Digital Photography Review

Best GoPro Hero 7 and 8 Underwater Settings – Underwater Photography Guide


GoPro has added several manual and customizable settings to their latest Hero 7 and Hero 8 action cameras. Producing professional quality underwater videos with a cinematic feel is now at our fingertips. The 4k 60fps resolution along with the incredible HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilization features an unsurpassed stable, smooth result. GoPro also added a new twist to the popular Time Lapse option with TimeWarp, a feature which essentially creates a super fast, condensed version of your video.

Which settings should you use? I took the Hero 8 to the ocean on Maui, Hawaii to find out which combination produced the best quality results.

GoPro Hero 8 Available Now At Bluewater Photo!

U.S. MSRP $399.99

Screenshot of GoPro Hero 8 Video Settings

Jump To Sections

Video Settings I Time Lapse I TimeWarp

Photo Settings I Pro Tune Settings

Best GoPro Underwater Video Settings

GoPro’s incredible HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization minimizes any kind of shake and creates a cinematic look to the videos. To further add to the feel of a professional quality, I highly recommend 60 fps at 4k resolution. Be sure to test your editing system with a sample video first to be sure it can process the 60fps. You may need to drop it down to 2.7k @ 60p, 4k at 30fps or even 1080p to view it on your laptop. If this happens, and you’d strongly prefer the 4k 60fps, GoPro recommends downloading the free Handbrake software program that converts the video to a user friendly file.

  • Resolution: 4k
  • Frames per Second: 60fps
  • Lens: Wide
  • HyperSmooth: On
  • Lowlight: On
  • Zoom: 1x
  • Clips: Off

Best GoPro Hero 7 and 8 Underwater Settings - Underwater Photography Guide

GoPro Preference Settings for Underwater Content

GoPro Preferences is comprised of the general settings for items like your Wifi, time, date, etc. It also contains a few key settings that will affect underwater video and photos. Access this menu by swiping down from the top of the screen. Most of it is self explanatory but a there are few options that can make your underwater experience more enjoyable such as keeping the screensaver on so that you can actually see what your recording and keeping the default mode to what you last used so that your settings stay the same every time the camera shuts off.

I am not one to use a camera’s audio ‘beeps’ when shooting underwater or topside but for GoPro I prefer to have the camera beeps on as loud as possible. The sound is not as loud underwater in the housing as it is on the surface out of the housing. 1) It gives confirmation that the camera is on or off when operating it underwater. The GoPro’s battery certainly isn’t known for longevity so making sure the camera is actually off when I need it to be is important. 2) With only a couple of buttons controling everything it’s just a second confirmation that the button was actually pushed. Sometimes things get overly exciting underwater and I’m sure we’ve all been there where we thought we hit record as that manta ray swam by only later to find out that was not the case.

  • Camera Beeps: On High
  • Default Mode: Last Used
  • Auto Power Off: 5 min
  • LEDs: All On
  • Brightness: 100%
  • Screensaver: Never


Remember to familiarize yourself with your GoPro first before bringing it on a dive. Take a few test shots and play around with the TimeWarp and Time Lapse settings to see the difference. Be sure that if you go for the 4k video and/or RAW stills that your laptop and editing system are up for the heavy processing load. It’s always nice to get the highest quality content possible but there are times when smaller, shareable files are best.

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