Greatest underwater cameras 2023

Because of improvements made in each software program and {hardware}, trendy underwater cameras can seize Extremely HD footage, billions of colours, and extreme-resolution images – they usually’re smaller than a bar of cleaning soap. We’re speaking, after all, about action cameras, similar to these from GoPro and DJI. It’s also possible to reap the benefits of the huge energy of a mirrorless SLR camera for those who pair it with an underwater housing to maintain it dry.


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I have been within the skilled pictures enterprise for a very long time now, and I’ve discovered by expertise what to search for in a digicam. Underwater cameras are not any totally different. They could be small and constructed for submersion, however they nonetheless have sensors, lenses, video specs, codecs, and autofocus. There’s lots to contemplate. To compile this record of the perfect underwater cameras, I drew from my very own skilled expertise and referred to as upon my fellow digicam specialists at Pocket-lint. Right here, we current our high suggestions.


Greatest underwater cameras: Our specialists’ 5 favorites

DJI Osmo Action 4 Camera

DJI Osmo Motion 4

1. Greatest general underwater digicam

The most recent and biggest in underwater digicam know-how

With improved water resistance, 4K120p video, superior stabilization, and an accessible worth, the DJI Osmo Motion 4 units the gold normal for underwater cameras.

Execs

  • Wonderful low-light efficiency due to the 1/1.3-inch sensor
  • In a position to shoot in 10-bit D-Log M colour profile
  • Lengthy-lasting battery life can report 150 minutes of footage
  • Nice worth for the worth
  • Waterproof as much as depths of 18 meters
Cons

  • Dearer than its predecessor with few upgrades
  • It has a little bit of a studying curve to grasp all its features

The DJI Osmo Motion 4 has all of it: 4K 120p video, superior colour profiles, a 2.5-hour battery life, and cutting-edge stabilization know-how. However what actually units it other than the competitors is its sensor. With an unprecedented dimension of 1/1.3-inches, it is able to capturing colour and light-weight info within the shadowy depths of the ocean. That is an enormous win for underwater pictures, because it means you will not all the time want a flash to shoot in low-lighting.

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It would look the identical because the final one, but it surely has a a lot bigger sensor inside. Is it price upgrading?

It is an motion digicam, so it is designed for hands-free capturing. Past the preliminary setup, you actually do not must do a lot to attain attractive footage – merely permit the autofocus, auto-white stability, and auto publicity to create their magic. In fact, you’ll be able to nonetheless modify the settings to your liking, even underwater, for the reason that touchscreen is responsive and intuitive. And for the purists on the market, there is a guide publicity mode, as effectively.

The DJI Osmo Motion 4 can dip beneath the floor to depths of 18 meters, which is about 59 ft. It additionally performs exceptionally effectively within the chilly. The battery retains trucking in sub-zero temperatures, delivering about 150 minutes of recording time. The result’s peace of thoughts as you dive deep, as this factor is constructed to endure.

With the reasonably priced worth and immense energy of the DJI Osmo Motion 4, it is laborious to suggest anything for underwater pictures and filmmaking. That is actually the cutting-edge, but it is easy to make use of for each novices and execs. There are a few different choices price contemplating, however the DJI Osmo Motion 4 units the usual.

GoPro Hero 12 Black Leaked Render (1)

GoPro Hero 12 Black

2. Greatest beneath water digicam video decision

The decision revolution is right here, and it is led by GoPro

$349 $399 Save $50

The GoPro Hero 12 Black boasts a max video decision of 5.8K60p and a max depth of 10 meters, giving it the ability to seize underwater particulars with beautiful sharpness.

Execs

  • HyperSmooth 6.0 stabilization is the perfect within the biz
  • 10-bit colour and GP Log colour profile
  • As much as 70 minutes of steady recording
  • Improved HDR mode
Cons

  • Not like its predecessors, it lacks GPS
  • Not a large improve over the more-affordable GoPro Hero 11

The Hero 12 Black is GoPro’s newest flagship, and the deal with video is evident. With a 5.8K60p most decision, 10-bit colour, GP-Log, and a brand new HDR video mode, it heralds in a recent technology of motion cameras. Underwater artists may even recognize GoPro’s improvements in stabilization. Their up to date HyperSmooth 6.0 works wonders to maintain fast-moving frames clean and freed from movement blur.

