If you’re an avid scuba diver and love to explore the ocean’s depths, then having a quality underwater camera is essential for capturing stunning shots and videos. From wide-angle lenses that snap sweeping landscapes to close-up macros for intricate details – plenty of options are available when it comes to finding the perfect underwater camera.
But with so much choice comes the difficulty of making the right decision for you. What works for one diver might not be the best fit for another. That’s why we’ve rounded up our top picks for underwater cameras – the best underwater cameras for scuba diving to make your decision easier.
From budget-friendly options to higher-end models, there is something for everyone on this list.
- Best Compact Camera for All Levels: Olympus TG-6 Waterproof Camera
The Olympus Tough TG-6 is the best point-and-shoot waterproof camera for all levels of divers. You can capture some spectacular underwater shots with this easy-to-use camera.
- Best Waterproof Camera for Scuba Diving: SeaLife Micro 3.0 64GB 16MP 4K Underwater Diving Camera
Waterproof, with no need for any additional housing, the SeaLife Micro Diving Camera is a great option for deep diving endeavors. This camera can achieve a depth of 200 feet and records in 4K UHD resolution.
- Best Complete Camera Package for Scuba Divers: Sea & Sea DX-6G Adventure Set
With a camera, housing, strobe, and tray all included in one package, the Sea & Sea DX-6G Adventure Set is perfect for serious divers who want a complete underwater camera system.
- Best Action Camera for Underwater Photography: GoPro Hero11
A tried and true scuba diving favorite – the GoPro Hero 11. This action camera is waterproof up to 33 feet and can capture stunning 4K footage with its wide-angle lens.
- Best Underwater Camera for Divers on a Budget: Akaso Action Camera Brave 7LE
Don’t let the low price tag fool you – the Akaso Action Camera packs a punch! With photo capabilities up to 20mp, this budget-friendly camera is excellent for divers who are just starting out.
Read on for more information and details on each product.
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You can divide most scuba diving cameras into three categories: compact cameras, action cameras, and DSLRs. All of these camera types can produce stunning images and videos. Still, the one you choose ultimately depends on your experience level and what you plan to use it for.
Before we discuss the best underwater cameras for scuba diving, let’s take a look at the different types available:
Action cameras are the best choice for those who want to capture action-packed shots. These models are usually the cheapest underwater cameras on the market and are designed to be easy to use and extremely durable. They also often come with numerous accessories, such as mounting brackets and filters, so that you can easily customize your setup.
Compact cameras are ideal for beginner photographers and those who don’t need professional-level photos. These cameras are usually priced mid-range and come with built-in features that make it easy to capture beautiful images – without worrying about settings or complex menus.
If you are already a professional photographer or looking to take your underwater photography to the next level, then you may consider a DSLR. These cameras can produce stunning images and videos with incredible detail, but they do require some technical knowledge and are more expensive than other options.
However, DSLRs are not usually the most popular underwater choice. Most scuba divers choose a compact or adventure camera for scuba diving, as DSLRs are heavier and bulkier than other options. DSLRs also always require additional camera housing – which can be just as expensive as the camera.
Camera housing is essential for keeping your camera and lens safe from the elements. The best underwater cameras have waterproof housings that provide an airtight seal, protecting your camera and lenses from water damage.
Now that you know the different types of underwater cameras available, let’s take a look at some of our top picks.
There is a camera for every budget and experience level, so you can be sure to find the perfect model for your needs.
The Olympus TG-6 had to be at the top of our list – it is the perfect choice for all types of divers who want to capture stunning underwater shots. This compact camera is the best point-and-shoot underwater camera for amateurs and pros alike. The Olympus offers exceptional macro capabilities and delivers great image quality with its 12MP sensor.
Review Score: 9.5
Our Opinion: Best compact camera for all levels
This brilliant camera offers everything any new or experienced diver needs to capture stunning shots. The camera is waterproof up to 50 feet, making it perfect for recreational diving and snorkeling – and the 8x maximum zoom capability means can capture shots from far away.
If shooting videos are more your thing, you’ll be glad to know the Olympus Tough TG-6 has 4K movie recording capabilities. The super high resolution, high-speed back-lit CMOS image sensor, and high-speed zoom lens make this one of the best cameras for capturing amazing underwater footage. Furthermore, the camera is shockproof and freezeproof – perfect for any adventure.
