I tested many products and found the Olympus Tough TG-6 to be the best underwater camera for scuba diving.
As someone who has been into photography for years and has lots of experience using high-quality cameras underwater, I understand the pros and cons of various models. Like most decisions in life, choosing between these models is a question of tradeoffs, most notably between higher quality/heavy cameras and lower quality cameras that are compact and light.
By the end of the article, you will have a much clearer idea of these tradeoffs so you can make the best decision for you.
But in short, the Olympus TG-6 won as the best choice overall for an underwater camera. I had many reasons for this choice, but the most important for me are the compact design and optical zoom lens. The TG-6 is waterproof and allows me to shoot underwater or in the rain without worrying about the internals.
And besides being waterproof, the Olympus TG-6 is also freezeproof, shockproof, and crushproof. The minor downside of not having a manual mode is easy to forgive once you learn about its 4K resolution. The TG-6 also has an 8x zoom, and I loved capturing fantastic images in micro and macro shots.
But even though the Olympus TG-6 came out on top as the best overall underwater camera for scuba diving, I reviewed many other fantastic cameras and found them suitable for underwater usage. The top cameras that made the cut and their main highlights include:
- Overall best underwater camera for scuba diving: Olympus TG-6
- Best Budget underwater camera for scuba diving: Akaso EK7000
- Best Compact underwater camera for scuba diving: Sony RX100 VII
- Best point-and-shoot underwater video camera for scuba diving: Paralenz Vaquita
- Best action camera for scuba diving: GoPro Hero10 Bundle
- Best 360-degree video camera for scuba diving: Insta360 ONE R
- Best Professional camera for scuba diving: Sony A7R IV
- Best Beginner camera for scuba diving: SeaLife Micro 3.0
But before you make a final decision on which camera is best for you, keep reading to learn about all of my favorite details and features of these options!
Detailed Reviews for the Best Underwater Cameras for Scuba Diving
After testing several cameras suitable for underwater usage and scuba diving, I chose the following models as the best options. Let’s check out the details behind their features, pros, and cons.
1. Overall Best Underwater Camera for Scuba Diving: Olympus Tough TG-6
Most professional cameras come with the risk of breaking delicate internal parts and sensors. Water and impact can break expensive cameras easily, making them ill-suited for action situations and traveling.
But I found the Olympus TG-6 to balance high-quality images with incredible toughness and durability. And, of course, it is waterproof!
The TG-6 is crushproof, shockproof, and freezeproof, in addition to being waterproof. I loved this breadth of durability because I knew I could count on this camera holding up to many situations besides scuba diving, such as hiking, sports, and other adventures—I certainly found this model to be one of the most durable cameras ever!
And more on the product’s toughness, it is dustproof and has anti-fog capabilities. In terms of more specific durability measurements, I was impressed with this camera’s operating depth of up to 50 feet.
Temperature-wise, I’m personally satisfied with the cold limit of 14 degrees Fahrenheit, but some folks might need something with a lower limit. And with its shockproof capabilities, I feel safe knowing that the camera can survive falls from up to seven feet.
But do not confuse this TG-6’s durability with simplicity—you will still get high-quality images and professional action shots. There is a still resolution of 12 megapixels and a 1/2.3-inch photo sensor size, resulting in fantastic photos.
I also loved how this camera can capture fine details at a distance with its high-resolution lens and back-illuminated CMOS image sensor.
And despite these advanced photo capabilities, the TG-6 is remarkably small and compact. I was impressed with its dimensions of 2.6 x 4.4 x 1.3 inches and a weight of 2.1 ounces—active pursuits like diving, snorkeling, swimming, and other outdoor events will be easy. Overall, this product is a fantastic camera for all who enjoy outdoor activities.
But despite the compact size, this camera still has a 3-inch screen, and I was able to easily preview my photos. While some users complain that the buttons can be difficult to press with wet fingers, I did not find that to be a problem. And the camera powers on quickly, meaning you can take advantage of all time-sensitive photo opportunities.
With 4x optical and 8x maximum zoom, I could take underwater shots from far away and still capture incredible detail. Or, if up close, I used the magnified mode to take pictures as close as one centimeter from the lens. Compared to smartphones and cameras on a similar budget, I was impressed with this camera’s low-light performance.
