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The reason why you came to our site is clear: you realise that choosing an underwater camera is not that simple.
It requires a lot of attention and a specific caution to choose one of the underwater cameras.
First, we must consider and assess their weaknesses. All underwater digital cameras can drop to a certain maximum depth: over this, their operation is not guaranteed, and it is indeed a risk that the water will creep into the mechanisms of the camera, due to the pressure higher than that the device can withstand. You need to pay close attention to this indication because it is the result of the careful evaluation in the laboratory!
In our current underwater camera tests, we have different models under scrutiny. Our summary table tells, which device was able to climb to the first place and which, without any ado, went down.
Comparison of the best underwater cameras for 2019
- 1 Comparison of the best underwater cameras for 2019
- 2 Eyes on the underwater camera purchase: our buying advisor
- 3 How does an underwater camera function?
- 4 Different underwater camera types
- 5 The best underwater camera
- 6 How we tested the underwater cameras?
- 7 What features are important for an underwater camera?
- 8 Which underwater camera is suitable for me?
- 9 What is the price of an underwater camera?
- 10 Top underwater camera brands
- 11 Internet vs. Retail – where it is better to buy an underwater camera?
- 12 To conclude…
Eyes on the underwater camera purchase: our buying advisor
In particular for underwater photography in the sea or a lake, the quality of the images and the quality of the camera are playing a crucial role.
The water puts high demands on the camera performance and the protective housing.
To find the right one in the plethora of underwater cameras seems a hopeless task for many.
With this purchase advisor, we want to give you some tips that will lead you safely through this jungle.
How does an underwater camera function?
When you dive down into the depths of the sea, you can see a fascinating underwater world. An underwater camera is very useful to capture these visual impressions.
The underwater camera is structured like a regular camera, but just with the difference that it can be used under the water surface.
With the rise of technology, over the last few years, digital cameras crystallised out, with which you can capture the fascinating underwater world.
Now, in very rare cases you can see a diver descending to depth without a camera.
But also, an underwater camera is suitable for other events. While snorkelling at shallow depths, can capture this amazing underwater world. Or even when playing in the pool with the kids, so that the camera is protected from water or just to take pictures under water – the underwater camera is a valuable assistant.
Also on the beach, an underwater camera can provide very good service, because the camera does not always should be used only under the water surface.
The underwater camera has the same complicated technology, like an ordinary camera, which almost everyone owns today. However, the housing of the underwater camera has some distinctive features.
What are the difficulties to fight?
You should know that the need to develop specific digital cameras for underwater photography does not depend solely on the presence of water, or even salt, which could ruin the mechanisms or the housing of the camera.
This, undoubtedly, is one of the main difficulties, together with the special attention should be given to the increased level of pressure that you have in depth.
However, there are also challenges regarding nude and raw photos: in short, there are some particular features of shooting under water that make the procedure of acquiring an image complicated.
From this point of view, first of all, it is enough to remember that the water absorbs some of the warmer colouring, such as orange, red or yellow.
But still, it is very likely that the photos will show a predominance of the blue colour, and in fact, the reason for this is the presence of flash in most digital underwater cameras, including cheap ones. Alternatively, you can use light sources alternatives, such as several spotlights.
Finally, it must be remembered that the presence of water between the lens and the object to be photographed results in a reduction of contrast and sharpness of the image, which implies the need to pay attention to a number of variables that, obviously, is well important.
There are several types of underwater cameras, with solid housing or housing with seals. So, let’s look which variants of underwater cameras there are.
Different underwater camera typesThere is a so-called disposable or single-use camera. This camera is surrounded with a waterproof housing and has a traditional photo film. This needs to be given to the development before you can view your pictures.
However, the disposable underwater camera has one serious advantage – the price. You can purchase such camera for about 10 pounds. A film therein is sufficient for about 24 to 28 pictures, depending on the model and manufacturer.
