Dive into the World of Underwater Cameras: Types, Reviews, and FAQs

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Updated: July 17, 2023
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Dive into the World of Underwater Cameras: Types, Reviews, and FAQs



With an underwater camera, you catch unforgettable and never seen moments. What you need to know and which models are most suitable are revealed by our best list based on various comparisons.


Olympus TG-3 Digital Camera


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  • Waterproof up to 15m

  • Zoom: 4x

  • LI-92B Lithium Ion Battery

  • CB-USB10 USB Cable

  • Olympus wrist strap

  • Video recording

  • Field sensors system


Canon PowerShot D30 Digital Camera


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  • Waterproof up to 25m

  • Zoom: 5x

  • Display size: 3 inches

  • NB-6LH Battery

  • Strap WS-DC8

  • Video Recording

  • 12.1 MP HS for convincing shots even in low light

  • 28mm wide-angle. 5x optical zoom with Intelligent IS


Action Cam WiFi HD Underwater Camera


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  • Waterproof up to 30m

  • Zoom: 4x

  • 2 inch LCD

  • 2 Battery (900 mAh)

  • Video recording

  • 170 degrees+ HD wide angle

  • Compressed video format

  • Resolution: 14M/12M/8M/5M


For photography under sea level or in a lake, the image's quality and the camera's high-quality processing are important. The water places high demands on on-camera performance and protective housing. This underwater buying advisor will guide you through the underwater camera jungle.


Nikon Coolpix Underwater Camera


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  • Water-proof, Shock-proof, Freeze-proof

  • 33ft water-proof depth

  • 16MP CMOS sensor

  • 5x Optical Zoom

  • Full HD movie with stereo sound

  • Aperture: f/3.9 to f/4.8


Panasonic Lumix Lx10 4k


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  • Points of Interest tagging

  • 1-inch 20.1MP MOS sensor

  • 3X zoom LEICA DC VARIO-SU millimeter ILUX lens (24-72 millimeters)

  • POWER O.I.S. for image stabilization

  • Tilting 3-iLCDplay for easy selfies

  • 4K video recording (3840 x 2160)

  • LUMIX 4K photo and 4K Post Focus with Focus Stacking

  • Manual lens-mounted control ring for exposure control

  • USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity


Insta360 One R


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  • 4K Boost Lens & 5.7K 360 Lens

  • Swap between lenses for different video capabilities

  • FlowState Stabilization for smooth footage

  • 48MP photos and 6K widescreen videos

  • Active HDR Video for vibrant action shots

  • Invisible Selfie Stick for seamless shots

  • Includes various components in the box


Sealife Micro 3.0 Camera

  • 16MP IMX083 CMOS 1/2.3" image sensor

  • 4K Ultra HD video @30fps, 1080p HD video @120fps

  • 260K hi-res 2.4" TFT color LCD

  • Easy setup with Land & Sea scene modes

  • Built-in digital UW color correction filters

  • High-resolution images with rapid shooting capability

  • Leak-proof and compact design

  • Shock-resistant body

  • Depth tested to 200' (60 m)

  • Ultra-wide angle lens and electronic stabilization

  • Convenient "Piano Key" button controls

  • WiFi connectivity and 64GB internal memory

  • Additional features: time-lapse shooting, upside-down mode

  • Compatible with SeaLife Micro 3+ app


Sony Rx100 Vii Premium Compact Camera


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  • 20.1MP stacked CMOS sensor

  • Zeiss Vario Sonnar T 24-200mm F2.8-F4.5 zoom lens

  • Fast AF speed with 357-point Phase detection AF and 425-point contrast-detection AF

  • Up to 20 fps shooting with no blackout

  • AI-based real-time tracking for stills and movies

  • Real-time eye AF for humans and animals

  • 4K video with us log3 and Interval Shooting

  • Microphone jack and vertical position data recording

  • Image stabilization in 4K video

  • Movie Edit add-on compatible


How Does An Underwater Camera Work?


When you dive down into the depths of the sea, you can see a fascinating underwater world. In an effort to capture these visual impressions, an underwater camera is very helpful. The underwater camera is built like a normal one, except it can be used under the water's surface. 


With the increase in technology, digital cameras have crystallized in recent years, with which one can capture the fascinating underwater world. A diver is almost impossible without a camera in the depths. But also for other events, an underwater camera is very good. 


When snorkeling can capture, even at shallow depths, an amazing underwater world, or while playing in the pool with the children so that the camera is protected from water or just to make shots underwater - the underwater camera is a useful helper.


Even on the beach, an underwater camera can perform very well because it is not always used under the water's surface. The underwater camera has the same complicated technology inside as a normal camera. 


However, the housing of the underwater camera is special. Since there are several types of underwater cameras, full housing or housing with seals may emerge.


