The Best Underwater Camera: Don’t Leave Land Without it
One of the best things about going on underwater adventures is that it gives you the opportunity to observe and experience a whole other world—an exciting, mysterious, and almost alien world that one can only find within the depths of the sea. And of course, when one encounters such beauty and wonder, it never hurts to have what is the best underwater camera on hand for immortalizing those unforgettable sights and experiences.
Underwater photography requires a camera that possesses the features and specifications needed for handling the unique difficulties of underwater shooting. Therefore, when buying an underwater camera, there are a few things you will need to consider; depth rating, aperture and ISO range, manual capabilities, and image resolution.
Whether looking to capture stunning coral reefs, majestic marine animals, or shooting the inside of your next wave, we’ve listed some of the best underwater cameras that are specifically built and designed to help you document your next ocean adventure.
Best Underwater Cameras
In order to take amazing underwater photos, you’ll need a camera that has impressive low-light capabilities and a depth rating of at least 100 feet. We’ve listed a few notable cameras (with and without housings) that will fit your skill level and diving photography needs.
1. SeaLife SL512 Micro 2.0
SeaLife is known for producing some of the best underwater cameras made specifically for scuba diving—much like the SL512 Micro 2.0 Underwater Camera. It’s waterproof up to 200 feet (60.96 meters) without the need for a separate housing and has a compact, ergonomically designed body that is sturdy, shock-resistant, and permanently sealed to eliminate the possibility of flooding.
With a 20mm fisheye lens and a large aperture of f/2.8, this camera allows you to record well-exposed full HD 1296p videos at 30fps (and 1080p at 60fps) or capture sharp, 16-megapixel photos with a 130-degree field of view.
Other features include a 2.4-inch LCD screen; a picture-in-video function that allows you to take still pictures while recording a video; time-lapse shooting; and underwater scene modes that help with color correction and automatic exposure control.
2. SeaLife SL740 DC2000
Another favorite from the SeaLife underwater camera line is the SL740 DC2000 Digital Camera, which features a more powerful and enlarged 1-inch Sony® BSI CMOS image sensor that produces higher quality 20-megapixel photos and full HD 1080p videos at a speedy frame rate of 60fps for sharper and clearer imagery.
As expected, it has a standard waterproof depth rating of 200 feet (60.96 meters) for deep-sea scuba diving. Eight shooting modes, one of which offers the freedom to adjust manual exposure settings. Other shooting modes include aperture, shutter, intelligent auto, underwater, land, and panorama to help you achieve the best settings possible for every shooting situation.
The DC2000 also has several advanced features like RAW image format shooting, high-speed autofocusing, fast 0.1-second shutter response, and three digital color correction filters for underwater shooting, making it the ideal underwater camera for both mid-level and advanced underwater photographers.
3. GoPro HERO5 Black
If you want a good underwater camera that you can also use for adventures on land, GoPro has enabled their latest, sophisticated line of Hero cameras to be used at depths past its regular 33 feet (10 meters) limit with the help of their Super Suit Dive Housing ($39.99). With this heavy-duty protective housing, the GoPro HERO5 Black Edition Action Camera can be used up to 196 feet (59.7 meters) underwater.
The HERO5 features a brighter and sharper 2-inch touchscreen display on the back panel, which makes it easier to navigate the menu controls and allows you to tap specific areas of the frame for manual exposure control.
The HERO5 captures amazing wide-angle 4K video at up to 30fps, 12-megapixel images (as JPEG and RAW), and takes burst shots at up to 30fps so you don’t miss any moments.
4. Intova HD Edge X with Housing
Due to its small, lightweight, and durable body, the Intova HD Edge X Waterproof Action Camera makes for a more affordable option than the GoPro. You don’t get 4K video, but you can record full HD 1080p videos at a whopping 60fps, take slightly bigger 12-megapixel photos at 4000×3000, and capture slow-motion video at 240fps. With a motion detection feature that enables it to automatically record video upon detecting movement (and stop after five seconds if there is no further motion) and a useful picture-in-video function.
The Intova HD Edge X camera’s most unique characteristic is its unibody design, which means its parts are built directly into the rubberized housing. This allows it to be waterproof at up to 330 feet (or 100 meters) underwater. Also, with a fixed 160-degree ultra-wide lens and digital zoom up to 60x, you can fit more of the scene into the frame or capture scenes and subjects from a great distance.
5. Intova HD2 with Housing
You’ll notice that the Intova Connex HD Marine Grade Action Camera is the only camera on this list with a built-in light source, which provides bright 150-lumen flashes or constant light to aid you in taking well-lit photos and videos in dark shooting conditions. It also has an impressive depth rating of 330 feet (100 meters) and takes fairly high-quality 16-megapixel photos and full HD videos at a maximum of 1920x1200p (at up to 60fps) with its f/2.5 wide angle lens.
The camera works with the dedicated Intova App for controlling camera functions, previewing live video feeds, and sharing your media online with your iOS or Android device. You get ISO sensitivity of up to 800, burst photo mode up to 30fps, a self-timer up to 10 seconds long, a built-in microphone for capturing clear sound while recording video, and a memory card slot to fit a microSD card that’s up to 64GB.
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