So you want to capture some epic photos or videos with your GoPro on your next dive or snorkel trip? If you don't already know, one of the biggest keys to capturing fantastic underwater imagery with your GoPro is by using the proper filters. This article discusses what we think are some of the best GoPro filters for scuba diving and snorkeling so that your images stand out and look great. But first,
Why do you need filters for underwater photos and video?
Without getting overly scientific, colors on the light spectrum are lost the deeper underwater you go. One of the first and most noticeable colors to get lost is the color red. As a result, you may notice as you go diving or snorkeling, that everything starts to look blue and washed out. Well guess what? Your photos will look the same way without using the proper filters. As such, a red filter adds the color red back into the spectrum and brings back a pop of the colors that were lost.
Dark or deep red filters are necessary for diving as you go beyond 15 feet or so, while lighter red filters are useful for snorkeling where you are still at relatively shallow depths. Magenta filters fill out the majority of kits and are applicable for freshwater photography.
We go further in depth on color filters in our buying guide at the end of the article, but lets go ahead and dive into what we think are the best options for GoPro filters for your underwater photography endeavors.
Our top Pick
Best ND Filters
Best for GP 5,6, or 7
Best GoPro Filters for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Best Overall GoPro filters (currently compatible with GoPro 8 and 9)
The SOONSUN 3-pack dive filters for GoPro is really all you need to get started with ocean footage with your GoPro. The pack includes a red filter for scuba diving, a light red filter good for snorkeling, and a magenta filter if you do any freshwater activities.
The filters are only compatible with the original GoPro protective housing, so be sure you aren't using a 3rd party housing. Each filter has a small tether that can be used to keep your filter attached to your GoPro in case it falls off the lens during your activities.
Considering the fairly low price, if you have a GoPro 8 or 9 with the original housing, you don't need to look any further than this product. These filters are all you need to get started taking excellent underwater photo and video with your GoPro.
Best Value GoPro Filter set with Underwater housing included
If you do not yet have a housing for your GoPro, the FINEST+ filter kit may be the way to go. This kit includes the typical 3-color pack (red, light red, magenta), but ALSO includes a waterproof case of its own. At basically the same price as a lot of the other filter packs that don't include a waterproof case, this is an excellent value for anybody looking into using their GoPro for water related activities.
The kit is compatible with the GoPro Hero 8, and the case is usable down to 50m, which is more than enough for most scuba divers or snorkelers. It even comes with some anti-fog inserts that prevent moisture from forming on the lens if you use it in cold or humid environments.
Best Filter Kit for GoPro models 5, 6, or 7
The QuiNui Underwater Camer dive filters are there to provide you with the most quality-oriented experience. The functionality of these filters will undoubtedly make you hooked to them. Along with the exceptional functionality, these are also made compatible with cameras like GoPro 5, 6, and 7 as well.
The three different colored filters, light red, red, and magenta, are there to get you high definition results under the water. The light red filter will suit you when the depth is between 2 to 18 feet. The exceptional color correction that red one offers in blue water and magenta offers in green water is remarkable as well.
Moreover, the use of these filters is quite simple as well. You can easily install them, and they will remain secure as well. Other than this, tethers and microfiber bag along arrives along so that you can clean the filters and ensure their safety.
Best Neutral Density GoPro Filters
If you are looking for the ultimate neutral density filter, the LENSKINS MRC ND16 Filter is the best one for you to get. The optical glass of this filter is what makes sure that the user gets high-end footage that is crystal clear. Moreover, the high-quality aluminum frame holds it firmly as well for a remarkable experience. The lightweight design of this filter will make you feel at ease.
Moreover, you can use it quite simply, as the mounting procedure is easy and straightforward. The anti-scratch glass will make sure that your video does not get any disturbance. Plus, this filter is also resistant to oil and dust. With the included lens cleaning cloth, you can maintain the cleanliness. Furthermore, the PU storage bag will keep the filter safe and sound.
Best GoPro filters for models 4 and 3+
SANDMARC aqua filter is yet another product that can deliver you the desired footage results under the water. You will never be disappointed after such a worthy investment. Let us take you through all that the filter has to offer.
The five interchangeable filters of this product will deliver you versatility at different depths and in different types of water as well. The range of the SANDMARC Aqua Filter is from 20 to 50 feet. Other than this, you will also get the tether and microfiber cloth with it for cleaning. Plus, it is compatible with Hero 4 and 3+ cameras as well.
