Scuba diving is one of the most fun underwater activities. You get to view the aquatic life live and observe the thrilling oceanic world. A scuba diving camera is perfect for capturing your diving experience and recording your emotions of playing with the aquatic life. It is a great tool to invest in for preserving your diving memories and living them again on your screen.
If you are not into cameras or perhaps are not techy at all, you may be confused in choosing and buying a scuba diving camera for yourself. Considering that some cameras can run you for a cost up to a few thousand dollars, you want to be certain while buying one and confident that it will serve your requirements well.
To help you pick out the best scuba diving camera for yourself, depending on your requirements and budget, we have created this comprehensive guide. In this guide, we have listed the best trending diving cameras in the market, each from a reliable manufacturer and with very positive customer feedback.
Best Scuba Diving Cameras 2023
|Model||Resolution||Waterproof Without Housing||Max Waterproof Limit|
|Nikon D810||36.3 MP||No||330 ft. |
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||21.1 MP||No||200 ft. |
|Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II||16 MP||No||145 ft. |
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100||20.1 MP||No||130 ft. |
|Canon G7X Mark II||20.1 MP||No||200 ft. |
|Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100||12.8 MP||No||328 ft. |
|Olympus TG-5||12 MP||Yes||50 ft. |
|GoPro Hero 5 Black||12 MP||Yes||33 ft. |
|Canon PowerShot ELPH 300|
|12 MP||No||130 ft. |
Best Scuba Diving Cameras Over $1,000
Nikon D810 FX-format Digital with Housing
The Nikon D810 FX DSLR is one of the best underwater cameras, especially for people who require high resolution and a dynamic range, on top of other high-quality features, albeit with a premium price tag.
About Nikon: Nikon is another Japanese manufacturer of cameras and imaging products. It is one of the largest camera company in the whole world and has cemented its place as an industry authority, ever since its inception in 1917.
The Nikon D810 is an SLR with a 36.3 MP CMOS sensor, backed by Nikon’s Expeed 4 processor. With this technology, the camera is able to take great images, in a shorter time, with an ISO range of 64 to 12800. The ISO range is expandable to 32 – 51200 if required.
There is an option to capture your images in the RAW format for further processing and editing, especially if you are planning to use it for professional purposes. The RAW format produces images at 16 MP, which is relatively smaller than the normal 36.3 MP images taken by the camera.
The video shooting occurs at full HD 1080p / 120 fps. The resolution can be decreased to 60p or 24p as well if you do not require a very high definition footage. There are lots of options to play with the video in the settings. You can control the exposure manually, change the focus and the zebra pattern and even adjust the audio level. The camera has been updated to record the HDMI simultaneously on the memory card for quicker access.
Other notable functions include a ‘flat’ picture control mode, weighted metering and AUTO ISO mode.
During underwater photography, the camera works extremely well, with speed and precision. It is able to take shots quickly and is very stable. The focus can be corrected instantaneously and the shutter speed upgraded to allow you to capture your diving ventures.
To make its underwater photography possible, the camera has a compatible underwater housing (sold separately). The watertight case is manufactured by Sea & Sea, with the label of MDX-D810. It allows you to take the camera as deep as 330 feet, which is more than what you will need in any scuba diving expedition.
Aesthetics wise, the Nikon D810 is quite like most professional SLRs. It features a super sturdy magnesium alloy body and is quite an attention getter.
The layout of the controls on the D810 is quite similar to the D800 version by Nikon. However, with the introduction of some new features, there have been new buttons and dials added on the back and the top. These include buttons for ISO, AF, shutter operation, multiple selectors, flash, and metering mode.
The 3.2” LCD on the back of the body has a complex UI, which will take time for a newbie to fully understand. There are many shortcuts on the LCD menu to choose from, with functions for both images and videos.
The metering mode dial and the Flash button have been placed at an awkward position, which can be challenging to use during shooting. However, the large grip on the body allows you to get used to the button placements, without affecting the stability of the camera.
The MDX D810 housing is made from galvanized aluminum alloy, which is reliably watertight and resistant to corrosion. There are two zinc diodes on the ends of the camera, to prevent electrolytic shifting in the camera’s mechanism. The housing is extremely well designed and ergonomic. All the functions of the camera are accessible even with the housing on it. Even the focus and zoom are adjustable. The housing provides an alert through the leak sensor if any water seeps into the case.
- Mid-size SLR
- Max resolution: 7360 x 4912
- 36 megapixels
- Full frame
- ISO: Auto, 64-12800
- Nikon F lens mount
- 1× focal length
- Articulated 3.2” LCD Fixed
- Max shutter speed: 1/8000 sec
- Format MPEG-4, H.264
- SD/SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash (UDMA compliant)
- USB 3.0
- Weight: 980 g
- 5.75 x 4.84 x 3.23″
- Optional GPS
All in all, the Nikon D810 is one of the best high-end cameras you can take for scuba diving. It is an all-rounder and performs equally well on land or in water. The camera will easily last for decades, without showing any signs of aging or mechanical problems, given that you maintain it well. The functions offered on hand are great for taking some detailed pictures during your dives, while the ergonomic design lets you make the capture without wasting much time in positioning the camera. The versatility and performance of this camera is truly admirable.
- Outstanding image color and sharpness
- Accurate and fast
- Ergonomic Design
- Amazing dynamic range photography
- Works up to 300 feet with housing
- Low light photography is not great
- No 4K support
- No Wi-Fi Support
- Mirror induced vibrations
Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21.1 MP Full Frame CMOS Digital
With Canon’s EOS, 5D Mark II comes better photography experiences. This camera is considered as one of the best cameras used in professional photography sessions, especially under the water. EOS 5D Mark II is one of numerous camera models most scuba divers go for when capturing the breathtaking scenes and subjects underwater. With its optimum performance, it’s a must buy in the electronics industry.