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Pocket-lint’s former digicam professional, Luke Baker, mentioned that it was “the perfect GoPro but, however solely simply.” He hedged his reward, for the reason that Hero 12 isn’t drastically different from its predecessor, the Hero 11. Nevertheless, the upgrades are nonetheless noticeable.

This newest mannequin presents a 9:16 facet ratio, the aforementioned HyperSmooth 6.0, and a considerably stronger battery life. The Hero 11’s Enduro battery can report HD footage for about 2 hours, whereas the Hero 12’s battery lasts over 2.5 hours. Much more spectacular, this new battery is extra proof against chilly, so sub-zero temps will not sap the cost as rapidly.

Sony A7R iv camera

Sony Alpha a7R IV

3. Greatest full-frame digicam for use with housing

Skilled gear for skilled shoots

$2998 $3200 Save $202

If a bit of motion digicam simply will not lower it, the Sony a7R IV mixed with an underwater housing will ship the pro-level underwater footage you search.

Execs

  • 4K video at 30fps
  • Unbelievable hybrid autofocus
  • 5-axis SteadyShot stabilization
  • 61MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
Cons

  • Sony’s notorious battery life is healthier, however nonetheless not nice
  • Costly

Ikelite 200DL Underwater Camera housing for A7r iV

Ikelite 200DL Underwater Housing for a7R IV

Greatest underwater housing add on

The highest safety on your valuable gear

Execs

  • Full button controls
  • Wonderful sturdiness
  • Simple to make use of and setup
  • Rated for as much as 60 meters of depth
Cons

  • Costly
  • Fairly hefty at 4.7 kilos

We have praised the Sony a7R IV earlier than, however its accolades are price repeating. This full-frame mirrorless powerhouse is able to 4K video, 61MP images, and a particularly superior stabilization know-how referred to as SteadyShot. This makes it an incredible digicam for underwater capturing, as it could possibly seize secure, sharp footage in tremendous low lighting – no flash required.

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One other large benefit to make the most of for underwater pictures is the hybrid autofocus. It makes use of 567 detection factors, combining each distinction and section detection, to lock its focus rapidly and precisely. It really works splendidly underwater, and you too can make use of clever subject-tracking to faucet a goal and let the autofocus do the remainder. It maintains a pointy deal with fast-moving topics like fish and swimmers, at the same time as they alter their distance.

However to make use of the a7R IV underwater, you may want underwater housing. Our favourite is the Ikelite 200DL, which is particularly designed for the a7R IV and the a7R V. (In the event you want an underwater housing for a unique digicam mannequin, Ikelite has tons of custom-fitted choices.) The 200DL has perfectly-fitted buttons and knobs for adjusting zoom and focus, and the clear backing provides you full visibility of the display. Most significantly, the housing is waterproof as much as 60 meters, so the peace of thoughts it brings is well worth the premium price ticket.

DJI Osmo Action 3-1

DJI Osmo Motion 3

4. Greatest worth underwater digicam

A small value for giant returns

$279 $329 Save $50

The DJI Osmo Motion 3 might lack a number of of the flamboyant new options of its sequel, but it surely nonetheless holds its personal as among the best motion cameras in the marketplace.

Execs

  • Tremendous light-weight and compact
  • Max video decision of 4K at 120fps
  • Combines three stabilization software program for clean video
  • Comparatively budget-friendly
Cons

  • 12MP picture decision is not pro-grade
  • Might require firmware updates for full video capabilities

We picked the DJI Osmo Motion 4 as our high general underwater digicam, however its predecessor is almost just as good. Plus, it is fairly a bit cheaper. In actual fact, when the Pocket-lint crew first reviewed the DJI Osmo Motion 3, we gave it a virtually good rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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On paper, the Osmo Motion 3 looks as if it might show to be an actual rival to GoPro’s market dominance, so we got down to see the way it shapes up.

It is actually a “actual rival to GoPro’s market dominance,” with Wi-Fi live-streaming, a superior battery efficiency in comparison with the Hero 11 Black, and a video decision of 4K/120p. And for underwater explorers, it could possibly attain depths of 16 meters. The place DJI excels is of their user-friendly designs. With two shows, one on the entrance, one on the again, the Osmo Motion 3 provides you full touchscreen controls.

