goal of the GoPro Max is to improve the workflow and un-tether the camera from your phone. These were two of the most frustrating aspects of the original Fusion and led to many complaints that the camera was simply too difficult to use. The inclusion of an LCD screen, automatic stitching and the requirement of only 1 SD card means that the GoPro Max will be far easier to use and won’t require a connection to your phone. A new App will allow you to reframe your 360 video quickly and easily using simple checkpoints.

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    Audio Quality

    When the Fusion was released it featured one of the best audio setups of any 360 camera. Featuring 4 microphones on its body the camera could create ambisonic audio, a perfect companion to 360 video. Thankfully the Max manages to improve upon this and throws in another 2 microphones for 6 in total. GoPro claims that the Audio coming from the Max is as good as a shot gun mic, if so then this makes the Max a perfect vlogging camera as no external audio would be required.

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    The Max has been completely redesigned compared to the Fusion; this is not just an incremental upgrade but a change indirection. GoPro is focusing on user friendliness and making it as simple as possible to go out and shoot in 360 and create awesome video. The inclusion of a dual camera mode inthe Max means that you have both an action camera and 360 camera in one; something the Fusion can’t compete with. While the Fusion is pretty good value now thanks to a price cut, it’s still clunky and hard to use. The Max, with its LCD screen and new software, is easier to use and features a lot more shooting modes. For this reason the Max is worth the extra money and is possible the  best 360 camera available right now.

    GoPro Max Available Here: 

    Check Amazon


    GoPro Fusion Available Here: 

    Check Amazon


    Owner of Writer, photographer and videographer. You can see my YouTube channel for guides of how to shoot 360 video. I've written for The Times, Digital Photography School and Sunday Express. 

    1 Comment
    1. I have the Fusion and my biggest problem with it is the stabilisation. I don’t have a powerful PC to use Fusion Studio so I rely on the GoPro app. The stabilisation in the app is atrocious compared to using Fusion studio. Does this new version have the same issue?

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