Best GoPro for Scuba Diving

Picking the right GoPro for scuba diving isn’t as simple as it seems. Even though GoPros are designed for underwater adventures, not all of them are suitable for scuba diving. This is because different GoPros have different depth limits and some GoPros require waterproof housing.

gopro for scuba diving

Hi, it’s great to meet you! My name is Larry. I’ve been scuba diving with my GoPro cameras dozens of times over the past eight years. Through these experiences, I discovered which GoPros are the best for scuba diving.

This guide aims to break down these experiences into a list of the top five GoPros for scuba diving. So, I’ll discuss what makes the best GoPro for scuba diving, answer a few related questions you may have, and give you a definitive list of the best GoPros for scuba diving. 

Let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • The newest GoPro cameras are waterproof and can go 10 meters or 33 feet underwater.
  • You can purchase waterproof housing that allows you to travel 60 meters or 196 feet underwater with your GoPro.
  • Older GoPro models require waterproof housing since they aren’t waterproof.
  • GoPro HERO10 Black is the best GoPro for scuba diving.
  • GoPro HERO5 Session is the best budget-friendly GoPro for scuba diving.

GoPro cameras are great for scuba diving because most GoPros are waterproof without a waterproof housing case. For example, you can bring the GoPro HERO10 Black down 10 meters or 33 feet. However, if you want to dive deeper, you will need to purchase dive housing for your GoPro camera.

The newest HERO GoPro cameras are waterproof to 33 feet or 10 meters with the door closed. This means you don’t need additional housing before jumping into the water. The GoPro MAX is waterproof down to 5 meters or 16 feet without housing. However, dive housing enables your GoPro to travel 196 feet or 60 meters underwater.

You can use GoPro cameras in both saltwater and fresh water. Therefore, you can safely bring your GoPro into the ocean, sea, or lake. However, salt water can be corrosive, so I recommend rinsing your GoPro with clean water after you take it out of the ocean. 

You have several options to choose from when carrying a GoPro underwater. The three most popular mounts are The Handler hand mount, a hand and wrist strap, and the El Grande extension pole. You can also use a chest mount or helmet mount to enable full usage of your hands. 

I recommend using The Handler hand mount because the mount has a floating hand grip. This means that if you lose your grip on the GoPro or it gets knocked off the boat, your GoPro will float back up to the surface. Without a floating hand grip, your GoPro may drift to the bottom of the ocean.

Yes, the GoPro HERO10 Black can go underwater without a case down to 33 feet or 10 meters. In addition, you can add protective housing, which enables your GoPro to go down 196 feet or 60 meters. However, this is only necessary for experienced deep divers who go further than 10 meters.

What Makes the Best GoPro for Scuba Diving

If you didn’t know, GoPro has released over 20 different camera models over the past 20 years since it was founded in 2002. Since there are so many different GoPros to choose from, you need to know what makes the best GoPro for scuba diving.

Each GoPro has unique features and attributes when it comes to capturing underwater excursions. From image quality and video stabilization to waterproofing and versatility, there are many attributes to keep track of.

Here are some important factors to remember when choosing the best GoPro for scuba diving.

  • Image and Video Quality: Although you can take photos and videos underwater with any GoPro camera, not all of them deliver the same image and video quality. You need to get the GoPro that offers the correct image and video quality for your specific needs. For example, professional divers should opt for a GoPro camera with a high max video resolution.
  • Video Stabilization: Underwater videos are prone to a lot of shakiness as you swing your arms and pivot your body. Newer GoPro cameras offer better video stabilization, producing smoother footage during shaky environments and situations. 
  • Versatility: Versatility is a word describing how flexible a GoPro camera is and what accessories are compatible. As a scuba diver, you will likely need to purchase additional mounts and accessories to make the most of your GoPro during dive trips. 
  • LCD Screen Display: Newer GoPro cameras have larger LCD display screens that make viewing your footage and changing your settings easier. I recommend picking the largest LCD screen because it improves your overall quality of life with your GoPro camera.
  • Waterproof Capabilities: Although most GoPro cameras are waterproof by themselves, you may need to purchase protective housing if you venture deeper than 10 meters or 33 feet. Protective housing lets you bring your GoPro up to 196 feet or 60 meters underwater.

