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6 of the best action cameras for capturing your sailing adventures

Yachting World

  • May 7, 2018

Compact action cameras present some of the most practical means of getting high quality images and footage afloat. But which model should you choose?


These 6 cameras were tested by the trustedreviews.com team

Action cameras can go where your average camera or smartphone wouldn’t even dream. And thanks to rugged and waterproof designs they can endure the rigours and extremes of any sailing adventure .

Even for more mundane activities action cameras can prove their worth, getting video and still images from unique perspectives thanks to their small size and mounting abilities. A good action camera can prove to be your best companion to take afloat.

GoPro is a name that has grown synonymous with action cameras – so much so the company name almost risks becoming a generic term, with any and all action cameras often being referred to as ‘GoPros’.

Best action cameras for sailing

Gopro hero 5 black.

Key features:

  • Up to 4K/30fps
  • Voice controls
  • Electronic image stabilisation
  • Waterproof without a case

We’ve called the Hero 5 Black GoPro’s ‘Greatest Hits’ camera for good reason. It has taken the best component parts of GoPro’s previous models and merged them all together to form the company’s most capable and best-performing action camera.

It has the same 4K top resolution at 30 frames per second as the Hero 4 Black, adds the built-in waterproofing of the Hero Session, and improves upon the integrated touchscreen display of the Hero 4 Silver.

GoPro has added some new features, too, including electronic image stabilisation for less shaky footage, and new voice-control options for when your hands are tied. Top it off with all-important excellent image quality and you have the recipe for one of the best action cameras you can buy.

Rating: 4.5/5

GoPro Hero 5 Black deals

Buy it now on Amazon (UK)

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Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

Gopro hero 6 black.

The new GoPro Hero 6 Black improves on an already fantastic Hero 5 Black camera thanks to a new custom GP1 processor, which is double the performance of its predecessor (Up to 4K/60fps; 1080p/240fps). But it’s around £150 more expensive.

GoPro Hero 6 Black deals

Article continues below…


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GoPro Hero 5 Session

When the original Hero 4 Session (since renamed the Hero Session) was first launched, it was a tough sell. It launched at the same price as the better-performing Hero 4 Silver and was difficult to recommend.

This time round, GoPro hasn’t introduced a Silver model to go alongside the Hero 5 Black. This means the Hero 5 Session becomes the cheaper alternative and makes much more sense. It has the same 4K resolution at 30fps as the Hero 5 Black, its image quality is almost as good and it has new voice controls.

You have to look at the lower resolutions to see where the Black excels at higher frame rate video. The Session also lacks the GPS of the Hero 5 Black. The cube-shaped design is, importantly, very light. This makes the Hero 5 Session a great choice for mounting in tricky positions. If you’re looking for a secondary camera, it’s a great choice.

Rating: 4/5

GoPro Hero 5 Session deals

Sony fdr-x3000r action camera.

  • Live-view remote control
  • Balanced optical image stabilisation
  • Innovative range of accessories

Sony’s FDR-X3000R Action Cam is one of the priciest action cameras on the market, but if you have deep pockets it’s also one of the best you can buy. What goes some way to justifying its hefty price tag is its optical image stabilisation (OIS) – proper optical image stabilisation here, not digital trickery as is the case with electronic image stabilisation.

This means there’s a floating lens system that counters your hand movement. The big draw is the OIS still works even when you’re shooting at glorious 4K resolution.

You also get a separate live-view remote control that can be worn on the wrist or attached to other accessories such as the Shooting Grip or Finger Grip. The latter is a tiny holster that’s perfect if you’re using the FDR-X3000R as a travel camera.

Both video and still image quality are excellent, with all the resolution and frame rate options you’d expect from a high-end action camera.

Sony FDR-X3000R Action Camera deals

Yi 4k action camera.

  • 19-inch touchscreen display
  • Bluetooth and WiFi

When the Yi 4K Action Camera first came out, it was touted as a much cheaper alternative to the GoPro Hero 4 Black. In many aspects it fulfilled a lot of that potential.

Things have changed a little since the release of the excellent Hero 5 Black, but the Yi 4K Action Cam still makes for an excellent action camera for the money.

Yi 4K Action Camera deals

Garmin virb ultra 30.

  • GPS telemetry and external sensor support

If you’re looking for an action camera specifically for sports, the VIRB Ultra 30 might be the choice for you. Not only does it have 4K resolution at 30fps, it also has a GPS sensor inside to capture telemetry data.

This means while you’re punching the waves you can capture route, speed and distance data to bring an added layer of information to your videos. The VIRB Ultra 30 also supports external sensors through ANT+ and Bluetooth, including heart rate monitors and bike sensors.

Image quality is also up there with the best. You get plenty of resolution and frame rate options, including 1080p at 120fps or 720p at 240fps – perfect for impressive slow- motion footage. There’s a display on the back for framing your shots and changing settings, otherwise you can pair with the companion apps.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 deals

Looking for more affordable options? Check out YBW’s guide to the best GoPros and GoPro alternatives for boating .


Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

The giant guide for snorkeling with a gopro.

  • October 26, 2021
  • Hannah Brown

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Admin in Gear & Tips for Snorkel Planet has great tips on snorkeling with a GoPro. Join us on one of our snorkel tours for a fun snorkel experience.


GoPro cameras are everywhere these days. People mount them onto bikes, cars, drones, you name it. There’s a whole lot of equipment that facilitates their convenience, and yes, that includes snorkeling.

There’s a whole lot of gear to consider. Besides that, the number of tips are almost endless. Wondering where to start? Considering to buy a GoPro? Interested in all the features? Curious about the coolest accessories?

