Underwater Camera Review - 3 Best Underwater Cameras in Comparison

Disclosure: Wadav is reader-supported. We may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
By Rachel Premack
Last updated: March 28, 2019

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


Olympus TG-3 Digital Camera


Get it from Amazon for $399.00


  • 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

Get it from Amazon for $349.95


  • 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

Get it from Amazon for $59.99


  • 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


Especially for photography under the sea level or in a lake, the quality of the images and the high-quality processing of the camera plays a crucial role. The water places high demands on-camera performances and protective housing. Finding the right one in the plethora of underwater cameras seems to be a hopeless task for many laymen. With this underwater buying advisor, we want to give you some independent tips that will guide you safely through the underwater camera jungle. Of course, we also referred to external sources and buying guides around the underwater camera.


How does an underwater camera work?

When you dive down into the depths of the sea you can see a fascinating underwater world. To capture these visual impressions, an underwater camera is very helpful. The underwater camera is built like a normal camera, except that it can be used under the water surface. With the increase in technology digital cameras have crystallized out in recent years, with which one can capture the fascinating underwater world. A diver is almost impossible without the 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 under water - the underwater camera is a useful helper.

Even on the beach, an underwater camera can perform very well, because the camera is not always used only under the water surface. The underwater camera has the same complicated technology inside, like a normal camera that almost everybody owns today. 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. Let's take a look at what variants of underwater cameras are available.


Different underwater camera types

There is a so-called one - way camera. This camera is surrounded by a waterproof case and has a normal photo film. This must still be given to development before you can view the pictures. 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. If you use the underwater camera only once, this is an inexpensive alternative. However, if you would like to use the underwater camera more often, it is recommended to buy a proper digital camera.



Here you have the choice between digital cameras, which you then 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 then 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 if you place the highest value on quality and features, then an underwater camera is highly recommended. 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.


It often happens that with a conventional camera, the deeper you dive into the water, you can increasingly recognize a greenish tint. This 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 both above and below water, only one underwater camera is an option.


The demand is constantly rising for the perfect underwater cameras, so there are more manufacturers who 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 to us 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, it's important that an underwater camera is easy to use. We have looked at the individual functions and also 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 if it was present on the underwater camera.



More importantly, the final result should show us. How big was the display to view the pictures directly after taking pictures? How easy the footage could be transferred to the PC. Is there a connection to a TV set? 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 where the weaknesses lie.


Which functions are important for an underwater camera?

Before you buy an underwater camera, you should compare the data exactly. 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 well 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. There are cameras that range up to 5, 10 or even over 25 meters. To make your choice easier, a comparison is very advisable, 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 then 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 useful detail.


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



Haptic is a word that actually only describes the sensitization of the keys. When you are underwater, you have a lower sensitivity of 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. It is advantageous that 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. This 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. This is the only way to create wonderful pictures that capture your impressions under water. The last function is a video function.


Not every underwater camera has a video function. Here it depends on whether you want to record videos under the water surface or not. This feature is certainly noticeable in the final price of the device. Therefore, consider carefully whether you want to use the video function or not.


Which underwater camera is right for me?

There are many different models and also different manufacturers offering underwater cameras. In order 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. If you need the underwater camera only once a year, a cheaper model is probably enough. Do a regular scuba dive or snorkel will likely get better with a higher quality model. Finally, there is also the question of quality. It is likely that a low priced model does not have as many settings as a high-quality model. At least always make sure that the underwater camera has a Color balance applies. 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 case of the latter, however, you have a purchase that will ensure years of crisp images under the water surface. Models that cost well over 300 dollars are equipped with special features that are very 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


There are some aspects that you should consider carefully, so as not to fall in 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, of course, be corrected upwards. Especially for snorkeling, be it in the lake or in the Caribbean, the 5m limit should be sufficient. Calculate here rather a bit too generous than too economical.



Digital zoom: already indispensable in the conventional cameras, in the underwater cameras only in the last few years in mature technology to have. We're talking about digital zoom. As a guideline from our comparison, this should be at least 5 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 as well as 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 any more


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 were able to largely compensate for or avoid these "wobbles".


Haptic:  The sensitivity of the fingers and the sensitivity of 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 awkward 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 in a 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 is increasingly giving 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 the honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. These are all experiences that one likes to document so that years later with a smile in the memories can revel.



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 under water. Every amateur diver will only nod in agreement.


And just these moments can be optimally staged and captured thanks to a modern underwater camera. This brings your friends and relatives your holiday experiences a bit closer and at the same time go back for a mental dive.


The FAQ 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 a 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 allows you to take pictures while diving, swimming or snorkeling. As 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 a first-class picture and video quality, a display, and various highlights.



Leave a Comment: