Being under the water, or snorkeling in particular is a memorable and unique experience that deserves to be recorded in our mind. You need the best underwater camera for snorkeling to help you document your own experiences to share with others. Underwater cameras are waterproof and shockproof, providing you the ability to capture every moment with the best quality.
However, it’s hard for unprofessionals to understand all the figures being advertised on the Internet in order to choose the best underwater camera for snorkeling. Each comes with its own pros and cons, in this buying guide from JetLev, we review the best 13 cameras, with a variety of prices and features. All you need to do is to find the one that matches your preference and budgets.
quick comparison of Best Underwater Camera For Snorkeling
Best for budget
Best for multi-purpose
Best for multi-function
Detailed Reviews Of Top 13 Best Underwater Camera For Snorkeling
GoPro is one of the most reliable names when it comes to underwater cameras for snorkeling. Its latest model, GoPro Hero Black 8, is the result of smart innovation and minimal design. A critical improvement compared with the GoPro Hero Black 7 is the fold-out feet, which can be attached easily on anywhere. The feet fold out like butterfly wings, resembling the design of a traditional action camera mount. The exterior design is also enhanced with smaller and more portable size, which can be put into the skinnies jeans!
Considering the quality of image and video, GoPro Hero Black 8 can be regarded as the best underwater camera for snorkeling as it provides a high level of stabilization with its Hyperboost feature. The camera is able to give you stunning footage in both light and dark. The content shooted by this camera has less noise compared to other action cameras.
Another impressive feature of GoPro Hero Black 8 is the TimeWarp 2.0 to record time lapse video at the speed of 30fps and 4K quality. This feature only is a big winning point in the field of underwater cameras.
If you want to save me money but still want a GoPro high – quality camera, GoPro 7 is the reasonable choice. It has 90% of GoPro Hero Black 8 with portable design and amazing features for underwater video. It only ranks second in the competition for the best underwater camera for snorkeling because it does not mount fingers and a wide range of mods like GoPro Hero Black 8.
The newly upgraded features in GoPro 8 are mainly for talkative vloggers with slightly better audio and more shooting modes. If you are producing videos with little or unimportant voices, GoPro Hero Black 7 is just a better option to save a few bucks.
Panasonic Lumix LX10 is a compact yet powerful digital camera. With a fast 24 – 72 mm equivalent built – in lents and a 20.1- megapixel 1 – inch type sensor, it is able to give us the best images out of its peers produced by Panasonic. The image quality can satisfy many professionals (4K Video and 4K Photos together with many customized options) and it is easy to use for beginners. It has a touchscreen display and user – friendly interface.
It has a wide variety of shooting modes such as Clear Portrait, Clear in Backlight, Vivid Sunset Glow, Glistening Water, Clear Nightscape. It performs well in low-light situations thanks to the fast lens and good high ISO performance.
However, it is not 100% perfect. It still has trivial drawbacks such as the slippery exterior design. To use it underwater, you should be ready to get an excellent waterproof housing case together with other accessories (molds, grips, etc.).
Panasonic Lumix LX10 is already an exceptional one in terms of the best underwater camera for snorkeling, but it dates back from 2014. If you want a newer and upgraded version, Panasonic has recently put the Lumix LX10 II on shelves. It has all the outstanding features of the first version with a few favorable improvements.
The most important change is the sensor. It is enhanced from a 16MP chip to a 21.MP chip, implying that the details in videos and photos are much better with LX10 II. The level of detail is preserved well around ISO 3200. That’s why expert photographers, professional travelling video makers are all in love with this camera. For beginners, it brings natural and nice colors even with default settings and easy to use with a smart arrangement of buttons.
A feature that we hope it will improve in the next LX10 is the fixed touchscreen. While the shooting modes and features encourage us to be creative with shooting videos, the fixed screen prevents us from experimenting with different angles.
Sony names this camera ‘Premium’ as it is premium regarding both price and quality. Sony RX100 series is already popular with travelling vloggers and video makers owing to its superior quality.
RX100 VII Premium version has a 24-200mm lens, a high-speed shooting and latest-gen AF system is amazing. Sony has tried to put a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor into a compact camera, meaning that more minimal outside but better quality inside. Thus, it offers the most value to professionals who want to experiment with many styles.
