Scuba diving

The GoPro for scuba diving remains one of the best options for filming underwater. As a simple and compact action camera, it provides everything you need for amateur shooting and will provide the best shots for b-rolls out of the water.

So, let’s have an in-depth look at the GoPro for scuba diving and lay down everything you need to know.

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Is the GoPro good for scuba diving

Yes. The GoPro is the best entry-level underwater camera you can get for scuba diving. Armed with the diving case, the GoPro reaches a max depth of 60 meters and its body alone is waterproof to 10 meters. Therefore, even if you get a leak in the diving case, the GoPro will remain safe with water penetrating inside.

The GoPro for scuba diving also provides very good image quality, shooting in 4k at 30fps and even high frame rates. The video stabilization is also a great help for new underwater videography or when struggling with the current.

All in all, the GoPro is one of the best options for amateur underwater videographers and the best option for making holiday dive trips videos.

I shot my first videos on the GoPro 8 Black and have been happy with the result. Check out my last one:

And have a look at the one shot at Tubattaha Reef.

Why is the GoPro the best beginners camera for scuba diving

The GoPro is the best beginner’s underwater camera for scuba diving videos. On top of the image quality and simplicity of use, the GoPro provides the following essential advantages for beginner divers and underwater videographers:

  • It is light and easy to manage during your dive;
  • The one button press to shoot and advanced AI removes unnecessary stress for you;
  • It’s lightweight and compact, allowing you to learn using your lungs for boyancy while filming;
  • The GoPro configuration and wide angle allows you to work on your approach towards marine life;
  • Makes it simple to learn safety procedures while diving with a camera (ascent, checking air, deco, buddy);
  • It will allow you to understand and manage air consumption while filming underwater;
  • It is the easiest way to learn how to kick and stabilize for shots;
  • Allows you to learn shooting angles and movements.

Which GoPro is best for scuba diving in 2022

The GoPro Hero 9 remains the best value for money GoPro for scuba diving. With the recent release of the GoPro Hero 10, you may think that it will be the best option but it is not.

Let us lay down what are the essential specs of the camera that we need when filming underwater:

Image quality

GoPro Hero 10GoPro Hero 9DiscussionConclusion
Resolution5k / 4k5k / 4k5.3k will give you the cropping option in post-production. But to what cost?

4k is already a pain when it comes to post-editing now 5.3k will make it even worse.

Above all the 4k quality is already impressive.
Shooting in 5.3k is sweet but far from needed.
Frame rate5k60 / 4k1205k30 / 4k60The recommended fps for shooting underwater is 24-30fps which provides the best natural look.

Higher fps allow slowing-down fast-moving shots like a big fish passing close-by but are rarely used.

Slowing down a video to stabilize is not as good as warp stabilizing (Premiere Pro) as it will remove the natural feel.
In conclusion, the GoPro 10’s 120fps is not recommended for general shooting and 60fps is perfect for slowing down sequences as a one-off.
ISO100 – 1600100 – 1600Setting to a higher ISO allows for more light to enter and thus providing brighter video clips.

However, the higher the ISO the more noise.
Both the GoPro 10 and GoPro 9 provide the same ISO range.

When using a GoPro for UW filming, I recommend keeping the ISO on Auto.

For shooting close-ups, use lights.
White balance2.3k – 6.5k 2.3k – 6.5k White balance is one of the most important factors when filming underwater.

That is because of the penetration of light through the water column.
The white balance range for both GoPros is the same.

White balancing when it comes to the GoPro for scuba diving as the dive casing limits calibrations.
ColorGoPro color / FlatVibrant / Natural / FlatShooting using color profiles provides a post-production look to your videos right off the bat.The GoPro 10 offers an extra and great choice when choosing the video color profile which is natural.

In short, it is always better to shoot in a ‘flat’ profile for better post-production manipulation.


GoPro Hero 10GoPro Hero 9DiscussionConclusion
Shutter speed Auto Auto The shutter speed required for underwater videography is always twice the frame rate. For example, 60fps = 1/120 shutter speed.

