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Best Underwater Cameras in 2024

Published January 18, 2024 | By: Nirupam Nigam

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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

Recent improvements in underwater photography equipment.

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- 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • The auto-focus speed is faster than traditional compact cameras.
  • The advanced 4K video features available in the RX100 series are top-of-the-line for compact camera video systems.

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.

  • 20.1-megapixel 1-inch Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor
  • 315-point phase detection autofocus system - focuses in 0.05-sec
  • 24 fps RAW burst with AF tracking for up to 233 photos
  • Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70mm F/1.8-2.8 lens
  • Anti Distortion Shutter minimizes rolling shutter effect when recording video
  • 1-inch 20.1 MP stacked CMOS sensor
  • BIONZ X processor
  • Built-in 24-200mm (equivalent) f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens – same as the RX100 VI
  • Electronic shutter up to 1/32000s
  • 4K video with full pixel readout (no pixel binning)
  • S-LOG2, S-Log3, and HLG picture profiles
  • Pop-up EVF (2.36 million dots)
  • No more built-in ND filter
  • Tilting touch screen LCD
  • Wifi and Bluetooth capability

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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.

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Price: $650.00

  • 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

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

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Coming Soon!

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.

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  • 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

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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.

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Price: $1,499.00

  • 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.

  • 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

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.

  • 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.

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Price Point: $2,499

  • 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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Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera for Enthusiasts

Price Point:

  • 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.

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Price Point: $1,499

  • 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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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.

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  • 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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travel camera underwater

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.

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Price Point: $2,197.99

  • 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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travel camera underwater

- Best Professional Underwater Cameras -

Canon eos r5, the best value professional underwater camera.

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  • 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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travel camera underwater

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.

  • 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
  • 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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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.

  • 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
  • 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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Underwater Video

Underwater Packages

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.

  • 12 MP BSI CMOS Full Frame Sensor
  • Bioz XR Image Processor
  • "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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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.

  • 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
  • 8K/60p & 4K/120p video recording
  • N-Log, N-RAW (12-bit), and ProRes RAW recording
  • Weight: 910 grams
  • Size: 5.7 inches x 4.7 inches x 3.3 inches

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travel camera underwater

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Best underwater camera 2023: tough, rugged, waterproof cams

T3’s roundup of the best underwater cameras available to buy right now

A man swimming underwater in diving gear, taking a picture of a turtle with one of the best underwater cameras

Despite the fact that smartphones are increasing in capability when it comes to their onboard cameras, and the fact that most flagship smartphones are at the very least water-resistant, when it comes to true, extensive waterproofing and ruggedness, the best underwater cameras are designed to be pushed to the limits and still generally come out on top. 

With all the cameras on this list, you can use them on all your adventures, and not worry about getting them wet, how long they can stay immersed for, or if you’re into something like snorkelling or scuba diving, not worry about how deep you’re taking them.

Although there’s not been a huge number of new releases into the underwater camera market, a number of the underwater models which are already available are so good, it’s easy to see why they continue to do well.

Several different brands are included in our guide here, with a blend of the best compact cameras which are designed to be waterproof and/or rugged, and the best action cameras which work a little differently but are also suitable for underwater or waterside action.

It’s also worth thinking about waterproof cameras when planning a family holiday or day trip. As they can withstand a little rough and tumble, they’re ideal for slinging into a beach bag and not worrying too much about it.

The best waterproof cameras you can buy today:

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test .

DJI OSMO Action 3 review

1. DJI Osmo Action 3

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

While GoPro might be the big name when it comes to action cameras, there are some intriguing alternatives on the market right now. One of the most recent additions is the DJI Osmo Action 3.

It can shoot at 4K at up to 120fps for slow-mo video, as well as a range of other frame rates for more usual shooting. It can’t quite match the 5.7K shooting of the GoPro, but unless you’re a serious videographer craving that ultra-high resolution, it might not be a deal-breaker for you. 

As with other action cameras, this is aimed primarily at video shooters, so if you’re more into your stills, one of the other cameras listed here might be your best bet.

Olympus Tough TG-6

2. Olympus Tough TG-6

An ideal camera for the adventurous, the serious tough credentials of the TG-6 make it well-suited to capturing all sorts of escapades that your phone, or standard camera, might not survive. 

While there is always some compromise to be had, the image quality from the TG-6 goes beyond what you’d usually expect from a model of this kind, partly due to the fact that is equipped with a well-performing lens with an f/2.0 maximum aperture for shooting in low light.

Underwater shooters benefit from dedicated underwater settings, such as a specific white balance mode, underwater HDR and a microscope mode for ultra close-ups. 

Enthusiasts also benefit from being able to shoot in raw format, something which is missing from most of those mentioned elsewhere in this guide. We’d like to see a little more manual control however for it to be closer to perfect.

GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review

3. GoPro Hero 11 Black

The leading name in action camera, the latest Hero 11 Black model is the ideal model for those who want an all-round model adept at shooting in many different conditions - particularly if you’ve got a penchant for video. 

Those who like water sports, such as surfing and the like will likely look toward the GoPro, especially as a number of different accessories and mounts mean you can use it with equipment such as surf and paddle boards . 

Snorkellers and shallow divers may also be tempted, though, with a maximum depth of 10 metres, those who want to go further are better suited by some of the models higher up in this buying guide.

Although the Hero 10 can be used for stills, it’s primarily a video-oriented device, which may or may not suit you. It’s also quite pricey compared to some models here, so if you’re just looking for something simple for family trips it’s likely to be overkill. 

Ricoh WG-80

4. Ricoh WG-80

Here’s another good all-round compact camera that will serve a variety of users well, particularly if you’re looking for something tough and reliable for beach and family days out. 

It can be used a little more seriously, with some good waterproofing credentials, and the digital microscope mode being particularly appealing - a set of lights around the lens means you can take some fantastic close-up underwater shots, something which might appeal to snorkelers and divers. 

Image quality is best when light is good (or the scene is illuminated by the inbuilt lights), but it produces some decent pictures that should suit the needs of the average family photographer. 

The biggest letdown here is the screen, which is both small and low resolution - but as that perhaps helps keep the cost down compared to the Olympus TG-6, it’s arguably worth forgiving it.

Best underwater camera

5. Sealife Micro 3.0

If you're a serious diver and you need something to reach depths that the other cameras listed here simply can’t manage, then the Sealife Micro 3.0 is one option - that is, unless you want to start investing in underwater housing and rigs for other types of camera. 

As well as being able to reach those deep depths of 60 metres, the Sealife camera is permanently sealed to make sure no water can possibly penetrate it. The trade-off here is that you don’t get the kind of flexibility that other models offer - but if you need this depth, then it’s a sacrifice worth making. You get a fixed lens and a small sensor, but it can still produce good images. 

You can buy the camera as a solo unit, but one of the appealing things about the SeaLife Micro 3.0 is the various kits that you can also buy it in. If you’re diving deep, then going for the Sea Dragon LED lights are worth adding to your cart as the light will be very much on the low side.

How to buy the best underwater camera for you 

Buying the best waterproof camera for you will largely depend on exactly what you’re hoping to achieve with a camera of this type. 

If you’re a keen underwater photographer and you want to get the best possible image quality, then it’s worth investing more in an underwater camera than if you’re happy with just snaps from your beach holiday. By the same token, if you’re an enthusiast, you’ll probably be looking for a camera which offers more advanced features than a more simple point-and-shoot .

You’ll also need to think about exactly how waterproof you need your camera to be. If it’s just for splashing around at the beach, coastline or the river, then a minimal amount of waterproofing will be fine. However, if you’re into something more serious, such as diving, then you’ll need something that can cover deeper distances and longer exposure to water.  

Next, you might want to think about size and weight. All of the models here are pocket-friendly, but some are smaller and lighter than others. You should also think about how simple/easy to operate the camera is if you’re going to be using something such as thick gloves while shooting underwater. Finally, you might like to think about whether there are any accessories you might want or need to go with your waterproof camera, as this will add bulk (as well as cost) to your setup. 

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Amy Davies is a freelance journalist that covers cameras for T3 and many other sites. She is also Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine and, when she's not writing about cameras, she's probably taking pictures of her cute dog.

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5 best underwater cameras: for deep dives or rainy weather.

These cameras are built for the elements, with waterproof, portable designs that capture underwater wonders in glorious high-res photos and videos.

Thanks to innovations made in both software and hardware, modern underwater cameras can capture Ultra HD footage, billions of colors, and extreme-resolution photos – and they're smaller than a bar of soap. We're talking, of course, about action cameras , such as those from GoPro and DJI. You can also take advantage of the massive power of a mirrorless SLR camera if you pair it with an underwater housing to keep it dry.

DJI Osmo Action 4

Gopro hero 12 black, sony alpha a7r iv, ikelite 200dl underwater housing for a7r iv, dji osmo action 3, gopro hero 11 black mini, do you need a gopro camera if you have a smartphone we asked gopro.

I've been in the professional photography business for a long time now, and I've learned through experience what to look for in a camera. Underwater cameras are no different. They might be small and built for submersion, but they still have sensors, lenses, video specs, codecs, and autofocus. There's a lot to consider. To compile this list of the best underwater cameras, I drew from my own professional experience and called upon my fellow camera experts at Pocket-lint. Here, we present our top recommendations.

Best underwater cameras: Our experts' five favorites

The latest and greatest in underwater camera technology

With improved water resistance, 4K120p video, advanced stabilization, and an accessible price, the DJI Osmo Action 4 sets the gold standard for underwater cameras.

  • Amazing low-light performance thanks to the 1/1.3-inch sensor
  • Able to shoot in 10-bit D-Log M color profile
  • Long-lasting battery life can record 150 minutes of footage
  • Great value for the price
  • Waterproof up to depths of 18 meters
  • More expensive than its predecessor with few upgrades
  • It has a bit of a learning curve to master all its functions

The DJI Osmo Action 4 has it all: 4K 120p video, advanced color profiles, a 2.5-hour battery life, and cutting-edge stabilization technology. But what really sets it apart from the competition is its sensor. With an unprecedented size of 1/1.3-inches, it's capable of capturing color and light information in the shadowy depths of the sea. That's a huge win for underwater photography, since it means you won't always need a flash to shoot in low-lighting.

DJI Osmo Action 4 review: The low-light champ

It's an action camera, so it's designed for hands-free shooting. Beyond the initial setup, you really don't have to do much to achieve gorgeous footage – simply allow the autofocus, auto-white balance, and auto exposure to create their magic. Of course, you can still adjust the settings to your liking, even underwater, since the touchscreen is responsive and intuitive. And for the purists out there, there's a manual exposure mode, as well.

The DJI Osmo Action 4 can dip below the surface to depths of 18 meters, which is about 59 feet. It also performs exceptionally well in the cold. The battery keeps trucking in sub-zero temperatures, delivering about 150 minutes of recording time. The result is peace of mind as you dive deep, as this thing is built to endure.

With the affordable price and immense power of the DJI Osmo Action 4, it's hard to recommend anything else for underwater photography and filmmaking. This is truly the cutting-edge, yet it's easy to use for both beginners and pros. There are a couple of other options worth considering, but the DJI Osmo Action 4 sets the standard.

The resolution revolution is here, and it's led by GoPro

The GoPro Hero 12 Black boasts a max video resolution of 5.8K60p and a max depth of 10 meters, giving it the power to capture underwater details with stunning sharpness.

  • HyperSmooth 6.0 stabilization is the best in the biz
  • 10-bit color and GP Log color profile
  • Up to 70 minutes of continuous recording
  • Improved HDR mode
  • Unlike its predecessors, it lacks GPS
  • Not a massive upgrade over the more-affordable GoPro Hero 11

The Hero 12 Black is GoPro's latest flagship, and the focus on video is clear. With a 5.8K60p maximum resolution, 10-bit color, GP-Log, and a new HDR video mode, it heralds in a fresh generation of action cameras. Underwater artists will also appreciate GoPro's innovations in stabilization. Their updated HyperSmooth 6.0 works wonders to keep fast-moving frames smooth and free of motion blur.

GoPro Hero 12 Black review: The best GoPro yet, but only just

Pocket-lint's former camera pro, Luke Baker, said that it was "the best GoPro yet, but only just." He hedged his praise, since the Hero 12 isn't drastically different from its predecessor , the Hero 11. However, the upgrades are still noticeable.

This latest model offers a 9:16 aspect ratio, the aforementioned HyperSmooth 6.0, and a significantly stronger battery life. The Hero 11's Enduro battery can record HD footage for about 2 hours, while the Hero 12's battery lasts over 2.5 hours. Even more impressive, this new battery is more resistant to cold, so sub-zero temps won't sap the charge as quickly.

Professional gear for professional shoots

If a little action camera just won't cut it, the Sony a7R IV combined with an underwater housing will deliver the pro-level underwater footage you seek.

  • 4K video at 30fps
  • Incredible hybrid autofocus
  • 5-axis SteadyShot stabilization
  • 61MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Sony's infamous battery life is better, but still not great

The top protection for your precious gear

  • Complete button controls
  • Excellent durability
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Rated for up to 60 meters of depth
  • Pretty hefty at 4.7 pounds

We've praised the Sony a7R IV before, but its accolades are worth repeating. This full-frame mirrorless powerhouse is capable of 4K video, 61MP photos, and an extremely advanced stabilization technology called SteadyShot. This makes it an amazing camera for underwater shooting, as it can capture stable, sharp footage in super low lighting – no flash required.

Sony A7R IV review: Here's to new resolutions

Another huge advantage to utilize for underwater photography is the hybrid autofocus. It uses 567 detection points, combining both contrast and phase detection, to lock its focus quickly and accurately. It works splendidly underwater, and you can also employ intelligent subject-tracking to tap a target and let the autofocus do the rest. It maintains a sharp focus on fast-moving subjects like fish and swimmers, even as they change their distance.

But to use the a7R IV underwater, you'll need underwater housing. Our favorite is the Ikelite 200DL, which is specifically designed for the a7R IV and the a7R V. (If you need an underwater housing for a different camera model, Ikelite has tons of custom-fitted options.) The 200DL has perfectly-fitted buttons and knobs for adjusting zoom and focus, and the transparent backing gives you full visibility of the screen. Most importantly, the housing is waterproof up to 60 meters, so the peace of mind it brings is worth the premium price tag.

A small cost for big returns

The DJI Osmo Action 3 may lack a few of the fancy new features of its sequel, but it still holds its own as one of the best action cameras on the market.

  • Super lightweight and compact
  • Max video resolution of 4K at 120fps
  • Combines three stabilization software for smooth video
  • Relatively budget-friendly
  • 12MP photo resolution isn't pro-grade
  • May require firmware updates for full video capabilities

We picked the DJI Osmo Action 4 as our top overall underwater camera, but its predecessor is almost just as good . Plus, it's quite a bit cheaper. In fact, when the Pocket-lint team first reviewed the DJI Osmo Action 3, we gave it a nearly perfect score of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

DJI Osmo Action 3 review: Let's try that again

It's certainly a "real rival to GoPro's market dominance," with Wi-Fi live-streaming, a superior battery performance compared to the Hero 11 Black, and a video resolution of 4K/120p. And for underwater explorers, it can reach depths of 16 meters. Where DJI excels is in their user-friendly designs. With two displays, one on the front, one on the back, the Osmo Action 3 gives you complete touchscreen controls.

And they work underwater. You can enable the excellent stabilization modes, such as HorizonSteady, to keep your footage looking smooth, and the 10-bit color recording is there for the taking. The list of impressive specs goes on for a while, so it's worth checking out. And once you've read through all the different strengths of the Osmo Action 3, the price proves to be the cherry on top.

5.3K video from a camera the size of a matchbox

The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini might be small, but it contains highly advanced hardware that excels in underwater photography.

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Sharp, gorgeous 5.3K60p video
  • Ideal size for wearing as first-person perspective
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization
  • No still photo mode; you have to grab screenshots
  • No screen, only a basic display on the top

There's really no rival for the GoPro Hero 11 Black, at least not at this size. This mind-blowingly tiny camera packs a punch, with 5.3K60p video capabilities and a weight of only 4.7 ounces. And for all that tininess, it can still reach underwater depths of up to 10 meters. Add the GoPro protective housing, and it can dive even deeper.

GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review: Small but mighty

The GoPro Hero 11 Black isn't for everyone, since the lack of a screen is a big point of contention. It's more of a point-and-shoot than a full-fledged pro-level action camera, but the automatic settings deliver amazing footage without a hassle.

If you're looking for something that you can strap to your chest or forehead, click the record button, and start documenting your underwater adventures, the GoPro Hero 11 Black is the perfect pick. It's super affordable, too.

The bottom line: What's the best underwater camera?

We recommend the DJI Osmo Action 3 for its brilliant 4K HDR video and excellent waterproof build. It can handle depths as low as 16 meters, which is more than enough for most dives. Best of all, for all its strengths and advanced features, it comes at an affordable price.

There are other models worth consideration as well. Those that want higher resolutions would do well with the GoPro Hero 12 Black, which delivers an incredible 5.3K60p video resolution and 27MP photos. And for those who simply can't part with their full-frame mirrorless cameras, an underwater SLR camera housing might be worth the investment. We recommend the Sony A7R IV for this approach, but you can also check out the other custom-fitted underwater housings available on B&H to match your particular camera.

How we chose the best underwater cameras

Our team is composed of photography pros, tech gurus, and A/V experts, and together we came up with the following list of priorities to focus on when looking for an underwater camera.

Waterproofing: This is certainly the most important part of an underwater camera, since you'll get about one chance to test its underwater performance on your own. It's sink or swim. Fortunately, the "ingress protection code," or IP rating, is a standardized system that gives an accurate indication of a product's degree of waterproofing. Thus, you can look for a camera's IP code to determine how well-protected it is in water.

The rating is given in two digits in the form IP##. The first indicates the tightness of the camera-body's seal. For underwater cameras, this value should be the maximum possible rating of 6, which means it's entirely "dust-tight" and vacuum-tested. The second digit is more important. It's the waterproof rating, where a value of 7 or higher means the device can be fully immersed in water.

Dust and water IP ratings: What does IP68 really mean?

Manufacturers will make claims about how deep their cameras can go. Our top pick, the DJI Osmo Action 3, for example, is said to be capable of reaching depths of 16 meters. While these claims aren't as trustable as the IP code, they're still worth considering. In fact, it's likely that most manufacturers are overly conservative in their estimates in order to protect themselves from liability.

Video specs: Today's cameras are capable of extremely high resolutions and frame rates. We consider 4K to be the minimum, but you should also look at the max possible frame rate. For underwater footage, we recommend frame rates of 60fps and above, since marine life moves fast. Such high frame rates can also be used for slow motion.

