If you are looking for the best budget scuba camera, you have come to the right place. And you have made a good decision too. You do not want to go to all the trouble of buying your scuba diving equipment, preparing for diving and then miss to make some awesome photographs and videos under there.
If you are in a hurry and you would like to get the best underwater cameras at a good budget, you may follow these links:
- VanTop 4K WiFi Action scuba camera
- Crosstour 16MP 4K underwater camera
- Wongkuo anti-shake 20MP underwater camera
- ieGeek 4K 20MP WiFi Ultra HD Underwater Camera/DV Camcorder
- Dragon Touch 16MP 4K Underwater Action Camera
Cheap underwater camera
Do not spend a fortune on the best underwater camera, especially if you are a hobbyist water sport enthusiast. If you are a professional underwater photographer, you may want to buy the best underwater camera, as well as the best scuba tank for diving.
If you are a hobbyist and you know you will be diving for a long time, buying more expensive, feature-rich diving gear like cameras, lighting and housing makes more sense.
And quite a lot can happen under water. There is a lot of wildlife down there you know, going on about their daily activities as if the world above water does not exist.
If you have always been mesmerized by underwater videos and pictures, now you have an opportunity to make yours with the best underwater camera.
Just like choosing a scuba diving watch, choosing the best underwater scuba camera can be a tad hard. There are so many options of these cameras on the world’s biggest marketplaces and since they all claim to be the best, you will find it daunting to buy the best one for the first time.
Did we even mention the money that you will pay for them? Well, the truth is that these cameras will cost you a good amount of money. But then, every dime that you will pay for one of these cameras is definitely worth and tell you what, you will get the full value for your money.
Camera quality is paramount!
As I have learned from my other gear purchases, when you are engaging in an activity like scuba diving that is so gear reliant, you should never sacrifice quality on the altar of money. If it is a wetsuit for diving that you need, a scuba diving knife or even a drysuit for diving, go for the very best. After all, experience has taught me that it is better to pay more for more features than pay less and get fewer features.
Having said that, a scuba diving camera is one of the best investments for any diver. Well, maybe a scuba dive computer is, but then, a camera records or your adventures under the water. That is why this article is dedicated to helping you choose just the very best camera for scuba diving.
Please note that apart from buying the best underwater camera, you will also have to buy the camera housing. No matter how waterproof manufacturers claim their cameras are, you will need to have a housing for their protection.
As you pack your travel dive bag for your diving or snorkeling vacation in Canada, India, or for diving in Africa, make sure there is a camera. The most awesome moments in water happen spontaneously and you want to be ready for them.
Best budget scuba camera reviews
Never buy an underwater camera blindly. After all, there are many of them masquerading as the best waterproof cameras, yet they leak. In this section, you will see several tested and proven underwater cameras. The wonders of the ocean must be captured on camera. That is why you should never dive without one.
Crosstour Action – Cheapest Underwater Camera
This 12MP resolution and 1080p video camera ensures that you capture incredible photos and full HD videos.
It has a 170 degrees wide-angle lens that enables you to capture wider surroundings and incredible underwater moments.
This camera is very affordable. Honestly, when you check its price on Amazon, you will be waltzed off your feet. Incredible! But this raises the question; if it is this cheap, is it any good?
It is in this list because it is good. However, it is NOT A PROFESSIONAL camera. So, only buy it if you want to make hobbyist shots and videos, or you can buy it for your kids to use when they go snorkeling.
It is rated waterproof for up to 30 meters/100 feet deep. It is also solidly constructed to endure impact. It is also sold with 2 rechargeable 1050mAh batteries that ensure that you do not miss any moments by supplying your camera with constant power supply.
The large 2-inch screen allows you to view all your photos and videos more clearly. This camera is Wi-Fi enabled allowing you to control it remotely via your smartphone or tablet.
This makes it so easy to edit and share your precious moments with your friends instantly. The package includes a wide range of accessories that enable you to mount your camera to your sports gear with ease.
When you are done diving, just mount the camera on your wrist or bike and shoot videos and pictures as you ride along the best white sand beaches.
- Great camera for the price
- Easy set up and use
- High quality photos and videos
- Wide range of mounting accessories
- Compact, lightweight and durable construction
- Shorter battery life
ODRVM WIFI Action – Affordable Waterproof Camera
It is ideal for all the water enthusiasts who are looking forward to owning a functioning waterproof camera at an affordable cost.
It has an inbuilt Wi-Fi function that allows the user to instantly edit and share their underwater moments. It also supports SD cards ranging from 16-32 GB for easier storage of your photos and videos.