If you want to use the underwater camera only once, this an inexpensive alternative is for you. But, if you want to use the camera under water more frequently, it is advisable to purchase a real digital camera.
In such case, you will have a digital camera, which you can then place in a waterproof housing for underwater use. The advantage is that you can use the camera at any time again for other purposes.
The housing, which is placed around the camera is quite often very clunky. The once so practical pocket camera suddenly no longer fits into the trouser or jacket pocket.
If you want to use the camera just on vacation or just once a year to take pictures under the water surface, then this model can offer a real alternative.
But if you attach great importance to quality and functions, then an underwater camera is highly recommended.
These cameras are built just like traditional digital cameras. There are ports to transfer images to the PC. The underwater camera should have a zoom and also various other settings. It is also possible with modern underwater cameras to film razor sharp videos under water.
It often happens that, the deeper you dive, the more you can see a greenish colour cast with a conventional camera. This is an entirely normal process, which has something to do with the refraction of light.
The underwater camera has a function that prevents the greenish tint and brings a realistic colour result.
Underwater camera for kids
It is not uncommon to hear questions from aunts, cousins or parents who would like to present an underwater camera to a child. So, is it possible to choose a model for a child, or they do not exist?
The risk is high: you do not need a too complicated camera, nor a camera that can descend to depths that a baby or a kid certainly will not reach. Therefore, here are the main features, which you will have to check in the first place:
- maximum depth
- CCD sensor
- the weight of the camera
- is it shockproof
A good way to find out if an underwater camera is or is not suitable for a child is the price: in fact, the typical digital underwater camera for children is cheap, and thus makes it possible not to risk too much money.
We also wanted to recommend buying one that is shockproof, since a bit of carelessness is not rare in children, even with electronic devices.
Underwater photo or video camera?
Sometimes we are faced with so much variety of choice, that it becomes difficult to operate in practice a preference between this or that model of underwater digital camera, and therefore plays a key role a specific feature, that one or the other model may not possess compared to another.
Among these features, especially if you want to impersonate yourself not only as a photographer but also as a filmmaker, is the function to shoot video.
There are now many photo cameras that have the functionality of video camera since the possibility of filming events and fish below the sea level always has a very special effect.
Moreover, viewing the current level of development of video technology, you need to take into account the specific higher or lower quality of a video.
A higher priced cameras allow you to shoot video in HD (High Definition, high-quality) and often up to 1080 p. In this sense, we recommend you always to check what is the specific video quality of a camera.
The demand for the perfect underwater cameras is always increasing. Therefore there are more and more manufacturers who want to convince with special functions.
We have viewed the different underwater cameras very closely and now can tell you, according to what criteria formed our rating.
The best underwater cameraSo, from what we have outlined so far, we will then start to analyse some specific underwater digital camera models, cheap and not very, to advise you on what may be the best purchase solution for any customer.
Below you can see the list of our personal top 3 digital cameras, each of which we have reviewed in more detail.
So what do you think? In the table above we have already indicated some of the unique characteristics of each of these models, which in our opinion could respond to the key requirements of each type of customer.
We want to cover everything related to the underwater digital cameras, so you can then fully understand the meaning of each description or review.
How we tested the underwater cameras?It was important to us to evaluate the delivery and the packaging. Therefore, in our test reports, there is also a spot that explains these details.
Next, it was important to check whether an underwater camera is easy to use. We have looked at the individual settings, and also how they can be changed underwater in gloves. The handling is a very important point that should, therefore, be very easy.
Finally, it must turn on very quickly under water, to take photos. We also tested the video feature, if it was present in the underwater camera.
More importantly, the final result. How big the display to view the pictures immediately after shooting. How easy the images could be transferred to the PC. Is there a connection to a TV?
We have considered all the important details, in order to get the best possible impression of the underwater cameras and their functions.
In the end, we compared devices with each other, so that you can find out exactly where the strengths and what are the weaknesses.