About Canon: As talked about in relation to the above products, Canon is one of the leading camera company in the world. It has been a pioneer of the DSLR era and has continued to be an innovator for bringing the camera technology of the future to photography enthusiasts.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is basically the upgraded version of the original model, Canon EOS 5D. For starters, the Canon EOS 5D was the first camera to offer full-frame photography, enabling the users to use their existing Canon EF-mount lenses and see the same composition in the viewfinder as what’s on the film camera. Canon gained a lot of support from photography enthusiast because of their line of cameras. However, the company decided to rest long and their competitors took it as a chance for catching up and produced models like Canon’s, and some even took bigger steps to get ahead, leaving Canon behind the competition.
A replacement was then made and so the Canon EOS 5D Mark II was produced. There were features incorporated from the original model and there were also additional features, making this new model much better than its predecessor.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II comes with a full-frame sensor with 21.1 million effective pixel count and 6.4 micron pixel pitch. Additionally, it has a new sensor, optimized to work with its DIGIC 4 processor. The new model also comes with an integrated sensor-cleaning system, a 14-bit A/D conversion and the rearrangement of the menu. Along with it is the introduction of the Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimizer dynamic range optimizing modes.
The EOS 5D Mark II has an impressive native sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400 that can be expanded to include the equivalent of ISO 50, 12,800 and 25,600.
Live View technology is featured in this model, enabling an extra feature of full HD video recording. Canon has also managed to make autofocus possible. These features most likely appealed to photojournalists.
The EOS 5D Mark II has the same control functions as what the EOS 5D had, therefore, the new model has the same metering, white balance and AF systems as its predecessor. However, the new DIGIC 4 processor has increased the maximum continuous shooting rate from 3.9fps for approximately 78 large quality JPEGS or 13 raw files.
For underwater usage, the EOS 5D Mark II requires a housing. Since it is a premium camera, most of the housings are quite pricey too. One of the best value for money housing is the Ikelite Underwater Housing For EOS 5D Mark II. It allows the camera to be used as deep as 200 feet, with all the controls and dial positions are properly designed to use them easily.
The Mark II has a very similar physical design as the original EOS 5D. The body is made up of three pieces of magnesium alloy and the sides are made of plastic elements. The adoption of high precision split level alignment of the magnesium alloy external covers, high precision dial construction, and external rubber grip covers, evidently improving the camera’s dust and water resistance.
The EOS 5D Mark II has a matte, textured surface, giving off durability and better grip. The company assures its customers that this new version of the EOS 5D is fully weather-proofed.
The LCD screen grew by 5.0 inches on its diagonal to 3 inches. The button and dial arrangement from the original camera is almost identical to the new one. However, an additional button has been introduced down the left side of the screen and its function as the quick access to the Picture Style controls. The print/share button above the LCD screen and to the left of the viewfinder doubles as the Live View of the activation control in the new model. In addition to this, when images are being composed or a video is being recorded using the Live View, a new AF button just above the thumb rest is conveniently positioned for autofocusing.
The new tabbed menu of Mark II makes it easier to find the features that most people don’t use regularly. An option to gather the six most frequently used controls on the My Menu screen is provided among users.
The original EOS 5D has a single custom or user shooting, mode option on the mode dial while the Mark II version has three, making it useful when setting up the camera for shooting under certain conditions.
A status display in Mark II’s set-up can be activated when the small joystick on the camera back is pressed. This screen provides a quick access to a collection of key settings that can be navigated with the use of joystick while selections are made using the Set button at the center of the Quick Control Dial.
- 21 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- Sensor Dust Reduction
- ISO 100-6400 Calibrated Range, ISO 50-25600 Expansion
- 3.9 frames per second for Continuous Shooting
- DIGIC 4 Processor
- AF Micro Adjustments
- Three Custom Modes on Command Dial, Creative Auto Mode
- Image Copyright Metadata Support 98% Coverage Viewfinder
- Live View with Three Mode Auto Focus
- Automatic LCD Brightness Adjustment
- Full Audio Support
- New 1800 mAh Battery with Improved Battery Information
To sum it all up, Canon had very strict competition between Nikon and Sony but it didn’t stop the company from producing new camera models to match with their standards. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is one of Canon’s big steps to get on track in the industry from its competitors. The camera was packed with outstanding features that are sure to prove that it’s worth-buying among photography enthusiasts.
- Excellent Resolution
- High ISO Performance
- External Microphone Socket for Movie Recording
- New DIGIC 4 processing engine
- Large High-resolution LCD Screen
- Integrated Sensor Cleaning System
- Very Well Built
- Built-in Peripheral Illumination
- Wide Range of Perimeter Adjustments
- Much Improved USB Transfer Speed
- Default Noise Reduction quite heavy at anything over ISO 400
- JPEG Output a bit soft when viewed at 100%
- No Mass Storage Device USB Mode
- Built-in Microphone is not usable for audio notes
- No Selectable lower and upper limit for auto ISO
- No Built-in Flash
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with Underwater Housing
One of the latest releases of Olympus under its well-known OM-D line of mirror-less cameras is OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Along with it, the Olympus PT-EP13 housing is specifically designed to give access to the camera’s important controls with its polycarbonate design.
Instead of adding a new model number in the OM-D line, Olympus went back to its original OM-D E-M5, updating it and producing the Mark II version. The manufacturers upgraded the camera such that it goes forward in their competition between Sony Alpha’s mirror-less cameras. They made sure that they improved almost every field of the original model, producing an undeniably much better and more capable camera than the older models.
