Best Underwater Cameras
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Photo quality was tied to the stabilization techniques that are built into the camera. Some handle it better than others, so even a camera that was capable of great pictures would suffer at getting a usable shot. Blurriness or color blending was a problem for the cameras that we feel didn’t deserve a place on the list. Models that remained had excellent stability options without the need for messing with customization settings. A lot of the heavy work was done during the initial shot and after, with the best cameras automating photo improvements without user prompts. All of this is reversible with the touch of a button and can be further improved with built-in editing options on the camera.
Videos were rated on all resolutions instead of having 4k compete with 1080p. Audio was tested to make sure it wasn’t crackling or distorted, yet the main focus remained on video quality. At this point in the list, we had some off brand cameras that were hanging on, but was quickly removed after they introduced micro-stutter with finished video. The remaining cameras on the top ten had buttery smooth media that played well on television sets and computer monitors. And with proper tweaking in the appropriate software, it turned into an even better experience for the user.
As for the features of the cameras, we took note of what was included with each camera, as well as how deep each camera can dive.
It wasn’t enough to include a lot of extras in a kit, what was included had to be of good quality. The entire point of getting accessories bundled is to save you money and time upfront. When those accessories are subpar, you still have to go out and make an extra purchase. The Olympus Touch TG-5 was the best in this category. It earned several points for including all necessary materials in one big package. Nikon was another brand that earned a lot of points in this category and placed higher than the Olympus model.
Underwater depth played a role in deciding how true the marketing claims were about the cameras waterproofing. Devices were tested at their listed depth for at least ten minutes, multiple times. The bad signs we looked for were; fogging of the lens, water leaking into the casing, electronic malfunctions and any type of software lag due to the depth. A lot of really good cameras were kicked off of the top ten by not meeting their listed depth, and in some cases the cameras weren’t waterproof at all. It was exhaustive testing that paid off by separating the real cameras from the frauds.
Ease of Use
When you buy an underwater camera, you don’t expect it to be simplistic, but you do want it to be friendly enough to use underwater. All of this has to be done while giving full access to the advanced options of the camera. You won’t get DSLR-type settings, although there are a lot of post editing functions to improve quality. We rated cameras using an ‘ease of use’ criteria with the settings. Models that did well in this category had large LCD screens and built in shortcuts. The top three cameras on the list have improved UI over previous models that is streamlined for one touch use. Bonus points were given out in this category for wireless remote control and voice activated shooting.
Battery life was a tricky criteria, and we had to measure three things; how long it lasts, how long it takes to fully charge, and how many packs are included in the package. A few brands included 2x rechargeable battery packs to play with. There was an important uptick in quality when this happened, as companies often kept the charge time similar to the usage time. When that happened, users would always have a fresh battery to use even under heavy usage. There were no penalties to cameras that only came with one battery, but we did end up removing a lot of products from the list that had no batteries included.
Since underwater cameras will be introduced to a lot of dangers while in operation, the durability of the casings are an integral part of their operation. Casings that had shockproof/drop proof protection were rated highly. And with the majority of the cameras on the list having screens, it was necessary for the company to protect the weakest part of the product. Low durability knocked out a lot of good cameras from the top ten. There was no way around this, even if the company offered a fantastic warranty. Durability also covered the components of the camera and how well they held up against random failure.
Top 10 Picks
1. GoPro HERO6
At the top of the list is the GoPro Hero6, a big improvement over the previous Hero5. The gap in excellence between this product and the rest on the list is staggering and makes it a firm #1.Read more
Photo and Video Quality
GoPro cameras have become top sellers due to durability, performance and endless options. They are built from the ground up to take action photos and videos of the highest quality.
Sold as a base, deluxe bundle, sd card bundle, starter bundle, and vacation bundle
2x the performance speed of Hero 5 Black.
The Hero6 is the most expensive camera on the list, and that includes buying the cheapest form (base). However, the value is unquestionable since you’re getting the best underwater camera available for your money.
2. Panasonic Lumix TS20 1
The familiar look of the Panasonic Lumix attracts a lot of potential customers. But underneath the hood is a powerful camera that takes great photos.Read more
The TS20 is the best looking waterproof camera on the top ten, and is available in orange, blue and black. All of the colors look great, complementing the slim frame of this flagship device. It boasts a 7-inch LCD screen and 16.1 MP.
Available at an average price, the value evens out if you’re looking for a top tier camera. Buyers should spend a little time going through the manual so that the complex functions are recognizable.
