Are you curious to know what is the best camera for underwater photography?

If you’re on a budget, finding a camera that can deliver high-quality results without breaking the bank can be a challenge. 

I am here to help you!

In this article, you will learn about the 12 best cameras for underwater photography that won’t empty your wallet.

 

12 Best Cameras for Underwater Photography (Budget Picks)


In this section, I review the 12 such amazing options for you to explore the underwater world with:

Olympus TG-6

OM SYSTEM OLYMPUS TG-6 Red Underwater camera, Waterproof, Freeze proof, High Resolution Bright, 4K Video 44x Macro shooting
  • Water proof (50 feet /15 meter), dust proof, shock proof (7 feet / 2.1 meter), crush...
  • High resolution F2.0 lens, maximum 8x zoom, true pic VIII, back illuminated CMOS...
  • Variable macro system comprised of 4 macro shooting modes, magnified shooting up to 1...

Looking for a durable and reliable waterproof camera? The Olympus Tough 6 is a solid choice, as it’s waterproof, shock-proof, crushproof, and freezeproof. Not only is it built to withstand harsh environments, but it also takes excellent photos and can capture a water drop in 4K resolution. With its eight-times zoom, it can easily capture small details in the distance. Despite not having a full manual mode, the Olympus TG-6’s unique lens allows for incredible macro photography without any external lens, making it a great option for those who want to take professional shots with a compact camera.

The Tough underwater camera is perfect for shallow dives, snorkeling, and swimming, as it has five underwater shooting modes. It’s also suitable for other outdoor activities. Although it’s not the cheapest option on the market, its durability and versatility make it worth the investment. Just keep in mind that the wifi transfer function can be slow at times.

Panasonic LUMIX LX10

Panasonic LUMIX LX10 4K Digital Camera, 20.1 Megapixel 1-Inch Sensor, 3X LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX Lens, F1.4-2.8 Aperture, POWER O.I.S. Stabilization, 3-Inch LCD, DMC-LX10K (Black)
  • POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA: Large, 1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor plus 3X zoom LEICA DC...
  • TILTING SELFIE DISPLAY: Rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD display (1040K dots) tilts...
  • 4K VIDEO CAPTURE: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160), plus exclusive LUMIX 4K...

The Panasonic Lumix LX10 offers smooth 4K video capabilities and outstanding picture quality. It’s also great for taking selfies, as it can tilt 180 degrees upwards. With a 20-megapixel camera and three-times zoom, it’s easy to capture beautiful moments with minimal effort.

The Lumix LX10 4K camera is a great choice for divers who want to quickly and easily capture high-definition photos and videos. It features a fast lens and shutter speeds, and the wifi and USB photo transfer is fast and effortless. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase housing at an additional cost, and the video stabilization can be a bit shaky.

Bare in mind, that you can use this camera underwater only with a waterproof case.

underwater photography

Insta360 ONE R 4k-edition

Insta360 ONE R 4K Edition – 4K 60fps Sports Action Camera with Stabilization, IPX8 Waterproof, Reversible Touch Screen, Slow Motion, Adaptive Design
  • 4K Wide Angle: Capture crisp, vibrant, stabilized shots at 4K 60fps or up to 8x slow...
  • FlowState Stabilization: FlowState achieves gimbal-like image stabilization without...
  • IPX8 Waterproof: Whether you're poolside or on a rainy-day ride, this waterproof...

The Insta360 One R 4K Edition is a versatile and innovative action camera that has reinvented the way we capture our adventures. One of its most striking features is the modular design, which allows users to swap between a 4K wide-angle lens and a 360-degree dual-lens setup, offering unparalleled flexibility in a single device. The camera is compact, lightweight, and waterproof up to 5 meters without a case.

If you’re looking to explore underwater depths beyond the camera’s 5-meter limit, purchasing a waterproof case is necessary. This accessory, along with other useful attachments, can be found in the following article: 7 Top insta360 ONE R Accessories.

The image stabilization is a standout feature, with Insta360’s FlowState technology ensuring smooth and stable footage even in the most challenging shooting scenarios. In terms of image quality, the Insta360 One R 4K Edition delivers crisp and vibrant videos and photos, thanks to its high-quality sensor and lens. The camera supports various shooting modes, including HDR, time-lapse, and slow motion, providing a creative playground for users to experiment with.

The Insta360 app (you can download it for free by clicking the link>>) is user-friendly and offers seamless editing and sharing capabilities, which further enhances the overall experience. Although the camera’s battery life could be improved, the modular design does offer the option to invest in additional batteries for extended shooting sessions.

Find our guide to SD cards recommendations: insta360 One R SD Card Size Recommendations.

