GoPro underwater focus fix

The GoPro HD Hero video camera has created a huge buzz this year. It is a small super wide angle video camera with a rugged underwater housing and several mountings for different applications: you can attach it on your car, boat, helmet, bike, wrist, fishing rod, guitar, model helicopter, plane, skateboard… Basically anywhere! It’s small and handy and films with a maximum 170 degree angle (720p or 920p HD). You can also switch to a narrower view of 127 degrees and get full 1080p HD. Well, read all about the specs elsewhere, this blog is not about that.

There’s namely one big disadvantage with the GoPro HD Hero. The underwater picture is blurry and out of focus. As they say on the GoPro official webpage: Please note that due to the curved lens of the waterproof housing for the HD HERO camera and standard def Wide HERO cameras, you will notice a slight loss of sharpness with underwater images.

I can tell you this loss of sharpness is not ”slight”. It’s a matter of being able to use the material or not.

Luckily, there’s a way of getting around this problem. Either you can order a special underwater housing from a second party manufacturer, or you can do as I did, modify your housing yourself. It’s easy, fast and cheap. Here we go, gopro:

You need:

  • GoPro underwater housing
  • Philips Avent baby bottle (probably some other brands do as well)
  • Hobby knife
  • Saw
  • Sand paper
  • UV-filter ø 58 mm
  • Black permanent marker
  • Epoxy glue

See the instructions on the following slide show:

This modified housing works great on the narrower 127 degree angle. The superwide angle captures some of the ring in the corners. However, I prefer the narrower view and the full HD when shooting underwater.

The result? See for yourself:

7 Responses to “GoPro underwater focus fix”

  1. avatar

    catch and chill  on September 3rd, 2010

    This is great! I tried to use my gopro hd hero to capture big fat char under the ice last spring. The blurry shots were disappointing. Will follow this tutorial step by step asap as I love the DIY side of film making accessories!

  2. avatar

    Casey  on September 3rd, 2010

    Wow! You would think GoPro would have that figured out on their own! Nice work!

  3. avatar

    Pasi  on September 6th, 2010

    This is “sirius” videofishing.

    Great Boys!!


  4. avatar

    PTZ Camera  on September 18th, 2010

    Thanks a million for this, I appreciate the info

  5. avatar

    Emanuel  on September 21st, 2010

    How does this affect the “over water” picture quality? Because it seems its a permanent fix :)

  6. avatar

    Joona / Jazz & Fly Fishing  on September 22nd, 2010

    The picture quality above water is also very good, there’s hardly any difference to the “original”. However, when shooting against the light there has been some extra reflections from the UV filter.

    I use the original, non-modified housing only shooting super wide angle above water. And when going under water and 1080p I switch to this.

    I never liked the super wide angle under water anyway. It makes objects (=fish) appear so far away and very small ;)

  7. avatar

    Steve Benjamin  on October 27th, 2010

    Ive made a port based on this very principle

    Have a look