GoPro Dome port – take over-under split underwater photos

Using a GoPro dome port takes your photography to the next level! If you always wanted to know what is this accessory and how to take half underwater photos (split shots) with your action camera, read this post to learn the tricks! With the best dome ports, it is easier and cheaper than you think!

What is a GoPro dome port?

Dome port is an extra optical element. It moves the water line away from the lens and like this, opens new horizons in underwater photography. Basically, the dome port makes your photos cleaner and sharper, increases the field of view and decreases underwater magnification. The curve of the port minimizes the effects of refraction, radial distortion, and chromatic aberration.

half underwater photo with waves and the beach in the background
Take images like this using a dome lens!

Using a dome port on your underwater camera or GoPro will significantly increase the quality of your underwater images, but the greatest benefit is that it allows taking half submerged photos. With a GoPro dome port, you will be able to capture split shots -a photo where the top half is above water, the bottom half is under water- that people could never see with naked eye.

Tip: If you don’t have a GoPro yet but planning to buy, make sure to read our post that helps to decide what is the best GoPro for snorkeling!

How to take half underwater photos with a GoPro camera?

Learning how to use your GoPro dome port is easy and doesn’t require specific technical skills. A little training in a pool might be useful before heading out to the sea, but it is also not necessary. Just assembly the dome according to the instructions, place the camera in the housing, close the door perfectly and tighten the screws.

Split shot with GoPro dome port
Split shot taken with GoPro dome port

Most GoPro dome ports indicate the middle point on the back of the port. Just decide if you want to take a 50/50 over-under photo, or prefer a different proportion and hold it accordingly as stable as you can. Holding the camera with the port is not easy since the sea is never completely still. Using a GoPro camera stabilizer tray instead of the normal hand grip will help to minimize this problem.

The best is to shot in burst or time-lapse mode! It increases the chance to get the perfect split shot comparing to taking single images. Alternatively, you can record videos at 120fps and grab the picture you like from it. Use wide angle mode and keep the person or the subject of your photo close (1-2 m) for a sharp image. If you go for the highest quality, take RAW photos so you can deeply edit the images without sacrificing the quality.

Stingray and boy half underwater photo
If you wish to take such pictures, get a GoPro dome!

The larger the dome, the better the result. You find 4-inch and 6-inch dome models on the market but the best GoPro dome ports are 6-inch in size. When buying a GoPro dome port on Amazon, make sure the package includes all the necessary accessories like waterproof case if needed (or comes with a built-in case), hand grip, cover, screws etc…

Also, check the depth rating! Before taking it underwater, check if the sealing on the port is clean and free of damages. Put it underwater without the camera and confirm it is not leaking.

Tip: become a professional GoPro underwater photographer! check out how to use GoPro red filter, learn why you should get a waterproof selfie stick and what the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling and diving are!

Best GoPro dome ports for Hero9, 8 and 7

Dome ports for Hero7, 6 and 5 GoPros are compatible since the design and buttons are identical on these cameras, but you need different dome port for the newest Hero9 Black and Hero8 models, and also for Hero 4 and older versions. Before choosing a dome, make sure that it will fit your camera! Most packages come with hand-grip but you also find upgraded models on the market that feature a switchable red filter kit or a camera stabilizer tray too for the best result.

TELESIN Vicdozia GoPro Dome port for Hero9 Black

TELESIN is the absolute best-seller GoPro dome on Amazon that is made of high-quality materials yet still affordable. The easy-to-use 6-inch custom-made acrylic port ensures amazing water clarity. Semi-hemispherical design improves water sheeting and provides a full front face surface area.

Telesin Hero9 Dome Port

  • specially designed for GoPro Hero9 Black
  • 6-inch wide-angle lens to take cool split photos
  • made of high-quality PC and acrylic
  • rubber covered soft and ergonomic hand grip
  • with protective bag to avoid scratches and damages

The rubber covered floating hand grip can be used as a watertight compartment to keep small valuables, like keys or money dry. Telesin GoPro Dome port comes with a protective cover, cleaning cloth and anti-fog inserts in the package.

Tip: this popular product is available for other GoPro versions too: Find here the Hero8 Dome  and the TELESIN Hero7 Black dome  that fits the Hero6/5 too!