The Top 5 Best GoPros for Scuba Diving

It’s time to take a deep dive into the top 5 GoPros for scuba diving. I’ve tested every GoPro model and narrowed down my list to the best of the best.

Although I ranked this list from one to five, some GoPros are better suited for different people. For this reason, I’ve included what each GoPro on this list is best known for. This way, you can easily choose the best GoPro for your specific scuba diving needs.

Let’s get started!

1. GoPro HERO10 Black (Best Overall)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.3K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 23MP (Megapixels)
  • Screen Size: 2.27 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters 

The GoPro HERO10 Black features the all-new GP2 processor. It’s the only GoPro camera model with a GP2 processor. Since a camera’s processor is essentially the engine of the camera, it offers faster camera speeds and better video quality. In addition, the new processor makes the rear LCD touchscreen extraordinarily responsive and easy to use.

Compared to older GoPro models, the HERO10 has nearly double the performance and frame rate when using higher resolution video settings. This enables you to capture the best videos possible when you’re scuba diving. In addition, this camera has the highest video and photo resolutions out of all GoPro cameras, meaning you can capture incredibly high-quality footage. 

Another unique feature of the GoPro HERO10 Black is its HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization technology. As the only GoPro camera with HyperSmooth 4.0, the HERO10 Black can capture unbelievable smooth footage during shaky scuba diving recording sessions.

The main drawback of the GoPro HERO10 Black and the only reason you shouldn’t get this camera for scuba diving is because of its price point. Since it’s the newest GoPro camera available, it’s relatively more expensive than other GoPro cameras. However, the slight price variance is worth the investment since this is the number one action camera for scuba diving.

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO10 Black is a state-of-the-art action camera perfect for scuba diving and underwater adventures. This camera features impressive recording and image stabilization settings while remaining compact and durable. 

2. GoPro HERO9 Black (Best Previous Gen)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 20MP
  • Screen Size: 2.27 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO9 Black is basically a lesser version of the GoPro HERO10 Black. It features the older GP1 processor and HyperSmooth 3.0 image stabilization technology. Therefore, it has a lower max video resolution and max photo resolution than the HERO10 Black.

Nevertheless, the GoPro HERO9 Black is still an excellent option for most scuba divers. Unless you drastically need 5.3K at 60fps video footage, the HERO9’s 5K at 30fps is more than enough. Furthermore, the difference from 23MP on the HERO10 to 20MP on the HERO9 for image quality is relatively unnoticeable.

Although HyperSmooth 3.0 is the older version of GoPro’s image stabilization technology, it still has one of the highest performances in the action camera sector. For example, I’ve recorded many scuba diving videos with my GoPro HERO9 Black where I’m moving around while swimming, and the videos still come out buttery smooth. 

Furthermore, compared with even older GoPro models, the HERO9 Black features a bigger LCD touchscreen, a better battery, and higher video and photo settings. The only downside to the GoPro HERO9 Black is that it isn’t the HERO10 Black. However, if you believe the HERO9 Black is sufficient for your recording needs, there’s no reason to pick another action camera. 

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO9 Black is the best previous generation GoPro for scuba diving because it’s nearly identical to the GoPro HERO10 Black. This camera has top-notch features and is enough for most scuba divers. 

3. GoPro MAX (Best for Unique Shots)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.6K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 16.6MP
  • Screen Size: 1.7 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 16 feet or 5 meters 

The GoPro MAX is a unique action camera because it features a 360-degree video camera. Therefore, you can record 360-degree videos and take 270-degree panoramic images. This means you can record 5.6K footage in all directions and crop your video to your preferences during post-production editing.

The GoPro MAX features the older HyperSmooth 2.0 GoPro image stabilization technology. Therefore, you can expect impressive but not top-notch image stabilization when recording unsteady scuba diving footage. 

If you purchase the GoPro MAX, it should be because you want to use its 360-degree video capabilities. Although you don’t have to push the video into VR experiences, you can use GoPro software tools to convert your 360-degree videos into flat videos, with your choice of aspect ratios of 16:9, 1:1, 4:3, or 9:16.