With such a compact camera, one possible downside is the reduced battery life. The product uses an included lithium-ion battery, and you can purchase additional batteries for extended-use situations. Olympus estimates, based on average use, that you will be able to snap approximately 340 images on a full battery charge.
Another notable feature I loved in this camera was the five underwater shooting modes. These modes, along with the fast startup, make it easier to snap the perfect shot instead of missing the moment. The fantastic photo quality at night plus manual focus capabilities also help with getting the right settings for a variety of situations.
And for scuba divers who want to go deeper than the standard allowance, there is deep water housing available.
Lastly, let’s talk about the video capabilities of the TG-6. I was pleased that it could record video at 4K resolution and up to 120 frames per second for high-speed action shots. But even though video shooting is fantastic, I only got around thirty minutes of battery life when shooting continuously.
- Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof, anti-fog
- Ultra-compact size
- Effective still resolution of 12 megapixels
- 3-inch screen size
- Five underwater shooting modes
- An underwater depth limit of 50 feet—this limit can be an issue for some scuba divers
- It can be expensive for some budgets
- Slower Wi-Fi transfer
- No lens cover included
- Buttons can be difficult to press with wet hands
Bottom Line: The Olympus TG-6 is an all-around fantastic camera that will meet the needs of almost everyone taking shallow dives, snorkeling, or snapping pictures while swimming. Its multiple shooting modes and flexible settings allow you to capture moments perfectly—and I love not having to worry about damage or durability issues.
For an outdoors person who hikes and swims a lot, this camera will surely meet your needs. The only downside is its 50-foot depth limit, which makes it unsuitable for deep scuba diving adventures.
2. Best Budget Underwater Camera for Scuba Diving: Akaso EK7000
Next is the Akaso EK7000, a camera that is best for people on a strict budget. Compared to the previous Olympus model, I loved how it allowed me to begin taking underwater photos at less than 1/5th of the price.
I wanted to choose a budget option that still provided high enough quality pictures and videos, and I found that this EK7000 accomplishes that.
Firstly, this camera is even more waterproof, holding up to about 100 feet of depth with its waterproof case. The photos will max at 16 megapixels and a wide viewing angle with its 170-degree lens. I love these features because I can get much closer to large subjects underwater, and take sharp images.
I was also able to shoot video at 4K resolution up to 30 frames per second, although this quality did not live up to the more expensive cameras. Whether it is the processor, sensor, or other factors, the more expensive cameras in this collection produced much higher-quality video files.
I could not mess around with the camera settings like you would on expensive models, so this camera is not for photography geeks or those trying to learn. And I did not have the flexibility that I enjoyed in many other models. But there are three shooting modes to help me get decent shots.
These modes include
- photo burst,
- and loop recording.
I found the loop recording helpful for mounting the camera on a bike and making sure anything sudden is recorded. And photo burst is a fantastic option to snap many pictures at once—this mode is the key to catching the perfect action shots like jumping into the water and catching people mid-air.
Another feature worth mentioning in this budget pick is the built-in Wi-Fi that pairs with the AKASO GO app. After taking some fantastic shots, I was pleased that I could immediately transfer them to my phone for sharing. After taking many pictures in photo burst mode, for example, I was able to quickly find the best shots in the app.
Another fantastic feature of the app is being able to shoot a 4K video of a scuba adventure while on vacation and immediately being able to share them on social media or message them to friends.
I am very satisfied that this product comes with accessories and mounts. Besides the waterproof case, it also comes with a bicycle stand, two clips, one helmet mount, five tethers, and plenty of other options for outdoor activities. In total, there are 15 mounts and accessories that come included with the product, which help me improve the photo and video quality.
As an active person, I loved the idea of being able to combine diving, hiking, and biking options in one affordable purchase. Not everyone will need all of these or even use them, but it is good to know the option exists. And it’s a feature not included in many of the more expensive models.
In terms of battery life, there are two rechargeable 1050mAh batteries included. You can expect approximately 1.5 hours of battery life for each, although constant video recording will drastically reduce this measurement. But having two batteries is sufficient for a full day of activities.
Lastly, I got excited with the included wireless wrist remote control. This subtle feature makes a significant difference when mounting the camera somewhere during action shots. I found it a fast/easy way to snap the perfect picture.
While this remote is ideal for biking or hiking, do note the downside that it is not waterproof—do not try to take the remote scuba diving!
- Super affordable camera with 16 megapixels of resolution and 170-degree wide-angle lens.