For beginners and intermediate video makers, it is not really a good bargain because you may not need all of these amazing features. Some experts comment that Sony has overwhelmed customers with a complicated mixture of features, which leads to an obvious consequence: the buttons are small and difficult to get used to.
A cheaper alternative to GoPro camera is a Dragon Touch 4K action camera. This camera is the best underwater camera for snorkeling if you are a beginner with the camera world. It offers almost the same features as GoPro cameras: 4K Ultra HD, 4x zoom, 16 MP resolution and a 170 – degree wide – angle lens. Both professional and amateur video makers love Dragon Touch also because it gives us an impressive number of features such as driving mode, image rotation, time-lapse, loop recording, slow motion and exposure. For underwater activities, we just need to use a waterproof case to capture our moments of snorkeling, surfing or swimming.
Another immense advantage of Dragon Touch is that you can save a few more dollars for accessories. You can either buy the camera with some accessories related to your activities such as bicycle and helmet mounts, tethers, rechargeable batteries, etc. or you can buy a whole package.
The only drawback of Dragon Touch 4K is the instability of video quality. It can not handle shock or give you a high level of stabilization as GoPro cameras. The battery life is also shorter compared to GoPro, thus, increasing yourbudget for a few bucks to get rechargeable batteries.
AKASO EK700 Sports Camera is also a strong competitor in the battle for the best underwater camera for snorkeling. With a slightly higher price compared to Dragon Touch 4K and still much cheaper than GoPro Cameras, it is surprisingly suitable for any underwater or sports activities. In terms of exterior design, AKASO EK7000 looks 90% the same as GoPro: minimal and portable size, similar mount connection, even the identical packaging. Considering features, it has 4K video, time lapse, burst mode, and built-in wifi–check. In other ways, it can give you almost every type of footage you want with an excellent quality regarding its price.
Some imperfections of AKASO EK700 include the 4K mode is limited to 25fps. It means that if you are a professional video maker, you need to consider it carefully. If you are like me, just want to capture some memorable experiences, 25 fps makes no difference on social media. In addition, AKASO EK7000 can not give you smooth footage as GoPro cameras, particularly in some activities like mountain cycling. However, for underwater videos (which do not include many sudden movements), this problem can be solved easily afterwards in the editing process.
Another economical alternative is the APEMAN A80. At a lower price in the range of action cameras, APEMAN offers 4K video at 24fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps, and 720p at 30, 60 and 120fps. A noticeable feature of this camera is the accessory bundle, which saves money and satisfies the need of new video makers. The bundle comes in a convenient zipping case and includes waterproof housing, open mount with standard tripod screw, a shirt clip, adapters, clamp mount, batteries, cables, etc.
Testing the quality image, we see that the image is not as clear and excellent as other action cameras, however, at the price under $100, it is still a favorable option. The advice from experts is to avoid too bright scenes, otherwise, your videos would be overexposed or blurry.
If you still want a basic, simple camera just producing good footage underwater, Panasonic Lumix DMC FT30 is the one for you. It has a strong appearance and is easy to bring with you on any trips. It is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof.
Panasonic Lumix DMC FT30 gives you a 2.3in LCD screen, a two-step shutter, a separate button to initiate video recordings, and a typical array of menu navigation buttons on the rear. The design is user – friendly and suitable for all kinds of users.
However, you need to be ready for an LCD screen which can not be seen in direct sunlight or too bright an environment. It will cause some troubles when you shoot videos outside, particularly under the sun. Another drawback is the lack of a lens cover. You need to always clean the lens to remove any dusts, water or fog, otherwise, the footage will be unsatisfactory.
One feature that Panasonic Lumix excels at is creating multi – purpose cameras. The Lumix DMC – TS30 is a waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof camera which can be used in many outdoor activities and in a wide range of environments: from underwater to dry land. Some of the outstanding features are 16.1 MP CCD and an 8X Intelligent Zoom. It gives you crystal clear images even in dark environments and accurate focus. Intelligent Auto Mode and Scene Mode provide us the ability to shoot in many situations such as Sunset, Starry Sky, Night Scenery, etc.