You can check its price on Amazon.com.
The camera comes with a pair of 1050mAh rechargeable batteries that last long, well for as long as you will be underwater. They give you ample time to record all your important underwater snorkeling adventures before they can run of juice.
The ODRVM camera is able to withstand water up to 98 feet or 30 meters deep and it is specifically designed for water sports enthusiasts since it is easily attachable to most of your water gear such as surfboard and snorkeling mask among others.
This camera is able to capture high quality 1080P full HD videos and 12MP photos. It has a 170 degrees wide-angle lens that enables it to take most of your memorable underwater moments.
In addition, this camera has other very useful features such as anti-shaking, time-lapse, HDMI output, 4x zoom, motion detection, bike and car mode. Whatever use you would like to put this camera to, it takes stable and high quality images and videos all the time.
- High quality photos and videos
- Long battery life
- Image stabilization feature
- Wi-Fi function – share photos instantly on Instagram
- HDMI output
- Very affordable
- The adhesive for the mount is not long lasting
DBPOWER N6 4K Touchscreen – Best Cheap Action Camera
This is a very affordable waterproof camera and therefore apart from using it for diving, you can also use it for hiking, mountain biking, cycling on the beach and so on.
DBPOWER N6 takes high quality image when used in daylight conditions. It comes at quite a cheap price, which makes it one of the most affordable underwater cameras in the market.
This camera is waterproof for up to 30 meters/100 feet and it is robustly constructed hence durable.
The 2.31-inch LCD touch screen is easy to use due to its simple settings. The screen also gives you with a large area from where you can view your photos and videos as you take them.
The camera uses a 20MP Sony sensor and has a wide angle of view that covers 170 degrees. With this camera, you will be able to capture incredible photos and record 4K ultra-HD videos.
The camera is powered by a pair of rechargeable batteries. It also has a memory card slot that is compatible with microSD cards of up to 64GB. In addition, it has an anti-shaking feature that enables the camera to capture steady and smooth images even in unstable conditions.
The DBPOWER N6 is Wi-Fi enabled and remote-controllable for instant backing and sharing of photos and videos. This camera is also backed by a limited warranty of 24 months. You can buy it on amazon.com.
- Image stabilization feature
- It is very affordable
- Large LCD screen that is easy to use
- Great photo and video quality
- Durable construction
- WIFI enabled
- Images taken in low light may not be good
Akaso V50 Native 4K Ultra HD – Underwater Action Camera
Get 90 minutes of continuous recording. For about $100, you can own this incredible underwater camera. It has been designed for diving enthusiasts and it comes ready to use. When you are done free diving for fun, you can also use this camera for other outdoor adventures like hiking.
The Akaso V50 Native 4K Ultra HD is a good buy, and taken good care of, it will last a long time. Despite its low cost, this camera does a great job when it comes to capturing incredible underwater memories. It has been designed to withstand water up to a depth of 100 feet or 30 meters.
This camera is able to capture super quality images of turtles, water snakes, sharks and others wildlife under the water with a 20 MP photo resolution and 4K videos 30 fps. This ensures that you are able to capture an impressive footage of your underwater adventure. The camera’s inbuilt Electronic Image Stabilization(EIS) ensures that your images remain smooth and stable even when the camera shakes, moves, tilts or even experiences an impact.
It has wireless remote control to allow you to be in total control of your underwater experience. The two rechargeable 1100mAh batteries that are included in the package give you a whopping 90 minutes of continuous recording. Now that is something!
The inbuilt WIFI and HDMI output enables you to connect your camera to your smart phone or TV, so that you can share all your wonderful underwater moments on social media.
- Low priced
- Long recording time of 90 minutes
- Remote control feature
- High quality images
- High quality video – 4K
- Image stabilization feature
- Lower quality images in low light conditions
Fujifilm FinePix XP80 – Waterproof Digital Camera
You know if it is Fuji… well, it is backed by incredible experience. The Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera does not disappoint. It comes in a rather simple design, meaning you can use it whether you are a beginner or an advanced user.
This camera has a robust exterior that is ideal for an underwater camera. It has been designed to stay waterproof for up to 50 feet deep, which is quite adequate for a good number of underwater enthusiasts. Since it is slim and compact in design, it is compatible with a wide range of housing options.
With a simple touch of a button, this camera allows you to record full HD videos of the underwater experience. It has an incredible continuous shooting mode that enables you to capture up to 10 photos in a second. This ensures that you manage to take a good shot of even the tiniest of the sea creatures before they can move out of the range.
