Are you an avid SCUBA diver like me or maybe just somebody who wants to start trying underwater video/photo? If so, I am sure you’re wondering if the GoPro Hero cameras will meet your underwater needs.
To help everyone out, I decided to put together a short video clip that I captured while diving in Cozumel Mexico January 13-17th 2013. My goal was to use a fairly basic setup to show real world results.
My setup includes a GoPro Hero2 camera in a GoPro Dive Housing. By all means, the dive housing is necessary for all Hero2 users due to the flat glass lens which ensures you get a nice crisp underwater picture. If you try using the standard Hero2 housing, which is waterproof to 200 feet, you will most likely come back from your drive trip disappointed with your slightly blurry footage caused by the dome lens. So, spend the extra $39.99 and get the dive housing. Please note this is not necessary for Hero3 owners as the new GoPro Hero3 comes with a dive housing by default.
In addition to the dive housing, I also use two accessories. The first is a GoPro LCD BacPac. This $79.99 add on accessory allows me to see exactly what the camera is capturing. I will say it is not a critical item as the camera captures at a super wide-angle, but I feel it helps me make sure I am close enough to my underwater subjects. The second accessory I use is a Backscatter Flip2 filter. Now this one I will say is a necessity for anyone diving below 10 feet. This $49.00 color correcting filter helps add the colors which are lost due to depth without the use of an external light source. In addition, it removes a lot of post production work that would be necessary to color correct the footage if captured without it.
I decided to use the 720-60 video resolution (1280X720 @ 60fps) as it allows me to capture great high-definition footage and gives me the ability to show amazing slow motion footage. I know a lot of people will want to set their camera to capture the best resolution (1920X1080 @ 30fps) but I would highly recommend the 720-60 setting as slow motion is a lot of fun. In addition, if you are going to upload to YouTube or any other video sharing sites, you might not want the higher resolution as your files will be huge.
For photos, I have my camera set to the default 11MP setting. I have also decided to leave the spot metering turned off as I don’t typically shoot from a dark space into a brighter setting.
I also have my camera setup to use video mode my default at power up. This makes it easy to simply turn the camera on and then hit the shutter button to start recording. I will mention that there is a “One Button Mode” option as well. If you choose to enable this feature, not only will your camera turn on into the selected default power up mode, but it will start recording automatically as well. I have tried this a few times, but I found myself capturing a lot of sand due to the default habit of turning on the camera to prepare for a shot. So, I have decided to go back to the two button method.
If you have a few extra dollars lying around I would highly recommend getting the following extra items.
Now for the good stuff. Below you will see the YouTube video that I have created. Please note that there were no color corrections made in post editing (except for the eagle ray clip). This footage was captured over several dives that ranged between 40 and 80 feet. For those that not been diving in Cozumel, please know that there is always a current and most dive are drift dives. So, there might be a few places where I shake a little as I am likely fighting the current.
I would like to know what your thoughts are if you can spare a few minutes to submit a comment. Was this information helpful? Did it help you make your decision? Did you enjoy the YouTube video?