Underwater photography is a skill and an art form for many. The world under water is different and capturing it on your camera is one of the best feelings you will ever get. But when making a choice for the best camera for underwater photography, you have to focus on a lot of aspects of the camera and not just its waterproofing feature. Underwater cameras need special lenses and unique technology that can capture clear images even when submerged and only a handful cameras can do that. Here in underwater video camera reviews, we are going to compare the best underwater digital camera on various yardsticks to find out which one of them is an ideal buy.
- 1 Characteristics of a good underwater camera
- 2 Underwater digital camera reviews
- 3 Comparison
- 4 Verdict
Characteristics of a good underwater camera
The most prominent points that should be considered in any underwater camera are:
- Camera Resolution: As a rule, the camera price increases with increase in resolution. Therefore, you should judge your priorities and expenses accordingly before deciding on the suitable resolution for your purpose. Since high-resolution cameras deliver enormous picture data, you will require a memory card with a much higher limit.
- Zoom: Creating the photos underwater is quite difficult as your flexibility is restricted and your capacity to achieve the best viewpoint is more difficult as compared to normal conditions. Thus, you will require a camera with greater zoom abilities. Some marine objects are suitable for being shot from a shorter distance while others have to be shot from a farther distance. To have the capacity to do this, you will require a camera with great Zoom-in and zoom-out abilities.
- Camera controls and their position: Taking photos underwater is not as simple as shooting pictures on the land. Before making a buy, ensure that the controlling buttons are sufficiently large, and they are located in open spots. To facilitate your picture shooting, the camera controls ought to be in open.
- Depth: Most underwater cameras can go 10m deep into the water. Many new ones can easily stay waterproof and go much deeper. However, if you are just an amateur scuba diver, you would not go below 10m.
Underwater digital camera reviews
A little research will help you find the best underwater digital camera. A camera having suitable controls, zoom abilities, right resolution, and ISO rating in accordance with your regular use will deliver incredible underwater pictures.
GoPro HERO4 SILVER
If you are in the market hunting for the best underwater camera, you will not find many camera models that can outperform GoPro in either its efficient waterproofing or its fantastic picture and video quality inside water. GoPro is built keeping in mind the adventure side of the life and this camera is specially made for harsh conditions. There are no other cameras as sturdy as the GoPro HERO4 SILVER. The various features that make this camera a standout performer in the group are as follows.
- This camera comes with a built-in touch display
- One touch settings button
- Shot frames
- Option to playback videos and photos in camera
- Simplified menu for user-friendly experience
- The camera quality is 12 Mega Pixels
- This camera can capture high-quality images at speeds up to 30fps
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Built in WI-FI
- GoPro App allows remote control over camera
- Protune to give you enhanced quality videos and images
- Comes with various ISO limits, exposure limits that needs to be checked
- Night photo lapse for time lapse photos
- Auto low light feature to adjust automatically to low light surroundings
- Automatically adjusts the frame rates
- New improved sound recording for better sound capture
- Ultra wide angled glass lens
- Comes in with three selectable FOV features
- Quick capture option allows to record automatically
- Super view technology used in the camera gives world’s most immersive wide angled view.
- This camera stays waterproof even when submerged up to 40 meters deep into the water.
- Waterproofing: This camera is the best underwater camera because it can go deepest of all other waterproof cameras available in the market and also deliver the most stunning picture quality. The camera can be submerged as deep as 40 meters inside the water before it loses its waterproofing abilities.
- Built in Bluetooth and WI-FI: Another major advantage of using this camera is that it has all the latest technology in it. You can directly send the photos and videos from this camera to your smartphone using the Bluetooth technology, and you can also use the WI-FI directly from the camera to access the GoPro app where again there is lots of stuff to do.
- Wide angled camera lens: Another feature that makes this GoPro camera one of the best in the segment of best underwater cameras is the fact that this camera comes with the super view technology. This enables this camera to shoot the widest possible frame even when submerged under water. This ensures you will never miss out on any finer detail.
- Camera lens: Mega Pixels have often confused a lot of us regarding what it means. Mega Pixels are not the only reason for a great photo, but they do have a considerable impact on the quality of picture you capture. This camera has a 12 Mega Pixel lens thus it ensures that you will always catch sharp images that will not get easily distorted.
- Enhanced sound quality: One area where GoPro has improved immensely over the past couple of years is the sound quality. Earlier models were always culprits of a not so good sound quality, but GoPro HERO4 SILVER indeed has solved all such issues, and you get high definition quality audio recording on this camera.
- Battery life: If there is one problem where this underwater digital camera lacks the world class quality is its battery life. Sometimes one set of batteries is not enough to get you through the day and hence you should always keep an extra set of batteries with you just to be sure you never run out of batteries while capturing incredible moments.
- Cost: GoPro HERO4 SILVER is one of the most expensive cameras in this segment, and this too is a constraint for someone who does not want to shed out so much money out of his pockets. There are budget options available in the market under the underwater camera segment.
