Have beach day kids, tropical vacation couples, or future marine biologists on your holiday gift list this year? Give ocean-lovers the opportunity to share their passion for the water with a camera that can survive getting a little (or a lot) wet.
Sure, your smartphone can probably survive a quick selfie underwater. But do you really want to risk it? These top underwater cameras are built to survive serious depths that allow for entire ocean photoshoots. Fun photos for Instagram aside, some of these cameras are rated for serious shoots and capturing crystal clear shots of sealife that landlubbers only dream about.
This list includes cameras for all sorts of wet photography enthusiasts, from shoreline shooters to ocean floor explorers. Whichever camera you land on, your loved one will be sending you some slick underwater pics on their next trip.
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Taking underwater photos for fun doesn’t have to cost you. If you want to tease a holiday vacation with a stocking stuffer or just add some extra fun to the next beach trip, this Fujifilm disposable camera is a cheap and easy way to snap some ocean photos. The camera comes pre-loaded with Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 800 35mm film and is waterproof up to 35 feet.
This is a great option if you want to give the kids a fun photography project or want to capture some vacation memories but aren't super worried about what the final product looks like.
If you want something super compact or want to play around with different mounts and lighting systems, the DJI Osmo Action camera is an impressive little camera. It’s got a front-facing camera perfect for selfies that sets it apart from other action cameras, has superb image stabilization and can shoot 4K video up to 60 fps.
This action camera is only waterproof up to 36 feet, so it’s not the best choice for deep adventures. If you’re looking to shoot watersports or shallow snorkeling adventures though, this is your camera.
The WG-70 from Ricoh is a tough-as-nails camera built to survive any outdoor adventure (including anything underwater up to 45 feet deep). The big draw here is the ring light set up around the lens that will allow for bright photos even at the bottom of the camera’s depth range without additional gear.
This camera records in full HD, not 4k, which is a bit of a letdown, but there are a few underwater specific modes designed for easy, clear filming without messing with settings too much.
The Coolpix W300 is the cheapest camera on the market with some serious depth capabilities — this compact camera is waterproof up to 100 feet deep. That outperforms most waterproof cameras aside from cameras designed for scuba diving. The camera comes with a built-in barometer that provides data like altitude and depth and has Bluetooth for easy photo sharing.
The only drawback here is that there’s no option to shoot RAW photos with this camera, which is a bummer for a camera nearing $400. It does shoot 4K video though, which is awesome for sea creature hunting at 100 feet deep.
As its name states, this camera is known for being ultra-tough and built to survive some rough outdoor conditions. Waterproof up to 50 feet deep, this camera can shoot RAW 4k photos, 4k video at 30 fps, and slow-motion HD video at 120 fps. The ergonomic handgrip on the side helps you keep a good hold on the camera underwater.
That 50-foot depth rating is great, but you can always go lower by purchasing an additional underwater housing for the TG-6 from Olympus — it’ll allow the camera to operate up to 147 feet instead. If you might want to go deeper down the road, a camera that can upgrade is a great choice.
GoPro’s new flagship action camera is an absolute beast of a camera squeezed into a tiny package. The Hero 10 Black shoots an excellent 5.3K video at 60 fps with HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization and 23MP photos with great low-light performance. Plus, what you can film underwater is opened up so much by GoPro’s line of mounts and accessories.
The only setback here is the waterproofing, which is only good up to 33 feet. We’d really love to take this little guy down a lot further with those killer video specs. That depth rating is going to be great for fun snorkeling adventures and days on the lake though.
The SeaLife Micro 3.0 is one of the most serious underwater cameras available without getting into extra waterproof housings. This small camera can be taken down to depths up to 200 feet. Its 16MP Sony sensor captures pretty sharp photos that deep and can record 4K Ultra HD video at 30 fps. The under interface is also designed to be super simple, with huge buttons and a bright screen, so you won’t miss any shots fiddling around with settings underwater.
Sealife has a line of serious lighting gear for the Micro 3.0. These futuristic attachments provide an added grip for the camera and serious deep-sea lighting so you can capture sea creatures even in dark territory.
If you’ve got a scuba diver in the family (or just someone who needs the best of the best), the Vaquita dive camera from Paralenz is one of the most serious underwater cameras you can get outside of purely scientific instruments. With a depth rating of 820 feet, you won’t ever have to worry about this handheld camera getting damaged by water. It can shoot 4K Ultra HD video at 30 fps, 1080p full HD video at 100 fps, and is fine-tuned to take crisp photos deep underwater.
The coolest thing about this camera is the Paralenz Dive App, which you can use to track your dives. When you rewatch your video, it’ll tell you all about the ocean conditions, temperature, and location of your dive. Paralenz even has a program so you can share your recordings and data directly with interested marine scientists.