Color is another important aspect of underwater video. Contrast and color warmth are greatly diminished under the surface, so this is one of the few camera endeavors where we recommend HDR. You can also check the maximum color depth, such as the DJI Osmo Action 3's 10-bit color depth, to make sure it's rich.

Other video specs to look for are stabilization tech and aspect ratio. DJI uses its HorizonSteady technology to reduce motion blur and frame jumps, while GoPro uses HyperSmooth. Both work exceptionally well, and we recommend enabling such stabilizers at all times. For aspect ratio, 16:9 is generally preferred, since it matches the dimensions of most displays.

Photo specs: The first spec to check is the maximum resolution of stills, which is given in MegaPixels (MP). We prefer resolutions of 20MP or higher, since they're large enough to crop the frame and make edits in post.

You can also take freeze frames from your video footage to take high-quality still images. This is actually much easier than trying to snap a photo at the right moment, since a 4K video at 60fps is effectively the same as burst shooting mode. On the other hand, some cameras have RAW image types, which may provide greater resolution and color information than a frame from a video.

Ease of use: If you're swimming around, you don't want to get stuck fiddling with menus and complicated button layouts. Thus, underwater cameras should be easy to use. Most are controlled via a touchscreen, and that touchscreen should work smoothly underwater. This is also a time to enable your automatic exposure, focus, and white balance tech. Ultimately, we want an underwater camera that you can set up before you submerge and leave running while you explore the depths. That also means it should have a good battery life, somewhere in the range of two hours.

Price value: You can score a waterproof action camera with high-quality video capabilities for under $500. They're also compact, easy to use, and packed with adventure-ready features like image stabilization and HDR. Indeed, the latest generation of action cameras are well-worth their price.

But if you want to take professional footage that looks like you ripped it from the BBC, the price of entry skyrockets. That's because you'll not only need a quality camera and lens, but you'll also have to invest in an underwater housing to keep it dry. Such housing can cost several grand, and settling for a cheap option puts your camera at risk.

11 tips and tricks to make your GoPro footage more exciting

Do i need any accessories to use an underwater camera.

You don't need accessories, but for action cameras like the GoPro, they can help a lot. Action cameras are small, so they're hard to control with just your hands. We recommend getting a selfie stick that can handle getting wet. Alternatively, you can try out different mounts, like a head mount or a chest mount. These give a first-person perspective to your footage, and they free up your hands for swimming. You can also add a remote shutter to your kit, so you don't have to remove the camera from the mount every time you want to start rolling.

Another nifty tool is a remote flash. As you descend in water, it gets dark fast. Use a lightweight and waterproof LED flash bulb to illuminate your subjects. You don't have to splurge on something super fancy, either, since there are many models out there that are both affordable and effective.

Best camera lenses for taking action shots: Capture those fleeting moments

How can i improve my underwater shots.

Water has a unique effect on light. It absorbs it, of course, but it also warps its path. The result is an increasingly greater loss of brightness, color, and sharpness with distance. Thus, you should try to get as close to your subject as possible to capture all that light information before it gets distorted by the water.

The accessories we mentioned above will help to improve the quality of your underwater photography. A remote flash not only brightens up your subject, but it will also enhance the reflective color patterns of fish scales, marine plants, and other natural hues. My dad is a scuba diver and photographer, and his underwater photos are incredible, which is where I've learned a lot of my best tips.

He's snapped shots of giant groupers lurking among multicolored corals, clownfish peeking out of their anemone abodes, and rainbowfish as they streak through the sea (check out the grouper captured in the '80s on one of his trips below). But almost equally goliath, were the size of his underwater cameras. From the era of film-stock and incandescent flashes, they were heavy, bulky, and super delicate. Today's underwater cameras are a whole different breed. But if he could get a beautiful quality photo like the one below on an older, bulkier device, I have faith with these tips, some practice, and a camera like the ones above, you could too.

AFAR Logo - Main

The Best Underwater Cameras, According to Divers

Plus a few key accessories to take below the surface..

  • Copy Link copied

The Best Underwater Cameras, According to Divers

Follow these pro tips for getting the right gear to become an underwater photographer.

Courtesy of GoPro/Carlos Orenes

If you want to document vivid sealife while snorkeling, coral reefs and shipwrecks while diving, or major waves while surfing, you’ll need a camera that can handle more than just a little bit of water.

We talked to several professional photographers—who also happen to be divers—to get their tips on what to consider before you start shopping for an underwater camera. Plus, you’ll find advice on how to choose everything from waterproof casings for your regular DSLR or mirrorless camera to floatie handles to attach to your GoPro so it doesn’t sink if you drop it.

Tips for buying an underwater camera

  • Underwater housing is key: To transform your existing camera into an underwater camera, you’ll need to make sure it has compatible underwater housing (i.e. the case that protects the camera). David Troeger, photographer and CEO of Jetlag Creative Studio , recommends AquaTech ’s underwater housings for phones as well as Outex ’s soft silicone cases for larger cameras. “When you’re ready to take it to the next level, Salty Surf Housings are made for even the toughest environments,” says Troeger.
  • Consider size and weight: Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose a larger or lighter camera. “Generally speaking, lighter and smaller underwater cameras are always more practical,” says Troeger. “Many professional underwater cameras are large and heavy, but the benefit is they are buoyant underwater, making it easier to carry.”
  • Choose the right accessories: Making sure you have the right accessories to overcome the distortion you may get while underwater is key. “For the most accurate pictures underwater, the camera needs a dome shaped lens port , which helps correct light traveling through a denser substance than air,” says Troeger. “Without it, wide-angle lenses will create magnifying glass–effect pictures. Also, the best camera is the one you’ll always have on you: look for accessories that secure the camera to the wrist, so that it won’t get lost if you’re surprised by a big wave.”
  • Build a budget: With all these accessories, underwater photography can be an expensive hobby. “Be sure that your budget includes the housing, ports, and some lights or strobes, as this will usually cost much more than the camera itself,” says underwater photographer Tom St. George . “You will also want to make sure you have a solid choice of lenses too (generally we use macro, fisheyes, and/or ultra-wide angle underwater).”

Taking all of these factors into consideration, here are the best underwater cameras—plus a few key accessories—to take on your next dive.


Courtesy of GoPro

1. GoPro HERO10 Black

Buy now: $400,

“Having a GoPro as an underwater camera is great: it’s small, light, and sufficiently waterproof for most situations,” says Troeger. GoPro’s latest camera model, the HERO10 Black, features 5.3K video, which means you get very high resolution, along with 60 frames per second so you can capture more content in a short amount of time. It also has HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization in all modes.

Depending on if you are a freediver or a scuba diver, be conscious of your depth capabilities for all camera models. For example, the HERO10 is waterproof up to 33 feet. Also, capturing your content and storing it in a safe way is crucial. The HERO10 connects to the cloud, so as soon as you plug your cable in to charge it, your footage is automatically uploaded. Editing your GoPro content is also efficient with the GoPro Quik app, where you can edit, share, and manage photos and videos.


2. GoPro Bite Mouth Mount and Floaty

Buy now: $40,

Dropping your GoPro in the ocean and watching it sink is not a great feeling, so consider using the Bite Mouth Mount and Floaty, which works with the HERO9 and HERO10 GoPro models. With the two-in-one package, you’re able to get hands-free footage using POV angles when you’re surfing or freediving. The accessory will click into any quick-release mount for easy access and the floaty allows you to have extra security in the water.


Courtesy of Nikon

3. Nikon Z 50 Mirrorless Camera

Buy now: from $857 (body only—lenses and underwater housing sold separately),;;

To make the Nikon Z 50 fully waterproof, you need to pair it with underwater housing (our recommendation follows). But the extra investment is worth it, because mirrorless digital cameras have more sophisticated sensors that gather more light (compared to a GoPro) when on snorkeling or diving expeditions.

This camera works well with a wide variety of Nikon lenses, whether you’re shooting macro-organisms under the sea or wide-angle shots of whale sharks. The digital camera can be used to capture both stills and video and features a 20.9MP CMOS sensor (for nuanced image quality and high sensitivity); EXPEED 6 image processor (for high-speed image capturing); a 209-point hybrid AF system with eye detection (for quality image focusing); and a low-light performance to ISO 51200 for capturing content at those deeper depths.

Video shooters will benefit from full HD recording at up to 120 frames per second for slow-motion playback, as well as in-camera clip trimming. Ready to share your content? The Z 50 comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that work with the Nikon SnapBridge app for wireless transfer of photos and videos.


Courtesy of Ikelite

4. Ikelite 200DL Underwater Housing for Nikon Z 50

Buy now: $1,695,

The Ikelite 200DL underwater housing is compatible with the Nikon Z 50. Yes, it costs more than the camera itself, but also provides waterproof protection down to 200 feet.


Courtesy of Filson

5. Filson Small Dry Bag

Buy now: $40,

Having a safe (aka dry) place to put your accessories and camera is essential during a day out on the water. The Filson Small Dry Bag is a TPU-coated 840D nylon bag that rolls down and buckles creating a 100 percent waterproof environment for your camera and accessories. While it’s big enough to fit a GoPro or DSLR camera, it compacts to a flat, travel-ready size when it’s not in use.

>> Next: The 11 Best Travel Cameras

Northern Lights

  • Travel Gear

Best Underwater Cameras Of 2023

From experienced photographers and lifelong divers to first-time snorkelers and kids who hope to someday rule the ocean, these devices will make memories for a lifetime..

underwater camera

There's nothing quite like the first time you stick your head underwater for a snorkeling excursion, because for so many people it becomes a lifetime obsession. What begins as a quick trip around a reef near a resort's beach soon leads to boating voyages to deeper waters with more landmarks to explore and marine life to admire. And, if all goes well, it results in a trip or two to the dive shop for certification, at which point the sky is the limit. Or, in this case, the deep blue sea.

Naturally, you're going to want an underwater camera to share every memory with friends and family. So, where do you start? It all depends on your level of experience, both in the water and with a camera. 

GoPro Hero10 Black

When your vacations take you to a variety of places, both on the land and in the water, you'll want an action camera that does it all. And, from our experiences, nothing does it all better than the GoPro Hero10 Black , which is the fastest and sharpest offering from this brand yet. 

We've been taking this camera on every trip to record footage on the golf course, touring resorts, and snorkeling dazzling reefs and thrilling wrecks, and even as comfortable as we get with its simple push-and-shoot performance, it feels like we learn something new on each adventure—it helps to have an extensive supply of accessories , too. One thing we often recommend to friends and readers: if price is an option or you're worried about going big without experience, start with one of the older models, like the GoPro Hero7 Silver . But just know that as you master the touch screen and video capabilities, you'll absolutely want the 10 for your next trip.

SeaLife Micro 3.0 64 GB 4K Underwater Camera

When you're spending a lot of time below the surface, exploring reefs, wrecks, and caves, battery life becomes a huge concern. Some action and underwater cameras eat power like whales eat krill, which is why it's always crucial to have a charger and extra battery in your bag. But it's also important to have a device that offers three hours of charge, like the exceptional SeaLife Micro 3.0 Underwater Camera .

With five different land and sea scene modes, as well as 4K Ultra HD video capabilities, users can expect sharp, beautiful pictures and footage that will wow everyone on social media. And they'll never have to worry about the bumps and bangs of travel, because this camera is built to handle the elements.

Polaroid Underwater Camera

Everybody starts somewhere, and that's not just a mantra for kids. Some travelers don't experience the joy of snorkeling until they're in their 40s or later, but that can sometimes make trying something new, like underwater photography, a little intimidating. Brush that sand off your shoulders and ignore the haters, though, because the Polaroid Underwater Camera will make even the shyest swimmer feel like a pro's pro.

Auto and manual shot modes make using this camera a snap, literally, and the WiFi connectivity allows for photos to be shared to Instagram almost as quickly as they're taken (okay, maybe not that fast). The simple digital display will also give users confidence as they work on timing, angles, and remembering when it's time to charge the battery. Because there's nothing worse than going back down for another lap at the reef and realizing the camera is kaput.

Kodak Weekend Underwater Disposable Camera

Okay, so you don't want to make a big investment because you don't spend much time in the water or you don't take trips very often. There's nothing wrong with that. However, don't deprive yourself the opportunity to take advantage of those magical, spontaneous vacation moments. The Kodak Weekend Underwater Disposable Camera is an ideal choice for keeping in your travel bag for those "just in case" situations.

It won't take the most incredible photos, but it will give users a taste for the process of shooting underwater, and it will make memories, which we maintain is a huge reason to try. If anything, it makes a great birthday gift or stocking stuffer that the kids can use when they're playing in the pool at home.

QYSEA FIFISH V6S Underwater Drone

Who doesn't love a fun toy? Obviously the QYSEA FIFISH V6S Underwater Drone is more than just a toy, but it sure does look fun. If you've ever used a drone to take exhilarating aerial footage, then it's easy to imagine just how awesome things can look underwater with a 4K UHD camera that can reach as deep as 330 feet.

Users will enjoy a gaming-style control experience, complete with virtual reality head tracking. That's right, the drone will move with your eyes, and you'll see everything as clear as if you were in the water. Of course, you'll be dry, which is great for some of us... even when the goal all along is to get below the surface and experience the natural wonders firsthand.

These are the best underwater cameras you can buy right now

These cameras can capture everything from tidepools to deep-sea scuba diving.

Recreational scuba diver with yellow mask, cloud of bubbles in black neoprene suit taking underwater...

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.

Input may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. We only include products that have been independently selected by Input's editorial team.

Fujifilm QuickSnap Waterproof

This fun disposable camera is cheap and works up to 35 feet underwater.

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.

DJI Osmo Action

Ultra compact, this GoPro rival delivers great video stabilization and photo quality at a relatively low price point.

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.

 Ricoh WG-70

This small camera is super rugged and equipped with ring lights for clear underwater photos.

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.

Nikon Coolpix W300

This compact Nikon camera is durable enough to take on any outdoor adventure and is waterproof up to 100 feet.

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.

Olympus Tough TG-6

The Tough TG-6 is waterproof up to 50 feet deep and has five underwater shooting modes.

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 Hero 10 Black

The Hero 10 is a top-of-the-line action camera that can shoot 5.3K video and 23MP photos.

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.

SeaLife Micro 3.0

Waterproof up to 200 feet, the Micro 3.0 is designed for serious divers.

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.

Paralenz Vaquita

This powerful camera is designed for deep scuba diving excursions.

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.

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The 12 Best Travel Cameras of 2024

Whether you’re shooting landscapes or cityscapes, these are the best travel cameras for capturing your memories.

travel camera underwater

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Travel + Leisure / Brian Kopinski

Cameras let us snap scenes that inspire, places that take our breath away, and simple moments that make up the fabric of a destination through a single shot. Hefty camera bodies with giant lenses might seem like the obvious choice for top-notch photos, but for travel, they can be a bulky hindrance taking up too much packing space. Instead, consider your specific needs as a jumping off point when you're ready to shop for a new camera. Are you a hardcore adventurer? Are most of your travels long-haul trips? Are you a beginner or advanced photographer? These are all questions you should ask yourself to help narrow it down.

Whether you purchase a budget-friendly camera or something pricier, it'll be an investment — not only financially, but also in trusting your pick to properly capture once-in-a-lifetime experiences that don't come with do-overs. To help with your travel camera search, we also spoke to professional photographers Jonathan Pozniak and Viktoria North, as well as Nikon senior product manager Mark Cruz, to get some expert advice on how to choose the best camera for you.

Best Overall

Sony alpha a7cr.

It’s compact in size but a powerhorse.

There’s only one SD card slot.

A full frame mirrorless camera with incredibly high resolution, the Sony Alpha 7CR is our top pick for a travel camera. The compact size makes it very portable, and the interchangeable lenses give you a lot of versatility for shooting everything from landscape or wildlife to portraits and city scenes. As a photographer, I love the intuitive design of the Sony Alpha series cameras and this one is no exception; auto-focus tracking is impressive, in-body image stabilization does not disappoint, and the battery life has improved significantly from earlier models. Track your subject with the smart eye detection, for humans and wildlife, including a special bird option. I also appreciate how customizable the settings and buttons are, making your photography shoots more efficient. In addition to having the capability of capturing high-quality photographs in both RAW and JPG files, this camera takes video in 4K too. Built-in WiFi and bluetooth capabilities make it easy to share photos or connect to a remote as well. For a professional quality camera that won’t take up too much space or weigh you down when traveling, this is our top choice.

The Details: Full frame CMOS (35.7mm x 23.8mm) sensor | 61 megapixels | 1/8000 to 30 seconds shutter speed | 4K video | 1.1 pounds

Best Action Camera

Gopro hero12 black.

It’s waterproof and weatherproof.

It doesn’t include a GPS component.

The rough and tumble GoPro Hero12 Black has long been one of the top action cameras, with its pocket-sized and durable design. With improved image stabilization and battery life, as well as the ability to handle hotter temperatures, this newest version is no exception. With so many accessories that can be purchased separately, this camera can be equipped for any adventure, big or small, cold or hot, wet or dry. I especially love the bite mount for capturing POV, hands-free shots, with my dog. This camera is so compact and portable, it’s perfect for travel. Anything you find yourself doing, from mountain biking or skiing, to snorkeling, or taking a sunrise timelapse, will be captured so vibrantly. Customize the frame rate and settings when capturing video, with the option for 5.3K video quality. You have the option to shoot in RAW or JPEG, though you can only use the wide angle when shooting RAW. Other cool features include the ability to use voice commands to take a photo or start video, and modes like HDR, sup slow motion movie, and star trails.

The Details: Size-unspecified CMOS sensor | 27 megapixels | 1/8 to 30 seconds in photo mode, 1/480 to 1/30 seconds in video mode shutter speeds | 5.3K + 4K video | 5.4 ounces

Best Budget DSLR

Canon eos rebel t7.

It's super affordable and user-friendly.

It's best suited for entry-level photographers.

With the Canon EOS Rebel T7, you can save your dollars without skimping on image quality, and there's not much more you can ask for in the DSLR world. Although there is a newer version of this camera ( EOS Rebel T8i ), the T7 is still the most budget-friendly device with features perfect for someone ready to branch out and learn the ins and outs of DSLRs. That being said, it's more suited for a beginner photographer who wants to amp up their game past smartphone photography . It's a fantastic camera to practice manual mode and learn how to adjust ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings. Eventually, it's likely that you'll be ready to graduate to a more complex camera — but we all have to start somewhere, right?

Canon is well known for having a straightforward, easy-to-use system, which is a huge bonus for beginners. The LCD screen is helpful for navigating the menu and setting up images, though it does lack the luxury of touchscreen capabilities. Built-in WiFi allows for quick sharing between devices, so your amazing shots can be posted to social media platforms in a jiffy.