This camera has a wide variety of other features that include an internal flash, suppressed mode, forced mode, red-eye reduction mode, slow synchronization mode, various flash types and a wide range lens among others.
The camera’s 16.2 MP and CMOS sensor enables it to capture incredible shots even in the oceans low light conditions. The camera is able to connect to your smart phone for wireless image transfer and remote shooting.
If you are going to snorkel in Clearwater in Florida where the water may not be very clear, this is a good camera for you.
- High quality HD video camera
- Wireless image transfer
- High quality videos and photos
- Remote wireless shooting
- Sturdy construction
- Dust-proof for use on the beach
- 50 feet waterproof rating is too small
Panasonic Lumix LX10 Review – Best Budget Scuba Camera
One thing is for sure … if you buy the Panasonic Lumix LX10 underwater camera, you will shoot videos and photos like a professional. This camera comes with a big sensor, zoom lens that it does not need housing port changes for wider angle and 4k video.
This camera comes with an advanced control set that makes it stand out among its close rivals. This is because it makes it more customizable since it can be set in such a way that it is closer to the SLR camera shooting style.
The camera’s auto-focus and focus peaking feature enables it to achieve focus easily without having to hold half press as you wait for the action. You just have to focus only once and shoot. The cameras lens has a zoom range of 24 to 72 mm, which is perfect for underwater images such as fish portraits.
The Panasonic Lumix LX10 4K video and its ability to achieve an accurate custom white balance even at depth is the most outstanding feature of this camera. The video image quality is incredible, which makes this camera a perfect choice for under water video shooting enthusiasts.
Lastly, this camera comes with a full manual control as well as an exposure meter that helps you keep track of your exposure.
- High quality photos and videos
- Image stabilization feature
- Focus-peaking – aim and shoot
- Accurate custom-white balance at depth
- Full manual control
- Lacks a manual flash control
GoPro HERO6 Black – Best Underwater Video Camera
The Panasonic Lumix LX10 is a real pro when it comes to clarity and contrast in your underwater photography. This camera is able to capture incredible underwater shots with a pleasant blue background, irrespective of water conditions.
While most cameras are unable to use lights and filters simultaneously, the GoPro HERO6 uses around 1200 lumen lights to deliver well-balanced color when using a filter. The camera has high tech imaging processor and the high 4K60 and 1080p 240 frame rates, which enables it to create high quality images.
The 5GHz Wi-Fi mode enables you to copy videos or photos to your phone. If you have installed the camera’s app on your smartphone, it will automatically send the footage to your phone, and the app will edit the footage to an amazing video. That way, you can share your videos and images with your fans on Instagram and Facebook accounts.
The slow motion feature enhances the camera’s image stabilization when taking handheld shots or when the camera is mounted to your dive gear. This gives the footage a more graceful and super smooth quality. This camera is waterproof for up to 33 feet without using housing.
To use this camera effectively, make sure you download the GoPro app to your iOS or Android device. That way, you can share your videos and photos with your social media community soon after taking them.
- It stabilizes images
- Has an advanced image processor
- Advanced low light performance
- Quite affordable considering its advanced features
- Waterproof for up to 33 feet without housing
- 2 inch LCD screen
- Voice command enabled
- Few exposure controls
- Lens focus is fixed – No zooming
Canon PowerShot D30 – Waterproof Digital Camera
Canon is the leader when it comes to high-tech underwater cameras or when it comes to all types of cameras. The Canon PowerShot D30 is one of their waterproof cameras that does not disappoint when it comes to quality and performance.
This is the best underwater camera as it is able to withstand water without housing up to a depth of 82 feet. It is also able to withstand impact for up to 6.5 feet. This makes it one of the very robust compact underwater cameras currently in the market.
The camera has an image resolution of 12 megapixels, which together with the BSI-CMOS sensor are able to capture incredibly high quality and clear underwater shots. It has a wide range of auto focus technology that allows even the beginners to capture excellent images.
Such include the multi-area, tracking auto-focus modes and a contrast detector, which are very useful features when it comes to taking great shots of marine creatures when they are moving.
This camera also offers you different types of flashes for taking wonderful shots even in low light conditions. It is able to record 1080HD videos and at the same time allow you to take slow motion videos.
Lastly, the camera has an inbuilt GPS but lacks a Wi-Fi option. This baffles many people but to tell you the truth, the other incredible features coming with this camera more than compensate for the lack of Wi-Fi.
