Best Underwater Cameras for Beginners

The Best First Underwater Cameras - A Comparison

Beginner Camera Guide



You’ve just completed your open water certification, you’re getting more and more comfortable in the water, and you think it’s time to invest in your first underwater camera to record your dive adventures. The question is, which camera is best for entry level photographers? At Bluewater Photo, we’re happy to share our expert advice. Here are our top beginner cameras and briefly lay out the pros and cons of each.

 

GoPro Hero9 Black

GoPro Hero9 Black

Best for Video
 
 
PROS
CONS
 
 

  • Ergonomic - Easy to operate
  • No complete manual control settings
 
 
  • Front & Back Touchscreen Display
  • No viewfinder
 
 
  • Expandable Mods System
  • No zoom capabilities underwater
 
 
  • 5k video at 30 FPS - great for slow motion playback
  • Requires wet macro lens for subject closer than 12 inches, macro capabilities still not effective as TG-6
 
 
  • Hypersmooth 3.0 Stabilization
 
 
 
  • Horizon Leveling
 
 
 
  • Removable battery - 1720mAH lithium-ion
 
 
 
  • WiFi capabilities
 
 
 
  • Low price point for camera and housing - $450
 
 
 
  • Water resistant to 30 feet without housing; with housing (only $50) - rated to 196 feet
 
 

If your emphasis is video and not stills, the GoPro is a great choice.

Recommended Accessories

 
   
 
 

'

PolarPro Divemaster Filter Kit for Hero9 Black Protective Housing

'

Polar Pro Shutter Collection for Hero9 Black

 

 

GoPro Sale!

 

Olympus TG-6

Great Option for Stills with Good Video Quality
 
 
PROS
CONS
 
 

 

  • Best option for still photography

 
  • Larger size vs. GoPro and Paralenz

 
 

  • Optical zoom ability

  • No viewfinder
 
 

  • More sensitivity to light - ISO 100-12800
  • No manual control settings which limits creative wide-angle options
 
 

  • 4k video with super macro autofocus
  • $750 price point for camera and housing makes it the most expensive of the “starter” options
 
 

  • 4k timelapse video
   
 

  • LCD screen 
   
 

  • Raw and JPEG shooting
   
 

  • Action track sensors record location, temperature, direction and altitude data 
   
 

  • WiFi capabilities
   
 

  • Works well with wide angle wet lenses - Kraken KRL-02, AOI UWL-04

   
 

  • Only requires housing below 50 feet
   
 

  • Housing ($300) rated to 147 feet/45 m
   

Hint: You can save money and get the Olympus TG-5

Recommended Housings

 
Olympus PT-059 Housing

Nauticam TG-5, TG-6 Housing

 
 

Olympus PT-059 Housing

Nauticam NA-TG-5, TG-6 Housing

 
 

Ikelite TG-5, TG-6 Housing

Isotta TG-6 Housing

 
  Ikelite TG-5, TG-6 Housing Isotta TG-5, TG-6 Housing  

 

SeaLife Micro 3.0

Best Image Quality & Solid Wet Lens Options
 
 
PROS
CONS
 
 

 

  • 1” 16MP Sony sensor

  • No zoom capabilities
 
 
  • RAW and JPEG shooting
  • When shooting in RAW, frames per second is limited
 
 
  • 4K Video @ 30fps
  • When shooting in RAW, frames per second is limited
 
 

  • Full manual mode, great for wide-angle
  • 64Gb Internal Memory
 
 

  • Good wide-angle wet lens available
  • $600 price point
 
 

  • 2.4” LCD display
   
 

  • WiFi capabilities
   
 

  • Camera includes housing rated to X feet
   
 

  • 200ft depth rating
   
       

The Sealife camera is great for stills & video, and is the easiest underwater camera to use and maintain.

Recommended Packages

 
 

Check out other SeaLife Products & Accessories

 

Canon G7X Mark III

Recommended Housings

 

 
 
 

Fantasea Canon G7X Mark III

Ikelite Canon G7X Mark III

 

Smart Phone Underwater Housings:

 

Kraken Sports KRH04 Smart Phone Housing

 

 

SeaLife SportDiver Smartphone Housing

 

 

 

Nautismart Smart Phone Housing

 

Other Camera Options:

There are other cameras in the market which is also quite affordable that is also great for underwater photography and video.