The Details: Cropped CMOS sensor | 24 megapixels | 1/4000 to 30 seconds bulb shutter​​ | Full HD video | 15.06 ounces (body only)

Best Budget Mirrorless

Canon eos r50.

B&H Photo

It’s compact and lightweight, offering great value for its features.

Advanced photographers might prefer a camera with more bells and whistles.

The brand new Canon EOS R50 snags the spot for best budget mirrorless and doesn’t only promise great photo quality, but its video capabilities are fantastic as well. With 4K uncropped video and stellar subject detection and tracking at a friendly price point, this mirrorless model is a great everyday camera that’s ideal for everything from social media video captures to portrait and landscape shooting. Interchangeable lenses give you flexibility, and the compact design won’t weigh you down. Excellent auto-focus that can be tailored to detect humans, animals, and even vehicles is a major highlight, as is the 12fps (frames per second) burst mode. The touchscreen and creative assist mode make this a beginner-friendly camera as well as one that won’t break the bank.

The Details: Cropped CMOS (APS-C) sensor | 24.2 megapixels | 1/4000th sec - 30 seconds, in 1/3-step increments shutter speed | 4K video | 11.52 ounces

Best Retro Look

Fujifilm x100vi camera.

It has a timeless look with modern features.

Since it’s a limited edition model, there are only a certain number available for purchase.

We love how compact and sleek the limited edition FUJIFILM X100VI is, with the nod to nostalgia symbolized by the engraved original brand logo. This is our top pick for best retro-inspired camera, but if you can’t get your hands on one of these limited edition models, the FUJIFILM X-T5 is our next best bet. That being said, this model has fantastic low-light capabilities, in-body stabilization, 6.2K video capture, and improved in-body stabilization to minimize shaky shots. It has a tilting LCD touchscreen display, which I find makes it easier to snag those artistic selfies in the midst of epic landscapes or to get a solid group photo. The lens is a fixed 35mm lens. With the camera’s WiFi, it also uses an intuitive camera-to-cloud (c-2-c) system which automatically uploads content to the cloud-based platform. For a small camera with a "throwback" look that has amazing capabilities, this one is perfect for travelers as an everyday use tool.

The Details: APS-C X-trans CMOS 5 HR sensor | 40.2 megapixels | 1/4000 to 15 Minutes in manual mode shutter speed (mechanical), 1/180000 to 15 minutes in manual mode shutter speed (electronic) | 4K + 6K video | 1.1 pounds

Best Mirrorless for Beginners

The user-friendly design makes learning photography with this model much easier.

The flip screen tends to get in the way of a tripod attachment if you're using one.

We love how the Nikon Z50 is small enough to fit in your pocket, but don't be fooled by its size: it produces big-time quality images. "For those new to photography and video, this camera provides an exciting entry point. It's small enough to carry with you, but offers higher-quality images than your phone. This model is great to learn with as it incorporates many easy-to-use features, plus offers an automatic mode that senses different shooting scenarios and automatically adjusts the camera's settings (e.g., ISO range, exposure compensation) to deliver stunning results," Nikon's Cruz says.

The flip-down LCD screen is ideal for travel photographers and creators that want to take selfies, vlog, or include themselves for scale. The Z50 is also designed to save settings for both photo and video separately, so you don't have to worry about changing everything when you switch modes. With low-light capabilities, an easy-to-navigate menu, a sleek design, and 11 frames per second at full resolution, a beginner travel photographer will be hard pressed to find a better mirrorless camera.

The Details: Cropped APS-C CMOS sensor | 20.9 megapixels | 1/4000 to 30 seconds, bulb, time shutter ​| 4K video | 14 ounces

Best DSLR for Beginners

Pentax pentax kf dslr.

It produces high-quality images at a more affordable price than most competitors.

The video capabilities aren’t that impressive.

For those interested in getting their feet wet with photography, the Pentax KF DSLR Camera is our top choice for its durable, weather-resistant body, vari-angle screen, and compact size despite DSLR cameras’ reputation for being hefty in general. It offers a solid grip, and longer battery life, as most DSLR’s do. Start learning the camera in automatic and make use of the manual controls as you learn photography. The large viewfinder is fantastic, and this particular model mixes modern mirrorless technology with the classic DSLR viewfinder by offering a live view in addition to the optical viewfinder. You’ll be able to mix and match your preferred focal lengths with this model as well, since it’s equipped for interchangeable lenses. For the price point, this newbie from Pentax is a solid entry level DSLR for travel that won’t take up a ton of space in your bag.

The Details: Cropped APS-C CMOS sensor | 24.2 megapixels | 1/6000 to 30 seconds shutter in auto mode, 1/6000 to 30 seconds shutter in manual mode | 1080p HD video | 2.73 pounds

Best Mirrorless for Outdoor Photography

Om system om system mark ii.

The autofocus is fast.

The video capabilities aren’t as fast as other models.

The newest OM SYSTEM camera, the OM-1 Mark II Mirrorless model is a lightweight and compact, high-performing camera with durable construction and IP53 weatherproofing. This means it can withstand the elements when shooting landscapes or wildlife outdoors, including some rain, wind, and snowflakes. In fact, the camera is freezeproof, dust and splash-resistant, and can handle temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The built-in stabilization is another key factor for outdoor and wildlife photographers, helping you to get the sharp image and assisting with longer exposures to minimize shake. The rubber control dials give you a little more grippy control when shooting, which is a nice additional feature that can go a long way. For a workhorse mirrorless travel camera that can hack it outdoors, this is a fantastic choice.

The Details: Cropped 17.4 x 13 mm (four-thirds) BSI MOS sensor | 20.4 megapixels | 1/8000 to 60 seconds shutter (mechanical), 1/32000 to 60 seconds shutter (electronic) | 4K video ​| 1.1 pounds

Best Splurge

Leica q3 digital camera.

It’s fast and performs well in most lighting conditions.

The front of the camera has a flat design, making it tricky to grip at times.

This pick is an upgrade to the Leica Q2 version of the company’s classic rangefinder camera, and we love how easy to use and versatile the Leica Q3 is across a wide array of shooting conditions. This fresh model allows for in-camera charging, which is a worthy upgrade from the previous one. The same full-frame capabilities are now paired with a powerhouse 60MP high-resolution sensor, hybrid AF (autofocus) system, and 8K video recording ability. The processing is speedy for both shooting stills and video, and boasts continuous shooting up to 15 frames per second. The fixed 28mm f/1.7 prime lens is impressive even in low light conditions, and a full battery charge will score you approximately 350 shots. The Leica Q3 is a great choice for intermediate to advanced photographers seeking high-end equipment for everyday purposes and professional jobs.

The Details: Full-frame BSI CMOS Sensor | 60 megapixels | 1/2000 to 1/2 second shutter speed, 1/2000 to 4 seconds in auto mode | 8K video at 30 frames per second, 4K video ​| 8.8 ounces

Best Underwater

Om system tough tg-7 black underwater camera.

It's tough and effective.

Divers should be aware that the waterproofing level only goes to 50 feet.

The upgraded Olympus Tough TG-7 is exactly what it claims to be: tough, rugged, and capable of taking superb underwater photos and videos. The solid handgrip does a great job giving you that extra security as you swim around and shoot the underwater world . New features added from the TG-6 include vertical video support, interval shooting, exposure smoothing, and USB-C connectivity for uploading content.

With a unique internal zoom mechanism, the 25–100-millimeter lens doesn't stick out from the camera body, keeping it watertight while you capture macro details of marine life from a safe distance. RAW shooting and 4K video make this not just any old underwater camera, but one with impressive capabilities. The super slow-motion mode is another favorite. It's rated as waterproof to 50 feet, making it the perfect companion for your snorkeling or free diving adventures . It's not just waterproof either; the shockproof design makes this camera perfect for ventures outside of the water as well. Bring it hiking, mountain biking, or just for a day at the beach without having to worry.

The camera is also easy to use, which is exactly what you want when you're shooting underwater. "I had fun with the Olympus TG-6 on assignment in Bora Bora. I'm a terrible swimmer so all I could do was click away and hope for the best. Thankfully it worked!" Jonathan Pozniak shares.

The Details: Cropped BSI CMOS sensor | 12 megapixels | 1/2000 to 1/2 second shutter, 1/2000 to 4 seconds shutter in auto mode | 4K video ​​| 8.8 ounces

Best Phone Lens

Moment tele lens.

It gives you 2x and 4x zoom capabilities when attached to single and multi-lens smartphones.

To achieve the 6x closer shot, you’ll need the Moment Pro Camera app.

Our top pick for a stand-alone extra lens to attach to your smartphone is the Moment T-series Tele 58mm lens, which allows you to zoom up to six times closer to your subject. As a standard, it also sits twice as close to the main camera lens of your phone. This allows for sharper shots versus using the zoom on your smartphone, which diminishes the resolution. Fantastic for landscape, wildlife, and portrait photography, this lens definitely elevates your smartphone photo game by offering more flexibility without sacrificing quality. Video will also benefit thanks to a beautiful bokeh effect and an overall cinematic vibe. This lens is easy to use, as it features a straightforward mounting process and quickly twists off. This lens is compatible with most phones, but it’s wise to consult the description before purchasing.

"For most people, a smartphone is all you need, but that may vary for each trip. If I'm out hiking for the day, my iPhone 12 Pro in my pocket is all I need, and the fact that it shoots RAW and video is a huge plus." Pozniak explains.

The Details: 58 millimeter | 300 line pairs per millimeter (axis), 200 line pairs per millimeter (edge) | 39.5 millimeter lens | 2.6 ounces

Best Pocket-Sized

Ricoh ricoh street edition.

B & H Photo

It’s very lightweight and portable.

There is no viewfinder.

We love the pocket-sized, travel-friendly Ricoh GR III Street Edition Digital camera for everyday use and portability. It’s easy to use with straightforward settings, menu, and customization. I really appreciate a camera that starts up quickly so you don’t miss the shot, and this one fits the bill. It has the capability to capture both JPEG and RAW files and you can get creative with the built-in filters like monochrome, HDR tone, and negative film. A fixed 28mm equivalent lens makes it versatile enough for portraits as well as landscape and street photography. This camera lacks a built-in flash but it does come with a hot shoe so you can attach a compatible external flash to it, if you’re taking night shots. Image stabilzation and an impressive auto-focus help produce sharper images, and a decent battery life makes it possible to explore a new city all day without having to worry that you’ll run out of juice. Bluetooth and WiFi make it easy to share photos as well. 

The Details: Cropped APS-C CMOS sensor | 24.2 megapixels | 1/4000 to 30 seconds shutter, 0.17 to 20 minutes shutter in time mode ​​| 1080p video ​​| 9.07 ounces

Tips for Buying a Travel Camera

Understand the specs.

"When you're thinking about buying a camera, it's important to understand what features and specifications complement your shooting style as well as the content you are looking to capture, whether it be still images, video content, or both," says Nikon's Mark Cruz. These are some of the specs you should consider before making a purchase.

Sensor size: Your camera's sensor is the rectangle that reads the image from your lens and dictates how much light and detail you're able to capture. The main sensor sizes to decide upon are cropped or full-frame, with full-frame cameras having larger sensors and the ability to produce higher image quality. Cropped frame sensors will get you a tighter frame, with magnification cropping the actual lens focal length by anywhere between 1.5x and 2x. This means that a 70-millimeter lens would be magnified to a 105-millimeter focal length with a crop factor of 1.5x. Common crop sensor sizes are APS-C and micro four thirds (1.6x and 1.5x).

There are advantages to purchasing a full-frame (35 millimeter) camera, though it will come with a heftier price tag. You'll experience sharper images with more crisp details, as well as less noise. Additionally, a full-frame sensor has excellent low-light capabilities, making it the ideal aspect for astrophotography . For landscape photography, the wider field of view is a major advantage of the full-frame sensor as well. If you're interested in professional photography, selling prints, or turning your shots into custom photo gifts , the full-frame sensor will be a good fit since it produces the highest possible quality images.

Megapixels: This is a measurement of the number of pixels the camera sensor has, with "mega" meaning "millions." Usually anything over 12 megapixels will get the job done. However, if you're planning on printing large-scale versions of your images for personal or professional use, the higher the megapixel count, the better. Most cropped sensor cameras have somewhere around 20–24 megapixels while full-frame cameras tend to have between 40 and 50 megapixels.

Shutter speed: This dictates the amount of time that your camera's sensor will be exposed to the light coming in. Faster shutter speeds such as fractions of a second are usually used for quickly moving subjects in order to freeze the motion in the photograph, while slower shutter speeds are typically used to capture things like the flow of a waterfall or the stars in the night sky by having it open and exposed for a longer period of time. When buying a camera, it's a good idea to purchase one with a wider range of shutter speeds to give you the most versatility. Typically, the range is between 1/4000 to 30 seconds. "Bulb" is available on some models and offers more than 30 seconds of exposure to light, usually for photographing the night sky.

Video shooting: The highest quality video on most cameras is 4K, which will give you superb quality. However, many still have full HD video at 1080p or 720p. If video is high on your priority list, 4K is certainly the way to go.

Weight: For travel cameras, this is one of the most important factors to consider. Most travelers want a camera that is lightweight for packing purposes and easy to carry around for the day. Think about if you are willing to lug a bigger DSLR or even a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses in order to have the option for high-quality images that can be printed at a larger scale. If that's more than you need, then a compact, point-and-shoot, or your own smartphone with extra lenses might be the best fit for you.

Buy for your skill level and purpose

While browsing for a travel camera, first assessing your skill level and main purpose for shooting will help narrow down your search considerably. If you're a professional photographer doing brand work with a hotel in a far-flung destination that will be used in marketing campaigns or billboards, your purchase will most likely look a lot different than if your goal is to get images for your travel-focused Instagram page or to simply share with friends and family via digital picture frames . As a beginner, you should purchase a camera aimed at that level of photography with some room to grow, so you can learn effectively without being overwhelmed.

Choose a camera that fits your life and travel style

Do you spend a lot of time outdoors or doing water-based activities, or are you mostly interested in food photography when you travel? All of these aspects will help you determine the right fit for you. As photographer Jonathan Pozniak shares, it's also about comfort. "All cameras are good nowadays, and all have fantastic features. So here's my rule of thumb: go to a camera store, and hold each one in your hand. Listen to the sound it makes, feel what the clicking of the shutter is like," he says. "How do your fingers glide across the buttons? It should feel like an extension of your arm. Be intuitive with it!"

The art of packing a camera involves cushioning and protection against the elements (rain, dust, dirt, etc.). A backpack designed for camera use with a rain cover is always a good idea, particularly if you're someone who will be exploring the outdoors. Camera cubes are great accessories that provide an affordable way to turn a bag you already have into a camera bag.

"When I'm not bringing a lot of gear/cameras, I love the camera cubes by Mountainsmith for the airport and plane. I usually keep the cube in my room with extra lenses and if I am doing a lot of walking, just pick one lens to use for the day (usually a 50 millimeter)," says North.

"While today's mirrorless cameras are rugged, it is best to pack them in a camera bag to ensure as much safety as possible and avoid any potential damage. You should also make sure to put the body cap on the camera to protect the sensor from getting dirty, scratched, or damaged while traveling," she adds.

"Circular Polarizer and a UV filter, a comfortable strap like the Peak Design SL-BK-3 Slide , a backpack clip like Peak Design Capture Camera Clip V3 , and if you're heading somewhere with rain or snow in the forecast, Peak Design's shell ," says North.

You'll also definitely want something to backup all the incredible footage you'll be getting. "A portable hard drive for backups is essential! My heart crumbles when I hear stories of cameras and laptops getting stolen on the road. I've certainly experienced that myself. I make multiple backups each day and put each portable drive or thumb drive in a different bag just in case one gets lost or stolen," Pozniak shares.

Our experts also recommend making sure your batteries are fully charged before stepping out each day and bringing along a couple extras just in case.

Our experts had a lot to say when it came to the camera versus lens debate. "The camera and lenses are equally important, but it depends on what a person wants to capture," says Nikon senior product manager Mark Cruz. "The lens is what creates a gorgeous blurred background or lets you get close to the action from far away, but the camera provides the autofocus performance and speed to get there. The most important factor for the quality of photos is how you, as the photographer, make the most of your equipment. Combining photography knowledge with a powerful, capable camera and sharp, versatile lenses will allow you to get the best content."

Meanwhile, professional photographer Jonathan Pozniak argues that they're equally important, and emphasizes keeping your lenses clean: "Both! But what's even more important is how you use it, how it feels in your hand, and I've gotta say it, how clean your lens is!"

Fellow photographer Viktoria North was adamant that lenses are her highest priority, and she has very good reasons for putting them at the top of her must list. "With even the most basic of digital cameras now having impressive MP counts and full size sensors becoming more common, good quality glass is most important for me," she says. "This is because I can achieve a specific feel to my images dependent on the lens. For example, a fixed 50 millimeter is going to allow me to capture my urban travels as my own eyes see things. If I also go fast on it, say F1.8, that means the background is going to be nice and blurred and keep the focus on my subjects. But if I'm traveling in some beautiful vast landscapes, I'd grab a zoom lens. This will allow me to compress the different levels of the landscape and or subject and create a lot of depth. You don't always have to go with a big lens like a 70–200mm. I hike and backpack with a 24–105mm F4 most often and when it's at 105mm, I can achieve some really great compression with it."

The main difference between mirrorless and DSLR cameras is the tool or technology used to capture the image. A DSLR uses a mirror to reflect light onto the image sensor, but this makes a DSLR heavier and clunkier to carry around. They also usually only have an optical viewfinder which portrays more closely what the eye sees versus an electronic viewfinder on the screen. A mirrorless camera lets light directly hit the sensor, and typically has a live, electronic viewfinder so you can see the real time settings. Mirrorless cameras are more lightweight, therefore making them more portable and travel-friendly. They’re also quieter and faster due to the mechanism they use to capture light. DSLR cameras typically have a longer battery life and a wider array of lenses available, though with recent gains in technology for the mirrorless camera world, that’s changing.

Yes! They usually don’t have the highest megapixels and have a crop sensor, but you can still capture great photos. You may be limited to producing large scale prints, but, depending on the capabilities, you’ll be able to have prints made that are good quality in a fair amount of sizes. For online and social media, a point-and-shoot camera is perfect.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

A travel photographer herself, Lauren Breedlove used her personal experience with finding the right cameras and shooting in various conditions around the world. She also scoured the internet, researching and selecting the best cameras for travel, and interviewed professional photographers Viktoria North and Jonathan Pozniak , as well as Nikon senior product manager Mark Cruz , to gather expert insights. Using all of these factors, she curated this list of the best travel cameras.

