Best underwater camera for Snorkeling

Best underwater camera for Snorkeling

Are you ready to dive in and buy an underwater camera for snorkeling? If that’s the case, you’ve probably noticed a plethora of enticing options on the market. We’ve reviewed the best underwater camera for snorkeling to make your decision easier.

Each has its distinct selling point, which we’ve outlined below. Then, all you need to do is think about what additional characteristics you need and decide on a budget. And if you want to learn more about underwater cameras, we go over certain essential aspects to consider before making the purchase.

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At a Glance:

Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling

There are several reasons why someone would want to buy a waterproof camera. No one wants to miss out on the only possibility of bringing some memories back offshore, whether that’s your next snorkeling trip or diving right into the sea. However, not all waterproof cameras are worthwhile investments. Many manufacturers regard standard cameras with underwater shooting capabilities as a marketing gimmick. Following a thorough testing process, we have compiled a list of the best underwater camera for snorkeling. They meet the highest performance and image quality standards, allowing you to make the most of your next snorkeling trip.

AwardDesignCAMERASRetailer
Best Olympus Waterproof Camera
Staff PickOlympus Tough TG-6
Check Price
Best 4K Waterproof Action Camera
Budget PickGoPro HERO 8
Check Price
Best Waterproof Action Camera
GoPro Hero9 Black
Check Price
Best all-round Waterproof Camera
Olympus Tough TG-5
Check Price
Toughest Snorkeling Camera
Best PickNikon Coolpix W300
Check Price
Best All-round Digital Snorkeling camera
Ricoh WG-70
Check Price
Cheap underwater camera for snorkeling
Fujifilm XP140
Check Price

Best Camera for Snorkeling in 2021 (Reviewed by Snorkelers)

Staff Pick

Olympus Tough TG-6

Best Olympus Waterproof Camera

Since its release, the Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera has been a best-seller without a doubt. Because of its resistance to various natural elements, it is widely regarded as one of the best waterproof cameras Olympus has ever produced.

We were taken aback by the sensor downgrade from 16MP to 12MP 1/2.3′′. However, you shouldn’t be concerned because Olympus managed to turn this flaw into a significant advantage: a larger photosite leads to better low-light performance. Moreover, underwater conditions aren’t exactly “bright,” so Olympus would perform admirably in those conditions.

Moving on, the 4.5-18mm lens features an aperture of f/2, which, when paired with an ISO range of 100-12800, creates stunning photographs. There is some chromatic noise, but it isn’t severe enough to detract from your photography experience. What good is an underwater camera if the image stabilization isn’t good? Fortunately, Olympus includes built-in image stabilization as well as an ingenious field sensor technology that tracks your motions and provides position information. You can use the gathered information as filters on your photos to brag about your adventures on social media.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t note the numerous recording modes, including 4K at 30 frames per second, 720p at 240 frames per second, 360p at 480 frames per second, and 1080p up to 120 frames per second. Again, the manufacturers went above and above for a gear designed exclusively for underwater shooting to improve your shooting experience. The characteristic Underwater microscope mode and others such as macro, snapshot, and HDR are not missed. Some of the most excellent characteristics of the Olympus TG-6 are the first two modes. Furthermore, the burst mode allows users to capture roughly 47 frames at a rate of 20 frames per second.

Pros

  • 4K resolution
  • Great microscope mode
  • Rugged body
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Small sensor
  • Limited telephoto range
Budget Pick

GoPro HERO 8

Best 4K Waterproof Action Camera

We’ve chosen the GoPro Hero8 Black Waterproof Action Camera, which we’re sure you’ve heard of before! Continue reading to find out why it’s our best budget-friendly underwater camera for snorkeling recommendation.

The GoPro Hero8 Black Waterproof Action Camera has been built with a sleek, portable design to provide you with plenty of convenience and utility.

You’ll be able to transfer mounts fast and quickly thanks to the folding fingers at the base, and exchanging batteries will be a pleasure thanks to the ingenious side door.

Plus, with HyperSmooth’s three levels of stabilization, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re receiving the most detailed scuba diving visuals and film possible, whatever of the resolutions and frame rates you’re shooting at.