About Olympus: Olympus is a Japanese brand which has been producing some of the best professional cameras found in the market. The company products are known for their durability and resilience against wearing factors like moisture, heat, etc.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
Olympus’ OM-D E-M5 Mark II is one of those underwater cameras mostly used for scuba diving and underwater photography as it has the best features that people need for more solid shots.
One of the major improvements, and added features, of this new model, is the addition of a viewfinder. The viewfinder offers full coverage of the image and is clear and bright. While using the viewfinder, the LCD enables the easy and fast setting of adjustments through displaying the quick functions in the Super Control Panel. In addition, it features the conservation of battery life as a proximity sensor turns off the LCD when the user brings the camera up to his face.
Another must-like improvement in this model is the step up in video quality, from its original’s 1080/30p to the current’s 1080/60p. The upgraded doubled frame rate at the same resolution is an essential feature to be able to capture crisp and clear shots of speedy underwater subjects.
The video quality improvement also comes with faster bit rates of up to 52Mbps at 60fps, letting the user capture more information from each frame, showing motion and speedy subjects more accurately and clearly.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II offers image stabilization, allowing the user to shoot sharp images in low light and record smooth videos, even without the use of tripods. With this comes blur-free shots regardless of the lens used. It also prevents image shake, helping for the proper composition of shots.
The E-M5 Mark II is compactly built (40% smaller and lighter than the average DSLR models) and sealed for waterproof, dustproof and freezeproof protection. It can also be housed with the PT-EP13, making a nice combination for outstanding shots even when used in underwater photography. These features make it the best gadget to use during scuba diving sessions, all with its portability and durability; it is definitely one handy camera.
A small but significant feature is also added, featuring fast and tough super focus system that allows 10fps burst shooting. It also comes with a 1/8000 sec mechanical shutter and a 1/16000 electronic shutter in silent mode for quieter capturing of shots.
The housing comes with a glass port that’s designed to fit a variety of mid-range lenses, making it convenient to its users. It comes with dual fiber-optic ports, making it easy and flexible to attach strobes to E-M5 Mark II. Olympus PT-EP13 has a flash window cover for the prevention of excess flash from spilling into the frame.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
The E-M5 Mark II has the same level of customization as the later model E-M1, including the ½ switch. The original slim body design keeps the model smaller; however, its new FL-LM3 accessory flash makes the camera seem taller. The control dials were also redesigned, enabling the ease of turning them. Along with the control dials improvement, the E-M5 also has the electronic viewfinder, only larger.
The Olympus PT-EP13 housing is very lightweight. Every button it has is wide and clearly labeled for the users’ convenience when they’re on a photography session. A mount on top of the housing lets the users attach a focus light or other camera accessories, while the mounts on the bottom let the users set up the housing with handles for strobe or video light attachments. The housing’s port mount supports a wide range of ports, allowing the users to use their preferred lenses for the best underwater photo and video shooting.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
- 16 Megapixels
- Micro 4/3 Lens Mount
- Flash Sync Speed: 1/250th
- Max ISO: 25,500
- Max Shutter Speed: 1/8000
- 81 Auto Focus Points
- New Fl-Lm3 Flash included, ability to control flash intensity down to 1/64th power
- Video recording at 1080/60p, 30p, 24p and up to 77Mbps bitrate
- Improved 5-Axis, Sensor Shift Image Stabilization
- Dust, Splash and Freeze-proof construction
- Waterproof up to 45cm
- High-Quality Polycarbonate Construction
- Supports Different MFT Lenses
- Wireless Flash Control
- Monitoring Window to Detect Water Penetration
- Large Buttons for Easy Operation
- Multi-coating Glass to Reduce Inner Reflections
- Dual Fibre-optic Strobe Ports
To sum it all up, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, together with its housing Olympus PT-EP13, is one of the best camera deals with outstanding features that guarantee each user the greatest experience of capturing excellent shots, especially underwater, and the satisfaction of high-quality results.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
- Outstanding Image and Video Quality
- Great Auto Focus System that Prevents Blurry Images
- Has Waterproof, Dustproof, and Freezeproof Protection
- Features Larger Electronic Viewfinder, providing full coverage of images
- Has Sensor Shift Image Stabilization
- The menu functions malfunctions easily.
- The menu system of the camera is hard to figure out.
- The autofocus is hard to control.
- The accessory flash would have a tendency to disconnect during shooting.
- Made with High-Quality Polycarbonate
- Flash Window Prevents Excessive Flash in the Frame
- Has Waterproof Protection up to 45m
- Features Large Buttons for Easy Operation
- No interchangeable ports
Best Scuba Diving Cameras Over $700 – $1,000
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V 20.1 Digital Plus Underwater Housing
This Sony Cyber-shot is a heck of a camera, and the Underwater Housing that’s included in the underwater bundle make this gadget a great asset for aquatic ventures. The Cyber-shot can function perfectly deep below the surface and offer high quality captures in these extreme environments.
About Sony: Perhaps one of the most famous camera manufacturers in the whole world, Sony is a multinational Japanese corporation. Its Cybershot series is one of the most successful camera series ever. The company introduces innovative features in its range of cameras, lenses, and accessories each year. Many professionals prefer the brand over other alternatives, due to its reliability and popularity.
This tiny device is packed with so many features that I don’t even know where to begin! First, let’s talk about the basics. Sony’s plan for this premium products is simple: make a professional camera more compact. Honestly? They did just that.
The aluminum body is slick, even slippery (although the underwater casing gives you a much better grip), and most importantly, lightweight. Easy to carry and store, this version of the Sony Cyber-shot offers quality photos, videos and a lot of helpful features, all in a compact package.
