15 Best Underwater Cameras in 2022 [Tested & Reviewed]

Ready to dive in and purchase an underwater camera? If so you’ve probably noticed a lot of tempting cameras on the market. To help make your decision easier, we’ve reviewed 15 of the best underwater cameras.

Each comes with its own unique selling points, which we’ve detailed below. All you need to do is think about what features you need and decide on a budget. And if you need to know a little more about underwater cameras, we go over some of the key points you’ll need to consider when making a purchase.

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If you’re looking for an exceptionally durable and reliable waterproof camera, the Olympus Tough is a good choice. This underwater camera’s unique selling point is that it’s waterproof, shock-proof, crushproof, and freezeproof.

Besides its durability, it also takes excellent photos and can capture a water drop in 4K resolution. The Olympus Tough’s zoom can extend up to eight times, so small details in the distance are easy to capture. Image quality, even without editing is vivid and bright.

The Olympus TG-6 has a very unique lens that allows incredible macro photography without any external lens. The microscope mode allows focusing from as close as 1 Inch and while this camera doesn’t have a full manual mode, you can actually get professional shots with this tiny compact.

Perfect for shallow dives, snorkeling, and swimming with five underwater shooting modes, the Tough underwater camera is also suited to other outdoor pursuits.

One of the most durable picks on the market, this underwater camera is a great choice for shallow dives, snorkeling, and people who want a camera they can take anywhere.

Specs & Features

  • Maximum depth rating: 50ft/15m (150ft/45mts in a housing)
  • Dimensions: 2.6 x 4.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 2.1 ounces
  • 4K resolution
  • Five underwater shooting modes

Our Overall Review

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    What makes this camera stand out from its competition is its durability. You can use the Tough camera during any outdoor endeavor
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    Recall your adventurous moments by browsing through the high-resolution photos without lag
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    Zoom up to eight times to capture distant details and objects in sharp detail

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNot the cheapest underwater camera on the market, price-wise, it’s comparable to a GoPro
  • check-markThe wifi transfer function can be slow at times
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Where to buy:

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Olympus Tough TG-6

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The Panasonic Lumix brings smooth yet lively 4K video capabilities to the table. Much like the GoPro, the Lumix also delivers outstanding picture quality of photos, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the outside world when browsing through your pictures.

Additionally, this underwater camera tilts 180 degrees upwards easily, meaning you can take fantastic selfies both above and below the surface. It features a 20-megapixel camera with three-times zoom capabilities, enough to create outstanding photos with minimal effort.

We like that the wifi and USB photo transfer is fast and effortless. The Lumix LX10 4K camera features a micro HDMI slot and USB 2.0 micro-B ports.The perfect fit for divers who want to capture beautiful moments quickly and easily with a high-definition camera.

The perfect fit for divers who want to capture beautiful moments quickly and easily with a high-definition camera.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 1.6 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 10.9 ounces
  • 260 shots per charge
  • 4K HD resolution
  • Fast lens and shutter speeds

Our Overall Review

4.3

Reasons to buy:

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    As far as point-and-shoot cameras go, the Lumix LX10 delivers on image quality
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    Very fast shutter and lens speed, which is useful underwater
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    Excellent video quality
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    Easy photo review and upload functions

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markVideo stabilization can be a bit shaky
  • check-markYou need a housing at additional cost
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Where to buy:

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PANASONIC LUMIX LX10 4K

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Insta360 prides itself on innovative and creative tools that have helped create a new niche inside the action camera market. Established in 2014, the company was quickly propelled to the forefront of the industry and has become a world leader in 360-degree video cams with quality products such as the Insta360 One X.

Building on this success, Insta360 introduced the world to the ONE R, an ambitious offering featuring a modular platform that allows users to easily switch between camera types.

A range of options is available when purchasing the ONE R, which we’ll go into later. The Twin Edition features the 4K wide-angle shooter and 360-degree cam options, while the 1-Inch Edition features a 5.3K shooter with a 1-inch sensor.
For this review, we’re going to focus on the Twin Edition, which features the 4K wide-angle shooter and 360-degree cam options.