The GoPro automatically adjusts the shutter speed to match the frame rate.
That is to say that both the GoPro 9 and GoPro 10 are equally good in that sense.
Sensor23MP 1/2.3-inch23MP 1/2.3-inchYour camera sensor is what turns what you see on the LCD into the video file that you get. Thus, light into a film.Both the GoPro 10 and 9 have the same sensor which is good enough for an action cam.
Stabilization Hypersmooth 4.0 Hypersmooth 3.0Hypersmooth is a revolutionary stabilization effect that comes built-in the GoPro Hero 9 and 10.

Removing the shakiness of a shot is crucial to a good visual experience. That said, a good diver should manage that without having to rely on electronic image stabilization.

If essential for you, get your diving skills in check before using a camera underwater. Scuba diving is a dangerous sport!
To clarify, hypersmooth is good to have extra but not necessary in neither case.
ProcessorGP2GP1The processor of the GoPro allows for the camera to function in a smoother and more reliable manner.

Furthermore, it brings some really cool features but none of which are underwater friendly.
In conclusion, just pressing the record button doesn’t require much processor power.
WaterproofBody 33ft (10m) / with case 196ft (60m) Body 33ft (10m) / with case 196ft (60m) The GoPro having a waterproof body makes it extra safe even when there is a leak in the 60m safe dive housing.Likewise in both cases.


To sum up, the GoPro 9 has everything you need for amazing underwater footage. However, do get the GoPro 10 in the following cases:

  • It is your first GoPro and you have the budget;
  • You want to upgrade from a GoPro 8 or lower;
  • You will make extensive use of the GoPro for other action packed videos;
  • Buy if you just having the latest and shiniest piece of gear.

Is the GoPro good for taking pictures underwater

Komodo underwater
Grabbing a frame of my favorite moment on the GoPro.

No. The GoPro is an action camera that was made with shooting videos in mind. Not many people will get a GoPro for shooting stills. Its’ handling in itself is not made for that, let alone its sensor and depth of field.

The best option when it comes to taking pictures with the GoPro is to content yourself with ‘grabs’ from shooting either 5k or 4k with 5k providing 19.6MP images.

If you are looking for the best entry-level compact camera, I would highly suggest getting the Olympus TG-6. And it shoots amazing videos too!

Disadvantages of the GoPro

Whilst being a really good easy to use action camera for shooting videos when diving. The GoPro comes with many downsides as follows:

  • Small sensor: it does not provide as good image quality and details as a DSLR at the same resolution;
  • Depth of field: forget about bokeh when using a GoPro;
  • Focus: there is no way to focus on the GoPro. In other words, playing around and moving back and forth before hitting the sweet spot; if ever.
  • White balance: being a key aspect of filming underwater, it is not possible to manually change white balance whilst underwater.

The best setup for scuba diving with a gopro

The key elements to shooting the best videos whilst scuba diving with a GoPro are the same as for any dive camera. You want to be looking for:

  • Good lighting;
  • Steadiness
  • Easy handling.

Consequently, your GoPro set up for scuba diving will look a lot like a professional setup; just more lightweight.

GoPro scuba diving bundle

This scuba diving GoPro bundle is everything you need for your GoPro. It will allow you to shoot at any depth with its different filters and lights. Furthermore, it gives you the versatility to shoot both macro (pygmy seahorse) and wide (thresher sharks) with the lens switch system and lights.

Add this macro/snoot light to your system for mind-blowing macro shots!


Gopro Hero 9 bundle

The GoPro Hero 9 is a great action camera for scuba diving as mentioned above. The GoPro Hero 10 is needed but if it is within your budget, definitely go for it.

I shot my underwater scuba diving videos with the GoPro Hero 8 Black, so the 9 will be as good as it gets for the underwater action. Check out my YouTube video of Tubbataha Reefs shot on the GoPro 8 Black with a similar setup as recommended here.