- 12MP Hi-Speed image sensor
- Dual-pane protective glass
- Focus stacking mode – shifts focus from the foreground to the background (ideal for macro shots)
- x4 Optical Zoom (35mm equivalent: 25mm-100mm)
- Five underwater modes: underwater wide, underwater macro, underwater snapshot, underwater microscope, and underwater HDR
- Three underwater white balance modes: underwater shallow, underwater deep, and underwater mid-range
- In-camera flash with diffuser
- Waterproof up to 15m, dustproof, shockproof up to 2.4m, crushproof up to 100kgf, and freezeproof up to 14°F
- Pro capture mode shoots 10 frames a second (fps) for 0.5 seconds
- HD LCD monitor
What We Like
- Ease of use
- Great photo and video quality
- Small compact design
- Two colors to choose from (black or red)
- Waterproof without the need for camera housing (up to 15m)
- Additional accessories are available so they can be upgraded as needs change
- Different modes allow a range of shots
What We Dislike
- No manual option – only the pre-set modes
- The megapixel is not as high as some other underwater cameras
SeaLife really knows how to make some good underwater camera equipment. The SeaLife Micro 3.0 is their best waterproof camera to date – we just can’t get enough of it! Not only can it go into the water without any extra protection, but it shoots in 16MP and full ultra HD video. This awesome little adventure camera is perfect for divers at any level.
Review Score: 9.8
Our Opinion: Best waterproof camera for scuba diving
The SeaLife Micro 3.0 Underwater camera is ready to dive right out of the box! There is no way for the camera to leak, and it offers a waterproof rating of up to 200 feet. The camera is secured in durable rubber armor housing that is also shock resistant and ideal for traveling.
With a multi-coated, aspheric optical lens and a 16MP Sony 1/2.3 inch sensor, you can be sure to get the best shots out of this camera. The SeaLife Micro can shoot in 4K UHD video at a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second – with digital image stabilization to help reduce motion blur. Not only this, but almost no shutter lag offers you a smooth and fast experience.
- 16MP Sony 1/2.3 inch sensor
- 4K UHD video at 30fps
- Wirelessly download and share images/videos – no memory card
- Connects to your smartphone
- Battery life provides 1000+ images and 3+ hours of video
- Instant focus from 15″ to infinity
- Shutter response time of 0.1 seconds
- 64gb built-in memory
- WiFi connectivity
- No openings to let water in
What We Like
- Big controls make it easy to use, even with gloves
- High-resolution and high frame rate videos – great for capturing amazing footage
- Shockproof and waterproof
- Manual and pre-set options
- Compact design
What We Dislike
- No option to upgrade storage – which could cause issues if on vacation
- More expensive than most adventure cameras
We won’t pretend like the Sea & Sea DX-6G set isn’t pricey, but when you think about what’s included, it’s worth every penny. This set has everything you need for underwater photography and will help ensure you get professional-level results. It comes with a camera, housing, underwater strobe, and tray! We love a complete package that truly offers an amazing deal.
Review Score: 9.8
Our Opinion: Best complete camera package for scuba divers
With a 16mp image sensor, HD video capability, and multiple shooting modes – the DX-6G underwater camera has the features you need to capture stunning photos and videos. Pan focus, infinity-landscape, and manual focus are just some of the options with the DX-6G. It also has a depth rating of 55m when in the casing, making it ideal for deep-sea photography and exploring shipwrecks.
The strobe has a 100-degree x 100-degree beam angle (110-degree x 100 degrees with the diffuser) and a recycle time of 2.5 seconds. Both the camera and strobe light sit comfortably in the included tray, which has a flex arm for easy movement and adjustment. Together, the DX-6G set makes for a powerful piece of underwater photography equipment!
- 16MP image sensor
- Color temperature of 5600k (5250k with diffuser)
- Shutter speed of 1/4000 – 1/4sec
- HDR filter – in-camera editing capabilities
- Motion blur reduction
- Auto tracking
- Macro shooting option
- Face detection
- Depth rating of 55m (with housing)
- Playback modes
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
What We Like
- Complete camera and strobe kit
- Multiple shooting modes
- Good depth rating
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery included
- Brilliant photo and video quality
- Durable and reliable
What We Dislike
- Pricey – even with all the features included!
- Takes time to learn how to use the camera and strobe light properly
The GoPro Hero11 is the latest release from the ever-popular action camera brand. We love a good GoPro, and this is definitely the best offering yet. With 27mp photos, 4K video, and HyperSmooth stabilization – this is the ultimate action camera for any adventure. The GoPro Hero11 is the underwater camera for you if you want a decently priced, featured-packed, reliable camera.
Review Score: 9.9
Our Opinion: Best action camera for underwater photography
One of the most notable differences with GoPro’s new offering has to be the larger image sensor. This new and improved sensor offers up to 27mp image resolution, meaning you can capture some truly stunning pictures. Enhanced HyperSmooth stabilization also ensures that your videos look smooth and professional while you’re underwater.
The GoPro Hero11 is waterproof up to 33ft as standard, which you can increase by purchasing an additional camera housing. All your images will automatically be uploaded to the cloud for safekeeping, meaning you will always have access to your files. Other features include 10-bit color capture, horizon lock (for keeping your horizons straight!), hindsight capture (your GoPro will automatically record 30 seconds of footage BEFORE you hit record), and duration capture (pick a set time for your camera to record).