The RX100 V is designed to offer quality footage in low-light environments, so using it in underwater environments will be no problem. The camera features a very comfortable shutter-release button (an important feature for using while in motion) with a well-defined halfway point that will quickly determine the exposure and focus in whatever conditions it’s being used in.
Furthermore, the RX100 V comes designed with a Hybrid AF system that’s going to give you clear image while recording in motion, especially considering the optical stabilization features that the Cyber-shot has, but we’ll talk about that later.
Compact cameras don’t usually have the sharpest, brightest screens, but the RX100 V fairs pretty decent when it comes to that. It has a relatively large (3-inch) LED screen that can be flipped. The screen is bright and high-resolution, easy to read in every environment (maybe harder to read in direct sunlight, but still possible). The camera also has NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity capabilities, but that’s pretty standard.
Offering DSLR-like quality and features, the price of the camera isn’t that low (it’s pretty high up there, to be honest), but that’s to be expected of a premium product. It’s capable of ultra-slow-motion, recording at a maximum of 1000 frames per second, 4K video capture and more. It also features an impressive OLED EVF (electronic viewfinder), 3.6x optical zoom and Anti-Distortion electronic shutter that offers soundless recording at high shutter speeds.
The 315-point detection autofocus system and OLED EVF work great in low-light environments, granting you clear pictures and videos, easy focus and stable footage while in motion or stationary. The Carl Zeiss zoom lens is also a nice feature present on this gadget.
For a compact camera, it’s also fast. Actually, the fastest compact camera in the world (as of the time the review has been written). It can shoot 4K videos at a steady frame rate of 24 fps with AF/AE tracking.
The submerged capabilities of this camera are just great. The housing that comes with the underwater bundle offers the camera optimal performance up to 40m deep (around 130 feet). It has a great dynamic range, capturing every detail and shade of color in low-light environments and it’s compatible with a large array of different lenses, better suited for whatever you’re trying to cover or record.
As previously mentioned, the underwater housing also gives the user a better, more reliable grip over the device which is a problem due to its sleek, slippery aluminum factory case that can cause issues while using in aquatic environments.
It’s safe to say that the RX100 V is an all-around beautifully designed product. The smooth aluminum case offers a nice, premium feel to it, giving it durability and sturdiness while keeping the weight of the camera at 300 grams when fully equipped. It is a compact camera, after all, and Sony has delivered a very compact product.
The lens takes up around 40% of the front, while the flash, shutter, OLED sensor and zoom are conveniently found on the top of the camera. The HDMI port can be found at the bottom of the camera, but that’s kind of a questionable design choice if you ask me.
The underwater housing for the camera has a very ingenious design. It will basically allow you to make use of all of the device’s features without having to add any other third party attachment. The buttons are bigger and easier to find when submerged, which is essential. The housing’s shutter button stands out and the zoom lever is huge. While in water, you can access and use the camera’s flash and the housing’s rotary lens dial, giving you access to the features that you paid for in any circumstances.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V
- 0.05 second hybrid AF system (contrast + phase)
- 15 phase detection – AF points on a compact camera
- Continuous shooting speed1 at 24fps3 w/ AF/AE tracking
- 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS stacked back-illuminated CMOS sensor w/ DRAM
- 4K movie w/ direct pixel readout, no pixel binning and fast hybrid AF
- Optical Zoom: 3.6x
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V Underwater Housing
- Excellent water resistance at a depth level of 40 m / 130 ft.
- Rotary lens-ring dial, large lever shutter button, zoom lever
- Allows use of camera’s built-in flash
- Comes with detachable diffuser for minimizing vignette
- 67 mm filter thread for lens and filters color correction
After discussing the design and features of the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V and its Underwater Housing, it’s safe to say that this little guy can offer a lot of quality and reliability for you to cover you underwater ventures. The fact that you get this level of features and specs for such a compact product is astounding (although you have to dig deep into your pockets for it).
- Durable aluminum case
- Sharp, easy-to-read, bright hi-res display
- Capable of 4K recording w/ movie mode
- Water-resistant to 40 m depth
- Can use all of the camera’s features with the Underwater Housing
- Built-in electronic viewfinder
- Not a great battery life
- Certain types of videos take a long time to be rendered
Canon G7X Mark II Plus Underwater Housing
Canon’s G7X Mark II is sure to handle professional land, air, and underwater photography. It’s one of the best camera choices for better quality shots. This new model sure raises the competitions up through its superb features, upgraded from G7X.
About Canon: Canon is a Japanese camera manufacturer, operating since 1937. The company produces some of the best cameras and related accessories in the market.
Instead of continuing the traditional addition of new camera models in the existing line, Canon upgraded their G7X, producing the Mark II version. As an upgraded model of the original G7X, the G7X Mark II incorporated some features from it, only this time, the same features were better, plus additional features were also placed.
The features carried over from the original G7X include the scene-selecting Smart Auto Mode, as well as a Hybrid Auto feature that takes short video clips of about 2 to 4 seconds before the user takes photos. These video clips are assembled into a ‘digest movie’.
With its new image processor, the subject and scene detection has been improved, being advanced enough and having the ability to shoot at burst and choose the image with the best smile.
An additional feature on the G7X Mark II is the user’s ability to adjust the parameters of raw images and save the revised images as JPEG files.
Exposure compensation, white balance, picture style, auto lighting optimizer and high ISO noise reduction are what the user can adjust during raw image revisions.
The G7X Mark II replaced the original ‘My Colors’ feature making it ‘Picture Styles’ that provides eight baked-in Picture Styles and three custom shots. The presets are Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome.