GeekPro 2.0 Plus Sports Camera
If you are looking to find an action camera that can be your companion in the most breathtaking adventures and still comes in at low price, then this is probably your best chance to get the camera you have always wanted. GeekPro is one of those underwater cameras that would give you the experience of a high-end device and that at a very low price. This camera has various features to not only justify its quality but also make people want to buy it. Here are some of the essential characteristics of this camera.
- GeekPro camera comes with 12 Mega Pixel lens quality
- You can record High-Definition videos at 1080p HD quality
- This camera comes with all the desired accessories
- This camera comes with one extra battery pair
- Bluetooth enabled
- Inbuilt WI-FI
- This camera understands 11 different languages
- It also has a bright 2” colour LCD
- This camera shoots at 170-degree fish eye view that is the best for wide lens camera
- It can shoot perfect images and videos even a speed of 30fps
- You can download the camera app and access the camera even from your smartphone
- You can share your pictures and videos on the go
- This camera is water resistant when submerged up to 30 meters deep into water
- The camera comes with a transparent shell casing that protects the camera from water and shocks
- This camera is shockproof
- You can loop videos using this camera
- You can edit videos and photos directly from the camera
- The camera does not have inbuilt memory, so an external SD card is needed.
- Cost: There are not many cameras in underwater digital camera reviews that can match the GeekPro in price. This camera can be said to be a real value for money product as it comes in at half the price of other models in the segment and delivers almost the same output quality as other cameras in the segment.
- Video loops: This camera comes with video loop technology that may be either good for you or bad, though to most people, it is a handy feature. What a video loop function does is, if your SD card starts running low on space while you are still recording a video, it will use the memory in the card by deleting the oldest video in the card automatically.
- Water and shock resistant cover: This camera comes encased in a shock resistant cover. This cover can be removed, and the camera can be taken out of it, but this transparent glass casing gives this camera an additional layer of protection which comes in very handy if you are at a very demanding surrounding.
- Picture quality: What makes this camera a strong contender for the best underwater camera is also its picture quality. This camera shoots images at a stunning 12 Mega Pixel image quality and takes full High Definition videos at 1080p HD quality. There aren’t many cameras in the segment that can beat this one when it comes to quality of output delivered.
- Accessories: All cameras need accessories of all kinds to go with them, and they and these additional accessories end up increasing the total cost of buying the camera, this is not a case with GeekPro. This camera comes with a bag of 12 accessory items neatly assembled in an accessory bag, and thus, you don’t need to buy additional gadgets to go with the camera.
- Battery: The accessory bag of this camera comes with a set of extra batteries. This is a real good addition in the accessory box because generally action cameras do not have a very admirable battery span and thus, users have to buy an extra set of batteries. Now it comes in the accessory bag itself.
- User-friendly: This camera has just one manual button on it, and the rest is all controlled from within the display screen. The camera user interface is super friendly and it is easy to control every feature and even editing the videos directly from the camera is not as difficult as it sounds like. All in all the camera has a very satisfying interface.
- Sound quality: This camera lags behind the competition concerning recording the quality of sound. The recorded sound is not underwhelming, but it is not enough to in quality to match the standards set by GoPro HERO4 SILVER. GeekPro can certainly look into it and enhance the sound quality.
- Usb cord: One issue that I found while using the GeekPro is that the USB cable that comes along with the camera will only work for charging the camera and not to connect the camera to your personal computer. This is a real heartbreak because now you need to buy a USB cable just because the one you are already having is only meant for charging the camera.
Ivation Underwater Camera Shockproof Digital Video Camer
Another smart addition in the underwater camera reviews is the Ivation digital camera. This camera too like the GeekPro comes in at a very attractive price that is hard to overlook. It also is the camera for the modern times as it has a feature no other camera has, it has a distinctive LCD screen mounted at the front of the camera just for taking a perfect selfie. Apart from this, various other features make this camera desirable. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Handy design
- Two LCD screens, one in front and one at the back
- Sleek and trendy design
- Can fit perfectly into pocket
- Comes in various colours
- Comes with 20 Mega Pixel lens
- Can take images submerged up to 10 meters deep inside water
- This camera is shockproof
- This camera is dirt proof
- This camera can record videos at VGA resolution of 640*480
- Back display screen is standard 2.7” while the front selfie display is 1.8.”
- Comes with 4x digital zoom
- Comes with inbuilt flash
- This camera uses two AAA batteries
- This camera does not have internal storage and uses a micro SD card
- Compact design: This is one of the most compact devices in the segment, and this is a great quality to have in itself as most people prefer dimensions over everything else. This camera can easily fit in your pockets so you can carry it anywhere you want on the go. It is also very light weight hence taking it from places to places is very easy.