SeaLife Micro 3.0 

SeaLife Micro 3.0 64GB, 16mp, 4K Underwater Camera for Underwater Photography and Video, Easy Set-up, Wireless Transfer; Includes case, Wrist Strap
  • POWERFUL IMAGE SENSOR - 16MP IMX083 CMOS 1/2.3" image sensor for sharp colorful...
  • INTUITIVE SETUP - Easy setup with five Land & Sea scene modes, three built-in digital...
  • HIGH-RESOLUTION IMAGES – The Micro 3.0 camera shoots 16MP images in single and...

Sealife’s latest underwater camera, the SeaLife Micro 3.0 is a combination of GoPro alternatives and past Sealife models, such as the DC2000, using action camera technology and dedicated software. It is an excellent choice for beginners due to its ease of use, versatility, and affordability.

The camera’s features include a 16MP 1/2.3” image sensor, 100° wide-angle lens, and 4K@30fps or 1080p@120fps video recording capability. It weighs 329 grams and has dimensions of 4.2 x 2.1 x 2.9″ / 10.7 x 5.3 x 7.4 cm. The camera has practical and convenient piano keys, RAW shooting capability, and built-in color correction for underwater. However, it struggles in low-light situations and has basic controls.

Panasonic Lumix LX100

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II Large Four Thirds 21.7 MP Multi Aspect Sensor 24-75mm Leica DC VARIO-SUMMILUX F1.7-2.8 Lens Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Camera with 3" LCD, Black (DC-LX100M2)
  • Large Four Thirds sensor - 17 MP [4: 3 aspect] high-sensitivity multi-aspect Four...
  • Leica DC vario-summilux lens - 24-75 millimeter lens [F1. 7-2. 8], with power optical...
  • 4K video & 4K photo - Panasonic’s exclusive 4K photo technology uses 30 frames per...

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is an updated version of the LX10 that is designed to prevent shaky footage and ensure clear images. With 4K HD resolution, it captures stunning photos and videos both underwater and on land. The macro shooting mode is perfect for capturing small details, and the zoom feature produces exceptional clarity. The LX100 II is highly rated by casual and avid photographers alike for its ease of use and excellent quality.

The camera has additional features that set it apart from others, such as anti-shake capabilities and advanced sensors for improved photo quality. While it is a bit pricey and requires separate housing for underwater use, the Lumix LX100 II is a reliable and high-quality option for those willing to invest in a top-notch camera.

Note, that this camera needs an underwater case.

Sony RX100

SPECIAL SALE
Sony RX100 VII Premium Compact Camera with 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor (DSCRX100M7)
559 Reviews
Sony RX100 VII Premium Compact Camera with 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor (DSCRX100M7)
  • 20. 1MP 1. 0 Type stacked CMOS sensor, Zeiss Vario Sonnar T 24 200 millimeter F2. 8...
  • 0. 02 sec. High AF speed, 357 point focal plane Phase detection AF and 425 point...
  • Up to 20 fps blackout free shooting, using up to 60 times/sec. AF/AE calculations....

The Sony RX100 is a premium compact camera that offers exceptional precision and detail, earning it the title of the best compact camera by Techcrunch. With 4K HD resolution, it performs well above and below water, but housing is needed for underwater use.

The camera’s impressive performance is due to features such as a 20.1 megapixel 1.0 type stacked CMOS sensor, Zeiss Vario Sonnar lens, super-fast AF, and a high magnification zoom lens. It also includes an external microphone jack for filming on land and a 24-200mm zoom lens for clear and detailed underwater images. Despite being expensive, the Sony RX100 is a leading camera in the compact category, offering exceptional image quality and an intuitive design.

Have in mind, that this camera needs an underwater case.

Nikon W300

Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera with TFT LCD, 3", Yellow (26525)
  • Waterproof, freeze proof, shockproof and dustproof adventure camera with extra...
  • Stunning high resolution photos, 4K Ultra HD videos, Time-lapse videos, Super lapse...
  • 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens with telephoto power and Hybrid VR image stabilization;...

The Nikon COOLPIX W300 is a rugged underwater camera that doesn’t require housing. It’s waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof, making it ideal for various outdoor activities such as diving, swimming, and trekking. The 4K HD camera with a 5X zoom lens produces excellent images.

This small camera is a perfect travel companion for outdoor adventures. It has a depth rating of 100ft/30m, a Nikon telephoto lens, 16.0 Megapixels, and can withstand any weather conditions. It also has fast autofocus and continuous shooting capabilities. However, its low-light underwater picture quality is not ideal, so you may need to consider an external flash.

Sony Alpha 7 II

Sony Alpha 7 II E-mount interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with full frame sensor
  • World’s first 5-axis in-body image stabilization in a full-frame camera.
  • Use your favorite lenses without blur from camera shake.
  • Capture stunning images with full-frame, 24.3MP resolution.

