If you’ve been reading this site for any period of time, you know that I have a deep, undying passion for GoPros and similar action cameras, especially when it comes to snorkeling. They’re compact and easy to bring along, take fantastic underwater and aerial shots, and have given me priceless memories from my adventures. When I travel or go snorkeling, one of my favorite things to bring along is one of my many GoPro cameras.
If you’re unfamiliar with GoPros but are considering purchasing one, your first query is likely to be related to how much a GoPro costs. That has two answers, one simple and one more difficult, but let’s begin with the simpler one. You may be interested to know How Much Does it Cost to Rent Snorkel Gear? Best Prices in 2023 if planning for snorkeling.
How much does a GoPro cost? The retail price of the most prominent GoPro action camera models is as follows: $499 for the GoPro Hero10 Black, $399 for the GoPro Hero9 Black, and $499 for the GoPro MAX.
That’s the simple answer to the question, “How much does a GoPro cost?” (at least for the camera itself), and the retail rates are usually quite stable up until a new model is released.
However, costs may drop by around $50 once or twice a year, usually in November and December. But you might be confused about the differences between the various GoPro versions (and which one is right for you).
You should also be aware of the possibility of additional, unexpected expenses. So that you can make an informed decision about which GoPro is best for you and how much money you’ll need to do it well, let’s take a brief look at all of that information.
How much does a gopro cost? The easy prices & the unexpected costs
Unique action cameras like the GoPro have allowed me to record some of my most memorable moments. My GoPro is permanently attached to my body and recording, whether I’m skydiving in Switzerland or snorkeling with manatees in Florida.
Want to know how much a GoPro costs and which model to get? I’ve got you covered.
GoPro’s camera offerings include the HERO line and the 360 Camera line. I suggest you get a HERO camera, as they are the most well-liked brand. Excellent as they are, 360-degree cameras require more practice with filming and editing. Let’s compare the price of several popular GoPro models and the features you get for your money.
How much does the GoPro Hero10 Black cost?
The GoPro Hero10 Black is, hands down, the best action camera on the market, whether you’re snorkeling or not. In my opinion, it’s the best action camera available right now.
The GoPro Hero10 Black costs $449-499. For that price, you get a 5.3K image sensor capable of capturing 23-megapixel photos (a significant improvement over the last generation of anyone’s action camera before the Hero9), superior HyperSmooth 4.0 image stabilization, and frame-rates ranging from 24fps all the way up to an impressive 240fps in video. (The standard frame rate for video is 30 frames per second; anything higher is reserved for slow-motion.)
You may dive with the Hero10 Black down to a depth of 10 meters (33 feet) without worrying about damaging the camera. Along with a larger battery that allows for 112 minutes of 4K video, the camera additionally features a front-facing screen (a first for the Hero9) for selfie action.
The specs are impressive, but the Hero10 Black really shines thanks to the numerous new and improved capabilities that launched with the Hero9 and were initially only accessible to beta testers at GoPro Labs.
Top of the list is Horizon Lock, which prevents any shakiness or bobbing in your video by locking your footage to a perfectly level horizon, and Hindsight, which records what happens in front of your camera regardless of whether or not you are recording.
Both of these features are especially useful when snorkeling. So far, I’ve found the investment to be worthwhile, plus there are many other benefits to using this camera. Admittedly, this is just a very quick rundown of the Hero10 black.
If you want to learn more about the GoPro Hero10 Black and all of its specs and features, check out The Newest GoPro for Snorkeling: 3 Keys for Buying or Upgrading to the HERO 10 Black.
How much does the GoPro Hero9 Black cost?
The Hero10 Black is an overall improvement over competing products and well worth the additional cost if you can get it. However, the GoPro Hero9 Black, the previous edition of GoPro’s Hero Black action camera, is still a great choice if you’d prefer not spend quite as much.
The GoPro Hero9 Black costs $349-399. You’ll save a good sum of cash compared to the Hero10 Black, and you’ll still get all the essential snorkeling features like Horizon Lock/HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilization as well as Hindsight filming that were introduced with the Hero9 and are still present with the Hero10, as well as a second front-facing screen and a waterproof seal down to 10 meters (or 33 feet).
You won’t be able to take advantage of the Hero10 Black’s new GP2 processor (which speeds up the camera, enables slightly larger photos, and provides more video frame rate options at higher resolutions) or its new hydrophobic lens cover (which is great near water but doesn’t really alter things when in the water).
