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How much experience before using a GoPro?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Orestis82, Aug 25, 2019.



    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Taiwan
    Here is a photo a friend of mine took of me taking a video. You can see how I hold the platform and I don't need to be looking at the Go Pro video screen as I use it so much I know where it is filming.

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    purbeast likes this.
  2. RayfromTX

    RayfromTX Student Of Gas Mixology Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hill Country of Central TX
    It totally depends on your situational awareness and your natural abilities. Everyone's brain is wired differently and we all have things that are easy for us and things that are difficult. Diving came naturally to my wife and I and we were already figuring out trim and buoyancy before we took our first OW course. I used a GoPro to film our first open water dives. I'm not embarrassed by the results. When I needed to perform anything I simply stuffed it in my pocket, still running and retrieved it later. There were others in the class that probably shouldn't have gotten their card. When I was presented with an out OOA diver needing assistance, the video shows the beginning of my long hose deployment as the camera swings down and gets stuffed in a pocket, freeing my other hand to get my secondary into my own mouth. The whole operation was maybe 10 seconds with the first three seconds being wait, what? Not every instructor would have allowed it. I used it on every OW dive and I'm grateful for the footage. My wife is challenged by handling a camera but she spots things nobody else can see. We all have our unique abilities so questions like this often get a "it depends" answer. When you get to a point in your diving when you manage it without endangering yourself, others or the environment then go for it. It will always be a bit like eating a burger while driving. Is it safe? Depends
    eleniel likes this.
  3. Outbound

    Outbound Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Michigan
    I'm going to disagree about the wrist mount, but agree with the rest. If you have good trim and buoyancy control then it is quite easy to take pretty good footage with a wrist-mounted GoPro. It won't be as good as with a tray mount and lights, but in shallower clear water it will more than suffice. The key is to not jerk your hand around. If you think of it as a pole and keep your body steady, you can get good results. The bonus is that it still keeps both your hands free should you need them.

    Now, whether or not a person should have a camera with them is another question entirely. There are new divers who have great situational awareness and good enough buoyancy to pull it off. I've also seen experienced divers with pole-mounted GoPros who bang into other divers and the coral. It's about comfort and skill/ability more than the number of dives. Then again, that goes with diving period.
  4. purbeast

    purbeast Barracuda

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Rockville, MD
    Wow I am blind. I legit did no even see the clear platform and just thought you meant the platform on the bottom of the gopro lol. Sorry!

    Yes it makes total sense how using 2 hands like that will stabilize it.
  5. hammet

    hammet Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    Stabilization is huge. Youtube had a really great feature which allowed you to stabilize your videos after you posted them. For some reason they recently removed it.
    That said, the Hero Black 7 has fantastic stabilization capabilities. There are side by side demos on youtube so you can compare. If it was me, I'd forgo the bulky trays and go with the latest gopro which is already discounted (the 8 is coming out in september, apparently).
    Just get the camera, a supersuit, and the small handheld stick thingy.
  6. barth

    barth DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Netherlands
    Did you forget your light which was almost destroying the coral ?
  7. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    "Task-loading," yes, that's the issue. At least you're thinking about it, which many new divers neglect to do before they start carrying cameras. I agree with those who say don't bother mounting it to your wrist or mask because the result will be poor quality; when you feel your diving abilities are good enough to handle the task-loading, then carry the GoPro mounted on proper tray as GoPro photographers generally do.

    As far as whether you presently have the ability to handle the task-loading of a camera, I would add the following to what others have said about it varying from individual to individual. I recall being at the point in my diving where I had done roughly 200 dives, earned certifications up to PADI Rescue level, and felt very confident in my abilities. I hadn't acquired a camera yet, not because I didn't feel ready, but because I wasn't interested in photography then. However, it was around that time that I actually started feeling LESS confident in my abilities, because I found myself raising the standards to which I held myself. This was partly a result of taking more intense courses (e.g., GUE Fundamentals), and partly a result of reading here on SB and diving with some very skilled divers. I decided I still wasn't quite ready to hold something in my hands continuously throughout a dive, when my hands might be needed in an instant to donate air to a buddy, for example (something that, until then, I hadn't practiced or even given much thought to in a very long time). I may not be typical, but what does seem to be typical is the progression in a diver's assessment of his own abilities: In a first phase, the newbie diver recognizes his lack of skill. Then there is a phase in which a diver feels more confident in his abilities. Then, as the diver learns and becomes experienced, he increasingly recognizes his own shortcomings. (For me, this phase nearly paralyzed me with fear, but I am likely the extreme case.) I'm not sure how the "experience versus confidence curve" would look after that, but you get the point. It has been said there is also a point at which some very experienced divers have become dangerously complacent, but that's a discussion for another day.
  8. Storker

    Storker ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
    If we're going to share personal experiences, let me add mine.

    I've always been more than a little annoyed at those boilerplate "you need at least XX dives" type answers. I brought a camera on my last (sixth) OW class dive, and on my first post-cert dive. I still don't think that was a bad idea. Why? I'd been shooting topside for >30 years and had basic composition pretty well established in my muscle memory/reflexes. My rig at that time was a compact without strobes, set to P auto and shooting raw file format. So, no mental bandwidth at all required for camera settings. Spotting subjects was almost second nature as well, since I'd been training that part of my brain for >30 years. I was rather adamant that photography was, at best, fourth priority after diving, diving and diving. My camera was on a leash clipped to one of my BCD D-rings, so whatever might happen I could just drop the camera and concentrate on what really needed my attention.

    It worked out just great. Of course, later on I've messed up more than once and have been properly chastised by my buddy for that. One of the great things about having a regular buddy, they'll tell you in no certain words why and how you've messed up. Wonderful learning experience. Which I've had several times.
  9. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    Yes - task loading. I have worked on buoyancy and trim for a very long time till I got it down to the point where I can hover in any position that a trumpet fish can. Upside down, on my back, right side up and vertical. Except when I am highly task loaded. I am totally fine with an ActiveOn on a knuckle mount in pretty much any conditions. However, add in a dive flag, some neoprene more or less than usual, and being a bit overweighted and it all goes to hell.

    Overweighting I can deal with but I need at least one hand for that. Having a hand dedicated to the %$^#@ dive flag reel and the camera occupying part of one hand I can't reliably get to the inflater or dump valve as quickly as I'd like. Under conditions of low vis, cold, neoprene that is more or less than usual that I don't have dialed in for weight - I leave the camera in the bag. Normally it is no problem. If I've added an additional task to the mix I drop one. The camera is the most expendable.
    eleniel likes this.


    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Taiwan
    Thanks for your concern. I know exactly where my torch is and where I am in relation to the corals. Did around you notice that dive torch has a very soft rubber around the torch head? It's a very soft sponge type rubber that prevents the torch from doing any damage to anything. So no there is nothing "almost destroying the coral" as you wrote. The nit picking that goes on about things that have not occurred is astounding. I am sure PADI or other dive organizations are going to issue a sheriff certification sometime soon.

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