A noteworthy point making Panasonic LUMIX DMC – TS30 the best underwater camera for snorkeling is the Advanced Underwater Mode. It compensates for the red tones lost in the underwater environment, saving us a lot of editing efforts. The navigation panel shows us the specific settings for Sports, Snow, Beach and Snorkeling.
Some drawbacks include inability to handle too much brightness and stabilization problems. You need to be careful and should not let sunlight hit the lens directly. The stabilization is not as excellent as other action cameras, implying that you may need to purchase additional accessories or more effort in the editing process.
Olympus Tough TG – 6 is a famous name for both professional and amateur video makers in terms of underwater videos. It has many white balance presets for underwater: Shallow setting for 10 – feet (3 – meters), Mid Range for 10 – 50 feet (3 – 15 meters) and Deep for below 50 feet (below 15 meters). For shooting mode, it has five preset shooting modes: Snapshot, Wide, Macro, Microscope, and HDR. These details are attractive especially if you are into many underwater activities.
Other features include superb lenses to deal with different levels of brightness) and the power to give us satisfaction in both photos and videos. It is also waterproof (50 feet /15 meter), dust proof, shockproof (7 feet / 2.1 meter), crush proof (100kgf), freeze proof (14 degree Fahrenheit / -10 degree Celsius ), anti fog.
However, Olympus Tough TG-6 is not 100% perfect. With a higher price than other action cameras, you need to consider your decision thoroughly. A minor drawback like the relatively small sensor (sometimes creating noisy and blurry background) may be the decisive factor for a professional video maker.
When it comes to exterior design, Nikon Coolpix Camera looks reliable and tough with smart arrangement of buttons. This may sound minor, however, for beginners in video making, these buttons allow us to quickly turn on flash, macro, timer and exposure compensation mode as well as specific scene shooting mode. It is also lighter than Olympus Tough and has a textured surface on the right side and the area on the back for your thumb. These characteristics are useful when you have no or little experience carrying the camera around.
For features and shooting modes, Nikon appears to be relatively similar to Olympus: 4K underwater videos, strong in a wide range of environments, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Wifi built – in. However, its quality is slightly lower compared with Oympus Tough TG – 6, particularly in dim light environments.
If you are a beginner in video making and has a medium budget, Nikon Coolpix W300 is actually a reasonable investment. Considering its price, this camera brings us more than our expectations.
This camera is likely to catch the eyes of us when we surf the shopping web. It has an attractive, colorful and cute exterior design along with more affordable price (in comparison with Olympus Tough and Nikon Coolpix).
Considering its design and features, it is just a bargain. The buttons are arranged nicely, the battery and memory card door with a rotating lock mechanism give us the security, particularly in underwater environments.
In terms of features, we cannot expect more at a very reasonable price: it just gives us all we need for a holiday and personal travelling video. It produces videos with the same quality as your high-end smartphones in underwater environments. It is 25-metre waterproof, 1.8m shockproof which can tolerate harsh conditions in many trips.
Guide to choose the best underwater camera for snorkeling
Here are some important criteria for you to consider before making a purchase:
Most underwater cameras are also made for other outdoor activities. Some will have specific features for underwater videos and lower price.
Considering whether your purpose is professional and recreational is also a big question you need to ask yourself. 4K videos and nearly 4K videos sometimes make no difference on social media platforms. Even a vlog on Youtube requires just a basic camera with a good waterproof housing!
If you’re an occasional diver, consider an option that does not require an expensive waterproof housing.
Of course, we need to be careful about money with a clear plan in mind including a range of price, essential accessories and maybe your editing skills, too!
Some cameras will have a bundle of accessories to go with, offering you a bargain but you may need to purchase and choose accessories on your own for some others.
If you are a beginner, you should learn some technical words and dimensions such as:
Housing availability and accessibility
A waterproof housing can be bought easily on the Internet with a wide range of price. That’s why you need to ask some questions such as:
Choosing the best underwater camera for snorkeling is not difficult as you think. Consider your own wants and needs carefully, list out the features you need and make your own decision. The best underwater camera for snorkeling is not the most expensive or the one that has most features. It is the most suitable for you!
Best for Beginners, For Recreational purpose only
Best for Professionals
Best for low-light performance
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