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Finest underwater cameras 2023

Because of improvements made in each software program and {hardware}, trendy underwater cameras can seize Extremely HD footage, billions of colours, and extreme-resolution pictures – and so they’re smaller than a bar of cleaning soap. We’re speaking, in fact, about action cameras, similar to these from GoPro and DJI. It’s also possible to benefit from the large energy of a mirrorless SLR camera should you pair it with an underwater housing to maintain it dry.


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I have been within the skilled images enterprise for a very long time now, and I’ve realized via expertise what to search for in a digicam. Underwater cameras are not any completely different. They may be small and constructed for submersion, however they nonetheless have sensors, lenses, video specs, codecs, and autofocus. There’s so much to contemplate. To compile this listing of one of the best underwater cameras, I drew from my very own skilled expertise and referred to as upon my fellow digicam specialists at Pocket-lint. Right here, we current our high suggestions.


Finest underwater cameras: Our specialists’ 5 favorites

DJI Osmo Action 4 Camera

DJI Osmo Motion 4

1. Finest total underwater digicam

The most recent and best in underwater digicam know-how

With improved water resistance, 4K120p video, superior stabilization, and an accessible worth, the DJI Osmo Motion 4 units the gold commonplace for underwater cameras.

Professionals

  • Wonderful low-light efficiency because of the 1/1.3-inch sensor
  • In a position to shoot in 10-bit D-Log M shade profile
  • Lengthy-lasting battery life can file 150 minutes of footage
  • Nice worth for the worth
  • Waterproof as much as depths of 18 meters
Cons

  • Dearer than its predecessor with few upgrades
  • It has a little bit of a studying curve to grasp all its features

The DJI Osmo Motion 4 has all of it: 4K 120p video, superior shade profiles, a 2.5-hour battery life, and cutting-edge stabilization know-how. However what actually units it aside from the competitors is its sensor. With an unprecedented measurement of 1/1.3-inches, it is able to capturing shade and light-weight info within the shadowy depths of the ocean. That is an enormous win for underwater images, because it means you will not at all times want a flash to shoot in low-lighting.

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It would look the identical because the final one, however it has a a lot bigger sensor inside. Is it price upgrading?

It is an motion digicam, so it is designed for hands-free capturing. Past the preliminary setup, you actually do not must do a lot to attain attractive footage – merely permit the autofocus, auto-white steadiness, and auto publicity to create their magic. After all, you may nonetheless alter the settings to your liking, even underwater, for the reason that touchscreen is responsive and intuitive. And for the purists on the market, there is a guide publicity mode, as properly.

The DJI Osmo Motion 4 can dip beneath the floor to depths of 18 meters, which is about 59 toes. It additionally performs exceptionally properly within the chilly. The battery retains trucking in sub-zero temperatures, delivering about 150 minutes of recording time. The result’s peace of thoughts as you dive deep, as this factor is constructed to endure.

With the reasonably priced worth and immense energy of the DJI Osmo Motion 4, it is exhausting to advocate anything for underwater images and filmmaking. That is actually the cutting-edge, but it is easy to make use of for each learners and professionals. There are a few different choices price contemplating, however the DJI Osmo Motion 4 units the usual.

GoPro Hero 12 Black Leaked Render (1)

GoPro Hero 12 Black

2. Finest beneath water digicam video decision

The decision revolution is right here, and it is led by GoPro

$349 $399 Save $50

The GoPro Hero 12 Black boasts a max video decision of 5.8K60p and a max depth of 10 meters, giving it the facility to seize underwater particulars with gorgeous sharpness.

Professionals

  • HyperSmooth 6.0 stabilization is one of the best within the biz
  • 10-bit shade and GP Log shade profile
  • As much as 70 minutes of steady recording
  • Improved HDR mode
Cons

  • Not like its predecessors, it lacks GPS
  • Not an enormous improve over the more-affordable GoPro Hero 11

The Hero 12 Black is GoPro’s newest flagship, and the concentrate on video is evident. With a 5.8K60p most decision, 10-bit shade, GP-Log, and a brand new HDR video mode, it heralds in a contemporary technology of motion cameras. Underwater artists may also admire GoPro’s improvements in stabilization. Their up to date HyperSmooth 6.0 works wonders to maintain fast-moving frames easy and freed from movement blur.

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Pocket-lint’s former digicam professional, Luke Baker, mentioned that it was “one of the best GoPro but, however solely simply.” He hedged his reward, for the reason that Hero 12 isn’t drastically different from its predecessor, the Hero 11. Nonetheless, the upgrades are nonetheless noticeable.

This newest mannequin affords a 9:16 side ratio, the aforementioned HyperSmooth 6.0, and a considerably stronger battery life. The Hero 11’s Enduro battery can file HD footage for about 2 hours, whereas the Hero 12’s battery lasts over 2.5 hours. Much more spectacular, this new battery is extra immune to chilly, so sub-zero temps will not sap the cost as rapidly.

