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Best Underwater Cameras in 2024

Published January 18, 2024 | By: Nirupam Nigam

What Makes The "Best Underwater Camera?"

Looking for the best underwater camera to capture stunning images and videos of marine life? Look no further than our expertly curated list of top-rated options for beginners, semi-professionals, and professionals alike. After diving with over 40 modern camera systems on hundreds of dives worldwide, our team at Bluewater Photo has identified the best options based on key features such as sensor size, overall size, and whether the camera is photo or video-oriented. Discover your perfect underwater camera today!

Features To Look For When Choosing The Best Underwater Camera

Choosing the best underwater camera for your needs is a daunting ask, but it doesn't have to be. At Bluewater Photo we understand that different creatives have different needs. This is why we've curated a list of the top-rated underwater camera options on the market. From affordable compact cameras to full-frame professional-level mirroless systems, our selection includes options for every budget and skill level. As you may know from reading the Underwater Photography Guide, when selecting an underwater camera it is crucial to look at different features like resolution, low light performance, video recording capabilities, whether or not it offers full manual controls, the ability to shoot in RAW, it's physical size, underwater housing options and whether it accepts wide-angle and macro wet lenses. We also recommend considering the functionality of available underwater housings and compatible underwater camera accessories. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly at sales@bluewaterphotostore.com to find a camera system that meets you needs and goals. Whether you're a scuba diver, snorkeler, or underwater fashion photographer we've got you covered.
 

Recent Improvements in Underwater Photography Equipment

Much like the transition from film photography to digital photography, camera technology has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years. And although image quality continues to improve, the future of photography is ironically found in video features. Video technology development has been incredible over the last few years and many modern mirrorless cameras have been gifted with cinema-level filming capability. The Sony A1 and the Canon R5, for instance, both capture 8K and 4K/120p RAW video (though the A1 needs an external recorder to film RAW). Even the higher resolution Sony A7R IV was updated to shoot 8K and 4K/60p video with the A7R V! Of course the lower resolution Sony A7S III/Sony FX3 remains the best underwater video camera on the market with 4K/120p recording and clean video with limited noise at high ISOs up to 12,800.
 
There have been two notable engineering changes in high-end photo cameras in 2023. The first is that AI processing has been integrated with many autofocus systems. This is most notable in the Sony A7R V which has the best autofocus system currently on the market and a dedicated AI autofocus processor. The second is that engineers have been reaching closer to the goal of a "global" electronic shutter capable of reading out every pixel instantaneously. While we are still a ways off from this technology, fast readout speeds have enabled some cameras to be built without a mechanical shutter entirely (like the Nikon Z9) or missing the front current shutter (like the Canon EOS R8 and R50).
 
On the flip side of the coin, more affordable compact cameras are becoming far and few between. As above-water compact camera manufacturers are beat out by smartphones, underwater smartphone housings are becoming a more popular alternative to compact cameras. And they are an excellent alternative. We think smartphones just might be the future of underwater photography as they allow new divers and new photographers to enter what is traditionally an expensive hobby on a budget. If you are interested in underwater smartphone housings, be sure to check out our guide to the best underwater smarthpone housings.
 
That being said, the compact cameras that are released (like the Sony RX100 VII and the Canon G7X Mark III) aquire better image quality, autofocus, and video features. SeaLife continues to improve and offer a fantastic selection of underwater cameras for first-time underwater shooters.
 
But the winds of change are affecting mirrorless and DSLR cameras the most. Mirrorless cameras are no longer an intermediate level option - they are the future of underwater photography. DSLR cameras are dead. Canon, and Nikon are officially done producing new DSLRs and their corresponding lenses. This is why we have not included any DSLR cameras cameras in this list. Mirrorless camera offer better autofocus systems, in-body image stabilization, better video technology, and better lens mounts. Do DSLRs still take great photos? Of course! But they are not the future of camera production. Alongside the push towards mirrorless cameras, we've also seen a reduction in the price of sensors. This means full-frame cameras, which offer better image quality, dynamic range, low light performance, etc, are now the trending as more popular than only slightly less expensive APS-C and micro four thirds sensor cameras. So now we've entered the age of the full frame mirrorless cameras with legendary cameras like the Canon R5 and R6 Mark II, Sony A1, Nikon Z9, Sony A7S III, and Sony A7 IV.
 
