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Best GoPro for snorkeling

Which is the best GoPro for snorkeling ? Are you looking for a small camera setup such a GoPro for snorkeling? Are you looking for a camera that is almost fully automatic and don’t mind the fish eye camera angle then your best option for the setup you are looking for would be a GoPro.

best GoPro for snorkeling

On this article you will learn what model best suits your needs, the accessories available for these setups and the available accessories that will fit your demands when underwater.

All of our tips and tricks come from personal experience.

Best GoPros for snorkeling

Currently, GoPro has 3 models available for purchase. The hero 10, 9 and 8. They also carry a 360-degree camera but that one is not of much use when snorkeling.

The looks of the hero 10 and hero 9 are pretty much the same. It comes with a front screen and it solves the problems that the hero 9 had in the past.

The screen is copied from the DJI Osmo Action Camera only it comes with a bigger screen which allows to easily see the footage capture either at the front or at the back of the camera.

The hero 9 came with many problems that most users complained about. The touch screen was very bad, problems with video quality and the fact that the camera once in a while freezes making you lose your content or the footage previously recorded.

The hero 10 comes with a new sensor that fixed most of these problems encountered in the past with the hero 9. At 23MP, this camera gives you the chance of having higher resolution still pictures. It also comes with higher frame per second video at 60fps on 5.3K video and also 100fps on 4K video. You can also pull 19MP still pictures from the 5.3K video. You will need a good computer to process video editing on this resolution.

One great feature of this camera specially when recording under water is the new hydrophobic lens coating which works perfectly for water drops on the camera’s lens. This is very useful for when you just have gotten out of the water and want to start shooting right away.

Other great feature is that you no longer need to download your files to your computer via Wi-Fi or SD card removal, it now allows usage of cable for downloads. It also improved its Hyper smooth vibration technology which gives more stable and unshaken footage at all times.

You can get this camera up to 33feet under water without a housing thanks to its waterproofing and it comes with the flaps for attaching other accessories such as sticks and handles so no need for extra attachments to use these accessories. The Hero 9 housing will also work with this camera in case you want more protection.

The initial users of the Hero 10 only complain about the camera over-heating when used for long periods of time when shooting video, we will need to wait and see how well it performs underwater.

We will put the hero 8 black above the Hero 9 or even the Hero 10 as this one does not have the overheating problem. Unlike previous versions the Hero 8 black comes with built-in attachment feature so you do not have to use other accessories to attach your camera. A bunch of new features such as microphones, screens and lights. It comes with a new Hyper smooth stabilization software and the new feature of Live burst mode which can take up to 90 still images in an outstanding 1.5 seconds so you can capture the action at all times. To crop the images into different formats you can select different digital lenses, mimicking the different lenses available on the market with a crisp and clear picture. For more vivid images there is a HDR mode which sharpens the images. This device is also waterproof of up to 33 feet without a case.

In addition, if you are starting out with snorkeling please read our Snorkeling Guide.

Read more: Best Flippers for Snorkeling

GoPro Hero 8 best features:

GoPro Hero 8
  • 12MP sensor.
  • Fast lens.
  • Touch screen (this feature does not work underwater).
  • Hyper smooth stabilization up to 60fps.
  • Waterproofing of up to 33 feet without external housing.

GoPro Hero 9 Black best features:

GoPro Hero 9
  • 20MP sensor.
  • Fast lens.
  • Touch screen (this feature does not work underwater).
  • Removable wide-angle lens.
  • Hyper smooth technology for steady shots version 3.0
  • RAW format on pictures for professional editing.
  • 5K video.
  • Waterproofing of up to 33 feet without external housing.

GoPro Hero 10 Black best features:

goPro Hero 10
  • Downloads via cable.
  • 23MP sensor.
  • 19MP still capture.
  • Fast lens.
  • Hyper smooth technology for steady shots.
  • RAW format on pictures for professional editing.
  • Long battery life.
  • Hydrophobic lenses for cleaner shots when coming out of the water.
  • Improved touch screen for better usage.
  • Improved horizon stabilization.
  • Overheating problems when recording long videos.
  • 4k Video at 100fps and 5.3K video at 60fps.
  • Great front view screen.
  • Waterproofing of up to 33 feet without external housing.