- Extremely durable and waterproof up to 100 feet
- Built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to share your photos through the AKASO GO app
- 2 rechargeable 1050mAh batteries, each with 1.5-hour battery life
- 15 mounts/accessories included allowing you to mount the camera anywhere
- Included mounts are not incredibly sturdy
- Sound issues when using the waterproof case with video
- No wide-angle shots on 4K video
- No memory card included
- The remote control is not waterproof.
Bottom Line: If you want a simple camera that takes high-quality photos at a surprisingly affordable price, the Akaso EK7000 is the right choice for you. The components do not come close to the quality of some of the more expensive cameras here, especially for video.
But I found the quality to be acceptable for a durable camera that is easy to use. As a photography geek, I would not want this to be my main camera, but I might love having this around for spur-of-the-moment situations. Plus, it is so easy to carry around without having to plan.
And even at this affordable price, you still get 4K video, three photo-shooting modes, and the AKASO Go app that lets you instantly share the action shots after you take them. And with a 100-foot waterproof case, you can do deep dives without worrying!
3. Best Compact Underwater Camera for Scuba Diving: Sony RX100 VII
Next is the Sony RX100, a compact premium camera with a price tag that might shock some readers. But when you dive into the details of this camera’s components and capabilities, you will understand why this premium camera is so expensive. Serious photographers should seriously consider this product.
Firstly, I love that the Sony RX100 VII has a 20.1 megapixel effective still resolution and a 1-inch stacked CMOS sensor. For a compact point-and-shoot style of design, I got high-level photographs that looked professional.
Active mode includes image stabilization, and the 8x optical zoom gets crisp pictures of distanced objects. The takeaway: I was able to impress my friends with this camera.
And for a camera at this price, I enjoyed that it still had fantastic video. The RX100 shoots 4K video in Log3, which means the videos will look professional above and below the water. These high-quality videos do not compare to the 4K advertised in cheaper cameras.
And with the external 3.5mm microphone jack, I was thrilled that I could shoot movies with high-quality sound. The camera has an internal microphone—do not worry, you can still take a video without fancy/extra equipment.
But it is nice to know that I can use the camera in various other flexible surroundings, such as music concerts, and get quality audio.
Sound is not much of an issue underwater, but I love having cameras that I can use in a range of situations. Filming interviews and podcasts, for example, usually requires a high-quality microphone to have the right production value.
In terms of size, I expected such a feature-packed camera to be bulky and heavy. But this camera manages to bring DSLR-quality images and video but with the size and weight of an action camera.
With dimensions of 4 x 1.7 x 2.4 inches and a weight of 9.8 ounces, this camera is easy to carry during activities, and I feel confident that I could pack it anywhere.
Many cameras only perform at a high level in particular situations, especially when it comes to macro and micro shooting. You often see professional photographers carrying lots of heavy gear for this reason.
But this Sony camera comes with 8x optical zoom, meaning I was able to get crisp underwater images onto the high-quality sensor from far away. This zoom combines with the 1-inch CMOS sensor nicely, and I was able to see previews of my pictures and the results easily on the bright 3-inch screen. This makes taking photos convenient for me.
Regarding included items, this camera comes with an NP-BX1 rechargeable battery pack and an AC adaptor. I found the charge to be solid and the recharging time to be fast, thus helping me save time. There is also a micro-USB cable to transfer photos to your computer. There is a wrist strap and a strap adaptor to mount the camera for action situations.
The AI real-time tracking is also worth mentioning. In both the still and moving shots, tapping the 3-inch screen triggers the tracking of people and animals. This feature made my videos smooth and focused.
Tapping the screen also autofocuses on the object I want, much like how a smartphone works. With this feature, I was able to focus on objects quickly and catch precious moments with focus. I can imagine that even folks without photography skills can use this feature easily. The same skills from smartphone cameras can be used here!
Lastly, the product’s design makes it easy to use, even for novice photographers. Despite the gigantic list of features and flexibility of settings, I think even beginners can use this camera out of the box because of its intuitive design.
The overall takeaway is that the RX100 VII is a high-quality DSLR-like product with an action camera design.