Parameters can be adjusted and are as follows:
- Sharpness – Strength (0-7)
- Sharpness – Fineness (1-5)
- Sharpness – Threshold (1-5)
- Contrast (-3 to +3)
- Saturation (-3 to +3)
- Skin Tones (-3 to +3)
Wi-Fi implementation enables extra four features for its users: image transfer, remote shooting, location tracking, and camera clock setting. To make it all work, the user needs to have the Canon Camera Connect application.
While the top resolution remains 1080/60p, Canon has added a more cinematic 24p option to the G7X Mark II. The user can capture videos automatically or manually. The camera’s touchscreen feature lets the user tap to focus while shooting. The camera has the ability to track the subject even if it moves around the frame, making an effortless focusing in the video.
Also when in video mode, the camera has dynamic IS, combing the in-lens and electronic IS for 5-axis stabilization. This model also has wind filter and attenuator, focus peaking, and an ‘auto level’ feature, keeping the horizons straight.
For using the camera in the water, you need to get a housing. Due to the larger size of Mark II, the original G7X housing won’t fit.
Here’s a short list of three compatible housings for Canon G7X Mark II:
- Ikelite Canon G7X Mark II Housing
The compact and lightweight housing provides full operation of the camera up to depths of 200 feet. Large and easy-to-reach controls are provided for all camera functions. Rear controls are marked with laser engraved symbols.
- Fantasea Canon G7X Mark II Housing
The polycarbonate housing gives the users the access to every important camera control and dials.
- Nauticam Canon G7X Mark II Housing
The housing offers an optional short port option for better wide angle wet lens options. It also has an optional vacuum check system and includes a shutter release extension.
The Canon G7X Mark II is a compact camera with a smooth matte finish and a solid-feeling metal body. The dials on the camera are metal, providing good resistance and avoiding the user from accidentally turning it on and off.
There are four dials on the model. The mode dial is on the top plate while an exposure compensation dial is placed under it. The ring around the lens can not only be used for different functions but can also be used as a second control wheel on the back plate. The last dial is the small rear dial and the surrounding controls are very cluttered it.
Another new feature on this model is a grip. Canon made the G7X Mark II a more convenient camera for photographers in all fields. The grip has the perfect sizing, as well as the thumb rest on the rear.
Unlike the G7X’s LCD that could be tilted upward but couldn’t be tilted downward, Canon optimized the G7X Mark II and added a second hinge at the bottom to allow the screen to be tilted downward.
The touchscreen features are also easy to use, providing the users the ability to tap to focus or shoot, navigate menus, and review images.
G7X Mark II has now improved and has a toggle switch between smooth and ‘clicky’ rotation. The user can use the dial to control functions that include ISO, manual focus, white balance tuning, zoom, Auto Lighting Optimizer, aspect ratio and ‘custom’.
Through Canon’s Auto ISO implementation, the ability to adjust exposure compensation while in manual mode is added. The only downside to this feature is that the user cannot select a minimum shutter speed. The rate of change is the only option for this.
- Bright f/1.8 (w)-f/2.8 (t), 4.2x(24-100mm equivalent) optical zoom lens with IS and 9-blade iris diaphragm
- 1-inch 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
- New DIGIC 7 image processor
- Multi-angle 3.0 inch capacitive touch panel display
- 1080 Full HD video recording
- In-camera RAW conversion/editing
- Wi-Fi and NFC built-in
Although the predecessor model brought disappointment to its customers, Canon took a big step up when they released the Powershot G7X Mark II. All in all, Canon’s Powershot G7X Mark II is one of the best cameras used in professional photography sessions in land and underwater. With additional support from housings, your experience will be outstanding.
It can also be used in recreational activities, especially underwater ones like scuba diving. Capture the most amazing shots when diving in the marine world.
- Superb image quality
- Fast lens with 24-100mm equivalent range
- Tilting touchscreen LCD
- Good depth tracking
- Much-needed grip makes camera easy to hold
- In-camera RAW conversion
- Competitive video quality
- Heavy-handed noise reduction and sharpening
- AF speed slower than peers
- Face detection can throw off metering
- Dials not sensitive enough when manually focusing
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX100 follows the trend of modern action cameras, by being super compact and full of handy features, which will help you capture some beautiful moments during your scuba diving expeditions.
About Panasonic: Panasonic is a veteran camera manufacturer. It is based in Japan. The company makes all kinds of cameras, ranging from simple digital ones to high-end SLRs. There is something for everybody in Panasonic’s product range, be it an amateur or a professional photographer.
The Lumix LX100 has several advanced functions in its small body. It features 4 1/3 format point to shoot, with a manual mode for optimizing the settings for adding a personal flair to the photo. The camera is backed by a 4/3” MOS Sensor with 12.8 MP, to take the clearest and sharpest images. Video recording on this device is upgraded to the 4K / 30 fps format, which meets the standard most premium action cameras have maintained since the last year.
The five-axis stabilization system allows you to capture footage with exposures, without any blurs or shakes. Added to this is the low light sensitive sensor, which allows you to capture photos in the dark as well. Other modes include HDR photography, time-lapse videos, slow-mo capture, and panorama.
With this camera, you can expect to capture all your favorite shots without missing any moment.
Apart from the shooting functions, the camera has connectivity options such as NFC and Wi-Fi, which will allow you to transfer your photos and control the camera remotely.
The LX100 has a supported underwater housing made by Nauticam, which is extremely well built and can go as deep as 100 meters. There are several dials and buttons on the housing to allow you to control the camera manually. You will also find a vacuum pump button on the housing (optional), which will let in case of a leak.
