Is GoPro Hero 9 Waterproof Without Case?

Technological progress does not stand still, so new types of video equipment are constantly appearing on the modern market. One of the most popular and sought-after video devices among consumers is an action camera that can shoot underwater, and one of those is certainly the GoPro Hero 9. Today, we will consider in detail the capabilities of this underwater camera, whether and to what extent it is waterproof without a mask, and also more about underwater recording.

To begin with, let’s answer the question right away: Is GoPro Hero 9 Waterproof without case? The answer is YES, the GoPro Hero 9 can go up to 10 meters underwater without a case due to its waterproof components, which leave no room for water to enter the interior of the camera. GoPro Hero 9 can go up to 60 meters by using the diving housing.

Is GoPro Hero 9 Waterproof Without Case

Some of the basic, but also the most important features of the GoPro Hero 9 underwater camera would be:
– Light weight and generally quite compact dimensions;
– Stability, reliability and durability;
– The presence of protective systems (against water, dust, dirt, mechanical damage), etc.

Today, the GoPro Hero 9 camera is used by a wide range of consumers: professionals (for example, divers or surfers) and amateurs for their underwater footage. Therefore, it is very important to know how to set the options for underwater shooting.

Resolution And Framerate

The first and most important thing you must decide before diving is resolution and framerate.
The GoPro 9 has the option to record 5K video, but that doesn’t mean you should use it underwater. The reason is that 5K video records at 30fps, so our advice would be to use 4K video with 60fps for underwater recordings. As far as the resolution is concerned we would generally choose 4K for underwater recordings. The GoPro offers the best quality and most importantly, you can crop the image better if necessary.

For example, if you capture an interesting animal and want to enlarge it, then it is an advantage if you have chosen the best possible resolution. I would only deviate from 4K if your PC has difficulties processing the files.
If you really want to shoot a 5K video in the water, it’s best to do it while you’re not moving, or at least while you’re not moving fast.

Regarding frames per second(fps), this depends on what you are filming and how you want to film it. I would suggest you use the higher FPS because this will allow you to use slow motion which always looks amazing with underwater footage. A higher frame rate of 60 frames per second looks much more fluid and therefore creates a more realistic and natural look, and we think that such a look is better suited to capture the underwater world.

The combination of 4K and 60 frames per second has several advantages. You get the best possible image quality, you can crop the image later. You’ll get wonderfully natural-looking shots and if you want to use individual clips for a bigger project, such as a travel video, you can create slow motion at 40% when your project is created using 24 frames per second.

Slow motion with Hero 9 can be advantageous under certain circumstances. It helps to stabilize the clip and if you were only able to create a very short clip of an interesting moment, perhaps a special fish, for example, you can use slow motion to extend the shot.

Stabilization And Field Of View

Without a doubt, the most important thing with underwater filming is turning on Hypersmooth stabilization. It’s pretty safe to say that the cameras from the GoPro series are the world’s most stable cameras, but filming with Hypersmooth ON underwater makes a huge difference. Hypersmooth 3.0 is available in all resolutions and framerates and having this option ON is a key factor for making a good underwater video.

The next thing we need to think about when we film underwater is the field of view, and it was known that field of view should be wide when we go underwater. But you can find a lot of videos with different fields of view, like Linear field of view, because it looks more cinematic in certain situations.

As a digital lens or field of view, we recommend using wide. There are hardly any straight lines underwater. The distortion of the GoPro Fish Eye Lens is almost not noticeable. In my eyes, there is therefore hardly any need to use linear, since this would also lead to a crop. We all know that some people like Superview for underwater shots. In the case of Superview, the GoPro uses the entire 4:3 sensor and then stretches the left and right edges to get a 16:9 image. This increases the field of view at the top and bottom. It is important to say that Superview is not available in 4K/60.

Filming wide is still a great option, but if you snorkel we would recommend filming in a Linear field of view. If you are diving or something similar I would recommend filming wide.