- A 20.1-megapixel resolution with a CMOS sensor and a 357-point focal plane
- Point-and-shoot compact design
- Image stabilization in active mode
- 4K video with log3 and Interval Shooting
- Uses AI to do real-time tracking for stills and movies
- Too expensive for most budgets
- Limited operating temperature—not great in below-freezing temperatures
- USB 2.0 connectivity
Bottom Line: The Sony Sony RX100 VII is not a camera meant for people who are curious about photography and want basic photos on their next scuba diving trip. This camera is expensive, and there are other products in this article that are cheaper and simple.
But as someone knowledgeable about photography and advanced features, I consider this camera a fabulous investment. The fact that such high-quality images and videos can come out of such a compact point-and-shoot design is impressive. And to get this quality underwater is even more surprising.
If budget is not an issue, consider this fantastic product!
4. Best Point-And-Shoot Underwater Video Camera for Scuba Diving: Paralenz Vaquita
When it comes to a waterproof camera specifically designed for scuba diving, it does not get much better than the Paralenz Vaquita. I do not think that I would ever use this camera for professional shoots, but I enjoy that it’s dedicated to underwater photography.
It is probably the most convenient, lightweight, and authentic point-and-shoot camera I found for underwater photography.
First and foremost, let’s discuss how impressively waterproof this product is. The body of the camera is 100% marine-grade aluminum, resulting in a waterproof depth of 1150 feet. I like this feature because it allows me to take pictures no matter where I am in whatever the condition.
I was impressed that I do not need any additional housing to use this in the water safely, and the strong body will also hold up to drops and other accidents.
Secondly, the low-light lens means I can get fantastic pictures and videos even in dark conditions underwater. Artificial light can ruin certain pictures/videos, so a low-light lens is an excellent addition, especially if I want hands-free video. Speaking of hands-free, I love how this camera mounts on my mask, stick, or other diving equipment, which allows me to shoot from a variety of angles, and viewers can see from my point of view.
In line with this camera’s theme of simplicity, the auto DCC—automatic depth-controlled color correction—makes pictures look fantastic without any extra effort. Without using any filters, I could adjust the white balance based on the depth of the dive. This helps me save time editing or selecting the best underwater photos.
You can always edit photos afterward, but I get excited when I can immediately share pictures with family and friends—it is a huge perk!
And speaking of sharing, Paralenz has an app for both Android and iOS. Using the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, I can upload files to my phone to organize and share them. I enjoy being able to do basic edits on the go.
And my favorite feature is the 2000 mAh lithium battery that allows for up to three hours of shooting.
Some might view the 1.8-inch screen size as a downside, but that is the price you pay for such a compact and small camera. The screen still has a true color OLED display, and I can always upload my files to a phone or tablet. With this feature, I can easily watch and organize my recent shots. I was able to see the screen just fine, but I certainly missed the larger screen, even though I understand that this is the trade-off of such a compact camera.
For people who care about the environment and ocean health, using the Paralenz app can help researchers collect data. Sharing videos and pictures tagged with the GPS location can help scientists understand ocean pollution and health. I love how this system also inspires the scuba diving community to care about maintaining beautiful and healthy oceans.
And lastly, this camera is easy to use and handle. For legitimate divers who go deep and want hassle-free pictures, this product will deliver. I did not get the same flexibility and advanced settings as other cameras. But I was able to hold this device easily and manage the buttons, even while wearing gloves—do not underestimate little features like this ease of use!
- A 12-megapixel effective still resolution in a small and compact design
- 100% marine-grade aluminum—waterproof up to 1150 feet (350 meters) and mounts to scuba equipment
- Wi-Fi connectivity to the Paralenz app to organize/edit pictures and video
- USB-C connectivity
- A low light ultra-wide lens of 150 degrees with WB + DCC color correction.
- A video resolution limit of 720p
- Micro SD card not included
- The aluminum body quickly gets warm when used outside of water
- Image stabilization outside of the water is not amazing
Bottom Line: While many of the cameras in this guide are overall fantastic cameras that can handle the water, Paralenz designed the Vaquita camera for deep scuba diving. The tiny size and low weight make it easy to hold, or you can mount it on your scuba gear and record fantastic videos, even on deep dives.
I was most impressed with the marine-grade aluminum that is waterproof up to 1150 feet, making it far superior to the other shallow water cameras in this guide.
Overall, this product might not be for the most skilled photographer, but it is the perfect choice for the intense diver who needs a high-quality camera that they can safely use on deep dives.
