Best Underwater Camera For The Money

Wet expeditions such as scuba diving will provide you with an incredible experience and wonderful scenes that are too amazing for words. Having the best underwater camera is vital so that you are able to capture and store these amazing sites for many years of viewing to come. The camera you choose will be primarily for capturing still photos in addition to videos. The expedition you embark on will vary in depths. As the photographer, the depth rating needs of your adventure is the main thing to consider before obtaining a waterproof camera.

best underwater camera

The quality of videos and photos are the top priority in choosing a camera that will secure your memories when referencing them in future. Keep mind in other features such as lighting (whether that be mounted or inbuilt), image quality such as megapixels, and battery life. Having these specifications under consideration before you make the best choice of a waterproof camera is certainly a good idea. Waterproof cameras are produced by various companies. Listed below are some of the best cameras in regards to their specifications.

It is important to understand that there are different types of underwater cameras. Sea diving and snorkeling may not be every day activities for you however, underwater photography is fun, interesting, and overall a beautiful experience. Standard cameras cannot and should not be used to capture pictures below sea level, therefore, underwater cameras have become increasingly popular. While most cameras embody their own unique styles, looks, and features, please also remember that the design materials, speeds, waterproof depth rate, and lens and battery life are most important. Knowing the different types of cameras is beneficial in the sense that you will be able to compare the best underwater camera and decide which best fits your needs as well as wants.

Underwater Camera Comparison Table​

Image

Model

Depth Rate

Resolution

Price

Rating

​Olympus Tough TG-860

Olympus Tough TG-860

15 meters

16 megapixels

Full 1080p HD

$$

Nikon COOLPIXAW130

Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera

15 Meters

16 Megapixels

Full1080HD

$

Ricoh WG-30w

Ricoh WG-30w

10 Meters

16 Megapixels/Full1080 HD

$$

SeaLife Micro HD

SeaLife Micro HD

60 Meters

13 Megapixels/1080 HD

$$$$

GoPro HERO4

GoPro HERO4


40 Meters

12 Megapixels/1080HD

$$$$

Sony DSC-TX30/D

Sony DSC-TX30/D

10 Meters

18 Megapixels/1080HD

$$

GoPro HERO3+

GoPro HERO3+

40 Meters

10 Megapixels/Full1080HD

$$

Olympus TG-4

Olympus TG-4


15 Meters

16 Megapixels/Full 1080HD

$$$

Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera

15 Meters

16 Megapixels/Full1080HD

$

Canon PowerShot D30 Waterproof Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot D30 Waterproof Digital Camera

25 Meters

12 Megapixels/Full 1080 HD

$$$

Different Types Of Cameras​

 Plain Disposable Underwater Camera.

While used primarily for swimming and snorkeling purposes, these cameras are mainly design for shallow depths. Lighting and additional special features are typically not built into these plain disposable underwater cameras. In relation to other cameras in this specific field, they are small. Battery life is not an issue with these camera and does not limit the photographer as other cameras do. On the other hand, they are not able to hold a large capacity of images.

 Cheap Re-loadable Cameras.

These cameras have proven to be the most affordable out of the variety of cameras. The first two cameras are quite similar, the difference lies in the latter uses film and can be used repeatedly. They have also proven to be more suitable for use in limited occasions due to the low picture quality this camera produces.

Digital Underwater Cameras

Digital underwater cameras are complex and significantly more powerful. These cameras have batteries that hold more power. Since they are designed for deep scuba diving expeditions, it is necessary for such long lasting battery life. Lighting can be mounted and some of the cameras have built in lights.

Housing System Camera.

While they can be quite expensive, they do have waterproof housing. Professional underwater photographers find these cameras to be the perfect fit for them. These cameras have provided some of the finest quality pictures- even at levels of 200 feet underwater. Since these cameras came to the market, it has become significantly easier for anyone to take pictures underwater. Since each type of camera has its own functions and features, this gives the photographer options of which one to buy according to their needs.

Best Underwater Camera Candidates​

The top five waterproof cameras are made by various companies. The best are listed below by their specs, reviews, and performance.

​Olympus Tough TG-860

​Olympus Tough TG-860

The Olympus Tough TG-860 was created by Olympus, a japan based company which specializes in optics and imaging products. This manufacturer is one of the best in waterproof digital cameras. This camera in particular is created with a rugged design. This makes it easy to grip while also preventing the lenses from getting scratches.

The Olympus Tough TG-860 allows one to record video in full 1080p HD. Not only that, but you are also able to capture images up to 16 megapixels. The lenses perform at a high speed which provides quality pictures and videos even while in motion. This camera is typically priced in the medium range the best underwater camera when it comes to its cost.

Nikon COOLPIXAW130​

Nikon COOLPIXAW130

The Nikon COOLPIXAW130 was created by the Nikon Corporation, commonly known as Nikon. Nikon is a Japanese, multinational corporation located in Tokyo, Japan. Similar to Olympus, Nikon also specializes in optics and imaging products. This company created on the top in the best waterproof underwater cameras according to a variety of sources. This camera leads the pack when it comes to the best camera for underwater activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving. With its waterproof distance of 30 meters, cold resistant and shockproof build, this camera stands second to none.

Nikon also created this camera to have three times wide angle optical zoom as well as a full 1080hd video recording. This camera has its very own built in sharing system. This system allows photographers to share their pictures and videos with other devices including smartphones and tablets. This camera is on the market for premium price range. Prices may vary based on different sites as well as the color option you choose.