They usually work underwater. You possibly can allow the wonderful stabilization modes, similar to HorizonSteady, to maintain your footage wanting clean, and the 10-bit colour recording is there for the taking. The record of spectacular specs goes on for some time, so it is price testing. And as soon as you have learn by all of the totally different strengths of the Osmo Motion 3, the worth proves to be the cherry on high.

Gopro Hero 11 Black Mini

GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini

5. Greatest super-mini dimension for underwater video

5.3K video from a digicam the dimensions of a matchbox

$249 $299 Save $50

The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini could be small, but it surely incorporates extremely superior {hardware} that excels in underwater pictures.

Execs

  • Funds-friendly worth
  • Sharp, attractive 5.3K60p video
  • Excellent dimension for sporting as first-person perspective
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization
Cons

  • No nonetheless picture mode; you need to seize screenshots
  • No display, solely a primary show on the highest

There’s actually no rival for the GoPro Hero 11 Black, a minimum of not at this dimension. This mind-blowingly tiny digicam packs a punch, with 5.3K60p video capabilities and a weight of solely 4.7 ounces. And for all that tininess, it could possibly nonetheless attain underwater depths of as much as 10 meters. Add the GoPro protecting housing, and it could possibly dive even deeper.

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The GoPro Hero 11 Black is not for everybody, for the reason that lack of a display is an enormous level of competition. It is extra of a point-and-shoot than a full-fledged pro-level motion digicam, however the automated settings ship wonderful footage with out a problem.

In the event you’re searching for one thing that you could strap to your chest or brow, click on the report button, and begin documenting your underwater adventures, the GoPro Hero 11 Black is the proper choose. It is tremendous reasonably priced, too.

The underside line: What’s the perfect underwater digicam?

We suggest the DJI Osmo Motion 3 for its good 4K HDR video and glorious waterproof construct. It could actually deal with depths as little as 16 meters, which is greater than sufficient for many dives. Better of all, for all its strengths and superior options, it comes at an reasonably priced worth.

There are different fashions price consideration as effectively. Those who need greater resolutions would do effectively with the GoPro Hero 12 Black, which delivers an unimaginable 5.3K60p video decision and 27MP images. And for many who merely cannot half with their full-frame mirrorless cameras, an underwater SLR digicam housing could be well worth the funding. We suggest the Sony A7R IV for this method, however you too can take a look at the opposite custom-fitted underwater housings obtainable on B&H to match your explicit digicam.

DJI Osmo Action 4 (16)

DJI Osmo Motion 4

Editor’s Selection

How we selected the perfect underwater cameras

Our crew consists of pictures execs, tech gurus, and A/V specialists, and collectively we got here up with the next record of priorities to deal with when searching for an underwater digicam.

Waterproofing: That is actually an important a part of an underwater digicam, since you may get about one probability to check its underwater efficiency by yourself. It is sink or swim. Happily, the “ingress safety code,” or IP ranking, is a standardized system that provides an correct indication of a product’s diploma of waterproofing. Thus, you’ll be able to search for a digicam’s IP code to find out how well-protected it’s in water.

The ranking is given in two digits within the kind IP##. The primary signifies the tightness of the camera-body’s seal. For underwater cameras, this worth must be the utmost attainable ranking of 6, which implies it is fully “dust-tight” and vacuum-tested. The second digit is extra vital. It is the waterproof ranking, the place a worth of seven or greater means the system may be totally immersed in water.

1:02

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Producers will make claims about how deep their cameras can go. Our high choose, the DJI Osmo Motion 3, for instance, is alleged to be able to reaching depths of 16 meters. Whereas these claims aren’t as trustable because the IP code, they’re nonetheless price contemplating. In actual fact, it is probably that the majority producers are overly conservative of their estimates with a purpose to defend themselves from legal responsibility.

Video specs: Right now’s cameras are able to extraordinarily excessive resolutions and body charges. We contemplate 4K to be the minimal, however you also needs to take a look at the max attainable body fee. For underwater footage, we suggest body charges of 60fps and above, since marine life strikes quick. Such excessive body charges will also be used for gradual movement.