The Hero 9 also has a superview mode, which can be used for awesome footage while underwater. Just always remember that once you go underwater you will not be able to adjust your camera’s settings, so make sure you have them just the way you want before going in the water.

White Balance

As for the white balance, we can say that the GoPro’s automatic white balance works pretty well underwater. Of course, you need to be aware that this special environment is very demanding for the camera’s automatic. In certain situations, the result will not be perfect. It can also happen that the automatic changes the white balance during the recording, which could ruin your shot.

To prevent this, you could set the white balance to native. This will fix the white balance and the camera will store more information for adjusting the white balance. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to adjust the white balance after shooting, but there is more room for adjustment than with the automatic setting. So if you’re willing to correct the white balance manually and always want the best possible result, choose native. In all other cases use the automatic white balance.

The ISO value determines how sensitively the sensor reacts to incident light. The higher the ISO value, the brighter the image will be. However, a high ISO value also causes noise and therefore reduces the image quality. With a GoPro, the image noise is visible from an ISO value of 800. Because of this, you can set the ISO minimum to 100 and the ISO maximum to 400. If you dive very deep and it gets very dark, even 800 can still lead to an acceptable image. From 1600, the image will be no longer usable.

Always set the sharpness to LOW. High leads to a very sharp image. However, it doesn’t mean that more details are captured. Instead, the camera adds digital sharpness. The result does not look very professional and is not very cinematic. You can also add sharpness at any time when editing.

Best GoPro Hero 9 features for underwater photography

If you want to go underwater with a camera, it is important to know the features that such a camera must have. Below, we bring you the features that set the GoPro Hero 9 underwater camera apart from the rest of the cameras.

Defense system

For the camera to work fully underwater, it must be equipped with a special protective system – an Aqua Box…

Best of all, you can go underwater up to 10 meters with the GoPro Hero 9 without this accessory. It is still needed for greater depths, and it must be characterized by increased reliability and durability. It is important to note, that the Hero 9 camera does not come complete with an aqua box, but you have to buy it separately.

Heat dissipation

When buying a camera, pay attention to whether it heats up during operation. So, if you notice a significant increase in temperature, there is a good chance that the aqua box will fog up, which will negatively affect the quality of your photos and videos. With the GoPro Hero 9 model, you won’t have any problems with heating because even the slightest heating occurs at temperatures higher than 20°C, so you are sure that your Aqua box will not fog up.


The presence of a quality stabilization function is essential because it is very difficult for the operator or photographer to remain motionless underwater, which can significantly deteriorate the quality of the image.

We can safely say that the Hero 9 dominates in this area with its Hypersmooth 3.0 stabilization, and the stabilization itself has been upgraded with the also camera horizon leveling which is a fantastic thing to have while filming handheld. This larger sensor enables the GoPro Hero 9 to take 20-megapixel pictures, including HDR and raw images.


For underwater photography, we highly recommend giving preference to a camera with narrow lenses, which this model has. The optimal viewing angle for the camera should be 90 degrees. In addition, the presence of a function to remove image distortion, which is also equipped with the GoPro Hero 9, is useful.

Video quality

Perhaps the most important characteristic for choosing a camera. Give preference to those devices that are equipped with the most modern features – for example, the ability to record videos in 4K format.

The GoPro Hero 9 goes beyond that and offers the possibility of recording in 5K at 30fps, and 60fps is available in all view modes to bar SuperView, up to 120 fps with 2.7K recording using wide view mode.

It is known that GoPro has not yet solved the issue of Night mode, so users have been deprived of it for years. To help you, we have created an ARTICLE on how to adjust the options on your camera and get the best possible night shots.

Is GoPro Hero 9 Waterproof Without Case?