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travel camera underwater

The best travel camera in 2024: compact and portable cameras to take anywhere

The best travel cameras are small, lightweight, easy to use and offer a range of features – here are the ones to look at

The Quick List

  • Best compact
  • Best budget full frame
  • Best hybrid
  • Best for size
  • Best budget
  • Best waterproof
  • Best action cam
  • Best for 360º
  • Best for vloggers
  • How to choose
  • How we test

Fujifilm X-S20 digital camera

The Quick List ↩ 1. Best compact 2. Best budget full frame 3. Best hybrid 4. Best for size 5. Best budget 6. Best waterproof 7. Best action cam 8. Best for 360º 9. Best for vloggers How to choose How we test

The best travel cameras have to do one crucial thing: be better than your phone. After all, your phone is almost certainly going to be in your pocket anyway – and it's almost certainly got a great camera. 

That means the best travel cameras need to combine compactness with image quality, advanced features with simple operation, and ideally the ability to get your files onto your phone, tablet, or laptop quickly, to share your holiday photos and vacation videos. Having a camera that's safe to take on the beach, in the snow, or even in the sea could be another key consideration!

Even though the best camera phones can produce great images, you just don't get the same quality as you would if shooting with one of the best point-and-shoots or best mirrorless cameras . Smartphones are restricted by smaller sensors offering lower still and video quality, reduced low light performance, and minimal control over depth of field (for those blurry backgrounds). 

The type of camera you pick comes down to personal preference and budget. To help you decide which is best, we'll look at mirrorless cameras that offer better image quality and more versatility than compact systems but at the cost of increased size and weight. Compact cameras, perfect for keeping on you at all times, won't weigh you down, and are really simple to use – although they have smaller sensors and fixed lenses. And finally, action cameras that are robust cameras made for wild adventuring!

Gareth Bevan headshot

Gareth is the Reviews Editor at Digital Camera World, and the person in charge of approving all the latest camera-related tech. He never misses an opportunity to travel, or an excuse to take photos while traveling, so is best placed to judge what are the best travel cameras for all sorts of different vacations and adventures.

Fujifilm X100VI product image on a white background

Travel cameras should be small and light, but not lacking in features for amazing photos and video. The Fujifilm X100VI ticks all of those boxes, with a diminutive size, but 40MP images and 6.2K video. And does all this while looking great, with some stunning retro charm.

Read more below ↓

Stock image of a Sony digital camera on a white background

Despite aging a little, the Sony A7 III still offers some features that are competitive with new models like IBIS, auto-tracking, and 4K video. Best of all, the camera is incredibly well-priced, making it the best option for traveling without worrying too much about eye-wateringly expensive kit.

Fujifilm X-S20 camera on a white background

The Fujifilm X-S20 is a camera for everyone, with great quality stills, but is set apart by its deceptively powerful video skills. This makes the X-S20 the perfect travel camera for any hybrid creator who is a versatile and lightweight camera, all in a price tag that won't break the bank. 

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

When picking the best travel camera, we're focusing on portability. If you want to fit a whole photographic kit – that's a camera and several lenses into a bag, then the dinky but mighty Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is one of the best portable cameras around.

Panasonic Lumix G100

If you want a small camera that shoots great stills and video, and cost costs the earth the Panasonic Lumix G100 is the best budget option out there for travel. There is also the slightly newer G100D, which is much the same, but with a USB-C port and upgraded EVF.

OM System Tough TG-7

If you're planning on a coastal adventure then you need a camera that is fully waterproof and rugged enough to take on the most challenging adventures. This camera offers better stills than your average action cam, so if photos are your main priority  – the Tough TG-7 is for you.

View the full list ⇩

DJI Osmo Action 4 on white background with screen on

If you are looking for a camera that can withstand some serious adventuring, then look no further than action cameras, the best of the bunch being the Osmo Action 4. The Osmo 4 offers an incredibly wide field of view, image stabilization, and waterproofing for action-packed vacations.

Insta360 X3 on white background

If you want to remember every little bit of your vacation, then you can't go wrong with a 360º camera to capture not what only is going on in front of you, but all around you. The Insta360 X3 is the best all-encompassing camera you can buy, best of all it is easy to slip into a pocket or bag for travel.

Sony ZV-E10

If you are looking for a small yet mighty all-in-one camera with quality video and audio made to go straight on social media or YouTube then the Sony ZV-E10 is the best choice. It does take decent pictures, but if you are looking for something more hybrid, check out the X-S20 above.

The best travel camera in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best compact travel camera

Fujifilm X100VI camera on a slatted wooden bench

1. Fujifilm X100VI

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

✅ You want a pocketable camera:  the Fujifilm X100VI is a compact camera, the camera, and lens are so small that you can easily slip this into a jacket pocket. ✅ You want a camera that looks good:  This is one of the best-looking cameras you can buy with the beautiful retro looks of old-school film cameras.

❌ You want to change lenses:  the lens is fixed on the X100VI, so you are stuck with the 23mm focal length, although its digital cropping modes give the illusion of more focal lengths ❌ You want a cheap travel camera:  the X100VI does not come cheap, and there are options that produce similar quality if you don't mind a different style of camera.

If you are looking for a camera for traveling, then one of the major things to look out for is something small and lightweight that can easily slip into a bag or a jacket pocket and won't be a drag to carry around for long periods – enter the Fujifilm 's X100VI. The X100VI is the latest in Fujifilm's line of premium compact cameras, hallmarked for their brilliant image quality, vintage looks, and pocketable size.

The X100VI is a fixed-lens camera, which means that it has a single lens that can't be changed. The lens is 23mm, or equivalent to a 35mm length lens on on a full-frame camera,  a perfect length for travel photography as it is wide enough to get in landscapes and street scenes, but narrow enough for portraits and family shots. While there are converters available for the X100V to change the length of the lens, I find these are not worth the money. 

The camera is beautiful to hold, made with premium materials, and with a wonderful hybrid optical viewfinder that shows either the real picture or how it looks through the sensor with a flick of a button. This premium camera comes at a premium cost though, and it is not the cheapest on this list, but for the build quality and features, it justifies its higher price.

The X100V packs in some lovely 40.2MP photos, and has a clever lens to digitally zoom and crop before taking a photo, cutting some of the work out if you are keen to share online quickly. The camera also has 6.2K, 4K, or HD video with 240 frames per second, so you can get creative with high-quality or slow-motion video on your travels. There is also human, animal, bird, and vehicle autofocus tracking, so you can snap away with confidence at anything you come across. Finally, image stabilization helps cut out hand jitters in low light or shooting video, for more stable footage.

And for those who want to share travel snaps as you go, you get access to Fujifilm's awesome film simulations and custom recipes, taking some of the work out of editing, and with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and the Fujifilm X App, you can quickly share ready to post photos and video to social from your phone.

The main downside is the Fujifilm X100VI's slick design however for traveling is the camera is not fully water resistant unless you buy an additional filter ring and filter, in fact you can't use any filters on this lens without the extra purchase, but for the price of this camera, I feel this should really come in the box.

Read our full Fujifilm X100VI review

  • Back to the top ⇪

Best full frame on a budget

Sony A7 III

2. Sony A7 III

✅ You want full frame quality:  full frame cameras can produce more focus separation and are better in low light, the A7 III is the most affordable step into full frame. ✅ You want a camera to use outside of traveling:  the A7 III is a pro-level camera that is not just for travel, you can shoot brilliant photos all year round with a multitude of lenses available for different subjects.

❌ You don't want the expense of lenses:  the cost of lenses can add up, especially ones for full-frame cameras, if you want to keep costs low, choose a fixed lens camera or an option with smaller cheaper lenses. ❌ You want a small camera:  the A7 III isn't huge, but it also isn't small. With a lens attached, it is going to take up quite a bit of room in a bag, and won't be sliding in any pocket.

The Sony A7 III might be one of the oldest Sony cameras still around, it has even been replaced by a newer Sony A7 VI, but it more than holds its own today. Any photographer looking for an excellent full-frame hybrid camera for traveling should seriously consider this camera as an option.

The camera still has a very competitive 24.2MP back-illuminated image sensor, which is paired with an image processor, delivers stunning tonal range, and makes high ISO settings possible, which anyone who is shooting a lot in low light on their travels will really appreciate. A 5-axis image stabilization system also delivers less shake when shooting at night, or capturing video. If you are also looking to capture video footage then the camera has very capable 4K video.

While not the latest algorithms, the A7 III also has solid human face and eye tracking, coupled with a 696-point AF system, you can take reliably focused photos of your friends, family, or any interesting folk you see out on the streets. 

Whilst handing on the camera is very good, it is a little off balance with big pro lenses, although Sony's lens range is extensive and there are lots of smaller primes that suit this camera perfectly for those who don't want to carry a lot while traveling. If size is less of a concern then superzoom lenses like the Sony FE 24-240mm will empower you to capture everything from near to far.

The best thing about this option I think is the price. It’s the best-value full-frame camera out there – and if you are traveling then often how much your camera costs is not something you want playing on your mind.

Read our full Sony A7 III review

Best hybrid travel camera

Fujifilm X-S20 camera

3. Fujifilm X-S20

✅ You shoot video and photos:  the Fujifilm X-S20 is the best of both worlds, with great-looking photos, but frankly awesome video skills too! ✅ You want to balance price and features:  the X-S20 offers a lot for its price, and it is one of the best-value cameras around, you will especially struggle to find matching video specs at this price point.

❌ You don't really care about video:  there are other options that might suit photographers more than the X-S20 with higher megapixel counts. ❌ You need weather sealing:  the X-S20 is not weather-sealed, so if you plan to get adventurous, a camera that can handle dust and water might be a better choice.

When I tested the Fujifilm X-S20 I was just so impressed at the amount of features that Fujifilm had managed to squeeze into its petite body – it's not just a stills camera, it also one of the best video cameras available, and best of all, it is really well priced! I think this is the best camera for any traveler looking to shoot a mix of stills and videos on the market right now. 

Fujifilm chose not to update the X-Trans IV sensor from the X-S10, but this sensor despite its age still holds up very well today when it comes to stills. The X-S20 is also able to use Fujifilm's excellent film simulations and programmable film recipes to create ready-to-use images straight from the camera, which makes any regular social media posting that much easier.  The new X-Processor 5 also brings brand new subject recognition and tracking autofocus, making taking photos on the fly quicker and easier.

But despite its compact size, the X-S20 is a deceptively powerful video camera. The new processor combined with the modest resolution sensor means the X-S20 is capable of 6K video using the entire sensor (open-gate). The camera is also capable of numerous codecs for getting in-depth with color grading. The subject recognition and tracking also carries through into videos and the X-S20 also has dedicated vlogging features.

Some might prefer the classic retro style like the X-T5 or X-T30 II, but the X-S20 is a much more user-friendly camera, with useful features like a fully articulating screen. Handling is great, and the camera pairs really well with Fujifilm's small zoom and prime lenses, making traveling light with a kitted-out X-S20 a little easier. While the price is a little higher than the X-S10 that preceded it, I think the price bump is justified as this is one capable camera for traveling.

Read more: Fujifilm X-S20 review

Best travel camera for size

Hands holding the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV best travel camera

4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

✅ You want a small system:  the whole OM Micro Four Thirds system is tiny, with small cameras and lenses, so you can take a lot more gear to cover more subjects. ✅ You want a good-looking camera:  with a cool vintage style based on Olympus's OM film cameras, the E-M10 IV looks as good as the footage it shoots.

❌ You shoot a lot in low light:  the Micro Four Thirds sensor in the E-M10 IV doesn't handle low light as well as larger sensors, not good for frequent nighttime shooters. ❌ You won't use the retro dials:  if you are looking for just fast auto controls then the dials on the top of the E-M10 IV will be largely redundant for your needs.

When picking the best travel camera, we're focusing on portability, and the dinky but mighty Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is one of the best portable cameras around if you are looking for a whole system including lenses that can easily slip into a bag. The best Olympus lenses include positively tiny optics that can go a long way for travel photography, helping you keep your kit and weight size down. So if you are the type of carry-on-only travel photographer but with big photography ambitions then this is for you.

Not only does it have an incredibly lightweight body, but the camera will look great on your travels too, with a cool retro design that harks back to Olympus's long pedigree in film cameras. The camera has tactile dial-led controls for anyone who wants to get creative with manual photography, although don't let that fool you into thinking the camera is complicated, as there are lots of automatic modes and helpful features built into the camera.

The OM-D E-M10 Mark IV uses the smaller but still powerful Micro Four Thirds sensor. This has some slight disadvantages in terms of low-light capabilities, so if you like to go out a lot at night when you travel, then a larger sensor might be better for you. 

But Micro Four Thirds does have one big advantage, it effectively doubles the focal length of any lens mounted to the camera; so a 50mm will behave like a 100mm, so if you are about to head off on safari, then this could make all the difference to getting up close to wildlife. Its snappy burst shooting, its accurate autofocus, and its impressive 4K video will also all assist you with creating amazing content. It's a terrific all-around camera. 

Read our full Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review

Best travel camera on a budget

A hand holding the best travel camera Panasonic Lumix G100

5. Panasonic Lumix G100

✅ You want an affordable camera:  the Lumix G100 is a great deal for the features it offers, and an affordable way to get great travel snaps. ✅ You want a range of small lenses:  there are a lot of Micro Four Thirds lenses, so there is something for every occasion, and best of all, they tend to be on the smaller side for easy travel.

❌ You want the very latest tech:  the G100 is a little on the older side and doesn't have Panasonic's latest autofocus, which puts it a little behind the competition. ❌ You want more serious creative video:  intended as a hybrid camera, there are lots of video-focused features, but the camera lacks IBIS and a headphone jack/USB-C found in rivals.

Sometimes, you just want to create quality images and video while you are traveling, but you don't want to pay a small fortune for a camera to do so, or risk carrying around an expensive camera. The Panasonic Lumix G100 is the best camera you can get for traveling that offers all the quality features you will need but at an affordable price.

The G100 is a super-small, super-cute camera with a Micro Four Thirds sensor. It is still easy to capture high-quality video and stills with simple controls, menus, and its approachable button layout. The camera can be paired with numerous dinky Micro Four Thirds lenses too, especially small pancake lenses to keep the overall size down. Micro Four Thirds also has the benefit of doubling the focal length, so 100mm becomes 200mm, so you can pair the G100 camera with telephoto lenses for capturing far away subjects like wildlife without having to carry huge lenses.

A downside though is there is some compromise for the low price, and the G100 is not the most technically advanced camera on this list, and its autofocus uses Panasonic's cruder contrast-detect technology, which is a little slower than other cameras and is notorious for "pulsing" and "hunting" during video. 

Despite this, the G100 is also a perfect camera for vloggers, with an articulating screen and ready to share footage. But while there’s an inherent risk of dumbing things down too much when creating a camera for social media creatives, Panasonic has avoided that pitfall with the Lumix G100, and this is a great camera if you're just as interested in vlogging as you are in travel photography. 

Read our full Panasonic Lumix G100 review

Best waterproof compact travel camera

A red OM System Tough TG-7

6. OM System Tough TG-7

✅ You want a rugged adventure camera:  the TG-7 can certainly withstand some serious adventuring with a rugged water/dust/freeze/drop-proof build. ✅ You want a photography-first adventure camera:  the TG-7 puts photography first and foremost, offering a better experience than smaller fiddly action cameras.

❌ You want to strap the camera to things:  while action cameras have numerous accessories to strap to your sports equipment, there is far less for the bigger TG-7. ❌ You only care about video:  if you are just looking for the best rugged video camera for travel, then action cameras have you covered (see below).

Following the acquisition of Olympus's camera division, the OM System TG-7 is essentially an update to the much-loved Olympus Tough TG-6 under a new brand name. Although that camera has long been the top-regarded travel compact for adventurers who are as invested in photos as video. Action cameras might be smaller and just as hardy, but can't compete with the TG-7 for photography experience.

The TG-7 is ready for any travel adventure and is water-proof, dust-proof, crush-proof, drop-proof, and freeze-proof, so whether your hiking, climbing, swimming, or otherwise take you to the hottest deserts to the coldest tundras, the camera should come out the other side unscathed.

The TG-7 might have a relatively conservative 12MP resolution, although this helps dramatically when it comes to low-light images, as each pixel is larger allowing it to capture more light. Why is this important? Well if you are shooting in darker underwater environments, in gloomy forests, or at night, then you will get higher-quality images. 

The Touch also has RAW images, so you can get even more creative control over the final edit of your images. The camera also has a pretty incredible macro mode as well if you find some small details on your travels that you have to capture.

While it might not be up to the same standard as the best action cameras for video (see below for that), the Tough can capture decent 4K video, and will get some perfectly serviceable footage for social and YouTube of your wild adventures!

Read our full OM System Tough TG-7 review

Best action camera for travel

DJI Osmo Action 4

7. DJI Osmo Action 4

✅ You want a camera that can keep up with your travel adventures:  the Osmo 4 is hardy enough for whatever conditions you throw at it, weather-sealed and fantastic stabilized footage. ✅ You want a tiny camera:  action cameras like the Osmo 4 are great as they are so small they are effortless to travel with.

❌ You want to shoot high quality photos:  the 12MP photos from the Osmo 4 can't compete with more dedicated cameras, and the wide angle lens needs lots of corrections. ❌ You need accessories:  the market for DJI accessories isn't as big as the more famous GoPro, so if you need niche or cheaper accessories, that might be the brand to choose.

For most adventurer-creators, the Osmo Action 4 is the perfect balance of quality and price. Stabilized 4K video looks great and the camera can take a lot – not just rough and tumble but temperature extremes and it's waterproof to 16m without a case. Best of all, it has a larger image sensor than any other camera on the list, so it is better in lower light, making it more flexible.

DJI did have an interesting experiment with modular design, now seemingly abandoned, with the Action 2, but they do retain powerful magnetic mounts which can even partially survive the heat of an oven (we tried accidentally – see our full review). 

Like the more famous competition, DJI has high-quality horizon balancing and image stabilization, which has improved on the Action 3. The resolution limit is 4K, but in practice, this is the ideal resolution for action (and the limit of almost all TVs). More useful is the 120fps capability (or 240fps at 1080P).

The fact that Action 4’s isn’t interwoven with subscription software is one we wholeheartedly appreciate, too, but GoPro seem to finally growing out of this.

Read our full DJI Osmo Action 4 review

Best 360º camera for travel

Insta360 X3

8. Insta360 X3

✅ You want to capture everything:  the Insta360 X3 can capture all that goes on around you, perfect for capturing immersive travel content. ✅ You want to travel light:  the Insta360 X3 is very small and lightweight, and won't trouble your carry-on bag limits.

