If you’re passionate about underwater photography and would like to get into it you’ll be on the lookout for an underwater camera.
The only problem is that finding the right one for you might seem like a daunting task. Not only is information scarce on the matter but the abundance of new underwater cameras being released can be confusing and overwhelming.
Don’t worry, though, today we’re going through a comprehensive guide on underwater cameras. We’ll talk about what you need to consider when buying one.
In addition to that, we’ll also look at an assortment of recommendations to get you started on your underwater camera journey.
So if you have questions like “What type of underwater camera is the right one for me?” or “What is the best underwater camera I can buy?” You might want to stick around for this one.
The Best Underwater Camera
Let’s look at a few recommendations for your first underwater camera. We’ll list all three types of cameras in addition to one extra type.
If you’re looking for something completely different, maybe a GoPro is the thing for you. Weighed at 158 grams, the GoPro HERO9 Black is waterproof up to 10 meters.
An impressive feature of the HERO9 Black is its ability to shoot 5K video and image at a 23.6MP resolution. There’s also a second LCD screen at the front and some impressive image stabilization.
At 158g, the GoPro HERO9 Black is a little heavier than your average GoPro. There are also no options when it comes to color, HERO9 is available in black only. The touchscreen can get a little laggy sometimes.
Overall, the GoPro HERO9 Black is a solid GoPro that packs some really impressive features.
- 5K Video - Shoot stunning video with up to 5K resolution, perfect for maintaining detail even when...
- 20MP Photo with SuperPhoto: Capture crisp, pro-quality photos with 20MP clarity. And with...
- Front Display + Rear Touch Screen: A new, larger rear touch screen with touch zoom on HERO9 Black...
- Live Streaming + Webcam: Live stream in 1080p on social, get HyperSmooth stabilization as you...
- HyperSmooth 3.0: Experience the ultimate smoothness with our most advanced video stabilization ever
If you’re looking for the toughest camera out there, Olympus might be the crowned king of this. The TG-6 is waterproof to 15m or 50ft and shockproof up to 100kg. Its construction quality is high. The LCD screen is thicker than your average camera. Therefore, you got nothing to worry about carrying this camera underwater.
A neat feature of the TG-6 is the 4K video quality it can shoot. So, if you want to shoot high-quality videos, this is something to consider. There’s also GPS and image stabilization (both image and video) for your convenience.
If there are any drawbacks to this impressive compact camera, there would be two. First, the image resolution is capped at 12MP resolution which is a little bizarre. Second, you can’t fully control the camera manually. So that’s something to keep in mind.
Overall, if solid build quality and reliability are what you need in your camera, this will do nicely.
- Waterproof (50 feet /15 meter), dust proof, shockproof (7 feet / 2.1 meter), crush proof (100 kgf),...
- High resolution F2.0 lens, maximum 8x zoom, true pic VIII, back illuminated CMOS image sensor
- Variable macro system comprised of 4 macro shooting modes, magnified shooting up to 1 centimeter...
- 5 underwater shooting modes including underwater microscope, 3 underwater white balance modes
- 4K movie and full HD 120 fps high speed movies can be recorded. Battery life - Approx. 340 Images...
If you don’t feel like spending a huge amount on a camera, Panasonic may have something for you. Set at a very reasonable entry-level price tag, the Panasonic FT30 is a nifty little camera with a lot to offer.
The compact camera shoots images at 16.1MP which is an upgrade over Olympus’ offer. While not as sturdy as the TG-6 (and to be honest, what is?) the Panasonic is waterproof until 8m or 26ft. You can also choose from an assortment of colors (Red, black, orange, and blue).
The Panasonic FT30’s design is also a great asset. It’s slim and will easily fit in your pockets. I recommend getting a wrist strap for a secure grip. Does the FT30 have any flaws?
As with everything in life, yes it does. For one, the low video resolution of 720p is a drawback for any film aficionados looking to record some underwater footage.
In this case, you may want to look elsewhere. For everyone else, this is a solid camera for the asking price.
This is a much-beloved mirrorless camera. Introduced by Olympus in 2013, the Olympus’ OM-D E-M1 boasts the company’s signature high-quality build and an appealing amount of features.
The OM-D E-M1 boasts a 20MP image resolution and a robust image stabilization system. It also allows for a ridiculous 60 fps burst shooting. The LCD screen is impressively intuitive.
For video aficionados fear not, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 can shoot in 4K video. The body is Weather-sealed which makes it sturdier than the average mirrorless camera.