Another superb choice is the Sony Alpha 7 II. The full-frame camera with the world’s first 5-axis in-body image stabilization allows you to use your preferred lenses without worrying about camera shake that causes blur. You can capture striking images with a full-frame resolution of 24.3 megapixels and fast hybrid autofocus with phase detection, which is 30% faster than the a7.

The camera’s viewfinder type is a 0.5-type electronic viewfinder in color, which adds to the overall experience of using the camera. 

Don’t forget to buy yourself an underwater case to use this camera while diving.

Underwater Camera FHD

Underwater Camera FHD 2.7K 48 MP Waterproof Digital Camera Selfie Dual Screen Full-Color LCD Displays Waterproof Digital Camera for Snorkeling (806BC)
  • 2.7K 48MP Waterproof Camera - Full HD 2.7K underwater digital camera features rich...
  • 10FT Underwater Camera & Dual screens - This underwater camera is equipped with the...
  • Versatile and Easy to Operate - This waterproof digital camera features multiple...

This affordable underwater camera FHD is a great option for snorkeling enthusiasts who want to capture memories without breaking the bank. Despite its low price, it offers a 2.7-inch screen, image stabilization, 48 megapixels, and is depth rated to 10ft/3m, making it perfect for surface-level shots.

The camera is available in multiple funky colors and is durable enough to withstand sand and water exposure. While it has a few downsides, such as tiny buttons and no included lanyard, the three-hour battery life and easy-to-navigate features make it a solid choice for casual snorkelers and kids.

GoPro HERO 11 Black

GoPro HERO11 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with 5.3K60 Ultra HD Video, 27MP Photos, 1/1.9" Image Sensor, Live Streaming, Webcam, Stabilization
  • Revolutionary New Image Sensor: expansive field of view ever on a HERO camera out of...
  • Unbelievable Image Quality: With 5.3K video that gives you 91% more resolution than...
  • High-Res Photos + Videos, High Frame Rate: HERO11 Black’s new image sensor boosts...

The HERO 11 Black camera boasts a revolutionary image sensor that captures an expansive field of view for more creative shots. With 5.3K video, it delivers incredible cinematic image quality and 91% more resolution than 4K. The camera also offers high-resolution photos and videos with a boost in photo resolution up to 27MP and the ability to capture 5.3K60 video with fluid motion, as well as 2.7K240 video that can be played back in 8x slo-mo.

The HERO11 Black also features Emmy Award-winning HyperSmooth Stabilization, which has been further improved with Horizon Lock, improved stabilization for 4:3 aspect ratio footage, and AutoBoost for maximum stabilization with minimal image cropping. Capture smooth footage while various underwater adventures with ease.

The GoPro Hero 11 boasts waterproof capabilities of up to 33ft. However, should you desire to explore greater depths, a high-quality housing case is necessary. Here, we present a selection of the finest underwater cases designed specifically for your GoPro Hero 11.

Canon PowerShot G16

The Canon PowerShot G16 is a compact camera with impressive features, such as a 5X zoom, 1080p HD video, and a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, that give it almost SLR quality. Its built-in wifi feature allows for easy image transfer to digital devices and social media accounts, making it not just a camera but also a smart device.

Underwater, performs very well for its mid-range price point, especially when paired with the RecSea WHC-G16 housing and a strobe. A great option for underwater photography enthusiasts who want a high-quality camera without breaking the bank, although the housing can be more expensive than the camera itself.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II Digital Camera w/ 1 Inch Sensor, Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled, Black (3070C001)
110 Reviews
Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II Digital Camera w/ 1 Inch Sensor, Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled, Black (3070C001)
  • 20. 1 Megapixel 1. 0” Stacked CMOS Sensor and DIGIC 8 Image Processor.
  • 5x Optical Zoom Lens (24-120mm f/1. 8-2. 8) with Optical Image Stabilizer.
  • 4K 30p / FHD 120p Video.

This professional full-frame mirrorless camera by Canon, the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is gaining popularity due to its affordability. It is a powerhouse underwater when paired with multiple housing options by Ikelite, Nauticam, Sea and Sea, and others. Using this camera with the new Canon 100mm Macro lens will make your setup enviable, even to Nat Geo.

The camera boasts incredible image and video quality, 8K video resolution, a large LCD monitor, and a more compact size than full-frame DSLRs. However, it lacks a built-in flash, requiring an external trigger for fiber optic strobe connections.

Do not forget to buy an underwater case to use this camera for your dives.

More cameras for underwater filming: 7 Best Cameras for Diving

 

What Camera Will You Choose?


The GoPro Hero 11 is my choice for underwater photography.

It’s highly durable, being waterproof, shock-proof, crushproof, which makes it ideal for underwater environments.

Another great option is the Insta360 ONE R 4k-edition for its image stabilization.

Insta360’s FlowState technology ensures smooth and stable footage even in the most challenging shooting scenarios.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

I hope this guide helped you learn about some of the best cameras for underwater photography 🙂

 

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