5. Best Action Camera for Scuba Diving: GoPro Hero10 Bundle
If you have done any research into cameras suitable for action, adventure, and underwater scenarios, then you have probably come across GoPro. GoPro has been making fantastic cameras for years, and their compact size makes them perfect for active people.
The Hero10 is a huge upgrade from the previous models and worth considering as one of the better underwater cameras. Overall, I found it to be super convenient and produce professional-quality photographs.
To begin, it has 23-megapixel photographs and a 5.3K video resolution, which helps me take clear and sharp images. And my favorite feature is the new technology of image stabilization for action shots—called HyperSmooth 4.0—that produces smooth pictures even in drastic movements. And with filming at up to 240 frames per second, I made impressive ultra slow-motion action videos.
In addition to these basic camera/video features, there are also many video functions designed to suit different needs.
The functions include time-lapse, live burst, video loop, series photos with 25 fps, and live streaming in 1080p. And in terms of video quality, my favorites options including:
- 5.3k resolution at 60 fps,
- 4K at 120 fps
- 2.7K at 240 fps
- 1080p at 240 fps
The limit for this product’s waterproof capabilities is 33 feet. Compared to the previous Paralenz Vaquita with marine-grade aluminum and a huge depth range, 33 feet might seem limited. But consider that many of the cameras in this collection had safety limits far less than this, and the GoPro has many other huge advantages.
Besides the fantastic image and video quality described above, I found one of the most notable features of the GoPro to be its size. This Hero10 model has dimensions of 1.3 x 2.8 x 2.2 inches, and its weight comes out to 3.78 pounds.
So one of the main factors behind this being the best action camera for scuba diving is that it has impressive video (especially the slow motion setting) while still being compact.
Since this product comes as a bundle, it is worth mentioning some of the other accessories you will get. The package comes with an Extreme Pro 64 GB microSDXC card and a 6AVE Electronics TM microfiber cloth to keep the lens clean.
The other mounting accessories add up to almost 50 pieces and include a dashboard mount, a tripod, and a selfie stick.
But many people rightfully complain about the quality of the accessories, which are not made by GoPro and do not live up to the same quality associated with the brand. I will also admit that the bundle is not the main feature here, and the quality of the camera is the main draw.
So while the camera itself is fantastic and shoots amazing photos and videos, knowing these reviews meant I was not surprised that the accessories disappointed me. I would potentially consider buying the camera by itself and adding the accessories I want separately.
Another huge factor that makes this the best action underwater camera is the advanced stabilization features. GoPro calls this new groundbreaking technology their HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization, and it will counter even extreme bumps to make a smooth video, especially in slow motion.
And I love how the new GP2 chip gives the camera twice the performance of previous models and fantastic battery life.
Lastly, there is a 2.27 LCD touchscreen that has a live preview. While the compact size is not ideal for lining up perfect photographs, this product is all about capturing action shots on the fly. And having a live preview touchscreen makes it that much easier to get the shots that will impress your friends and family!
- LCD touch screen (2.7-inch) with live preview
- 23-megapixel resolution with hyper smooth 4.0 stabilization and GP2 chip
- Ultra slow-motion video capabilities (240 frames per second)
- Video Loop, Live Burst, Series Photos, Time Lapse, and Live Streaming video
- USB-C or Bluetooth
- Less-than-ideal battery life
- The accessories in the bundle are not as high quality as the camera
- No remote shooting capability
- Longer videos can be chopped into segments
Bottom Line: GoPro is a popular name in the market for action cameras that can hold up to extreme conditions. And with underwater housing, this GoPro Hero10 bundle is their latest product to compete in this evolving space. Since camera technology is constantly evolving, this product has been updated with the newest technology of photo and video components.
And like you would expect from GoPro, the size of this product makes it super convenient for traveling and mounting on helmets, bikes, and other gear. You will be limited to 33 feet when using underwater, but for most people, that limit should not be a problem. While the camera is fantastic, I found the accessory items in the bundle a bit underwhelming.
6. Best 360-Degree Video Camera For Scuba Diving: Insta360 One R
As the name of this next camera suggests, I think the most unique feature of the Insta360 One R camera is its ability to shoot 360 degrees.
But be aware that Insta360 is the brand name—there are multiple models of the One R product, and not all of them shoot in 360 degrees. This product has a modular design where you add different parts to add features
To get the best of normal shooting and 360-degree capture, I suggest you buy the Insta360 One R Twin Edition. This camera can shoot with a 4K wide-angle lens or do 5.7K 360-degree capture.
