I alluded to a failure of my gopro hero2 in a previous post about Maui. My preferred underwater camera was having some repairs done (under warranty, thankfully) but the way gopro promotes their cameras as being capable of amazing underwater photography, I thought, no problem. I’ll still be able to get some great footage of colourful coral reef and tropical fish. In the past, I had not really considered using gopro because of its wide angle aspect and inability to zoom in. The subjects of gopro photography usually appear to be much farther away than they really are.
I had no means for viewing the footage I took while in Maui so had to wait until I got home. The photos and video taken above the ocean surface were as clear and crisp as expected but the underwater footage was a blurry blue waste of time. I guess I had expected the blue tinge because there are no underwater settings and I don’t have a filter but I was not expecting every photo and video to be so unfocused. From past experience I know it is hard to get perfectly clear photos of fish since they are in constant motion and I am also bobbing up and down on the surface but even if the fish aren’t in focus, the coral usually is. I immediately began my internet search wanting to know if other people had experienced the same issue. I came across this very informative site that also provided some 3rd party solutions. Apparently, it’s the waterproof housing that is the culprit. The domed cover acts as a lens itself when immersed in water, changing the focal point of the camera’s fixed focus lens. The solution is as simple as flattening the lens cover, which Gopro has rectified in its newest Gopro hero3.
Here are some examples of how fantastic gopro hero2 is in the terrestrial environment and how less-than-spectacular it is in the marine environment.
These last two photos were taken with my regular underwater point and shoot camera (Fuji Finepix) in the San Blas Islands. Much better clarity than the gopro hero2 (with factory housing).
Unfortunately my Fuji was beyond repair, however, they did send me a bright yellow newer version of my old camera. Thank you Fuji! I have high expectations for my new “Big Yellow.”