However, the Hero9 Black is a good choice if you’d like to save money without sacrificing quality in an action camera. For more check out our more thorough review at The New GoPro Hero9 Black: Is it the Best GoPro for Snorkeling?
How much does the GoPro MAX cost?
While the Hero Black cameras record what’s in front of them (and do so competently), the GoPro MAX records what’s going on in all directions. The 360-degree camera allows you to capture breathtaking scenery from every angle.
The GoPro MAX costs $499. There is more effort involved in creating a 360 camera, so the Price will naturally be higher. But if you have a certain goal in mind, it could be well worth it. Take a look at the demo reel below from GoPro to get an idea of how the 360-degree “view” can be navigated in post-production to produce some truly interesting photos, giving the impression of a tiny drone following you around:
HyperSmooth image stabilization, regular and slo-mo video capture, and superb photo and video capture are all there in the MAX, despite the fact that the specifications don’t directly compare to the Hero Black cameras because of a whole other language when it comes to 360 cameras.
The Hero Black cameras are normally a better choice for snorkeling unless you have an unique desire for 360-degree shooting, and the only real complaint against the GoPro MAX (Amazon) is that it is only waterproof down to 5m / 16ft (instead of the 10m / 33ft of the Hero Black cameras).
Which GoPro Should I Buy? (No Budget Restriction)
If you’re looking to buy a new GoPro and need a tight spending limit, your options are limited to the four most recent models.
To see how they stack up against one another, let’s take a deeper look:
|HERO10 Black||HERO9 Black||HERO8 Black||MAX|
|Photo||23MP + SuperPhoto, HDR, RAW||20MP + SuperPhoto, HDR, RAW||12MP + SuperPhoto, HDR, RAW||16.6MP 360 / 5.5MP HERO|
|Video||5.3K60 / 4K120||5K30 / 4K60||4K60||360: 5.6K30 HERO: 1440/1080p60|
|Video Stabilization||HyperSmooth 4.0||HyperSmooth 3.0||HyperSmooth 2.0||Max HyperSmooth|
|Slo-Mo||8x at 2.7K||8x at 1080p||8x at 1080p||2x at 3K + 1080p (HERO mode)|
|Screens||Preview Front and Rear Touch||Preview Front and Rear Touch||Status Front and Rear Touch||Touch can be Front or Rear|
The HERO10, set for release in September 2021, features an improved camera, video recording, stabilization, and slow-mo over its predecessors.
The HERO10’s ability to record 4K/120 footage is impressive for such a compact camera. HyperSmooth 4.0 also provides far more stable video than HyperSmooth 3.0.
The HERO10 is also noticeably quicker than previous GoPro models because of its new GP2 processor. Compared to the HERO9, it takes me less than half as long to power on my HERO10 and snaps a photo. Having used HERO4, HERO7, HERO8, and HERO9, I can confidently say HERO10 is the best.
Which GoPro Should I Buy? (Affordable Price)
No need to worry if you’re on a tighter budget and can’t afford the GoPro HERO10. Using a previous-generation GoPro will not affect your experience.
Here, you want to get the lowest-priced GoPro HERO7 or HERO8.
HyperSmooth was introduced with the GoPro HERO7, marking a significant improvement in recording quality over previous GoPro models.
The changes between the HERO7 and HERO8 are subtle enough that the average user won’t notice them. The differences are minimal unless you’re working in a studio or creating a lot of material.
To apply HyperSmooth to time-lapse footage, the HERO8 has a tool called TimeWarp. You can record time-lapse recordings while freely around the scene, and the results will be steady. The GoPro HERO8 has this capability, and it’s worth considering if it’s something you’re looking for.
Possible unexpected gopro costs
You’ve probably been thinking mostly about the cost of the cameras itself when you’ve been considering a GoPro or other action camera, and that’s what we’ve detailed up to this point.
Although the cost of the camera itself will account for the most of your total expenditures, you need also take into account a few essential add-ons to guarantee the longevity of your investment and maximize its capabilities.
A Fast microSD Memory Card with Enough Storage
You’ll need a microSD memory card to save your images and videos on your GoPro before you can begin taking anymore. But not every microSD card are same.