❌ You want a versatile camera:  the Insta360 X3 is made for one thing, and that is great 360º footage, if you want to capture more, you might need to bring a second camera. ❌ You want artistic images:  the Insta360 X3 has big 72MP images but the small sensor means they aren't as creative as a bigger camera.

There are times when handling even an action camera's wide-angle lens becomes a problem, and that's where a 360-degree action camera can step in. With two back-to-back lenses and enough smarts to eliminate a selfie stick from the footage, this almost magic camera can capture an image from a point within reach looking any direction you see fit.

I tried it with the bike attachment – which holds the camera a little way in front of the bike, over the front wheel – and was amazed at the footage which makes it look like I'm cycling toward a perfectly controlled drone. Better still, by syncing with my phone I could draw GPS data and have it overlaid, in the form of a speedometer, by the Insta360 app before sharing.

The only real worry is how naked those glass lenses are when the camera is in use; the joy of re-positioning the camera angle after the fact can be hours of fun. 5.7K is good enough for sharing, but more resolution would help pro work.

Read our full Insta 360 X3 review for more details

Best for travel vloggers

The best travel camera the Sony ZV-E10 sitting on a wall behind some leaves

9. Sony ZV-E10

✅ You want ready-to-share footage:  this Sony is made for capturing footage with minimal editing to get up on YouTube and social media straight away. ✅ You want excellent audio:  the ZV-E10 has built-in stereo microphones that capture some of the best audio possible on a camera without external mics.

❌ You are more interested in photos:  the ZV-E10 is not a bad photography camera, but its video focused build means other cameras are better for stills shooters. ❌ You want a viewfinder for framing:  if you love a viewfinder for framing shots, then the Sony A6400 is almost the same camera, but with an EVF. 

The ZV-E10 makes for an excellent traveler's camera and is one of the cheapest vlogging-focused cameras yet. Combined with its slim dimensions, and wide choice of lenses, this makes it a perfect choice for travelers who want to shoot a lot of video. 

The big selling point of the ZV-E10 over other cameras capable of similar video is that the ZV-E10 comes with sophisticated built-in mics and a clip-on windshield for noise reduction, making it much easier to get clean audio on your vlogs even outdoors – which works excellently. Sony has put its years of audio experience into this camera and it shows.

The ZV-E10's 4K UHD video is of excellent quality too, and as we've come to expect from Sony, the autofocus is best in class, whether shooting video or stills. The camera has tracking modes for easy autofocus and digital image stabilization that crops your footage slightly but attempts to iron out any shake, which works well except for in very heavy movement.

And a point worth mentioning is that, while the ZV-E10 may be optimized for vlogging, it's still a capable stills camera with a 24MP sensor, and 11fps burst shooting, so photographers needed worry about restricting themselves with it. 

However, if you are more keen on photography than video, cameras in the Sony a6xxx range (like the Sony a6400 ) offer almost the same specs, but with a viewfinder, but you do lose the built-in stereo mics. Making it a tough choice for a hybrid shooter that might want the best of both worlds. 

Read our full Sony ZV-E10 review

How to choose the right travel camera

These are five key things to look out for when choosing the right travel camera for your needs.

1) Image quality: Ask yourself how you will use any photos or videos you capture. If you only plan to share content online on social media then any of the above cameras will be suitable. If you plan to print your pictures, though, then mirrorless cameras with larger sensors and higher megapixel counts will produce better-quality results.

2) Focal range: What kind of range do you need for your traveling activities? Compact cameras can have impressive zoom ranges, but to achieve their tiny size they often lack quality compared to mirrorless cameras. For mirrorless cameras, what lenses are available? So-called standard zooms are a great option for all types of travel, but they can also be large and heavy. A wide-angle lens might be best for capturing cities and landscapes, or if you are going to see wildlife or a sporting event then a compact telephoto lens might be best.

3) Size and weight: If you're going on vacation then the last thing you want to take is a heavy kit – especially given things like baggage restrictions when traveling. With that in mind, both your camera and lens(es) need to be small and light. If you want something that can fit in your pocket, get a compact camera – but if you don't mind taking a bag, a mirrorless system with one or two lenses could be more versatile. 

4) Simplicity: Don't want to get bogged down with camera settings? Most modern cameras have a range of auto modes – especially compact cameras, which take away the stress. Advanced modes and complicated controls don't usually mix with spur-of-the-moment snaps, so decide what is important to you and pick your camera based on that.

5) Price: The cameras in our list have a range of prices, and we try to include cameras that suit every budget. The price of a camera usually reflects its capabilities, although all the options listed here will take great images and video – so try to strike the right balance between what you need in a camera and what you can afford.

Is it better to use phone or camera for travel?

We covered this a little bit at the start of the article, but the answer is that it is always better to use a camera for stills or video when possible. So the question really becomes, "Do your travel plans make using a camera possible?" Phones are so small and quick to use that they go where cameras are too bulky and slow to shoot. A great compromise is a compact camera – or the Olympus Tough TG-6 , which is a weather-proof camera that goes the places that you wouldn't dare to use your phone! 

Is a DSLR or mirrorless camera better for travel photography?

As a travel camera, mirrorless cameras are usually the better choice for most people. They are much small and lighter than DSLRs, and also usually have a selection of smaller and lighter lenses to match. This makes traveling easier as it takes up less space and weight in increasingly restricted carry-on bags. Mirrorless cameras also are generally newer than DSLRs and most likely have more modern technology, making photography and video easier to capture and of better quality.

What size camera lens is best for travel?

Again, this comes down to what your travel plans entail and what you plan to shoot. The kit lens that comes bundled with many cameras will cover the most commonly used focal ranges, so that's a good place to start (though kit lenses do not deliver the best image quality). We recommend checking out the best lenses for travel photography to see what's right for you.

How we test travel cameras

When we are reviewing cameras, we carefully think about what scenarios each camera could be used for. When considering which cameras would make ideal travel cameras, we judge each camera on how small and lightweight it is for easy packing and transport, as well as carrying for long periods of the day while out exploring. 

We also consider the technical capabilities of each camera, and how suitable they are specifically for travel photography scenarios from beach vacations to safaris, to city breaks. Finally, we consider the price of the cameras to select options that cover a range of budgets and requirements.

We use our real-world experience with each camera and our in-depth camera knowledge to determine a final selection of top cameras that we would recommend as the ideal camera traveling companions.

Want to find out how we test and review DSLR and mirrorless cameras? We trial cameras both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests will generally measure resolution, dynamic range, and signal-to-noise ratio, which gives us a benchmark by which to compare cameras. 

Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera's ISO range. Our compact camera evaluations are based on real-world testing alone.

For our real-world testing, our reviewers spend time with each camera, testing it in a variety of shooting situations and providing their qualitative thoughts on how the camera was to use and evaluating the images and video it produced. Here's an example of how we literally take a camera on vacation to evaluate it!

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Gareth Bevan

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.

  • James Artaius Editor

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The best travel camera for 2024: the finest choices for your adventures

The best travel cameras for your next big trip

  • Best overall
  • Best-looking
  • Best action cam
  • Best tough camera
  • Best premium compact
  • Best small full-frame
  • Best hybrid vlogger

Best for moving subjects

  • Best superzoom

How to choose

  • How we test

Sony A6700 on an orange background

1. The list in brief 2. Best for most people 3. Best value 4. Best-looking 5. Best action 6. Best tough 7. Best premium compact 8. Best small full-frame 9. Best hybrid travel vlogger 10. Best for moving subjects 11. Best superzoom bridge 12. How to choose 13. How we test

Road trip or flyaway vacation, the best travel cameras let you capture incredible images of your holiday adventures. From action cameras to compact mirrorless models, we've extensively reviewed the top travel-friendly cameras and rounded up our recommendations in the expert guide below. Whatever your itinerary, this is list is your ticket to the ideal travel camera.

Based on our tests, we think the best travel camera overall is the OM System OM-5. A portable, weatherproof Micro Four Thirds model, it shoots higher quality images than a smartphone while offering the useful flexibility of interchangeable lenses.

Whatever your expectations and budget, you'll find a travel camera to fit the bill below. Our list includes some of the best mirrorless cameras , as well as some of the top compact cameras . Our expert reviewers have spent many hours testing the best options, using them in the real world to assess how well they perform when traveling. You'll find the results distilled in the list below, together with buying advice to consider when choosing a travel camera.

Timothy Coleman

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras editor, with over 15 years in the photo video industry and most of those in the world of tech journalism, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with all things camera related. He’s also worked in video production with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi.

The quick list

If you don’t have time to read our full list of the best travel cameras, you can read the round-up below for a shortcut to the top options for your needs and budget. If you find one that takes your fancy, use the links to jump to our full write-up.

OM System OM-5 mirrorless camera on a white background

The best travel camera overall

Squeezing a host of features into a compact, weatherproof body that’s compatible with a range of lenses, the OM-5 is the ideal travel camera.

Read more below

Panasonic TZ200 camera on a white background

The best value travel camera

With a large 1-inch sensor and useful 15x optical zoom, the Panasonic TZ200 puts smartphone-beating performance in your pocket.

Nikon Z fc camera on a white background

The best-looking travel camera

Don’t be fooled by its lovely retro looks: the Nikon Z fc is every bit the modern travel camera, with a useful touchscreen and top image quality.

GoPro Hero 12 Black

The best action camera for travel

The GoPro Hero 12 Black is the best all-round action camera available ideal for capturing your adrenaline-filled travels, with 8:9 sensor ideal for sharing travel videos to social.

OM System Tough TG-7

The best tough travel camera

For rough and tumble travels you'll want a tough camera and they don't come much better than the OM System Tough TG-7.

Fujifilm X100VI compact camera on a white background

The best premium compact

With a large sensor, fixed 23mm focal length, small form factor, retro design and film simulations, the X100VI is a powerful tool for street photography and documenting your travels.

Load the next 4 products...

Sony A7C R on a white background

The best small full-frame camera

Combining a small form factor with a high-res 61MP sensor and fantastic autofocus, the Sony A7C R is the best full-frame camera for travel photography.

Fujifilm X-S20 camera on a white background

The best hybrid for travel vlogging

A capable sensor and automated settings, including a Vlogging mode, make the Fujifilm X-S20 an accessible tool for stills and video on the go.

Sony A6700 mirrorless camera on a white background

The best for moving subjects

The compact A6700 uses AI-powered autofocus to reliably snap on to animals, insects, cars and more. The Fuji X-S20 is better for video, though.

Sony RX10 IV camera on a white background

The best superzoom camera

Even with a 1-inch sensor, the Sony RX10 IV delivers sharp stills and video, with the added versatility of a generous 24-600mm zoom range.

The best travel cameras in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best travel cameras in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The OM System OM-5 camera sitting on a tree branch

1. OM System OM-5

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

✅ You want a robust travel camera: Light enough to travel with but tough enough to deal with bad weather, the OM-5 is a ruggedly dependable camera. ✅ You shoot handheld a lot: The OM-5 has excellent image stabilization for stills, meaning you can cross a tripod off your packing list.

❌ You want the best image quality: Its Micro Four Thirds sensor is decent enough, but some rivals offer more pixels and better low light performance. ❌ You have large hands: Handling is surprisingly good for a small camera, but the grip is not very deep, especially for those with bigger hands.

The OM-5 is only a relatively minor update of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III , but its combination of talents make it an ideal travel camera in our book – particularly if you want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. It shoehorns a lot of features into a compact, weatherproof body that's compatible with a wealth of equally small lenses. Most of its skills, including excellent in-body image stabilization and computational photography modes, are also designed with travelers and adventurers in mind.

Our tests found that the OM-5 delivers excellent video and stills quality for its size, helped by a stabilization system (good for 6.5-stops of compensation) that gives you a high hit-rate of keepers. We also enjoyed the high-quality feel of the camera's dials, as well as in-camera software tricks, like Live ND and in-camera focus stacking, which are ideal for macro shots or blurring skies for an ethereal effect. Less good are the fairly average EVF resolution, 4K /30p limit for video and relative limitations of its smaller sensor, but these are all acceptable trade-offs considering this camera's size and price.

Read our in-depth OM System OM-5 review

  • ^ Back to the top

The best-value travel camera

Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200, one of the best travel cameras, on a table with a map, a guidebook and a passport

2. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

✅ You want an all-in-one compact: You can’t beat the TZ200 for portability, but it’s also a feature-packed option with a useful zoom range and 1.0-inch sensor. ✅ You want a large zoom range: At 15x optical zoom, the TZ200 offers the versatility to shoot all sorts of subjects on your travels.

❌ You like an ergonomic grip: The Lumix TZ200 has plenty of manual controls on the metal body, but there’s not much of a grip to get your fingers around. ❌ You want a cheap camera: Its generous feature set makes the TZ200 excellent value, but its still pretty pricey for a premium compact.

With smartphones now raising the bar for point-and-shoot photography, compact cameras have to offer something special to justify their place in your travel bag. The ZS200 / TZ200 does that with its large 1-inch sensor and versatile 15x optical zoom. It might be towards the upper end of the compact camera market, but Panasonic 's travel zoom continues to offer great value.

Its large 1in sensor produces better natural image quality than most smartphones, despite the latter's advances in multi-frame processing. Our tests found colors to be nice and punchy, with the dynamic range allowing you to recover lost shadow detail with post-processing if needed. Even at 24mm, vignetting and distortion is nicely controlled. There's also a handy built-in electronic viewfinder, which makes it easier to compose images in bright light. It's still quite pricey, but this is still the best travel zoom compact camera available right now.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 review

The Nikon Z fc, one of the best travel cameras, camera on a park bench

3. Nikon Z fc

✅ You care about camera design: From the retro dials to the circular viewfinder, the Nikon Z fc channels classic style to fantastic effect. ✅ You like manual exposure control: Dedicated dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure, complemented by a lens control ring, give excellent manual control.

❌ You need a wide choice of lenses: There are only a handful of Z-series kit lenses designed for the APS-C format, limiting your options for expansion. ❌ You want a rugged camera: Although it looks like the sturdy FM2, the Z fc isn’t weather-sealed, so it’s not one to take on rainy adventures.

Travel photography is all about capturing memories and Nikon’s Z fc fully embraces the concept of nostalgia: it’s a stunning homage to the 30-year-old Nikon FM2 – complete with retro styling, dimensions and dials. Despite the throwback design, it’s a very modern camera inside, sharing many of its specs with the capable Nikon Z50. While some photographers might wish for a full-frame sensor, the Z fc’s APS-C number does a stellar job of capturing stills and 4K video, aided by reliable tracking autofocus. Our tests found that its 20.9MP sensor had an excellent handle on noise, especially under ISO 800, while dynamic range was impressive.

Its vari-angle touchscreen is also a brilliant addition, making it easy to frame travel selfies – or folding away completely for a leather-back look that lets you pretend it's the Eighties. The Nikon Z fc isn’t as sturdy as the camera that inspired it (there’s no weatherproofing, for example), but it’s still a beautifully unique camera for casual use. And with dedicated dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure, plus a customizable lens ring, it’s also an easy one to control on the go.

Read our in-depth Nikon Z fc review

A photo of the GoPro Hero 12 Black

4. GoPro Hero 12 Black

✅ You want a rugged travel camera: Waterproof down to 10m, the GoPro Hero 12 Black is a great choice for capturing action-packed travels. ✅ You plan to share on social: The 8:7 aspect ratio of its sensor gives you lots of flexibility to crop footage for social, including vertical videos.

❌ You plan to shoot in low light: Its 1/1.9in sensor shoots sharp footage, but it still struggles with noise handling in lower lighting conditions. ❌ You want a hybrid for stills: While the sensor can shoot 27MP stills, you’ll get a better photography experience from a standard alternative.

If you're looking for a high resolution action camera for your travels that's as comfortable shooting smooth videos as it is crisp photos, then the GoPro Hero 12 Black tops the bill. It was an underwhelming update of the Hero 11 Black, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because that camera was already highly capable. There's the same 1/1.9in sensor with versatile 8:9 aspect ratio – you can reframe footage for different social channels without sacrificing quality, and its max resolution of 5.3K/60p beats the DJI Osmo Action 4. You can capture dramatic TimeWarps at the full 5.3K resolution, shoot photo sequences as a rapid 30fps, and pull 24.7MP stills from 5.3K video.

Design-wise, there's no change to the Hero 11 Black, the two rugged models are physically identical and come with a large Enduro battery as standard, giving more time between recharges on the road. The same interface lets you tweak the user experience, with ‘Easy’ and ‘Pro’ modes to suit your skill level. Superior Horizon Lock and HyperSmooth 5.0 smarts do a remarkable job of stabilizing handheld video. Minor updates from the Hero 11 Black are mainly for pros, including flat Log color profiles, 10-bit video, and multi-channel audio capabilities. For most people however, there's little reason to upgrade or to pick the Hero 12 Black over its predecessor which could save you a little money. 

Read our in-depth hands-on GoPro Hero 12 Black review

A guide light accessory on the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

5. OM System Tough TG-7

✅ You want a hardcore camera: With a case that’s waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof, the OM System Tough TG-7 is built to take a beating. ✅ You like a simple interface: Premium features include RAW shooting and 4K video, but the camera itself is easy to operate, even in tricky conditions.

❌ You want the best image quality: Results from the 1/2.3in sensor are fine, but the TG-7 tends to overexpose, and detail is lost at the telephoto end. ❌ You like using a viewfinder: The Tough TG-7 doesn’t have a viewfinder, and the 3-inch LCD screen has limited visibility in bright sunlight.

The biggest change in the OM System Tough TG-7 and the camera it replaces is in the name – since OM System acquired Olympus, it has wrought extremely minor upgrades to key models from the Olympus range, including the TG-6. None-the-less, we haven't seen another tough camera to better the TG-6 in that time, and so if you want the best tough camera available today, the TG-7 now tops the list. 

Tough cameras like the TG-6 are freeze-proof, shockproof and waterproof and can therefore be used in scenarios that you simply wouldn't consider with your phone or expensive camera, and for that reason the TG-7 is still one of the best travel cameras you can buy. Its industrial design feels reassuringly rugged, while large buttons make it convenient to operate beneath the waves or while wearing gloves, plus its 3-inch LCD display offers decent visibility in most conditions. 

We found image quality to be reasonable for a camera with a 1/2.3-inch sensor, with nice, rich colors – although there was a tendency to overexpose and blow out highlights. An equivalent zoom range of 25-100mm is fair, plus the inclusion of 4K video and raw shooting enhance flexibility. Its image quality might not match your phone for regular photos, but the TG-7 will allow you to be capturing extreme travel memories when you otherwise couldn't, plus there's a range of useful accessories such as a ring light for close up photography. 