Perhaps the most exciting update to underwater photography in 2023 has been the shift towards inexpensive entry level full-frame and APS-C mirrorless cameras from Canon. In a slew of releases in late 2022 and early 2023 some of the best value underwater cameras ever created have been released including the Canon EOS R10 APS-C camera, Canon EOS R7 APS-C camera, Canon EOS R8 full-frame camera, Canon EOS R50 APS-C camera, and the Canon EOS R100. Before now, it was very difficult for underwater photographers to upgrade their compact cameras to underwater mirrorless systems. But these cameras, combined with special housings from Ikelite, Marelux, and Nauticam, make professional quality underwater photo and video attainable.
 
Ultimately, the best underwater camera is the camera that works for you. Take a look at our top picks for the best underwater camera in 2024 below.
 

- Best Beginner Cameras -

Canon G7X Mark III

Best Value Compact Camera

The Canon G7X III is a tiny camera with a large 1-inch, 20 MP sensor, directly competing with the higher-end Sony RX100 series cameras. It is an excellent, fast-focusing camera with excellent image quality. The camera also boasts 4K video, slow motion video, a bigger image buffer, a new stacked sensor, a better image processor, and quicker burst shooting over the G7X II.

With all of these features at an affordable price, we have chosen the Canon G7X III as the best value compact camera. The Canon G7X Mark III also has advantages over recent RX100 series cameras like the RX100 VII because you can shoot both wide-angle and macro on the same dive! The Canon G7X Mark III has advantages over the Olympus TG-6 camera because you can have complete manual control with the G7X Mark III.

KEY FEATURES

  • 20.1 megapixel 1.0” stacked CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 8 image processor
  • 4.2x optical zoom lens (24-100m f/1.8-2.8) with optical image stabilization
  • 3.0 inch touch panel LCD screen with tilt option of 180 degrees for selfies and vloggers
  • Compatible with USB charge/power supply
  • Contrast-detection autofocus (no dual pixel autofocus)
  • 20 fps burst mode (upgraded from 8fps)
  • 70 shot RAW buffer (upgraded from 21 shots)
  • Slow motion video (120 fps in 1080p)

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Sealife Micro 3.0

Easiest-to-Use Underwater Compact Camera

The SeaLife Micro 3.0 Camera might be the easiest underwater camera to use for both photo & video. We recommend it to any diver looking for a no-frills, ergonomic source of underwater content. These shooters may not be looking to get a professional image but need a simple tool to document their dive and what they see in the beautiful underwater environment. The SeaLife Micro 3.0 is designed to be permanently sealed, making it flood-proof for the camera's lifetime. There is no need for any o-ring maintenance and no need to worry about flooding. The battery life is also excellent - it can be operated for more than three hours which is perfect for a full day of diving.

Operating the camera is easy; it's equipped with three wide piano key type buttons that are easy to locate and control even while wearing thick gloves. The camera is also equipped with an "Easy Setup" feature that quickly guides you through the correct settings based on the shooting environment, depth, and lighting accessories that are being used. It is definitely a contender for the best underwater camera if you don't want the hassle of an underwater housing!

KEY FEATURES

  • 16 Megapixel Sony CMOS image sensor
  • Permanently sealed
  • 3+ hours battery life
  • Built-in 64GB memory card
  • Easy operation
  • "Easy Setup" feature
  • Capable of manual white balance and RAW format for post-processing
  • 100° Lens

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Sony RX100 VA & Sony RX100 VII

Best High-End Compact Camera

The Sony RX100 VA & Sony RX100 VII cameras are the latest additions to the Sony RX100 series and are packed with many awesome underwater photography features. They are the top of line compact cameras to date. Autofocus is lightning quick in both cameras, which is great for shooting fast animals like sharks and sea lions. All three cameras feature a large 1" sensor with 20 MP resolution. Each camera is equipped with 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, whereas the RX100 VA's key upgrade is 24fps sequential shooting, enhanced image buffer, and a customizable menu system. The RX100 VII has some minor improvements over the VI, including quicker autofocus with a better autofocus tracking system, burst modes without blackout, and faster processing. The RX100 VII comes at a heftier price tag. Still, it's an excellent option for people who want to take advantage of its autofocus tracking system, especially for video, which you can now capture for unlimited time.

Three things make the RX100 series one of the best underwater cameras:
  1. The 1-inch sensor size is larger than most other compact cameras besides the Canon G7X Mark II and III. The larger sensor produces better image quality and improved low-light performance due to the larger pixel size.
  2. The auto-focus speed is faster than traditional compact cameras.
  3. The advanced 4K video features available in the RX100 series are top-of-the-line for compact camera video systems.
You can get great wide-angle photos with the RX100 VA and VI and the UWL-09 super-wide lens, the Kraken KRL-01, Kraken KRL-12, or the Nauticam WWL wet wide-angle lens. For macro with the RX100 VA/VII cameras, we recommend using the Bluewater +7 if you are just getting the hang of macro and super macro photography. The Nauticam Compact Macro Converters (CMC-1 & CMC-2) are top of the line wet lenses with exceptional lens sharpness but have a lot of magnification and can be a little more challenging to use. Because of the impressive zoom capability of the Sony RX100 VI and VII, it might be a good idea to start with the Bluewater +7. If you're a super macro junkie, consider pairing the RX100 VII with the CMCs.
 
