What are the benefits of using a dome port together with your GoPro camera? The most popular and well-known benefit of a dome port is the ability to take split (over-under, half-half) photos. Photos where half of the photo is underwater and the other half is above it. These photos seem a bit surreal because this is not how we usually see the world with our own eyes. It seems like we are sneaking a peek into another dimension.
It is not impossible to make a half-half photo with just your GoPro camera without the dome. But you will need a body of water with completely still surface, an empty pool for instance. As soon as you have water movement – sea, river, surf, a bit of wind on the lake, people swimming in the pool…splitting the photo without the dome becomes impossible or at least very hard. Only if the water is completely calm you will be able to place the waterline in the middle of the small GoPro lens. But even so, the thin line that separates the water from the air will represent maybe 10-15% of the GoPro lens making it seem wide and blurry in your photos. Here are two examples of a half-half photo without using a dome port in a calm pool. You can see how the line that splits the photo is wide and smeared. You will also notice a considerable difference in size of the object above and under water due to water magnification. This makes the objects that extend from above to underwater seem broken and distorted.
Enter the Split dome port. With a dome port putting the waterline in the middle of the shot becomes easy even in rough water. The size of the dome makes it easy to place the water to the lower half of the image and taking photos of surfers, swimmers, kayaks, fishermen, pool parties, stand up paddlers… becomes possible. Another benefit of the dome is that the waterline presents less that 1% of the total surface of the dome. This means that the waterline will be seen only as a thin line over the middle of the photo. Not wide blurred one, like with a regular GoPro housing. Split dome port also solves the problem of underwater magnification and distortion. Both are greatly reduced, here is an example of the same shot taken using a Split dome port:
But taking over-under photos is not the only benefit of the dome. A Split dome port will also considerably improve your underwater photos because of the reasons stated above – less magnification means a considerably wider field of view (30% or more). It will also improve minimal focal distance – the shortest distance at which a lens can focus. This is usually not a problem with a GoPro camera but still, you can see an improvement. So a dome port is not only for people wanting to make split photos but also for everybody trying to improve their underwater photography while diving, snorkeling etc… Here is another example from the pool, both photos are taken from the same distance:
You can see that the second photo captures a much wider part of the pool and that underwater magnification is reduced. We will be updating this post with new examples of the difference:
Get the Split Dome Port here.