GoPro Protective Cases

The vast majority of Protective Cases are more or less the same and bring you the same features, so there isn’t too much room for mistakes while buying. The HERO 9 Black is rugged and waterproof out of the box, but this tough case can handle anything you throw at it. It protects against dirt and flying debris during intense activity – it is also water resistant up to 60 meters and perfect for diving in deep water.

Protects your HERO9 Black from mud, dirt and debris during extreme activities. The front LCD screen remains available for viewing. It includes a skeleton background for enhanced audio recording and easy access to the camera’s touch screen. The flat glass lens provides sharp, high-quality images above and below water. Knowing all of this, we are sure that GoPro Hero 9 is waterproof without case up to 10 meters.

In the sea of protective masks for the GoPro Hero 9, we have singled out two for you that we think are affordable and with the best reviews, and you can easily order them on Amazon via our link.

OKFUN Waterproof Case

OKFUN Waterproof Case for Go Pro Hero 11/Hero 10 /Hero 9 Black, 58M/190FT Underwater Protective Dive Housing Shell with Bracket Mount Accessories for Go Pro Hero10 /Hero9 Action Camera

This mask has a simple installation on the camera due to the integrated housing that is easy to install and remove. It is also important to note that the touch screen is not functional when the case is installed. Like all masks, this one can dive to depths of up to 60 meters and is safe to use.

A good thing is a double lock that prevents accidental collisions and opens the case for the safety of your camera while underwater. It also has a flat glass lens that provides great protection for your GoPro lens.

Kuptone Waterproof Case

Kuptone Waterproof Case for GoPro Hero 11 / GoPro Hero 10 / GoPro Hero 9 Black, 60M/196FT Underwater Protective Dive Housing Shell with Bracket Mount Accessories for Go Pro Hero11/10/9 Action Camera

This mask is made of high-quality PMMA material, and the waterproof case will protect the lens and screen of your camera from water, scratches and impacts. The lens of the waterproof housing will ensure crystal clear photos and videos. And at the same time, you can be sure that your GoPro Hero 9 will be waterproof.

GoPro Dome Port – The Best GoPro Underwater Accessory

Another good thing from the accessories that you can buy for your GoPro Hero 9 is the TELESIN GoPro Dome, with which you will be able to record videos where half of the image is above the water and the other half is under the water. This type of footage is probably the most attractive GoPro footage that shows you what is happening under and above the water.

When you buy this dome port it comes with a soft cover over the dome port so you will not scratch the lens. It has a perfect float handle that you can use with a dome port or detach it and use directly with your Hero 9. The floating hand grip has a useful bottom where you can keep your keys or other items. This also comes with a trigger mechanism, when you hold this you can use the trigger to start a new video or take photos.

The dome on this dome port is made of polycarbonate which is very useful when it comes to scratches. When you transport a Dome port you can be sure that is free of sand and dust using a cover that comes with a Dome to protect it while traveling.
It is very easy to use, all you need to do is open the cover on the back and put your camera inside. This accessory is waterproof up to a depth of 30 meters.

The new version of the handheld floating handle is rubber covered, soft to the touch and will give you a 30% wider field of view while shooting.


In this text, we answered the question Is GoPro Hero 9 waterproof without a case, and to what depth? Now we also know that when we go underwater with the camera, we have to adjust all options such as resolution and framerate on the surface. Certainly, the most important option that must be ON is Hypersmooth stabilization for recording the best underwater videos.

We found out what to pay attention to when buying a camera for recording underwater and what are the characteristics of camera masks. We also talked a little more about the most interesting accessory for underwater recording – Dome Port and where to buy it.
To stay tuned when the new GoPro camera is released, read our TEXT on that subject.

Author at Photography Official

Hey there, I’m Dominic Corbyn​, and photography is my life’s calling. With countless shutter clicks and endless hours spent perfecting the art, I’ve earned my stripes as a professional photographer. You can catch a glimpse of my world on the Photography Official blog. Trust me, I’ve poured my heart into sharing insights that’ll help you navigate the captivating universe of photography.

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