The durability is also fantastic because it can operate in a temperature range of -4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. I found this range to be better than many other cameras in this article and fantastic for scuba diving in cold waters.
I was also satisfied with being able to switch between wide-angle or 360-degree settings. With this feature, I could produce videos that immerse the viewer in the action.
Aside from the modular aspect, there are many other features in this product series that you should be aware of. First up is Insta360’s FlowState stabilization, a feature I found critical for action shooting. This technology produces stabilization as good as a gimbal but without the bulky accessory.
And with an algorithm that detects specific scenes to aid in stabilizing the images, your photos and videos will look fantastic, even in low-light situations.
Some other notable features I loved include auto-framing, night shots, slow motion, and the invisible selfie stick—the software automatically removes the stick from your pictures.
There is also a fantastic action feature called Point to Track that will keep the subject I designate in the center of the frame as I follow them. This feature made my videos look far more professional.
I also suggest that you research the Bullet Time feature of this camera, which stabilizes a level horizon to produce the smoothest, widest incredibly smooth videos. I found this feature to be particularly useful when shooting underwater.
Although one of the downsides is that you have to use Insta360’s app to edit the 360-degree videos—or at least to convert them into a usable format—the app does have a fully functional editor.
Once the footage is in the app, I enjoyed being able to quickly find the best moments and create shareable cinematic clips.
And speaking of the Insta360 app, their auto-frame feature makes editing your 360-degree videos much more straightforward. The algorithm will automatically recommend the perspectives and edits that you should consider adding to your video. I found it to speed up the editing process.
- Compact and sturdy design and IPX8 waterproof up to 16.4 feet.
- 1190mAh rechargeable battery
- Automatic editing with AquaVision to adjust underwater colors
- FlowState image stabilization with a scene-detection algorithm
- Auto, 2700K, 4000K, 5000K, and 6500K white balance settings
- You need to convert the 360-degree videos into a separate application
- Small screen
- Not ideal for still photos
Bottom Line: Insta360 is a brand name that makes cameras, so do not be confused to think that all of their products shoot in 360 degrees. The One R system is modular, meaning that you can add different parts to produce the features that you want. You would have to purchase additional housings to get all of the features or choose the twin edition to get 360-degree video.
But I love the affordability of a camera that gets high-quality video and 360-degree capabilities. The waterproof depth is good enough for all but the most extreme underwater situations, and I was impressed with the ability to switch between a 4K wide-angle lens and a 5.7K 360-degree capture.
7. Best Professional Camera for Scuba Diving: Sony A7R IV
If you have seen the price of the Sony A7R IV, it should make sense that this camera caters to professionals who are seeking the highest-quality images and the flexibility to control all aspects of professional photography.
I don’t think hobbyists need to buy this product, and it will not be a simple point-and-shoot experience like other products in this lineup.
But for those able to read the features in this review and understand what they mean and how they are well-suited to underwater photography, I recommend this camera as the highest quality. Let’s check out what makes this camera so amazing.
First and foremost, the Sony A7R IV has a 61-megapixel resolution and a full-frame 35mm back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor. You have to see the quality of these pictures/videos to believe it.
While I was able to get into the settings and have fantastic control over the shots, I was also able to rely on the latest technology to automatically get pictures that have professional quality.
There is advanced subject recognition with real-time tracking for both animals and humans. And I was so impressed with the incredibly fast autofocus. This makes me shoot moving subjects underwater easily.
And in terms of action shots, I love how this camera has 5-axis in-body image stabilization, the most advanced and smoothest stabilization in this guide. I am overjoyed knowing my pictures and videos will be smooth and clear no matter the situation.
There is also a Sony BIONZ x processor that removes noise in photos to give them an extra sharp appearance. I found this to be especially useful in underwater shots.
The electronic viewfinder is a nice plus, and it is an OLED with 5.76 million dots. This camera also has a 3-inch screen and a wireless PC remote function. For action shots, make sure that you try the high-speed continuous shooting mode, which snaps up to ten pictures per second.
But as a downside, I do not like that you need to buy accessories to get full usage of this professional camera. The product requires a waterproof housing to use underwater, and you will need to buy additional lenses if you want to zoom in from a distance or take creative fisheye shots underwater.
And as I expected, one downside is that the product is less compact than some of the other action cameras like the GoPro Hero10 or the Paralenz Vaquita.