Why Choose the RX100 VA or VII?
 

The RX100 VA is an upgrade from the RX100 V with an increased image buffer, burst shooting up to 24fps, and customizable menus. This is excellent for photographers seeking to capture quick pelagic animals that need good burst speed and more processing power. The RX100 VA still carries all of the advantages of the RX100 V, including the 315-point phase-detection autofocus system and the 20 MP/1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor. The main advantage of the RX100 VA over the VI and VII is that the RX100 VA can shoot with both macro and wide-angle wet lenses on the same dive. This is because the lens is shorter and has less zoom capability than the RX100 VI. You also don't need to purchase additional ports/adapters for dedicated wide-angle and macro setups.

The highlight of the RX100 VII over the RX100 VA is its unprecedented macro capability; other compact underwater setups cannot beat the zoom on the 24-200 mm f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens. Details captured with this lens are remarkable. When combined with a wet macro lens (diopter), the realm of super macro photography is attainable. You can capture the tiniest details of the smallest subjects with this setup (once you get a little practice in, of course). Sony made minor upgrades to the RX100 VII from the RX100 VI. However, the Sony RX100 VII does have the best autofocus system of any compact camera to date. It's not as fast as the RX100 VII's mirrorless cousins, like the A6100 or the A7R IV, but it is still excellent and a huge advantage for photographers that like to shoot quick-moving animals. The RX100 VII is also a massive draw for videographers because you can apply those autofocus speed and autofocus tracking updates to video. Moreover, there is no limit to how long you can film 4K video with the RX100 VII.

RX100 VA

RX100 VII


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SONY RX100 VA UNDERWATER HOUSINGS


SONY RX100 VII UNDERWATER HOUSINGS


SONY RX100 VA UNDERWATER PACKAGES


SONY RX100 VA UNDERWATER PACKAGES


Canon EOS R50

Best Beginner Cropped Sensor Mirrorless Camera

We've selected the Canon EOS R50 as the best APS-C mirrorless camera designed for beginner shooters due to it's amazing price point, excellent image quality, and surprisingly professional autofocus system. That said, this camera does one major limitation for underwater photography - it only has one dial for aperture and shutter speed control. This makes it necessary to toggle between your two main exposure settings. Make sure you check out the Canon EOS R10 which is a little more expensive for better ergonomics and better video specs.

The Canon EOS R50's 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor is a standout feature, producing high-quality, high-resolution images with rich details and vibrant colors, even in low-light underwater conditions. The advanced autofocus system is also remarkable, featuring 4,779 manually selectable AF points that allow for precise subject tracking and focus, whether you're shooting underwater stills or video.

Additionally, the autofocus system is highly customizable, enabling you to adjust your focus settings to meet your specific shooting needs. The Canon EOS R50 is not just an excellent camera for stills but also an exceptional option for underwater videography. The camera is capable of shooting 4K video at up to 30 frames per second.

Price: $650.00


KEY FEATURES

  • 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Burst shooting up to 15 FPS with electronic shutter
  • Dual pixel autofocus with subject tracking an low light AF to -4 EV
  • ISO range - 100-12,800
  • RF and RF-S Lenses
  • 1/250 sec flash sync
  • UHD 4K /30p video
  • UHS-1 SD Card Slot
  • Multi-Function Shoe, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth
  • 440 shot battery life
  • Size: 116.3 x 85.5 x 68.8mm
  • Weight: 375 grams

SAMPLE IMAGES

Sample image captured with the Canon EOS R10 which has the same sensor as the Canon EOS R50

Sample image captured with the Canon EOS R10 which has the same sensor as the Canon EOS R50

Sample image captured with the Canon EOS R10 which has the same sensor as the Canon EOS R50


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Canon EOS R100

Best Value Cropped Sensor Mirrorless Camera

The Canon EOS R100 is a mirrorless camera designed for both enthusiasts and professionals. Its primary strengths lie in its compact size, exceptional image quality, and advanced features. The camera's RF Mount compatibility further adds to its versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of photographic pursuits.

The design of the EOS R100 emphasizes portability and ease of use. Among the entire EOS R series, it boasts the smallest and lightest body, making it an excellent choice for photographers who prioritize mobility.