The GoPro Camera At A Glance

At the time of writing this article, the new GoPro Hero 8 has just been released (October 2019). The GoPro Hero 7 was already a big improvement after it’s release in September 2018. We’ll compare some of the differences in a second.

Ever since the Hero 4 series, more and more GoPro camera’s are waterproof by default. In the older days, taking a GoPro when snorkeling required you to get a so called “housing”. In case you recently bought one, or if you’re planning to get one, it should most likely be waterproof with all doors closed.

Tip: If you don’t know if your GoPro is waterproof, simply head on over to their website and find out.

The latest versions are waterproof up to 33 feet underwater. If you plan to go deeper, there’s a so called “Super Suit” which allows for dives up to 196 feet. We’ll go into more detail later on, when we talk about all the possible gear to consider.

GoPro Hero 6, 7 And 8

If you don’t have a GoPro yet, and you want to buy one, I’d say consider one of the latest versions. Just like any other gadgets, it’s important to compare the quality and the price.

How Deep Can You Go?

These three camera’s allow you to snorkel up to 33 feet, which should be more than enough for snorkeling. I don’t think I ever made it that far down without scuba gear.

Video Quality

Since capturing videos is what most people use it for, try to aim for high video quality. The Hero 6 Black, the Hero 7 Black and the Hero 8 Black are all able to capture in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, which is commonly used for digital televisions to give you an idea.

SuperPhoto Intelligence

When taking still pictures, they all shoot with a 12 megapixel resolution. However, there has been a slight improvement in picture quality: The Hero 7 Black and 8 Black are both equipped with a so called “SuperPhoto” intelligence. This means the camera has the ability to automatically analyze the scenery for optimal picture quality.

How About Audio?

Is it important for you to record the best possible audio along with your video? In a nutshell, there is a big difference between these three models. The 7 Black has better audio quality than the 6 Black, but the 8 Black is definitely the best. You can really hear the difference.


If stabilization is important for you, the 8 Black is by far the best. Both the 6 and the 7 come with a stabilization mode, however, you’ll still have quite a shaky video if you don’t hold the camera still. The 8 Black comes with a so called “HyperSmooth 2.0” functionality, which is absolutely amazing. In my opinion, this is the biggest improvement thus far. It’s really awesome!

How Expensive Are They?

The new Hero 8 Black sells for $349.00 at Amazon. It’s the cheapest we found online. The cheapest Hero 7 Black we could find is $298.95. The best offer we could find for the 6 Black is $219.90, which you can check out here. Make sure to also consider a used camera, they’re often just as good as new.

So, which one should you choose?

If you plan to only use your GoPro for snorkeling, maybe the audio function isn’t that relevant, and you could consider the 6 Black as it’s the cheapest. If you’re not doing this professionally, and you don’t expect a perfect stabilization, go for the 6 or 7. “SuperPhoto” on the 7 and 8 is fun, sure, but how important is taking the perfect picture for you? If it’s not your main priority, why not stick with the 6 Black?

Therefore, in my opinion, the Hero 6 Black is more than enough for most “hobby” snorkelers. If you prefer to shoot extremely stable videos, go for the Hero 8 Black. It all depends on your budget as well.

Tip: Did You Know GoPro has a “GoPro Awards” program? You can send them your own footage, and who knows you’ll win new gear or even cash prizes. Sure, it’s not easy to win, but who knows one of you will participate sooner or later. Here’s one of the latest winners if you’re interested:

Some Of The Best GoPro Accessories For Snorkeling

There are different ways to enhance your snorkel GoPro adventure. New gear keeps coming up, and to be honest, your choices are almost endless. However, there are a few gadgets that can really make the difference. And that’s what we dive into right now.

A dome port enables you to take clear photos that are half above and half below the water level. The dome actually moves the water line away from the camera, which helps to make the shot even clearer. They’re usually around 50 bucks, like the one we show you here. To check current prices, here’s the  link  to Amazon. 

Extendable GoPole

The extendable GoPole is just like a selfie stick for the GoPro. This snorkel GoPro mount allows you to get a closer shot of the marine life, take selfies, or video yourself from a distance. The maximum extension is 40 inches. It comes with a smart remote clip and it’s compatible with all GoPro Hero cameras.

GoPro Snorkel Mask

There are two types of snorkel masks that allow you to fit your GoPro right on top. You can either go for a full face mask or a “regular” snorkel mask. I personally use both, depending on the situation, but most of the time I go with a regular mask. The picture below shows the one that I use, but there are a lot of different versions available. Don’t pay attention to the Hero 4 in the picture, this mask is compatible with every GoPro Hero camera!

GoPro Hand Grip

This is a floating hand grip that attaches to every GoPro Hero camera. The grip makes it easier for you to capture anything you find interesting. You have more control over the angle you’re filming, which results in less movement. If you have a Hero 6 Black for example, which doesn’t come with the “HyperSmooth” functionality, this is a great way to stabilize your footage. Whenever you let go of your GoPro, it’ll float right next to you. For almost 15 bucks, this is really a game changer.

Color Correction Filter

GoPro filters allow the camera to adjust it’s color according to the water circumstances. Let’s say you snorkel in a blue sea or a green lake. This has a major impact on your pictures and videos. By using a color correcting lens, your camera is able to capture the “vibrant” underwater colors much better. This filter in particular also comes with a 16X macro lens, which is optional to use off course. Maybe not a necessary gadget for the hobby snorkeler, but if you take deep dives, this will do the trick. Don’t get one if you stay close to the surface, there’s usually no big improvement.