Specs & Features

  • Temperature rating: -4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 40 Celsius)
  • White balance modes: Auto, 2700K, 4000K, 5000K, 6500K
  • AquaVision auto-editing option for more natural underwater colors
  • Modules: 1 x 5.7K 360-degree, 1 x wide-angle 4K and 1 x wide-angle 5.3K with 1-inch sensor
  • Battery: 1190mAh rechargeable

Our Overall Review

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Modular design
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    Robust and sturdy
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    Easy to switch between 4K wide-angle and 360-degree mods
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    Excellent video and photo quality
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    Competitively priced

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe additional cost of having to purchase three housings
  • check-markNot the best camera for still photos due to the stiff shutter button
  • check-markTime-lag when writing to the SD card
  • check-markSlightly annoying that videos taken with the 360 mod need to be converted in the app to a more usable format
  • check-markSmall display, but that’s what you get if you want a compact camera!
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Where to buy:

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Insta360 ONE R

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Paralenz Vaquita is a point-and-shoot underwater video camera built for one thing, and one thing only: Scuba diving. The Vaquita is a premium camera intended for more serious photo- and videographers.

It has a cylindrical chassis–that doesn’t require an additional waterproof housing–and you can easily change the settings while underwater.

The Depth-Controlled Color Correction (DCC), which is essentially a digital filter, corrects the white balance of your video and images depending on your depth.

Specs & Features

  • Depth rating:: 1150ft / 350m
  • Temperature rating:: 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit / -10 to 40 degrees Celsius
  • White balance modes:: Auto White Balance, Depth Controlled Color Correction (DCC)
  • Display:: 0.95-inch True Color OLED 180 x 120p
  • Viewfinder display with dive profile overlay

Our Overall Review

4.4

Reasons to buy:

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    No need for additional filters or housing
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    DCC means you can start shooting great videos and photos straight out of the box
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    Fits comfortably into the palm of the hand
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    Easy to operate with gloves
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    The simple user interface is easy for amateur photographers to use

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markHeavier than the DiveCamera+ but not a problem when underwater
  • check-markPossible concerns regarding battery life with the additional sensors and full-color display
  • check-markLCD display is a bit small but enough to nail your composition and get that perfect shot.
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This camera is a great combination between a Gopro alternative and past sealife cameras like the DC2000. Sealife have been making underwater cameras for many years and they’ve use action camera technology with dedicated software to make this basic all around underwater camera.
This would make an excellent choice for beginners, super easy to use, versatile and inexpensive.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 2.1 x 2.9" / 10.7 x 5.3 x 7.4 cm
  • Sensor: 16MP SONY® 1/2.3” Image Sensor
  • Lens 100°: Wide Angle Lens
  • Video: [email protected] or [email protected] fps Video
  • Weight: 329gr

Our Overall Review

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    Practical and convenient
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    Easy to use Piano keys
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    RAW shooting capability
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    Built in color correction for underwater

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markLow light situations is not the best
  • check-markBasic Controls
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Where to buy:

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Sealife Micro 3.0

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The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is the next-generation version of the Panasonic LX10 we reviewed previously. Unlike its earlier model, the LX100 II offers features to prevent any hand-shaking disruptions and ensure still videos and focused snaps.

With 4K HD resolution, this camera captures high-quality photos and videos that make it a breeze to capture all your underwater moments. Additionally, outside of its housing, it makes a great on-land camera.

We really like the macro shooting mode, perfect for nudis and shrimp. And in regards to its zoom, it captures the smallest details in the distance with exceptional clarity. Vloggers, casual photographers, and ardent underwater photographers alike all rate the LX100 II for its ease of use and excellent quality images and video.

For an easy to use camera that performs equally well underwater as it does on land, you can’t go past the Lumix LX100 II.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 4.53 x 2.61 x 2.53 inches
  • Weight: 0.86 pounds
  • 4K HD resolution
  • Anti-shake function
  • Macro mode

Our Overall Review

4.3

Reasons to buy:

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    Oodles of extra features make this camera stand out from the pack
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    Designed with a couple of sensors that hugely impact photo quality
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    Excellent macro shooting mode
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    The Panasonic Lumix LX100 II offers impressive anti-shake capabilities

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markIt’s a costly camera, and you will need to purchase a housing, but if you have the budget, you won’t be disappointed
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Where to buy:

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Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

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As the name suggests, this a premium compact camera and you can expect exceptional precision and detail from the Sony RX100. Techcrunch even named it the best compact camera money can buy.
Offering up 4K HD resolution, this camera performs well above the waves and underwater, just don’t forget your housing!

The Sony RX100’s performance quality stems from a number of desirable features including a 20.1 megapixel 1.0 type stacked CMOS sensor, Zeiss Vario Sonnar, super-fast AF, and high magnification zoom lens.

We love the external microphone jack, which is ideal for making movies on land. And for underwater images, the 24-200mm zoom lens means clarity and depth in every detail.

