Scuba diving is one of the most popular and fun water activities. The underwater bounties that you can explore are just marvelous and tantalizing.
What better way to capture your experience, preserve your memories or share a glimpse of what you saw with the rest of the world than snap an image of those beauties. Of course, you can’t do that without the best camera for underwater photography.
You need a different type of camera underwater. And as you dive deeper, you may need a more advanced one than your typical waterproof or snorkeling camera.
That’s why if you are into water activities, it would be good to invest in a reliable cam that you can take with you as you dive deeper underwater.
Here are our top 3 choices for best underwater camera for scuba diving:
Choosing the right camera for underwater photography can be tricky as you need to check and compare specs. It’s not just enough that your cam is waterproof.
For the best experience, it should be able to capture high definition images or videos and have functionalities for your specific needs. Our guide should help you familiarize the basics on how to compare and buy an under water camera.
The type of cameras underwater has a significant impact on its application and functionalities. That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarise the different types of underwater cameras and know their pros and cons before making a decision.
Compact underwater cameras or the ones we consider as “point-and-shoot” are the most basic of the three types of underwater cameras.
This type of camera is great for beginners in underwater photography as they are easy to use with no complex functionalities that may overwhelm those who are still developing their skills and interest in underwater photography.
What’s great about compact cameras is that they are typically cheaper compared to mirrorless or DSLR. if you want to go with this type of underwater camera, choose a high-end camera with manual and auto modes.
Compact cameras are very light and convenient to carry anywhere you go. They are also among the cheapest types you can buy. In terms of usage, they allow you to use wet lenses and shoot wide angle and macro.
This type of camera is positioned between compact and DSLR underwater cameras. Mirrorless cameras have interchangeable lenses, better optics and larger sensors for producing great quality images. They are generally smaller in size than DSLRs but can produce professional-grade images.
If you are looking for a camera that is great for versatility, a mirrorless one is a best choice. They have good focus and many high-end models even have some of the functionalities of a DSLR but without the hefty cost.
One drawback though is that you can’t use wet lenses on it, which means you have to shoot wide angle or macro.
dSLR cameras are the best type of camera for underwater activities in terms of overall performance. They have the best lenses and sensors and have little lag between pressing the shutter button and taking the shot. As you can expect, they produce professional images every time.
One drawback though of having a dSLR is you can’t easily carry it around as dSLRs are huge and a bit heavy. Carrying one can be a challenge if you also have other scuba gear with you.
Also, dSLR cameras and their housing are expensive, so they are not for those who are on a tight budget. dSLRs are for professional underwater photographers who want maximum performance and do not mind spending a few thousands on a cam.
An underwater camera housing is essentially a case that is waterproof and pressure-proof and protects your camera while allowing you full control of it while exploring.
One of the most important specifications that you have to check when buying a housing is its depth rating. This rating indicates the maximum depth and pressure it is designed to handle. If you get a housing with a lower depth rating than necessary, it may leak or in the worst case, implode.
An underwater camera housing can be made of:
Plastic housings are way cheaper than aluminium housing. Often they differ by a thousand dollars or even more. However, as plastics are inexpensive, you can’t expect it to provide the same reliability as aluminum. Plastic housings are bulkier and with shorter life span.
If you just dive a few times a year on vacation, a plastic housing may be more practical for you. However, if you frequently dive and take pictures, it would be good to invest in an aluminum housing.
Aluminum underwater camera housing are for serious divers and photographers. They are very durable and rugged and can withstand heavy use. They are also more ergonomic and less bulky, which makes them convenient to carry.
However, it’s important to note that with their quality, they are also quite expensive, with the basic model costing around $1,000 to $2,000.
Underwater camera housings are generally specific to a camera model or brand. That’s why the material available will also depend on your unit. For compact cameras, most housings available are plastic.
On the other hand, if you have a mirrorless or dSLR, you’re lucky as there are many options for both plastic and aluminum housings.
Want a compact and lightweight camera that can take quality images and videos without breaking the bank? If yes, this is the best camera for you.
