Best Underwater Snorkeling Camera [ 2020 Reviews & Guide ]
Looking to capture your snorkeling adventures in high-quality resolution? Here is our top picks and buyer's guide for best underwater cameras for snorkeling.
(I have just uploaded the review for recently released Akaso Ek7000 Pro, take a look here)
Our Top 10 List for Underwater Snorkeling Cameras in 2020
Crowned as the best underwater snorkeling camera by hoards of users, the Tough TG-6 by Olympus is built for adventure and ready to follow you wherever you go. Waterproof at depths down to 50 feet, it’s perfect for snapping those Insta-perfect shots while swimming or snorkeling.
It impresses with a high resolution provided by the F2.0 anti-fog lens. A maximum 8x zoom allows you to capture all details of the deep blue, while four macro shooting modes let you test and improve your underwater shooting skills.
Speaking about shooting underwater, the TG-6 has 5 underwater shooting modes including an underwater microscope.
This feature makes it easier to immortalize those splendid reef details that lived only in your memory until now. Three underwater white balance modes also give you the possibility to play with contrasts and shadows to capture the epic pictures of coral reefs you’ve always dreamt of.
If snapping pictures is not enough, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also record high-speed 4K and full HD videos.
While it is undoubtedly designed for the underwater, the Tough TG-6 is also up to other adventures. The camera is crush and shockproof, and it withstands temperatures down to 14°F. Lightweight, compact, and packed with a host of pro features, it is undoubtedly one of the best snorkeling cameras you can find.
More than an underwater snorkeling camera, the Nikon W300 is an all-round device ready to assist you on your underwater or onshore adventures.
Like the Olympus, the W300 is waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof and shockproof, but it resists to depths of 100 feet. In other words, you can dive deeper and capture more details of the ocean’s bottom.
Autofocus and contrast-detect capabilities ensure you’ll get perfect shots time and time again.
Ideal for both photos and videos, it impresses with stunning high resolution for captured images, 4K ultra-HD videos, time-lapse and super lapse capabilities, as well as music montages.
Equipped with a proprietary NIKKOR lens, the camera boasts 5x optical zoom as well as telephoto power and Hybrid VR image stabilization.
Besides long battery life, you’ll also enjoy fast charging able to take the battery from drain to full in approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. Nikon W300 will undoubtedly love to capture all your surfing, snorkeling and diving adventures, and also boasts integrated eCompass, GPS, altimeter, and connectivity via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, so you can track and share both your underwater and onshore adventures. A tad less performing than our top pick, this camera can still show the world what you’re really made of.
Snorkelers looking for a more affordable yet highly reliable solution will certainly love the Panasonic LUMIX, a quad-proof tough camera made for active lifestyles.
It doesn’t have the underwater capabilities its more expensive peers have, but it still provides awing pictures at depths up to 26 feet. Its integrated mega O.I.S. camera lens compensates for blurring automatically, so you’ll have clear pictures even if your hands are slightly moved by the waves.
An advanced underwater mode is a true highlight. This mode compensates for the red tones that are lost in underwater shooting, allowing you to snap more realistic images of the world beneath.
Besides crisp and clear images, you can also expect excellent video recording. The dynamic MP4 HD delivers high-quality videos, both underwater and on the land.
The camera is compatible with SD memory cards and boasts a supplementary built-in memory of 220MB. That’s enough to store up to 34 images, so you don’t miss any memorable moments even if you run out of SD card space.
Inexpensive and dependable, the LUMIX is also dustproof, shockproof, and resists freezing to temperatures down to 14°F. No doubt, a splendid choice for the budget-savvy adventurer.
Another worthy underwater snorkeling camera is this one by Fujifilm. The FinePix XP140 is waterproof to 82 feet, freezeproof to 14°F, shockproof and dustproof. It can follow you on all your adventures, either underwater or on land.
It misses a specific underwater shooting mode, but the Smile Shutter ensures you’ll never miss a perfect shot.
Ideal for underwater shooting is the ISO 100-12800 feature that allows more light to enter the camera for extremely fast shutter speed.
Besides awesome photos, the XP140 can also record the world around you in 4K ultra-high definition.
The camera also has Bluetooth capability and allows automatic image transfer to paired devices. For those moments when you’re underwater with no synchronization possibility, you can store the images on the 16GB SD card included in the pack.
Not as feature-packed as other underwater cameras but still capable of capturing amazing photos and videos, this is a great budget option or a gift for snorkeling enthusiasts.
GoPro is by far the most renowned adventure camera, and the HERO 7 lives up to the expectations.
It’s designed for the divers, although it’s equally capable of capturing stunning images or record your adventures wherever you are. Perhaps its greatest strength is the waterproof ability to 33 feet without a housing.
GoPro also proposes a selection of waterproof housings that protect the HERO 7 if you want to dive deeper. The Super Photo mode allows you to capture the best photos automatically, with optimized local tone mapping and noise reduction.