The Sony RX100 is among the leading cameras in the compact category. If you want to take your photography to the next level, you can’t go wrong.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 4 x 1.7 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 9.8 ounces
  • 4K HD resolution
  • Intuitive, user-friendly design
  • 1.0 Type stacked CMOS sensor

Our Overall Review

4.4

Reasons to buy:

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    Outstanding image quality
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    Simple, intuitive design
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    The video function is excellent for underwater shoots
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    Stabilization features make this camera an underwater photographer’s best friend
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    All the quality of a DSLR camera in a point and shoot design

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThere isn’t a lot to dislike here, but as one of the most expensive cameras on our list, you won’t be impressed if your housing leaks…
  • check-markSince this camera has a longer lens, some housings do not allow using the full zoom range.
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Where to buy:

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Sony RX100 VII Premium

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Canon is a well-established brand in the camera market and has been trusted for years. So as you’d expect, the G7x Mark II camera offers up vivid, high-quality pictures.

A 20.1-megapixel lens combined with smart point-and-shoot features means taking a quality picture is a breeze. The Canon G7x Bundle as a whole comes with oodles of accessories like an extra battery pack, memory card wallet, lens pen, HDMI cable, screen protectors, microfiber cloth, cleaning solution, and cotton swabs.

You also get a flexible 12-inch spider tripod so you can mount the camera anywhere and get the best shot possible. Underwater, Canon’s new DIGIX 7 processor performs well and offers up faster autofocus and better RAW capture. Plus we like the one-touch custom white balance function.

A great buy for any photographer seeking a versatile camera, the G7X gets the job done with minimal effort on your behalf.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.6 x 6.3 inches
  • Weight: 2.75 pounds
  • 4.2X Optical lens
  • Three-inch touch display
  • 4K video recording

Our Overall Review

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Expandable memory card slot, so you can increase the memory with a 64GB SanDisk memory card
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    You can use the G7X Mark III in harsh conditions without worrying about it being worn down by the elements
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    The bundle comes with all the accessories you need
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    High-definition pictures and videos
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    Point-and-shoot capabilities that surpass many other compacts

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markIt comes with a European charging cable that is not suitable for USA sockets
  • check-markNot compatible with Canon’s G7X housings as the Mark II is slightly larger, so if you’re upgrading from the earlier model, you’ll need to purchase a new housing
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Where to buy:

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Canon G7x Mark II

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If you’re looking for a tough-as-nails underwater camera that doesn’t need a housing, then you can’t go wrong with the Nikon COOLPIX. We love that this nifty little camera boasts waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof capabilities.

Use it whenever you want — diving, swimming, climbing, trekking, kayaking, and a bunch of other outdoor activities. The 4K HD camera delivers great photos and the 5X zoom lens means you won’t struggle to capture distant details clearly.

A plucky little camera that makes the perfect travel companion. Take it hiking, diving, swimming and more.

Specs & Features

  • Depth rated to 100ft/30m
  • Dimensions: 2.00 x 2.00 x 2.00 inches
  • Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Nikkor telephoto lens
  • 16.0 Megapixels

Our Overall Review

4.4

Reasons to buy:

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    Can endure any outdoor weather conditions
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    Good quality pictures at a reasonable price point
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    No housing needed to 100ft/30m
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    Extremely tough camera, won’t break if you drop it
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    Fast autofocus and continuous shoot capability

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markPicture quality in low-light underwater conditions leaves a little to be desired, consider an external flash
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Where to buy:

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Nikon COOLPIX W300

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If you’re after an underwater camera that boasts professional-level picture quality, the Sony Alpha a7III is a one-stop shop. An outstanding 24.3-megapixel camera, it guarantees that each detail is captured perfectly while the world’s first five-axis image stabilization design means great snaps even in you’re swaying in a current. Likewise, video quality is exceptional.

Pair your Sony a7II with an Ikelite housing and you’re all set to roam the reef safe in the knowledge your camera is secure. You won’t be weighed down by it either, the mirrorless design makes the Alpha a7II much lighter than expected given all its features.

On the whole, this camera is a solid pick, especially if you’re looking for the impressive stand-still image technology.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 5.00 x 2.36 x 3.78 inches
  • Weight: 1.32 pounds
  • 24.3 MP HD camera
  • Three-inch display screen
  • Five-axis in-body image stabilization

Our Overall Review

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    One of a kind when it comes to capturing still HD photos or videos while you’re in motion
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    Impressive 24.3 megapixels camera
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    The image stabilization is one of a kind both on land and underwater

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe battery life could be better, that said, just make sure you fully charge your camera before you jump in
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Where to buy:

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Sony Alpha a7II

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If you’re looking for the perfect underwater camera to take on your next snorkeling holiday, you can’t beat this cheap and cheerful model. At less than US$100, it’s super wallet-friendly and does exactly what it says it will.