The Super Suit

I guess, most of you won’t really need this. Newer GoPro versions are already waterproof by themselves, however, that’s only up to 33 feet below water. Maybe, some of you plan to go even further than that. If you do, your camera will stop recording due to the pressure. So, if you want to capture videos below 33 feet, the Super Suit will help you out. In my opinion, this is meant for scuba diving. I’m just saying.

Inserts for Defogging

In case you use a housing for an older GoPro camera, or a Super Suit for a newer version, these “packages” have the downside of fogging up whenever it gets warm. Chances are, you enjoy snorkeling the most in warm water. And that’s exactly where these cases can result in moisture build-up. Anti-fog inserts can easily be placed within these cases in order to prevent any fog. I watched a whole lot of snorkeling videos on youtube, and I can often tell if someone added the inserts or not.

GoPro Mouth Mount

In case you don’t mind releasing your snorkel for a short moment, maybe this mouth mount is a cool gadget to consider. I never used one, but some people just love it. Especially when you don’t wear a snorkel and simply stay in shallow waters for some dives. Or how about walking along the beach? Or hiking towards that secret snorkel paradise? Or maybe you like to go surfing? The mount allows for an easy air flow and comes with a lanyard for safety. Probably not your first choice, I just wanted to let you know they exist.

Underwater GoPro Settings

Your GoPro will come ready to go. You just need to insert the battery and charge it using the included USB cord. You want to use a fully charged battery in order to keep it set to 100% brightness.

Make sure that you choose a memory card that is recommended specifically for your model. You should try to have at least a 64 MB card. Download the latest firmware whenever you charge your GoPro.

You can start off using the default settings on your camera. As you gain more experience, you will be able to adjust the settings to whatever is best for your snorkeling trip. Sixty frames per second is recommended for anything underwater.

Setting Your Resolution

Within your video settings you get the option to choose your resolution. Now, even though the Hero 6, 7 and 8 all allow you to capture your footage in 4K resolution, never think this is necessary. 1080p is definitely enough if you intend to share your videos on Youtube. Besides that, processing 4K videos require a faster computer, which we don’t all have access to. Filming in 4K will give you more options to zoom in whenever you edit your video, and it also allows for a better computerized stabilization.

Setting Frames Per Second

Make sure to adjust this to 60 frames per second. This allows you to capture fast moving objects, like fish for example. The Hero 6, 7 and 8 all allow you to do this. If you have the GoPro Hero 8, make sure to turn on the “HyperSmooth 2.0” functionality. Like I said, this really makes a big difference in stabilization.

Setting Your Field Of View

Make sure to set this to “Wide”. Wide will provide a natural “underwater look” and allows you to capture a broad view of your surroundings. Whenever a fish enters from the side, the wide option will make sure you capture it as soon as possible. In other words, you’ll be able to see everything just like you did when snorkeling. Not that it’s 3D unfortunately, but it comes close.

Low Light And Stabilization

In your video settings, set both low light and stabilization to “Auto”. This will enhance the brightness of your video and makes it as smooth as possible. You can’t compare it to the “HyperSmooth” option that comes with the Hero 8 Black, but at least it’s something. And it does help.

Set Protune to “On” in order to gain access to more features. Like for example the shutter or the white balance, which I usually both set to “Auto”. EV Comp I myself set to 0. The ISO depends on your visibility. If you snorkel in bright and shallow water, I would advise you to set both the minimum and maximum ISO to 100. If you decide to snorkel in deeper or darker areas, make sure to set the ISO maximum to 1600. I wouldn’t go higher than that as it could affect the brightness in a negative way.

Sharpness And Color

Sharpness I usually set to “Low” as I don’t prefer any unnecessary in-camera video processing. The quality is already great and more than enough for awesome Youtube videos. The color I set to “GoPro” as I love how they look on my computer. Also, by using this standard color, I never have to worry about changing it later on my computer. It’s usually great by itself.

Filters and Underwater Light s

The filter pack will usually come with both red and magenta filters. They help to stabilize the color, and make the colors underwater pop in your photos and videos. If the water is blue, you need to use a red filter, and for green water, use the magenta.

Be careful though. If you snorkel at the surface of the ocean, a filter will not be of any help, Instead, it will only make things worse. The deeper you go, the more it comes into effect. I’d say, if you’re close to the surface, don’t bother about filters at all.

Underwater Lights

In addition, underwater lights will really make your footage come to life. Sometimes colors are missing in deeper water because the light can’t make it all the way down. Using underwater lights will add these missing wavelengths for amazing photos an videos.

However, who snorkels with a light bulb? I’ve never seen anyone using them. Snorkeling is all about having fun, and keeping it simple. At least, for me. Sure, I’ve met a few scuba divers that took a whole bag of equipment with them. But close to the shore? No, never.

If your  snorkel location  is a tropical island with loads of sunshine, well, I guess bringing a light won’t be of any help. Caribbean islands like  Aruba ,  Bonaire  or  Curacao  are one of my favorite places to go. And there’s sunshine almost all year round. On the other hand,  Silfra  in Iceland is usually pretty dark. So yes, it really depends on where you are going.

This being said, how can I claim this is the giant guide for GoPro snorkeling without explaining lighting? And by the way, did you know there are a couple of great lights to actually take with you. No, they’re not too big, and yes, they’re awesome! So, if you need more light, stay tuned.

