GoPro cameras are known for their premium shooting capabilities, but not all of them hold up underwater. Some options are a bit blurry, while others lack great depth. Always ensure the GoPro you take diving is able to shoot as well underwater as it can on land. A bit of quality difference is not the end of the world, but you want your videos to be as clear as possible.
Few GoPros have the underwater capabilities of the Hero 4. This diving camera works wonders at a range of depths, thanks to the numerous compatible accessories and strong interior technology. Unlike similar models, this camera can go down a staggering 131 feet underwater. There, you can capture crisp videos with the 4K30, 2.7k60, 1080p120, and 720p240 options. The 12MP resolution reaches 30fps as well.
Does GoPro have any competition?
At its core, a GoPro is a small camera the takes the best qualities of point-and-shoots and camcorders and packs them into a rugged frame that’s smaller, waterproof, and virtually indestructible. Inside the cuboid design is an image sensor, processor, ultra wide-angle lens, and up to three microphones for recording audio in different conditions. The users interface is made up of just two or three buttons, and the Hero5 Black and Hero6 Black models feature touchscreens for more control.
The GoPro Hero 5 is a fantastic underwater camera. However, there is a catch. The device cannot submerge on its own. Rather, it requires a Super Suit Dive Housing (also from GoPro) to get wet. Even so, that accessory turns it into one of the best diving cameras around. The device is able to go down to 196 feet and comes with a bright 2-inch touchscreen display that is easy to use while swimming. The ultra-wide angle lens, 4k recording capabilities, and 12MP image resolution bring it all together.
Is GoPro still the best?
Although not necessarily the most important component, a defining element of a GoPro is its lens. Rather than using a standard lens, GoPros — like many other action cams — use an extremely wide lens. What this does is increase the amount of scenery you capture in the frame, making it easy to frame your shot. Mount it to your handlebars or the side of your helmet, and you can rest assured that it sees just about anything that happens in front of you.
GoPro is leading the charge toward consumer-created virtual reality (VR) environments, and their first VR-ready cameras make it happen with what they’ve dubbed “spherical capture,” which is pretty accurate, given the 360° field of view they record. VR is still a nascent technology, but it’s definitely the future. If you’re an early adopter, you’ll want to pick up a GoPro with spherical capture.
And sure, those options could include your waterproof and crack-resistant smartphone, but keep in mind that the best action camera is designed for this kind of shooting. Plus, just because your phone is tougher, it doesn't mean you should risk losing or damaging the thing that keeps you connected to work, family and friends. It's also way easier to mount one of these to your body, car, bike or anything else than your phone.
Can a GoPro zoom?
Though the Hero 8 Black has all the latest and greatest features, in the end it's not a huge leap forward from what you'll get with the less expensive Hero 7 Black. It's last year's model and has almost all the same features -- including HyperSmooth image stabilization, the killer feature for this model. There are a handful of other differences like a better user interface, more shooting options such as 1080p at 240 frames per second, vertical video and livestreaming straight from the camera. That said, the differences between the Hero 7 Black and discontinued Hero 6 Black aren't that great either, so you might want to keep an eye out for deals on that as the holidays approach. Read our GoPro Hero7 Black preview.
Which GoPro should I buy 2019?
You get many of the same shooting modes you'd find on a GoPro device, such as time-lapse photos and videos and slow motion footage at 1080p at 240 fps, and there's even a Drive mode so you can use it as a dash cam when plugged into your car, automatically turning on when you start your car and off when you stop it. It's not waterproof on its own, but a dive housing is included as well as several mounts, two batteries and a charger that simultaneously powers up both packs. It also has built-in Wi-Fi so you can connect to a smartphone and use an app to control the camera and transfer your shots for sharing.