Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and free diving are awesome hobbies. Personally, I like nothing better than grabbing my dive gear and getting wet as often as I can. Recently I decided to check out some Gopro underwater camera options and out together this quick guide based on my experience.
Hey I’m not a photographer
First up I want to make it clear that I’m not a photographer. Not at all. I’m just a keen diver who decided to capture some of the cool things I was seeing on my dives. I had seen some people with super expensive cameras and equipment but wanted to find something more suited to my regular dives and keep to a budget at the same time.
I previously had a Go Pro camera which I used to record some other things I was doing like mud runs and obstacle races. It worked pretty well and didn’t have any issue being bashed around, squashed or getting covered in mud so I figured they were tough. I wasn’t sure however if I could use them underwater or how deep I could go.
With all these questions in mind I checked out some gopro camera options and this is what I found
Quick note: As I mentioned above I’m not trying to take photos for national geographic here so if you are planning on becoming a professional photographer these cameras are probably not for you. I think the quality is great but it might not measure up to your needs.
- 15% smaller and lighter housing (waterproof to 131'/40m)
- 2x faster image processor enables 1080p60 and 720p120 fps video
- Enhanced low-light performance
- 30% longer battery life
Some things to look for in your Gopro underwater camera ?
Straight out of the gate lets get the basics down. Whatever gopro underwater camera option you choose it needs to pass a few basic tests.
- Will it fit in my hand?
- Is it light enough?
- What’s the battery life?
- How much video can I take?
- How deep can it go?
- What other features does the model have?
- What is my budget?
I suggest you take this checklist and think about what exactly you want from your camera. This will leave you with a clear picture (no pun intended) of what you need. With these criteria you can quickly rule out the cameras that won’t work for you.
Three Camera Options I looked at
The GoPro Hero 3 White
- Professional quality video capture in 1080p 30fps, 960p 30 fpts, 720p 60 fps, and WVGA 60 fps
- Built in Wi-Fi compatible with the GoPro app for Smartphones/Tablets; as well as the Wi-Fi remote...
- 5 MP photos with 3 fps burst mode, and time lapse at .5, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 second intervals
- 197'/ 60m Waterproof Housing with integrated flat lense housing
- Compatible with LCD Touch BacPac, and 2nd generation Battery Bacpac, as well as backward compatible...
- From all of the Hero 3 range this is the most affordable
- Much smaller then the Hero 2 but with more features
- This is the model that took Gopro global
- The lens is only 5mp. This may not suit your needs
- There have been some buggy software issues
- With models such as the hero 4 and hero 5 this is a little outdated
A great value package but if you are willing to spend a little more an upgrade will give you a lot more for your money
Using the gopro hero 3
The first thing I really liked about the hero3 was the size. Having used the hero2 before it the reduced size made a huge difference. There are enough things to carry and manage when diving that really made it easier for me.
Despite the reduced size it actually has more features than the hero2 which is great. Its not hard to see why this camera took the gopro brand global. If I had to sum it up in a nutshell I would say ti does exactly what it is suppose to do.
One thing I would recommend and its really the only issue I had was the battery. I used a battery pack to increase my shooting time on long dives. Its an extra cost but I think its worth it.
GoPro Hero4 Silver
- Built-in touch display for easy camera control, shot-framing and playback
- Professional 1080p60 and 720p120 video with 12MP photos at up to 30 frames per second
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support the GoPro App, Smart Remote and more
- Improved camera control and built-in video trimming lets you create and save short video clips right...
- Protune with SuperView delivers cinema-quality capture and advanced manual control for photos and...
- Great detail and color, high-quality images
- Integrated with mobile app or use with Wi-Fi
- Massive range of accessories available
- Using a case can distort audio if that’s important to you
- Battery life could be better
- More expensive than the Hero3
Some improvements from the Hero3. Personally, I would stick with the hero3 of grab a hero5 if you have the budget
Using the gopro hero 4
The wifi and Bluetooth connectivity options with the hero4 are very helpful. I uploaded my videos through the mobile app straight after my dive which was awesome. It also makes it less of an issue trying to remember to bring the right cables with you when traveling.
The advanced zoom options are great with the updated lens. It’s handy for getting great close-ups without disturbing the sea life or churning up the sea bed. I found that helped a lot with clearer images.
It can shoot at up to 30 frames per second. Great for capturing stills from the video later if that’s how you plan to use it. There is also the burst feature, great for capturing moving fish or other hard to get images.
Using The Dive Housing Bundle
- Compatibility: HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO3+, HERO3
- Ultra durable construction for deep sea diving and extreme activities
- Waterproof to 197' (60m)
- Flat glass lens delivers maximum image sharpness above and below water
- Includes Standard, Skeleton and BacPac(TM) Backdoors
If you already have a gopro and your looking at the options to improve the usability for underwater shots then the dive housing bundle might be a good solution. It obviously saves you some money as you won’t need to buy a new camera.
It pushes the limits out to 197 feet in terms of depth. The casing works really well and over six dives I didn’t experience any leaks or issues.
How Do You Make A Decision
I think it comes down to budget for most people. If you are planning on getting into photography then spend the extra money and get the gopro hero 5 black. If you just want to get som great pictures and videos and have some fun it’s hard to look past the gopro hero 3. I would recommend adding the battery pack and possibly a few other accessories. I couldn’t really fault it apart from that.
If you’re planning on traveling a lot then the gopro hero 4 gives you the wifi and app options to upload on the go. So just think about how you will be using the camera and that will help you decide. Happy diving