Read our in-depth OM System Tough TG-7 review

Front of the Fujifilm X100VI reflected in glass table

6. Fujifilm X100VI

✅ You're exploring the city: With a fixed 23mm f/2 lens, Fujifilm's best autofocus, tilt screen and hybrid viewfinder, the X100V is a fantastic choice for street photography. ✅ You want a premium camera: From its retro design to its metal body, the X100V feels well-made and looks the business.

❌ You don’t want a fixed focal length: The 23mm lens is fantastic, but some users will find it limiting, especially if you value the ability to zoom. ❌ You’re on a tight budget: The X100VI is a popular but niche premium camera, and its increased price will put it out of budget for many.

We'd class the Fujifilm X100VI as a niche premium compact camera, but the range has grown in popularity since its inception in 2010 and is more popular than ever. The sixth generation model keeps the fixed 23mm f/2 lens and retro design that's been inspired by 1950s analogue cameras and despite its single focal length and no zoom it is one of the best travel cameras you can buy if it's in your price range.

The X100VI keeps all that users have grown to love about the X100-series; sharp fixed lens, large sensor, retro design, and unique hybrid viewfinder, but then builds on the X100V with a higher-resolution 40MP sensor and in-body image stabilization. The result is a significantly more versatile camera, for example the digital teleconverter can crop into the full image for 50mm (at 20MP) and 70mm (at 10MP) focal length looks, while stablization lets you shoot slower shutter speeds in low light.  

Other key improvements over the X100V include more detailed 6K video and Fujifilm's best-ever autofocus that includes advanced subject detection for photo and video. You can rely on the X100VI as a discreet everyday camera to document the world around, especially your travels, and it comes with 20 film simulation color profiles inspired by actual Fujifilm 35mm film that you can customize with recipes to develop your own style. 

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X100VI review

Sony A7C R camera outside on a wooden table

7. Sony A7C R

✅ You want the sharpest stills: With a 61MP full-frame sensor, you won’t get sharper travel snaps from any other camera in this list. ✅ You want a small, powerful camera: Despite the full-frame sensor inside, the A7C R is very compact and fits neatly in the hand.

❌ You value good handling: The small design has drawbacks, including a compromised viewfinder and absent AF joystick. ❌ You plan to use big lenses: Its compact proportions mean the Sony A7C R is mismatched with larger telephoto lenses.

By combining a small, travel-friendly form factor with a 61MP full frame sensor and fantastic autofocus, Sony has created arguably the ultimate travel camera. Successor to the Sony A7C – already one of our favorite travel photography tools – and announced alongside the A7C II , the A7C R fits nicely in the hand, while a flip screen and new dials offer welcome control.

Equipped with Sony’s top-grade autofocus and AI-powered subject tracking, the A7C R can cleverly and reliably track a broad range of subjects. You won’t find a better full frame sensor, either: borrowed from the A7R V , it captures stunning, pin-sharp stills in all conditions. Cropping potential is vast, and video footage is decent too.

There are trade-offs, though. In testing, we found that the A7C R’s compact proportions come with handling compromises, especially compared to the traditional design of the A7R V. The viewfinder feels small and fiddly, and we wish Sony had included an AF joystick. It’s also not a camera to pair with large telephoto lenses. But the real kicker is the cost: it’s significantly more expensive than the A7C II. That premium means it’s only a camera to consider if you need absolutely the best possible image quality on your travels.

Read our in-depth Sony A7C R review

Fujifilm X-S20 camera in hand

8. Fujifilm X-S20

✅ You value longevity: The X-S20 has double the battery life of the X-S10, making it a great choice for long days of travel photography. ✅ You shoot video, too: Capturing sharp 26MP stills and 6K/30p open gate video, the Fujifilm X-S20 is a true mirrorless hybrid.

❌ You need weather proofing: Build quality of the X-S20 is good, but you’re better off with the Sony A6700 if you need a weatherproof camera. ❌ You have a limited budget: Its additional features come at the cost of a steep price hike compared to the Fujifilm X-S10, which makes it a harder sell.

Channelling everything we liked about the X-S10 – including a compact, well-balanced body – the Fujifilm X-S20 cements its position as a fantastic mirrorless cameras for travel. It handles comfortably, with simplified dials making it accessible for beginners. In testing, we found new novice-friendly features – such as a dedicated Vlogging mode – also make the X-S20 a forgiving camera for touring first-timers.

The X-S20 is blessed with a proven shooting system, utilising the same 26.1MP sensor as the X-S10 and X-T4 to produce quality stills. It also eases the way for beginners with an automatic scene detection mode, which harnesses the power of Fuji’s latest X-Processor 5 to reliably choose the correct settings. From our first impressions, it works better than the automatic subject tracking, which was a little hit and miss.

With 6K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal video recording also on offer, plus in-body image stabilization that worked well in testing, the Fujifilm X-S20 is a solid option for content creators on the move. The lack of weather-sealing will discourage adventurous travellers, while the price tag means it isn’t one to leave in an unattended bag. But at just 26g heavier than its predecessor, the X-S20 is a very capable all-rounder for travel.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-S20 review

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

9. Sony A6700

✅ You want a capable travel hybrid: A sharp APS-C sensor, five-axis stabilization and AI autofocus make the A6700 a great all-rounder to take on the road. ✅ You like to get hands-on: A more ergonomic grip and lots of direct-access buttons make the A6700 a nice camera to handle and use.

❌ You shoot mostly video: The A6700 can record sharp video, but there’s a heavy 1.6x crop on 4K/120p slow-mo and Active SteadyShot stabilization isn’t the best. ❌ You like simple menus: The interface on the A6700 has quite a learning curve, and it can be tricky to navigate when shooting out and about.

It's a close-run thing between the Sony A6700 and the Fujifilm X-S20 above, but if you shoot a lot of moving subjects then the Sony should be your choice. Like the Fuji, it has a 26MP APS-C sensor and comes in a compact, travel-friendly form. And like the Fuji, it's a genuine hybrid, offering decent video options to go with its stills prowess. But there are some key differences.

First, the good: the A6700 has the same AI-powered chipset as the far more expensive Sony A7R V , and this helps it deliver incredible subject tracking; seriously, this camera will lock on to humans, animals, insects, cars, trains, aircraft and more, then follow them unerringly around the frame. However, its video chops aren't as impressive as those of the Fuji. 4K 120p slow-mo footage is subjected to a heavy 1.6x crop, while the five-axis stabilization doesn't work as well when filming as it does when shooting stills. The complex menu system also leaves something to be desired.

Still, it handles well, has a great battery and would make an excellent all-rounder for your next trip - so long as you're slightly more focused on images than video.

Read our in-depth Sony A6700 review

Sony RX10 IV, one of the best travel cameras, being used by someone

10. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

✅ You like to zoom in: With a sharp, fast 24-600mm, the RX100 IV offers fantastic versatility to capture a range of subjects on your travels. ✅ You want an all-in-one option: The RX100 IV is a high-end bridge camera with a big zoom range, high-quality EVF and capable AF system.

❌ You want a small camera: While it ticks most of the boxes for travel photography, the RX100 IV is bigger and heavier than many rivals. ❌ You like a slick touchscreen: Its tilting touchscreen is a useful addition, but you can’t use it to navigate menus or swipe through images.

In terms of offering something for everybody, the RX10 IV ticks a lot of boxes. It's like having a bag full of lenses, but with the benefit of never having to change them. There's a very long zoom (going all the way from 24-600mm), while the maximum aperture is pretty wide throughout the lens. 

The RX10 IV's sensor might not be as a large as the ones you'll find on a mirrorless camera or DSLR, but Sony's 20.1MP one-inch chip proved itself to be very capable in our tests. Noise was well-controlled, and you'd have no problem making an A3 print from one of its files (particularly if you shoot at under ISO 800). 

You also get 24fps shooting, cracking 4K video quality and handling to rival a DSLR. The major downside? The high price – if your budget is tighter, don't forget about this camera's predecessor, the RX10 III .

Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV review

How to choose the best travel camera for you

Picking the right travel camera can be trickier than finding affordable flights. You’ll want a shooting tool that’s compact enough to conveniently carry on your travels, yet still capable of capturing sharp stills and stable video of your jet-setting adventures.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing your ideal travel camera. Among the most important is size. While pocketable compacts offer convenience, the quality of your travel snaps will be boosted by the bigger sensors of larger mirrorless models.

If your adventures are likely to involve going off the beaten track, it’s worth considering a travel camera with rugged credentials. This could be one of the best action cameras , such as the GoPro Hero 11 Black – perfect if you plan to shoot quick, slick travel clips. Or it could be a sturdy compact such as the Olympic TG-6, which is one of the best waterproof cameras .

It’s also worth thinking about what subjects you might be shooting on your trip. A long zoom range will be handy on safari , while something light and fast is better for capturing street snaps on a city break. Travel compacts, such as the Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200, usually use a zoom lens to cover a range of shooting scenarios. Interchangeable lens cameras like the Fujifilm X-T30 II can similarly offer the flexibility of both worlds, but only if you’re happy to travel with extra barrels in your backpack.

Fujifilm X-S20 camera in hand

Which type of camera is best for traveling?

Travel cameras come in a range of shapes and sizes. Which style is best for you will depend on how you like to travel, what you like to shoot and how much gear you’re willing to cart around.

Travel zoom compacts such as the Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 are pocket friendly, yet offer a broad scope for capturing a range of subjects. Thanks to generous zoom ranges, they give you the opportunity to get close to the action, or to shoot wide. The trade-off for having all of this flexibility in a compact body is generally a smaller sensor, which is less useful for shooting in low light.

If you’d like neat proportions but don’t need the versatility of a zoom lens, premium compact cameras could be worth considering. Models such as the Fujifilm X100V sacrifice zoom range in favour of larger sensors that are better at gathering light – usually a one-inch or, in the case of the X100V, an APS-C chip.

Between compacts and mirrorless cameras is where you’ll find bridge cameras. Bulkier than a standard compact, they offer more comfortable handling and a large zoom range, but without the need to carry different lenses. New bridge cameras are increasingly rare, but the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV remains a great example.

If you don’t mind traveling with multiple lenses, many of the best mirrorless cameras have been specifically designed with travel in mind. In the case of models like the OM System OM-5 , that means a portable, weatherproof body, useful image stabilization for shooting on the move, plus a versatile Micro Four Thirds sensor that balances size and performance. And with lots of different lenses to choose from, you can pack different optics depending on the type of trip you’re taking – or opt for a reliable all-round option.

Is a DSLR or mirrorless camera better for travel photography?

When it comes to travel photography, most photographers look for a balance between portability and performance. If this is the combination you’re after, mirrorless cameras will almost aways have the edge over their DSLR rivals. Mirrorless models are generally smaller and lighter than DSLRs, making them easier to wield and travel with.

Despite their more compact proportions, many of the best mirrorless travel cameras can also match or outclass DSLR cameras when it comes to image quality, as well as autofocus abilities and video features. This makes them versatile tools for shooting on the move, especially if you choose a model with in-body image stabilization for sharp handheld results. If you pick a mirrorless camera with an established lens mount system, you’ll also find no shortage of glass to pack for your trip.

That said, there are reasons why you might still want to consider a DSLR camera for travel. Some photographers prefer the chunkier ergonomic grip for which the DSLR format is famous, especially if they plan on shooting for hours on end. The best DSLR cameras also offer superlative battery life, which can be useful if your travel plans include days away from electricity.

Budget might also be a factor, especially if you’re concerned about taking an expensive camera on your travels. Older DSLR cameras can offer great value, as can second-hand mirrorless models. It’s also worth looking at our round-up of the best cheap cameras , which includes some options that are a good fit for travel photography.

  • Read our in-depth DSLR vs Mirrorless comparison

OM System OM-5

How we test travel cameras

Buying a camera these days is a big investment, and travel cameras are no different – so every camera in this guide has been tested extensively by us. For travel cameras in particular, real-world tests are the most revealing way to understand a camera's performance and character, so we focus heavily on those, along with standardized tests for factors like ISO performance.

To start with, we look at the camera's design, handling and controls to get a sense of how suitable it is for life on the road, and any particular features that might be particularly useful for globe-trotters. When we take it out on a shoot, we'll use it both handheld and on a tripod to get a sense of where its strengths lie, and test its startup speed.

When it comes to performance, we use a formatted SD card and shoot in both raw and JPEG (if available). For burst shooting tests, we dial in our regular test settings (1/250 sec, ISO 200, continuous AF) and shoot a series of frames in front of a stopwatch to see if it lives up to its claimed speeds. We'll also look at how quickly the buffers clears and repeat the test for both raw and JPEG files.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

In various lighting conditions, we also test the camera's different autofocus modes (including Face and Eye AF) in single point, area and continuous modes. We also shoot a range of photos of different styles (portrait, landscape, low light, macro/close-up) in raw and JPEG to get a sense of metering and its sensor's ability to handle noise and resolve fine detail.

If the camera's raw files are supported by Adobe Camera Raw, we'll also process some test images to see how we can push areas like shadow recovery. And we'll also test its ISO performance across the whole range to get a sense of the levels we'd be happy to push the camera to.

Battery life is tested in a real-world fashion, as we use the camera over the course of the day with the screen set to the default settings. Once the battery has reached zero, we'll then count the number of shots to see how it compares to the camera's CIPA rating. Finally, we test the camera's video skills by shooting some test footage at different frame-rates and resolutions, along with its companion app.

We then take everything we've learned about the camera and factor in its price to get a sense of the value-for-money it offers, before reaching our final verdict.

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Timothy Coleman

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other. 

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travel camera underwater

11 Best Travel Cameras, According to Experts and Amateurs Alike

By Alex Erdekian

Image may contain Person Teen Beachwear Clothing Sitting Camera and Electronics

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you’re debating whether to spring for one of the best travel cameras before an upcoming trip, consider this: Yes, a smartphone is perfectly capable of serving the average traveler’s photography goals, but a dedicated camera is required for capturing high-quality memories. The wide angle lens of a smartphone camera can only take its images so far; in spite of technology’s advancements over the years, its zoom feature still degrades photo quality, making them too grainy—in our opinion—to be worth taking. When it comes to travel photography, many of us want to get close and fill the frame with exciting faraway shots like skylines and canyons. A good travel camera also allows the photographer to shoot exciting, fleeting scenes from their trips, like bicycles blurring through a charming street, low-light landscapes like a starry sky, or a city strip flashing with neon lights. Lastly, we’ll leave you with this: In an era when we’re glued to our phones every minute of the day, documenting a trip with a camera allows us to be present in the here and now, and actually connect with the place we’ve traveled so far to experience .

To guide your search for the perfect new device, we’ve tapped experts, editors, and frequent travelers to weigh in on their most-loved cameras. Below, 11 travel cameras to consider bringing on your next adventure.

Find the best travel cameras:

For taking your interest to the next level, for capturing video footage, for emulating the experts, for unserious fun with film.

Larry Guo, a Brooklyn-based reader who studied fine art photography as an undergraduate, loves Fujifilm’s ecosystem of cameras when it comes to taking travel photos. His particular camera of choice is the Fujifilm xT10, a mirrorless digital camera that is significantly more lightweight and portable than a DSLR. “You have all of the abilities of a raw digital camera, but it’s less bulky,” Guo says.

Guo’s recent travels have taken him and his partner Rob to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and throughout Japan . His partner, who has an affinity for landscape photography, uses the Fujifilm XT3, which is a more semi-professional model.

“[Rob] really likes the process of coming home and editing. He enjoys landscape photography, so he brought an extra lens. He took really beautiful shots in Puerto Vallarta of the mist. In Japan, he took beautiful photos all over the place. We had them printed at Griffin Editions in Gowanus [Brooklyn].”

Pallavi Kumar , Condé Nast Traveler’s senior visuals director, is loyal to Fujifilm as well. “Fuji’s image quality and colors are unmatched,” Kumar says. “Sony is supposedly advanced, but Fuji's image quality is something else.” She shoots with the Fujifilm x100V.

Guo added that he has heard terrific things about the point-and-shoot cameras by Ricoh. These high-end point-and-shoots make snapping high-caliber photos on the move easy and seamless, requiring little to no steps before hitting the shutter. “It’s a really well-made point-and-shoot,” he says. “There’s no interchanging lenses. And for most people, that's really what you need. Most people don’t want to travel with multiple lenses.”

Image may contain: Camera, Electronics, and Digital Camera

Filmmaker and writer Leslye Davis—who is a co-director of the documentary Father Soldier Son and has worked as a visual journalist at the New York Times —has been taking a camcorder with her on her personal travels. “It keeps me off my cell phone and it makes it easier to keep track of footage but also to edit while you shoot, so it’s fun to watch the shots back-to-back,” she says. For photos, she’s been shooting with the Canon R6. “It’s light and has a silent shutter and the images are high-res.”

Image may contain: Camera, Electronics, Video Camera, Computer Hardware, Hardware, Monitor, and Screen

National Geographic underwater wildlife photographer Cristina Mittenmeier previously told Traveler that she shoots with a Sony a7R III . Given the subject matter she captures, she uses it for its extraordinarily high-resolution images and low-light capabilities.

In a previous version of this article, legend Steve McCurry recommended the Leica SL2 and White House photographer Pete Souza recommended the Fujifilm X‑Pro3.

McCurry is famous for his iconic photograph “Afghan Girl,” which was featured on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985. The SL2’s lenses, he said, were the best he’s used, and he praised the camera’s incredible durability. The camera has extremely crisp 5K and 4K recording capabilities, so for users who are traveling in rogue conditions—like windy deserts or beaches with massive waves—the camera’s weather sealing, which keeps out the elements, is key.

The Fujifilm X‑Pro3 is Souza’s favorite walking around camera. It's lightweight and quiet. Souza, who photographed Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama throughout their terms, recommends planning your travel shots with this camera for the “first two hours of light in the morning, the last two hours of light in the evening, or when the weather is really bad (think fog, rain, or snow).”

Image may contain: Camera, Digital Camera, and Electronics

Growing in popularity lately has been Kodak’s new film cameras. Mercedes Bleth , Traveler’s g lobal associate director of social, has been loving the Kodak Ektar H35, a 35mm point-and-shoot film camera that shoots half-frame—which means you get twice as many photos for each roll of film. (A major plus considering film is so expensive.)

“I love taking this little film camera with me on trips,” Bleth says. “It is very compact, lightweight, and easy to use (point-and-shoot at its finest). I find that it's a more present way to capture memories while traveling—it allows you to stay in the moment because you don't spend as much time with your phone in hand, taking too many photos to get the perfect shot. Film is precious (even at half-frame), so what you get is what you get, which in my opinion, makes the memories that much more tangible, and fun to look back on once it's developed.”