- Ideal for beginners and advanced users
- Shoots 1080HD videos
- Very solid construction
- Excellent videos and photos even in low light conditions
- Built-in GPS
- Slow continuous shooting speed – captures 1.9 pictures per second
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera – Best Cheap Underwater Cameras
Like Canon and Panasonic, Olympus is also one of the best-known names in the underwater and out of water photography world. Thus, when you go to buy the Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera, buy it with confidence because you will not be disappointed.
It not only excels in high quality performance, but also in its user-friendliness. The camera has upgraded imaging sensor and an advanced processor that helps the camera to create sharp images. The new sensor works well even in low-light conditions, producing more detailed and sharper images.
This camera has high accuracy and a swift autofocus speed that make it rank among the best waterproof compact cameras. In addition, the camera has a manual flash mode that enables the user to capture fast fire shots.
The focus-peaking mode allows the user to focus on a subject that is constantly in motion so that they can be able to get the best shot. If you want to get that huge turtle swimming towards you, get the Olympus TG-5. This camera has awesome macro capability since it is able to focus precisely at any given distance or zoom.
The camera’s in-built image stabilization enables this camera to reach up to 4K 30P and 120P HD when in video mode. The high-speed 120P mode can be slowed down to 4K 30P to bring about a cool slow motion effect.
The image stabilization and slow motion blend ensures that your videos do not have even the slightest of wobbles. However, these two modes can only be used when the camera is in movie mode.
- Sharp images even in low light conditions
- Easy to use
- High quality video
- It has image stabilization features
- Swift focusing
- No full manual exposure control
- 4K and 120p HD can only be used in movie mode
Canon EOS 5D – Best Beach Camera
Canon EOS 5D is one of the best products to come from Canon. It is a professional camera by all standards. This camera captures high quality images in the most amazing way possible. In the year 2012, it scooped the National Geographic Gear award.
The camera has an ISO range that enables you to capture incredibly sharp images even in low light conditions. This allows you to capture super clear underwater images even late in the day. During those night dives, you will still manage to get out of the water with some amazing marine life shots.
This camera has a high tech autofocus system whose point of reference swiftly focuses the viewfinder so that you do not miss on perfect shots. All these features are displayed on the camera’s LCD screen. This screen has 1.04 million dots and it is designed to resist glare. It has an advanced white balance meter to ensure that all your images are perfect.
This camera is not only able to capture amazing still images; it is also able to record up to 5760 x 3840 resolution videos. If you are looking for a camera that can shoot incredible beach wedding photos, and one that you can also use for snorkeling and diving, this is it.
- High quality images
- Advanced white balance meter
- Great performance even in low light conditions
- Superior auto-focus
- Incredible ISO range
- Must use an underwater housing
FAQs – Best Underwater Camera for Scuba Diving
What else do I need before I start using my underwater camera?
The most important thing is camera housing. This housing is just a means of protection for the camera because electronics and water are not bedmates. Thus, housing will have all the controls for the camera and that is why it is important that you buy housing for a specific housing. For example, GoPro makes mounts and housings for their underwater cameras. Ikelite camera housings are also good, and so are Nauticam, Aquatica and Sea & Sea.
Are cheap underwater cameras good?
They are good because they take videos and photos. However, they cannot do the things that the highly priced big boys can do. For example, they cannot produce great photos taken in low-light conditions, cannot zoom and may not be shockproof.
Can I use long zoom lenses underwater?
If by long zoom lenses you mean 18-200mm or 18-135mm , then the answer is no, because long lens zooms are no good underwater. The wide end of the lens will enlarge your port too much. The recommended length of an underwater zoom is 17 -70mm or 18 – 70mm.
How can I isolate a subject on my photos?
This is also referred to as creating a black background. You can do this by using the highest shutter speed or use a small aperture that is going to block all ambient light and thus help in isolating your subject.
You may also use strobe lighting, focused on the edges of your housing. Lastly, you can also try to get that shot when the subject that you are photographing is isolated, that is, there is nothing but water in the background. This may be hard, but you can do it.
How can I improve my underwater photography?
This is a very broad question and maybe I will create a whole article around it. However, start by a few things as below:
- Buy the best underwater photography gear – camera, lens, lighting and housing
- Keep learning. Read resources written by underwater photographers
- Know how your camera works
- Learn from the best – join photography forums and learn
- Relax when using the camera
- Be as creative as possible
The search for the best budget scuba camera stops right here with these ten reviews. I have mixed them up, from very lowly priced cameras to moderately priced ones. As you can see, whatever your budget is, you can get a high quality underwater camera. With the right housing for the best underwater camera, you will have it for a long time and you will record every moment under and above water.