GoPro started manufacturing waterproof cameras in October 2016 when the Hero5 Black was announced.
Before the release of Hero5 Black, every camera required housing to make it waterproof.
Since then, all succeeding models were made to withstand water to certain maximum depths.
These models include Hero7, Hero8, and Max – The Max is water tolerant for up to shallow depths of 5 meters (16 feet).
One convenience of using waterproof cameras is that you will not require an additional casing when using in water.
What are the Advantages of Having a Waterproof GoPro?
There’s no extra cost of purchasing a waterproof housing. While you still have the option to get a case for your waterproof GoPro, it’s not a must.
In areas of high humidity, a waterproof camera is necessary for capturing your adventures. No worries at all for the soggy environment.
One benefit that stands out when buying a waterproof GoPro is that you can capture underwater scenes in high resolution without worrying about any damages to your camera.
The following water activities can now be captured without worries:
- Scuba Diving – If you choose to maintain the recommended scuba diving depths of a maximum of 40 meters, you will be required to get extra housing to fortify the waterproofing quality of your camera.
- Snorkeling – You can easily carry out this activity without the need for additional housing. A waterproof GoPro camera can comfortably handle the damp environment here.
- Fishing – Going out for fishing doesn’t have to be boring always. With a waterproof GoPro camera, you can now film your experience with the sea creatures.
You can also check my guide on the best GoPro tips and tricks to learn more about how to use your GoPro in different scenes and activities.
Which GoPro Cameras are Waterproof?
Here is my rundown for all GoPro models in terms of their waterproofness.
Since 2016, GoPro took its game a notch higher and started making good cameras that can withstand water to certain depths.
Is GoPro Hero9 Black Waterproof?
The GoPro Hero9 Black was released in September 2020 and is the successor to the Hero8 Black.
This camera is waterproof without the need for extra waterproof housing. You can go underwater down to 10 meters / 33 feet without any concerns.
Make sure that the battery door stays closed when you are using the Hero9 Black underwater.
If you are a deep diver and you require extra protection for your underwater activities, GoPro has made a protective case for the Hero9 Black that will get you a depth limit of 60 meters / 196 feet.
The Hero9 Black has a nice body design upgrade that has seen the introduction of a Drain Microphone knob.
This feature will allow you to drain water from the camera’s microphone after being submerged in water.
Is GoPro Hero8 Black Waterproof?
This 2019 GoPro Hero8 Black is waterproof so long as all doors remain closed. It can go down to depths of 10 meters (33 feet) deprived of any additional housing.
If you choose to add the exclusive Protective Housing for the Hero8 Black, it will tolerate depths of up to 60 meters (196 feet)
Once you are done with filming your activities underwater or in wet environments, it is always important to rinse the camera to get rid of the salt and dirt it might have collected.
Is GoPro MAX Waterproof?
Also released in 2019, the GoPro Max is waterproof without the need to add housing to it. All you have to do is ensure that the camera door is closed before filming your water adventures. GoPro Max 360 can go for depths of up to 5 meters (16 feet) in water.
If you choose to add housing to it, you can get this third party accessory which will boost your depth limit to 30 meters (98 feet)
As of now, GoPro does not make a protective housing for the Max 360 model. Stay tuned and I’ll update you once they start making them.
Is GoPro Hero7 Black, Silver, and White Waterproof?
The Hero7 series cameras can be immersed in water for depths of up to 10 meters (33 feet).
All you have to do is ensure that the camera door is closed and properly locked before exposing it to damp conditions.
If you choose to get a waterproof case for this camera, it will push its depth limit to 60 meters (196 feet).
You will require these cases for you to enjoy boosted depths, otherwise, the frame housing that comes with the Hero 7 lineup does not offer any extra protection.
After filming your activities, make sure you rinse the camera well enough to get rid of any salt or dirt.
Is GoPro Fusion Waterproof?
The GoPro Fusion is GoPro’s first 360-degree camera released in 2017. The Fusion is waterproof without any case up to 5 meters or 16 feet only.
To get more depth, you can use this third-party housing since GoPro hasn’t released any official housing for the Fusion.
Is GoPro Hero6 Black Waterproof?
This 2017 model, the GoPro Hero6 Black is waterproof without any added housing. You will enjoy depths of up to 10 meters (33 feet) in water for your adventures. The camera door should remain closed before any exposure to water.
If you choose to get an extra Super Suit housing for Hero 6, the depth limit will be pushed to 60 meters (196 feet).
After filming your adventures, make sure you rinse the Hero 6 to get rid of any salt or dirt particles.
Is GoPro Hero 2018 Waterproof?
Released in 2018, The GoPro Hero is also waterproof without any housing for up to 33 feet or 10 meters.