What features are important for an underwater camera?Before buying an underwater camera, you should compare the data accurately. The most important is the pixel value. Should be able to easily shoot sharp images especially under water. Recommended here is a value of the 10 megapixel or above.
With an underwater camera, certainly, the water resistance is fundamental. It now depends on what depths you want to move. There are cameras that range to 5, 10 or even more than 25 meters.
To help you choose, a comparison is highly advisable, that lists the water resistance between the individual devices. If you want to snorkel on a lake, an underwater camera with a limit of 5 meters is sufficient. For all other needs, a correspondingly higher value is required.
The underwater cameras also have a digital zoom. Just remember that if suddenly something fascinating will appear in front of your lens. For that reason alone, you should pay attention to a good zoom.
The display on which you can then view your pictures should be at least 2.5 inches. Better, of course, if the display is a bit bigger. Certainly, you can do completely without the display, but those, who ever used it, do not want to miss this useful detail.
Image stabilisation is another detail, which should not be ignored even in an underwater camera. Especially when moving under water, it can often lead to camera shake.
To make these wobbles not visible on the photo, an image stabiliser is used. This feature, therefore, should always be present in an underwater camera. Another feature is called haptics.
Haptics is a word that describes the sensitization of the buttons. When you are under water, you have a lower sensitivity of the fingers. Also, you are no longer able to execute the touches precisely.
It is therefore particularly important that the buttons of the underwater camera are bigger and yet easy to operate even after a long time under water.
It is advantageous that you can use an underwater camera without looking at it. Because, if once a setting has been adjusted, it is no longer so easy to make the setting again. In the result, the photos are blurred or in the worst case no photos at all.
For an underwater camera, white balance is also fundamental. This ensures that the colours appear more realistic on the picture. The lighting conditions under water are constantly changing, so the camera should constantly optimise this setting. Only in this way it is possible to create fantastic images under water.
The last function, which we considered was a video function.
Not every underwater camera has a video function. Here it depends on whether you want to record videos under water or not. This function affects the final price of the device. Therefore, consider carefully whether you want to use the video function or not.
Which underwater camera is suitable for me?There are many different models and different manufacturers offering underwater cameras. To choose the right camera, you should first think about your requirements.
The most important question is therefore how often you plan to use the underwater camera.
If you need the underwater camera only once a year, a cheaper model is probably sufficient. Regularly go scuba diving or snorkelling, will probably be a better option to use a higher quality model.
Last arises also the question of quality. It is likely that a low-priced model does not have as many settings as a high-quality model. Always, make sure, that the underwater camera at least have a colour balance. Also, the megapixels play an essential role.
In the end, it is then a question of handling. An underwater camera that is easy to use is increasingly used than a camera with complex functions.
Our comparison table will help you to evaluate the different models and identify at a glance, which device is more suitable for you and your needs.
What is the price of an underwater camera?It may well happen that, among those approaching for the first time to purchase an underwater camera, there is also those who have not the slightest idea of what it costs to buy one of the models of this specific type of camera.
We, therefore, outline here some general guidelines and criteria, so that later you can safely explore them.
Without any doubt, you can buy digital cameras at a low price. This type of choice is certainly recommended for amateurs or those who simply want to take some beautiful pictures of their summer holidays. In these cases, a cheap underwater camera is certainly sufficient.
For those who have greater artistic interest, or just want to take high-quality pictures even during their leisure activities, there is no doubt that they should be addressed to a different price range, namely that relating to underwater digital cameras of higher quality. Which have, for example, a greater amount of megapixels, or that they are able to descend even more below the sea level.
The price of the underwater cameras is graded according to performance. You can get the simple disposable underwater camera for about 10 pounds. An underwater camera with a number of useful settings can cost approximately 300 pounds.
However, with the latter, you have a purchase that ensures for several years razor sharp images under the water surface. Models that cost more than 300 pounds are equipped with special features that are very suitable for amateur photographers and professionals.
The upper price limit of the cameras is open and can even go into the thousands.
