Using a GoPro dome port takes your photography to the next level! If you always wanted to know what this accessory is 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!
Table of Contents
- What is a GoPro dome port?
- What does a dome do for a GoPro?
- What are the benefits of using a GoPro dome lens?
- How to take half underwater photos with a GoPro camera?
- What are the best GoPro dome settings?
- Best GoPro Hero dome ports
- How to prevent water drops on your GoPro dome
- 10 Pro tips for the best GoPro dome photos
What is a GoPro dome port?
A Dome port is a dome-shaped extra optical element that is used to take better quality, creatively captured half-underwater split images. It is usually made of acryl, sometimes glass, and can be used in any body of water including sea and freshwater as well as in pools.
What does a dome do for a GoPro?
A GoPro dome port creates an air bubble in front of the camera lens. moves the waterline away from it and like this, opens new horizons in underwater photography. Basically, it 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.
What are the benefits of using a GoPro 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 -photos where the top half is above water, the bottom half is under water- that people could never see with the naked eye.
Tip: If you don’t have a GoPro yet but planning to buy one, 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 not necessary. Just install the dome according to the instructions; place the camera in the housing, close the door perfectly and tighten the screws so it will not leak.
Also, check the depth rating! Before taking it underwater, check if the sealing on the port is clean and free of damage. It is recommended that you put it underwater without the camera and confirm it is not leaking.
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-like model instead of the normal hand grip version will help minimize this problem.
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.
What are the best GoPro dome settings?
The best is to shoot in burst or time-lapse mode! It increases the chance of getting the perfect split shot compared 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.
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 Hero dome ports
Dome ports for Hero11, 10 and 9 Black GoPros are compatible since the design and buttons are identical on these cameras, but you need a different dome port for the older models such as Hero7, 6 and Hero5 models. Some manufacturers are still offering Hero 4 and older versions too.
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.
When buying a GoPro dome port on Amazon, make sure the package includes all the necessary accessories like a waterproof case if needed (or comes with a built-in case), hand grip, cover, screws etc…
SHOOT Dome Port with stabilizer tray for Hero 11/10/9
We like the SHOOT GoPro dome lens that features a stabilizer tray-like design so it allows you to hold your camera with two hands, and like this, it significantly increases its stability. This small trick will not only improve your split photos but also your underwater videos too.
- designed for GoPro Hero11 and Hero 10/9 models
- built-in underwater housing
- two handles design for smooth footage
- includes neoprene cover to avoid sctraches
The ergonomic handheld grips guarantee a secure and comfortable hold. It also provides some buoyancy that helps to keep the camera lens in the desired position. The large trigger ensures easy pressing, even when wearing gloves.
This upgraded 6-inch port is compatible with Hero 9, Hero 10/11 models. The SHOOT Dome Port can be used up to 45 m/147ft while any underwater activity such as snorkeling, freediving and scuba diving too.
TELESIN Vicdozia GoPro Dome port for Hero 9/10/11 Black
If you prefer a handgrip-style dome, TELESIN is the best option. It 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.
- specially designed for GoPro Hero11/10/9 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.
SOONSUN GoPro Hero 8 Black Dome lens with built-in red filter
This is a newly designed 6-inch dome port for GoPro cameras for professional underwater photography since it comes with extra filters. The integrated dive housing gives advanced waterproof features up to 45m/147ft. Therefore, this underwater dome can be used while snorkeling and diving too.
- 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 10x magnification 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 a filter when swimming in shallow water where there is enough natural light.
The package also includes practical accessories for easy installation, cleaning and storing, and even comes with a shutter release trigger. This SOONSUN dome port fits for Hero 8 Black models, but this manufacturer offers Hero11/10/9 Dome too.
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 never be 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!
Spitting and licking the lens
This is the 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 becomes 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 apply the rain repellent as instructed. Let it dry for a few seconds-minutes, then 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 which helps keep 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 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 your 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 in 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 damage – while storing or traveling, cover it with a neoprene cover or clean cloth
- Don’t touch the lens after cleaning so it will stay oil and fingerprint-free
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