Different Underwater Camera Types


There is a so-called one-way camera. A waterproof case surrounds it and has normal photo film. The advantages of a digital camera are thus eliminated in such a model. Nevertheless, the disposable underwater camera has a serious advantage - the price. 


You can buy a disposable underwater camera already around 10 dollars. A film in it is sufficient for about 24 to 28 pictures, depending on the model and manufacturer. It is an inexpensive alternative if you use the underwater camera only once. 


However, buying a proper digital camera is recommended if you want to use the underwater camera more often.



Here you can choose between digital cameras, which you give in waterproof packaging. The advantage of this is that you can use the camera for other purposes at any time. The case that is placed around the camera is quite often very clunky. 


The once so-handy pocket camera suddenly no longer fits in the pants or jacket pocket. If you only want to use the camera for taking pictures under the water when on vacation or only once a year, this model can also be a real alternative.


But an underwater camera is highly recommended if you value quality and features the most. These cameras are built just like a conventional digital camera. There are connections to transfer the pictures to the PC. 


The underwater camera should have a zoom and can also accept various other settings. It is also possible with a modern underwater camera to shoot razor-sharp videos underwater. A difference can still be seen in an extra-made underwater camera.


With a conventional camera, you can increasingly recognize a greenish tint the deeper you dive into the water. It is a normal process that has something to do with the refraction of light. The underwater camera has a function that prevents the green cast and provides a realistic color result.


So, if you want to create crisp images above and below water, only one underwater camera is an option.


The demand is constantly rising for the perfect underwater cameras, so more manufacturers want to convince with special features. We looked at the underwater cameras very closely and now tell you what criteria we used.


How Did We Review The Underwater Cameras?


In our test, it was important that the delivery and the packaging were already evaluated. That's why there's a point in our product reviews that explains these details. Next, an underwater camera must be easy to use. We have looked at the individual functions and how they can be changed underwater with gloves. 


The handling is a very important point, which should be very easy. After all, it sometimes has to go very fast underwater to take snapshots. We also tested the video feature to see if it was on the underwater camera.



The final result should show us. How big is the display to view the pictures directly after taking pictures? How easily could you transfer the footage to the PC? Is a TV set connected? 


We looked at all the important details to get the best possible impression of the underwater camera and its functions. In the end, we compared the individual devices with each other in part so you can find out exactly where the strengths and weaknesses lie.


Which Functions Are Important For An Underwater Camera?


Before you buy an underwater camera, you should compare the data exactly. The most important is the pixel value. Especially underwater, you should be able to shoot crisp images without further ado. Highly recommended is a value that moves around 10 megapixels. If the price-performance ratio is right, it may be a slightly higher value.


In an underwater camera, of course, then the water resistance is elemental. It now depends on what depths you want to move. Some cameras range from 5, 10, or over 25 meters. A comparison is very advisable to make your choice easier, which also lists the waterproofing between the devices. 


If you want to snorkel at a swimming lake, an underwater camera with a limit of 5 meters is perfectly adequate. For all other requirements, a correspondingly higher value is announced.


Also, with the underwater cameras, there is a digital zoom. Just remember that suddenly something fascinating could appear in front of your lens. For that reason alone, you should pay attention to a good zoom.


The display over which you can view the shots should be at least 2.5 inches. Of course, it is better if the display is a bit bigger. Surely you can do without the display completely, but if you have been used to it, you do not want to miss this good detail.


Image stabilization is another detail that should not be ignored, even in an underwater camera. Especially when you move underwater, it can often cause a camera shake. So that these wobbly can’t be seen in the picture, an image stabilizer is used. It should, therefore, always be present in an underwater camera. Another feature is called haptic.



Haptic is a word that only describes the sensitization of the keys. When you are underwater, you have a lower sensitivity to the fingers. Also, one is no longer in a position to perform the exact touches. 


Therefore, it is particularly important that the buttons of the underwater camera are larger and can be operated well even after a long time underwater. Advantageously, you can operate the underwater camera almost without looking. 


Because once a setting has been adjusted, it is not so easy to restore the default setting. The result is then fuzzy or, in the worst case, no pictures.


For an underwater camera, it is also fundamental that a white balance can take place. It ensures that the colors appear more realistic in the picture. The lighting conditions underwater are constantly changing, so the camera should always optimize this setting. It is the only way to create wonderful pictures that capture your impressions underwater. The last function is a video function.


Not every underwater camera has a video function. It depends on whether you want to record videos under the water's surface. It is noticeable in the final price of the device. Therefore, consider whether you want to use the video function.


Which Underwater Camera Is Right For Me?


There are many different models and also different manufacturers offering underwater cameras. To choose the right camera, you should first reconsider your requirements. The most important question is how often you want to use an underwater camera. 