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 has a pretty attractive design. It is a small camera and has a super compact built, albeit not one that will easily slip into your pocket.
The exterior is made from metal and is brushed black. It feels solid to hold and use.
The camera comes with loads of manual controls and dials on its top and back. There is an LCD installed on the back as well, which shows a well laid out menu to select the photo/video modes and change your settings from. The top side has dials for exposure and shutter control, making it very easy to modify the settings while in the process of shooting. Combined with the focus and aperture rings on the lens, you get just about everything you would need to take completely controlled photos.
The handgrip of the camera is a pretty small one compared to alternative models available in the market, but you get used to it after a using it a couple of times.
The chinks and clicks of the dials and buttons add a great ambiance to the photography experience and would be appreciated by the fanatics. It really brings out the old school mechanical feel.
The waterproof underwater housing is made from aluminum and has been anodized to make it watertight. It is pretty simple to manage and can be closed with a locking mechanism. The housing has a good grip (especially for the right-handers) and will let you manage the shutter/lens even while you are underwater. All functions are properly labeled and the shutter button clearly gives a feeling when half pressed or full-pressed.
- Effective pixels: 12.8 mp
- Sensor Size: Micro 4/3rds
- ISO: 200-25600
- Custom White Balance: YES, 4 slots
- Optical Image Stabilization
- Shoots RAW images
- Shoots up to 4K high-definition video at 30p or 24p
- Water resistant up to 100 meters with housing
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is one of the best diving cameras around. It is ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling or just for use during swimming. The large lens, upgraded sensor, and 4K / 1080p recording allow all footage to be clear, sharp and detailed.
- Several manual buttons and dials
- Super sturdy
- Sharp images and WDR supported
- Large lens
- Waterproof for up to 100 meters
- Great for underwater photography
- EVF is over saturated
- Camera boot up is slow
- Small hand grip
Best Scuba Diving Cameras Under $500
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera
The Tough cam series was Olympus’s answer to the action camera market, which rose rapidly in the past decade. The TG-5 is the fifth camera in the series and brings with itself all the good in the previous generation models, plus some new features as well. The camera is one of the most rugged and robust one available at the moment. Let’s take a look at its features now.
About Olympus: Olympus is a world-renowned Japanese manufacturer of cameras and photography tools. It started operating in 1919 and has since developed its reputation of a high-end camera producer. The company is famous for making super durable high-end cameras, especially for the professionals who want to shoot high-intensity adventures.
The TG-5 comes with an updated 12MP BSI CMOS sensor. This is lesser than the 16MP BSI CMOS found in the TG-4. However, the manufacturer stated that the drop has been made to allow for an improved image quality in low light conditions and a better wide dynamic range (WDR) under various conditions. The 12 MP BSI CMOS sensor pairs up with the TruePic VIII processor, which is one of the best processors available in Olympus cameras, being regularly used in the Mark II series. The camera is able to shoot photos in RAW format as well as the standard ones. Users can modify the ISO range manually between 100 and 12800 to get the most optimum photos.
There is a quick action photo mode called the Pro Capture that can capture exact moments in a sequence and is one of the best features in this camera.
If you are into making videos, you would be glad to know that the TG-5 is the first model in the series to support 4K / 30 fps recording along with 1080p (Full HD) recording at 120 fps. This means that you can create professional level videos under water.
The TG-5 lens is quite similar to the older version’s lens. It has a range of 25-100 mm and a f/2-4.9 aperture. The major upgrade in the lens is that it now comes with an anti-fog dual pane glass which allows you to use the camera perfectly, even in locations with multiple weather swings. This can be important in the sea as you move from the air temperature to the underwater temperature during your dives. This was one of the most requested features by the TG-4 users.
The lens can be boosted with several accessories and converters that are sold by Olympus. These include telescope version and fisheye converter, LED add-on and flash diffuser. Again, a must have for creative photography while scuba diving (if you are into it).
As mentioned at the start, the TG-5 is extremely robust and will take impacts (from as high as 2.1 m) without showing any wear and tear. The body is made to last even under a weight of 100 kilograms and in temperatures as extreme as -10 degree Celsius. When diving, you can take the camera itself to a depth of 15 meters; however, when the camera is in the Olympus PT-058 underwater housing, it can work as deep as 45 meters, without having any effect on the quality of photos or the working of the electronic system inside.
Apart from the photography-related features, the TG-5 also has some functions to help you in pinpointing the location where the photo was taken. These include a GPS, temperature sensor, manometer and a compass.
It is the design and build of the TG-5 which allows it to perform magnificently, even under testing conditions.
If you have seen the TG-4, you will notice the similarity in the design. However, there are also some changes made. This version has a better and large grip, to keep your hand stable while shooting. The buttons are more ergonomic and easier to press, allowing you to quickly activate a mode/setting without fondling with the buttons.
The top of the camera has a zoom lever, which is around the shutter button and gives you greater control of the magnification while capturing an image. There is a location logger next to it, which allows you to record the geo-positional data of the photo, while a new exposure wheel gives you the chance to manually set your camera to take the best photos.
The side of the camera features a USB port for charging and is covered with a rubber sealed door.
The back of the camera features a 3” LCD that has a user-friendly interface and can be used by both novices and experts.
The camera is extremely durable and upon doing some drop tests, there were no wears or tears on its body.
The PT-058 underwater housing is made from a polycarbonate material and will protect the camera against the deep water pressure.
