Best 8 Underwater Cameras in 2024

Underwater photography opens up an entirely new world that many never get to see with their necked eyes. A good underwater camera can help capture images and video while scuba diving or snorkeling so you can document marine life and seascapes up close.

However, choosing the right camera for underwater work poses some unique challenges. You need a camera that can withstand water pressure at depth, takes clear photos and video underwater, and has intuitive fit-for-purpose controls.

For this reason, our experts have reviewed some of the top cameras on the market specifically designed and equipped for underwater use. In this guide, we discuss our 8 top selections for the best underwater camera currently available from leading brands like DJI, SeaLife, Ricoh, and more for 2024.

Our top pick this year is the SeaLife Micro 3.0 Pro, which is dedicated to underwater photography with a depth capability of 200 feet. It comes in various configurations like the Micro 3.0 Pro Dual Beam Set, Micro 3.0 Pro 3000 Set, and Micro 3.0 Pro Duo 5000 Set.

We evaluated each model based on key factors including image quality, depth capacity, durability, special underwater modes and controls, and price.

If you are a professional shooter looking to invest in advanced equipment or just want an easy-to-use waterproof point-and-shoot for your next tropical vacation, you’ll find the best underwater camera for your needs here. Let’s get right into it!

1. SeaLife Micro 3.0 Pro Underwater Camera: Best Overall Pick

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What We Like

  • 60m/200-foot waterproof rating
  • Sealed durable housing
  • RAW shooting & 4K video
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use controls
  • Underwater scene modes

What We Don’t Like

  • No zoom lenses
  • No image stabilization

The SeaLife Micro 3.0 Pro emerged as our top pick for the best underwater camera in 2024 due to its impressive capabilities and underwater use optimization. This compact camera has a 16MP sensor capable of capturing 4K 30fps video and RAW image capture for advanced editing. It meets our key criteria with a 60m depth rating, a sealed waterproof design able to withstand depths up to 200 feet, and intuitive, fit-for-purpose controls.

The Micro 3.0 has different scene modes for various underwater conditions like diving, snorkeling, or using a photo-video light accessory because it is specifically designed as an underwater shooting solution. Its auto-white balance easily adapts to help capture accurate colors at shallow or deeper depths.

Its prime lens delivers sharp, detailed images and video with a wide 100° diagonal field of view and f/2.8 aperture. Impressive 4K video combined with advanced image settings like RAW capture provides advanced and hobbyist shooters creative control.

The Micro 3.0 Pro has user-friendly features for stress-free underwater shooting. The “Piano key” buttons allow you easy access to key controls, even with dive gloves on. The camera also has straightforward menu navigation and shooting mode presets to cater to different environments.

The durable Micro 3.0 Pro housing and accessories hold up to challenging real-world use underwater. It is available as a standalone or bundle like the dual beam set and micro 3.0 pro 3000 set. We suggest you start with the standalone model and include accessories later if you need to.

The SeaLife Micro 3.0 Pro is purpose-built from the ground up specifically with underwater image-making in mind and it is SeaLife’s flagship underwater shooter. The design checks all the boxes on our must-have list for underwater camera performance and handling from its depth rating to its shooting controls and modes to its sealed durable housing.

2. Paralenz Speargun Vaquita Underwater 4 Camera: Best Value for Money

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What we like

  • 350m/1,150ft depth capacity
  • Automatic color correction
  • Ultra-wide 150° lens
  • OLED viewfinder/display
  • Records 4K & 720p video
  • Rugged aluminum housing

What we don’t like

  • No optical zoom
  • The app needs some improvement

The Paralenz Speargun Underwater 4K Camera stands out for its specialized, purpose-built design focused on capturing underwater videos down to depths of 350m/1,150ft. Optimized for scuba diving and tech diving, it has an automatic color correction and an ultra-wide 150° lens to deliver true-to-life 4K or 720p footage.

The Paralenz camera provides a live OLED viewfinder letting you frame shots and preview recording modes at a glance since it is specifically engineered for underwater shooting. The durable, marine-grade aluminum housing resists pressure while built-in sensors track vitals like temperature and depth.