Since a GoPro will send a massive amount of data to your card every exact moment (particularly when capturing video at 4K or 5K resolution), you need a memory card that will keep up.
Otherwise, you risk losing data and having to start over, which is a huge letdown when you go to look at everything you had captured later and realize it was lost.
Additionally, 4K and 5K video in addition to any photographs you take tend to be vast files and take up a significant amount of space, so you need a memory card with plenty of storage to last you at least a day until you can go back at home and transfer your material.
When your memory card fills up, you won’t be able to take any more pictures, and you’ll regret not having enough space. At this stage, a good microSD memory card will cost you around $45; I use and suggest the SanDisk microSDXC UHS-I card.
I always use one with at least 256 GB of storage, and its daylong battery life under moderate to heavy use on maximum settings is a major selling point for me.
A GoPro Handgrip
Second, while using a GoPro with one hand, it can seem a little awkward. They fit easily in a pocket or a backpack, which is convenient for transport, but their small size also makes them vulnerable to loss if they are accidentally dropped.
So, I usually advise getting a handgrip that fastens to the GoPro itself and provides a much better handhold to avoid dropping/breaking the camera. If you plan on using your GoPro near or in water, you should acquire a floating handgrip.
While GoPros are designed to be waterproof, it is important to remember that they do not float. There are many examples about people losing their GoPro and all the memories it contained when they dropped it into the ocean. Don’t join them.
Investing in a handgrip for your action camera is a good idea because it will prevent you from dropping the camera and maybe damaging or losing it. The CamKix Waterproof Telescopic Floating Handgrip (available on Amazon) has met all of my needs and more for years, and I couldn’t be happier with it.
It floats easily with my GoPro attached whether I’m using the short fixed handgrip directly on the camera or the longer telescopic extender (useful for obtaining higher shots, closer images, or selfies).
Other GoPro Accessories
There are thousands of GoPro accessories available, but I only use the ones that correspond to snorkeling.
There are many products available to quickly improve your GoPro experience, such as the PolarPro Dive Filters (available on Amazon) that allow you to take superior underwater photos and videos, the Telesin GoPro Dome (available on Amazon), and even simple accessories like an extra battery and charger (available on Amazon).
We won’t go into detail on the optional extras here, but if you’re curious, there’s a ton of helpful resources over at The Best GoPro Accessories for Snorkeling and What’s the Best GoPro Red Filter for Snorkeling & Scuba?
Prices for gopro alternatives
GoPro is widely regarded as the best action camera currently available, but if its price tag puts you off, you may always look at some cheaper options.
At this time, neither the GoPro Hero10 Black (Amazon) nor its smaller sibling, the GoPro Hero9 Black (Amazon), have any genuine competitors in the action camera market. The DJI Osmo Action (available on Amazon) and the GoPro Hero8 Black (available on Amazon) are two choices to consider if you value affordability over comprehensive features.
The Osmo Action is normally priced at $199 (versus $299 for the Hero8), therefore the main difference between the two is the pricing.
However, the Hero8 Black’s hardware and performance are slightly better than the Osmo Action’s, and DJI’s product does have a front-facing selfie screen like the Hero10/Hero9 Blacks (which the Hero8 Black does not).
However, the $70 savings that the ONE X2 can offer over the MAX may be the deciding factor for some buyers; and there is no doubt that Insta360 has its own dedicated fan base. If you need more info on GoPro alternatives, we have lots over at The Best Underwater Action Cameras for Snorkeling: GoPro & More.
Frequently Asked Questions
The price of an action camera like the GoPro isn’t nothing, but it’s much less than the price of similar action rigs made with regular camera equipment (which can run into the thousands of dollars). Action cameras are also the most cost-effective way to take high-quality photos and videos in hazardous environments and underwater.
Depending on the model you get (and any discounts that may come along), a GoPro can cost anywhere from $349 to $499, while a cheaper GoPro counterpart can be purchased for $199 to $399. After that, you may decide how much you want to spend on add-ons, although I suggest spending $40-$45 on a high-quality microSD card and $10-$20 on a capable floating handgrip.
The price of a GoPro has always seemed like a no-brainer to me, especially when I compare it to the expense of a full camera setup for action sports or even something like snorkeling, and when I consider the priceless experiences I’ve been able to capture and share for the rest of my life. In the same way, I wish the same for you.