To get more underwater depths, you can use the Super Suit housing that will give you depth up to 196 feet or 60 meters.
Always remember to clean you GoPro and your housing after using them underwater.
Is GoPro Hero5 Black Waterproof?
With the GoPro Hero5 Black model released in 2016, GoPro officially launched the waterproof feature in their cameras.
Just make sure the camera door remains closed before using it in any wet environment. You can go to a depth limit of 10 meters (33 feet) filming your adventures underwater.
If you choose to add a Super Suit housing for your Hero5 Black, the depth limit will be pushed to 60 meters (196 feet).
The camera should be rinsed after being used underwater for the removal of salt and dirt particles.
Are the GoPro Session (Hero Session, Hero 4 Session, and Hero 5 Session) Waterproof?
The 3 session models from GoPro have similar waterproofness capabilities.
They can go to depths of 10 meters (33 feet) without the need for additional housing.
Just make sure the side doors are closed and properly locked before you expose any of these models to a wet environment.
Adding the dive housing will extent the depth limit to 60 meters (196 feet) underwater.
The GoPro models will surely retain some water after being submerged, to eliminate this water, make sure the camera faces an upright position then drain the water carefully. Wipe off any salt or dirt particles from the camera’s body.
Are the GoPro Hero4 Black & Silver Waterproof?
The Hero4 Black and Hero4 Silver that were released back in 2014 did not feature any waterproofing capabilities.
You will need an additional waterproof housing to use it in damp environments or record your underwater activities.
With the Housing in place, you are now guaranteed maximum water depths of 45 meters (147 feet). However, getting an original housing will boost that limit to 60 meters (196 feet).
Is the GoPro Hero3 Waterproof?
The GoPro Hero3 model was released in the year 2012 with no waterproof capabilities.
You will, therefore, require additional housing to get your camera in damp environments.
With additional housing, you will be assured of underwater filming of up to 45 meters (147 feet).
Again here, an original housing will boost the limit to 60 meters (196 feet). I always recommend getting an original accessory for a better overall experience.
It is worth noting that the housing for Hero 3 and Hero 3 plus are not similar, confirm that you have the housing that fits exactly to your model since these cameras have their exclusive features.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Waterproof Case?
A waterproof housing may not necessarily be a basic accessory to add to your GoPro camera, it is important to consider it especially if you want a fortification to the existing impermeability offered by GoPro since 2016.
You will experience the following advantages if you choose to add a waterproof housing to your GoPro;
Advantages of Using a GoPro Waterproof Case
• It gives you an added depth limit. Most of the GoPro waterproof cameras can only withstand a maximum depth of 10 meters (33 feet). A waterproof Housing will allow depths to up to 60 meters (196 feet) which beyond the recommended range to do your scuba diving.
• A waterproof housing will offer an additional film of protection to your camera. This will prevent your camera from suffering major hits and knocks that may damage its body when doing underwater filming. A fractured housing is stress-free and inexpensive to replace than a damaged GoPro camera’s body.
• Super Suit, a waterproof housing made by GoPro will allow you to exclusively use filter systems. These are devised to clip to the lens port of the housing and not the camera’s lens.
A waterproof Housing also has some disadvantages with it, the following are the main;
Disadvantages of Using a GoProWaterproof Case
• You will incur an added cost if you choose to get a waterproof housing for your GoPro camera.
• An underwater housing reduces the GoPro camera’s screen sensitivity to touches. This is a great source of annoyance to many people who do action filming.
• Audio quality is greatly compromised when using underwater waterproof housing. The microphone is barely usable at this point and I would recommend you add music to your recordings later.
• Housing your camera promotes condensation.
Other Cool Uses of Waterproof Housing
Apart from preventing water damages to your camera, waterproof housings can also be used to enjoy other advantages.
It shields your camera from mud, dust, and flying particles which may be encountered in the course of intense activity recordings.
The skeleton backdoor that is included can be changed for non-underwater usage. E.g. enhancing the audio capture and providing an alternative and easy access to the camera’s touch screen.
It also provides extra protection from knocks which may otherwise damage and crack your camera’s body.
How to Keep your Waterproof Housing from Getting Condensed
Since the housing is waterproof, any moisture is trapped within it cannot escape. The moisture can condense within the housing if the outside air is extremely cold and there is high humidity within the housing.
One way I always try to minimize the risks of fogging hence condensation is to always put the housing on the camera in dry air.
Use Anti-Fog Inserts
Another way to prevent condensation is to strategically place anti-fog inserts between the GoPro camera and the waterproof housing.
The anti-fog inserts are drying agents with an immense capability of absorbing water molecules.
These inserts are reusable by drying in an oven, making them pocket friendly.