Its premium design is excellent for use both underwater and on land. It includes an all-new GoPro-developed HDR that ensures minimized blur and incredible image clarity when shooting in low-light environments – making it ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and everything in between. If that weren’t enough, you’d also get an extra GoPro compatible battery and a U3 microSDHC card with a 64GB capacity included in the purchase. Isn’t it amazing? Overall, this is an excellent camera for underwater use.

Pros

  • 4K Shooting
  • Durable design
  • Ideal for underwater use

Cons

  • Not meant for low-light photography

GoPro Hero9 Black

Best Waterproof Action Camera

Since the original GoPro action camera release, GoPro has been a titan in the action camera market. It has improved the entire category over time, particularly with its Hero range. In that regard, the GoPro Hero9 Black is no exception.

For starters, it sports a massive new image sensor (23.6 megapixels), allowing you to shoot enormous 20-megapixel images and 5K video.

You definitely won’t be shooting in 5K right now unless you have a powerful computer to sort through the video later, but picture stabilization is where it shines. Even if you’re filming at 4K (which is still a substantial and clear resolution), the extra space on the sensor can be used to stabilize the video with a bit of cropping. Because you get shuffled around a lot with the movement of the water, this is a significant victory for snorkeling.

And, while we’re on the subject of picture stabilization, the GoPro Hero9 Black now has a new option called Horizon Lock, which brings stabilization to a whole new level when enabled. As a result, your video will stay astonishingly upright, group, and smooth even if you execute a complete barrel roll in the water. It’s a game-changer for video in and out of the water, in my opinion.

The new Hindsight function is another game-changer for snorkelers (having two game-changers in one camera is very astounding).

One of the most challenging aspects of snorkeling with an action camera is determining when to record. You’ll wind up with a full memory card and a depleted battery if you register 100% of the time. On the other hand, if you take pictures when you notice something fascinating, you may miss a spectacular shot if it passes by faster than you can set up your camera. Both of these things happen, and they can be highly aggravating.

However, when Hindsight is turned on, your camera will continuously record and destroy any video you let pass by in a 30- or 60-second history window until you press the record button (which will save all you’ve captured in that window). This is fantastic for snorkeling because you won’t have to worry about missing a shot or ending up with unwieldy, massive films. The Hero9s are remarkable action cameras for snorkeling. With high-end slow-motion video frame rates (you generally don’t need anything more than 60fps for snorkeling purposes, but 240fps is nice to have anyway), the inclusion of a front-facing “selfie screen” to assist you in framing self-shots. And the best battery capacity in the category.

Pros

  • The addition of front “selfie screen” is nice
  • Big sensor for an excellent photo, video, and stabilization
  • Great software to help you edit simply
  • New game-changing features like Hindsight and Horizon Lock

Cons

  • Slightly heavier

Olympus Tough TG-5

Best all-round Waterproof Camera

On the market, the Olympus Tough TG-5 is the best all-around underwater camera for snorkeling. It has a lot of professional capabilities and is a rugged camera. It’s not only waterproof, but it’s also crushproof, shockproof, freeze-proof, and dustproof. You have a camera that is amazing at shooting both images and films in 4K resolution, in addition to its durability.

People will take tremendous measures to protect their camera, which is a highly delicate and expensive gear. Olympus understands how heartbreaking it is to break or damage a camera, which is why they designed the Tough TG-5 camera to be nearly indestructible.

Next, the TG-5 can withstand a 2.1-meter drop, making it suitable for use outside, even in the rain. We like how versatile it is, as it can be used underwater and in other outdoor activities, and it excels in all of them. However, if you drop the camera in deep water, it will likely be lost, so keep it safe!

The F2.0 wide-angle lens on the Olympus Tough TG-5 is high-speed and suitable for recording underwater coral reef footage and photos. Its twin quad-core processor and dedicated image sensor provide high-resolution footage and photos with outstanding image quality even in low-light circumstances.

The TG-5 waterproof camera’s underwater shooting settings enable you to personalize the shots you can obtain, making it excellent for snorkeling. In addition, you can use the underwater wide, snapshot, and macro settings when you want to get those incredible close-up images.

The underwater HDR option, which overlays numerous shots to produce photos with increased shadow and light, is also available. When swimming among sea turtles, this setting is ideal for catching all of the subtleties and colours.

In addition, this Olympus waterproof HD camera can take fast-moving action photos in incredible detail. The Tough TG’s pro capture mode makes taking those complex, split-second images a lot easier. How? The camera will buffer a continuous sequence of high-resolution photographs. Then, when you press the capture button, it will choose the best image from that frame plus the five preceding frames, allowing you to catch the most explicit photo of a fast-moving shark or someone bungee jumping.