- Responsive touch screen and flip front screen
- Playback capabilities
- 27mp image resolution
- 4K video with HyperSmooth stabilization
- Waterproof up to 33ft (can be increased with housing)
- Water-repelling lens cover to avoid streaks and droplets
- 10-bit color capture
- HyperView digital lens – offering a wide-angle shot of 16:9
What We Like
- High-resolution images
- Excellent HyperSmooth stabilization
- Multiple modes
- Waterproof up to 33ft
- Easy to use
- SD card slot to increase memory
- Responsive touch screen
- Many mount options with additional accessories
What We Dislike
- Pricey for a beginner action camera
- No macro shooting options
- SD cards are sold separately
We understand you might not want to spend much when you’re just starting out with underwater photography. With the Akaso Brave 7LE, you can enjoy many features of a top-tier model without breaking the bank. You’ll get awesome 4K videos, waterproof housing, and built-in WiFi. While it’s not the best camera around, the Akaso 7LE gets the job done better than we first thought!
Review Score: 7.9
Our Opinion: Best underwater camera for divers on a budget
The Akaso Brave 7LE action camera is a budget-friendly option for underwater photography. It features a dual-screen design – so you can see yourself when filming selfie style and back facing touchscreen to see what you’re capturing in real-time.
The Akaso Brave 7LE also features an upgrade 6-axis EIS, which helps reduce motion blur and ensures smooth footage.
The Akaso Brave 7LE features 4K video and photo resolutions ranging from 4mp to 20mp! A full set of accessories is included, such as multifunctional mounting kits and a remote control for hands-free photography. With the protective camera housing, your Akaso Brave 7LE can withstand depths up to 40m – perfect for snorkeling and diving.
- Photo resolution: 20MP, 16MP, 14MP, 12MP, 8MP, 5MP, 4MP
- Lithium-Ion batteries included
- Video modes: 4K 30fps, 2.7K 30fps, 1080P 60fps, 1080P 30fps, 720P 120fps, 720P 60fps
- WiFi connectivity
- Depth allowance of 40 meters
- 170º viewing angle
- Integrated mobile app
- Digital zoom functionality
- Shooting modes: burst photo, time-lapse, and fast-motion
What We Like
- Good price for what you get
- Comes with camera housing and other accessories
- Multiple photo and video resolution options
- Good WiFi connectivity
- Various shooting modes
What We Dislike
- Fisheye lens – not everyone wants this
- No autofocus or shutter speed control
We’ve given you a few cameras to think about – but before you buy one, let’s take a look at some things to consider when choosing your underwater camera.
While most underwater cameras are built to be used by novices and professionals alike, it’s essential to think about your skill level. If you’re a beginner, go for something with an easy-to-use interface and lots of automatic settings. On the other hand, if you consider yourself more experienced, look for one with manual controls that give you complete creative control.
Underwater cameras range in price from relatively inexpensive to very expensive, so it’s important to keep your budget in mind when shopping around. If you’re just starting out, opt for an entry-level model and work your way up as you gain more experience.
Are you looking to snap some amazing shots to submit to a publication? Or will you simply be sharing your photos on your social media? Your photography goals should be a major factor in helping you choose an underwater camera.
Underwater cameras are designed for different types of photography, from wide-angle to macro and everything in between. So make sure you know what type of photography you’ll be doing and buy the right camera for your needs.
Think about all the features you’ll need in your camera. Do you need a wide enough angle lens to capture entire coral reefs? Will you be shooting in low light and need high ISO settings? Knowing all these specifications will help you narrow down your options until you find the perfect one.
Here are some specifications to look into before buying a camera:
- Megapixels: The more megapixels, the better the resolution of your photos.
- Sensor size: This will affect how much light is captured and affects image quality.
- Lens mount: Lenses with larger mounts are ideal since they let in more light.
- Autofocus system: Choose a camera with an autofocus system that works quickly and accurately.
- Total depth: Make sure your chosen camera can handle your deepest dives.
- Video quality: Look for a camera with a high frame rate and excellent image stabilization.
- Weight: The weight of your camera can affect your buoyancy underwater.
- Battery life: You don’t want to be caught out mid-dive with a dead battery!
Most underwater cameras come with a few extra accessories, such as waterproof cases, mounts, and flashes. But while we haven’t included any DSLRs in our breakdown of the best cameras for scuba diving – you’ll need additional accessories, such as dive housing, if you choose to go with a DSLR.
More often than not, camera housing is almost the same price as the camera itself – if not more. Be sure to consider this when buying a camera to avoid any unwanted expenses.
It’s clear that there are many great underwater cameras out there, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Before you buy, make sure to consider the factors listed above, and you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect camera for your underwater photography needs.
All the cameras listed here are great options, but be sure to do your research and compare specs before you purchase! You could also consider renting a camera or taking an underwater photography class. This will allow you to get a feel for what works best for you before investing in any gear.
Then, once you know what to look for, you’ll be ready to find the perfect underwater camera and start capturing the beauty of the ocean!