Dark and deeper snorkel locations may be a good reason to bring a light source. The best lights out there require you to get a stabilizer to mount them on. The SHOOT aluminium stabilizer could be your best choice, or at least, try to find something similar. You can attach both your GoPro and your light in order to still bring one piece of equipment. Here’s what it looks like and what to expect:

So, now we still need a light. Which one should you choose. To answer that question I did a good amount of research. My advise would be to check out the Suptig underwater lights. I found one with good reviews that’s compatible with most of the GoPro Hero cameras. You can take it with you to depths of 164 feet, not that a snorkeler needs that, and the 84 LED lights are dimmable. If you’re curious, click the image below to check it’s latest price (usually around 37 dollars).

Improving Your Photo And Video Skills


Let’s say you already made a couple of videos, and you’re a bit “meh” about them, is there anything you can improve? Obviously, the first thing to remember, is to record cool footage. But how do we do that? Here are a few awesome tips I use myself.

Never Film Downward

Whenever you make an underwater movie, make sure to never face your camera towards the bottom of the ocean. Sure, from time to time this can work, but from my experience I rarely find them amusing enough. Often, it’s dark down there, which isn’t fun to watch.

So, make sure you position your GoPro horizontally, or sometimes even upward. Shoot up to the reefs, the fish, the corals, it can be anything. A view from the side is much cooler than from above, in most cases.

Find An Interesting Background

Ok, so you found this lovely turtle, and you want to capture how it moves through the water. Awesome! I love to do that myself, especially since most of them are used to humans. Even though it’s always necessary to keep a 10 feet distance, following a turtle is spectacular.

But what about the background? Would a video be interesting if the background fades away into the dark, or is it cooler to have a reef for example? Think about this for a second. Filming a turtle from the side, with colorful corals in its background, is way cooler to watch than having no background at all. Compare it with a movie. There’s usually always a background, right?

Switch Your Perspective

If you want to make an interesting video, make sure to mix up all kinds of things. One thing is to add some special elements. Let’s say you followed that turtle for a while, and you have it all on video. Sure, it’s fun to watch, but if it’s 5 minutes long that could be boring for your viewers.

Therefore, let’s mix! One thing I like to do, is to position my camera on the ocean floor. I find a spot where it doesn’t move, or sometimes I even bring a tripod. I have my camera face the ocean surface, and I simply snorkel above it. The same works sideways off course. Since the video doesn’t move at all, it’s just as if the ocean has cameras of its own. I hope you know what I mean.

Dominate Selfiesticks

Yes, I love them myself a whole lot, but the long arm makes it almost impossible to shoot stabilized videos. Therefore, either stay as calm as possible, or simply avoid them. For pictures, sure, they are perfect. For videos however, maybe not so much.

Add Human Elements

Make your video personal is what I mean by that. Besides swimming over your own camera, try to think of more entertaining scenes. I once made a video in which I brought my daughter’s toy mermaid. I positioned it next to a big rock, I swam back to another location, and after that I returned to the stone as if it’s always been there. I even made my daughter act (later on) about how upset she was to lose her mermaid. My wife filmed me coming from the water showing her I found it.

Sure, that’s all fake, and you don’t need to be fake if you don’t want to. In my case, everybody knows I always make these kind of silly jokes. But hey, it’s me. And that’s a great way to keep people entertained. They saw the turtle, but they also saw me. Never forget about being yourself.

Preparation and Bloopers

Who knows, maybe you’re boarding a snorkel boat trip, or maybe you’re lying on the beach next to a Hawaiian monk seal. Maybe you’re trying to  snorkel with your glasses on  for the first time, or who knows you’re about to  snorkel whilst you’re pregnant . Before any snorkel adventure, there’s always something to film. Think of it this way: You want to make a mini-movie. Find an introduction, a plot, and an end.

Entering a boat before snorkeling is fun. Not to mention all the scenery you may experience. Film that too. Film yourself and your friends. And when you head back, maybe you’re having a barbecue or a little party. That’s all part of the experience, and it really makes the whole movie thrilling.

In case something funny happens, you can even add a bloopers moment at the end. Maybe you took your  underwater metal detector  with you, and you thought you finally found that pirate treasure, but it turns out to be an old can. These things can make people laugh.

I don’t know about you, but I usually find a lot of joy whenever I get to edit my videos. I’m always happy to find a few lovely scenes, and it feels as if I’m still there. So, here are my production tips.

Make It Cinematic

Whether or not you set your field of view to “wide”, which I usually do, there’s a way to make it look even wider. However, it all depends on the program that you’re using. I personally use iMovie, but almost any program allows you to do a whole bunch of things.

Google how to add “widescreen bars” to the top and the bottom of your video. Not that you have to, but it definitely adds to the “wow factor”. Cropping your videos can do about the same thing as well, so play around with that option if you like. These days, it’s all about wide screens. And with just one easy trick, you can do the exact same thing.

Use Slowmotion

Many programs allow you to use some kind of slowmotion feature. In iMovie it’s the little “turtle button”, but your software may be different. Anyways, back to the turtle you’re filming. Let’s say you followed him around for quite a while, and he suddenly moves his head towards you. Why not play that in slowmotion. Add some different perspective effects and now you have a video full of surprises. I use this feature quite often, usually when we jump off a boat or walk out of the water. But you can do it anytime you like. Like I said, mix things up.


Some programs have an additional stabilization feature. If your video is shaking a lot, even though you selected the stabilization mode, you may want to give your computer a try. Usually, a portion of the background will disappear, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Color Correction

I usually never experiment with this. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m pretty happy with the standard GoPro color settings. However, it may be fun to adjust colors from time to time. I once used a theme that came with some kind of “Laurel and Hardy” atmosphere, so I changed the intro to black and white. If you miss some bright colors in your videos, playing around with them can make things a whole lot brighter.