You get insane photo quality, but with dimensions of 5.13 x 3.88 x 3.13 inches, I would have to plan when traveling with this camera. And mounting it is nowhere near as easy as cameras like GoPro Hero10.
So with a professional and expensive camera like this product, you should think deeply about your needs. If you do not require the advanced shooting of this camera, you will likely be much happier with a smaller camera that still produces fantastic results.
- A fantastic 61-megapixel resolution and 4K video quality
- A full-frame 35mm back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS Image Sensor with Sony BIONZ x processor
- 15-stop dynamic range (excellent color accuracy)
- Autofocus with 567 phase-detection and 425 contrast AF points
- High-resolution OLED electronic viewfinder
- The high price makes it out of reach for most people
- You need to buy a separate waterproof housing
- Product dimensions are not ideal for easy handling
Bottom Line: If you look at the price of this Sony A7R IV camera, it should not surprise you that it comes packed with the most cutting-edge, professional technology.
Even if the price is not an issue for you, this camera is still not a good option for people who are not interested in the details of professional photography. If I didn’t have a solid grasp of photography, I would have missed out on what this camera offers.
But I am thrilled that this camera gave me the flexibility to get the very best shots while scuba diving. You will have to buy other accessories and lenses to get the full effects (along with waterproof housing), but this camera lives up to its price tag.
8. Best Beginner Camera for Scuba Diving: SeaLife Micro 3.0
Last and certainly not least in this lineup of underwater cameras is the SeaLife Micro 3.0. While I recommend this as the best model for beginners, I still believe that this is a fabulous camera.
Firstly, I appreciate how this camera has high-quality components that are particularly suited to underwater shooting.
Many of the products in this collection are amazing all-around cameras, and they include options and accessories to make them waterproof. But the SeaLife Micro 3.0 is dedicated to underwater photography with its permanent seal. And like any product dedicated to a specific usage, there are advantages.
I was thrilled that I could manually adjust the white balance to find the perfect lighting in an underwater environment. With this feature, I can achieve the most accurate color in my underwater images possible.
The 100-degree lens captures a wide angle for some interesting perspectives, and the camera will automatically correct for color issues underwater. While this camera is not the best in terms of low-light performance, sunny conditions produce excellent results.
The Micro 3.0 also has “piano key” controls that are easy to use, and the settings, in general, make this camera as easy as any point-and-shoot product.
There is a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and 4K video resolution. I appreciate being able to shoot in lower resolution with a higher frame rate for slow-motion videos.
One downside of underwater photography with this camera is that you cannot get micro shots as close as some other models in this guide. The minimum focus range is 15 inches, making close detailed shots more difficult.
Regarding battery life, this camera comes with a 2000 mAh internal lithium-ion battery. While shooting 1080p video or taking pictures, I feel safe expecting three hours of battery life. Shooting in 4K resolution or at higher frame rates will lower the battery life to approximately two hours. This feature helps me save some money from buying new batteries every time.
In terms of file formats, video records as MPEG4 files, and you can choose between JPEG and RAW for photo formats. I was satisfied that the camera comes with multiple capture modes, including time-lapse, photo burst, single, continuous, and auto exposure bracketing.
The white balance adjustments mentioned above include the following presets:
- Auto and manual
- Underwater Shallow and deep
- Underwater Green
- Daylight, Cloudy
Last, and perhaps most important, is the SeaLife Micro 3.0’s waterproof capabilities. Firstly, it is nice to know that the product comes sealed and requires no additional housing.
There is also 64 GB of internal memory. But in terms of depth, you can take this camera up to 200 feet below water, making it one of the better options in this lineup.
Oh, and one last feature to keep in mind: even while shooting video in 4K, you can still snap 8-megapixel photos. This feature was my favorite as it is incredibly helpful when I want you both videos and pictures of the best moments.
- Affordable underwater camera with a 16-megapixel image sensor
- Easy to use for beginners—“piano key” controls
- Permanently sealed camera—no extra housing required
- 4K video and images in JPEG and RAW
- Automatic color correction underwater and manual white balance adjustments
- It lacks advanced controls
- Lower performance in low-light situations
- Bulkier dimensions compared to other options
Bottom Line: While I recommend the SeaLife Micro 3.0 as the best camera for beginners, do not assume that this is a low-quality product. The budget options you read about earlier in this guide—such as the Akaso EK7000—also provided the basic requirements for safely shooting underwater and giving decent results.