- Max resolution 4000 x 3000
- 12 megapixels
- 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
- ISO Auto, 100-12800
- Focal length 25–100 mm
- Max aperture F2–4.9
- Articulated LCD Fixed
- Max shutter speed 1/2000 sec
- Format MPEG-4, H.264
- SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I compatible)
- USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
- 250 g
- 113 x 66 x 32 mm
The TG-5 is one of the best Olympus cameras for recording the action and capturing your diving moments. It comes with 4K and 1080p video, low light recording, Pro Capture precise shooting, watertight body, and a waterproof housing. With the add-ons and accessories available, you can customize the camera to take some top-level photos and videos, without requiring much experience. Moreover, its small size allows you to carry it with you with without it being a burden in your adventure.
- Updated sensor for sharp images
- Improved low-light sensitivity to capture even in the darker environment
- High-resolution shooting (4k /30 fps and 1080p / 120 fps)
- Special Pro Capture mode for quick and precise photos
- Burst mode for taking high-action photos
- Manual settings, flash, and ISO for optimum photos
- Super sturdy body
- Watertight body with a waterproof housing for deep excursions
- No control over white balance in the movie shooting
- 4K and full HD only available for video mode
- The exposure control is still not completely manual
GoPro Hero 5 Black
GoPro is perhaps the best camera company for extreme sports and adventure. Its Hero 5 Black is a great camera choice for shooting on the land, in the air, and under the water.
The Hero 5 Black is a unique product that combines the best features available in the market in a single camera. Perhaps you can even refer to it as GoPro’s ‘Best of the Best’ camera. The manufacturer has ingeniously shifted out all the poorly rated features of its older cameras and brought together the most popular / demanded features to make the Hero 5 Black a customer favorite.
About GoPro: GoPro, Inc. is based in the USA. The company was founded in 2002 but gained extreme popularity in the last 5 years because of its action camera series. The company is now venturing into drone cameras. It also develops its own photography applications for computers and mobiles.
The Hero 5 Black is the next generation of the mostly-successful Hero 4 Black. While its 4K resolution and 30 FPS video recording is found in the previous generation version also, the Hero 5 Black also comes with a touchscreen display, a superior embedded audio system, and a completely watertight body. The latter feature will allow you to take the camera with you for scuba diving for long hours, without ever worrying about damaging your device.
Apart from these hardware features, there are also some new software advancements introduced by GoPro. The most important of these advancements is the electronic stabilization of images (a highly demanded feature!). Apart from this, new additions also include voice controls to configure camera settings during usage and a GPS system to always be in control of your positioning.
As aforementioned, this new camera also features a rear touch display. This was one of the most lacking features in most of the GoPro cameras of the past and forced the users to resort to make-shift mechanisms in order to access their images and videos on the go. Many competitor companies saw this as a window of opportunity and landed their action cameras with inbuilt screens to woo the GoPro users.
A lot of GoPro fans have been demanding this feature and finally, the company has listened to them.
The camera has also seen an update regarding the user interface system. Previously, the GoPro action cameras needed a lot of using and some experience to understand the interface. This was a problem for newbies who were experimenting with them. Now, with the new Super Easy One Button control system, you can shoot images and change any settings very quickly.
As far as image capturing goes, the camera works at 12 MP and has ultra-slow-mo mode to shoot still image at 1080p / 120 FPS. There are a variety of modes to work with including single, burst and timelapse, WDR (wide dynamic range) modes. All the images can be saved as raw files.
A new battery introduced by GoPro is also another game changer. This battery lasts longer and is more durable, meaning that it will not start depleting quickly over time.
All in all, these features make the GoPro Hero 5 Black one of the most sought-after action camera. It is a premium product, but it’s video and image shooting abilities are quite stunning.
Looks wise, the Hero 5 Black is quite stylish and is bound to catch attention. It has a minimalistic design with a matte black matchbox-sized body.
The front of the camera has a small notification screen to show the battery status, storage space, and the operating mode. The back of the rectangular body has a two-inch display screen, which is pretty luminous and can even be used comfortably under direct sunlight. There is little to no glare while using the camera.
On the top of the camera is a square red button, which allows you to put the new One Button UI to use. Just click on it and start recording immediately, making it an amazing option to capture high action images while on the go.
The bulky protective casing found in older versions of the GoPro Hero is now gone since the camera is completely watertight (for up to 33 feet). This makes the camera feel slimmer, but perhaps leaves it more vulnerable to direct impacts.
New add-ons like a range of filters to add to the camera’s lens are now available. This makes shooting from the camera all the more exciting, especially since there are some filters specially made for use during scuba diving and snorkeling, to boost the underwater footage.
Another important upgrade in the design overhaul of the camera is the release of several high-quality accessories. These include REMO voice controlled shutter button, QUIK KEY USB C ports, and memory card reader for use without a mobile/laptop in hand.
- Photo capturing at 12MP / 30 FPS Burst / Time Lapse
- Video capturing at 4K30 / 1440p80 / 1080p120
- Waterproof 33 feet (10M)
- Simple 1-Button Control
- WiFi + Bluetooth
- Advanced Wind Noise Reduction
- Voice Control
- Video Stabilization
- Auto Upload To Cloud
- Touch display
All in all, the GoPro Hero 5 Black is one of the best high-end cameras in the market. It has upgraded several of the shortcomings in the previous generations of the model and introduced various highly demanded features. Perhaps the only shortcoming of this camera is that in GoPro’s attempt to make it super slim and minimalistic, the company has made it less resistant to impacts (a common possibility in action photography).
- High-quality image shooting underwater
- Filters to complement and boost shooting quality underwater
- Advanced electronic image stabilization
- Dual microphones for clear audio recording
- Waterproof for up to 33 feet
- Several capturing modes and functions
- Modern design
- One button UI
- Older batteries are not compatible with the new model
- No EIS in 4K resolution mode
- Touchscreen response is not great
Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1 MP Digital with Underwater Housing –
The Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS is the world’s lightest camera with a 24 mm Wide-Angle lens and a 5x Optical Zoom. It is a great pocket camera and comes in a small rectangular box body. It is quite user-friendly, with all the basic features done right. You will not find the top of the line features in this product, but there is still plenty to offer and work with for the average user.