Their extremely slim sizes make them a perfect option since they easily fit within the limited space available between the camera and the housing.
Silica gel with high-quality cellulose fiber constitutes the commercial-grade anti-fog inserts.
The gels are mostly provided in electronic gadgets and are packed in small bags. Silica gel has a very high affinity to absorb any kind of moist from the air, this will keep your housing dry from the inside.
Things to Check Before Getting the GoPro Underwater.
For filming any underwater adventures, you don’t just purchase the Housing and quickly jump into action.
There are a few things which you much set straight just to enable you to get the most experience out of your GoPro camera.
Clean the Gasket
Clean the white rubber gasket to make sure no dirt particle may otherwise cause leakage in the housing. Before fastening the black latch, make sure the backdoor is closed properly, this will also ensure a good seal.
Recharge the Battery
Ensure that the battery is fully charged and that your SD card has enough storage capacity to keep your recordings. Even if your desired adventure won’t last long enough, this point is worth considering always.
Clean the Lens
Before housing your camera, take some time to clean the lens and ensure that there are no fingerprints nor dirt particles left there.
Remember camera lenses always capture what they see, if they see dust well that will be a watermark in your entire footage. The whole housing also needs to be cleaned correctly inside and out.
Here’s an article by GoPro on how to properly clean your camera.
Set the Video Settings
Set your video and/or photo resolution and settings, especially Protune.
I recommend recording your footage at the highest resolution. Be sure to read your GoPro manual to get acquainted with all the available photo and video settings.
Here are some tips by Fintastic Films for using your GoPro underwater:
Test the Housing
Always test the waterproof housing before casing your GoPro unit. There may be leaks and exposing your camera to such early danger can be frustrating.
Use a Filter
You may need to use a lens filter for color correction. E.g. if you are filming in blue water, a red filter will come in handy to give you good color balance.
How to Keep your GoPro and Housing in the Best Condition
Having in mind that water is a perfect agent of destruction, just how do you keep both your GoPro camera and Waterproof Housing in perfect conditions?
The number one rule is to always wash your waterproof housing after every adventure.
This should be done thoroughly with fresh water particularly if your filming was done in a saline environment. Salt can corrode most things and a rusted case and gasket is not your anytime wish.
Also, use fresh water to rinse your waterproof camera. Remember Hero4 and Hero3 cameras are not waterproof.
Always check the gasket and make sure there is no particle left behind. The gasket is fond of hiding some debris after every extreme action.
Make use of Anti-fog inserts to get rid of all fogging and prevent condensation. These ‘water-thirsty’ sacks are very affordable, can be reused, and are pretty easy to put in your set-up.
Tips for Using a GoPro Underwater
For an overall better experience in using the GoPro waterproof camera especially underwater, certain advancements can be made.
• Use a GoPro Floaty to keep your camera floating and add protective padding.
This accessory works best when the GoPro camera is maintained at its minimum weight, meaning it will not work well when the camera is housed. The camera buttons can easily be accessed thanks to its wraparound design
• Use the landscape lock feature to prevent your GoPro camera from filming in the vertical position.
Both the GoPro Hero7 Black and Hero8 Black can auto-rotate from landscape to portrait once the camera is rotated. This option can be located under the Preferences then Touch Display then Landscape Lock in the Camera’s settings.
• You can also use a water repellant spray e.g. Rain-X to keep off moisture from your housing and camera lenses. This will give your footage a fine touch.
• As mentioned earlier, you may need underwater Lens filter rings to correct the color information in your footage shot in blue and green waters. These rings can easily be attached to the waterproof camera housing and used in depths of up to 80 feet.
• You may need to add dive lights to spice up your scuba diving filming. These lights play a major role in recalling the natural colors of the deep waters and help you film all details. These lights can be attached to either of the cold shoes on your GoPro camera.
Here are more additional tips to help you capture the footage like the pro you are:
• Always shoot with the sun behind you and keep your desired subject at a minimum of 12 inches away. The more a subject is closer to the lens, the more blurry the footage becomes.
• Also, to ensure you get stable footage, always use a camera rig to steadily hold the GoPro. This applies if you have not mounted the camera on your body.
So is GoPro Waterproof? well, most of them are. All models that were released after the Hero5 Black (included) are waterproof.
Whether or not you have a GoPro waterproof camera, the fact that we are now able to get an additional waterproof housing for underwater adventures comes handy for most of us.
Having looked at the advantages of getting housing for your GoPro, it seems like a very nice option to recommend you to get.
What amazed me the most is the fact that the housing can protect my GoPro camera from accidental knocks, dents, and scratches.
I would also love to know about your underwater experience with GoPro, be sure to comment below and we’ll surely discuss that. 🙂