Sony A7R iv camera

Sony Alpha a7R IV

3. Finest full-frame digicam for use with housing

Skilled gear for skilled shoots

$2998 $3200 Save $202

If somewhat motion digicam simply will not reduce it, the Sony a7R IV mixed with an underwater housing will ship the pro-level underwater footage you search.

Professionals

  • 4K video at 30fps
  • Unbelievable hybrid autofocus
  • 5-axis SteadyShot stabilization
  • 61MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
Cons

  • Sony’s notorious battery life is best, however nonetheless not nice
  • Costly

Ikelite 200DL Underwater Camera housing for A7r iV

Ikelite 200DL Underwater Housing for a7R IV

Finest underwater housing add on

The highest safety to your treasured gear

Professionals

  • Full button controls
  • Wonderful sturdiness
  • Straightforward to make use of and setup
  • Rated for as much as 60 meters of depth
Cons

  • Costly
  • Fairly hefty at 4.7 kilos

We have praised the Sony a7R IV earlier than, however its accolades are price repeating. This full-frame mirrorless powerhouse is able to 4K video, 61MP pictures, and an especially superior stabilization know-how referred to as SteadyShot. This makes it an incredible digicam for underwater capturing, as it may possibly seize steady, sharp footage in tremendous low lighting – no flash required.

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One other big benefit to make the most of for underwater images is the hybrid autofocus. It makes use of 567 detection factors, combining each distinction and section detection, to lock its focus rapidly and precisely. It really works splendidly underwater, and you too can make use of clever subject-tracking to faucet a goal and let the autofocus do the remaining. It maintains a pointy concentrate on fast-moving topics like fish and swimmers, whilst they alter their distance.

However to make use of the a7R IV underwater, you will want underwater housing. Our favourite is the Ikelite 200DL, which is particularly designed for the a7R IV and the a7R V. (For those who want an underwater housing for a unique digicam mannequin, Ikelite has tons of custom-fitted choices.) The 200DL has perfectly-fitted buttons and knobs for adjusting zoom and focus, and the clear backing offers you full visibility of the display screen. Most significantly, the housing is waterproof as much as 60 meters, so the peace of thoughts it brings is definitely worth the premium price ticket.

DJI Osmo Action 3-1

DJI Osmo Motion 3

4. Finest worth underwater digicam

A small price for giant returns

$279 $329 Save $50

The DJI Osmo Motion 3 might lack a couple of of the flowery new options of its sequel, however it nonetheless holds its personal as top-of-the-line motion cameras in the marketplace.

Professionals

  • Tremendous light-weight and compact
  • Max video decision of 4K at 120fps
  • Combines three stabilization software program for easy video
  • Comparatively budget-friendly
Cons

  • 12MP photograph decision is not pro-grade
  • Might require firmware updates for full video capabilities

We picked the DJI Osmo Motion 4 as our high total underwater digicam, however its predecessor is almost just as good. Plus, it is fairly a bit cheaper. In actual fact, when the Pocket-lint crew first reviewed the DJI Osmo Motion 3, we gave it an almost good rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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On paper, the Osmo Motion 3 looks as if it might show to be an actual rival to GoPro’s market dominance, so we got down to see the way it shapes up.

It is actually a “actual rival to GoPro’s market dominance,” with Wi-Fi live-streaming, a superior battery efficiency in comparison with the Hero 11 Black, and a video decision of 4K/120p. And for underwater explorers, it may possibly attain depths of 16 meters. The place DJI excels is of their user-friendly designs. With two shows, one on the entrance, one on the again, the Osmo Motion 3 offers you full touchscreen controls.

And so they work underwater. You possibly can allow the wonderful stabilization modes, similar to HorizonSteady, to maintain your footage trying easy, and the 10-bit shade recording is there for the taking. The listing of spectacular specs goes on for some time, so it is price trying out. And as soon as you have learn via all of the completely different strengths of the Osmo Motion 3, the worth proves to be the cherry on high.

Gopro Hero 11 Black Mini

GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini

5. Finest super-mini measurement for underwater video

5.3K video from a digicam the dimensions of a matchbox

$249 $299 Save $50

The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini may be small, however it comprises extremely superior {hardware} that excels in underwater images.

Professionals

  • Funds-friendly worth
  • Sharp, attractive 5.3K60p video
  • Splendid measurement for carrying as first-person perspective
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization
Cons

  • No nonetheless photograph mode; it’s important to seize screenshots
  • No display screen, solely a primary show on the highest

There’s actually no rival for the GoPro Hero 11 Black, at the very least not at this measurement. This mind-blowingly tiny digicam packs a punch, with 5.3K60p video capabilities and a weight of solely 4.7 ounces. And for all that tininess, it may possibly nonetheless attain underwater depths of as much as 10 meters. Add the GoPro protecting housing, and it may possibly dive even deeper.

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The GoPro Hero 11 Black is not for everybody, for the reason that lack of a display screen is an enormous level of rivalry. It is extra of a point-and-shoot than a full-fledged pro-level motion digicam, however the computerized settings ship wonderful footage and not using a problem.

For those who’re on the lookout for one thing which you could strap to your chest or brow, click on the file button, and begin documenting your underwater adventures, the GoPro Hero 11 Black is the right decide. It is tremendous reasonably priced, too.