Pros

  • 4 X Optical Zoom
  • Adjustable white balance
  • It also makes an excellent dive camera
  • Auto Mode, easy to use for beginners
  • Image stabilization
  • Macro Mode
  • RAW support
  • Simple and intuitive user interface

Cons

  • Image quality is not as detailed as some other options due to the 12mp sensor
Best Pick

Nikon Coolpix W300

Toughest Snorkeling Camera

The Nikon Coolpix W300 is the most formidable snorkeling camera on the market, being drop-proof to 7.9 feet, freeze-proof to 14 degrees, dustproof, and waterproof to 100 feet / 30 meters. You’ll have a hard time breaking it.

Aside from its near-invincibility and lightweight, small design, which makes it ideal for travel, this camera is capable of taking 16MP photos and recording full HD 4K video at 30 frames per second.

Users can choose from various shooting settings, including underwater, beach, close-up, snow, and sport. The 5x optical zoom allows you to get closer to subjects while still capturing plenty of detail.

Vibration control for smooth film, WiFi integration, and AE lock-in when recording underwater video are fantastic features.

The 3 inch LCD screen is anti-reflective coated, which helps when shooting in bright light, such as near the surface, and the extra broad grip and clever button placement make for secure one-handed photography.

A separate tool button provides easy access to the GPS, e-compass, and other tools and depth displayed on the LCD screen.

The Nikon Coolpix W300 is a seriously extraordinary all-rounder that seems like a cross between the Panasonic TS7 and the Tough TG 6, though it’s a little less expensive. With so many positive reviews, it has to be one of the best-selling snorkel cameras on the market right now.

Pros

  • Two autofocus modes for video shooting
  • Extremely durable
  • Compact camera
  • Inexpensive
  • The LCD screen is coated with anti-reflective
  • AE lock-in when shooting underwater is possible
  • Vibration reduction / video stabilization
  • 5x optical zoom

Cons

  • Battery life is relatively short – 1-hour video recording at 1080p and less for 4k
  • Video recording is time-limited to 29 minutes or when the file size limit is reached

Ricoh WG-70

Best All-round Digital Snorkeling camera

The Ricoh WG-70 is a high-quality camera with a solid build. It’s simple to use and can be a lot of fun after you’ve learned how to use all of the features. The control buttons on the WG-70 model are conveniently placed, and the grip and balance are excellent. It’s also a very cost-effective solution.

This camera has a resolution of 16.0 megapixels, resulting in photographs that are crystal clear. It boasts a 6.16 x 4.62 mm sensor with an excellent explanation of 4612 x 3468 pixels. With a top resolution of 4608 x 3456, it also offers a superb peak resolution.

This camera has the best ISO range on the list, ranging from 125.0 to 6400.0. 2 EV exposure compensation (in 1/3 EV stages) The WG-70 also has a wide shutter speed range, ranging from 4 seconds to 1/4000 seconds. This provides you with a great deal of control and flexibility to achieve the ideal lighting. There is no viewfinder.

The WG-70 appears to be on its way to becoming the new choice for anyone searching for a versatile entry-level camera. It is ideal for action photography, still photography, and other types of photography. In addition, WG-70 will perform admirably in any situation. In the market of waterproof cameras, Ricoh has created one of the best mixes of performance, quality, and value.

It’s also worth noting that the WG-70 has a manual focus option. The WG-70 also has a wide shutter speed range, ranging from 4 seconds to 1/4000 seconds. This tool will allow you more control over the lighting in your images, which you will love.

The screen has a typical size of 2.7in and a resolution of 230,000 dots. USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) is supported for PC connection and file transfer. The Ricoh WG-70 has an integrated HDMI connector that allows you to share your most recent images on your TV or monitor.

From the comfort of their sofa, your friends or family can admire your work. It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t have wireless capabilities. This means you’ll have to transfer your photos to a PC via cable for editing or storage. The WG-70 is the lightest camera on our list, at 193.0 g. Perfect for anyone looking for a small but powerful camera. It’s a piece of cake to transport this piece.