About Canon: Canon is lined up as one of the leading camera and other photography products manufacturers in the industry today. Although various competitions are observed, small or big, Canon always makes sure that they level up their game to keep on track or be one step ahead of their competitors. They do this through their large-scale production of new camera models, based on heavy research and development.
Canon updated its camera series to meet the demands of the modern camera user. This meant that it dropped its SD and IS brands, consequently introducing the new HS brand. The Elph 300 HS is on the lower end cameras in the HS series. Despite this, it does not compromise in quality or execution.
The camera features a 12.1 MP CMOS sensor, which has been upgraded to capture images in low light and at a faster speed. Along with this, there is also a new Wide Angle view which shoots 24 mm of view and a 5x optical zoom to capture from afar.
As far as video recording goes, the camera shoots at 1920 x 1080 (full HD) resolution, with 24 fps. Due to the installation of DIGIC 4 as the processor, the shooting is largely quick and smooth. There are several functions to complement the image and video recording, such as Slow Mo (240 fps) and Burst Mode (8 fps).
You may not expect this from a lower end camera, but the ELPH 300 HS comes with a 2.7-inch high-quality LCD display. The display has 5 different brightness levels and a high resolution to give you the best viewing experience while watching your capture. You can use LCD under bright sunlight, but there is some glaring which can make it difficult to read or see the screen.
The special underwater housing for the camera makes it usable during scuba diving or snorkeling. It allows you to take your camera as deep as 130 feet underwater. The case has a polycarbonate construction and will protect the camera not only against the water but also against any falls or impacts. It comes with a wrist strap for a secure grip during underwater dives.
The camera comes with an updated lithium battery pack that charges quickly and lasts for a long time. Other accessories which are included in the pack are charger, wrist strap, USB cable, AV cable, instruction manual, Getting Started guide and Canon photo software.
Apart from its super slim outline, you may not notice anything special about the ELPH 300 HS’s design. The camera has a pretty small size and is very light in weight. It sizes at 92.2mm x 55.9mm x 19.5mm and weights 141 grams. Despite this, the camera does not feel flimsy but is actually quite sturdy, with clean finishing.
The rectangular body has curved edges for a comfortable feel while holding the camera. The lens has a telescopic zoom, with a thin flash and an autofocus lamp installed on its upper corner. However, left-handers would find the position of the flash awkward for their grip. There are large ergonomic buttons for easy pressing.
The top of the camera has some functions on it as well. These include holes for stereo microphone, a shutter button, zoom switch and audio output. The sides feature connectivity options such USB and HDMI ports.
The camera comes in three different color schemes: silver, red and black.
- 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.8 inches in size
- 141 grams of weight (without battery)
- 12 megapixels
- 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS
- 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots/Non
- 5x, f2.7-5.9, 24-120mm (35mm equivalent)
- Supports JPEG/H.264 (.MOV)
- 1920 x 1080 at 24fps
- Optical and digital image stabilization
- Li-ion rechargeable, 220 shots
- External battery charger
- SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, Eye-Fi SD/SDHC cards
- Canon photo software
The 300 HS with the waterproof case is a great option to capture your scuba diving experience if you do not require professional level photography. It’s a small camera that is easy to keep and shoot with. The waterproof case will let you take it to deep underwater excursions without worrying. If you want a camera with premium features, look at other options on this list such as the GoPro Hero 5 Black.
- Basic but high-quality features
- Slim and lightweight
- Water-proof as deep as 130 feet
- Fast performance
- Sharp images
- Shoots 1080p video
- 5x zoom and focus
- The LCD lacks a viewfinder
Now we have reached the end of our comprehensive reviewing list of the best scuba diving cameras available in the market. You can be assured that all the cameras listed here have been extensively researched on and used by our staff, to ensure that all the information presented is accurate.
Cameras mentioned in this article come to meet different requirements, depending upon your budget, the level of photography and the purpose of use of the footage. You should select one which seems most optimum for your usage. If you have any doubts in your selection or want to know something more specific about any of the above-mentioned cameras, do let us know by commenting below or clicking here.
Hernan saysFebruary 11, 2019 at 6:57 pm
Hi Brian. Thank you for your great post.
Currently I’am a Canon ELPH 300 HS and canon diving housing for the camera owner. do you think it would worth to upgrade to the go pro hero 7 ?
why do you recommend go pro 5 insted of 6 or 7?
Brian Smith saysMarch 10, 2019 at 7:44 pm
Thank you for your comment, Hernan. I am recommending the 5 right now just because it has been so stable for me and other people I know. Over the winter I got a GoPro Hero 7 White to try out with this Buyer’s Guide in mind. I wasn’t totally impressed with it at first, but it is growing on me. I want to try the Silver and Black models as well. I went for the White first because it is supposed to be the most water proof out of the lineup. The form factor is really good, but the aspect ratio makes the video all square. So it has those black bars on the side when you upload it to video. It looks perfect on Instagram, though. I guess you can convert the video to a widescreen format with the app, but it is a pain.
I am thinking about making a review of just the GoPro Hero 7 lineup. Stay tuned, and thanks for stopping by!
Simon saysFebruary 27, 2019 at 9:46 pm
Some awesome choices. I’ve been looking for a new camera for a dive trip to truck lagoon.
The Olympus tough look like a camera I can have some fun with. Cheers