Janis is loves to study topics involving health & wellness, and is obsessed with natural supplements and learning about what goes into them and what they do, or don’t do. She went to university for nutrition with a minor in economics.
Out of the Beach Baby Squad, she is the most likely to stay home. She also does the most of the product reviews on this site.
So, you’ve taken the ‘plunge’ and purchased all of the necessary dive equipment that you’ll ever need. You have a phenomenal wetsuit, an efficient tank, amazing goggles, state-of-the-art dive watch and dive light, and you’re completely ready to go!
But, what’s the point of being able to check out all of this stuff under the water, if you don’t have anyone to whom you can show it?
Sure, you could invite your buddies on diving expeditions with you, but what if they don’t go diving? How will they know about all of the neat underwater critters that you’ve discovered?
Or better yet, what if you’re scuba diving for scientific purposes, and wish to capture your observations in some way? Behold, the dive camera!
Dive cameras are what allow us non-scuba divers, and the rest of the world at large, to share your brave adventures under the sea.
They also are an amazing way to capture your underwater explorations as well. This is a very desirable feature for most individuals who use diving cameras.
Let’s learn more about underwater cameras by talking about:
- How do you shoot underwater?
- Can underwater cameras be used on land
- How to select the right underwater camera?
- The top 3 best of 2020
Ok, let’s dive into the world of underwater cameras, and what’s good for 2020! But first, some basics…
How do you shoot underwater?
#1- Prepare your camera
Setting up your camera before you dive is a must. The last thing you want to do when you dive is to go through your camera’s settings, trying to adjust the settings to fit your needs. Although some minor setting adjustments can be done underwater, it is highly suggested you set up your camera while on land.
#2- Choose the right focus settings
You should almost always pre-focus your camera on the widest setting possible. This will help you avoid dealing with out of focus shots.
#3- Use the flash
If possible, make sure you turn your camera flash on. As there is no much sunlight underwater, the flashlight will provide enough illumination for you to make some cool shots.
#4- Use a stabilizer stick
If you plan on shooting in current, you might consider taking a stabilizer stick with you. You can use the stabilizer stick to anchor yourself in place without disturbing the coral or animal life.
#5- Move slowly
When underwater, try to keep as steady as possible and avoid any quick movements. This way you will avoid blurry images. You will also avoid scaring those beautiful sea animals.
For more tips on underwater photography consider watching:
Cool video, right?
Can underwater cameras be used on land?
The answer to this burning question is yes. Underwater cameras can be used on land with no problems.
However, many underwater cameras have bulky protective casings which keep them watertight and protect them from getting soaked.
As the protective housings are usually made of plastic, you may sometimes lose some focus quality. Nevertheless, underwater cameras can be used for capturing unique photos on land.
So How Do I Know Which Dive Camera I Should Select?
Like any other camera, there are a few features that must be assessed in order to effectively discern between which one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for you. We have a few of them below.
Megapixels – This refers to the overall clarity of the camera without getting too technical. For a reference, your typical iPhone picture from an iPhone 6 or later is in the realm of 8-12 megapixels.
Ease of Use – This is an intuitive aspect of dive cameras. You want to make sure that the dive camera that you’re using is relatively intuitive in terms of its functionality.
Storage – You’ll probably be using this camera a lot, thus you’re going to want one that has the ability to store a lot of different things on it.
Expandability – This might tie into the ease of use, but because it’s so unique, we decided to make an entirely different category for it. This refers to the ability for one to pull the flash feature out of the camera itself. We’ll expand on this feature later.
Pricing – We compared the features that the device offers, with the price that it’s listed at. Is the pricing fair? Or is it expensive? We wanted to make sure that we saved you $$$.
Aesthetics – We wanted to make sure that we only selected cameras that actually look good aesthetically too.
Waterproof Depth – This is an important consideration for anyone looking to purchase a dive camera. It is crucial that the camera that you select is one that allows you to take pictures at different depths.
Overall Features – This refers to all of the other nifty, intangible features that the camera may have, that are unique to the camera itself.
Now, let’s talk about the best cameras of 2020…
The top 3 best underwater cameras of 2020
Are you planning on buying a waterproof camera but struggling on choosing the right one for your needs? No worries! That’s where we can help you. Here are the top 3 waterproof cameras right now:
- Leica X-U (Typ 113)
- Olympus Tough TG-5
- Panasonic DMC-FT30
Ok, onto the reviews.
Leica X-U (Typ 113)
The Leica X-U is an adventure camera designed to withstand almost anything. It is shockproof, dustproof and waterproof.
Its rubber-coated body allows it to withstand falls from up to 1.2 meters onto a hard surface. You can use it anywhere; not worrying it would get damaged if you were to drop it.
Although beaches make great locations for amazing photos, sand and saltwater make an ideal combination to destroy your camera.
Many photographers are in dilemma: to bring a camera or not bring a camera? The Leica X-U puts this question to rest.
The X-u is rated for a maximum depth of 15 meters for up to 60 minutes. This makes it ideal for shallow dives and snorkeling. If you like to dive deeper than 15 meters, you will have to stick to their underwater housing.
Leica likes to keep the things simple and the X-U is very simple to use. It has 4 navigation buttons on the back which provide shortcuts to main controls such as the self-timer, flashlight, exposure bracketing, etc.
Now, let’s talk about money!? The Leica X-U doesn’t come cheap with the price of around $4000. Yes, it does cost a lot. However, if you are really interested into underwater photography, the X-U is the best choice for you.
Olympus Tough TG-5
The Olympus Tough TG-5 is an amazing, award-winning underwater camera known for its versatility, ruggedness, great design and excellent performance-to-price ratio. It is waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and crushproof. Unfortunately, it is not bulletproof, yet.
The key features of the TG-5 are 12MP 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor optimized for low light (4000×3000 image resolution), fast f/2.0-4.9 lens with 4.5mm – 18mm focal length (equivalent to 25mm – 100mm, high Speed Movie mode with 1920×1080@120fps / 1280×720@240 fps / 640×360@480fps, and sensor-shift image stabilization (up to 2.5 stops).
The most impressive feature of the TG-5 is that is capable of shooting in the raw format. It might sound like a feature you don’t need, and you would be wrong.
Being able to process ORF files (an Olympus Raw Image file that stores unprocessed image data) is incredibly useful. The ORF files will let you customize almost anything and make you shots look magnificent.
Although it is pricey ($400), the rugged and waterproof the TG-5 packs great features that any photography enthusiast would appreciate.
Still, the TG-5 also includes easy to use auto and scene modes that will help newbies get the most of their shots.
If you are looking for a mid-budget camera with high-end features, the TG-5 is the best choice for you.
The Panasonic DMC-FT30 is a great waterproof compact camera from Panasonic. It is the successor of the Panasonic DMC-FT25.
The DMC-FT30 comes with a metal body, a 4x optical zoom lens, Mega O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilization, 2.7-inch Intelligent LCD, LED light and many other features.
The FT30 is waterproof to 15 meters, freeze-proof to -10ºC and crush-proof to a pressure of 100kg. The camera’s internal parts are fully sealed against dust and sand.
It is also worth mentioning it is equipped with anti-fog glass over its lens.
The DMC-FT30 costs around $200, making it one of the cheapest waterproof cameras available.
If you are new to underwater photography or you are just looking for a simple camera you could bring to a beach with you to make nice underwater shots the DMC-FT30 is a perfect option for you.
There you go! Now you know much more about underwater cameras. You know how to make underwater shots, what to look for when buying an underwater camera and what the best underwater cameras of 2020 are.
You are all set to dive into the amazing world of underwater photography.