The EOS R100 is equipped with a 24.1 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and a DIGIC 8 processor. These hardware combinations ensure high-resolution images with vibrant colors and intricate details. The camera also includes an RF-S18-45mm F4.5-6.3 is STM Lens, providing a versatile range for various shooting scenarios. The image quality produced by the EOS R100 is nothing short of impressive. The 24.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor captures high-resolution images with vibrant colors and intricate details. The DIGIC 8 processor aids in reducing noise and enhancing the overall image quality, even in low light conditions. The EOS R100 features Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which covers a wide area with up to 143 zones. The camera also includes auto subject detection and Eye Detection AF, which are available with Servo AF. The continuous shooting capability is up to 6.5 shots per second when set to One-Shot AF, making it ideal for capturing fast-paced action.

In addition to its superb still photography capabilities, the EOS R100 also excels in video recording. It supports Full HD and 4K video recording, providing filmmakers with professional-grade footage. Whether you're shooting a cinematic masterpiece or capturing precious moments, the EOS R100 is up to the task.


KEY FEATURES

  • 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • 4K 24p Video with Crop, Full HD 60p
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 143 AF Zones
  • 6.5 fps Electronic Shutter
  • 2.36m-Dot OLED EVF
  • 3" 1.04m-Dot LCD Screen
  • Creative Assist Mode
  • Silent Mode for Quiet Operation
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with SD Card Slot

SAMPLE IMAGES

Sample image captured with the Canon EOS R10 which has the same sensor as the Canon EOS R50

Sample image captured with the Canon EOS R10 which has the same sensor as the Canon EOS R50

Sample image captured with the Canon EOS R100


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Canon EOS R8

Best Beginner Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

A Canon EOS R8 full-frame mirrorless camera is an incredible value for just $1500. It is small enough to fit into underwater housings that would normally house APS-C cameras, making it the perfect camera for travel. But more importantly the 24.2 megapixel sensor provides excellent image quality. The R8 has the same incredible autofocus system found in the R7 and R10 - with animal eye and subject autofocus tracking.

This camera is a great beginner camera for video shooters as well. It is capable of shooting 4K/60p videu, uncropped. For those who would like to do a lot of color grading in their post processing, the R8 can film in C-Log3, 10-bit 4:2:2.

The trade off for such a low price point is a lack of the 5-axis in-body image stabilization commonly found in full frame cameras. While this makes it more difficult to shoot at low shutter speeds or to keep your video steady, it does keep the camera small.

Even though we list this camera as a "beginners" full frame camera, it's not missing a whole lot. Most underwater photographers would be happy with the Canon EOS R8 as their primary camera for years and we can't wait to take the camera diving in our upcoming Galapagos underwater photo workshop.

Price: $1,499.00


KEY FEATURES

  • 24.2 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Dual pixel autofocus with animal eye autofocus tracking
  • Canon RF Mount
  • No 5-Axis Image Stablilization
  • HDR PQ and Canon Log 3
  • Uncropped 4K/60p video with 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording
  • Flexible Connectivity - Wired, Wireless, UVC/UAC, Bkuetooth, WiFi
  • Pop-Up Flash
  • Max. Approx. 6 FPS with mechanical shutter
  • 1/200 flah sync speed
  • ISO range - 100-102400
  • Articulating 3" Touchscreen LCD
  • Weight: 461 grams

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Mantis Sub RS 360 Housing

Best Beginner Underwater VR System

The Mantis Sub Housing for Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition is the only consumer-grade underwater VR system on the maket. The Insta 360 One RS 1-inch edition allows you to capture stunning 360 underwater 6K video and amazing photos with its 21MP sensor. The camera features a 1" sensor with Leica lenses which excellent even in low light condition. The housing is much more affordable than it's older brother - the professional Mantis Sub Housing for the Insta360 Pro2. It is designed with 4" domes that provide a clean zenith and effortless stitching using the Insta360 Studio Application. It also features a M6 bulkhead for offboard power or remote connection via USB-C connection.

The housing is very easy to use and very versatile. It's perfect for exploration diving, ROV operation, underwater asset inspection or even leisure shooting.


KEY FEATURES

  • Built from high grade durable anodized aluminium body
  • Specially designed domes for clean zenith and nadir
  • Integrated vacuum leak detection system
  • Underwater power button and start/stop to conserve disk space and battery.
  • (2) M14 and (2) M16 Bulkhead
  • Easy setup with included App
  • Wifi for control, setup (surface), web interface to controller for remote control and log files
  • Integrated 3x 18650 batteries to extend recording time



CAMERA RATING



Olympus TG-7 & Olympus TG-6

Best Compact Camera for Macro Underwater Photography

We grouped the Olympus TG-6 and TG-7 together as there are very minor differences between the two cameras. The TG-7 will work in TG-6 housings. So if you're really on a budget, take a look at the TG-6 camera. This section applies equally to both the TG-7 and the TG-6.