Ricoh WG-30w

Ricoh WG-30w

The Ricoh Company is another Japanese multinational electronics imaging company. They created the Ricoh WG-30w. This camera is the best compact waterproof digital camera that features a 3 inch LCD monitor. In addition to the monitor, it also includes a built-in GPS partnered with a digital compass. The GPS locates where the pictures were taken. This camera is everything proof! Shockproof, crushproof, and cold proof- you name it. The lens is 35mm with full 1080p video outputs.

These images and videos produced by this camera are very high quality even in less lighting, naming it the best small waterproof video camera. The Ricoh WG-30w is priced at $379.99. Prices may vary for this camera as well based on which site you purchase it from.

SeaLife Micro HD

SeaLife Micro HD

SeaLife is chain of commercial centers which creates cameras located primarily in the European Union. This chain is primarily existent on the production of sea expedition products. It is owned by Merlin Entertainments, a British company. The SeaLife Micro HD+ created by this company is an underwater digital camera. With full 1080p HD and 13 megapixels, this camera provides incredibly sharp and high resolution photos and videos.

The 140 degree fisheye lens is sealed permanently and is also waterproof. This camera also has a 2400 mAh internal lithium rechargeable battery. This allows the user to use the camera for long periods of time without worrying about the battery draining prematurely. The SeaLife Micro HD+ is priced at a premium on amazon. Do not forget that this camera offers 32GB of memory plus wifi. This is definitely the best underwater digital camera on the market.

GoPro HERO4​

GoPro HERO4

The American manufacturer, GoPro, Inc., creates cameras of action. GoPro cameras are often used in extreme-action videography. This company dominates the market of action cameras since this year (2016). Garmin, Panasonic, Nikon, Sony, and Polaroid, however, have all proven to be competition for GoPro. This is one of the best underwater cameras. The built-in touch display is perfect for easy camera control as well as short framing and playback. Handling and accuracy is no longer an issue when using this camera.

The 1080p60 and 720p120 video at 30 frames per second and 12 megapixel photos, is on a professional level. GoPro’s GoPro HERO4 Black has an improved camera control. In addition to the control, it has a build in video trimming which allows the creation and saving of short video clips directly onto the camera. The GoPro HERO4 Black is priced in the median price range.

Underwater Features To Consider

When purchasing an underwater camera is it important to consider the following features I have listed below. You should compare the various camera features when choosing the right camera for your next scuba trip.

The first feature is appearance. For high adventure photography you will need a camera that is both sturdy and durable enough for your expedition. It is also important to consider the size of the camera.

Storage capacity is the next feature. For the longer expeditions, you will need a camera with greater storage capacity. Having the ability to capture several outstanding photos and videos is important. However, there is typically that one photo or video that stands out from the rest.

Image Quality is another key feature to take into consideration when choosing the best underwater camera. When you return from your trip, you do not want to be browsing through a full album of blurry and distorted images that take beauty away from what you experienced on your trip. Still photos are the main concern but it is also important to consider video quality when choosing the perfect waterproof camera for you.

The battery life is a non-negotiable feature of your camera. You must have a decent battery life. The camera is useless if the battery dies. When considering which camera offers the best battery life, take into consideration the charging time as you will likely need to re-charge between dives.

The final feature that should be considered when picking out the perfect underwater camera for you is the ability to file share. Some cameras have been built to allow the user to share files straight from the camera to a smart phone device and in some cases, a TV. This is great because you do not have to carry a camera around with you constantly to view the photos you have taken.

best underwater digital camera

Conclusion​

A few great cameras that were not listed on the Top 5 list include the following; Fujifilm FinePix XP80, the Sony DSC-TX30/D, and the GoPro HERO3+. The Fujifilm camera has a waterproof distance of 15 meters, 16 megapixels with full 1080p HD and is priced on the more expensive side. The Sony DSC has a 10 meter waterproof distance, 16 megapixels full 1080p HD and priced in the middle range. GoPro HERO3+ has a waterproof distance of 40 meters, 10 megapixels, 1080p and is priced right along with the Sony DSC. These cameras, while not included in the top 5 listing, are still wonderful cameras and are worth researching more on.

Above are samples and reviews of the top waterproof cameras. As the market for these cameras are quite large, it can be somewhat overwhelming to the shopper. There is a wide variety of brands, types of cameras, features, etc. Hopefully, with the help of this article, you will find your shopping experience much easier and even enjoyable. These optic and image companies have provided a great variety of cameras for you to choose from. Once you have found a camera that you are thinking about purchasing, it would be beneficial and also highly advised to skim through customer reviews on that specific product. This way you can trim down the options that you have gathered and eliminate any products that might not be satisfactory to your needs.

Make sure you have determined the purpose for the camera you are purchasing. Remember the non-negotiable features; waterproof, low light video and picture capturing (ability to take videos and pictures in low light), waterproof depth, appearance/build, battery life, to name a few. The proper choice will meet all or most of your preferences as well as needs.

Take a look at the top five list of cameras once more. That lists consists of the best products for underwater expeditions and adventures. When searching through customer reviews on these products, you will see that many people enjoy using these cameras. They have high sustainability as well as performance. Whichever camera you choose to purchase, you will find yourself pleased and satisfied from the amount of joy you receive through the wonderful photos and high quality videos you shoot. Your money will certainly be well spent.

Steven Conte
 

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