The only thing that might push back people from obtaining this wonderful piece of tech is the price tag.
This makes us only recommend the OM-D E-M1 in good conscience to serious underwater photographers.
- Multi-selector (Joystick) for quick selection of the AF area while looking through viewfinder
- Dustproof/slash proof/freeze proof magnesium alloy weather sealed construction
- 50MP handheld high res shot
- 60 FPS (S-AF), 18 fps (C-AF tracking) continuous shooting with the silent electronic shutter
- 121 point all cross type on chip phase detection plus contrast detection AF
If you’re not about to spend money to buy a mid-level offering, Olympus hopes they’ll intrigue you with this entry-level offering. With that, Olympus blessed us with the E-PL2 Micro.
Olympus is clearly appealing to the novice photographers out there. The E-PL2 Micro is an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with modest but nice features.
The image quality is at an average of 12 megapixels. Image stabilization is available as is standard for Olympus’ offerings. The video quality takes a hit here as the max resolution is only 720p, but that shouldn’t be a problem for novice photographers.
If there are any downsides, I can only think of two. First, for a novice-targeted camera, the menu system may feel a bit overwhelming. Second, the built-in flash is kind of underpowered so an accessory may be needed to remedy that.
Overall, Olympus E-PL2 Micro is a good deal for novice photographers who don’t have money to burn.
- The E-PL2 comes with the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens.
- New Live Guide for Stills And Movies
- 3-Inch High-Resolution LCD.
- Expand Your Creative Horizons with Built-In Effects
- HD Movies Made Easy.
While there are cheaper DSLR options from Cannon itself, we think the EOS 250D packs enough impressive features to make it an appealing choice for beginners. For one thing, the camera is surprisingly light and compact, compared to other DSLRs at least.
The design of the controls and interface are effective and beginner-friendly. The image resolution stands at an impressive 24.1MP. Video quality is equally impressive. The EOS 250D is capable of 4K filming.
You have all your card reads (SD/SDHC/SDXC) and a 3-inch touchscreen LCD. Last but not least, there’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. So far the EOS 250D is an impressive package, but are there any drawbacks?
Well, for one we think the Viewfinder may be lacking in size for some people. Another thing is that the battery life takes a hit when you use the live view.
Finally, in a world where you can charge all your devices via USB, it is inconvenient that Canon didn’t include this feature here.
Overall, the Canon EOS 250D is a solid package for newcomers, and it functions as advertised. We advise caution for buyers when looking at some of the bundles offered by retailers.
- Canon EOS 250D / Rebel SL3 - 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor - DIGIC 8 Image Processor
- 3.0" 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen - UHD 4K24p Video and 4K Time-Lapse Movie
- 9-Point AF System; Dual Pixel CMOS AF - ISO 100-25600, Up to 5 fps Shooting
- Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
What to Consider Before Buying an Underwater Camera
Before you go on Amazon to look for an underwater camera, you might want to know what type of camera to look for first. It’s always a good idea to know the types of cameras and how they differ from each other. There are three types.
Compact cameras come with a single attached lens. This means you can’t change the lens which hinders your ability to customize your camera and the types of shots you can get.
That is not to say compact cameras are without merit. They are a great start for people who are just getting into underwater photography.
They are also affordable so if you just want to take underwater snapshots, they’ll do the job.
Also, the customization problem can be remedied if you get a compact camera with manual controls.
Mirrorless cameras are very popular nowadays. Similar to DSLRs their lenses are interchangeable.
Unlike DSLRs, these cameras omit the mirror that reflects the image to the viewfinder.
This in turn makes the cameras smaller, lighter and easier in the pockets. The trade-off is that the image quality is slightly less than that of a DSLR, though only slightly so.
DSLRs are professionals’ choice. In addition to the interchangeable lens, the shutter lag is reduced and the camera has better focus.
Now depending on your budget, you can choose between a DSLR with a full-frame sensor or a cropped sensor. If money isn’t an issue a full-frame sensor camera is the best choice for unrivaled image quality.
Best Underwater Camera – Conclusion
That’ll be all for our comprehensive guide on underwater cameras. Remember what we went over. Before buying a camera make sure you know what type you want. Whether it is a compact, mirrorless, or DSLR camera, what matters is that it suits you.
If you take a look at the recommendations we listed and follow the tips, you’ll have no problem finding the underwater camera that best suits you. So, you’ll be able to go out there and enjoy all the underwater photography you want. Good luck!