GoPro Underwater Housing and Mount Tips
GoPro cameras are becoming more and more prevalent on dive boats around the world, and for good reason - they shoot excellent video in a small, affordable package.
Here at the Underwater Photography Guide, we're continuing our GoPro tutorial series with this installement on GoPro housing use and maintenance, plus all the mount and accessory options to get the most from your camera. GoPro systems are flexible depending on your budget and type of diving, providing a great way to remember those best moments of your trip.
Read our GoPro HERO5 Review.
The GoPro Underwater Housing
GoPro Depth Ratings
GoPro's underwater housings for the HD Hero Original, HD Hero 2 and Hero3 are rated to a depth of 60 meters (197 feet). The Hero3+ and Hero4 standard housing is rated to 40 meters (131ft), while the dive housing is rated to 60 meters (197ft). Note that maximum depths will change when adding the BacPac Backdoor or other Backdoor accessories. Be sure never to dive with the Touch BacPac Backdoor, as that is only rated to 3 meters (10ft).
GoPro Housing Maintenance
Like all underwater housings, GoPro housings need some simple maintenance after use. This falls into two steps: one once you're done using the GoPro and one before you close the housing for use.
Ideally you will have the ability to hold the GoPro in a tub of fresh water and push the buttons several times so that no salt or sand builds up around the spring behind each button. If you're not able to do this right away, no problem, just try to soak the camera in luke-warm water later on to dissolve those salt crystals and work the sand away.
The second maintenance area on the GoPro housing is the white o-ring that seals the backdoor to the housing. This o-ring seal is what stops water from through the crack into the housing. If there is dirt or debris blocking a perfect seal, the pressure underwater will force water into the housing, flooding the camera. Maintenace is simple - just keep it clean! Before you close the housing, inspect the o-ring on the backdoor to make sure there is no sand, hairs, lint or any other debris. Make sure to also check the groove on the housing where the o-ring will sit as well. Keep an eye on it while closing and then you're good to go!
The o-ring is attached to the GoPro Backdoor and must always be kept clean and free of debris.
GoPro Mounts, Trays, Handles and Poles
GoPros have become popular not just because of the video quality produced but because they can be mounted virtually anwhere. This versatility is apparent when you start looking at the variety of underwater videos and photos produced with different GoPro mount setups. There are bar mounts, tray mounts, trigger handles, selfie poles, mask mounts, headstraps and all sorts of other ideas to get that unique perspective in your shots.
Screengrab of the author recording GoPro Hero3+ video with Light & Motion's Action Camera Tray and Flex Arm plus GoBe light.
Benefits of GoPro Mounts
Mounting your GoPro to a tray with handles has many benefits. First, it's easier to hold on to, since you can grip one or two handles. Second, your footage will be more stable since the tray and handle setup is less prone to small shakes and movements in the water. Lastly, the handles provide a way to add one of two GoPro video lights to your setup.
Mounting your GoPro
There are two ways you can mount the light(s) to your GoPro tray - either through a rigid handle or a flex-connect arm. The rigid handle will allow for a light to be attached directly to that handle, or may be used with arms and clamps so that you have more flexibility in positioning the video light. A flex-connect arm can be flexed and twisted in any direction to postion the light. Choosing one of these options is really a matter of personal preference.
Other great GoPro mounts come in the form of single handles or telescoping selfie poles. The benefit here is that they are easy to hold with a single hand. With a telescoping pole you can hold the GoPro out in front of you to get closer to marine life, or turn the camera around to shoot diving selfies.
Finding the Right GoPro Mount
To view a wide-range of GoPro mounting options and get advice on the best mounts and accessories for scuba diving, visit:
Bluewater Photo's GoPro Mounts page
The author swims through a California kelp forest. Selfie shot with the GoPro Hero4 Silver.
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