GoPro For Snorkeling?

Are you thinking about using a GoPro for snorkeling? Good idea.

GoPro Hero 7 For Snorkeling

If you really want a small snorkel camera, the new GoPro Hero7 Black is great, with a number of worthwhile improvements for snorkelers over the previous Hero6 & Hero5.

New features of the Hero7 Black that are valuable for snorkelers are much better video vibration correction, and better HDR still pictures.

Plus the Hero7 Black keeps the previous improvements of the Hero6 that can detect underwater scenes automatically, and adjust white balance to suit. So colors will be much improved and you may not need to use a red filter for deeper water.

It is still waterproof to 33 feet without a separate housing (although we recommend you also get the dive housing), takes great wide angle videos and pictures, and it takes good still pictures and amazing video.

  • Waterproof
  • Sharp 12mp Pictures
  • Amazing 4K Video
  • Touch Screen (although not underwater)
  • RAW Picture Format
  • Fast F2.8 Lens

These cameras do have some limitations that we explain below.

What GoPro Model Is Best For Snorkeling?

Currently there are 3 new models available, and one older one worth considering.  In the Hero7 lineup they have finally matched the model names with actual physical color of the cameras. So their top model, the Black, is actually black. The Silver is silver, and the White is white.

  • GoPro Hero7 Black - This version adds better vibration reduction, better HDR stills, along with 4K video and 12MP stills.
  • GoPro Hero7 Silver - Only 10MP stills, and it lacks many other features of the Black.
  • GoPro Hero7 White  - Only 10MP stills, and only 1440P video.
  • GoPro Hero6 - This is last year's top of the line camera. We would probably buy this for the price over the Hero 7 Silver or White.

We would get the Hero7 Black. It costs the most, but has many features that are valuable to a snorkeler compared to the other models. If you buy the Hero7 we highly recommend you also get the waterproof housing (the same housing fits the Hero7, Hero5 & Hero6) for some cheap insurance. The Hero7, although waterproof, has tiny doors and seals that are much more likely to fail, and there have been reports of issues with sand in the buttons.

Drawbacks Of A GoPro For Snorkeling?

For sure, the biggest advantage of a GoPro for snorkeling is how small it is, at the expense of some drawbacks. The GoPro lacks features of larger more complex cameras.

The View Screen Is Tiny (If It Has One)
Some GoPros have a screen, some don't. Either way the screen is so small you can't really see much underwater. And the touch screen does not work underwater or when your finger is wet.

Lens Is Super Wide Angle & No Zoom
These cameras are designed as sports selfie cameras, so they are super wide angle, which can be fine underwater, but it means you need to get close to your subject to see any details. And there is no mechanical zoom option. The new Hero7 has a touch screen zoom feature, which is a digital zoom, but it does not work underwater.

Auto Everything - Less Control
The camera also sacrifices controls for size. Almost everything is automatic. If you like more creative control of your pictures this is not the best camera.

Battery Life Is Limited
These cameras are so small that their battery life is fairly low compared to other cameras. We would buy extras.

Note:  The remote control available for these cameras is cool, but it does not work underwater.

How To Hold A GoPro For Snorkeling

You need to choose how you will hold your GoPro for snorkeling. Most people either use an extending or fixed length pole, or a short floating handle. The extending pole is nice because you can get your camera close to the fish. We own one of the better extending poles for the price, the XShot 2.0. It extends to 37", is stainless steel, and is very compact when not extended, although it is a bit heavy.

But the short handle option is also very good. The Handler by GoPro is very popular. The CamKix handle is cool because it has a built in compartment for valuables. And this CamKix model has it all, it can be just a grip, or extend into a longer translucent pole (so the fish can't see it), and it has a valuables compartment!

People also mount them on their masks or their wrists. Neither is great. The problem with the mask mount when snorkeling is that your head is not very close to the fish, and the camera is up high and will come in and out of the water. The wrist mount is also not great because you will end up getting your hand in the video or picture.

If you don't have a handle for your GoPro for snorkeling, make sure and get a floating wrist strap. And be very careful to keep your fingers from getting in front of the lens when taking pictures or videos.

Finally, to avoid getting a foggy lens from moisture, adding some anti-fog inserts into your case is worth doing. The ones at right are made of a natural fiber and are reusable after putting them in the oven.



You could use your iPhone for snorkeling

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