Add Music And Sound Effects

Please don’t think you need to turn this into a music video. It’s definitely not that. Underwater audio is often limited, unless you hear these cute bubbles going everywhere. So why not add a little bit of music. There are a lot of websites that allow you to use their music, royalty free, like  Bensound  for example. You just need to make sure you refer to their website (and the specific song) in your video description.

Sound effects are fun as well. Even a few simple bubbles or some ocean sounds will do the trick. Do a little research and you’ll be fine. I know, editing can take a whole lot of time, but a few sound effects can really spice things up. Usually it’s not that time consuming either.

Pro Tips From My Own Experience

I usually leave my gopro on.

It may sound strange, but I always aim to have my GoPro on whenever I go snorkeling. I know, it takes energy, but whenever I go on an adventure I try to capture whatever I can. I don’t take it with me at all times. But whenever I do, it’s usually always running. Sometimes, when I don’t bring my camera, I regret it whenever I find something interesting. However, I can always go back and record the scenery. Off course, interesting marine life may have disappeared.

I Have A Back-Up Battery

Since I leave my camera on most of the time, it’s always good to have one spare. Especially when I stay close to the shore. It’s not that big of a deal for me. Whenever something spectacular happens, like a monk seal whilst snorkeling in Kauai, it can be a “life saver”. I think memory cards are pretty good these days, but bringing a spare one may be something to consider as well.

For Selfies, Use The Burst Mode

Besides filming, I love to take a few good pictures. Ocean water can be quite unpredictable, so why not make sure you get to choose the best picture once you’re back home? Out of the 30 pictures I take, at least one of them has to be cool, funny, or extremely pretty. That’s how I manage to look good in pictures by the way.

Get The GoPro Hand Grip

I listed a whole lot of gear in this article, and I tried a few, however the GoPro hand grip is definitely my favorite. I use it most of the time. You get used to it very fast, and it’s so convenient. You kind of “feel” where your camera is headed, and it’s great for stabilization. If you don’t have the money for a GoPro Hero 8, I’d prefer to have a Hero 6 with the hand grip instead of a Hero 7 without it. I’m serious.

Film Your Friends And Family

Capturing the marine life is fun, indeed, but never forget about filming your friends and family. Sometimes, they are the ones that seem to be the fish in the water. In the end, once we’re older, what’s more important: A colorful triggerfish or your own child snorkeling for the first time? Keep that in mind.

Final Thoughts

In my honest opinion, the GoPro cameras are able to provide some awesome footage for your snorkel trip. There are a whole lot of accessories to choose from, each offering some entertainment, but owning just the camera is already fun enough. If you ask me about my most favorite add-on, it’s the hand grip.

You can buy all of the gear that’s out here, you can even bring an underwater light, but you can’t change the weather. If you pick a sunny and calm day, you’re probably just fine with only the camera. Besides, would you go snorkeling on a cloudy or windy day anyways? I usually skip those days and find something else to do, even though snorkeling in the rain can be awesome!

If you experience motion sickness easily, try not to focus on one spot too long. Read more in our guide called “Can snorkeling make you seasick?“.

Be cautious with ordering too much gear. If you plan to take it all with you, ask yourself if that’s actually possible. Or if you only bring carry-on luggage, make sure to learn more about bringing snorkel gear on a plane.

If you like to edit your videos, and combine them in some kind of compilation, make sure to always keep that in mind. Whenever you film, think about the end result. Anything crazy can be added to the bloopers, but the GoPro is not a human machine that knows where to aim for. It’s up to you to do that properly. If you keep the end result in mind, you’re probably going to be just fine. Watch a few videos online, and learn from those.

Looking back at pictures and videos once back home is big fun. I would advise it to everyone. Editing is not that hard to learn, and if you have a Mac, iMovie should be already on there. So you don’t need to pay for an expensive program. Sharing your videos with friends is fun too. Maybe you went snorkeling in Maui, and your friends were thinking to do the same thing. Well, show them how cool it was. Maybe another friend is scared to snorkel, well, share your own experience. It could be of great help. Whatever the reason, sharing is caring!

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GoPro mount for A-Class Catamaran

aclass_gopromount.jpg GoPro mount for A-Class Catamaran

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The GoPro can be easily mounted on a gennaker pole, but what if your boat does not have a gennaker pole?

To still have a front-cam when going sailing with my A-Class catamaran (I do have a DNA F1x foiling catamaran) I created mount to hang the gopro between the forestays.

The gopro view angle is adjustable. Here is a video to see the mount work in practice. I used superview mode on GoPro 5 for this video: https://youtu.be/gSuyf4A0YBQ

Here is the link to the Fusion 360 model: https://a360.co/2NWokzL

  • foiling catamaran
  • gopro mount
  • sport_outdoors

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Best GoPro camera in 2024

We tested every GoPro camera to find which is the best for you.

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

Best GoPro camera: Specs compared

  • Best GoPro overall
  • Next best GoPro
  • Best 360 GoPro
  • Best older GoPro
  • If you can find a deal
  • What to look for
  • Accessories to buy
  • Can a GoPro be a webcam?
  • How we test

1. The list in brief 2. Specs compared 3. Best GoPro overall 4. Next best GoPro 5. Best 360 GoPro 6. Best older GoPro 7. Only on sale 8. What to look for 9. Which accessories to buy 10. Can a GoPro be a webcam? 11. How we test

So you've decided to buy one of the best GoPro cameras — good choice! GoPros are without question the best action cameras around, so we can see why you've made that decision. But which one should you buy?

You might think the answer would always be 'the latest model,' in this case the GoPro Hero12 Black — but it's not quite as simple as that. And that's because the best GoPro camera overall is not necessarily the best GoPro camera for you. 