Should you plan to record your dive, the HERO 7 boasts the HyperSmooth Video Stabilization that predicts your movements and corrects for camera shake. The result is super-smooth footage that’ll impress all your buddies.
Another nice feature is the Time Wrap video capture that delivers super-stabilized time-lapse videos. For longer activities, you can increase the speed up to 30x, while the live streaming functions allow you to share your adventures in real time.
For the onshore adventures, HERO 7 boasts remote voice control, so you can snap a picture or start a video without using your hands.
The GoPro camera is also compatible with most snorkeling masks for hassle-free underwater videos and pictures. Whether you’re looking for that perfect Snapshot capture or an Insta-worthy image, HERO 7 is undoubtedly worth every penny.
AKASO is one of the newest entries in the adventure cameras world and one of the cheapest on the market. While it appeals to amateurs, it’s also a great choice for professional snorkelers on a budget.
It might not be as performing as the GoPro, but it definitely impresses with its capabilities.
This 4K ultra-HD action camera snaps 12MP photos at up to 30 frames per second and records 4K videos at the astonishing speed of 25 frames per second for superb image quality time after time.
Waterproof to 100 feet with the included waterproof case, the EK7000 is ideal for both snorkelers and divers. An array of additional accessories make it a faithful companion for other adventures too.
Indeed, the camera comes with a bicycle and helmet mount, two clips, and seven additional types of mounts for a host of applications.
It also sports a convenient wireless wrist remote that allows you to get a shot or start a video without touching the camera. Ideal above all when you’re underwater, where vocal commands would be pretty much useless.
AKASO also has built-in HDMI and allows you to edit and share your action in minutes. With a Wi-Fi signal range of 33 feet and instant synchronization with your mobile device, the EK7000 is easy to transform in the perfect camera for all your adventures – and at a price that won’t break the bank.
RICOH might not ring a bell when thinking of underwater snorkeling cameras, but it’s a quite promising device that deserves a place on this list.
While it lacks popular high-tech features such as remote control or connectivity, it boasts high optical efficiency and an effective 16 megapixels; just what you need to capture flawless, high-resolution images.
A wide dynamic range allows the WG-60 to reduce background noise and deliver the crisp images you’d expect from a camera in this price range.
As you would expect from an underwater camera, the WG-60 is waterproof at a depth of 45 feet for up to 2 hours, giving you plenty of time to explore the depths of the ocean.
Besides underwater shooting, the camera also lives up to an adventurer’s expectations. It has a rugged, utilitarian casing and resists shocks, dust, and freezing temperatures. A digital microscope mode lets you capture details otherwise invisible to the naked eye either on land or underwater.
To ensure you get the perfect picture every time, it also boasts 25 shooting modes, including an auto-picture.
It doesn’t have a video mode, which is quite disappointing though. It’s great, but not exceptional; considering the price point, you can surely find more impressive options.
The older and slightly cheaper brother of the FinePix XP140 above, the XP130 is a great choice for the unpretentious snorkeler looking for more affordable equipment.
Coming from a heavyweight brand, this camera is made for adventures. It’s waterproof at 65 feet, freezeproof, shockproof, and dustproof. Despite being slightly bigger than the GoPro, it’s still compatible with the GoPro mounts found on most snorkeling masks.
Image quality is ensured by the 16.4MP BSI CMOS sensor that delivers impressive clarity and crispness. As you’d expect from a Fujifilm camera, the colors are bright and saturated, so you can share the best shots of the underwater world.
Sharing images is easy thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity. The camera allows automatic and instant image transfer, or you could transfer your shots at a later time.
Awesome is also the geotagging capability; you can choose whether to embed the location data on your pictures or not. Complete with a 16GB SD card, this camera comes in a selection of colors and is ideal for those who want superb image clarity without breaking the bank.
Snorkelers on a tight budget or amateur underwater photographers might like the APEMAN A79.
Like the AKASO, it doesn’t have outstanding capabilities or mind-blowing features, but it’s really cheap for what it offers.
The first thing that strikes is the design. Don’t get us wrong. It’s not attractive – on the contrary. But it’s so simple that it makes the camera highly functional and more than suitable to take underwater.
It resists depths of 130 feet with the waterproof case provided and impresses with the image clarity ensured by the EIS advanced technology that enhances image stability even when you’re moving.
An integrated Sony sensor delivers sharp 16MP images and allows for native 4K video recording.
Tech perks include remote control via a wrist remote and Wi-Fi connectivity. Multiple mounting kits and external microphone included in the accessories bring further value for money, helping you capture clearer sounds on your videos.
Various photo and video modes also boost versatility; cheap but surprisingly functional, this is undoubtedly one of the best underwater snorkeling cameras.
Not the best underwater snorkeling camera but a useful accessory, the Tethys waterproof camera float should accompany any camera if you don’t want to accidentally lose it while swimming.
