With the popularity of scuba diving increasing year by year as well as being a popular holiday activity for many people we have noticed an ever-increasing number of people asking us to recommend the best underwater cameras for scuba diving. We have finally caved to the requests and decided to publish this article in an attempt to help out readers.
All of these cameras are aimed at the beginner to intermediate scuba diver in an attempt to keep the price range of the recommended cameras as reasonable as possible. If you are wanting a professional underwater camera for high-end underwater photo or video recording then we recommend that you do your own research as costs can spiral out of control and the higher end cameras are usually build for specialist conditions rather than being a jack of all trades.
The Best Underwater Cameras For Scuba Diving – The Olympus Thought TG-5
The first product in our search for the best underwater cameras for scuba diving. Our top choice for this article has to be the Olympus Thought TG-5. It is perfect for the amateur scuba diver wanting to record their adventures into the deep. The camera is waterproof up to 50 feet with hardened camera cases being available to extend this depth depending on your needs. The camera is both crushproof and shockproof so it is able to withstand its fair share of knocks that may occur during your adventures.
The TG-5 has some pioneering sensor technology that provides it with excellent low light performance ensuring you get the best photographs possible when diving in low light conditions. It comes with a 12 megapixel high speed sensor allowing you to get excellent high resolution photographs at the press of a button. The camera has a large capture button meaning you will be able to press it with ease while in full dive gear with gloves.
It has an excellent, bright and clear three inch screen size making it easy to see what you are about to take photos of and adjust your shot accordingly with your scuba mask on. The cameras screen also holds it image resolution when you engage the cameras 4 x optical zoom meaning you can take excellent photographs of potentially dangerous animals from a safe distance without putting yourself at risk. This is why we feel this is one of the best underwater cameras for scuba diving.
Although the camera does have an adequate flash as standard to illuminate your surroundings for taking photographs in dark caves or shipwrecks, we have found that it is usually better to leave the flash off and allow the camera to take the photograph with your surroundings illuminated with your dive torch. This is down to personal preference so it maybe a good idea for you to run a few test shorts to see which you prefer.
An Excellent Scuba Diving Camera – Nikon Coolpix W300
Next up in our search for the best underwater cameras for scuba diving. Coming in at second place has to be the Nikon Coolpix W300 digital camera. Although it is waterproof to a depth of 30 meters, there are a number of third party camera cases offered that are able to extend this to meet your personal requirements. The W300 also has the ability to record absolutely stunning videos in 4K Ultra resolution ensuring that your memories are recorded in the best possible quality. This is why we feel this is one of the best underwater cameras for scuba diving.
It also boasts a 16 megapixel sensor offering excellent quality photographs in most conditions. We have found that low light photographs are not as good as those taken by the TG-5 and thats why we had to rate this as our second best underwater camera for scuba diving. This should not be a problem for the vast majority of people though as the camera does have a high quality flash that will be more than adequate for most people. Additionally, if you are diving in an area with poor light then you should have a high power diving torch with you anyway that you maybe able to use to help illuminate your surroundings for taking photographs.
The camera is also both cold and freeze proof directly out of the box meaning you are able to use it in cold water and not have to worry about camera damage of misting on the camera sensor.
Due to its ability to record 4K ultra video, we highly recommend that you always use an external storage system such as a high end SD cards that is at least 64 GB to ensure you always have the space required to keep snapping or recording during your scuba adventures.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP120
Next up in our search for the best underwater cameras for scuba diving. Next up we have the Fujifilm FinePix XP120 digital camera. No scuba diving camera list would be complete without the XP120, it is an excellent camera for its price that has proven to be extremely popular.
It is waterproof to a depth of 65 foot but unlike our initial two camera suggestions, there are no third party camera cases we feel are worth your money that can increase this depth. That said, 65 foot is around 20 meters so it should be fine for most beginner scuba diving as well as most intermediate level diving too.
Armed with an excellent 16.4 megapixels camera and a five times optical zoom, the XP120 offers high quality photographs that will help you save your underwater adventures for years to come. You are able to set the camera up for burst mode to quickly and easily take your snaps at 10 frames per second or record video in 1080p.