For starters, some older models are now reduced in price, so depending on your budget you might find that one of them is a better choice for you. There's also the GoPro Max to consider, which offers 360-degree video — a feature you won't find on other models.

We've tested every GoPro still available to buy so we can help you make the right purchasing decision. Here, we look at the five most recent models of GoPro, from the five-year-old Hero9 Black to 2023's Hero12 Black, breaking down what's different about them and what their various advantages and disadvantages are. 

So read on and we'll help you decide which is the best GoPro camera for your needs.

The quick list

Here's a quick overview of the three best GoPro cameras you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. These aren't the only ones we'd recommend, though, so keep on scrolling if you want to see our in-depth analysis of all the top GoPro cameras.

The GoPro Hero12 Black on a white background

The best GoPro overall The GoPro Hero12 Black is the best GoPro overall. It's only a modest improvement over the Hero11, but costs $100 less at launch. There's 5.3K/60p, fantastic image and horizon stabilization, and now support for bluetooth headphone mics.

Read more below

The GoPro Hero 11 Black on white

The next best GoPro Despite no longer being the flagship, the GoPro Hero11 Black is still an incredible action camera: beautiful 5.7K video, image stabilization and water resistance to 33 feet. Thanks to the Hero12, the Hero11 Black is now cheaper than ever.

The GoPro Max on a white background

The best 360 GoPro If you want to produce awesome 360 footage, and you want a GoPro to do it, you'll need the GoPro Max. The Max can shoot high-res 5.6K 360 footage, but maxes out at 60p 2x slow motion, so your slo-mo will only be at 30p.

We know all the numbers and specs can be a little overwhelming, so we've laid them all out side by side in this table to make it easier for you to compare the details. Remember, though, specs aren't everything and don't necessarily make a camera right for you, so keep reading to see our full analysis of each GoPro.

The full list: the best GoPro cameras in detail

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

1. GoPro Hero12 Black

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

The GoPro Hero12 Black is the best GoPro you can buy — and in fact, we've listed it at the top of our best action cameras round up too. While it's largely unchanged from its predecessor, it costs $100 less than the Hero11 did at launch — something we were happy to see given such a moderate specs boost.

Vdeo performance has been boosted over the Hero11, despite having the same resolution sensor: the Hero12 shoots 5.3K/60p versus the Hero11's 5K/30p, for higher resolution, smoother footage. There's now also support for bluetooth headphones, so you can use your wireless earbuds to record clean audio without the need for a separate microphone.

Water resistance is the same, as are the design, screens and dimensions. Horizon stabilization and image stabilization are again unchanged, but these were fantastic in the Hero11 anyway, so that's no bad thing. Unfortunately, premium editing features are again locked behind a paid subscription.

Read our full GoPro Hero12 Black review .

The next best GoPro camera

Front view of GoPro Hero 11 Black

2. GoPro Hero11 Black

The GoPro Hero11 Black has a large 1/1.9-inch image sensor with an 8:7 aspect ratio. This squarish format lets you capture expansive views, but more importantly, gives you much more flexibility when editing the video afterwards. In the GoPro Quik app, you can output your video in a number of formats, including the TikTok-friendly 9:16 ratio. 

What also makes the Hero11 Black great is its fantastic image stabilization — you can literally rotate the camera all the way around, and it will keep the horizon level. New shooting modes also let you capture star trails and try your hand at light painting, and GoPro's Quik app makes editing your videos a real pleasure.

The GoPro Hero11 is now no longer the newest and best model, so it takes our spot for the next best GoPro behind the Hero12. One of the things that makes the newer Hero12 so great is that it launched for $100 lower than the Hero11 at launch. However, you should be able to pick up a Hero11 for less than a Hero12 now that the latter is out, so if you need to save a few dollars, the Hero11 is still a great choice.

Read our full  GoPro Hero11 Black review .

The best 360 GoPro camera

Best GoPro cameras: GoPro Hero Max

3. GoPro Max

While not the best GoPro camera overall, the GoPro Max does have a major point of difference from the others — namely its ability to shoot 360-degree video. Unlike most 360 cameras, the GoPro Hero Max has a small display on its back that lets you view what its cameras are looking at. We didn't find it quite as handy as we'd expected, but the large display does make it easy to navigate and change the Max's settings without having to use your smartphone. 

The GoPro Hero Max also has a HyperSmooth stabilization feature, so your bumpy video will look nice and smooth, and image quality from the camera — up to a max resolution of 5.6K/30 fps — lives up to GoPro's typical high standards. Plus, GoPro's app is loaded with features, including the ability to livestream video from the Max.

However, the GoPro Hero Max's design requires the use of a selfie stick, and lacks a tripod mount, so you have to use it with one of GoPro's accessories. GoPro's subscription offer is available here too, and brings the price down to $399 from its RRP of $549.

Read our GoPro Max review .

The best older GoPro camera

GoPro Hero10 Black review

4. GoPro Hero10 Black

The GoPro Hero10 Black supports video recording as high as 5.3K/60 fps, as well as 2K video at 240 fps, and 4K video at 120 fps. On top of that, it has a larger 23MP image sensor, and manages to shave off a tiny bit of weight.

What's most impressive is the Hero10's upgraded image stabilization; in our testing, we found that the camera can be tilted by as much as 45 degrees while still smoothing things out. However, this puts a serious dent on battery life, which is unchanged from the Hero9. But, you can use the same battery, as well as the same accessories, as before.