A cheaper model is enough if you need the underwater camera only once a year. Doing a regular scuba dive or snorkeling will likely get better with a higher-quality model. Finally, there is also the question of quality. Likely, a low-priced model has fewer settings than a high-quality model. 


At least always make sure that the underwater camera has a Color balance applied. Megapixels also play an essential role. After all, it is still a matter of handling. An underwater camera, which is easy to use, is increasingly used as a camera that is equipped with complicated functions.


How Much Does An Underwater Camera Cost?


For underwater cameras, the price is graded according to performance. You get the simple disposable underwater cameras already around 10 dollars. Put a lot of emphasis on various settings; an underwater camera can quickly cost even 300 dollars. In the latter's case, however, you have a purchase to ensure years of crisp images under the water's surface. Models that cost well over 300 dollars are equipped with special features suitable for amateur photographers and professionals. The cost limit of the cameras is upwards, as with other devices also open, and can even go into the thousands.


Factors You Should Always Consider When Buying An Underwater Camera


You should consider some aspects carefully so as not to fall into the holiday anticipation of the wrong underwater camera model.


More than 10 megapixels: the resolution is not everything, but especially for sharp images underwater worth gold. Pay attention to an up-to-date number of megapixels, ideally more than 10MP.


5m waterproof: depending on how deep you want to dive, this recommendation must be corrected upwards. Especially for snorkeling in the lake or the Caribbean, the 5m limit should be sufficient. Calculate here rather too generous than too economical.



Digital zoom: already indispensable in conventional cameras, in underwater cameras only in the last few years in mature technology. We're talking about digital Zoom. As a guideline from our comparison, this should be at least five magnification levels so you can capture some distant impressions easily.


Large display: 2 inches is already to be seen as the lowest limit. Both underwater and in the subsequent viewing of the photos, a large display makes the view much easier and is a "luxury" that you would not want to miss anymore.


Image stabilization: not only in waves and on the high seas, an absolute must. Especially in underwater photography, images are much faster blurred or blurred. With integrated image stabilization, the tested models could largely compensate for or avoid these "wobbles."


Haptic:  The sensitivity of the fingers and the touch are limited by the water. All the more important are large buttons with a good feel, which are also good and intuitive to use even on longer dives. For the underwater setting, a setting correctly again or to navigate awkwardly through a menu - this is missing most of the time and desire!


Underwater white balance: essential. Unfortunately, our product reports show that many devices are still lacking. In order to achieve at least approximately true-to-life images, the camera must adapt to the currently prevailing lighting conditions via a white balance underwater. If the underwater camera does not have such a function, the pictures are too saturated or slightly faded.


Optional: Video function: A school of fish, the coral bank, or the thicket of marine plants, pictures are worth a thousand words. A video feature can help capture these impressive experiences first-hand. 


If you choose such a feature, you should pay attention to the quality of the camera because videos of bad quality will hardly revive the holiday feeling. The current state of the art is VGA cameras that store videos in HD quality. Our comparison winner from Canon, for example, scores with this feature.


Keeping this checklist in mind at least avoids the common mistakes customers make when ordering an underwater camera.


Advantages Of An Underwater Camera


The classic photo book increasingly gives way to digital media and storage forms. Nonetheless, they, too, have the same goal: capture impressions and preserve them for later, especially a holiday with the beautiful underwater landscape - maybe even a honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. 


These are all experiences one likes to document so that years later, with a smile in the memories can reveal.



Especially during a diving holiday that may be the first impression of the island and the sandy beach so overwhelming that you can hardly do it with a conventional digital camera shoot with the pictures. But that's nothing compared to the vast expanses and breathtaking worlds underwater. Every amateur diver will only nod in agreement.


And just these moments can be optimally staged and captured thanks to a modern underwater camera. It brings your friends and relatives to your holiday experiences a bit closer and, simultaneously, go back for a mental dive.


The FAQs About Underwater Camera

  • Which camera is generally considered the best underwater camera?


As a general winner according to various external tests on the Internet, the Olympus Tough TG-5 is a clear winner. The model offers numerous functions and scores with successful image and video quality.

  • Which is the best underwater camera?


The best underwater camera is regarding various tests on the Internet, the Olympus Tough TG-5. It is waterproof up to 15 meters deep. In addition, the model captivates due to an enormous scope of delivery.

  • Underwater camera review - what are the essential points?


The underwater camera lets you take pictures while diving, swimming, or snorkeling. As the test winner, the Olympus Tough TG-5 convinces according to different tests on the internet. The Olympus is waterproof up to 15 meters and has a 4x zoom. In addition, the camera offers first-class picture and video quality, a display, and various highlights.