March 20, 2023

Scuba divers and snorkelers no longer need to purchase burdensome housing to take their cameras to depths. You can now take many underwater cameras down to around 50 feet, while some premium cameras can go much deeper.

Surfers, kayakers, rafters, and just about anyone else into aquatic activities can also leave their smartphones safely at home. A dedicated underwater camera gives the confidence to take images and videos without worrying about leakages.

Here are the best underwater cameras available today.

The SeaLife Micro 3.0 is one of the few underwater cameras that can reach depths of up to 200 feet without needing housing. This feature makes it an excellent choice for scuba divers. It’s also an easy-to-use and durable option for any other water-based activity.

Shooting videos in 4K at 30fps or 16MP stills while diving enables you to capture the deep’s vibrant colors and abundant life. The f/2.8 aperture is fixed focus, while the range is from a middling 38cm to infinity.

The controls are pretty basic. The buttons are large and easy to manage when deep under the water, while the menu display is also a breeze once you are used to the layout. Scuba divers will find this especially pleasing as there are many more crucial things to worry about on the ocean bed than cumbersome camera controls.

Potential leakage points, such as an SD card slot, are overcome by giving the camera 64GB of storage. Additionally, it has up to three hours of battery life, ample for scuba diving and enough for other aqua activities.

Key Features

  • 64GB internal memory
  • 4K video captures
  • 16MP stills
  • Underwater and land modes

  • Brand: SeaLife
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
  • Video Resolution: 4K at 30fps
  • Photo Resolution: 16MP
  • Battery: Uo to 3 hours
  • Size: 2.1 x 2.9 x 4.2 inches
  • Weight: 11.6oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 200 feet / 60 meters
  • Lens: 19mm (full frame), f/2.8

  • Simple to use
  • Durable build
  • Waterproof to 200 feet

  • Expensive
  • On-land captures have a slight fisheye effect

Buy This Product

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys water-based activities. The only exception is scuba divers who wish to go deeper than 50 feet. To go any deeper, you must use separately-bought housing. However, you often find the most colorful coral and schools of fish at shallow depths. Being this close to the surface also means you take advantage of the glorious sunshine enhancing the colors.

But it does have an f/2 aperture, which makes it ideal for low-light situations. Even if those glorious rays aren’t piercing the waters enough, you can still get outstanding shots. It’s suitable for underwater macrophotography, too. It has four excellent macro shooting modes and a Microscope Control Mode with an impressive 44x magnification.

Images are of 12MP quality, ample enough for regular prints. But, if you wish to blow shots up to poster size, a camera with a better resolution would be a wiser choice. Videos are 4K quality, albeit at 30fps, while the optical length ranges from 25 to 100mm.

In addition to this camera being waterproof, it’s also highly durable. It’s shockproof, dustproof, crush-proof, and even freeze-proof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. This indestructibility makes it an excellent choice for all activities requiring a rugged camera.

Key Features

  • F/2 aperture for low-light captures
  • Waterproof to 50 feet/15 meters
  • Good macro modes
  • 44x Microscope Control Mode
  • Good image stabilization

  • Brand: Olympus
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3-inch (BSI CMOS)
  • Video Resolution: 4K at 30fps
  • Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Battery: 340 CIPA
  • Size: 2.6 x 4.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 8.9oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 50 feet
  • Lens: 25mm – 100mm

  • Good battery life
  • Tough and durable
  • Quality stills

Buy This Product

If you’re looking for a robust and waterproof camera at a more budget-friendly price, the Kodak PIXPRO WPZ2 is well-built and affordable. It’s cheaper than its competitors, yet offers many of the same features. It’s a simple-to-use camera that is effectively a point-and-shoot that you can take down to 49 feet. This depth isn’t enough for deep scuba diving. But it’s an excellent option for snorkelers and shallow divers looking to capture coral and ocean life near the surface.

You can take 16MP stills, which rivals pricier competitors. However, at this price, you have to downgrade 4K videos to 1080p. But, with its f/3 aperture, an ISO range of 100 to 3,200, and electronic image stabilization, it is more than possible to capture ocean life in low light. For nervous animals like fish or turtles, the 4x optical zoom allows you to keep your distance to capture well-detailed images. Additionally, the macro mode will enable you to get close to the coral or not-so-shy animals for some excellent shots.