Surprisingly, given the price point, it offers up a couple of cool features including a 2.7-inch screen, image stabilization, and 48 megapixels. Additionally, it’s depth rated to 10ft/3m so if you’re staying on the surface, you can get snap happy safe in the knowledge your camera won’t flood.

We also like that it comes in a variety of funky colors and include is durable enough to cope with a little sand in between swims or snorkels.

To capture the reef from the surface and then gather a few family snaps on the beach, this underwater camera is perfect. Plus, for the price point, you won’t be upset if it goes missing.

Specs & Features

  • Depth rating of 10ft/3m
  • Dimensions: 6.4 x 6 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • 16X Digital zoom
  • Full HD 1080P/30 frames per second video

Our Overall Review

3.6

Reasons to buy:

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    The camera is easy to operate and comes with multiple features that are navigated without hassle
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    Useful in various environments like hiking, swimming, drifting, etc.
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    Cheap, cheerful, and fun
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    An excellent choice for kids
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    Three-hour battery life

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markTiny buttons make the design a little tricky for big hands
  • check-markNo lanyard included
  • check-markNot suitable for scuba diving but great for snorkelers
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Where to buy:

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Underwater Camera FHD

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There comes a point in every serious underwater photographer’s life when they need to make the switch from a compact to a full DSLR. The Canon EOS 6D is the ideal way to upgrade your gear, perhaps the niftiest thing about it is that it’s a DSLR in a compact’s body.

It offers fast and accurate focus, 4K HD photos and videos, 26.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, and Canon’s outstanding DIGIC 7 processor, which means excellent results even when you’re shooting with expanded ISO settings.

This version also comes with a battery grip to make holding the on land camera easier. You have the option to buy your EOS 6D Mark II with lenses and other extras too. For housing, take a look at the Ikelite 200DL.

All in all, it’s absolutely a great pick for those who would like to take clear underwater photos. It will definitely leave you impressed.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 9.10 x 9.10 x 9.10 inches
  • Weight: 4.66 pounds
  • 26.2 Megapixels
  • Bluetooth, wifi, and NFC compatible
  • Quick autofocus

Our Overall Review

4.3

Reasons to buy:

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    Fast and accurate focus
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    Durable and reliable
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    Compact and rugged design
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    Image stabilization
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    Lightweight and compact for a DSLR

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSome professional photographers complain about the camera’s video quality. If you take a lot of videos, consider the Sony a7II we reviewed above.
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Where to buy:

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Canon EOS 6D Mark II

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This mirrorless camera everyone is talking about. Canon created this rather affordable, professional full frame mirrorless camera.
Diving this camera means a true powerhouse underwater in a compact size. There are multiple housing options by Ikelite, Nauticam, Sea and Sea and more… Combining this camera with the new Canon 100mm Macro lens will make even Nat Geo envy your setup.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 5.43 x 3.84 x 3.46" / 138 x 97.5 x 88 mm
  • Sensor: 36 x 24 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS
  • Video: up to 8K
  • Weight: 1.62 lb / 738 g
  • Monitor: 3.2” Free-Angle Tilting Touchscreen LCD

Our Overall Review

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    Incredible image and video quality
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    More compact than full frame DSLR’s
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    8K Video resolution
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    Large LCD Monitor

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markExpensive
  • check-markNo built in flash requires an external trigger for fiber optic strobe connections.
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Canon EOS R5

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The Canon PowerShot G5 X is one of the most reliable cameras on our list in terms of image quality and ease of use combined. It’s perfectly suited to any underwater trip (when combined with a housing) as well as other outdoor pursuits.

A powerful 5X optical zoom allows you to capture any distant objects clearly. Plus, the macro mode is among the best available in a compact, meaning there’s little need to purchase a separate lens.

Thanks to the 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and powerful DIGIC 8 processor, the images you capture are sure to shine.

This is a solid choice and we appreciate the tweaks Canon has made to the Mark II making it even better for underwater photography. Powerful compact at a good price.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 1.80 x 4.40 x 2.40 inches
  • Weight: 1.7 ounces
  • 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 5X optical zoom
  • 20 frames per second continuous shooting

Our Overall Review

4.3

Reasons to buy:

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    DIGIC 8 processor
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    Exceptional image quality for a point and shoot
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    Macro mode
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    Good zoom
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    Exceedingly lightweight considering the features

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markHousing options are slightly more limited than with other Canon models. We suggest Ikelite or Nauticam
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Where to buy:

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Canon PowerShot G5

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This Canon PowerShot features an exceptional 5X zoom, 1080p HD video, and a 12.1 megapixel, highly sensitive CMOS sensor. It’s a solid compact with features that creep it close to SLR quality.

