Best underwater cameras: The ultimate waterproof photography gadgets guide best underwater cameras waterproof 300x169 1 BB Yacht Charter Marbella

Best underwater cameras: The ultimate waterproof photography gadgets guide

We review the best waterproof cameras designed for underwater photography, from digital compact cameras to GoPro gadgets.

Being on board a yacht offers access to some of the planet’s most bountiful waters. And whether you’re scuba diving, swimming or snorkelling, a waterproof camera is a key piece of equipment for photographing marine life or wrecks. If you’re looking for the best underwater cameras, there are three main types to consider:

  1. Digital compacts – much like a regular digital camera, compact cameras have a single fixed lens, often with a zoom option and a display screen. They’re usually produced in colourful shades to avoid being lost if dropped on the seabed.
  2. Action cameras – developed by brands like GoPro and DJI, action cameras are smaller and often don’t have a zoom function but can record much higher quality video. Easy to attach to clothing or helmets, they’re good for recording water sports.
  3. Disposable cameras – if you’re looking for something that’ll do a decent job on a low budget, you can also opt for a disposable underwater camera. The disadvantage is that you’ll need to take these to a store to have the photos developed afterwards.

More advanced equipment such as mirrorless or DLSR cameras will produce higher quality optics, but are far more expensive and require specialised waterproof housing in order to be submerged.

Compact, disposable or action cameras are easy to use for underwater photography beginners and can be in themselves waterproof to as deep as 25 metres, making them suitable for dive excursions.

Their smaller size also means they create less drag in the water, are more travel-friendly and are affordable while still being able to capture images that can rival those taken by the latest iPhone.

6 of the best underwater cameras

Fujifilm Finepix XP140

Reasons to buy

– Waterproof to 25 metres
– Wireless connectivity
– Remote control option

Reasons to avoid

– No Raw support
– “Old-school” design
– Reduced 4K video quality compared to other models

This FujiFilm underwater camera is reliably hardy. It offers the greatest depth for water submersion straight out of the box (down to 25 metres) while still providing 5x optical zoom and 16-megapixel photographs.

It also attests to be shockproof to 1.8 metres, dustproof and freezeproof to -10 degrees. Other useful shooting modes include 4K video capture, remote use through the iPhone App, burst shooting, eye detection and a self-timer.

It can be found at more affordable prices than other models, but the trade-off, according to users, is reduced 4K film capture quality, no Raw support and an old-fashioned design.

Buy now via Currys

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Kodak PixPro WPZ2

Reasons to buy

– Affordable
– Wi-Fi connectivity
– Waterproof to 15 metres

Reasons to avoid

– Reduced zoom
– Lower-quality video capture
– No built-in stabilisation

Although the zoom and image quality may be slightly reduced compared to other underwater cameras, the Kodak PixPro is seriously sturdy and does a decent job on a lower budget. This rugged compact claims to be dustproof, waterproof to 15 metres and shockproof to 2 metres.

Without breaking the bank it also offers Wi-Fi connectivity, captures images in 16 megapixels and records video in a very respectable 1080p HD.

As there’s no built-in stabilisation, images might be softer around the edges unless you have very steady hands. But despite that, image colours are vivid even without special underwater filters.

Buy now on Amazon

Ricoh WG-80

Reasons to buy

– Waterproof to 14 metres for two continuous hours
– 5x zoom function
– 16 megapixel photo quality

Reasons to avoid

– No viewfinder and small display
– No WiFi connectivity

The Ricoh WG-80 is advertised is another formidable option for both in the water and out. The model is advertised as shockproof to 1.6 metres, freezeproof to -10 degrees, crushproof to 100kgf and dustproof.

Most crucially, this underwater camera can be used at an underwater depth for a continuous duration of two hours, making it a good partner for swimmers, snorkellers and beginner divers without additional housing.

The model can capture pictures in 16 megapixels with a built-in LED ring light to enhance image quality. It stands out with an excellent zoom feature starting from a wide angle of 28mm. But users have noted the display screen feels cramped and the model lacks connectivity features for simple downloading.

Buy now on Amazon

DJI Osmo Action 3

Reasons to buy

– Rear and front touchscreens
– Voice interaction
– Time-lapse setting
– Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

Reasons to avoid

– No stabilisation in HDR mode
– No connectivity for GPS or live streaming

A rival to the Hero range by GoPro, the DJI Osmo action camera is close in terms of quality but a slightly more affordable model than its competitor.

Images are captured in 12 Megapixels with 4K resolution video and both time-lapse and slow-motion settings. The added feature of a touchscreen option may well help with usability underwater, plus voice interaction is useful when your hands are full while water-skiing or on a Jet Ski.

Beating the GoPro range, this underwater camera has a submersion depth of 16 metres. That’s still fine for swimming and snorkelling, but the purchase of an extra casing will extend that to 60 metres for scuba dive photography. Aside from underwater use, the DJI Osmo Action claims to be reliable in freezing temperatures down to -20 degrees.

Buy now on dji.com

Buy it now on Amazon

GoPro Hero 11 Black

Reasons to buy

– Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
– Automatic highlight reels generated during downloads
– 5.3K quality video capture
– Front and back screens

Reasons to avoid

– Waterproof to only 10 metres
– Expensive

The Hero 11 is the latest and most advanced model from the GoPro action camera range. It can capture cinematically crisp video in 5.3K quality and shoot in 8x slow motion, while high-resolution images are captured in 27 megapixels.

The latest upgrades provide a larger sensor for an enhanced field of view and impressive stabilisation features. It’s also easy to quickly upload footage to the cloud, plus a highlights reel will be automatically produced while you wait to download content.

For those willing to spend more on proper dive equipment, GoPro offers an easily compatible suite of colour-correcting filers and waterproof housing to bring this camera to a depth of 60 metres.

For those looking to find the best underwater cameras on a budget, opting for an older model like the GoPro Hero 8 or 10 will bring the price down without compromising too much on the quality.

Buy now on gopro.com

Olympus Tough TG-6

Reasons to buy

– Raw support
– 4K movie recording capabilities
– Easy to operate underwater
– Waterproof to 15 metres

Reasons to avoid

– No Bluetooth connection for downloading imagery
– Smaller sensor reduces optics quality

The compact Olympus Tough TG-6 is true to its name: dustproof, shockproof to 2.1 metres, crushproof to 100kg, freezeproof to -10 degrees and waterproof to 15 metres. Although some waterproof cameras can dive deeper, 15 metres is plenty enough for beginner divers.

Users have noted that on account of a smaller-sized sensor with a lens equivalent to 25-100mm, the quality of the photos and videos doesn’t necessarily surpass that of the latest iPhones. But the Olympus Tough TG-6 can be taken to extreme conditions that your phone can’t handle.

Five different underwater shooting modes and a Raw support system make this model stand out from other compact underwater cameras, allowing users to fine-tune photos within the device. Users have also commended the large buttons and intuitive design that make it easy to operate this model underwater.

Buy now on Amazon

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated sailing page for more marine products.


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