Colour is one other vital facet of underwater video. Distinction and colour heat are tremendously diminished beneath the floor, so this is likely one of the few digicam endeavors the place we suggest HDR. It’s also possible to verify the utmost colour depth, such because the DJI Osmo Motion 3’s 10-bit colour depth, to verify it is wealthy.

Different video specs to search for are stabilization tech and facet ratio. DJI makes use of its HorizonSteady know-how to cut back movement blur and body jumps, whereas GoPro makes use of HyperSmooth. Each work exceptionally effectively, and we suggest enabling such stabilizers always. For facet ratio, 16:9 is mostly most popular, because it matches the size of most shows.

Picture specs: The primary spec to verify is the utmost decision of stills, which is given in MegaPixels (MP). We choose resolutions of 20MP or greater, since they’re giant sufficient to crop the body and make edits in submit.

It’s also possible to take freeze frames out of your video footage to take high-quality nonetheless pictures. That is really a lot simpler than making an attempt to snap a photograph on the proper second, since a 4K video at 60fps is successfully the identical as burst capturing mode. Alternatively, some cameras have RAW picture sorts, which can present larger decision and colour info than a body from a video.

Ease of use: In the event you’re swimming round, you do not wish to get caught twiddling with menus and complex button layouts. Thus, underwater cameras must be straightforward to make use of. Most are managed through a touchscreen, and that touchscreen ought to work easily underwater. That is additionally a time to allow your automated publicity, focus, and white stability tech. Finally, we wish an underwater digicam that you could arrange earlier than you submerge and go away working when you discover the depths. That additionally means it ought to have an excellent battery life, someplace within the vary of two hours.

Worth worth: You possibly can rating a water-resistant motion digicam with high-quality video capabilities for beneath $500. They’re additionally compact, straightforward to make use of, and full of adventure-ready options like picture stabilization and HDR. Certainly, the most recent technology of motion cameras are well-worth their worth.

However if you wish to take skilled footage that appears such as you ripped it from the BBC, the worth of entry skyrockets. That is since you’ll not solely want a high quality digicam and lens, however you may additionally must spend money on an underwater housing to maintain it dry. Such housing can value a number of grand, and settling for an inexpensive possibility places your digicam in danger.

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Do I want any equipment to make use of an underwater digicam?

You do not want equipment, however for motion cameras just like the GoPro, they might help lots. Motion cameras are small, so that they’re laborious to regulate with simply your arms. We suggest getting a selfie stick that may deal with getting moist. Alternatively, you’ll be able to check out totally different mounts, like a head mount or a chest mount. These give a first-person perspective to your footage, they usually unlock your arms for swimming. It’s also possible to add a distant shutter to your equipment, so you do not have to take away the digicam from the mount each time you wish to begin rolling.

One other nifty software is a distant flash. As you descend in water, it will get darkish quick. Use a light-weight and waterproof LED flash bulb to light up your topics. You do not have to splurge on one thing tremendous fancy, both, since there are lots of fashions on the market which might be each reasonably priced and efficient.

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How can I enhance my underwater pictures?

Water has a singular impact on gentle. It absorbs it, after all, but it surely additionally warps its path. The result’s an more and more larger lack of brightness, colour, and sharpness with distance. Thus, you need to attempt to get as near your topic as attainable to seize all that gentle info earlier than it will get distorted by the water.

The equipment we talked about above will assist to enhance the standard of your underwater pictures. A distant flash not solely brightens up your topic, however it is going to additionally improve the reflective colour patterns of fish scales, marine vegetation, and different pure hues. My dad is a scuba diver and photographer, and his underwater images are unimaginable, which is the place I’ve discovered a whole lot of my finest ideas.

He is snapped pictures of large groupers lurking amongst multicolored corals, clownfish peeking out of their anemone abodes, and rainbowfish as they streak by the ocean (take a look at the grouper captured within the ’80s on one among his journeys beneath). However virtually equally goliath, have been the dimensions of his underwater cameras. From the period of film-stock and incandescent flashes, they have been heavy, cumbersome, and tremendous delicate. Right now’s underwater cameras are an entire totally different breed. But when he might get a lovely high quality picture just like the one beneath on an older, bulkier system, I’ve religion with the following tips, some follow, and a digicam like those above, you can too.

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