The TG-6 is a good option for snorkeling because it's waterproof without a housing down to 50 feet (15 meters) without an underwater housing.
 
The TG-6 has a 12 MP sensor designed for excellent low light performance and noise reduction. It shoots 4k video, RAW photos, and includes built-in WIFI, making transferring images on the go a breeze. It's important to mention that there is no full manual control on this camera like the Canon G7X and Sony RX100 series. This should be fine for any casual shooter who doesn't want to think about their camera settings. But if you want more control, you'll be happier with any of the other cameras mentioned above. We recommend purchasing the Ikelite Olympus TG-6 Housing if you're looking for a budget housing. This housing option is more flexible than the Olympus housing option because you can customize the housing with an Ikelite TG-6 fluoro kit if you're into fluorescent photography or equip it with an FCON-T02 fisheye lens and port.
 
Pros - Compact size, excellent macro capability for still subjects using microscope mode, and support for beautiful wide-angle images when used with the Kraken KRL-02, KRL-11, or UWL-04 fisheye lens.
 
Cons - Lacks a full manual mode, so aperture priority mode will have to do.

KEY FEATURES

  • 12MP Hi-Speed Image Sensor for Improved Low Light Performance and Noise Reduction
  • Dual Quad Core TruePic™ VIII Image Processor
  • F2.0 High Speed Lens
  • 4K and High Speed Video
  • Field Sensor System w/ GPS, Manometer, Compass & Temperature Sensor
  • Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof, Crushproof

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- Best Semi-Pro Underwater Cameras -

Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Best Semi-Pro Underwater Camera for Hybrid Shooters

We chose the Canon EOS R6 Mark II as the best hybrid camera for prosumers because it has been upgraded with a higher resolution 24.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and better video features than the original R6.

One of the most noteworthy features of the EOS R6 Mark II is its fast and accurate autofocus system, which utilizes Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology to quickly lock onto subjects and track their movements. The camera also offers up to 8 stops of image stabilization, which makes it easier to capture sharp, blur-free photos and videos even in low light or when using slower shutter speeds.

Additionally, the EOS R6 Mark II boasts a range of advanced features and customization options, including a vari-angle touchscreen LCD, 4K video recording, and dual SD card slots. The video features on the R6 Mark II have been revamped to include 4K/60p recording and C-Log3 recording. This makes it a great camera for dedicated underwater videographers as well as underwater photo shooters. Overall, this camera is an excellent choice for professional photographers and videographers who demand the best in terms of image quality, performance, and versatility.

Price Point: $2,499


KEY FEATURES

  • 24.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
  • RF mount lens system (EF mount lenses work with an EF-EOS R Adapter)
  • DIGIC X processor
  • 1/200 shutter sync speed (with strobes)
  • Dual-pixel CMOS autofocus, covering 100% of sensor
  • Subject tracking AF (humans, dogs, cats, birds, horses, racing cars, motorbikes, aircraft, and trains)
  • Autofocus in lowlight down to -6.5 EV
  • ISO 100-102400 (50 - 204,801 expandable)
  • 4k/60p recording (no crop), C-Log3 available

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Coming Soon!

 


Sony A7 IV

Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera for Enthusiasts

The Sony A7 IV is a huge step up from the Sony A7 III in almost every way. For Sony shooters it represents a nice high-end mix of both photo and video feature. The A7 IV is equipped with a 33MP back-illuminated full-frame Exmore R CMOS sensor, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, 4K/60p video, 10 fps in stills mode and, thanks to its popularity, a ton of great underwater housing options. All of this makes the Sony A7 IV one of the best underwater cameras currently on the market.
 
One of the most significant areas of improvement is in its autofocus capabilities. The Sony A7 IV now has eye-tracking AF as part of its AF tracking system. Perhaps most importantly, it now has excellent animal eye AF too, which is a massive bonus when trying to capture images of marine life underwater. Overall, this camera of one of the best for underwater photography.