Convenient WiFi connectivity transfers footage to the Paralenz app for organizing and sharing dive videos, and logging locations via GPS to revisit later. The camera’s available accessories also enhance core underwater camera functionality even further.

Intuitive handling like easy mounting options to attach the Paralenz camera onto your gear combined with a long 3+ hour battery life will enable you to have uninterrupted diving. Its shooting modes and controls cater to different diving scenarios for complete focus underwater. The 12MP camera also captures solid still images in addition to spectacular video.

As an underwater camera made by divers for divers, the Paralenz Vaquita delivers core performance for marine videography. The specialized lightweight design, diving-centric features like depth-controlled color correction, wide angle lens, and durable housing add up to reliable, true-to-life capture underwater.

3. DJI Osmo Action 3 Waterproof Action Camera: Best Compact Option

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What We Like

  • Waterproof up to 16 meters
  • 4K 120fps video
  • Advanced stabilization
  • Rugged build quality
  • Long 160-minute battery life

What We Don’t Like

  • No zoom capability
  • Requires accessories for deeper diving
  • Does not include a microSD card

DJI takes the action camera into a new generation with its feature-packed Osmo Action 3 model. Touting a rugged, waterproof design tested up to nearly 16 meters(52 ft) underwater, it captures stunning 4K video at up to 120fps. The CMOS sensor and powerful image processor render true-to-life colors in vivid detail boosted by HDR and 10-bit color depth.

The Osmo Action 3 shines for smooth footage on the move thanks to advanced HorizonSteady tech that keeps video steady and level even in choppy waters. Innovative quick-release mounting makes attaching the camera a cinch while front and back touchscreens allow monitoring, framing, and playback. Its battery life clocks in at a whopping 160 minutes for all-day shooting.

DJI has equipped the Action 3 with handy capabilities for underwater use like automatic white balance adjustment and a hydrophobic coating on the touchscreens. The durable waterproof housing meets our criteria for water protection and build quality, ready to capture scenery while scuba diving or snorkeling. Easy sharing via Bluetooth and WiFi completes the versatile feature set.

For a versatile yet affordable action camera able to follow your adventures on land and under the sea, the Osmo Action 3 should top your list. DJI packs pro-level 4K video, intuitive software, and durable waterproofing into a portable body that’s a deal at this price point.

4. Ricoh WG-80:Best All Mid-Tier Underwater Camera

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What We Like

  • Waterproof up to 14 meters
  • Six dedicated macro lights  
  • Underwater optimized modes
  • 5X optical zoom lens
  • Ring light/torch

What We Don’t Like

  • No RAW shooting
  • Low-resolution display

The rugged, heavy-duty Ricoh WG-80 brings impressive capabilities for underwater shooting down to 14 meters thanks to its durable waterproof design. The 16MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor captures finely detailed images while six strategically placed LED macro lights illuminate subjects evenly.

Ricoh optimizes the WG-80 for marine photography with handy tools like underwater shooting and underwater movie modes that automatically adjust color and contrast based on real-world underwater data. A 5X optical zoom lens ranges from 28mm wide-angle to telephoto with hybrid image stabilization. The camera shoots Full HD video for capturing memories in motion.

Innovative shooting functions like the ring light/torch, Microscope mode with 1mm close focusing, and handheld night snap to reduce blur in low light emphasize Ricoh’s attention to detail. For example, the macro lights allow evenly lit, shadow-free macro photography – crucial for photographing marine creatures and reefs up close.

The affordable WG-80 punches above its weight for underwater and outdoor photography thanks to smart capabilities useful underwater, robust waterproof/shockproof build, and value-adding tools other cameras lack. Ricoh makes this hardy point-and-shoot a compelling choice for vacations to the beach, pool, and scuba adventures alike.