The XP 120 comes with a bright 3 inch 920k dot LCD monitor that makes it extremely easy to see whats in your view finder and adjust accordingly. The camera sensor holds up well in low light conditions and the built in LCD monitor still shows the focus of your view finder perfectly. The built in flash is fine for assisting in low light photography situations if required but as usual, a diving lamp would be better and safer.
One thing we feel is essential, if you have been using this camera in salt water, follow the instructions provided by Fujifilm and rinse the camera in fresh cold tap water before opening the camera up. There have been multiple reports of the camera breaking and it seems these are down to people opening the camera up after saltwater use without rinsing it in fresh water soon.
The Ricoh WG-50
Next up in our search for the best underwater cameras for scuba diving. Moving on, we will be taking a look at the Ricoh WG-50, an extremely rugged and durable digital camera that can more than stand its ground in hard environments. Although this camera is perfect for a range of sports, we will be focusing on its use for scuba diving.
The WG-50 is waterproof to a depth of 46 feet and as with some of the other cameras we have suggested, there are a number of different third party retailers offering additional camera cases that can extend its usable depth to meet your needs. A number of these cases also come with auto float technology meaning if you lose your grip on your camera while underwater, it will automatically float to the surface rather than sink to the depths. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on your diving situation so we recommend using either a wrist or a chest strap to ensure the camera will still be attached to you if you let go of it.
Its capture button is sizeable meaning you will be able to activate it in full diving gear with gloves on to ensure you are always able to take your photographs when required. If you choose, you are also able to record HD video in 1080P at 30 frames per second to preserve your scuba diving memories.
The WG-50 has six macro LEDs that are used to assist it with focusing in a wide range of conditions. This gives the WG-50 the unique ability to keep focused in conditions where the available lighting is changing quickly allowing you to keep recording your video or taking photographs as required.
As with most cameras, we recommend you use a sizeable SD card if you are planning on using this camera to record HD videos as they will quickly fill up your available storage space. Although the WG-50 currently retails at around the $275 mark, you can usually find it with decent sized discounts during the black Friday to cyber Monday period allowing you to snatch up a bargain that is well worth every penny. This is why we feel this is one of the best underwater cameras for scuba diving.
The Nikon Coolpix W100
Next up in our search for the best underwater cameras for scuba diving. Although we have already covered the Nikon Coolpix W300, we decided to also include the Nikon Coolpix W100, the cheaper cousin of the W300. If you are on a strict budget then this is the best camera that we would recommend for scuba diving. It is held to the same high quality build standards as the W300 with similar specs while ranging between half and one third of the price depending on the package you choose.
It is waterproof to a depth of 33 feet, this should be plenty for most beginner scuba divers as well as some intermediates. As usual, there are also a number of cases available on the market to extend this depth to meet your requirements if you are planning on diving deeper.
The W100 comes with a 13.2 megapixel sensor and a 3 x optical zoom offering high quality photographs on a budget to captcha the memories of your scuba trip and keep them forever. It is also able to shoot video in 1080p at 30 frames per second but recording at this FPS can quickly fill up your onboard storage so we recommend using a high capacity SD card.
With its massive 7 inch screen, the W100 has the larges onboard screen size of all cameras on our list. Although the screen is double the size of some of the suggestions we have made, it is just as bright and colourful and the increased size can help you captcha the perfect shot in bad lighting by allowing you to have a larger view of whats in your view finder.
The main negative for the W100 is that it does not come with image stabilisation and this can really show if you are in rough water and potentially spoil your shots due to the blur from moving around uncontrollably while underwater. Another negative is that it seems weaker than the W300 with there being multiple reports of the W100 breaking when dropped but Nikon have had to lower standards somewhere in order to offer this camera at such a low price point.
We hope this article has helped you discover the camera that you want to use for your scuba diving adventures. We have tried to cover a range of price points that will suit most beginner and intermediate scuba divers as well as some advanced and experts depending on their scuba goals.
We hope this article has helped you find the best underwater cameras for scuba diving and get you a good deal.