KEY FEATURES

  • 33MP Back-Illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • BIONZ XR Processor
  • Up to 10 fps shooting
  • In-body stabilization rated up to 5.5EV
  • Full-width oversampled 4K from 7K, up to 30p
  • 4K/60p oversampled from 4.6K with Super35 / APS-C mode
  • 10-bit video or HEIF stills capture
  • H.265 video, S-Cinetone color mode
  • 3.69M dot OLED viewfinder
  • Twin card slots (1x CFe A/UHS-II, 1x UHS-II SD)
  • Full-time Bluetooth LE connection

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Canon EOS R7

Best Professional Cropped Sensor Mirrorless Camera

The  Canon EOS R7 is Canon's newest and highest performing APS-C mirrorless camera. It is an excellent option for those looking for an incredible value in an underwater camera - both for photo and video. At $1499 for the camera body, the R7 is capable of capturing 32 MP photos with 5-axis in-body image stabilization and 4K/60p video. It is also equipped with a top of the line dual-pixel autofocus system brought over from the popular Canon EOS R5 - capable of tracking animal eyes. In fact, this autofocus system has even been reorganized and improved upon.

The R7 was announced alongside the  Canon EOS R10, its "little brother" with less features, but an even lower price point of $980 for the camera body. Though the two cameras are similar, they represent slightly different tools for different markets. Ultimately, the Canon EOS R7 is the highest-end APS-C camera available on the market for an excellent price point.

Price Point: $1,499


KEY FEATURES

  • 32.5 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor and Digic X processor
  • Canon's In-Body 5 Axis Image-Stabilization (IBIS)
  • Improved Dual Pixel Phase Detect Autofocus
  • ISO 100-51,200
  • 15fps burst shooting with mechanical shutter
  • 30 fps burst shooting with silent (electronic shutter)
  • Dual card slots
  • Internal C-Log recording
  • 4K video up to 60 fps
  • 3.69 million dot EVF
  • Dimensions: 132 mm X 90 mm X 92 mm
  • Weight: 612grams (including battery & memory card)

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CANON EOS R7 & R10 SETTINGS GUIDE


Olympus (OM System) OM-1

Best Micro Four Thirds Camera for Underwater Photography

The OM System OM-1 is the first camera to be released by OM Digital Solutions which purchased Olympus in 2021. As a micro-four thirds mirrorless camera, it shows similarities to previous OM-D cameras made by Olympus. While it is currently the best option for an upgrade for micro four thirds shooters, if you are not invested in micro four thirds lenses, we don't recommend the OM System OM-1. This is because there are many other full-frame and APS-C cameras on the market that offer better image quality and better features for a lower price point.


KEY FEATURES

  • 20MP Stacked Sensor
  • TruePic X Dual Quad Core Processor
  • Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount
  • 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • AF Phase Detection: 1052 points
  • ISO 80-102,400
  • 10 fps burst shooting
  • Bluetooth, WiFi 2.4/5 GHz
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC (UHS-I/II), SDXC (UHS-I/II)
  • 4K/60 video recording
  • BLX-1 Battery

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Panasonic GH6

Best Micro Four Thirds Camera For Video

The Panasonic GH6 is a micro four thirds camera that offers exceptional video quality and features. It's a reliable workhorse that many professional photographers, both topside and underwater, have come to depend on. With a range of codecs available for recording and the ability to capture 5.7K/60p video, the GH6 is a highly capable camera that showcases Panasonic's reputation for producing top-notch micro four thirds video cameras. The camera's 25.2-megapixel sensor enables photographers to shoot high-resolution photos and video, making the GH6 an excellent choice for those seeking a versatile camera that excels in both areas.


KEY FEATURES

  • 25.2MP high-sensitivity MOS sensor
  • Micro four thirds sensor (x2 crop)
  • 5.7K/60p, 4K/120p video recording
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • CFexpress & SD card slots
  • Built-in cooling fan
  • ProRes 422 HQ, V-Log and DR Boost
  • 14 fps mechanical shutter and 75 fps electronic shutter
  • HDMI output
  • Tilting LCD touchscreen
  • 3,680,000 dot electronic OLED viewfinder
  • Magnesium alloy construction
  • 100MP handheld high-resolution mode

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- Best Professional Underwater Cameras -

Canon EOS R5

The Best Value Professional Underwater Camera

The Canon EOS R5 is an immensely popular full-frame mirrorless camera. After three years, it remains our top choice if you're looking for the best underwater camera for professionals at an excellent price point. This camera is packed full of pro features that make capturing stunning underwater photos a breeze, such as a 45-megapixel full-frame sensor that can capture beautiful images to 8K/30p and 4K/120 internal RAW 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording capability. The 5-axis in-body image stabilization gives photographers 8 extra stops of exposure to play with because you'll be able to shoot at slower shutter speeds and still get pin-sharp results. Our tests showed that shooting at 1/8th of a second was no problem!
 
