Can a GoPro go underwater? How deep can they go? You might be asking: is a Gopro waterproof? Do you want to get wet during your next trip? You want to go snorkeling or diving, but you need to know what kind of camera you should bring. The best choice is a GoPro.
Find out why a GoPro is a good choice and what you need to do to use it as a snorkeling or diving camera in this guide. Discover here the best GoPro for snorkeling and the best gopro for scuba diving.
What does a good camera for diving and snorkeling have?
Water and average cameras do not get along at all. So first, a camera for diving or snorkeling should be waterproof. But it should also be waterproof, at least as deep as you plan to dive. This is very important. So check your camera’s waterproof depth rating before jumping in the water.
You’re probably looking for a diving camera for one of the same reasons that many vacationers do:
- Take some fantastic photos and videos for Instagram. Get material for your vlog.
- Add to the professional diving gear you already own.
- Record the moment you cross “swim with sharks” off your list of things to do.
- In that case, the best snorkeling and diving camera is easy to use, light, and lets you have a lot of fun while taking awesome underwater selfies.
GoPro cameras are a great example of this.
They are waterproof right out of the box, easy to use, and have excellent image quality when used underwater. Also, there are a lot of great waterproof mounts for the GoPro, so you can make a diving setup that can compete with some professional ones.
Up to 10 meters deep, GoPro cameras are waterproof.
How far can you go when you dive with a GoPro?
GoPro cameras are waterproof right out of the box, but the depth to which you can go depends on the model.
HERO cameras are waterproof up to 33 feet, just like the HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black (10m).
GoPro MAX is watertight up to 16 feet (5m).
You’ll need an extra protective housing to go deeper: Super Suit for HERO8, HERO7, HERO6, and HERO5 Black. Protective Housing for HERO9 Black. These additional housings protect against water up to 196ft (60m).
Use of a GoPro while diving
Do you need housing for your GoPro to go underwater?
No! You will only need extra housing if you plan to go scuba diving on your next vacation and go deeper than 33 feet (10 meters), which is how deep a GoPro camera can go without housing.
If you only want to snorkel around and play in the pool, the GoPro will work fine right out of the box. Add a GoPro Floaty for a little extra protection. If you drop your GoPro, it will float to the surface and be easy to find.
Which GoPro mount is best for scuba diving and snorkeling?
Here are three popular ways to mount your GoPro for snorkeling and diving. Click on the link to find out more.
Keep a firm hold on your camera, even when wet and slippery. If you drop it, it will float to the top, and the bright orange end will stick out of the water, making it easy to find.
Hand + Wrist Strap
This GoPro mount can be used in a lot of different ways. The unique straps keep your GoPro safely attached to you, so you can keep the camera at arm’s length without worrying about dropping it. And since the mounting point can turn and tilt 360°, you’ll still have complete control to take selfies while snorkeling or point-of-view footage while diving.
When you want to take a picture of yourself with your diving buddies or the fish following you around, El Grande (shown above) has you covered? It can be used in water and has a secure grip that is big enough to hold with both hands. It also extends from 15 (38cm) to 38 (97cm) to give you the most shooting options. Read more: can a gopro take pictures?
What About Good Lighting for Underwater Photography?
GoPro cameras are better than ever at taking underwater pictures, even at shallower depths with less light. They have custom image processing chips and more advanced metadata features. But sometimes, it still takes work to get the proper lighting.
The best conditions for diving and snorkeling in shallow water are clear water and a sunny day. You’ll get the best shots when the weather is like that. Just try not to take pictures with the sun in the frame. Keep the sun behind the camera as much as possible, even underwater.
What else can I do to get great diving and snorkeling pictures with my GoPro?
Add some red.
Underwater, you start to lose red tones, which makes shots look blue. The latest GoPro cameras have a processing chip and video metadata that automatically improve auto white balance, color rendering, and color grading. That means you don’t have to add extra filters to make underwater scenes look better.
But you may still need a dive filter if you dive deeper than 33 feet (10 meters). In that case, the PolarPro® DiveMaster Filter Kit is the best choice. The best part is that you can snap the filters onto your HERO9 Black Protective Housing + Waterproof Case. You don’t need any other accessories.
Change the settings as you dry.
Before you jump in, you should fine-tune your presets and lock the screen. By holding down the shutter button and the mode button at the same time, you can switch between the camera settings you’ve set up while you’re underwater. This makes the front display show the preset menu. Then, use the mode button to go through the available presets and choose the one you want.