3. Kodak EasyShare Sport C123
Kodak handles a range of big-time electronics in photography and other media. The Easyshare line is a big part of that, with the C123 being their best flagship for underwater cameras in the series.Read more
Photo and Video Quality
Kodak’s Smart Capture is a software mode on the camera that automatically improves the picture taking process. Photo opportunism that would usually look bad come out a lot better when this mode is activated.
4 inch 112k TFT LCD
Waterproof up to 10ft.
Even with expensive components and software, the C123 is low priced. This should endear it to anyone looking for that magical Kodak value.
4. Nikon Coolpix W100
You can’t have a top ten camera list without including a Nikon product. The Coolpix W100 is the best value Nikon underwater camera in their catalog.Read more
Ease of Use
Having onboard Bluetooth isn’t rare for a high grade camera, but pairing it with the included NFC and Wi-Fi functionality is. There are multiple ways to wirelessly transmit your media without showing favoritism to any protocol.
2MP low-light CMOS sensor
7 inch TFT LCD
The Olympus starter set is still the best, but for the average price of this Nikon set it makes a great alternative. And since the camera has Nikon’s usual grade A quality, it retains the brand’s values.
5. Olympus Tough TG-5
The TG-5 is the first high priced underwater camera on the list, but it earns its place right in the middle. Known worldwide as one of the toughest underwater cameras available, it’s also known as one of the better starter sets.Read more
Multiple items are included in the package; 32 GB card, 1 Olympus batter+1 Polaroid battery, charger, tripod, point, and shoot case, 8 in 1 cleaning kit, floating wrist strap, memory card wallet, memory card reader, and LCD screen protector.
Photo and Video Quality
12MP image sensor
Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII Image Processor
For a high price, you get an underwater camera with all of the fixings. The long-term value in this product is magnified by the excellent resources online from satisfied buyers.
6. AKASO EK7000
Akaso is one of those brands that consumer’s fall in love with due to word of mouth. And it is true, that the EK7000’s popularity has a lot to do with the legion of satisfied customers.Read more
Not only is the wireless wrist remote useful, but it is also consistent. Attaching it makes taking pictures and videos much easier when you’re away from the camera. This camera also features 4k Ultra HD/12MP and 2 rechargeable 1050mAh batteries.
As far as price goes, it is low no matter which color you choose. Even with the tablet/phone app being annoying, the EK7000 is a beastly value.
7. Fujifilm FinePix XP120
Fujifilm is one of the most noticeable brands on the list, known for its innovation with camera products. The XP120 continues to be a big seller for the company thanks to the great support it continues to receive from Fujifilm.Read more
4 MP BSI CMOS sensor
Waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and dustproof
There are four available colors to choose from; sky blue, blue, lime green and yellow. All colors are well done and won’t chip due to old age.
Price is about average for both the base setup and the model with the 32 GB card. They are appropriately priced for the value given.
8. APEMAN 4K 20MP
The Apeman 4k Action Camera is all about beefy specifications with fabulous shots. Power is one thing this camera isn’t lacking in, and in that area, it competes with the top three on the list.Read more
Photo and Video Quality
In today’s world 1080p is still the current standard for media, but there is no denying the brilliance of 4k. At the consumer and professional level there is a big difference in how good 4k looks when this camera outputs to a television.
Multiple viewing angles up to 170 degrees
Surprisingly, the price is low for this camera even though it does 4k and has built-in wifi. With the full accessory kit that comes with it, this is a fantastic value.
9. Powpro Kfun PP-J52
Seeing a kid’s underwater camera on the list is always a promising thing. The hardware is top notch and is a great way for kids to get used to underwater cameras.Read more
Ease Of Use
An important feature of any kid approved electronic device is ease of use. The PP-J52 meets this criterion while still offering a lot of control over the quality of media.
Waterproof and Dustproof
0 TFT screen
Even with an odd color choice for kids, the price is low so this camera has lasting value. It’s the easiest camera on the list for kids to use underwater.
At the #10 spot on the list is the PowMax Diving Mask, a completely different take on an underwater camera. This uniqueness helps it to stand out from the rest of the products even though PowMax isn’t a big brand name.Read more
Photo and Video Quality
The first thing you’ll notice about wearing this mask is the angle it takes pictures and videos. It is the most immersive camera on the list by catching all of the important action.
20 meters underwater max
The price is low, and you get a pair of goggles with a capable camera. Even if you only want the camera, the value is solid.
- Review of the best Compact, dSLR & Mirrorless cameras for underwater photography, Underwater Photography Website ,
- Top 10 Best Dive Cameras Review 2019. Buyers Guide, Buying Guide ,