The sea offers a vast world for us to enjoy with our eyes. Unfortunately, not all of us could afford the equipment needed to explore underwater. Thankfully, we have the art of photography that can capture the beauty of marine creatures. If you an amateur who aspire to try it, you can start with a handy underwater camera.
Underwater cameras are specifically built to adapt to the underwater environment. It commonly comes with a body that seals the internal camera to protect it from moisture and liquid. The lens is also designed to allow the camera to retain the clarity of image detail.
Most underwater cameras now come in compact sizes and better maneuverability. This allows users to take shots in an instant while dealing with various underwater elements like current and pressure.
Here are the top 5 best underwater cameras we personally tried and tested with Evangeline Summers, SolidSmack’s camera expert and former NatGeo photographer. Chosen for their convenience, features, and durability, we are sure you can instantly try them on your next dive.
Just click on the buttons we prepared below to check on their latest prices on Amazon. With that, we hope you’ll find the best choice for you here!
Best Underwater Cameras Comparison & Rating
1. Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera
4.4 x 1.2 x 2.6 inches
W300 is one of the toughest cameras Nikon has made. It has thick body construction that protects the internal function of the camera. This protects it not just from the water but so as from accidental falls that can affect the camera performance. Nevertheless, there are more things that should be highlighted about W300.
“The main selling point of his camera is that Nikon tried to integrate everything its typical land camera has into this model. This means it could be as powerful as any other digital cameras you are using on the daily,” Summers said. “Most of all, it really is exciting that it uses optical zoom which means you have a more quality shot underwater with more details and more clarity!”
This explains why even at a low-light condition, the camera was able to provide our team crystal clear shots that can compete with images taken using a high-end cam.
“Buyers will also love it comes with the most common 20 scene modes. With this feature, the camera would do the basic adjustments for you according to the mode you are going to pick,” Summers added. “This is very important when you’re underwater and you don’t have the time to do it. W300 really deserves more than a 5-star rating.”
2. GoPro HERO9 Waterproof Action Camera
9.08 x 5.42 x 3.25 inches
GoPro HERO9 is ultimately a monster in the eyes of most sports underwater cameras. Besides the known reputation of the brand, it is undeniable that it comes with advanced features that other competitions can’t keep up with.
“GoPro HERO9 is one of the best models with the greatest updates after GoPro HERO7 and GoPro HERO8,” Summers stated. “The model offers a new 2-screen camera which gives you 100% visibility and control over your shots.”
Furthermore, according to Summers, the 23.6 MP sensor that delivers the 5K video and 20 MP photos can compete with the Nikon W300 and Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS30A.
“GoPro is undeniably the king of the sports camera. With this, it is not so surprising that it has managed to deliver one more great model in the form of HERO9. At 5K video and 20 MP photo resolutions, it’s as if you are using a professional camera underwater that can produce authentic colors. Supported by the cam’s HyperSmooth 3.0, you’ll experience videos that are totally free from the effects of shakes.
Another thing that really amazed me about this model is its new HindSight feature that allows you to record any scene 30 seconds before clicking the button. This is a gem for divers who don’t want to miss any moment underwater. This cam is truly a GoPro masterpiece!”
3. KODAK PIXPRO WPZ2 Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera
3.74 x 2.48 x 0.98 inches
KODAK PIXPRO WPZ2 can serve well as an underwater point-and-shoot unit that can give you instant results with just a push of the button.
“The thing we like about WPZ2 is that the brand offers you great functionality despite its low-price offer,” Summers started. “It is not like those high-end DSLR cameras but it can give just the right detailed shot needed underwater. Corrected diffraction, no soft corners, and there’s still that great Kodak colors.”
According to Summers, it is loaded with lots of excellent features such as Macro mode, 16MP CMOS BISI sensor, 1080 P HD video, and a handful of modes useful underwater. What’s even better is that it is equipped with 6X digital zoom and 4X optical zoom of 27-108 mm which give you a total of 24X reach. Nonetheless, Summers expressed her joy over the great built of the cam.
