All GoPro models since the GoPro HERO5 are waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters). These cameras are waterproof directly out of the box and don’t require an additional case for waterproof functionality. The one exception is the GoPro MAX which is only waterproof up to 16 feet (5 meters).
Hi, I’m Larry, an outdoor adventurer who loves to film underwater shots in the ocean. I have over five years of experience using my GoPro in the water and am excited to explain GoPro’s waterproof capabilities to you today.
In this guide, I’ll discuss which GoPros are waterproof, how deep they can go underwater, and if you need a waterproof case or not.
Let’s dive in!
- Are All GoPros Waterproof?
- Are GoPros Waterproof Without the Case?
- Can You Dive With a GoPro?
- How Deep Can a GoPro Go Underwater?
- How Long Can You Keep a GoPro Underwater?
- Closing Thoughts
Are All GoPros Waterproof?
Simply put, not all GoPros are waterproof. Older generation GoPro cameras need external housing to be used in the water.
Non-waterproof GoPro cameras include:
- GoPro HERO4 Black/Silver is not waterproof
- GoPro HERO3+ is not waterproof
- GoPro HERO3 Black/Silver/White is not waterproof
- GoPro HDHERO2 is not waterproof
But as I mentioned in the introduction, all GoPro models since the HERO5 are waterproof.
Here’s the list of waterproof GoPro cameras:
- GoPro HERO10 Black is waterproof
- GoPro HERO9 Black is waterproof
- GoPro HERO8 Black is waterproof
- GoPro HERO7 Black/Silver/White is waterproof
- GoPro HERO6 Black is waterproof
- GoPro HERO5 Black is waterproof
- GoPro MAX is waterproof
- GoPro Session is waterproof
Waterproof means that you can use these cameras underwater without protective housing or external cases. Once you take the camera out of the box, you can immediately bring it underwater.
However, there are limitations on how deep you can take your GoPro camera, which I describe further in this article.
Check out this beautiful cinematic video with dozens of underwater shots recorded with a GoPro HERO9 Black:
Are GoPros Waterproof Without the Case?
Since the GoPro HERO5 Black’s release in 2016, every generation of GoPro has been waterproof without a case. This means you can unbox your new GoPro and instantly throw it into a swimming pool as long as it was released after 2016.
Before you do bring it into the water, you should ensure that the door/battery latch is completely shut.
Can You Dive With a GoPro?
Yes, you can dive with a GoPro up to a depth of 33 feet or 10 meters without a waterproof case with the HERO5 through HERO10 cameras. However, you can bring your camera even deeper into the sea if you use GoPro protective housing.
Let’s discuss how deep you can take your GoPro underwater.
How Deep Can a GoPro Go Underwater?
Here are the waterproof specifications for each GoPro model with and without a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO10 Black: 33 feet (10 meters) without a case. Up to 196 feet (60 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO9 Black: 33 feet (10 meters) without a case. Up to 196 feet (60 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO8 Black: 33 feet (10 meters) without a case. Up to 196 feet (60 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro Max: 16 feet (5 meters) without a case. Up to 148 feet (45 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO7 Black/Silver/White: 33 feet (10 meters) without a case. Up to 196 feet (60 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO6 Black: 33 feet (10 meters) without a case. Up to 196 feet (60 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO5 Black: 33 feet (10 meters) without a case. Up to 196 feet (60 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO5 Session: 33 feet (10 meters) without a case. Up to 80 feet (24 meters) with a waterproof case.
- GoPro HERO4 Black/Silver: 131 feet (40 meters) with waterproof housing.
- GoPro HERO3 Black/Silver/White: 197 feet (60 meters) with waterproof housing.
As you can see, waterproof cases allow the GoPro to go significantly deeper. This means scuba divers will want external waterproof housing if they want to record their underwater adventures.
GoPros have a depth limitation because water pressure increases as you go deeper underwater. This water pressure can affect the camera’s waterproof seal. As water pressure increases, there is a higher chance of water breaking through the camera’s seal and entering the camera.
If you keep your GoPro within the proper depth, you don’t have to worry about your camera getting water damaged.
How Long Can You Keep a GoPro Underwater?
As long as your GoPro stays within its depth range, you can leave it underwater indefinitely (although I don’t recommend it).
I dropped my GoPro HERO7 Black without a dive case at the bottom of a lake in 2018 and wasn’t able to retrieve it for 48 hours. Once I did retrieve it, I dried it off, charged it, and the GoPro was still working perfectly.
I’ve read countless different stories of GoPro users going through the same experience as I did. This means GoPro’s waterproof seal is effective and allows you to submerge a GoPro as long as you want.
Taking your GoPro underwater can induce a lot of anxiety, so here are some valuable questions and answers that can help ease your mind.
Do GoPros come with a waterproof case?
GoPros that are the HERO5 or newer do not come with a waterproof case since the camera is waterproof. However, older GoPro models like the GoPro HERO4 and HERO3 may come with a waterproof case since these cameras aren’t waterproof on their own. There are also GoPro bundles that come with waterproof cases and various other accessories.
Is GoPro waterproof in saltwater?
As long as your GoPro is a HERO5 or newer, it’s perfectly safe to use in saltwater. I bring my GoPro HERO10 into the ocean without protection all the time and haven’t faced any issues.
If you have a GoPro model that’s older than a HERO5, you’ll need to install protective housing before bringing it into the sea. However, since saltwater can be corrosive, I recommend rinsing the camera with fresh water once you leave the ocean.
Can I use GoPro in the swimming pool?
GoPro cameras are safe to use in a swimming pool, and the chlorine in the water won’t damage the camera. Similar to saltwater, I highly recommend rinsing your camera off with freshwater once you leave the swimming pool.
How can I get good underwater footage with my GoPro?
For the best underwater footage, I recommend filming in 4K resolution at 60 FPS.
Here are the specific settings I use:
- HyperSmooth: Boost
- Bitrate: High
- Shutter: Auto
- EV Comp: -0.5
- White Balance: 4.5 or 5K
- Sharpness: Medium
- ISO: Min 100 & Max 100
- Color: Flat
Keep in mind, higher resolutions are harder to edit and require more processing power from your computer. However, I recommend playing around with the settings until you find something you’re comfortable with.
Whether you own a GoPro yet or not, you are now more knowledgeable about how they work. I understand how it can be intimidating bringing a brand new camera into the water, but you shouldn’t worry.
On the off chance that water leaks through the camera, your warranty will completely cover any damages or repairs.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What kind of underwater footage do you plan on recording? Is it scuba diving, snorkeling, or surfing?
Either way, drop a comment down below, and I’ll respond as soon as possible.