However, since the GoPro MAX can only go underwater up to 5 meters or 16 feet, I highly recommend purchasing protective housing. This way, you can bring your GoPro MAX down to 196 feet or 60 meters.

Furthermore, the GoPro MAX is smaller than the newer HERO Black GoPro models. For this reason, you need to purchase a unique set of accessories that might not be compatible with other GoPro cameras if you decide to upgrade in the future.

Here’s a video showcasing GoPro MAX footage while scuba diving:

My Verdict: The GoPro MAX is the best scuba diving action camera for unique and creative shots. Since the GoPro MAX has a 360-degree lens, you can capture a point of view that’s not possible to capture on other GoPro camera models. 

4. GoPro HERO8 Black (Best Budget 4K)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Screen Size: 2.0 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

GoPro released the GoPro HERO8 Black in 2019, and it’s still a highly capable action camera for scuba diving. Similar to the GoPro MAX, this camera features the older generation video stabilization technology in HyperSmooth 2.0. This stabilization feature reduces the shakiness in your video and promotes a crystal-clear video capture.

The GoPro HERO8 Black lets you capture videos in a wide variety of settings for scuba diving. You can choose from 4K wide or 4K linear, 2.7K at 120fps, 1080p at 240fps, and much more. I’m amazed at how clear my underwater videos are when I use the GoPro HERO8 Black.

Compared to older generation GoPro cameras, the HERO8 Black has twice the shock resistance, improved battery life, and an in-built mount. This means the HERO8 Black is exceptionally durable, and you can use it for longer scuba diving recording sessions. You can also attach mounts and accessories easily. 

In terms of drawbacks, it’s clear to see that the GoPro HERO8 Black doesn’t offer the same advanced features seen in the HERO10 Black or HERO9 Black. It also has a smaller LCD screen size at only 2 inches, compared to 2.27 inches on the newer GoPros.

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO8 Black is the best GoPro for scuba divers who want a relatively inexpensive way to record high-quality 4K underwater videos. Although it doesn’t have the same image quality and video stabilization as seen on the GoPro HERO10 Black, it offers more than enough for hobbyists and new action camera users. 

5. GoPro HERO5 Session (Best Compact and Lightweight)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 10MP
  • Screen Size: No LCD screen
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO5 Session is one the most compact action cameras available, with dimensions of 1.49 inches wide, 1.49 inches long, and 1.42 inches deep. This means you can fit this camera into the palm of your hand without any trouble since 1.49 inches is the same length as a safety pin or sewing needle. 

This camera also only weighs 74 grams, the same as four double A batteries. For this reason, this is the perfect GoPro camera for scuba divers who don’t want to hold a lot of weight during their underwater dive trips. 

Even though GoPro released the GoPro HERO5 Session in 2016, it can capture 4K video at 30fps. Other recording options include 2.7K at 48fps, 1440p at 60fps, and 1080p at 90fps. You have more than enough recording settings to record crystal-clear underwater footage.

However, it’s important to note that this camera has a built-in battery. This means you should definitely bring a portable charger and cable to keep your camera alive during long scuba diving sessions.

Furthermore, the GoPro HERO5 Session doesn’t have an LCD display screen. You’ll need to connect your GoPro to your phone to view your footage and change your recording settings quickly.

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO5 Session is an excellent choice for scuba divers who want the most compact and lightweight action camera on the market. However, since it’s an older GoPro model, it doesn’t have the same image quality and video stabilization that’s featured on newer GoPro camera models. 

Final Thoughts

GoPro cameras let you capture moments you didn’t think were possible before. The ocean is one of the most beautiful places in the world and is deeply unexplored. Bringing your GoPro underwater to record jaw-dropping sights and charming fish will become one of your favorite hobbies.

Today’s guide taught you about the best 5 GoPros for scuba diving. By now, you should know which GoPro to purchase. However, if you are still split on which GoPro to go for, there are a few cheaper GoPro alternatives, including action cameras from Asako, Campark, and Dragon Touch.

But now it’s your turn to speak! Which GoPro from today’s list are you aiming to buy? Do you have experience using action cameras before? Are there any additional questions you have about GoPro cameras?

Share your stories and thoughts by leaving a quick comment down below.

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