This high capacity floating wristband can keep afloat cameras of up to 7 ounces and is compatible with most products on this list, including the GoPro, LUMIX, Fujifilm, Olympus, as well as other cameras from Sony, Canon, and Nikon.
Compatible with waterproof pouches too, it can also be used to hold your phone, keys, sunglasses, and other small devices.
The brightly colored strap is easy to spot in the water, for easier retrieval in case it slips off while you’re snorkeling or diving.
This buoyance lanyard is made from soft yet durable materials. It slips easily onto the wrist and provides a secure solution for carrying your valuables.
The lanyard comes in three bright colors and at a price that won’t have a heavy impact on your wallet. No doubt, a nice accessory to pair with the underwater snorkeling camera from this list.
Why use an Underwater Camera for Snorkeling?
Among the long list of hobbies we enjoy, going to the beach and go snorkeling is one of our favorite. In fact, we treasure this particular aquasport that we make sure every moment is documented and that’s the reason why most, if not all of us, brings a camera. But make no mistake in bringing just any kind of camera. It should be an underwater camera. Otherwise, you will have a flooded unit.
In the old days, underwater cameras were heavy and bulky. Snorkelers back then need more leg power just to propel themselves in the water while holding the camera equipment. Traditionally, old underwater camera units are composed of a camera, a sturdy casing and an external strobe where in most instances, are heavier than the camera and casing itself. Not to mention that everything is controlled manually and that the number of shoots that you can take underwater is dependent on the type and capacity of the film that you are using.
New-age underwater cameras still employ the same concept. However, everything now is compact and digital. Small and compact Digital Cameras have become a hit in the nineties. And coupled with its compatible casing, viola, you have an instant underwater camera. You don’t need to bring a separate external underwater strobe as the internal flash of the digital camera will suffice. You have endless possibilities of shooting your favorite underwater subject, as SD cards have replaced the old film allowing you over a hundred, if not thousands, of underwater photos to shoot. The only thing that can be considered remnants of the old-fashion camera is the manual controls. With underwater digital cameras, you still need to make the necessary adjustment for you to have a high-quality underwater photo, without the fuss and blur.
However, as they say, it: technology is speeding fast like lighting, a digital camera was suddenly out of the trend with the introduction of “Action cameras.” From your mid-size digital cameras, people are now using action cameras for reasons that they are highly compact, lightweight and relatively small in size. To give you an idea, most, if not all sizes of action camera do not exceed the palm of your hand. It’s that small. Aside from being compact and lightweight, action cameras employ the point and shoot technology where your hands are being freed from frequent adjustments of the setting. Just turn on the camera and press the shoot or record button. Unlike old cameras where you need to buy a separate case, action cameras usually come and offered with its own underwater casing.
During its early days, action cameras were worn using a lanyard and strapped to your hand. However, it has evolved that its operation has become hands-free. Most new models have accessories where you can mount the camera on your wrist, helmet or use it using a selfie stick making it a highly versatile photographic and video recording equipment.
Lastly, on top of all these features, what makes people keep using action camera is the high-quality resolution where most recent models have an integrated stabilization system that significantly reduces the shaky recordings done by most newbies, just like me years before. And do not worry if it's a high-resolution camera where most of its photos and videos take up more space, most action cameras are now using micro SD cards which can store more pictures and videos compared to SD cards.
What kind of camera should you get?
I am not talking about specific brands such as GoPro, Panasonic, Nikon, and other brands but what kind of camera you need. Firstly, snorkel masks now can come with an attachment for your mask so you can put your camera right on your head so you can film your entire snorkeling adventure and then edit and make a video later. You may want a handheld camera that you can attach it to your wrist or even hold it so you can take basic pictures and small videos. You may want a camera with a great zoom on it so you can get up close and personal with the marine life.
Underwater camera or a waterproof camera: Some cameras will say they are waterproof up to a certain depth such as 10 meters or 30 feet. So you need to know how deep you will be diving down to so you are not to wreck your camera. Underwater cameras have housing to protect the camera and can usually go down much deeper and are built stronger that can withstand the pressure.
FYI: Underwater and waterproof can be used out of the water so you do not have to have 2 separate cameras and it becomes and nuisance.
To sum up, there are lots of options and price ranges for underwater cameras. It all depends on how much you will be using it and how much you want to spend. You can get cheap underwater digital cameras and cheap waterproof digital cameras, and there is a difference between the two. I tried to go over the differences between the two of them. There are lots of things you need to consider before buying an underwater camera: what kind of pictures you will be taking, will you be making movies, do you want a camera that will attach to your head so you can film everything that you see, etc. These are just some of the questions you need to think about before buying a camera, so you get what you need.
For the purpose of this article I started from talking the fundamental models from quick and easy cameras to a little more complicated but if you are taking pictures or videos for National Geographic! or want exceptional cameras for a dive shop this may not be the best site for you even though it will give you reliable information.