The SD card slot only supports up to 32GB, and a robust seal prevents any liquid from entering it. In addition to being waterproof, the camera is also dustproof and shockproof, meaning it has its place on dry land, too.

Key Features

  • Waterproof to 49 feet
  • 4x optical zoom
  • Digital image stabilization
  • USB cable included

  • Brand: Kodak
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS
  • Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080p at 30fps
  • Photo Resolution: 16MP
  • Battery: 200 CIPA
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.5 x 1 inch
  • Weight: 6.2oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 49 feet / 15 meters
  • Lens: 27 – 108mm (Full frame equivalent)

  • Waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof
  • Choice of colors
  • Wi-fi connectivity

  • Video isn’t 4K
  • SD card not included

Buy This Product

The GoPro Hero 11 is the latest iteration in the GoPro Hero series. It now features an excellent Enduro Battery for longer life and better all-around performance. This battery was once a sold-separate accessory, but it is now part of the package. It’s great news if you are taking the camera out onto the water because you can now get around one and a half hours of 5K video shooting.

Videos are sublime, especially when shooting in glorious 5K at 60fps. However, the slo-mo 4K at 120fps is an excellent alternative and captures all the color and detail in fantastic slow motion. The 360-degree Horizon Lock and Hypersmooth 5.0 video stabilization are awesome features. They truly make your videos look like the work of a professional cinematographer.

The 27MP camera captures decent stills, too, and you can even pick out moments from your videos. But it’s these videos that you will be most excited about, especially when you live stream your aquatic adventures on Facebook.

As it is primarily an action camera, it’s perfect for all sorts of high-octane water-based activities. These include white-water rafting, jet skiing, and surfing. Snorkelers will love the results, too, though scuba divers will need extra housing as it is only waterproof to depths of 33 feet.

Key Features

  • 5K at 60fps video
  • Enduro battery
  • Live HD streaming
  • Hypersmooth video stabilization
  • 360-degree Horizon Lock

  • Brand: GoPro
  • Sensor Size: 1/1.9 inch
  • Video Resolution: 5k at 60fps
  • Photo Resolution: 27MP
  • Battery: 137 minutes at lowest resolution
  • Size: 2.6 x 1.3 x 1.85 inches
  • Weight: 16oz
  • Water Resistance: Yes
  • Lens: 12mm

  • Outstanding regular and slow-motion videos
  • Improved thermal performance
  • Waterproof to 33 feet
  • Small and lightweight

  • Middle-of-the-road still images
  • Scuba divers need to buy housing

Buy This Product

The Ricoh WG-70 doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is. It’s a tough, rugged, and waterproof camera that delivers good images of your water-based affairs. As a midrange rival to the Olympus Tough TG-6, it competes well enough against its pricier competitor, save for the lack of 4K video.

For underwater adventures, this camera is good for 46 feet before it requires housing. Scuba divers may feel disappointed by that, but it’s great for snorkelers, freedivers, and other aquatic adventurers.

Close-up shooting is helped along by a Digital Microscope Mode that allows you to get up close to coral and curious ocean life. The six built-in LED microlights help illuminate your subject when necessary. They help in low-light situations because the camera’s aperture range is from f/3.5 to f/5.5. With an ISO range of 125 to 6400 that you can manually set, you can also find the right quality when sunlight isn’t piercing the surface. For shooting nervous animals, you have a 5x optical range of 28 to 140mm. The lens is also internally stacked, so it doesn’t protrude as you zoom in.

Video quality maxes out at 1920x1080p at 30fps, so it is a better camera for taking stills. Images are of 16MP quality with good colors and detailed images. However, results are much better when the sun shines. The Underwater Mode feature helps further by optimizing color, contrast, and white balance for more natural images.

Key Features

  • 5x optical zoom
  • Digital Microscope Mode
  • Waterproof to 46 feet for up to two hours
  • HDMI port
  • Underwater Mode

  • Brand: Ricoh
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
  • Video Resolution: 1920x1080p at 30fps
  • Photo Resolution: 16MP
  • Battery: 300 CIPA
  • Weight: 6.1oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 46 feet
  • Lens: 28 – 140mm (full frame)

  • Good ISO range
  • Shockproof, dust-proof, and freeze-proof (to 14 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Choice of two colors

  • F/3.5 widest aperture
  • Average video quality

Buy This Product

If you seek a cheaper alternative to the GoPro Hero 11 action camera, look no further than the DJI Osmo Action 3. This camera is a significant upgrade from its predecessor and offers GoPro a little bit of competition. It’s rugged, durable, and, crucially, waterproof to 52.5 feet. Again, scuba divers who like to get down to murky depths will need to enclose it in housing. But shallow divers and anyone else, from surfers to snorkelers, will love this device.

