October 4, 2016

Schneider Optics Filters Your GoPro Underwater With New Adapter

Respected filter manufacturer Schneider Optics has released an adapter for the GoPro to 58mm threaded filters as well as filters designed for improving underwater image quality.

Why would you want filtration on a GoPro? In terms of underwater photography, specifically, water can give a very strong blue cast to your imagery. While it's possible to correct some of this out in post, the further you push an image in grading, the more likely you are to get artifacts; certain subjects, especially skin tone, can be hard to correct back to an accurate image. This can be seen in the image below (in which the diver is using a plastic filter for the GoPro): the skintones retain a heavy blue cast that might not fully recover in color grading, implying that the image itself was shot without a red filter, even though there is a red filter in frame.

Since GoPro itself offers a red filter, why go for the Schneider? Optical image quality. 

Schneider Optics has solved this problem with red and magenta filters designed to compensate for a strong blue or green cast in the water. In addition to the red and magenta filters, an "outdoor" kit is available with polarizing and ND filters for the GoPro. Since GoPro doesn't offer an aperture, but only shutter and ISO options for exposure control, the ND filter will be especially useful in very bright conditions if you have already gone to ISO 100 but want to avoid a very fast shutter speed due to the motion choppiness that comes with it.

Underwater GoPro with Red Filter from Bower Extreme: NOTE: not the Schneider filter adapter.Credit: Shutterstock

In a somewhat confusing move, Schneider brands its still photo filters under the B+W moniker (after a company they acquired in 1985 that marketed filters under that name). This isn't meant to imply that these filters are intended for black and white photography; B+W-branded filters from Schneider are perfectly useable for color imagery, as this set, which is designed to help with underwater color balance issues, clearly indicates. Additionally, while these filters have the threaded metal rings we associate with still photo filters, they are perfectly capable as motion imagery filters when used with a video camera. They just don't work with the traditional rectangular format of the motion picture matte box.

You might ask: Since GoPro itself offers a red filter, why go for the Schneider? The primary reason to consider would be optical image quality. The B+W line of filters features Multi-Resistant Coating (MRC) to resist scratching and water spots on the lens. Additionally, the optical quality of whatever you put in front of the lens will have an impact on the quality of your image, and if you want optical glass filters that are specifically designed for high-quality image transmission, it's worth doing a test with the Schneiders.

The filter tray is designed specifically for the GoPro and works by fully immersing the entire filter in water, avoiding the potential for surface bubbles. Currently designed to work with the water housing of the Hero 3, 3+, and 4, there's no word yet on whether or not the tray will mount to the water housing for the newly released 5. 

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

Tech specs

  • 58mm filter thread
  • Red and Magenta filters included in kit
  • Mount compatible with Hero 3, 3+, and 4 underwater housing
  • MRC (multi multi-resistant) filters
  • Second "outdoor" kit with Polarizing and ND filters available
  • Hinged frame for fast filter on/off when working near surface

Your Comment

1 Comment

Thanks for the article! I don't see a link to the announcement or source for the information. Mind adding that?

October 4, 2016 at 7:45PM, Edited October 4, 7:46PM

Samuel Neff
DP / Editor