08 Nov 2017 3 Things You Should Know Before Buying a GoPro Dome
If you want to get those epic shots over and under the water, then you need a GoPro Dome! The domes are awesome and easy to use – but to get great photos follow the guide and photo tips. To make sure you get the GoPro dome that will take the photos that will make your friends jealous make sure to get the best GoPro Dome for your model of camera, our favorites are below.
1. Choosing the Best GoPro Dome
There are many GoPro Domes on the market most of them almost identical, some competitors are even made by the same factories. The only two things that really matter are compatibility and quality of the GoPro Dome.
|Brand||GoPro Dome Type||Compatiblitiy||Rating||Price||Check Availability|
|PolarPro||PolarPro FiftyFifty Dome||Hero 5 & Hero 6||4.4||$49.99||Check Prices|
|Telesin||TELESIN 6″ Underwater Shooting T05 Dome Port||Hero 5, Hero 6||4.2||$45.60||Check Prices|
|Telesin||6 inch Underwater Dome Port Diving Lens||Hero 3, 3+, Hero 4||4.1||$42.90||Check Prices|
|SHOOT||Underwater Dome 6 inch Diving Dome Port||Hero 5 & Hero 6||4.1||$56.00||Check Prices|
|SHOOT||Underwater Dome 6 inch Diving Dome Port||Hero 3+ & Hero 4||4.1||$49.99||Check Prices|
|Amazon Basics||6 inch Underwater Dome Port w/ floaty handle||Hero 5 & Hero 6||4.1||$59.99||Check Prices|
|Amazon Basics||6 inch Underwater Dome Port w/ floaty handle||Hero 3+ & Hero 4||4.1||$48.99||Check Prices|
The dimensions and buttons on the GoPro Hero 5 and Hero 6 are identical making the GoPro Domes for the Hero 5 compatible with the Hero 6. We have this Telesin GoPro dome, we purchased it for our GoPro Hero 5 black but it also fits our brand new GoPro Hero 6 black. We’ve had our dome for over a year and it’s traveled all over the world with us.
Old models of GoPro require a different dome because the buttons are in different locations on the camera. Choosing a quality GoPro dome for Hero 4 and older is much more important because they are not waterproof without the original GoPro case, but Hero 5 and Hero 6 are waterproof to 33 feet / 10 meters. See More Domes Here
2. GoPro Dome Photo Tips
Make sure there is something cool above and below the water line – Just using a dome on your GoPro does not guarantee a good photo. A GoPro dome for your Hero 5 or 6 is a great tool for epic underwater photos, but you need something eye-grabbing above or below the surface to make a great photo.
Use a high frame rate for GoPro Dome video – Over Under split shot video looks great in slow motion. Real-time (not slow motion) footage from a GoPro dome can look too busy and distracting. In order to get the smooth slow motion on your underwater shots, you need to record at a higher frame rate like 60fps or 120fps and then slow the footage down when you edit it later. For high action shots like someone jumping in the water you should use 120fps or for video of a person swimming 60fps can work well.
Use the level line on the back of the GoPro Dome – Most domes have a line on the back indicating where the halfway point is on your dome. Use that line to level shots and to gauge how much of the shot is above the water and below the waterline especially if you can’t see the screen on your GoPro.
Balance your shot – Try and “balance” your photo with equal objects in the frame either right to left or top to bottom of the photo. This will help you make stronger photos with your dome.
Use time-lapse mode for great photos in rough water – The best place to use your dome is calm clear water, but sometimes that’s not an option. If the water is rough increase your odds of getting a good photo by taking more of them. Set your GoPro to “Time-Lapse Photo” mode at the shortest duration which for most cameras is .5 seconds. This will have your GoPro take a photo every half second and you are almost sure to catch at least one photo with a nice water line even in rough conditions. You can also try the burst mode to catch a nice photo with a clear water line also.
Use burst mode to catch jumping shots – Don’t miss the shot of your friend doing an epic cliff jumping backflip, they will probably hate you forever, or at least not trust you to get their GoPro photo again. Instead use the burst mode to ensure you catch all the action of the jump, or another great alternative is to take video at 120fps and grab a still picture in the editor later – you’re guaranteed not to miss the shot then.
Try and keep the GoPro dome dry on the top half – This can be harder than it sounds but the best photos with the dome are when the top half doesn’t have any water spots. The water spots will distort details and just look ugly. Unfortunately, once you get the top wet you have to wait for it to dry or deal with the water drops. Take the photo you really want to take first with the GoPro dome.
Don’t Shoot into the Sun – If possible keep the sun at your back this will help the photos be brighter and more colorful. If you are facing into the sun the GoPro will see the bright sun and make the rest of the picture darker making the underwater portion of your photo way too dark. Also if you have any scratches or water drops on your GoPro dome the sun’s light will bounce off of these creating ugly spots in your photos. Lastly if shooting into the sun you can get reflections of the GoPro in the dome that will show up in the picture, see above for all things that can go wrong when point the camera toward the sun.
Set Your GoPro to Take RAW Photo Files – This will help get more detail and quality out of your photos. The half of the photo under the water will always be darker and the RAW photo files will help you bring back the details both above and below the waterline for better pictures with your GoPro dome.
Always use an anti-fog strips or pad inside your GoPro Dome – Nothing ruins a dome photo faster than a fogged up dome. These are even more important than using them inside of a normal GoPro case because they are much larger and hold more air inside that can condense if the conditions aren’t right. Also, avoid keeping your GoPro dome in a cold place (like your air-conditioned hotel room on vacation) this will help it fog up less if you don’t have anti-fog strips, but you should just buy them, they are cheap – Find them here!
3. How to Care for Your GoPro Dome
Like other underwater camera equipment, your GoPro Dome needs just a little bit of care after use to ensure it lasts a long time and doesn’t leaks and damage your GoPro. We’ve had lots of friends that have had their GoPro dome leak and ruin their GoPro. Keep your dome and GoPro working properly with these simple tips.
Always rinse off the GoPro Dome – Rinse it thoroughly with fresh water after uses, especially after using it in salt water. Salt water will leave water spots and can make the dome hazy and less clear if not cleaned properly long term.
Always store and transport the GoPro dome with a soft protective cover – Most domes include this, if not you can buy universal dome covers here for $5. Most GoPro domes are plastic and scratch easily, scratches can make your GoPro dome photo look blurry or unsharp, especially when it’s sunny out.
Before using your GoPro dome check the rubber seals on the back of the dome – Make sure there is no sand anything else on the seal or the surface the seal presses up against, this can cause leaks which can run your GoPro, especially on the Hero 4 GoPro domes and older models.
Periodically apply some seal lubricant – This applies mostly if you use your dome a lot or plan to. Over time and more so when you use it in salt water, the seals can “dry out” causing them to leak. A small dab of silicone lubricant like this (under $3) will keep your seals working well.
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Do you have a GoPro dome? Share your favorite shot in the comments and any tips you have!