5. GoPro HERO11 Black Waterproof Action Camera

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What We Like

  • 5.3K high-resolution footage
  • Advanced stabilization
  • RAW and slo-mo modes
  • 60m dive housing available
  • Solid rugged build

What We Don’t Like

  • Battery life could be longer
  • No zoom lens

GoPro sets a new bar for action cameras with the feature-laden HERO11 Black. It captures ultra-realistic 5.3K video at 60fps showcasing fine details, while the upgraded 27MP sensor snaps sharp images. Impressively, HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization delivers gimbal-smooth footage even during fast-paced activities.

While natively waterproof down to 10 meters, a dive housing extends capabilities for underwater filming to 60 meters. That substantial waterproof rating, plus the rugged GoPro build, prepares the HERO11 for scuba diving and intense marine sports. Slow motion modes, horizon lock, and anti-lens flare tech ensure mesmerizing underwater videos.

GoPro packs the HERO11 with handy tools for underwater shooting like zoom and aspect ratio adjustments to creatively crop and tweak your snorkeling or reef footage during editing. Pro-spec additions like RAW burst capture, ultra-high bit rate recording, and an improved lens increase image quality further. Quick access controls and a convenient touchscreen monitor framing and exposure when shooting underwater.  

As an innovative industry leader in action cameras, GoPro retains its top spot with the versatile HERO11 Black. Serious hobbyists, travelers, and professionals alike will find its top-notch construction, state-of-the-art capture modes, and underwater credentials hard to beat.

6. Olympus Tough TG-6:For Casual Underwater Use

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What We Like

  • Waterproof up to 15m
  • Macro shooting options
  • F/2.0 fast zoom lens
  • 4K 30fps video
  • Durable crushproof body

What We Don’t Like

  • No RAW support
  • Minimal physical controls

The Olympus Tough TG-6 lives up to its name as a rugged, versatile compact camera ready for adventures above and below water. Its durable body withstands up to 15 meters of water pressure for snorkeling and shallow scuba trips without needing an extra case. Vivid 4K 30fps video and 12MP photos capture underwater scenes in excellent detail.

A bright f/2 25-100mm zoom lens offers a 4X optical zoom range for everything from wide landscapes to tighter shots of marine life. Handy underwater modes specifically optimize settings like white balance at varying depths. The TG-6 even provides specialized macro options to shoot tiny sea creatures just 1cm away. Anti-fog and crushproof construction round out the hardened credentials.

Olympus loads the petite TG-6 with options to suit different shooters with features like live composite for long exposures, aperture priority modes, and even in-camera focus stacking for full manual control. Its class-leading scene modes quickly optimize the TG-6 for portraits, landscapes, or tricky underwater settings. The camera shoots steady video too thanks to advanced 5-axis image stabilization.

The Tough TG-6 combines rugged go-anywhere build quality, specialized underwater features, and versatile imaging settings into one compact package. For a capable all-in-one camera at home capturing nature, travel memories, and watersports fun, Olympus delivers.

7. Ricoh WG-6 Orange Waterproof Camera: Hybrid Shooter

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What We Like

  • 20-meter waterproof rating  
  • Unique 6 LED ring light system
  • Digital Microscope mode  
  • Durable, grippy body
  • 4K video capture

What We Don’t Like

  • The lens doesn’t zoom optically
  • No hot shoe

Ricoh builds on past models like the capable WG-80 with the rugged, specialized WG-6. This dedicated waterproof camera delivers impressive 20MP stills and smooth 4K video down to depths of 20 meters courtesy of its tightly sealed, heavy-duty body. Six built-in LED lights illuminate subjects evenly for color-accurate underwater shots.

The WG-6 stands out from typical action cameras with its unique ring light system circling the lens. The adjustable brightness LEDs work similarly to underwater dive lights, preventing dark shadows and bringing out detail-rich macro life. Combined with Digital Microscope mode for extreme 1cm close-ups, the lighting unlocks new creative possibilities.