The AF system on the Canon EOS R5 is one of the best we've seen in any underwater camera. The animal eye autofocus tracks fish eyes exceptionally well, which will only improve in the future with subsequent firmware updates.
 
Being able to shoot video in 8K/30p gives you the flexibility to crop in a lot in post-production when it wasn't possible to get as close to the marine life as you would have liked. Again, the 5-axis IBIS makes shooting video underwater easy and a pleasure. Overall we consider the Canon EOS R5 one of the best underwater cameras on the market today!

KEY FEATURES

  • New 45 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor and Digic X processor
  • Canon's first 5 axis In-Body Image-Stabilization (IBIS) which works in conjunction with optical IS RF and EF lenses. Up to 8 stops of correction
  • Improved Dual Pixel II Autofocus
  • 5,940 AF points
  • 100% of the sensor has AF coverage!
  • ISO 100 - 51,200
  • Animal eye AF detection (for birds, cats, and dogs) - it works on macro fish 20-40% of the time!
  • 12fps burst shooting with mechanical shutter
  • 20 fps burst shooting with silent (electronic shutter)
  • 180 shot RAW image buffer
  • Dual card slots - 1x CFexpress and 1x SD UHS-II
  • 8K video @ 30p, 10- bit 4:2:2 - using the full width of the sensor!
  • Internal RAW and C-Log recording
  • 4K oversampled video up to 120p, 10-bit 4:2:2

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Sony A1

Best Hybrid Photo & Video Camera

The Sony A1 is Sony's flagship full-frame mirrorless camera and is considered the best full-frame mirrorless camera in the world in its own right. A monstrous 50-megapixel sensor captures stunning 4K/120p and 8K/30p video and super detailed stills. Having such a high-resolution sensor also means underwater photographers can crop in on their videos and photos if they couldn't get as close to their subjects as they would have liked. The Sony A1 also has a 1/400s strobe sync speed which means photographers can recover an additional stop of exposure which is great for shooting sun balls and freezing action. We also successfully fired Ikelite strobes with Ikelite TTL and the electronic shutter, a first for underwater photography.

For people willing to spend a premium on the Sony A1 to get the best possible images and video, or existing Sony shooters who already have a range of E-mount lenses, the $6,499.99 price tag might not be too offputting. But in many ways, the Sony A1 has many of the same features the Canon R5 does, and you can pick the latter up for almost half the price. Overall, the Sony A1 is the outright best underwater camera for both video and photo; however, if price is a deciding factor for you, there are other options out there that are almost as good that won't cost anywhere near the price of the A1.

KEY FEATURES

  • New Full-Frame 50MP Exmor RS Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • 15 stops of dynamic range with improved colors, tones, and gradation
  • New BIONZ XR Processor
  • Continuous shooting up to 30fps w/ electronic shutter and 10fps w/mechanical shutter at full resolution - AE and AF operable throughout
  • Updated Carbon-Fiber Mechanical Shutter for a more quiet and vibration-free performance
  • Records video up to 8K/30p (oversampled from 8.6K), 4K/120p (oversampled)
  • Improved electronic shutter - greatly reduced rolling shutter and flicker under artificial light
  • THE ELECTRONIC SHUTTER WORKS WITH EXTERNAL FLASHES (and strobes, with a TTL converter)
  • FLASH SYNC SPEEDS: up to 1/400sec (mechanical shutter; 1/500 in APS-C mode), 1/200 (electronic)
  • Lightning-quick AF with its 759 phase-detection points with 425 contrast-detection areas - covering 92% of the sensor
  • AF system recalculates 120 times per second - 30% more accurate than A9II
  • Better animal eye AF that can track birds - does not track fish
  • 5 axis IBIS with 5.5 stops of recovery
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording with 16-bit RAW external recording
  • Full range of Log recording options - Cine, HLG, and S-Log
  • Viewfinder: Electronic (OLED) - 9.44 million dots
  • Dual CFexpress Type A / UHS-II SD Card
  • Dimensions: 5.07 x 3.81 x 2.74 in (128.9 x 96.9 x 69.7 mm)
  • Weight: 1.6 lb (737g)

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Sony A7R V

Best High Resolution Camera

The Sony A7R V is a new addition to Sony's imaging lineup and represents the latest generation of technology. With a 61 MP full-frame sensor, it takes over from the popular Sony A7R IV as the company's top high-resolution camera. In fact, the Sony A7R V boasts the highest resolution full-frame sensor in the world. One of its major improvements is in autofocus, thanks to a new AI processor that's specifically designed for machine learning and autofocus operations. Moreover, there are significant enhancements to its video features, enabling it to shoot at 8K/24p and 4K/60p. Additionally, the A7R V's in-body image stabilization system now offers up to 8 stops of stabilization thanks to its 5-axis stabilization feature. Considering all these impressive features, the Sony A7R V has become this year's most popular underwater camera. We think the images and video speak for themselves.