So, which one of these 3 options is the best for you?

If what is necessary is the front screen then the hero 10 is the way to go. The hero 10 can shoot 5.3K up to 60fps versus the 30fps found on the Hero 9. It can also shoot at an outstanding 4K at 120fps! On the other hand, the Hero 8 seems like a bargain nowadays but let’s not forget that it does not come with the overheating problems found on the Hero 9 and Hero 10 specially when recording long high-res video.

Great options for housing options

All three options described in this article are 100% waterproof for snorkeling right out of the box. They also have all kinds of external housings for under $60 that allows for underwater shooting on diving depths, these housings also protect the camera from bumps and scratches. Other perk from using underwater housing is the easy access to button controls as they are much bigger than the ones found in the camera itself. You can also add filters for color improvement under certain light underwater conditions.

You have to take into account that these cameras are very small in size making some kind of handle pretty essential. They do not come with a tripod mount hole, they all come with mounts at the bottom that you can find all kinds of handles sold separately to use depending on your requirements. Read more here: How to Get the Most Out of Your GoPro Around Water? and How to Attach GoPro to a Full-Face Snorkel Mask?

Pros of having a GoPro as your recording snorkeling setup:

  • Easy to use. Most of the functions that come with these cameras are automated, it is a very simple to use camera. There is the possibility to make setting changes but it pretty much does everything by itself with a press of a button.
  • Size. These small cameras are best preferred for snorkelers because when mounted on a pole are very easy to handle. Also, they fit anywhere in your backpack or can be easily stored anywhere.
  • Price. Any good snorkeling setup will consist of some type of housing, replaceable batteries and a handle. Any of the price options of the Hero 8, 9 or 10 with these 3 accessories will run for much less than other good snorkeling cameras and let’s not forget you can also find all kinds of aftermarket brands and attachments for the GoPro cameras.
  • Video quality. GoPro cameras have been designed for selfie-videoing on extreme sports such mountain biking, extreme sports, etc.

Cons of having a GoPro as your recording snorkeling setup:

  • Poor performance under low light conditions. Due to the small sensors used in order to gain on practicality and weight the still shots can not compare to a regular compact camera with bigger sensors. If you are looking for crisp and brilliant pictures this might not be the right choice for you.
  • Not much control. Almost everything is automated or controlled by one button reason why if creative control is an issue for you other options are available.
  • Battery life. You would definitely need to get extra batteries as the size for these camera batteries are very small.
  • Remote does not work underwater.

GoPro accessories to use when snorkeling

We would strongly recommend to get some type of housing for the reasons mentioned above, however these following items can be very useful as well.

  • Strap and floating handle. GoPro camera size is very small and they sink so unless you are using them on shallow waters it is recommended you get a floating device so you do not lose your camera, also get a strap so the camera is attached at all times. The official GoPro handler has a mount and it floats. If no strap is required then definitely a good floating accessory is best.
  • Extra batteries. We think having at least two extra batteries for you to be able to change between sessions are necessary. We also recommend to get an official battery pack as the aftermarket ones are known to have some issues.
  • Anti-fog accessories. These inserts will help with the fog caused by the heating that creates moisture. Having one put before a snorkeling session will solve this issue.
  • Extending stick. Taking videos and pictures with a stick is much easier and it allows you to reach to some places that otherwise could not be possible. The only problem with these sticks is that they do not hold well over time with salat water, metal parts start to rust and this creates a problem. Some people have been leaving great reviews of the GoPro El grande stick which is waterproof so it does not fill with water and it extends longer than 5most sticks on the market.
  • Cool gadget. If you want to shoot with an increased field of up to 33% there is the Telesin dome. This allows for those split above and below water shots.

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