I also own this camera in mint green and love how paper-light, affordable, and cute it is. For an even lower stakes experience shooting film, Traveler contributor Lydia Mansel loves her colorful Kodak M35 35mm film camera , a $25 option that is great for those into disposable cameras who want to upgrade to something reusable so they can stop shelling out and throwing away new ones after each trip.

Image may contain: Camera, Digital Camera, and Electronics

travel camera underwater

By Alex Hatton

Last Updated:

October 15, 2023

Best Underwater Cameras for Snorkeling

  • Best Value Camera for Snorkeling
  • Best Features for Snorkeling 
  • Cheapest Waterproof Camera
  • Best Underwater Action Camera
  • Camera with Underwater Colour Correction

Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling [2024 Edition]

(if you’re looking for high-end underwater cameras, check out our main page: best underwater cameras ).

A re you biting at the snorkel to record your marine adventures with a waterproof camera but unsure which is the right one for you?

In today’s tech savvy world, there’s a variety of different underwater cameras for snorkeling out there. However, they vary a lot in terms of price, capabilities and special features.

Some waterproof cameras are more suited for scuba diving whereas others are specifically designed for being used near the water’s surface, making them ideal for snorkelers.

In this article, we’ve reviewed the 10 best snorkelling cameras of 2024. 

We’ve taken into account key factors such as the cost of each camera, it’s underwater settings, user-interface and how applicable it is to be used specifically for snorkeling. 

Use the Quick Look section directly below to take a fast glance at the best underwater cameras for snorkeling – or dive down deeper to read our Detailed Reviews for each one.

Let’s do it!

Get ready to immortalise your snorkeling trips!

QUICK LOOK - Best Snorkeling Cameras:

1) best value snorkeling camera: akaso v50 elite, 2) best features for snorkeling: panasonic lumix ts7, 3) cheapest: hischon waterproof digital camera, 4) waterproof case for smartphones, 5) best underwater action camera: gopro hero 11, 6) best underwater macro camera: olympus tough tg7, 7) awesome underwater videos: dji osmo action 4, 8) underwater colour correction: sealife micro 3.0, 9) most durable snorkeling camera: nikon coolpix w300, 10) cheapest optical zoom: fuijifilm finepix xp130, reviews: best underwater cameras for snorkeling:.

  • Best Value Snorkeling Camera: Akaso V50 Elite
  • Best Features for Snorkeling: Panasonic Lumix TS7
  • Cheapest Waterproof Camera: Hischon Waterproof Camera
  • Waterproof Case for SmartPhones: Laynos Second Generation 
  • Best Action Camera for Snorkelers: GoPro Hero 11
  • Best Underwater Camera for Macro: Olympus Tough TG-7
  • Waterproof Camera for Awesome Videos: Osmo Action 4
  • Underwater Colour Correction: Sealife Micro 3.0
  • Most Durable Underwater Camera: Nikon Coolpix W300
  • Cheapest Optical Zoom: FuijiFilm FinePix XP130

The Akaso V50 Elite is the one of the cheapest underwater cameras out there and has been an all-time best seller on amazon with rave reviews for several years. 

Despite its affordability this little action camera packs a serious punch!

It can shoot awesome  video HD 4K  at  60 frames per second  and can also take great 20mp photos. Plus it features excellent video stabilization. 

With its waterproof housing, which is included in the main price, the Akaso V50 can go to to 131 ft / 40 m deep!

Just remember you can’t access the touchscreen when it’s in the waterproof casing and instead must control it via two buttons which makes settings navigation a little slower. 

All the same, the user interface is simple, intuitive and easy to get used to. You can also manually adjust white balance to help with underwater colour correction. 

Users can select between three view angles and there’s also an 8 X digital zoom.

In my opinion, the Akaso V50 is the best value underwater camera for snorkelling; it’s super affordable, takes really nice underwater videos and photos and is also super easy to use as well as compact to travel with. 

(We have a main page on the cheapest underwater cameras !).

Of all the best waterproof cameras we've reviewed on this page, the Akaso Elite V50 is the cheapest.

Where to Buy:

  • Awesome Videos and Photos
  • High Quality Image Stabilization
  • Underwater Housing included
  • Easy to use
  • Adjustable White Balance
  • In its waterproof housing, it can only be controlled via 2 buttons, slowing up settings a little.
  • Zoom is digital and so images degrade when it is applied.
  • Image quality degrades in poor light

2) Best Features for Snorkeling: Panasonic DC-TS7A Lumix TS7

Waterproof to 102 feet / 31 meters , the Lumix TS7 is also drop-proof from 6.6 feet and freeze-proof to  14 degrees F. This makes it an extremely tough and durable (not to mention compact) snorkelling camera!

The Lumix TS7 makes one of the all-time best waterproof cameras for snorkeling thanks to its  electronic viewfinder – which means its easy to see the image you’re trying to capture even in bright sunlight. 

Just remember, an electronic viewfinder is less ideal as you go deeper underwater, so the Panasonic TS7 really does shine through as a snorkeling camera, not a diving one!

Another one of our favourite features of this waterproof camera is the 4.6 X optical zoom lens – this comes in seriously handy when you’re at the surface and notice an interesting subject some way below you in the water.

It can capture excellent quality photos with it’s 20.4 mp sensor as well as superb full 4K Video at 30 fps .

Because it doesn’t need to be placed in waterproof housing, the Lumix TS7’s full range of buttons, knobs and dials can be operated in the water, making it extremely quick and easy to control and operate. 

The large, 3 inch LCD display screen makes it super easy to see the shot you’re framing and there are  22 unique filter effects that can be used! Other features include optical image stabilization, panorama and WiFi integration.

The Lumix TS7 is the best of the best waterproof cameras for snorkeling, with excellent features and durability all at a very reasonable price. 

Panasonic Lumix camera

  • 4K photo feature let’s you turn 4K video frames into 8mp photos.
  • Different Shooting Modes: Underwater, Beach and Surf, Sports.
  • Long battery life.
  • Inbuilt Compass and altimeter useful on treks.
  • 20.4 mp CMOS sensor = good image quality.
  • 4.6x Optical Zoom.
  • Electronic Viewfinder.
  • Does not handle low light very well (usually only a problem if you try to dive with it). 
  • Only waterproof to 31m / 102 ft, which some deep dives go beyond. But again, this is a snorkeling camera!

3) Cheapest: Hicschon Waterproof Digital Camera

The all-time cheapest underwater camera on this page, the Hischon Waterproof Digital Camera costs even less than the Akaso V50.

Unlike other cameras on this page, which can also be taken diving, the Hischon has been designed exclusively for snorkelling, as it is only waterproof to 11 feet.

To be honest; we don’t mind this because in many other regards it’s a surprisingly high quality camera. 

For starters, it takes very good photos at an astonishing 48 mp quality and decent 4K video as well.

Unlike most waterproof cameras, there’s two displays; one at the back and one at the front; making it easy to take selfies. 

Lightweight and compact; this is a great travel camera and because it’s so cheap if it does get broken or lost, it’s no major biggy. It also includes a small drawstring bag as well as a cleaning towel and a micro SD card.

User reviews indicate that despite it’s low cost; this camera is a little complicated to use; so it’s a good idea to spend a couple of hours trying out the settings and operating modes before you take it snorkeling. 

Also, whilst the LCD screen at the back is a good size at 2.8 inches wide; some users indicated it can be hard to make out underwater in poor lighting. 

Still, for the incredibly low price it comes at, the Hiscon Waterproof Digital Camera is a great budget-option for anyone seeking an expendable holiday camera to snap awesome photos whilst snorkeling.


  • Ultra Cheap
  • High Quality Photos
  • Good Videos
  • Extra Display at Front for Selfies
  • Compact and Light
  • Only waterproof to 11ft – suitable for snorkeling but not diving
  • A little complex to use
  • Can’t always make out back display in poor lighting

4) Waterproof Case for Smart-Phones: Laynos Second Generation Black

Ok, so whilst 3) the Hischon Waterproof Cam is the cheapest camera, you can actually spend even less if you already have a smartphone by simply buying a cheap waterproof case to put it in. 

The advantage to this, besides saving money; is that these days smartphones have extremely high quality cameras; capable of taking better photos and videos than many actual cameras can.

As well as this, there’s countless apps available to help you shoot and edit videos; several of which are tailored especially towards colour correction for underwater photo and videos. Nice!

The Laynos Second generation Black smartphone waterproof casing, it let’s you safely take your beloved phone to 50 ft / 15m and also features an anti-shock corners and an anti-scratch screen protector. 

Sensitive and flexible buttons allow you to easily operate your phone through the case. This is one of the most highly rated yet affordable waterproof casings for smartphones currently on the market.  


  • Super Affordable
  • Let’s you use High Quality Camera of your SmartPhone
  • Many apps for shooting underwater available
  • Anti-Shock and Anti-Scratch
  • No actual camera – so you need a smartphone for this to work!

5) Best Action Camera for Snorkelers: GoPro Hero 11

Action cameras are small, digital cams that have been designed to record action, usually from the shooters point of view. They’re great for activities like surfing, biking, diving and yep, you’ve guessed it: snorkeling!

Without a doubt, the highest quality action cam currently available is the GoPro Hero 11, it’s the only waterproof camera that can capture 5.3k / 60fps video!

It also has a huge 27mp sensor for snapping incredibly detailed photos as well as Hypersmooth 5.0 which is the best video stabilisation tech of any underwater camera, period!

You can manually adjust the white balance and ISO settings above water and store these setups as custom presets that can be accessed underwater – with the appropriate settings this allows for awesome underwater colour correction.

There is also an extra display on the front which is perfect for taking selfies. Even without its seperatley purchased underwater housing, it is waterproof to 33ft.

GoPro are a legendary name in the action camera sphere – and the Hero 11 is one of their latest models. Despite the incredible features that it boasts, this is actually one of the cheapest waterproof cameras on our list!


  • Shoots 5.3 K full HD video = superb video quality
  • 2 LCD screens – one on back, one on front for selfies
  • 27 mp sensor = very decent picture quality (20mp photos)
  • Hyper Smooth 5.0 blast: excellent video stabilization
  • For underwater colour correction have to manually adjust white balance

(We’ve written a separate article going into full detail on underwater action cameras).

6) Best Underwater Camera for Macro: Olympus Tough TG-7

The Olympus TG-7 is quite similar to the Panasonic TS7: it can shoot 4k video at 30fps , has a 4 x optical zoom and is waterproof, meaning that all of it’s buttons and dials can be accessed underwater, allowing for easy control.

Straight out of the box, it can be taken to 15m / 50ft deep underwater and if you get it’s separate underwater housing , then it can go to 45m / 147 ft – although that’ll only be needed if you plan to scuba dive with it!

The Olympus TG-7 uses an LCD viewfinder – which performs well at depth, as a posse to the Panasonic TS7’s electronic viewfinder, which works better at the surface.  (We wrote a separate article on dive cams here ).

The Olympus Tough TG-7 is a truly excellent camera for shooting macro (small critters like shrimp or tiny seahorses) as it can focus on subjects as close as 10cm and also features a built in macro mode.

It does only have a 12 mp sensor , which means that photos aren’t going to be as crisp as those taken by the Panasonic Lumix TS7 , however the Tough TG-7 makes up for this by having RAW support and adjustable white balance.

This is a seriously easy to use camera and is actually a little cheaper than the Lumix TS7 despite having the several advantages it has over it.

It’s an extremely popular option among beginners and those who want to do a mix of snorkeling and diving.

71mwBVnGBsL._AC_SL1500_ (1)

  • Video Stabilisation
  • 4 X Optical Zoom
  • Easy to Use
  • RAW Support
  • Image quality is not as detailed as some other options due to 12mp sensor. 

7) Awesome Videos: DJI Osmo Action 4

The DJI Osmo Action 4 is budget-friendly, compact and well…not very well heard of. But it’s an underwater video shooting machine able to shoot 4K video at an impressive 120fps and with a number of special features.

First, it has a colour temperature sensor that automatically adjusts white balance to give more realistic colours underwater; no matter what the light level. 

There is also a “Vivid Underwater Setting” which syncs visual info from the colour temperature sensor for awesome underwater video detail by making video image clearer and more defined. 

The result is extremely realistic underwater colour correction with no user-effort required. That said you can also manually adjust white balance if you want. 

A front display makes it easy to take selfies; especially when used in tandem with the separately purchased selfie-stick. Plus there are 3 video stabilization modes: Rock Steady, Horizon Steady and Horizon Balancing. 

This is a really nice waterproof camera for snorkeling; it is waterproof to 26 feet / 18 meters without any underwater housing. Durable, compact and easy to use it offers awesome value for money. 

DJI have a reputation for manufacturing awesome gimbles and drone’s. They’r relatively new entrees into the action camera scene but so far they’re already making a big splash with rave reviews from users. 


  • High Quality 4K video at 120 fps
  • Automatic colour temperature adjustment
  • Vivid Underwater Mode
  • Waterproof to 26 ft without casing
  • No Macro Mode
  • Photo quality not as good as video quality

The Sealife Micro 3.0 is mainly designed for scuba diving but it also makes an excellent snorkeling camera. It comes in a fully sealed waterproof housing that makes it waterproof to 196 ft / 60 m. 

Snapping crisp 16mp photos and great 4K Videos at 60 fps it’s an awesome all-rounder for which there’s a number of separately purchased accessories such as macro lenses and underwater lighting. 

This is an exceptionally easy to use camera with a simple user interface, a large display that’s easy to see underwater and the ability to rapidly upload photos and videos on to your mac / computer via the USB charging cable.

As well as being compact; it’s suitably durable; with a shock-proof and drop-proof rubber casing making it a great option for travel. 

What really makes the Sealife Micro 3.0 stand out is the automatic white balance adjustment for realistic underwater colours. It has a diving and a shallow mode for this; the latter being perfect for snorkeling. 

These two modes are quick and easy to switch between underwater via the large piano-key style buttons. Colours come out incredibly realistic. Battery life is very decent at up to 3 hours.

Overall, this is an awesome waterproof camera for snorkeling; it’s a little more expensive than some other options but besides the underwater colour correction another advantage is that it’s also great for diving. 

FullSizeRender (6)

  • All-Rounder: Awesome 16mp Photos and 4K 60fps Video
  • Underwater Colour Correction: 2 Modes: Shallow & Deep
  • Many Accessories available
  • Also great for Diving
  •  A little more expensive than most other options

9) Most Durable Snorkeling Camera: Nikon Coolpix W300

Drop-proof to 7.9 ft, freeze-proof to 14 degrees, dustproof and waterproof to 100ft / 30m, the Nikon Coolpix W300 is the most tough as nails snorkeling camera out there. You’ll be hard pushed to break it. 

Besides its nigh invincibility and lightweight , compact build that make it ideal for travel, this is a high performing camera – it can snap 16mp photos and record full HD 4K video at 30 fps. 

Users can select from a number of shooting modes including underwater, beach, close up, snow and sport amongst others. The 5x optical zoom let’s you get closer to subjects with plenty of added detail. 

Other great features include vibration reduction for smooth footage, WiFi integration as well as AE lock in when shooting underwater video. 

An extra large grip and smart button placement make for stable one handed shooting whilst the 3 inch LCD screen is anti-reflective coated , which helps when shooting in bright light, i.e. near the surface. 

There is a dedicated tool button that gives quick access to GPS, e-compass and other tools, plus depth is displayed on the lcd screen. 

The Nikon Coolpix W300 is a seriously cool all rounder and in many ways feels like a blend of the Panasonic TS7 and the Tough TG 7, although it’s a little cheaper than both. 

With many raves reviews, this has also got to be one of the most popular snorkel cameras currently trending the market. 


  • 2 autofocus modes for video shooting.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Compact camera. 
  • Inexpensive.
  • LCD screen is coated with anti-reflective.
  • AE lock in when shooting underwater is possible.
  • Vibration reduction / video stabilization.
  • 5x optical zoom!
  • Battery life is quite short – 1 hour video recording at 1080p and less for 4k.
  • Video recording time limited to 29 minutes or when file size limit is reached.

10) Cheapest Optical Zoom Option: Fuijifilm FinePix XP130

The Fuijifilm FinePix XP130 is the cheapest waterproof camera with an optical zoom which can be magnified 5 times.

What makes an optical zoom special is that it works like an actual magnifying glass thereby providing more real detail – whereas a digital zoom as seen in most cameras is simply a glorified crop.

The downside of this waterproof camera is that it’s video quality is not quite as high as other options; being only able to shoot at 1080p / 60fps. Still, for photos, it has a 16.4 mp sensor which is pretty good and snaps decent quality images. 

The Fuijifilm Finepix XP140 is waterproof to 65 ft / 20 m, which is not only more than enough for snorkeling; it also means it can be taken on shallow scuba dives.

It uses a fixed lcd viewfinder paired with a wide angle lens to present high quality images and is also nicely complimented by a CMOS-sift optical image stabilisation that controls camera shake and minimises blur.

If your’e looking for a cheap waterproof camera with optical zoom capabilities, the Fuijifilm FinePix XP130 is a great option. The fact that it’s shockproof to 5.8 feet as well as freezeproof and super compact also makes it great for travel.


  • 5 X Optical Zoom
  • Decent Photos
  • At 1080p video resolution is lower than that of other waterproof cameras
  • No automatic underwater colour correction

Buyer's Guide: What makes a great Snorkeling Camera?

First and foremost a good snorkeling camera must be fully waterproof. Ideally it should be waterproof  without needing to be placed in underwater casing, which can limit access to some buttons, thereby slowing up controls.

That’s why 5 of the 6 snorkeling cameras we’ve reviewed (all but the cheapest option, the Akaso V50 Elite), can be operated underwater without any underwater casing.

Snorkeling cams should also be durable and compact and they shouldn’t cost too much money either as they’re usually orientated towards hobbyists. Once again, only models that meet these standards have been presented.

A good snorkel camera should have decent filming and photo specs – it ought to be able to at least film 4K and take 12 mp photos, which all of the cams on this page are capable of doing.

All the same, I’m going to be honest with you about something. Waterproof cams that are orientated towards snorkelers can take some very respectable video footage but the photos they snap will usually be of poorer quality than what your smartphone would take.

However – because waterproof cameras are both sturdier and cheaper than smartphones, they’re far more appropriate to risk at sea.

(But if you’re really serious about getting a high quality waterproof camera and you don’t mind forking out a lot of cash, check out our main page on dive cameras ).

Because snorkelers usually stay at the surface, it’s  extremely useful for a snorkeling camera to have a zoom, because that way you can get a closer shot of something that’s below without having to swim down closer to it.