We love the built-in wifi that provides easy image transfer to any of your digital devices and even social accounts — in many ways, the G16 is a smart device as much as it is a camera.

Underwater, it performs exceptionally well for the mid-range price point, look for the RecSea WHC-G16 housing and consider purchasing a strobe.

A solid choice for underwater photographers looking for a camera that performs without breaking the bank. Just be aware that the housing will set you back more than the camera itself.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 4.29 x 1.57 x 2.99 inches
  • Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Digic 6 processor
  • 1080p video
  • Multi-aspect RAW

Our Overall Review

4.3

Reasons to buy:

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    Excellent image quality for a point and shoot
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    Smart camera
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    Hardy exterior

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markFor the price point, there’s not a lot to dislike here, but you may find you prefer to choose a Canon with the DIGIC 7 processor.
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Canon PowerShot G16

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What to Consider When Buying an Underwater Camera

First and foremost, you need to determine your price range. If you haven’t done that, you could find yourself overspending and left with no money for critical accessories or, even worse, a housing!

Next, decide whether you want a dedicated underwater camera or you expect it to do double duty above the waves too. If you’re just shopping for a scuba camera and you’re an occasional diver, consider an option that doesn’t require an expensive housing.

Have a think about what kind of zoom capabilities you need and whether a macro mode is a make or break option. Geneally speaking, zoom is not needed underwater , the closer you get to the subject the clearer the photo will be since there is less water in between. And if you’re mad about the small critters, consider a macro mode or ask yourself whether you’re willing to shell out for a dedicated macro lens. The TG-6’s built in lens is just the same as a dedicated macro lens, thats something to consider.

Many people think that megapixels are super crucial. Yes, they are essential when it comes to the quality of your photos, but not as much the camera sensor. When picking an underwater camera, aim for a better sensor than high megapixels. Something like a 12 megapixel Canon with a high-spec sensor performs better than a camera with high megapixels but a poor sensor.

Once you’ve determined your needs, you’re well on the way to choosing the perfect underwater camera for you. Our favorites?

The Canon G7X III which has manual DSLR like controls, high quality images and videos and is still affordable. The Gopro Hero10 which can generate professional videos at a tiny size and under $400.

The secret to great underwater photos and videos

What they don’t initially tell you in stores is that even if you have the best camera in the market, to get great underwater photos you need lighting. Good even and powerful lights can get you professional underwater photos and videos even with a basic $300 camera.

There are 2 types of lights for underwater use, strobes and video lights. Strobes are like flashes, they throw a burst of instant light that is very powerful but for an instant. This only works for still shots of course.

Video lights are continuous and for this reason they require bigger batteries and never last longer than an hour or so at max power. Even a very powerful video light, like 10,000 lumens will not be nearly as powerful as a small strobe. With that said, video lights will allow you to shoot both video and stills with the same light.

More on the topic of underwater lighting at Mozaik’s Ultimate Video Light Guide

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What is the best underwater camera?

As with any piece of scuba diving or snorkeling equipment, the best underwater camera is the one that meets your needs. Currently, these are some of our firm favorites:

  • Olympus Tough TG-6
  • Panasonic Lumix LX10
  • GoPro HERO10
  • Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

To read our reviews of these cameras, just click on the links above.

What is the Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling?

If you’re staying on the surface, you don’t need an underwater camera rated to 30 meters or more. But you might like a camera that’s hardy and well suited for other activities. For snorkeling, we like the following cameras:

  • GoPro HERO10
  • SeaLife DC2000
  • Panasonic Lumix LX100 II
  • Olympus TG-6

Click the links above for full details on each of these cameras.

What’s the Best Cheap Underwater Camera?

We won’t beat around the bush, good quality underwater cameras do cost a little bit. However, you’re better off spending money on something that will last rather than wasting money on a cheap underwater camera that survives one holiday!

For a reasonably priced underwater camera, we recommend these options:

  • Nikon Coolpix W300 Waterproof Digital Camera
  • Panasonic Lumix LX100 II
  • Underwater Camera FHD 2.7K 48 MP Waterproof
How Much Does an Underwater Camera Cost?

The cost of an underwater camera varies depending on its features. In general, you can expect to spend between US$50 to $150 dollars.

Can a Waterproof Camera Go Underwater?

It entirely depends on the camera! Note that there is a critical difference between water-resistant cameras and waterproof cameras. In general though, if a camera is sold as waterproof, it should be suitable to use underwater. Always check the depth rating before you take it diving though, and do not exceed the maximum depth.

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