The folks at Ricoh have optimized the intuitive, easy-to-use interface for operation while wearing diving gloves, with oversized controls and a grippy body. Its scene modes instantly tweak settings to shoot crisp underwater features or vibrant reef videos offshore using an optimized white balance. Handy tools like hybrid stabilization, fast burst rates, and aperture/shutter priority modes give you control.

The one-of-a-kind WG-6 brings specialized features for underwater photography that other cameras lack, making it a compelling choice if you are a diving enthusiast or pro. Ricoh builds on its WG legacy with powerful upgrades suited for marine conditions.

8. YISENCE 4k806 4K Underwater Camera: The Budget Option

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What We Like

  • Budget price under $200
  • 48MP photos & 4K video
  • Intuitive autofocus
  • Preset shooting modes
  • Dual front/rear screens

What We Don’t Like

  • Only an 11-foot waterproof rating
  • Digital zoom is inferior to optical
  • Below average low light quality

The budget brand Yisence brings 4K recording and user-friendly handling to the masses with their easy-to-use 4K806 underwater camera. Optimized for novices and casual shooters, it promises vivid 48MP stills and crisp 2160p videos down to 11 feet thanks to a compact durable body. An intuitive autofocus system, helpful shooting settings, and built-in dual screens simplify operation for memorable snorkeling trips and surface-level fun.

Thoughtful extras make capturing and sharing super-easy like WiFi sharing to smartphones, a 32GB memory card, and a long-life 1250mAh battery. Floatable and mountable, the lightweight 4k806 goes anywhere the action is from pools to lakes backed by beginner-friendly buttons and menus. YISENCE equips it with handy preset shooting modes to automatically adjust the exposure for different environments with no editing experience required.

While rated only to 11 feet, the YISENCE 4K underwater camera packs substantial capabilities like 48MP photos, 4K 30fps video, and easy sharing tools into the sub $200 tier. Novices and casual shooters will appreciate the simple interface and operation for impromptu underwater memories at the press of a button during vacations or on a budget.

YISENCE simplifies underwater photography for everyone with the versatile 4k806 camera tailored to casual users. Convenient operation, vivid 4K footage, and user-focused handling come together in a floating body that’s budget-friendly.

Table: Comparison table of the best underwater cameras in our 2024 guide:

Camera ModelWaterproof DepthVideo ResolutionPhoto ResolutionSpecial Features
SeaLife Micro 3.0 Pro60m4K/30fps16MPRAW capture, macro lighting
Paralenz Vaquita350m4K/60fps12MPAuto color correction, depth sensors
DJI Osmo Action 316m4K/120fps12 MPFront and rear displays, horizon locking
Olympus TG-615m4K/30fps12MPMacro modes, aperture priority
GoPro Hero11 Black16m (60m w/ case)5.3K/60fps27MPHyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization, RAW
Ricoh WG-620m4K/30fps20MPRing light, microscope mode
YISENCE 4k80611ft4K/30fps48MPBudget price, easy for beginners

How To Choose an Underwater Camera in 2024

The following are the key criteria to evaluate underwater cameras, along with specifications and other important tips and examples from our selections this year:

Waterproof Depth Rating

Having an adequate waterproof depth rating is important for underwater cameras to withstand the water pressure at different depths. Cameras should meet or exceed the depth requirements of your intended activity.

Recreational snorkeling and pool use require only basic water resistance of 10-30 meters, while advanced scuba diving calls for increased ratings of 60+ meters. Selecting a camera that surpasses your expected diving depth gives a safety buffer and ensures water does not ingress into the housing.

  • 10m (30ft): Basic water resistance for pools, shallow snorkeling
  • 30m (100ft): Recreational scuba diving and advanced snorkeling
  • 60m (200ft): Advanced/technical scuba diving

Image and Video Quality

Quality imagery and videography make documenting underwater adventures truly compelling. Key specifications like resolution, sensor size, and advanced capture modes determine the camera’s ability to produce crisp, color-accurate media.

Higher resolution values for photos (20MP+) and video (4K recommended) retain more detail for capturing wider scenes and distant subjects when zoomed in. Larger image sensor sizes typically found in prosumer models yield better dynamic range and low light sensitivity to handle challenging underwater contrast and lighting.