“The thing that really helps it excel is that it is perfectly designed to survive underwater,” she explained, “The SD card slot has a very thick seal that protects it from any moisture and leaks. I tried it myself by submerging it into the water for some minutes and the result was really satisfying. No leaks at all!”
4. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS30A Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera
0.77 x 4.08 x 2.3 inches
LUMIX DMC-TS30A offers some of the best features that are specifically meant for underwater operations.
“When you put a camera under the water, it is possible that the red tone of the image could decrease. This is just a natural reaction of the lens and Panasonic did a great job of resolving this,” Summers explained.”The camera comes with a mode that is specifically used underwater. This is helpful as the cam will automatically correct the tones of the images. This results in images with a more natural-looking appearance.”
Besides the vivid colors it can produce, the clarity of the images the LUMIX DMC-TS30A can produce is enticing. Another thing that separates it from other underwater cameras is its optical image stabilizer.
“The ability of the camera to stabilize the unwanted shakes makes it a good option for amateurs who are having a hard time balancing underwater,” Summers said. “So, although it can’t be of the same quality as the Nikon W300, the feature is enough to help you capture decent-looking shots and for its price, it’s really a gift from Panasonic!”
5. AKASO EK7000 4K30FPS Ultra HD Underwater Camera
0.9 x 2 x 1.5 inches
According to Summers, with a compact body, it is really astonishing that AKASO EK7000 can produce vivid images.
“When we tried it, I was really satisfied with how it captured details, lines, and shades underwater. Knowing that we tried it during the afternoon and it managed to retain the beautiful tones of the images was really impressive for this tiny camera.
“It doesn’t come with an image stabilization feature but with the right angle and timing, users can still great, quality images. And despite the fact that it doesn’t have the said function, the 16 megapixels compensate for this which is a must if you want clear wildlife photos.
“However, if you really want to secure photos that are totally free from blur and offer great clarity, better get the AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K which has an additional image stabilization feature. In this model, I can say that GoPro has tight competition.”
Best Underwater Cameras - Buyer's Guide
It is important to get a camera that 100% proven to have an efficient waterproof capability underwater. This is the reason why it is important to read reviews like this that confirms and validates your questions.
A quality waterproof camera usually comes with cases that protect the camera unit itself from liquid and moisture. Nonetheless, there are also models with camera bodies that integrate water-resistance capabilities. This kind of underwater camera often comes with thick seals in their SD card and battery slots.
The build of the underwater cams will determine how deep you could submerge it underwater. They typically have 10 to 15-meter depth capacity but there are also some that can do deeper than 30 meters.
The environment underwater can affect the quality and color of the pictures of the cam. For instance, images that are taken underwater often comes bluer. This can be solved by using a camera with a manual white balance setting. There are also some camera models like Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS30A that use specific modes to compensate for the color tones that are commonly weak underwater.
While it is great to have a camera that has a high number of megapixel counts, it is also worth considering if the sensor of the camera is large enough to cater to more pixels. This means that the larger the sensor, the better the quality of the image could be as this helps in the low-light performance of the cam.
Best Underwater Cameras - FAQs
Underwater cameras allow you to instantly take photos underwater without much preparation. Compared to land cameras that need a waterproof casing, they are also cheaper and can also be used on dry land.
First, start by determining your budget. You don’t want to choose a camera with all the bells and whistles only to find out you can’t afford it. Then, look for a cam within your budget capacity that offers all the basic features needed in an underwater camera.
Most underwater cameras have depth capacity ranging from 5 to 10 meters. There are also high-quality cameras that can go as deep as 30 meters or more.
All cameras have sensitive optics and electronics which can’t be used underwater. To allow them do it, the said kind of camera comes with layers of protection (either plastic or glass) which can affect the quality of images.