The AKASO Brave 4 features 20MP resolution for images and 4K/24fps, 2K/30fps and 1080p/60fps resolution for videos, which is an incredible feature as they allow you to capture the underwater scenes in great detail.
Moreover, it comes with a built-in image stabilizer or an anti-shake feature, which will make your images clearer and your videos smoother.
Since it is common nowadays to share images or videos on social media, you can do it almost instantly and without hassle directly from your camera through an app called AKASO DV. You may also save your files to your computer using a USB cable.
Compact and lightweight
Comes with a remote control for convenience
With Car DVR mode
Comes with a solid waterproof case which can go up to 30 meters underwater
Filters red light underwater
Comes with two rechargeable batteries that record up to 90 minutes
Good video quality
Best quality images
Some issues with video functionality
The Victure AC800 action camera has multiple functions, which makes it a great camera for those who love water activities including scuba diving, surfing, sailing, snorkeling and swimming among others.
With this camera, you can take 20MP images and record 4K videos, just what you need to make lasting memories of your adventures.
Not only that, it is fitted with a 170° wide-angle lens that gives you a wider field of view for more amazing captures. An even more interesting feature is that it lets you easily create a time-lapse movie in full HD.
The best thing about this camera is that it has a built-in EIS function that is great for shooting fast-moving subjects which is typical of underwater creatures.
With a 12-month warranty for man-made damage
Compact and easy to carry
With built-in EIS technology
Creates time lapse
Comes with a case and a bike mount
Video quality is good
Best quality images
Issue with image stabilization
This camera was designed for thrillseekers or adventurers who frequent diving spots as well as biking and mountain trails. Wherever your next adventure would be, you can easily carry this compact and lightweight camera with you.
It is one tough camera as it is made to be waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof. So wherever you go, you can rely on this gear to capture your experience.
COOLPIX W300 takes 16MP images, 4K Ultra HD videos and time-lapse movies in harsh weather conditions and environment.
With numerous useful functionalities such as GPS, altimer, eCompass and more
Compact and easy to carry and use
Can handle harsh conditions
With low light CMOS sensor
Photos are only with 16 megapixels; most of its counterpart have 20MP
If you spend a great deal of time outdoors or underwater, you might consider checking this camera out as it has features and functions that are best for you.
Features such as image stabilization, 6-axis gyroscope to detect position and motion changes, narrow to super wide view angle, and distortion calibration functionality are just irresistible as they help you take stunning images over land or under the sea.
Performance wise, it takes 4K/30fps and 20MP images. If you do scuba diving, you can use this camera to a depth of up to 30 meters. Turning on the Diving Mode lets you filter red light under water. And yes, it already comes with a durable waterproof case.
Comes with useful accessories such as two rechargeable batteries and remote control wristband
With EIS for image stabilization
Adjustable angle from narrow to super wide
Best quality images
Issue with firmware
The Campark ACT74 Action Camera is an extremely versatile camera and is best for well-rounded adventurers. You can use it for outdoor activities and water sports including scuba diving, swimming, drifting and surfing.
It is waterproof up to 30 meters and also comes with multifunctional accessories for on-land activities including a mount for helmet and bicycles.
Considered as an action camera, it can record 4K videos in 4K/30fps and take images at 16MP resolution. It also offers different visual experience with its adjustable view angle using its 170-degree view angle lens.
Lets you control the camera via mobile phone in real time
Multiple view angles
Compact and versatile
Housing not included while many of the cameras we feature in this list already comes with housing included
Only 16MP resolution for images when most cameras we listed offer 20MP
You can tell that AKASO is a good brand for underwater camera, in fact, we have included three models from the same brand in this review.
This one though has a lower resolution for images at 12MP only and can shoot 4K 25 fps & 2.7K 30 fps videos.
Aside from having manual controls, it also comes with a wrist remote so that you can conveniently control your camera without hassle while exploring the best of the underwater world.
This camera is great for beginners in underwater photography as it is easy to use, not to mention inexpensive.
Comes with durable waterproof case
With wireless wrist remote
Withstands extreme environment
Good video quality
Low resolution for images
A camera with a dashcam mode! That’s an interesting feature, and this camera has that capability. If you want that extra feature, this camera might be for you.