GoPro 10 scuba diving case

A good scuba diving case for your GoPro 9/10 is essential as the depth rating of the GoPro on its own is only 10m (33ft). T-Housing Action Cam Underwater Video Housing For GoPro Hero 9/10 Black brings your GoPro to a depth of 250 meters!


GoPro 10 lanyard

Keep your hands free when you need it with this BTS – Coil Lanyard for GoPro. It provides a great system to have it either close (when not using) or at arm’s length (when shooting). Do not dive without a way to secure your camera.


Are GoPro sticks good for scuba diving

Not at all. GoPro sticks are any other kind of sticks or poles are a poor choice for filming underwater with a GoPro. And that is for the following reasons:

  • Lack of steadiness: a shaky shot can be stabilized in post or with Hypersmooth on but the stick makes your footage rock left and right which is doomed to go in the trash can.
  • Non-leveled shots: perfectly horizontal shots are a must for good underwater footage. Despite the new GoPro Hero 10 providing a decent horizon leveling, the underwater landscape still makes it hard to balance it right.
  • Poor framing: the LCD is tiny on any GoPros and having it at a stretched arms length plus the length of your pole makes it hard to grab a properly framed footage.
  • Body position: Above all, scuba diving with a stick is the worse as tends to make divers forget their bouyancy and trim when at depth.

GoPro filters for diving

GoPro filters are essential to scuba diving with a GoPro. In other words, the lack of white balance capacity on the go requires you to be able to adjust the warmth of the image another way. And that is using filters.

The best all-in-one solution for using filters with the GoPro is the Flip9 which attaches to the dive housing lens and allows you to change filters depending on dives.

Best overall filter solution

GoPro filter solution

The Flip9 with fit your GoPro 9 and 10 dive housing. It includes a shallow (3-20ft) dive filter, a normal dive (20-50ft) filter, and a lens for grabbing those most sought-after macro shots.

This will allow you to have the right image color at all depths during your dive with a simple filter flip!


Other GoPro filters

GoPro for scuba diving Deep dive filter

The perfect deep (50ft+) dive filter for the Flip9 system. Just remove the shallow one and dive with both the dive and deep dive one.


GoPro for scuba diving greenwater filter

If you will be diving in green water or the water is green at the shallow end. Make sure to attach this filter to your Flip9 system.


GoPro for scuba diving nightdive filter

Grab the most rad footage of fluorescent underwater life with this GoPro night dive filter for the Flip9 system.


Best settings for shooting underwater with your GoPro

You can definitely produce some jaw-dropping videos with the GoPro when scuba diving. All you need is the right setting and good video editing software.

Heavy post-editingLight post-editing
ColorFlatFlat / Natural (GoPro 10)
White balanceNativeNative
Shutter speedAutoAuto
Max/min ISO400/100Auto
EV Comp-0.5-0.5
Field of visionWideWide

Best alternative to GoPro for diving

Yes! There is a definitive GoPro killer! Whether it is the GoPro 9, 10, or any to come in the near future. And that is the Olympus TG-6.

The Olympus TG-6 is a beast of a compact camera. As it stands on its own, it is waterproof to 50ft (15 meters), shoots 4k30 videos with focusing and zooming abilities.

Above all, it also shoots some of the best pics you’ll ever get on a compact camera, and that includes macro photography.

The perfect GoPro set up for scuba diving will cost you USD 1,600 whereas a similar setup with the Olympus TG-6 will cost you USD 1,900. That is to say, USD 300 for a world of difference in quality and performance; the choice is yours.

Below is a similar setup to the GoPro for Olympus TG-6.

Olympus TG-6 with dive housing

Camera and housing for diving down to 45 meters.


Olympus TG-6 dive tray

A minimal and dive-friendly setup that includes, the dive tray, handles, flex arms, and lights.


Stainless steel lanyard

When it comes to full photography/videography setups, do not rely on the usual Amazon or other quality products. A solid and reliable lanyard with stainless steel clips and a reinforced coil is a must.

You don’t want to watch your expensive camera gear sink to the bottom of the ocean while on your safety stop!



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