It has several helpful features when partaking in water activities. These include an easy-mount system combining magnets and clamps, simple controls, and a menu system that is easy to navigate. It also features impressive image stabilization and a horizon leveler that rivals its GoPro peer.

Still image quality trails behind thanks to an average resolution of 12MP. But you can shoot RAW files and manually control exposures to a degree. Contrast and detail may disappoint at times. However, the D-Cinelike Color Mode can compensate somewhat, while color accuracy is pretty good.

Like the GoPro Hero 11, the DJI Osmo Action 3 delivers its results in quality video. Captures in 4K at 120fps don’t quite emulate GoPro’s remarkable 5K videos, but the footage is still of superior quality. However, battery life isn’t so prolonged when shooting at maximum resolution. At lower resolutions, it is possible to get over 2.5 hours of video, which gives GoPro something to ponder.

Key Features

  • Front and back touchscreens
  • HorizonSteady leveler
  • Waterpoof to 52.5 feet
  • D-Cinelike Mode boosts contrast
  • Wide-angle lens that equates to 12.7mm in full-frame terms

  • Brand: DJI
  • Sensor Size: 1/1.7-inch CMOS
  • Video Resolution: 4K
  • Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Battery: Up to 160 minutes
  • Size: 2.78 x 1.74 x 1.29 inches
  • Weight: 3.8oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 52.5 feet
  • Lens: F/2.8

  • Excellent video quality
  • Underwater specific accessories available
  • Effortless mounting
  • Small and lightweight

  • No onboard storage and SD card is sold separately
  • Average stills

Buy This Product

The last underwater camera on this list is the Panasonic DMC-TS25D. It’s another ‘tough’ camera that can endure dust, shock, cold, and, of course, water. However, this camera is only waterproof to 23 feet; scuba divers need to use additional housing. For everyone else, it’s another good choice.

It’s available in two striking colors and sports a 16MP photo resolution that provides well-detailed shots, even in low light. The lens is a 25-100mm full-frame equivalent. It has a quick and accurate autofocus and a good optical image stabilizer. However, the widest aperture is f/3.9, which may not be large enough for some.

For snorkelers looking to capture vibrant images of their aquatic adventures, the Advanced Underwater Mode enhances reds that are often lost underwater. It also reduces grays which makes for more dynamic and natural images. It also has a helpful flashlight you can use when shooting close-ups in macro mode.

Key Features

  • 25-100mm optical zoom
  • Image stabilizer
  • Advanced Underwater Mode

  • Brand: Panasonic
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3-inch CCD Sensor
  • Video Resolution: 720p
  • Photo Resolution: 16MP
  • Battery: 250 CIPA
  • Size: 6.3 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 5oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 23 feet
  • Lens: F/3.9, 25mm (full frame)

  • Good AF and tracking
  • Performs well in low light
  • Small and lightweight

  • Average battery life
  • Limited manual control

Buy This Product


Q: Can You Scuba Dive With an Action Camera?

This depends on how deep you’ll be going. Some scuba divers, especially beginners, don’t delve too far down, but many divers reach depths of up to 130 feet or 40m. As a result, you’ll need a pretty thoroughly waterproof camera if you’re looking to reach such depths.

Q: Is Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) Important?

If you want still time-lapses or simple wide-angle shots of landscapes, no, EIS isn’t crucial. However, if you’re going to capture more fast-paced footage, such as that of mountain biking, surfing, sky-diving, or anything similar, you’re better off going with a camera that has EIS.

Q: What Happens if You Take a Waterproof Camera Too Deep?

When a camera has a waterproof rating or specified depth, it means that it has been tested to be effective at that depth. As a result, you shouldn’t exceed this if you want to protect your underwater camera.The further underwater you go, the more the pressure increases. This pressure can affect the internal electronics of your camera, as well as its external hardware. In short, excessive depths could break your camera beyond repair, so be careful with your diving depths.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *