Newest GoPro for Snorkeling

After the underwater success of the GoPro Hero 9 Black, is the new Hero 10 still a good GoPro for snorkeling?

Newest GoPro for snorkeling: 3 keys for buying or upgrading to the hero 10 black

If you’ve been with us here at Adventure in Blue for any length, you’ll know that one of our favorite aspects of diving is using a GoPro for snorkeling. Can you simply and affordably record those life-long memories formed underwater among spectacular marine life, coral forests, and friends and family? Yes, please sign me up!

Furthermore, while previous GoPros and other underwater action cameras have been great for capturing those snorkeling experiences, last year’s GoPro HERO 9 Black (here on Amazon) was the biggest game-changer for snorkeling that we’ve encountered in years, with features like Horizon Lock, Hindsight, and a second screen.

When it first came out, it was our hands-down favorite GoPro for snorkeling (or any action camera for snorkeling, for that matter).

[You can read our snorkeling-focused review of the Hero 9 Black and its new features right here: The GoPro Hero9 Black Is Here: Is it the Best Snorkeling GoPro?]

[You can read our snorkeling-focused review of the Hero 10 Black and its new features right here: The GoPro Hero10 Black Is Here: Is it the Best Snorkeling GoPro?]

The GoPro HERO 10 Black, the company’s latest action camera, is now available (here on Amazon).

Is the GoPro HERO 10 Black good for snorkeling?

The GoPro HERO 10 Black is suitable for snorkeling, and it improves upon the HERO 9 by including new video modes and speedier technology in addition to being waterproof to a depth of 10 meters (or 33 feet) from the factory.

Well, it’s excellent that the HERO 10 Black is a capable GoPro for underwater photography and videography. That is final. But at this new model’s price, 

  • Is it really the best action camera or even the ideal GoPro for snorkeling? 
  • Should someone looking to purchase their first action camera consider this one? 
  • Would it be worth it to upgrade if you already own a GoPro for snorkeling? 

That is conditional on several essential variables; to start identifying them, let’s examine the HERO 10 Black’s new features.

Newest GoPro for snorkeling: 3 keys for buying or upgrading to the hero 10 black

Core upgrades to the hero 10 black

The GoPro HERO 10 Black retains the same 5.3K image sensor as its predecessor, the HERO 9 Black, but it features a totally new CPU, the GP2. This powerful new CPU enables the camera to fully use the 5.3K picture stream, which already offers 91% greater resolution than 4K footage [source].

Newest GoPro for snorkeling: 3 keys for buying or upgrading to the hero 10 black
The GoPro HERO 10 Black takes the same form factor as the previous HERO 9 Black, but its new GP2 processor packs a bigger punch.

The newest HERO 10 Black can capture 5.3K footage at 60fps and 4K video at 120fps. This may or may not make sense to you, but it boils down to the ability to capture high-quality slow-motion video at previously unachievable frame rates.

We rarely use slow motion, so this isn’t a significant improvement for us, but from a purely quantitative perspective, the HERO 10 Black’s most significant improvement is in this area. Aside from those differences, the HERO 9 and HERO 10 have nearly identical dimensions (2.8 by 2.2 by 1.3 inches), touchscreen display (2.3 inches), front “selfie” screen (1.4 inches), battery capacity (1270 milliampere-hours), and so on.

Want to search and learn about a basic question: Can you snorkel with GoPro? And, can you use a GoPro for scuba diving?

New GoPro Hero 10 black features which are good for snorkeling

Now let’s check out some updated features that make a difference for snorkelers.

HyperSmooth 4.0

HyperSmooth, GoPro’s motion-stabilization technology, has consistently delivered top-notch results. And version 4.0 is no different in this regard.

Even if you’ve stopped to float and video anything while out in the ocean, the momentum of the water is still causing you to move about quite a little more than you may realize. If you plan on using a GoPro while snorkeling, you’ll want to make sure it has excellent motion stabilization or look at the nauseating, sloshy, unplayable film when you get home.

To stabilize footage at higher resolutions, such as 4K or 5K, GoPro has modified HyperSmooth to function with the new GP2 processor. Every time you get in the pool, use HyperSmooth; your future self will be grateful.

Better Horizon Leveling

Newest GoPro for snorkeling: 3 keys for buying or upgrading to the hero 10 black
The HERO 10 Black’s Horizon Lock can now withstand twists up to 45 degrees which is extremely helpful both above and below the watery horizon.

With the GoPro Hero 9 Black last year, one of the best innovative features for snorkelers was Horizon Leveling, which fixes your footage to a flawlessly level plane regardless of how you move. This effectively brought HyperSmooth (which still permits movement in your video, although much smoother movement) to a new level, making you feel as if you were a fish in the water alongside whoever was recording.

With the HERO 10 Black’s more powerful GP2 processor, Horizon Leveling can keep your footage level at extreme camera angles of up to 45 degrees of rotation (up from 27 degrees in the HERO 9). The output is pretty good even as you propel yourself through the water, which is great if you’re attempting to swim and video simultaneously.

Hydrophobic Lens Cover

When using my GoPro for snorkeling, one issue that I didn’t even realize was a problem (since I won’t realize there was a solution for this problem) was that if I lifted the camera out of the water while shooting to get anything, just above the waterline, there was a genuine risk that water would kind of adhere to the lens and drip down through my image.

This is a technique I’ve used to shoot dolphins jumping out of the water, sea turtles coming up for air, and the scenery of whichever gorgeous cove I happened to be in at the time. It would either not drip at all, in which case the film would be useable, or it would drip, in which case the image would be distorted to the point that it was useless.

That’s where GoPro Labs comes in with their new hydrophobic lens cover for the HERO 10 Black.

The new lens cover, included with every HERO 10 Black, is coated with a material that actively repels water, thereby eliminating the presence of water streaks in recorded video. In the past, I wouldn’t have even considered the old lens cover an issue, but after using a GoPro with a hydrophobic lens cover while snorkeling, I’ll never go back.

Improved Video Processing

Conversely, I knew the low-light performance was a common issue with previous generations of GoPros and other action cameras.

Newest GoPro for snorkeling: 3 keys for buying or upgrading to the hero 10 black
The HERO 10 Black’s local tone-mapping and denoising algorithms do a much better job of handling contrast and clarity in low-light shots than previous action cameras.

This isn’t surprising, given that even more costly camera setups may still struggle without optimum lighting. Still, it was a bummer when I saw a fantastic underwater picture that I wanted to record but took place in lower light (though it still appeared OK to my eyes as the human eye is presently far better at sorting out these scenarios than cameras), leading to subsequently blurry or muddy film. Most of the time, it worked out OK, but it wasn’t perfect.

The HERO 10 Black’s local tone-mapping algorithms and video noise reduction have been significantly upgraded thanks to the device’s GP2 processor, making them especially useful while snorkeling on a cloudy day or in deeper water.

Underwater, because there is less definition of colour and contrast, – particularly at depth, video can often look muddled, but improved tone mapping can help bring out finer details in these scenarios, and noise reduction kicks in when the scene is darker than usual and the camera needs to open up the lens aperture more. Both are effective, and the latter will undoubtedly result in superior snorkeling films.

You Can learn more about Taking Photos and recording videos with GoPro by Visiting our detailed article, Snorkeling Photo Tips

5K Video Photo Stills

When I go snorkeling, I typically use my GoPro to capture everything I want to remember. (and sometimes things I don’t keep in mind, thanks to Hindsight, which lets your camera record constantly and consistently and then just delete a particular video that you let pass by in a 30- or 60-second history window unless you hit the record button to save it and continue recording typically). Then I compile the videos into clips while extracting any photos I want. Due to the high quality of the footage that GoPros records and the simplicity of their essential editing software, GoPro Quik, this has always been a successful strategy.

And now, with the help of the GP2 processor, you can extract 19.6-megapixel stills from 5.3K video, which is more than adequate for sharing on social media and printing in various formats without losing quality. The HERO 10 has the same image sensor as the HERO 9, but its still photos can reach up to 16 megapixels, all owing to the inclusion of a new GP2 processor.

The HERO 10 Black’s highest-resolution photo mode, enabled by the GP2, can capture images at a whopping 23 megapixels, the full resolution of the camera’s 5.3K sensor. The HERO 9 Black’s maximum photo resolution was 20 megapixels because of the limitations of its CPU. However, GP2 has removed those restrictions. Due to the movement of the fish, I rarely use the photo option on my GoPro while snorkeling, but the extra storage is welcome.

You Can learn more about Taking Photos and recording videos with GoPro by Visiting our detailed article, Snorkeling Photo Tips

Faster Start-Up Time

Before I had Hindsight, I had a hard time striking a balance between recording too much useless footage and missing important moments.

Even though the HERO 9 Black addressed this issue, divers had to strike a balance between battery life and the length of time they planned to be below on a late-day or night dive. Should I leave the camera on so I can start recording right away and not miss anything, or should I switch it off to conserve battery life so that I may potentially capture additional footage later but run the risk of missing something in the meantime?

Given that the HERO 10 has the same battery as the HERO 9, this is not so much a new computation of capacity as it is a new calculation of speed.

(Although the battery life of the HERO 10 and HERO 9 are identical, the HERO 10’s higher-end video settings will drain the battery a bit more quickly. That’s why it’s wise to pick yourself a spare battery and charging pack from Amazon, so you’re never caught off guard by a dead device.