  • Photos: Look for 20MP+ sensors
  • Video: 4K/30fps or 1080p/60fps minimum
  • Larger sensors yield better low-light sensitivity and dynamic range

Durability and Build Quality

The ruggedness of the camera body ensures it can withstand bumps during expeditions and pressure at depth. Shakeproof, freezeproof, dustproof, and crushproof construction make the camera adventure-ready for a variety of environments, including tropical beaches and frigid waters.

Buttons and compartments should have reinforced weather sealing to prevent ingress damage when submerged. Durable materials like polycarbonate plastics or aluminum metal alloys allow the housing to resist corrosion in saline waters. Robust build specifications prolong the camera’s lifespan through intense real-world use during thrilling watersports.  

  • Shockproof, freezeproof, and crushproof construction
  • Sealed buttons, ports, and compartments  
  • Metal or durable composite housing materials

   Examples from our selection of underwater cameras for 2024:

  • Ricoh WG-6:20m waterproof with heavy-duty build
  • Olympus TG-6: Crushproof to 100kgf force

Underwater Shooting Modes

Specialized shooting modes and settings simplify capturing properly exposed, color-accurate photos and footage underwater where auto modes can struggle. On the other hand, dedicated underwater scene presets automatically configure optimal settings like white balance based on depths and typical visibility conditions.

Macro presets allow minute details to be revealed when photographing small sea creatures and coral up close. Beyond automated options, manual controls provide advanced exposure tuning and give full creative control over the final image to adapt to different lighting challenges.

  • Dedicated scene presets for underwater white balance
  • Macro modes for close-up sea life
  • Manual controls to adjust settings

Examples of selected underwater cameras with specialty modes:

  • SeaLife Micro 3.0 Pro: Dive mode
  • Olympus TG-6: 5 underwater white balance modes

 Intuitive and Accessible Controls

Ease of handling is needed for effortless operation while swimming or wearing dive gloves. Cameras need oversized, clearly labeled buttons and interfaces designed for manipulation underwater with reduced visibility.

Ruggedized joystick controls, one-handed grips, and well-spaced housing buttons enable quick access to settings without needing to surface. For example, the GoPro Hero11 has touch zoom and the  Paralenz Vaquita has simple 3-button operation by design.

Menu navigation must be intuitive using layered organization optimized for use below water even with fogged mask viewing. Simple interfaces with minimal options benefit novices while physical controls give experts manual adjustments when desired. Well-designed cameras strike an optimal balance of accessibility for all underwater activities.

Final Thoughts

An underwater camera unlocks a whole new aquatic world of photography and videography for both adventures below and around the water’s surface. No matter your experience level or ambitions below the waves, advancements in rugged underwater camera equipment are eliminating past technical challenges. Happy diving!


Which Size Memory Card Or How Much Space Will I Need For Shooting Underwater Video?

For 4K or high frame rate 1080p video, you’ll generally want at least a 64GB memory card up to 128GB. Actual space requirements vary depending on the camera’s compression and bitrate. Always choose a fast U3 or V30-rated card for smooth 4K recording. Ongoing swappable memory is useful on longer dives when internal storage fills.

Can I Use An Underwater Camera For Photographing My Kids In The Pool Or At The Beach?  

Yes, all the rugged waterproof cameras here double great for capturing vacation memories, pool parties, or beach days with family, provided they meet your resolution and zoom needs. Many models have presets for optimizing settings for damp but above-water use too. The Olympus TG-6 and GoPro Hero11 work well for hybrid use out and around the water.

Is An Underwater Camera Or Underwater Housing Better For My DSLR?

Purpose-built compact underwater cameras provide unmatched portability and controls for easy diving. But for professional photographers, a DSLR in underwater housing delivers the highest image quality and creative versatility. Additional lighting accessories also integrate seamlessly with advanced cameras. Evaluate cost, handling needs, and desired final output when choosing between an integrated or housing setup.


John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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