Every camera in this article comes equipped with a zoom – the Akaso Elite V50 and GoPro Hero 9 have digital zooms which are pretty handy; sort of like a close up crop, however the other four snorkeling cams all have optical zooms, which are even better as they give extra detail when applied.

It’s also useful for a snorkeling camera to have image stabilisation tech as this counters for shaky video footage and makes it less blurry – once more, all the cams featured on this page have video stabilisation.

Finally, when a camera is equipped with an electronic viewfinder, it’s slightly easier to see the shot you’re framing in bright light – which a snorkeler is likely to experience, due to being at the surface.

Because of this, our favourite snorkeling camera of all time is the Panasonic Lumix TS7 , as in addition to having an optical zoom, video stabilisation, macro mode, being sturdy and waterproof without casing to 30m, it has an electronic viewfinder, so it’s easy to see what you’re doing even if the sun is out in full force!

The other cams rely on traditional lcd viewfinders, which can still be used at the surface and unlike the electronic viewfinder are better to use in low lighting, meaning they’ll actually be better for greater water depth / diving – but they still make excellent snorkeling cams as well.

Among them, is our second favourite snorkel camera: the Olympus Tough TG 6 !

buying guide

Terminology Glossary:

1) viewfinder.

This is the camera component that shows you the area of the subject that will be included in the shot.

Generally speaking, most digital cameras are built with optical viewfinders or prominent liquid-crystal display (LCD) preview screens  that can be used as convenient viewfinders in casual photography. This is the case for all the cameras we’ve reviewed, except for the Panasonic Lumix TS7 , which uses an electronic viewfinder. 

An electronic viewfinder is a separate LCD that accurately reproduces the images gathered through the lens and also displays essential camera settings, whilst also showing exposure levels.

It’s quite a bit easier to see things on an electronic viewfinder even when bright light would wash out a standard lcd display screen, so you get a better idea of how the shot will turn out.

2) Underwater / Waterproof - Casing / Housing

When we refer to underwater housing we’re talking about the protective outer casing that some cameras must be placed in, either to allow them to be placed in the water; or if they’re already waterproof, so that they can be taken to greater depths. 

Underwater casing can restrict access to most of a cameras buttons though, so it can slow up navigating through settings. Of the six snorkeling cameras we’ve reviewed only the cheapest one, the Aksao V50 Elite has to be placed in underwater casing. All of the rest are waterproof at snorkelling depths. 

3) Action Camera

A compact and generally low cost camera that’s been designed for shooting action, whilst being in the midst of it, usually from the point of view of the shooter. They’re very popular sports and adventure activity cameras and can also make great underwater cameras. 

Most are packed with a range of accessories such as a wrist strap, remote control and accessories to let you attach the camera to helmets, etc. They also include underwater housing, which they must be placed in for snorkeling and diving.

Digital zoom is like a specialised image crop – it makes a subject bigger, but it doesn’t actually provide any more detail. The Akaso Elite V50 and GoPro Hero 11 feature digital zooms. 

Optical zoom is more like the real deal, because as it’s applied it does actually provide greater detail within the image. The Panasonic Lumix TS7 ,  Tough TG 6 , Nikon W300 and Fuijifilm Finepix XP130 all feature optical zooms. 

5) 4K Video

6) mp sensor.

A megapixel (mp) is a million pixels – the term not only used for the number of pixels in an image but also for the number of image sensor elements. 

The more megapixels a camera has in it’s mp sensor, the more detail it can capture in an image. So a 16 mp sensor can capture a more detailed image than a 12 mp sensor. 

FPS stands for frames per second and it refers to how many video frames a camera can capture per second. The higher the fp, the the higher the quality of video footage. So if a camera’s max video capability is 4K at 60fps, this is better than 4K at 30fps! 

8) Image Stabilization

This refers to gyro, EIS, algorithm or other technology installed in a camera, which is able to counter for and correct shaky video footage, with the effect also being referred to as video stabilsation. We’ve only reviewed snorkeling cams that have this awesome feature. 

9) Drop-proof

This is a good indication of how durable a camera will be. A drop-proof rating of 7 ft indicates that the camera can withstand the force of being dropped from seven feet without breaking. This is more impressive than a drop-proof rating of 5ft, which would indicate a less sturdy cam. All these snorkeling cameras are durable and compact!

10) Battery Life

Refers how long the camera can keep running on a single full charge of battery. Shooting in higher video resolution will use up more battery than shooting in lower resolution. 

11) Video Resolution

Video resolution refers to the number of pixels displayed on the screen: more pixels means a higher video resolution = a better quality image. 

Video resolution level is usually described according to the width of how many pixels can be fit within each dimension – for example with 1080p video resolution there are 1080 pixels in the width, whereas for 4K resolution there is almost 4000 pixels in the width – meaning you get almost four times the detail. 

Although higher video resolution does provide more detail, as a camera reaches it’s maximum video resolution capabilities it is not able to film at as a high a frame rate as it could for lower video resolutions. Also, shooting in higher video resolution gets through battery life much faster. 

Tip for first time Underwater Photographers / Videographers:

When shooting videos or snapping photos of subjects that are underwater, there’s a few important rules to remember to make sure that the image turns out well.

We’re talking essential stuff here: such as white balance,  RAW settings and underwater filters to name a few. To find out more, take a glance at this informative article: Underwater Photography Tips for Beginners.

Diving Squad Debriefing

Splash! You’ve just finished our article on the best snorkeling cameras of 2024…how do you feel? You should feel as if every cell within your body is pulsating with in-depth knowledge of what makes a great snorkeling camera and which model is going to be the absolute best one for you!

Eh…if you don’t feel that way, maybe read the article a couple more times or if you ain’t got no more time, just take our word for it: right now the Panasonic Lumix TS7 is the best snorkeling camera out there.

Also, you can rest easy in the knowledge that we are constantly on the prowl to stay in the know how of the very best scuba gear drifting through the market. We constantly update and add to our content so know that what you’ve read today reflects the very latest knowledge on the best snorkeling cameras currently available. Trust us ;).

And if a dive camera is more what you seek, do check our main page on the best scuba cameras. 

That’s all for now folks. Diving Squad Out!


Support the Squad!

We are part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program. If you make a purchase on amazon after clicking a link on Diving Squad, we earn a small commission fee, at no extra cost to yourself. 

We are also part of several other affiliate programs so if you click on a Diving Squad affiliate link that results in you booking a liveaboard, booking accommodation, purchasing insurance or buying a product somewhere else, once more we make a small commission, without it costing you a cent extra. Thanks!

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Underwater photography: How to capture the hidden wonders of the ocean

Tuesday, 09 Apr 2024

Getting close to the ribboned sweetlips that live around vibrant coral reefs.

Underwater photography is about diving beneath the waves to capture the hidden wonders of the ocean’s life.

It allows photographers to peer into vibrant coral reefs teeming with life or view majestic marine creatures showcasing their dynamic and natural beauty.

One of the important things to know about underwater photography is understanding how light behaves as it penetrates the ocean depths. Unlike on land, where sunlight travels into the sea, water absorbs and scatters light, causing changes in colour, contrast, and visibility.

Underwater photography requires one to get up close and personal with their subjects to capture their beauty.

This effect, called attenuation, causes specific colours to fade away as one goes deeper. Reds and oranges are the first to vanish.

The water is a natural filter, absorbing longer wavelengths of light and leaving behind cooler tones as we go deeper.

This loss of colour can impact underwater photography, leading to dull and monochromatic images.

However, understanding these principles allows photographers to anticipate and compensate for the attenuation effects, ensuring the images captured retain their colours.

Photographs like that of this striped triplefin fish generally appear 25% larger when captured underwater.

Therefore, strobe lighting is used to compensate for the loss of colour underwater.

Strobes are powerful artificial lights that illuminate subjects and restore lost colour spectrums. Strategically positioning strobes and adjusting their intensity can enhance the vibrancy and clarity of the images, bringing out the natural and true beauty.

When it comes to underwater photography, photographers have two choices – either macro or wide-angle photography.

Each approach offers unique challenges and opportunities, allowing one to capture different aspects of underwater life.

Macro photography focuses on capturing small marine life and intricate details up close.

A close-up of a moray eel.

The lens used is between 60mm and 105mm to give the photographer high magnification on their subjects.

From tiny nudibranchs to delicate seahorses, macro photography allows one to capture the ocean’s tiniest inhabitants.

To excel in underwater macro photography, one has to be patient, precise, and have an eye for detail.

Capturing compelling macro images requires getting up close and personal with their subjects.

On the other hand, wide-angle photography showcases grand underwater landscapes, capturing scenes that showcase the beauty and diversity of marine environments.

A pink-eye-goby playing in the soft corals.

From vibrant coral reefs to sprawling underwater seascapes, wide-angle photography allows us to immerse ourselves in the awe-inspiring beauty of the ocean.

The lens used is between 10mm and 24mm, which allows the capture of a broad field of view.

Like landscape photography, one would have to use and apply the same composition principles, using leading lines, perspective, and natural light to create captivating images that draw viewers into the scene.

Underwater photography can also affect the apparent magnification of lenses due to the refractive properties of water.

Images or subjects are generally 25% larger than those above the surface when shooting underwater.

Understanding how sunlight penetrates the water and how colours are filtered at different depths is important in underwater photography. — Pic courtesy of ERIC GOH

Generally, wide-angle lenses may appear less magnified underwater than macro lenses, which can achieve higher magnification for capturing small details.

Underwater camera housings are also needed if you’re shooting with a mirrorless or DSLR camera.

These housings are typically made of durable materials such as polycarbonate or aluminium and are designed to withstand pressure and the seawater’s corrosive effects.

Housing designs vary, depending on the type of camera and the specific needs of underwater photographers. It has features and buttons allowing photographers to access underwater camera settings and functions.

By understanding the unique challenges and techniques of underwater photography, a diver can offer a fascinating glimpse into the hidden wonders of the sea.

So, grab the camera in your next dive to expose wonderful underwater secrets.

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Dips and Trips

Dips and Trips

Guide to Underwater Photography: Tips & Tricks for Beginning Snorkelers & Scuba Divers

Posted: March 21, 2024 | Last updated: March 21, 2024

<p>Nowadays, pretty much everyone has the ability to take photos wherever they go. Most of us carry a phone in our pockets that can take high-resolution photos and instantly post them on social media. In the strict sense of the word, all those people are essentially photographers. However, there’s still one area left where photography remains the exclusive domain of skilled, experienced and dedicated photographers—and that’s underwater photography.</p> <p>Underwater photography is nothing like “regular” photography, where you simply point at a subject or scene and press the shutter button. When your camera is submerged in water, taking a photo becomes a bit different</p> <p>In this post, we’ll offer a variety of underwater photography tips and tricks for beginning snorkelers. Hopefully, if you apply them well, you’ll be able to head home with much better photos of your snorkeling or scuba diving adventure.</p>

Nowadays, pretty much everyone has the ability to take photos wherever they go. Most of us carry a phone in our pockets that can take high-resolution photos and instantly post them on social media. In the strict sense of the word, all those people are essentially photographers. However, there’s still one area left where photography remains the exclusive domain of skilled, experienced and dedicated photographers—and that’s underwater photography.

Underwater photography is nothing like “regular” photography, where you simply point at a subject or scene and press the shutter button. When your camera is submerged in water, taking a photo becomes a bit different

In this post, we’ll offer a variety of underwater photography tips and tricks for beginning snorkelers. Hopefully, if you apply them well, you’ll be able to head home with much better photos of your snorkeling or scuba diving adventure.

<p>The first and foremost thing you should take care of is feeling comfortable in the water. If it’s your first time snorkeling, don’t try to take epic photos immediately. Focus on getting the hang of breathing and swimming first. Once you’ve managed that, you can start thinking about photographing what you’re doing.</p><p>It’s good to realize that, when it comes to underwater photography, your body is a floating device that supports your camera. Being able to swim well is essential to take great photos.</p>

Make Sure You’re Comfortable

The first and foremost thing you should take care of is feeling comfortable in the water. If it’s your first time snorkeling, don’t try to take epic photos immediately. Focus on getting the hang of breathing and swimming first. Once you’ve managed that, you can start thinking about photographing what you’re doing.

It’s good to realize that, when it comes to underwater photography, your body is a floating device that supports your camera. Being able to swim well is essential to take great photos.

<p>Obviously much thicker than air, water decreases color, sharpness and contrast. Therefore, to take the highest-quality photos possible, you need to make sure that you’re as close to your subject as possible. This is especially important if you’re snorkeling and photographing reefs.</p><p>Remember, though, that some animals and even plants may be dangerous. Do some research and know which ones you can approach and which ones you better leave alone.</p>

Get Close to Your Subject

Obviously much thicker than air, water decreases color, sharpness and contrast. Therefore, to take the highest-quality photos possible, you need to make sure that you’re as close to your subject as possible. This is especially important if you’re snorkeling and photographing reefs.

Remember, though, that some animals and even plants may be dangerous. Do some research and know which ones you can approach and which ones you better leave alone.

<p>If you’re getting close to your subject—whether it’s coral, rocks or marine life doesn’t matter—, it’s advised to use your internal flash. If you don’t, your photo will most likely be overly blue. When you use your flash, make sure that your camera’s set to auto-white balance.</p>

Use Your Flash for Close-Up Photos

If you’re getting close to your subject—whether it’s coral, rocks or marine life doesn’t matter—, it’s advised to use your internal flash. If you don’t, your photo will most likely be overly blue. When you use your flash, make sure that your camera’s set to auto-white balance.

<p>As briefly mentioned above, it’s important to do some research before you jump into the water. Underwater photography is an exciting art, but, like all other arts, it does require some preparation.</p><p>If you’re mainly photographing marine life, it’s critical to know their behavior. Could they attack? Are they poisonous? What are their swimming patterns? When are they most active? How long do marine mammals stay underwater? Those are all questions you should seek answers to.</p><p>When photographing reefs and corals, realize that their colors change the deeper you go. If you’re aware of the actual colors of sponges, corals and the like, you’ll be able to compose a better picture. Research and knowledge of your environment are equally as important as technical underwater photography skills.</p>

Know Your Subject

As briefly mentioned above, it’s important to do some research before you jump into the water. Underwater photography is an exciting art, but, like all other arts, it does require some preparation.

If you’re mainly photographing marine life, it’s critical to know their behavior. Could they attack? Are they poisonous? What are their swimming patterns? When are they most active? How long do marine mammals stay underwater? Those are all questions you should seek answers to.

When photographing reefs and corals, realize that their colors change the deeper you go. If you’re aware of the actual colors of sponges, corals and the like, you’ll be able to compose a better picture. Research and knowledge of your environment are equally as important as technical underwater photography skills.

<p>If you’re not using a simple point-and-shoot underwater camera, it’s vital to learn about the different settings on your camera, which will most likely be a DSLR with a waterproof housing.</p><p>These settings include white balance, aperture, ISO, focus, shutter speed and so on. They’re not at all the same as they would be when photographing on land/in the air. There are <a href="" rel="noopener">many books about underwater photography</a> that teach you all about this technical stuff. Once again, knowledge is important. It’s what makes something decent, great.</p>

Familiarize Yourself With Your Camera Settings

If you’re not using a simple point-and-shoot underwater camera, it’s vital to learn about the different settings on your camera, which will most likely be a DSLR with a waterproof housing.

These settings include white balance, aperture, ISO, focus, shutter speed and so on. They’re not at all the same as they would be when photographing on land/in the air. There are many books about underwater photography that teach you all about this technical stuff. Once again, knowledge is important. It’s what makes something decent, great.

<p>Although the use of the flash is helpful and sometimes necessary for close-up underwater photography, it’s not always required. Be creative and experiment. Because you’re snorkeling, there’ll always be natural light available in the water as well.</p><p>This can result in gorgeous beams of sunlight in the water, or offer opportunities to take amazing animal silhouette pictures. This point is to illustrate that there’s no absolute definition of the perfect underwater photo and is perhaps the most important one of these underwater photography tips. The best photos are created when you think outside the box.</p>

You Don’t Always Need to Use the Flash

Although the use of the flash is helpful and sometimes necessary for close-up underwater photography, it’s not always required. Be creative and experiment. Because you’re snorkeling, there’ll always be natural light available in the water as well.

This can result in gorgeous beams of sunlight in the water, or offer opportunities to take amazing animal silhouette pictures. This point is to illustrate that there’s no absolute definition of the perfect underwater photo and is perhaps the most important one of these underwater photography tips. The best photos are created when you think outside the box.

<p>It’s not because you’re photographing a huge shark, school of brightly colored fish or friendly sea turtle that your photo will be a stand-out one. Awesome pictures are made and require some pre-thought. They don’t just happen.</p><p>Underwater photography is a form of photography, so the rules of composition apply here as well. Learn about framing, movement, the rule of thirds, lighting, leading lines,…</p>

Composition Is Critical

It’s not because you’re photographing a huge shark, school of brightly colored fish or friendly sea turtle that your photo will be a stand-out one. Awesome pictures are made and require some pre-thought. They don’t just happen.

Underwater photography is a form of photography, so the rules of composition apply here as well. Learn about framing, movement, the rule of thirds, lighting, leading lines,…

<p>Theoretical knowledge is virtually useless if you don’t know how to put it into practice. So, this is a keyword that applies to all these underwater photography tips. Practice. Take as many photos as you can, whenever you’re snorkeling. Experiment with different settings, snorkel at different times of the day, even in different kinds of weather. You can even practice in your own backyard pool.</p><p>Look and analyze your photos on your computer afterward. If you do this regularly, you’ll soon understand which settings and environmental conditions make for the best photos. Learning can only happen by doing and comparing. Practice, practice, practice.</p>

Practice, Practice, Practice

Theoretical knowledge is virtually useless if you don’t know how to put it into practice. So, this is a keyword that applies to all these underwater photography tips. Practice. Take as many photos as you can, whenever you’re snorkeling. Experiment with different settings, snorkel at different times of the day, even in different kinds of weather. You can even practice in your own backyard pool.

Look and analyze your photos on your computer afterward. If you do this regularly, you’ll soon understand which settings and environmental conditions make for the best photos. Learning can only happen by doing and comparing. Practice, practice, practice.

<p>As essential as all these underwater photography tips may be to improve your skills and end results, it’s also important not to get carried away. Remember that you’re not snorkeling to take photos, but that you take photos just because you’re snorkeling. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience of being one with the magnificent underwater world.</p>

Most of All, Enjoy!

As essential as all these underwater photography tips may be to improve your skills and end results, it’s also important not to get carried away. Remember that you’re not snorkeling to take photos, but that you take photos just because you’re snorkeling. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience of being one with the magnificent underwater world.

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