After going through all of its features, there’s no denying that the Ricoh WG-70 is a fantastic piece of modern technology. This camera is one of the best for snorkeling since it combines lightweight and robust housing with an exceptional range of capabilities. And it doesn’t stop there. In any case, it’ll take care of itself. When compared to other options, the pricing is still quite enticing.

On our list, the Ricoh WG-70 is the second most affordable camera. It’s a steal at this pricing point, considering all the things it has to offer. This is our budget-friendly recommendation for the best underwater snorkeling camera.

Pros

  • 4612 x 3468 Sensor resolution
  • Exposure Compensation: ±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
  • HDMI option

Cons

  • Not wireless

Fujifilm XP140

Cheap underwater camera for snorkeling

The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is proof that entry-level doesn’t have to mean underpowered or unsophisticated. For a cheap waterproof camera, the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 has an impressive spec list. This camera is the most affordable on our list and has an excellent price-to-performance ratio. In addition, its features and ease of use make it ideal for beginners who aren’t ready to push their cash too far.

This camera has a resolution of 16.4 megapixels. The price is among the most affordable of all the cameras on our list. So it won’t be difficult for you to get a clear photo. With an unprecedented resolution of 4671 x 3512, the sensor size of 6.16 x 4.62 mm is more extensive than other cameras on this list.

It also boasts a high maximum image resolution of 4608 x 3456 pixels. The ISO range for this camera is 100.0 to 12800.0. 2 EV exposure compensation (in 1/3 EV stages). The FinePix XP140 also has a wide shutter speed range, ranging from 4 seconds to 1/2000 seconds. You’ll have a lot of control and flexibility over the lighting for your snorkeling artworks due to this.

On the other hand, the camera is comfortable. The handle is significant and provides excellent grip, allowing you to grasp it in one hand effortlessly. Other, more expensive cameras on this list may give a better performance, but we assure you will not be dissatisfied at this price point.

It’s vital to keep in mind that the camera doesn’t have a manual focus mode. The FinePix XP140 also has a wide shutter speed range, ranging from 4 seconds to 1/2000 seconds. This tool will allow you more control over the lighting in your images, which you will love.

The screen is a normal 3in dimension with a resolution of 921,600 dots. USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) is supported for PC connection and file transfer. Almost every modern camera includes an HDMI connector, and the FinePix XP140 is no different. Connect the connector to the camera and plug it into TV or projector to show your work to your audience on the big screen.

If you’re like us and hate looking for wires all the time, you’ll appreciate the fact that this camera includes built-in WiFi. It will be easier than ever to transfer or view your files over your home network. The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 weighs around 207.0 g, which is about average. On our list, it is neither the lightest nor the heaviest camera. We believe it has an outstanding balance and is the ideal weight for most photographers’ primary cameras.

You can see from the list of features that it provides a lot of value. As a result, if you’re looking for a low-cost solution, the FinePix XP140 won’t let you down. The camera will work admirably with moving or stationary things.

Pros

  • Built-in flash
  • Wireless camera

Cons

  • No External Flash

What to Consider When Buying an Underwater Camera for Snorkeling

Best underwater camera for snorkeling

Underwater cameras must be able to withstand harsh environments. Therefore, it’s critical to know what to look for when purchasing a waterproof camera for snorkelling to prevent wasting money.

Not only do you want a device that won’t break even if it gets a single drop of water on it, but you also want a camera that will take amazing photos while you’re out snorkelling.

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Can it shoot in full manual mode?

If you plan to buy an external strobe in the future, you’ll need to shoot in manual mode and have complete control over exposure and the amount of ambient light entering the camera.

Housing availability 

Is there a variety of housings available for the camera you’ve picked so you may shop around? And do they come at a reasonable price? Is the housing able to access all of the camera’s controls? What types of external strobe connections are available? Is it possible to obtain wet lenses for this housing?

Suitable macro mode and the ability to get close to your subject

Look at the focussing distance that is closest to you. This is usually around 5cm (although some can get closer… TG5 from Olympus!)

Ability to shoot in RAW

It’s always nice to have the option, especially if you want to work with your photographs in Lightroom or Photoshop later. 

Manual white balance

This makes a significant impact in underwater photography; consider this feature. When photographing with ambient light, this is especially significant because it reduces your images’ excessive “blueness.” A red filter on the front of your lens isn’t going to cut it when it comes to custom white balance. 