Plus, thanks to firmware updates over its lifecycle, the Hero10 Black can record longer clips in situations where there's limited airflow to cool the camera. The company says that users will be able to record up to 63-minute clips at 4K/60 fps. Price-wise, GoPro has heavily discounted the Hero10 since launch and it's now available for $249 direct from GoPro. That's a massive $150 cheaper than the newest Hero12. Given the cost versus performance, we think this is the best older GoPro around.

Read our full GoPro Hero10 Black review .

A decent GoPro if on sale

best GoPro cameras: GoPro Hero9

5. GoPro Hero9 Black

With the GoPro Hero9 Black, GoPro not only took the criticism of the Hero8, but also added a much-needed feature: a front-facing display. This small screen now shows a live preview, making it much easier for selfie artists and bloggers to frame themselves in videos and photos.

In addition, the Hero9 has a removable lens, so you can once again add filters, such as GoPro's new Max Lens Mod, which enables you to take really wide and stabilized video. It can also shoot at resolutions up to 5K, and its larger battery performs better in colder temperatures. Having tested it extensively, Our sole criticism is that it's pretty heavy, so you'll certainly notice it if you attach it to a helmet. Overall, we'd still consider this to be one of the best GoPro cameras, but only if you can find it with serious money off. The Hero10 is the oldest model still officially sold by GoPro, but you can still find a new Hero9 easily online. The issue is that GoPro now sell the Hero10 for only $249, which is often less than this camera goes for on Amazon. As such, we'd advise only picking up a GoPro Hero9 if it's at a sizeable discount and is selling for lower than newer models.

Read our full GoPro Hero9 Black review .

What to look for when buying a GoPro camera

Front view of GoPro Hero 11 Black

While all of the best GoPro cameras (with the exception of the Max) share a similar design, there are a few differences, especially between newer and older models.

With the Hero8 Black, GoPro redesigned the camera so that the mounting "fingers" — used to connect the camera to GoPro accessories — are built directly into the bottom of the camera. This way, you don't need to attach a case if you want to mount the camera to a selfie stick or some other device.

All GoPro models have a rear display which you can use to frame your shot and adjust settings, as well as a front-facing LCD that shows your recording time, battery life, and more. However, the Hero9 and onwards have color displays on the front, which can also be used to frame yourself in a shot. 

Video and image resolution

Both the GoPro Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, as well as slo-mo video at 1080p/240 fps. The GoPro Hero9 Black was the first GoPro that can shoot video at 5K resolution, albeit at a max framerate of 30 fps. The Hero10 ups that to 60 fps. The GoPro Hero11 can shoot 5K/60 fps, while the Hero12 can shoot 5.3K/60 fps — both models can shoot 4K/120 fps slow motion.

On the stills front, the Hero12 and Hero11 take 27MP stills; the Hero10 takes 23MP stills; the Hero9 takes 20MP stills; while the Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black are both limited to 12MP.

The GoPro Max is in a class of its own, as it shoots 5.6K spherical videos, but only 1080p/60fps rectilinear video and only 30 fps slow motion (slowed down 2x from its maximum 60 fps).

Image stabilization

One of the defining features of the best GoPro cameras has been electronic image stabilization, which goes a long way towards smoothing out shaky action cam footage. GoPro calls its technology HyperSmooth; hyperbole aside, it's very effective. Newer (and pricier) GoPro models have more advanced versions of HyperSmooth.

If you're taking really shaky video, though, we recommend the GoPro Max; because it's a 360 camera, and recording everything around you, it's the best at maintaining a level horizon no matter how much the camera bounces around.

Which GoPro accessories should you buy?

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

We've got a separate guide to the best GoPro accessories , but if you're still deciding which is the best GoPro camera to buy and just want an idea of how much extra you might need to budget for add-ons, here's a brief overview: 

  • GoPro Volta: GoPro has just released this combined handle, remote, battery and tripod and we'll be giving it a try very soon. The company claims it can triple battery life, while the remote functionality works whether it's attached to a camera or wirelessly via Bluetooth. For $130, it looks like a great addition to a GoPro.
  • Mounts: You're almost certainly going to want to attach your GoPro to something, whether it's a helmet, a bike or a snowboard. Neewer makes an inexpensive (about $30) 50-piece kit that includes dozens of options. 
  • Audio upgrades : Sound isn't the GoPro's strongest suit, but you can improve it by adding GoPro's own Media Mod , or an external microphone for as little as $40.
  • Batteries: You can never have too much juice — after all, you don't want to be stuck halfway up a mountain with a dead GoPro. For $10 you can buy an extra battery plus a charging case that you can take on the go.
  • Carrying case: The more kit you have, the more useful this will be. Amazon sells a good option for just $11.

Of course there are dozens of other GoPro accessories, including waterproof cases and floatation devices, screen protectors, extra lighting, extra displays and more. Check out our full list of the best GoPro accessories for more. 

Can you use a GoPro as a webcam?

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

Simply put: yes. Aside from being great action cameras, there are actually a few other things that GoPros can do. For a start, GoPro has software that lets you use GoPros after the Hero8 Black as webcams. Follow our guide to how to use your GoPro as a webcam for more details. 

GoPro also launched livestreaming for its cameras back to the Hero7 Black (including the GoPro Max). However, in order to use this feature, you must be a GoPro Plus subscriber, which costs $49.99 annually. The subscription also provides unlimited cloud storage of GoPro footage, no-questions-asked camera replacement, and up to 50% off GoPro accessories. 

