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Kari Post

Waterproofness: GoPro Hero5 vs Hero6

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Hi all,

 

My GoPro Hero5 recently flooded. I had used it underwater only twice in the 19 months I have had it, never abused it, and had all ports shut securely. Both times it was submerged in fresh water only about 3 feet deep, without an additional housing (the Hero5 is supposed to be waterproof to 10m/33ft without a supplemental housing).

Because it is out of warranty, GoPro won't replace my camera, but they offered me 40% off a new Hero5 or Hero6. I'm honestly not sure I want to buy another GoPro - one of the features I liked about it was that it was supposed to be waterproof without an additional housing - but I did find that the cam filled a few small niches and am considering replacing it. I have read a number of reviews with other users having the same issue - water gets in the camera even when doors are completely shut and the camera is used at shallow depths - and am wondering if the Hero6 has a better track record in this regard.

 

Can anyone comment on their experience using a GoPro Hero5 or Hero6 underwater (particularly in shallow water without an additional housing)? I don't have a dedicated underwater setup, and am not purchasing a GoPro primarily for underwater use (I like it as a super portable pocket camera that I can use with gloves on in the winter and as a wearable POV cam for some activities), but I like having the option.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Kari, I've never had a GoPro, but if the seals are anything like those on the so called tough cams they are probably only designed to last a little longer than the warranty period. We had a olympus TG-850 that flooded once in warranty and again about 6 months out of warranty. The flood in both cases was through the membrane seal under the buttons. The manual says these seals need to be replaced every 12 months to keep it watertight.

 

I doubt you would find any difference between the various go-pros and tough cams with regard to underwater performance without a separate housing. The separate housings have proper o-ring seals on each button and a user serviceable o-ring which if you clean and prepare it properly and soak the housing in fresh water after each use has a lot better chance of staying flood free longer term.

 

You mention you only had the go-pro in shallow water. For o-ring seals and the seals they have on the doors of tough cams and the like, a shallow water flood is actually more likely. O-rings need to be loaded to seal properly and the loading is low on the surface as the pressure differential is lower. The water pressure needs to be applying on the wet side of the o-ring to push it against the sealing surface and that seal gets better with more pressure.

 

My view on these types of camera is that staying flood free has a real element of luck to it. I replaced the TG-850 with another tough cam and shelled out for the housing to go with it. If you don't want a disposable camera then house it.

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Thanks so much for your reply, Chris. I really appreciate the insight and everything you said makes a lot of sense. Much appreciated!

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Just get a super suit and forget about the seals-It really not going to work long without then clear super suit to keep pressure off it.

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