Pro tip: Download GoPro Quik to your phone and use it to edit a video as soon as you get to the surface. Add your photos and videos to a Mural event, and a video will be made for you automatically.
The Quik app also lets you change the settings for your camera. So, if you’re using an underwater case, you don’t have to worry about taking your GoPro out of the housing. Quik is available on both the App Store and Google Play.
Taste the lens.
You did read that correctly. If you lick the lens, water droplets won’t form on it when shooting near water.
Read more: best underwater camera for snorkeling
Tips on how to use and take care of any camera:
- Make sure the door is closed before putting liquid on the camera.
- After being in dirty or salty places, rinse with clean water (with the side door closed) and let dry.
- The touch screen works even when wet, but you may need to wipe it off if it has trouble understanding what you’re trying to do.
- You can use the camera buttons to move around if you’re underwater.
- When using the camera in water, lock the touchscreen by going to your Dashboard.
GoPro Cameras and their limited depths
HERO11/10/9/8/7/6/5 Black, HERO11 Mini Black, HERO7 Silver/White, and HERO (2018):
When the door is closed, these cameras are waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters). Use Protective Housing if you want to go deeper.
MAX is waterproof down to 5m (16ft) without a housing, but make sure the camera door is closed before putting MAX in water.
Without a housing, Fusion is waterproof down to 5m (16ft), but make sure both camera doors are closed before being in the water.
HERO5 Session, HERO4 Session, and HERO Session
Session cameras (HERO5 Session, HERO4 Session, and HERO Session) are waterproof to a depth of 10m (33′) without housing.
Only when the side door is closed and locked is the unit waterproof? After being in a dirty place, the camera should be rinsed with clean water (with the side door closed) and dried for the side door to work correctly.
The camera drains in any position, but for the best water drainage, the camera should be standing up (Shutter button on top).
The camera has a case that can handle depths of up to 131 feet (40 meters).
HERO4 and HERO3+
These cameras are NOT waterproof without a HOUSING. These cameras come with Standard Housing, which can hold up to 131 feet of depth (40 meters). It is waterproof up to 197′ with the Dive Housing (60 meters).
How long can a GoPro be submerged?
You can leave your GoPro underwater forever if it stays within its depth range, but I don’t recommend it.
In 2018, I dropped my GoPro HERO7 Black at the bottom of a lake without a dive case. It took me 48 hours to get it back. When I finally got it back, I dried it off and charged it, which still worked perfectly.
I’ve read many stories about how GoPro users went through the same thing I did. This means the waterproof seal on a GoPro works, and you can keep it underwater for as long as you want.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Taking your GoPro underwater can give you a lot of anxiety, so here are some questions and answers that can help you feel better.
Do GoPros come with a case that keeps water out?
Newer GoPros, like the HERO5, don’t have a waterproof case because the camera is waterproof. But older GoPro models like the HERO4 and HERO3 may come with a waterproof case since these cameras aren’t waterproof on their own. There are also sets of GoPro accessories with watertight compartments and other things.
Is GoPro waterproof in salt water?
If your GoPro is a HERO5 or newer, you can use it safely in saltwater. I often take my GoPro HERO10 into the ocean without a case and have never had any problems.
If your GoPro is older than a HERO5, you’ll need to put a waterproof case on it before you take it into the water. But because saltwater can damage things, I suggest you rinse the camera with fresh water when you leave the ocean.
Can I take my GoPro to the pool?
GoPro cameras are safe to use in a swimming pool, and the chlorine in the water won’t hurt the camera. Freshwater is an excellent way to clean your camera after you get out of the pool, just like salt water.
How do I get good footage with my GoPro when I’m underwater?
I suggest filming at 4K resolution and 60 FPS for the best underwater footage.
Here are the settings I use:
- Boost HyperSmooth:
- High bit rate
- Shutter: Auto EV Comp: -0.5
- 4.5 or 5K: White Balance
- Sharpness: About right
- ISO: Min 100 & Max 100
- Flat: Color
Remember that higher resolutions are harder to edit and require your computer to do more work. But it would be best to play around with the settings until you find something that works for you.
Some Final Thoughts
Whether or not you have a GoPro yet, you now know more about how they work. Taking a brand-new camera into the water can be scary, but you shouldn’t worry.
If water gets into the camera, your warranty will pay for all repairs or replacements.
I’d love to hear from you now. What kind of footage do you want to take underwater? Snorkeling, scuba diving, or surfing?
Leave a comment below either way, and I’ll answer as soon as possible.