Best Sony Cameras for Underwater (2019)

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Mirrorless Camera   |   Compact Camera

 

Sony A7R III

 

Read our Sony A7R III Review

The Sony A7R II established itself as a solid choice for underwater photographers, along with pros and semi-pros who were required to shoot both videos and stills on assignment. The Sony A7r III improves on the A7r II by adding longer battery life, faster high-speed shooting, additional video features, better auto-focus, and other bells and whistles. If you want the latest and greatest hybrid full-frame system, look no further.

The A7R III is a great option for still shooters proven by its full-frame dSLR type quality, small size, great high ISO performance, good auto-focus speed, and high-quality lens availability. Although there are a number of full-frame mirrorless cameras coming out/ have come up this year, none can compete with Sony in regards to lens selection. It will still be years before competitors have caught up in this regard. DxoMark sensor ratings for the Nikon D850, Sony A7R II, and Sony A7R III are virtually indistinguishable. Video shooters will love the A7R III for 4K video, but many serious videographers prefer to trade off the higher MP count of the A7R III for better low-light performance and lower price of the A7 III.

Sony A7R III Underwater Housing Options:

Sony A7R III Packages Available:

Photo by Matt Sullivan with the Sony A7R III in Nauticam Housing
 

Photo by Matt Sullivan with the Sony A7R III in Nauticam Housing

Sony A6500

Read our Sony A6500 Review

The Sony A6500 offers the same large sensor as a dSLR, but in a much smaller sized camera. It offers excellent control and quality at an affordable price. With a 24MP sensor, excellent auto focus performance, and the ability to shoot 11 frames per second, you can get some great images with this small camera - and some incredible 4K video. The Sony A6500 holds strong as the best powerhouse mirrorless option for someone still sensitive to budget and not looking to go 'larger' with the A7R III.

Sony A6500 Underwater Housing Options:

Sony A6500 Packages Available:

Photo by Steve Harms with the Sony A6500
 

Photo by Brent Durand with the Sony A6500

Sony A6400

Read our Sony A6400 Review

The Sony A6400 camera is packed with lots of wonderful features both for topside and for underwater shooting. The image quality is excellent. The APC-S sensor is a serious step up from compact and smaller mirrorless cameras and combined with broad array of lens options, you’re ready for anything.  Another great feature is the auto-focus.  Offering a massive 425-point phase detection AND 425-point contrast detection autofocus system, combined with a variety of focus modes and areas, there is a setting for every photography situation you might need. Last but not the least is the video capabilities, Sony cameras are continually the top contenders when discussing video capabilities and features, and the Sony A6400 doesn't disappoint. 

Sony A6400 Underwater Housing Options:


Sony A9

Read our Sony A9 Review

The Sony A9 was a highly anticipated release, boasting a camera fully designed for fast-action photography with its impressive continuous shooting feature.  While many might consider it as "more camera than I need", if you are interested in shooting both topside and underwater, this may be a top option for you. It utilizes a full frame 24.2MP sensor, can shoot up to 20 fps, recording UHD 4K, and a ISO range up to 204,800 (when expanded). It utilizes a 693 point phase-detection autofocus system which provides accurate and quick subject tracking even in the most difficult of lighting situations. Due to all its bells and whistles, its size relates closer to a DSLR than a traditional mirrorless camera which can be a downside for some, but it's a beast on capabilities!

Sony A9 Underwater Housing Options:


Sony RX100 V/VA & VI

Read our complete Sony RX100 VI Review

Read the Sony RX100 Va Review

The Sony RX100 Va (originally called the RX100 V) and VI are the latest additions to the Sony RX100 series and are packed with lots of awesome features for underwater photography. They are the top of line compact cameras to date. Autofocus is lightning quick in both cameras, which is very beneficial for underwater application. Both feature a large 1" sensor with 20 MP resolution, which provides excellent image quality, fast autofocus, useful video modes (like slow motion) and full manual controls. The RX100 VI's key upgrade is its enhanced zoom using a 24-200 mm f/2.8 – 4.5 lens. With this new lens, it provides unsurpassed macro magnification capabilities for a compact camera - allowing macro lovers the ability to reach new frontiers in super macro photography. The RX100 Va's key upgrade is 24fps sequential shooting, enhanced image buffer, and a customizable menu system.  It also allows more flexible wet lens options right out of the box without the need for an additional port (which you'd likely need for the RX100 VI due to its enhanced zoom lens).

Sony RX100 Mark Va/VI Underwater Housing Options:

Nauticam

Recsea

Ikelite

Fantasea

Sony RX100 VI Packages Available:

Photo of Coonstripe Shrimp eye by Nirupam Nigam with the Sony RX100 VI
 

Photo of Tube Worm arms by Nirupam Nigam with the Sony RX100 VI

 

3/18/2019