KEY FEATURES

  • 61 MP full-frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
  • Dual Bionz XR processors
  • AI based real-time tracking AF system with a dedicated AI processor
  • 8K/24p and 4K/60p video (10-bit)
  • 4K 16-bit RAW video
  • S-LOG3 and S-Cinetone picture profiles
  • 10 fps burst shooting
  • 8 stops of 5-axis in-body image-stabilization
  • 3.2" 4-axis multi-angle touchscreen
  • 9.44 million dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate
  • Dual CFexpress Type A/SD card slots

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Sony A7S III

Best Professional Camera for Underwater Video

The Sony A7S III is one of the best video-focused cameras both above and below the waves. We consider it the best underwater camera for video in the professional level category. Being able to shoot 4K video up to 120fps for slow-motion and stable video, with 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, makes it ideal for capturing smooth cinematic video footage from your underwater adventures. There is also a wide range of frame rate options available, as well as various codecs and picture profiles.

As with the A7R V, the A7S III has one of the best autofocusing systems in a mirrorless camera with flawless animal eye AF tracking. But the standout feature of the Sony A7S III is its performance in low light conditions thanks to its 12-megapixel sensor and dual gain ISO. This camera is the undisputed king of low light shooting!

KEY FEATURES

  • 12 MP BSI CMOS Full Frame Sensor
  • Bioz XR Image Processor
  • ISO 80-102,400
  • "Low Base" and "High Base" (effectively dual gain) ISO capability for better low light shooting
  • 4K video up to 120 fps
  • No recording time limits. Could be limited by heat (4K @ 60p for at least an hour)
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording
  • S-LOG, HLG, Cine logarithmic picture profiles available
  • 4K @ 60p, 16-bit RAW recording with an external recorder
  • 5 axis in-body image-stabilization (IBIS)
  • Dual card slots (either SD or CFexpress Type A)
  • 9.44 M dot Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) - the best resolution on the market!
  • Movie File Formats: XAVC S (Long GOP, H.264 MP4); XAVC HS (Long GOP, H.265 HEVC); XAVC S-1 (All-Intra, H.264 MP4)
  • AF tracking with human and animal eye AF capability
  • 759 point hybrid AF system with 425 contrast detection points

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Nikon Z8

Best Nikon Professional Camera for Underwater Photo & Video

At a significantly lower price point of $4000, the Nikon Z8 integrates all the flagship features and internals of the Nikon Z9 into a smaller chassis. Not a single other camera manufacturer sells its flagship full-frame camera for less than $5,000 for the body. With a full-frame, stacked 45.7 megapixel CMOS sensor, 20 frames per second RAW photography, a much-improved autofocus system, and the ability to capture 8K/60p and 4K/120p RAW video, the Z8 is a professional Nikon shooter's dream camera.

The multilayer architecture helps to reduce rolling shutter, and the BSI certification improves noise levels while working at the higher end of the extended ISO 32-102400 range. Furthermore, the full-frame sensor size and 45.7MP resolution hit a sweet spot that benefits photographers who specialize in genres that highlight fine detail and allows for the capturing of video at resolutions up to 8K.

Together with the sensor, the EXPEED 7 processing engine completes the device at speeds that are around ten times faster than those of a Z7 II. In conjunction with the stacked sensor design, EXPEED 7 enables a huge buffer capacity, seamless video performance, remarkably fast AF speeds, burst shooting rates, and snappy handling in all situations.

Because the Nikon Z8 is a weather-sealed camera, dust and moisture cannot harm it. Because of this, it's a fantastic option for shooting in any setting, including underwater.


KEY FEATURES

  • 45.7 megapixel, full frame stacked CMOS sensor
  • Expeed 7 image processor for ultra-fast image readouts with almost no rolling shutter
  • One CF Express/XQD card slot and one UHS-II SD Card slot (2 total)
  • 20 frames per second (RAW) up to 120 fps (11 megapixel jpeg) burst shooting
  • Updated autofoucs system with 3D tracking on par with Sony and Canon's autofocusing systems
  • Autofocus in lowlight down to -9 EV
  • ISO range of 64-25600
  • Flash sync speed: 1/200 sec
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • 8K/60p & 4K/120p video recording
  • N-Log, N-RAW (12-bit), and ProRes RAW recording
  • 3.69 million dot EVF
  • Weight: 910 grams
  • Size: 5.7 inches x 4.7 inches x 3.3 inches

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