- Selfie display: Selfie culture has now taken a hold of the entire planet, and everywhere you go you can see people clicking their selfie using either a selfie stick or directly by holding the camera. This dilemma of how to take a perfect selfie is solved by this camera as the selfie screen gives you just the right display of what you want in your picture.
- Waterproof: This camera can work perfectly fine clicking amazing pictures when submerged up to 10 meters inside the water. Though this is not as much as a certain GoPro or a GeekPro, this still has great water resistance as it’s very rare that you take images when submerged more than 10 meters deep.
- VGA camera: VGA cameras are a technology of the past decade, and VGA cameras do not give the video quality like an HD lens. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of this camera because when it comes to picture and video quality, other cameras in the segment are miles ahead of this one.
- Plastic body: Another major disadvantage of this camera is that it looks cheap when placed with other cameras in the same segment. The plastic body gives no assurances related to its durability, and this does not look like a high-end camera like others in the segment.
- Price: Though this camera comes under $80 it still is a high price to charge considering a certain GeekPro camera that comes for lesser price hand has far more interesting features than this camera. This camera is only the second least priced camera in the segment, but it has features that the least priced camera should have had which is a drawback.
- Flash: Another major disadvantage of this camera is that its flash takes the time first to charge and then it clicks the image. The charging takes almost 3-5 seconds which means you can often miss out on the perfect shot. Nobody wants that to happen with their camera.
Sony-DSC-TX30 18MP Digital Camera
If you wish to buy a high-end action camera that gives the feeling of a high-end device when you hold it in your palms, then Sony DSC-TX30 is the camera you have been waiting for. It’s all black design looks nothing if not breathtaking, and this matte metal finish gives the camera a royal touch. Apart from the exteriors, this camera is loaded with features, to take your breath away, and some of its features are mentioned below.
- 18.2 Mega Pixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
- Waterproof up to 10m
- Freeze proof
- Dirt proof
- The camera comes with steady shot optical image stabilization technology
- The LCD screen is a wide 3.3” display
- Can be submerged up to 33” deep inside water
- Metallic body
- Comes with two automatic modes
- Comes with automatic brightness adjustment
- Design: This camera is certainly the best-looking camera in this segment, and it is just breathtaking. The sleek design means you can keep this camera anywhere you want and carry with you on the go. This camera looks royal, and it looks more expensive than its actual cost, hence you wouldn’t regret spending a single penny on it.
- Battery life: This camera again has the best performing battery in the segment and its battery life is commendable. You can take hundreds of pictures, record videos, and even review the clicked images and videos without having to charge the camera again. The charging is done through USB cable, and it charges very quickly.
- Image quality: When it comes to picture quality, there are not many products available in the market that can compete with Sony, let alone provide a better quality picture. This camera has an 18.2 Mega Pixel full HD lens that captures excellent images that are rich in color and quality. This camera takes the best photos in the segment.
- Price: All good things come at a cost, and this camera demands a hefty selling price. Though most people would consider this price to be too demanding, the investment is worth the product. Then again, rarely do people shell out $300 for a product when others in the segment range below $100. This is the only drawback of this camera that it’s expensive.
- Not for Serious Photography: Even at its slightly high range, this camera can only go 10 meters deep underwater.
SVP-Aqua 5500 18MP Dual-Screen Digital Camera Waterproof
SVP 5500 is another action camera in an available price range that is worth considering in our list of best underwater cameras. This camera again comes with a separate selfie display and has various other features that make it an interesting buy. Some of the important characteristics are listed below.
- sleek and trendy design
- light weight
- comes with 4x digital zoom
- Lightweight: The Compact design and weight make this camera ideal to carry with you at all times. It can easily go into your pocket, and you can take it anywhere you want.
- Low on cost: You just have to make an investment of $70 to get a hold of this camera, and this makes it one of the most cost-effective cameras in the segment.
- Plastic body: This camera comes with easy money but looks cheap as well. When you can get better quality pictures and videos just by shelling out a few extra bucks, I don’t think you would go for this camera.
The five action cameras that we have reviewed above all have different selling points and different drawbacks, but still some cameras are indeed better than the other. Starting from the bottom two, the SVP Aqua and Ivation lack what it takes to compete in this segment. These cameras are very cheap, but they do not give the same quality of output as other three.
The competition is stiff between GoPro, GeekPro, and Sony and there’s no bad buy when you consider these three cameras. It all depends on what you desire from your camera. If you want a breathtakingly good design and shelling out a few hundred bucks is not a tough task for you then Sony is certainly the camera of your choice.
If you want a tough and durable action camera for you, then GoPro and GeekPro are two excellent options at your disposal. GeekPro does everything that your GoPro will do, and thus, anyone who wants to buy GeekPro is sure to enjoy. Having said that, the charisma of a GoPro is its own and hence if you can shell out a few extra bucks over your GeekPro then GoPro is the right choice.
GoPro is the best camera in this segment considering both the cost and the quality of output delivered. If you seek value for money, then GoPro is the most recommended camera for you.