Cheap underwater camera
It is clear that taking photographs below the sea level, or even on the surface of the water, is more complicated than to take photographs in, so to speak, “dry” environment.
Firstly, the difference is in the freedom of movement, as well as various environmental circumstances like the need to maintain a certain position for a shot.
For these reasons, an underwater camera must allow a substantial and convenient mobility and therefore is characterised by compact size and weight, as light as possible.
To buy a model of an underwater camera without spending excessive figures, you must carefully consider all available alternatives, so you can choose the product with the best value for money, and with the characteristics that are most suitable for its intended use.
If you want to take photos on the beach, or just below sea level, you can choose a cheap model that guarantees good photos and good resistance to water, but that is suitable for use at depths not too high.
What to look for in a good underwater camera
There are some aspects that you should strongly consider, in order not to choose the wrong underwater camera model.
- More than 10 megapixels: the resolution is not everything, but it is linked with the sharpness of underwater pictures. Pay attention here for a contemporary number of megapixels, ideally more than 10MP.
- 5m water resistant: depending on how deep you want to dive this recommendation should be corrected, of course upwards. Only for snorkelling, the 5m limit should be sufficient.
- Digital zoom: already become indispensable in the conventional cameras, become available in the underwater cameras only in recent years with the development of technology. As an indication of our comparison, this should be at least 5 levels of magnification so that you can capture even more distant impressions easily.
- Large display: 2 inches is already to be seen as the lowest limit. Under water as well as the subsequent viewing of the photos a large display makes viewing much easier and is a “luxury” that you will not want to miss.
- Image stabilisation: not only when there are waves and on the high seas is an absolute must. Particularly for the underwater photography, where images are much faster out of focus or blurred. With a built-in image stabilisation, the tested models were mostly able to offset or prevent these “wobbler”.
- Haptics: The water limits the sensitivity of the fingers and the sensitivity of the touch. Large buttons with a good feel, which are also still good to use and intuitive at longer dives are very important. Because you do not have a lot of time and desire to correctly adjust a setting or to navigate through a menu under water.
- Underwater White Balance: indispensable. Unfortunately, our test reports show that there are still many devices lacking it. To achieve at least nearly lifelike shots, a white balance must be adapted to the currently prevailing lighting conditions. The images from cameras, which do not have such a function are heavily saturated or slightly faded.
- Video function (optional): If you opt for such a function, you should pay attention to an appropriate quality of the camera. Because low-quality videos are unlikely to revive the feeling of holiday again. The current state of the art cameras that store videos in HD quality are VGA. Our test winner by Canon received points for this function.
Top underwater camera brands
Internet vs. Retail – where it is better to buy an underwater camera?There are different places where you can buy an underwater camera. The dealers have several models from which you can choose a suitable one. Even in the supermarket, there are sometimes underwater cameras to buy. However, what is missing at this point is the ability to compare different models. The dealer will advise you only those models, which he has in stock. There are far many more models that you can compare with each other. On the Internet, you have the choice to compare all models, and also check models which are less known.
The selection is simply wider and higher the chance that you will find a model on the Internet, which on 100 percent meet your needs. Another point should be the cost factor. If you buy an underwater camera on the Internet, then you will find the model which have a far more price advantage. The dealers may have the same model, but it will be priced decidedly higher. There is another advantage, which makes the purchase on the Internet more attractive especially for working people. It is about flexibility.
If you then after some time have no desire to shop, you can simply continue tomorrow from where you left off. Buying on the internet is therefore so much more attractive than a purchase at traditional retailers.
To conclude…As you’ve surely guessed, the topic that we have decided to deal with is not the most simple: despite this, our goal is to simplify as much as possible your choice and understanding of the fundamental aspects of the matter. I’m sure that with our tips you will be able to make the right choice without problems.
With this in mind, we wish you a lot of fun in choosing the appropriate underwater camera. We hope that our tests effectively can help you!