Thursday January 23 2020
October 4, 2013

Does GoPro Take High-Quality Photos Underwater?

GoPro is a revolution in all kind of outdoor sports and activities. Surfing, cycling, climbing… Everywhere you may imagine. Scuba divers love to photograph what they see in their dives. Because of its lightness (74 gr itself, 136 gr with housing) and size, scuba divers have started to prefer GoPro, too. I am sure you have seen photo and video quality of GoPro on the land. But what about underwater? I have examined GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition and shared a photo and two videos (one from a night dive) for you to have an idea about the quality.

Techinal Features of GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition

  • 12 MP
  • 30 frames per second
  • Time laps (allows the user to take photos in intervals, like on each 60 seconds)
  • Continuous Photo (allows the user to take photos 3, 5 or 10 frames per second)
  • SuperView mode gives us the chance good snapshots for wide angle photos (almost 10% more than the traditional view)
  • Auto Low Light Mode makes auto adjust in low light
  • 20% smaller than the previous editions
  • 1440p48, 1080p60, 960p100 and 720p120 video modes

For more information, you can download the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition User Manual here.

 How About GoPro Hero 3 Underwater?

With a proper housing (different than the original one), you can use GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition underwater. I advise you to use a red filter, too. This photo below can give you an idea for a shot underwater (click the image for the original size).

Read reviews from individuals like you who have purchased Go Pro Hero 3 from from here.

Photo taken in Kemer, Turkey. Water temperature 26 degrees Celcius, at 6 meters without a red filter by GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. Click to enlarge.

Photo quality is not that bad it can be better by using a red filter as you can easily understand from the photo above. I have also taken two videos from the dives. One is from a night dive, to be able to show you the results in very low light. With GoPro Hero 3’s Auto Low Light Mode, you don’t have to worry about your footage in low light. However, my advise is not to use your GoPro Hero 3 in a night dive (see the video below) without an external light source. On the other hand, as you can see from the first video in a wreck dive, in low light (not night), GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition  is still doing its job in a great way.

Check out GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition from Amazon has a very good price advantage when compared to the official site of GoPro.

I have seen that the video quality is obviously better than the photo. But I still use GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition for my photo purposes. Maybe you are not “going that pro” in photo mode, but you can still capture good compositions and sweet memory snapshot like the one above.

GoPro Hero 3 Underwater Video Sample


GoPro Hero 3 Underwater Video Sample (Night)


A small but important tip: Don’t forget to update the firmware right after you buy your GoPro Hero 3. You can find it on GoPro’s web-site. Click this link to go to GoPro’s official web site and watch the video there for further information about the update.

GoPro Hero 3 Underwater Housing

GoPro Hero 3 Underwater HousingTake this little cam with you in your next dive. You’ll get surprised when you plug your GoPro Hero 3 to your computer at the end of a nice dive day.

I, personally, wasn’t expecting such a good (especially video) quality underwater. I didn’t have a budget for monster underwater cameras that costs thousands of dollars. In fact, this was my luck. I would have felt regretful if I have invested that much money for another u/w camera system before I knew about GoPro Hero 3.

Check out GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition from to see the opportunities.

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About Seaman


Hi, my name is Murat Demirağ. I have been diving since 1996 and teaching scuba since 2005. I wanted to share my knowledge through

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  • Maximiliano Escaffi
    2013-11-12 16:19

    Hi Seaman, I´m thinking on buying de GoPro 3 Black edition for diving purpose, but I´m a little unsure. I usually dive at 98 ft (30m) deep, and I have read many comments that the quality decrease dramatically beyond 80 ft (25m).
    Have you tested the camera at 98 ft? Could you give/send me pictures or videos, and specifications from the usage?
    Sorry for my english, is not my native lenguage..
    Best Regards,

    • Seaman
      2013-11-12 22:33

      Hello there Maximiliano,

      Thank you for your contribution.

      I am also using a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. Video above (not the night dive) was taken in 32 meters (105 feet).

      I haven’t edited the video or even used any other additional video equipment.

      It would even be better with proper filters.

      Both for photo and video, Using LED lights make a real difference. There are companies that produce lights for GoPro. , Nocturnal Lights, Beneath the Surface, Bigblue, and Fantasea Line are some of the examples.

      You can fix the decrease in quality by applying these easily.

      Quality decrease isn’t something related to GoPro. It is because of the absorbed colors and less light. Every underwater camera is effected from these.

      Here are links for GoPro lights and filters that might help you.

      I have also uploaded another underwater video taken by GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition.

      This video has been taken in 30 meters just by using a simple dive torch, with no filter.

      I hope these could help you.

      Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.

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