A Guide to Underwater Filters and GoPros
Type of Filter
There are a variety of different types of filters that you can attach to your GoPro for a variety of different results. Let's take a look at some of the most common GoPro filters and their uses:
The most common type of colored filter is the red one. Red is the part of the light spectrum that gets lost the most underwater. The deeper you go, the more red light gets eliminated and things start to look only blue in color. Red filters bring back the red light spectrum to bring the full color scale back to everything under the waves. Deeper red is more useful for deeper water, therefore light red filters are more applicable for snorkeling while dark red filters are more applicable to scuba diving.
The magenta filter is yet another common choice. This one comes into use when the water is green in color. Such water color is due to the excessive presence of algae. So, if you want your footage to appear crystal clear in such cases as well, then go for the magenta filter. The most common use case is for use in fresh water.
Neutral Density Filter:
If you want to adjust the brightness by blocking the excessive light, ND filters are of great use. Some people like to use light ND filters on really bright, sunny days to tone down the brightness just a little bit. Otherwise they are great for time lapse filters. Neutral density filters really shine for beach photography. If you want that silky smooth look of the waves against the shore, you will absolutely need neutral density filters.
If you want immense magnification under the water to get the details caught in your camera, the macro filter is the one for you. The limited ranges of these filters ensure that the detailing of the desired scene of an object does not get compromised. Mostly you will come across a range limit of two to eighteen inches in such type of filters. Macro filters are extremely useful in getting super close up shots, especially of smaller things under the ocean. For example, small shrimp or corals that you are trying to capture will be easier with a macro filter.
If you wish to take shots that are full of details, the polarizing filters will certainly help you out. These are the types that are there to adjust the saturation, white balance, color correction, and glare reduction as well. So, to get the best combination of effects, contrast, and on-point brightness, polarizing filters can be the best options for one to go for. They are primarily useful for eliminating glare, which can be quite problematic in photography around water.
After understanding the different kinds of underwater filters and which are better suited for your activities, the next most important thing is to take note of your GoPro model. There are tons of options out there, and because GoPro models are updated so often, the different products sometimes struggle to keep pace.
In other words MAKE SURE that the filters you are looking at are compatible with your GoPro - and more specifically, if they are compatible with your GoPro housing if you are using one. Some filters are only compatible with the GoPro branded housing, while others require you to use the housing of the same company you are getting the filters from. Just be sure to double check you are on the same page.
Filter kits often come with a variety of useful add-ons. The best kits will have some kind of small bag or box to neatly store your filters and other items together. For the filters themselves, make sure to look for ones that have a small tether that keeps the filter attached to the GoPro at all times, in case it accidently falls off while in use. Without the tether, the filter will just drop to the bottom of the ocean and you will likely lose it. Lastly, filters that come with microfiber cloths are useful so that you can nicely clean and wipe down your filters to keep them from getting dirty and affecting the quality of your shots.
Would you ever want your footage to appear with less clarity? Well, if your filters are more prone to get scratched, you will get nothing but blurry shots under the water. For this reason, it is immensely crucial for you to get a product that guarantees a scratch-resistant lens or glass. This will keep your shots clear and crisp. You can also buy lens protectors that are basically just completely clear filters for the sole sake of protecting the actual GoPro lens.
Ease of Use
Sometimes you may want to swap filters or make adjustments while in the water. The ease of which you can put on and take off filters is something to consider. Some filters snap right over the lens, while others slide into a frame.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
What do GoPro filters do?
GoPro filters are used in combination with your GoPro cameras to enhance the colors of the footage that you shoot under the water. Certain colors on the light spectrum are lost underwater and filters help bring these colors back into your footage, creating higher quality results.
Why do you need a red GoPro filter underwater?
The red filter is quite beneficial to make your footage look more bright and colorful. The red filter adds red light back into the color spectrum underwater, as red is quickly lost underwater.
GoPro filters are essential for capturing high quality photos and video underwater on your next diving or snorkeling trip. Make sure you double check compatibility of the various options on the market with the version of GoPro that you have. Outside of that, most people will be looking for red filters, as this one is the most important for bringing color back while you're beneath the waves. Hopefully we gave you some ideas for the best GoPro filters for your needs. Good luck and we hope you get some great shots out there!