But I found this beginner’s camera to be best for those who are interested in photography. You might not have the budget or desire for a professional camera like the Sony A7R IV, but this SeaLife Micro 3.0 camera is a fantastic upgrade from more compact underwater cameras like the GoPro Hero10.
8 Things To Consider When Buying Underwater Cameras for Scuba Diving
Now that you have taken a detailed tour through some of the best underwater cameras, let’s break down some of the most crucial considerations you should know about. A camera is a hefty investment, and understanding these features will help you narrow down your choices.
1. Determine Your Price Range (Your Budget)
This factor should go without saying, but you want to find a camera that you can afford while also avoiding bad products. If you determine a range of budget options ahead of time, you will find it much easier to assess your options.
All of the cameras in this article are fantastic underwater cameras, but the more expensive models are worth it if you can afford them.
2. Camera Types
Besides understanding the specs and features of various camera models, it is also helpful to understand that cameras fall into specific categories, each with particular characteristics.
In the end, your decision will depend on your preference and specific requirements. So let’s review four of the basic camera types and the situations they are most suited for.
Action cameras also go by the name adventure cameras, and they have a design suited for extreme situations. The advantage of action cameras is primarily due to their being lightweight and durable.
The outside and inside sensors have extra protection, and the compact size makes it ideal for shooting sports and action shots.
Compact cameras, which also go by the same point-and-shoot, are easy to use and usually the most affordable.
But the simplicity and affordability come with limits to how much you can adjust camera settings and manipulate images. Consider a different camera type if you plan to get serious about photography.
As the name suggests, mirrorless cameras send light directly to the sensor, skipping the step of reflecting off of a mirror.
The lack of a mirror system makes these cameras lighter and more compact while still producing high-quality images that compare to the DSLR models. The main advantage is how easy it is to carry around all day and store in small spaces.
DSLR cameras are named an abbreviation for digital single-lens reflex, and they use a system of mechanical mirrors to reflect light to the viewfinder. DSLR cameras are suitable for professional photographers and videographers, and you can have high-level control of settings and lenses.
3. Weight and Size
As you probably saw in the above descriptions of camera types, an important factor between models is weight and size. If you need the most advanced features, you can expect a larger and heavier camera.
But if you want something that you can carry at all times to take impromptu quality photos, consider sacrificing some quality for a lightweight and compact model.
4. Image/Video Quality
The primary measurement for image/video quality is the resolution, which you measure in pixels per inch (PPI). A higher-resolution camera will have more pixels and produce images with sharper detail.
Be careful not to get purely obsessed with the megapixel measurement because a camera’s sensor size is often much more determinate to its image quality.
5. Ease of Use
If this sounds like you, consider the more advanced models. But if you want something compact and easy to use, a point-and-shoot or action camera might be best for you.
6. Good Quality Underwater Housing
A camera’s housing is the physical body that protects the delicate internals of the product. This protection is even more crucial with underwater photography.
But make sure that the underwater housing maintains accessibility underwater so that you can adjust the shutter speed and aperture quickly while using it.
7. Good Autofocus Capability
Autofocus occurs when a motor inside the camera automatically adjusts the lens to focus based on the processing part of the image in the CPU. Autofocus does not mean you cannot manually adjust the focus, but it can be a huge time saver in most situations.
Besides quality, you should also look out for specs on the speed of autofocus, faster being better.
8. Long Battery Life
If you have ever researched the various smartphones on the market, you have probably seen how crucial battery life is for a phone. Similarly, you should understand ahead of time how you plan to use your camera, so you know whether to prioritize battery life.
If you plan to be out adventuring for long periods, consider choosing longer battery life over the best quality.
Conclusion: 8 Best Underwater Cameras for Scuba Diving
As you can see, there are a ton of factors, features, and specs to consider when choosing the best underwater camera for you. But considering our testing and experience, the Olympus TG-6 won out for the best overall camera, with fantastic quality for its price.
Other cameras might work better for you depending on budget or other considerations (such as manual mode). However, I think the Olympus TG-6 is a versatile option that will suit most people’s scuba diving requirements. Its price, durability, and image quality are all high-level.
So, if you are ready to commit to the Olympus TG-6, consider buying it online today! You can also find this model at Olympus retailers or photography equipment shops.