In terms of performance, this camera is also at par with its counterparts, like being able to take 4K/24fps, 2K/30fps, 1080P/60fps videos and 20MP images.
It also has the coveted anti-shaking and adjustable wide-angle features that further enhance the quality of images or videos you can take.
Moreover, it supports various recording modes such as time-lapse, timer-shoot capture and support loop recording, among others.
Depth rating of up to 40 meters
Best quality images
with dash cam mode
Issue in quality of videos
For water-sport lovers who are looking for a portable camera, this product is a good option to consider. You’ll have no problem with the images and videos it takes as it shoots 20MP and 4K/24fps, 2K/30fps, and 1080p/60fps, respectively.
And to ensure that you get smooth and clear photos, it features an impressive image stabilizer which is a must in underwater photography.
Aside from shooting regular photos and videos, you can also use it to create timelapse and loop videos.
If you plan on sharing your photos and videos, you can easily share them anytime and anywhere, as you go scuba diving, cycling, skiing, drafting, swimming, etc. through an APP called CamKing.
With motion detection
Best quality imagesim
With car mode
Comes with a 2.4G remote control for convenience
With touch screen display
Comes with a suitcase
With CMOS sensor
Issues with firmware
Sensor is basic which means that you may not get good shots in dark environment
Undeniably, GoPro is one of the most popular brands when it comes to underwater cameras. And the Hero 7 Black Edition will not disappoint you. It comes with a long list of features and functionalities, yet it is easy to use.
It is a more advanced version of the HERO model, boasting of better quality image and cutting-edge waterproof construction for best experience.
This camera is a refreshing alternative to the usual landscape or horizontal option with its portrait shooting orientation. It produces Ultra HD 4K videos at up to 60fps and 12MP images.
With its built-in HyperSmooth Video Stabilization feature, you get smoother and professional-looking photos even without a gimbal stabilizer.
With reliable built-in stabilizer
Wi-Fi and bluetooth connectivity
Compatible with smart remote
Only 12MP for photos when many underwater cameras have 20MP
Waterproof up to 10 meters only
The Olympus Tough underwater camera is best for beginners and intermediate level in photography. Because of its tough and durable construction, it is also suitable for people who spend a lot of time outdoors or doing water activities.
It is built to go up to a depth of 15 meters and is shockproof (7 feet / 2.1 meters), dust proof, crush proof (100kgf) and freezeproof (up to 14° Fahrenheit / -10° Celsius). With these kind of protection, you can confidently bring it with you to any land activities aside from scuba diving.
As for the quality of photos, it does not slack on that part as you can use it for shooting 4K movies and FullHD 120fps high speed movies as well as 12MP images.
High quality videos
Very easy to use
Allows for raw shooting
Lens are stacked in the interior for protection
No eye-level viewfinder
Looking for an extremely compact best underwater camera for diving? This product might just be what you are looking for. It is a tough gear with numerous great functionalities.
Talking about toughness, you can use it to shoot HD videos in extreme temperatures on land or underwater. It is also constructed to be dustproof, freezeproof, waterproof and shockproof.
It has also a good sensor which lets you get well-defined images in spite of weather conditions.
Moreover, this camera has several unique features that are clinchers. One of them is its 8x Intelligent Zoom function, allowing you to have an even longer zoom reach.
Very compact and lightweight
Shoots HD videos
More creative effects for photos
Tough and can withstand extreme weather conditions
Waterproof for up to 8 meters only which is one of the lowest in this list
Image is only at 16.1MP when other cameras produce higher MPs
Considering the specs, functionalities and overall performance of some of the best underwater camera for scuba diving, we give the AKASO Brave 4 4K 20MP WiFi Action Camera the highest rating.
It has some of the best features compared with other products in this list. For one, it takes stunning 20MP photos and HD videos. It can also go as deep as 30 meters underwater, while the other cameras we reviewed do not reach this depth.
It also has the capability to filter light underwater. With all these advantages, this camera gives you the best value for your money.