When I first got into recording images in the water, my underwater photographer husband quickly lended me his GoPro to use. I was immediately hooked. It was light, easy, and the image quality was excellent. To this day, I still think it's the very best beginner to intermediate level camera for taking photos or video underwater.
At first I was using a GoPro 7, which worked seamlessly while diving and snorkeling and other outdoor land adventures like hiking. But frankly, the stabilization was something to be desired and I was coveting the recently released GoPro 9 and its advanced underwater capabilities.
I Used my GoPro Primarily While Snorkeling and Diving
For Mother's Day in 2021, hubby surprised me with the GoPro Hero 9 Black and a clear case which I strapped to a stick and took into the water the very next day. I usually will record at 2.7K for more functionality and options while editing while not taking up too much memory with 4K and 5K options.
When underwater, I will also record at 60 frames per second so that I'm able to slow things down to half speed without them looking wonky. This works amazingly for capturing neat, underwater clips that look awesome as short videos or instagram reels.
A Problem Arose When Using Quick Capture
But while using the GoPro 9 underwater at its rated 30 foot depth (with a clear housing), I ran into an issue. When using the quick capture button a couple times (a function on the GoPro which allows you to start and end a video without keeping the camera on, saving battery life) the screen froze black and the entire system became unresponsive.
I was pissed. At 30 feet under the water there was nothing I could do but ride out my dive until we surfaced again. When I did, I gently and carefully opened the plastic protector and unlatched side strip to reveal the battery which I then pulled out and put back in.
When it Froze I Had to Reset the Battery
Thank God the reset worked and I was able to turn the camera back on. Unfortunately however, the quick capture function still did not. To be fair, it would work at first, but then freeze after only a couple quick videos.
I tried to return the GoPro, imagining I had the bad luck to get a glitchy GoPro, but unfortunately my return period had lapsed and I was stuck. I did some research, and even talked to the tech guy at the electronics store, and what I discovered was this.
Too Much Data Pushing onto the Memory Card at One Time
GoPro technology is excellent. The way they pack such an amazing camera into such a small package is nothing short of miraculous. But all that data - 2.7K, 4K, and even 5K of it at 60 frames per second - must go somewhere.
And that's a crap ton of data... one that can quickly take up double digit gigs on a memory card. And using quick capture to do it will quickly and quietly glitch out your GoPro.
That just makes me so sad, because the quick capture feature is one of my favorite things about the GoPro - it's easy peasy filming at its finest.
So now I only use my GoPro 7 when diving or snorkeling. The video quality is still really great for what I need. I use my GoPro 9 on dry land where I can remove the battery for a reset when necessary.
I would still recommend the GoPro 9 for underwater only if you forgo quick capture and stick to 1080 over the data heavy 2.7/4/5K. And I'm curious to see whether GoPro has solved this problem with their recently GoPro 11, but at the moment I'm not willing to shell out $500 to find out.
I'm Reimagining How to Use my Glitchy GoPro 9
Recently, I've extended my use of the GoPro 9 to my vlog, where I added some cool components to the camera including the GoPro Media Mod, an official GoPro accessory that includes a built-in directional mic and shoe mounts for attaching lights and an LCD screen. I'm most excited about the mic port to add an additional external mic for enhanced audio.
Technology is quickly evolving and cameras get better and better each year. It's no reason to throw out your old technology, rather, look for new and interesting ways to utilize the gear you have. Besides, for the everyday adventurer, there is very little difference between 1080 and 5.3K, and those numbers won't do you any good if your expensive camera glitches out after five minutes.
Disclosure: Our site is reader supported, and our family earns affiliate commissions when you buy through us. Thank you for supporting our journey.