SOONSUN GoPro Hero8 Dome lens with built-in red filter

A newly designed 6-inch dome port for GoPro cameras for professional underwater photography. The integrated dive housing gives advanced waterproof features up to 45m/147ft. Therefore, the dome can be used while snorkeling and diving too.

Sale
SOONSUN 6'' Hero8 Dome Port Lens with Switchable Filters

  • for Hero8 Black cameras
  • 2 filters switchable design with Red and Macro filters
  • comfortable non-slip floating hand-grip
  • shutter release trigger makes easy to press the shutter button
  • waterproof up to 45 m - 147 ft, can be used while diving too
  • comes with wrist strap and carry bag

Thanks to the built-in red filter your footage will be natural and vivid. Moreover, the new design includes not only a red filter but also a macro filter for capturing tiny sea creatures. You can easily switch between them without dismantling the port by pressing the rotary knob or use it in standard mode without filter.

The package includes practical accessories for easy installation, cleaning and storing, and even comes with a shutter release trigger. This SOONSUN dome port fits for Hero8 Black, but they offer a Hero7 Dome  too.

SHOOT Dome Port with stabilizer tray Hero7/6/5

Adding a professional camera stabilizer tray to the dome port allows you to hold your camera with two hands, and like this, it increases the stability. This small trick will not only improve your split photos, but also you underwater videos too and you get this extra accessory to when choosing this SHOOT GoPRo dome lens set.

SHOOT Dome Port & Stabilizer for GoPro Hero 7/6/5

  • designed for GoPro Hero7 and Hero 5/6 models
  • can be used with original GoPro housing
  • with professional stabilizer tray for smooth footage
  • the port can be separated to use the tray with the underwater housing only and adding lights

Rubber covered ergonomic handheld grips guarantee a secure and comfortable hold. The tray can be separated and provides the opportunity to mount your camera with GoPro underwater lights too. This upgraded 6-inch port is compatible with Hero7, Hero5/6 and 2018 models. The SHOOT Dome Port can be used up to 30 m/98ft.

How to prevent water drops on your GoPro dome

The most annoying situation that can happen when capturing half-underwater images is when you capture the perfect moment, but the above water part contains blurry areas due to water drops that remained on the outside of the lens and caused distortion.

You might try to photoshop these spots, but let’s be honest, the result will be never as good as it can be with an originally clear and sharp image. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent water drops on the dome lens, let’s see now some easy tips!

blurry Gopro dome photo
It is so annoying when your photo turns out blurry because of the water droplets – here you can learn how to prevent this!

Spitting and licking the lens

This is cheapest (free) and one of the most effective ways of preventing water drops on the lens. You need to spit on the lens a few minutes before getting to the water, then lick it around.

Make sure your saliva covers the whole surface of it. You can wipe down the lens with your finger too after licking. Before taking pictures, just dip the camera and dome in the water so the lens become clean and free of drops. You can repeat the process while in the water too.

Applying rain repellent

The more professional yet also affordable solution is applying car windshield rain repellent . First, clean the lens with a dry cloth to remove all dirt and sand particles, then apple the rain repellent as instructed. Let it dry for a few seconds-minutes than clean it again with the cloth. That’s it, your lens will be free of the annoying water drops!

Tip: some say that it works with dishwasher rinse aid liquid too that helps keeping the glasses streak-free.

10 Pro tips for the best GoPro dome photos

Master your half underwater photography skills by studying these simple but useful tips that will help you to create professional split photos with your GoPro:

  • Shot on a sunny day – the light greatly improves GoPro Dome shots
  • Avoid reflection – don’t point the dome into the sun, keep it behind your back
  • Choose clear water – shoot when the visibility is good
  • Keep you model close to the lens – apply minimum focus distance
  • Pay attention to the background – like this, your subject can stand out (bright sand is the best)
  • Check the back screen regularly – it helps you to set up the best composition
  • Avoid fogging up – assemble the dome on a cool dry place dry and use GoPro Anti-fog inserts
  • Keep the dome port clean – always rinse it with fresh water after each use and remove sand, salt and other tiny particles that could scratch it
  • Protect it from damages – while storing or traveling, protect it with a neoprene cover or clean cloth
  • Don’t touch the lens after cleaning so it will stay oil and fingerprint free

Inspired? Pin it!

split photo taken in a pool

"Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you."

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

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