Housing accessibility

Is it possible to easily modify the aperture and shutter speed underwater? Are all of the camera’s functionalities available through the housing?

Strobes 

Is it simple to attach strobes, and how do they work? Some people utilize sync cables, while others rely on the camera’s pop-up flash, which is slow to recycle and drains the battery.

Megapixels vs. Sensor size

Don’t be deceived by the megapixel count; the sensor size is a far better indicator of image resolution.

Other features

Shutter lag duration, battery life, the ability to display a histogram, and decent autofocusing capability are critical factors to consider.

FAQs about Underwater Cameras for Snorkeling

How do I choose an underwater camera?

We don’t want to scare you, but picking the best underwater camera is problematic. Although the “ideal” camera does not exist, you may undoubtedly discover some excellent choices based on your budget and intended purpose. To begin, you’ll need a waterproof case (pretty obvious). Most well-known cameras include an issue in the box, but you may need to purchase one from other manufacturers. Some cameras may not even necessitate the use of a claim. They do, however, have a restricted underwater depth.
A compact camera is a good choice for a newbie because it is inexpensive, simple to use, and adaptable. SLRs provide far better image outputs, but they require high-quality interchangeable lenses with no shutter latency, and the better-looking sensors raise the price by a significant amount. SLRs are also unsuitable for amateurs due to their sophisticated functions and handling. Professionals need the shortest shutter delay, extensive manual control, and natural white balance, whereas beginners demand automatic functions.

How do you carry a camera while snorkeling?

Customers are frequently perplexed about how to handle the camera while snorkeling. It’s fun to have to take underwater photos, but what about when you just want to gaze at the landscape without having to hold your camera? Let’s get one thing straight: attaching the camera to your mask or head is probably the worst way to carry it underwater. On the other hand, we recommend investing in a wrist strap or a pole to place your camera upon for practical and hassle-free handling. When compared to extremely shaky footage when linked to your head strap or dive tank, some individuals attach the camera to a catch bag because it does not cause noticeable harm to the footage.

How can I learn about underwater photography?

It is hard to become an expert in underwater photography by simply reading a guide online. However, there are a few helpful hints that will make your trip go more smoothly. First, because water absorbs part of the light spectrum’s brilliant hues, you’ll need to use a flash or strobe to make them visible. Second, because water reduces contrast, sharpness, and colour, it’s critical to approach very close to the subject—at least one meter away. Compared to shots taken from above, the image results would be significantly better if photographed at eye level or from a low posture. Finally, learn when to use auto white balance (with flash) and custom white balance and use manual mode and aperture priority mode on your camera.

What’s the Best Cheap Underwater Camera?


We’re not going to sugarcoat it: high-quality best underwater cameras for snorkeling aren’t cheap. However, you’d be better off investing in something that will last rather than buying a cheap underwater camera that will only last one vacation!
We recommend the following solutions for a low-cost underwater camera:
·         Olympus Tough TG-6 (Staff Pick)
·         GoPro HERO 8 (Best Budget)
·         Nikon Coolpix W300 (Best Pick)

Conclusion

We hope you find the list of the best underwater cameras for snorkeling helpful in making an informed selection. Choosing the ideal underwater camera isn’t simple, but it’s also not difficult. To make your underwater shooting experience more comfortable, we recommend checking the waterproof range, overall build, and functions. Most of the cameras we’ve discussed have a rigid body and a waterproof capacity of more than 5 meters, as well as a variety of capabilities.

Our Best 7 Underwater camera for Snorkeling Picks

AwardDesignCAMERASRetailer
Best Olympus Waterproof Camera
Staff PickOlympus Tough TG-6
Check Price
Best 4K Waterproof Action Camera
Budget PickGoPro HERO 8
Check Price
Best Waterproof Action Camera
GoPro Hero9 Black
Check Price
Best all-round Waterproof Camera
Olympus Tough TG-5
Check Price
Toughest Snorkeling Camera
Best PickNikon Coolpix W300
Check Price
Best All-round Digital Snorkeling camera
Ricoh WG-70
Check Price
Cheap underwater camera for snorkeling
Fujifilm XP140
Check Price

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Emma Perkins
By Emma Perkins

I am Emma Perkins from the United States. Founder & content marketer at Geeks Vela. My main objective here is to create a valuable resource for tech enthusiasts with honest reviews, course recommendations, and how-to tutorials.



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