Again, the GP2 helps the camera power up much more quickly and starts capturing footage when the button is pressed. This may save a few seconds in the grand scheme of things, but I know I’ve lost several opportunities to photograph amazing marine life as it swam past me and moved on. So, I think this is a massive success for snorkeling with a GoPro.

GoPro fans show some of what’s possible with the HERO 10 Black with fire, water, and air.

Should I buy the GoPro Hero 10 black?

As I indicated before, your present action camera scenario will determine whether or not the GoPro HERO 10 Black is a good investment for you at this time. Though your calculations may differ, I’ve outlined what I’d do in the three examples below.

You can Also Check our Complete Review about GoPro Hero 10 Black.

If This is My First GoPro for Snorkeling

The GoPro HERO 10 Black is the only option if I don’t already have an action camera and want to use it for snorkeling. I’d be upgrading to a state-of-the-art action camera that excels in underwater situations like snorkeling, a camera that incorporates all the features that make the HERO 9 the best in its class. When it comes to snorkeling action cameras, I think it’s the most excellent option available right now.

This also presupposes that I am willing to spend between $449 and $499 on a brand new HERO Black camera. That’s not peanuts, but when you factor in the quality of the equipment you’re getting, and similar professional underwater camera setups can quickly run into the thousands, you’ll find that it’s the best GoPro for snorkeling. Plus, I’ll have greater peace of mind knowing that I won’t have to make another update for a while yet.

I think the GoPro HERO 9 Black is the best option if you’re on a tight budget. If I bought a GoPro from the previous year, I could obtain all the features that make the HERO Black line perfect for snorkeling (HyperSmooth, Horizon Lock, 5K footage, Hindsight, dual screens, etc.) for much less money. Although I wouldn’t have the most up-to-date performance data, it would serve my underwater needs just fine.

If I Already Have the GoPro HERO 9, Black

Even though I currently own the HERO 9, if I’m the type of person who likes to have the most recent version of their equipment whenever feasible (which I generally am), I’d opt for the GoPro HERO 10 Black (Amazon). If I were going snorkeling, I’d spring for the newest, most advanced GoPro with all the bells and whistles.

However, I would not recommend jumping from the HERO 9 if you are on the fence about making the purchase (likely due to the price). Although the HERO 10 is noticeably faster because of the new GP2 CPU, it wasn’t significantly better than the HERO 9 in my specific use case.

Instead, I would invest in some useful accessories that will immediately improve my underwater video, such as one of our recommended red filters (which helps you achieve a lot truer colour in your underwater video) and/or a couple of items from The Best GoPro Accessories for Snorkeling: 5 I Can’t Do Without. In the long run, these will have a much more significant effect on my snorkeling performance with my GoPro than the camera update.

I also have some wiggle room in case I change my mind in the future because the HERO 10 and HERO 9 are physically identical and can use the same accessories and attachments. This is the annual rollercoaster we ride, and there’s no telling if HERO 11 will continue this trend or not.

If I Have a GoPro Older Than the HERO 9

I would recommend the HERO 10 Black (Amazon) to myself if I were to upgrade from a HERO 8 Black (or 7, or 6,…) or pretty much any other action camera that wasn’t providing a specific function (like 3D footage) while snorkeling.

GoPro has always manufactured reliable cameras, but the improvement in features for snorkelers from the HERO 8 to the HERO 9 (and now the HERO 10) is too great to overlook. If I want the best of everything, like in scenario #1, I should acquire the HERO 10 if I can afford it. Or, if I’d rather not spend as much, the HERO 9 Black (Amazon) offers nearly all of the same excellent capabilities while using a bit less powerful hardware, making it an excellent option for snorkelers on a budget (and lower cost).

If I were to go snorkeling, I would invest in a high-quality GoPro.


The new HERO 10 Black from GoPro keeps the HERO line’s crown as the finest GoPro for snorkeling, building on the success of the HERO 9. While the new GP2 processor provides additional video modes and enhanced video processing, tried-and-true features like HyperSmooth, Hindsight, and Horizon Lock remain the real deal regarding underwater filming. Combine it with the ability to easily capture still images from 5K footage, and you have a winner for use in the deep sea.

However, your present action camera setup should be considered before deciding if it is an excellent time to make the purchase. If you don’t already own an action camera or are looking to upgrade from the HERO 8 or older, the HERO 10 may be a fantastic buy (or another similarly-aged camera).

If the HERO 10 is too pricey for your budget, the HERO 9 is still a viable option because it retains the HERO’s main characteristics that are useful for snorkelers.

If you’ve already got a HERO 9 but are on the fence about shelling out for a HERO 10, you could get more bang for your buck by investing in these exciting snorkeling photo/video accessories for your GoPro. You’ll have an excellent GoPro for snorkeling, regardless of your choice, and you’ll be ready to capture those priceless moments in the underwater cosmos. Scuba diving and snorkeling, have fun!

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