How we test the best GoPro cameras

Man holding GoPro Hero 11 Black

The only way to test a GoPro camera properly is to put it through its paces in the outdoors, so that's what we do. We take it to a ski slope, or out on a bike, or to a beach, and we use it in the kind of situation anyone buying it would do. We also make sure to test it in a variety of lighting conditions, and to specifically evaluate features such as motion stabilization so we know how well it performs.

We then look closely at the footage, and any stills we've taken, to compare the quality to that of rival devices or previous models. Finally, we consider the camera's controls, design and build, including aspects such as how easy it is to operate with gloves, and also evaluate the manufacturer's battery claims against what we found in our testing.

More from Tom's Guide

Be sure to check out all of our camera picks:

Now that you've decided on the best GoPro for you, you'll definitely want to check out our roundup of the best GoPro accessories , so you can get the most out of your rugged pal. If you're still not sold on adventuring with a GoPro, then we also have guides to the best action cameras , best waterproof cameras , best 360 cameras and best drones . If you're looking for something a little more conventional than an action cam, why not check out our guides to the best DSLR cameras and best mirrorless cameras (or read up on DSLR vs. mirrorless if you haven't decided between the two). For something a little more casual, check out the best point-and-shoot cameras and the best instant cameras . If you'd like to see our favorites from every category, then you'll want to read our guide to the overall best cameras .

It's also important that you have somewhere to store all of your stills and videos, as well as somewhere to edit them. That's why we've also put together guides to the best photo organizer apps and the best photo storage sites , as well as the best photo editing software , best photo editing apps  and best video editing software .

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Mike Prospero

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

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SkyBean ChaseCam GoPro Camera

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SkyBean ChaseCam is a unique product dedicated to recording awesome videos and photos from a position behind the paragliding/paramotor pilot. The shape is fine-tuned to achieve the most stable picture without electronic stabilisation. We’ve spent hundreds of hours on research and development using aerodynamic simulations and wind tunnel. As a final result, you are now able to capture your flight safely from a new and different perspective.

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Compatible Suitable for various action cameras - GoPro Hero 3, 3+, 4 and GoPro Hero Session or GoPro Hero 5 Session (ChaseCam does not include GoPro camera). Easy Launch We’vecreated simple, but sophisticated device, so everyone is able to launch smoothly and safely, with the ChaseCam on board or with ChaseCam from the ground. Light The ChaseCam is made from lightweight and durable plastic. Safe ChaseCam is safe to use and does not affect your flight. Stable Stable recording from ChaseCam is achieved by using an aerodynamically stable profile, which was developed during hours of CFD simulations and with practical tests in wind-tunnel. Durable The camera case is made from tough material that protects the camera during non-ideal takeoffs and landings. Wings are made from flexible material and are assembled with laces, so the whole structure is durable and hard to break it.

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Package Content

  • Head - camera case (GoPro Hero 3/4, GoPro Hero Session, GoPro Hero 5 Session)
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  1. Where to put your GoPro on a Catamaran

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  2. How To Use Your GoPro as the Ultimate Boat Camera

    For Mini, you can use the mode button on the front of the camera to change settings or the GoPro Quik Editing App to do all the above. As for settings, feel free to leave your camera settings in 4K at 30 fps to capture smooth, hi-res footage at a normal playback speed. If you want to capture slo-mo footage, switch to 5K at 60 fps or 4K at 120 fps.

  3. Best GoPros for boating: 7 action cameras for capturing your adventures

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    One of the best method is to use a waterproof suction mount to attach your GoPro on a flat surface at the front or back of your sailing boat, kayak or fishing boat by following these simple steps: Place the suction cup flat on the plain surface of your boat, and press the button firmly. Pull back the lever to lock the suction in place.

  5. 6 of the best action cameras for capturing your sailing adventures

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    Mounting your GoPro camera directly to the boat is great for capturing your whole fishing crew and all the action that ensues. Large Tube / Roll Bar / Pipe Mount: The bigger brother of the handlebar mount, the pipe camera mount can connect to any 1.4 to 2.5in (3.5 to 6.35cm) diameter tube. Perfect for mounting on railing, support poles and ...

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  8. I need some advice on how to film catamaran sailing : r/gopro

    You could use the rollbar attachment or rig the headmount to mount it on the mast pointing down onto you . Try spending a couple bucks on some PVC and make long a 3rd person type mount that you can attach to the catamarans frame. Get a telescoping camera extender / pole and take some selfies .

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  10. Travel + Adventure Cameras

    Easy and ultra-versatile, Volta is the ultimate travel accessory. You won't worry about battery life, as it combines with the standard GoPro battery to give you over 5.5 hours of 4K30 recording. 1 Built-in buttons make it a breeze to control you camera, or pop the tripod for amazing TimeLapse and NightLapse footage. Pro Tip: Use the Volta's wireless remote to get scenic shots up to 98 ft ...

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    The extendable GoPole is just like a selfie stick for the GoPro. This snorkel GoPro mount allows you to get a closer shot of the marine life, take selfies, or video yourself from a distance. The maximum extension is 40 inches. It comes with a smart remote clip and it's compatible with all GoPro Hero cameras.

  12. Free STL file GoPro mount for A-Class Catamaran ...

    The GoPro can be easily mounted on a gennaker pole, but what if your boat does not have a gennaker pole? To still have a front-cam when going sailing with my A-Class catamaran (I do have a DNA F1x foiling catamaran) I created mount to hang the gopro between the forestays. The gopro view angle is adjustable. Here is a video to see the mount work in practice. I used superview mode on GoPro 5 for ...

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    This video was all filmed on only a gopro...nothing else!! In my opinion, it turned out pretty good for that kind of camera a gopro is! This footage was take...

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  15. Compare GoPro Cameras

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  23. GoPro

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