The underside line: What’s one of the best underwater digicam?

We advocate the DJI Osmo Motion 3 for its sensible 4K HDR video and glorious waterproof construct. It may deal with depths as little as 16 meters, which is greater than sufficient for many dives. Better of all, for all its strengths and superior options, it comes at an reasonably priced worth.

There are different fashions price consideration as properly. Those who need increased resolutions would do properly with the GoPro Hero 12 Black, which delivers an unbelievable 5.3K60p video decision and 27MP pictures. And for many who merely cannot half with their full-frame mirrorless cameras, an underwater SLR digicam housing may be definitely worth the funding. We advocate the Sony A7R IV for this strategy, however you too can try the opposite custom-fitted underwater housings accessible on B&H to match your explicit digicam.

DJI Osmo Action 4 (16)

DJI Osmo Motion 4

Editor’s Alternative

How we selected one of the best underwater cameras

Our crew consists of images professionals, tech gurus, and A/V specialists, and collectively we got here up with the next listing of priorities to concentrate on when on the lookout for an underwater digicam.

Waterproofing: That is actually crucial a part of an underwater digicam, since you will get about one probability to check its underwater efficiency by yourself. It is sink or swim. Happily, the “ingress safety code,” or IP ranking, is a standardized system that offers an correct indication of a product’s diploma of waterproofing. Thus, you may search for a digicam’s IP code to find out how well-protected it’s in water.

The ranking is given in two digits within the type IP##. The primary signifies the tightness of the camera-body’s seal. For underwater cameras, this worth must be the utmost potential ranking of 6, which suggests it is fully “dust-tight” and vacuum-tested. The second digit is extra essential. It is the waterproof ranking, the place a price of seven or increased means the system might be absolutely immersed in water.

1:02

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Producers will make claims about how deep their cameras can go. Our high decide, the DJI Osmo Motion 3, for instance, is alleged to be able to reaching depths of 16 meters. Whereas these claims aren’t as trustable because the IP code, they’re nonetheless price contemplating. In actual fact, it is seemingly that almost all producers are overly conservative of their estimates with a purpose to defend themselves from legal responsibility.

Video specs: As we speak’s cameras are able to extraordinarily excessive resolutions and body charges. We contemplate 4K to be the minimal, however you also needs to have a look at the max potential body charge. For underwater footage, we advocate body charges of 60fps and above, since marine life strikes quick. Such excessive body charges can be used for gradual movement.

Coloration is one other essential side of underwater video. Distinction and shade heat are drastically diminished beneath the floor, so this is without doubt one of the few digicam endeavors the place we advocate HDR. It’s also possible to verify the utmost shade depth, such because the DJI Osmo Motion 3’s 10-bit shade depth, to verify it is wealthy.

Different video specs to search for are stabilization tech and side ratio. DJI makes use of its HorizonSteady know-how to cut back movement blur and body jumps, whereas GoPro makes use of HyperSmooth. Each work exceptionally properly, and we advocate enabling such stabilizers always. For side ratio, 16:9 is mostly most popular, because it matches the scale of most shows.

Picture specs: The primary spec to verify is the utmost decision of stills, which is given in MegaPixels (MP). We favor resolutions of 20MP or increased, since they’re giant sufficient to crop the body and make edits in put up.

It’s also possible to take freeze frames out of your video footage to take high-quality nonetheless photos. That is truly a lot simpler than making an attempt to snap a photograph on the proper second, since a 4K video at 60fps is successfully the identical as burst capturing mode. However, some cameras have RAW picture varieties, which can present larger decision and shade info than a body from a video.

Ease of use: For those who’re swimming round, you do not need to get caught twiddling with menus and complex button layouts. Thus, underwater cameras must be straightforward to make use of. Most are managed by way of a touchscreen, and that touchscreen ought to work easily underwater. That is additionally a time to allow your computerized publicity, focus, and white steadiness tech. In the end, we wish an underwater digicam which you could arrange earlier than you submerge and go away operating whilst you discover the depths. That additionally means it ought to have a great battery life, someplace within the vary of two hours.

Worth worth: You possibly can rating a water-proof motion digicam with high-quality video capabilities for beneath $500. They’re additionally compact, straightforward to make use of, and filled with adventure-ready options like picture stabilization and HDR. Certainly, the newest technology of motion cameras are well-worth their worth.

However if you wish to take skilled footage that appears such as you ripped it from the BBC, the worth of entry skyrockets. That is since you’ll not solely want a high quality digicam and lens, however you will additionally must spend money on an underwater housing to maintain it dry. Such housing can price a number of grand, and settling for an inexpensive choice places your digicam in danger.

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Do I would like any equipment to make use of an underwater digicam?

You do not want equipment, however for motion cameras just like the GoPro, they may help so much. Motion cameras are small, in order that they’re exhausting to manage with simply your fingers. We advocate getting a selfie stick that may deal with getting moist. Alternatively, you may check out completely different mounts, like a head mount or a chest mount. These give a first-person perspective to your footage, and so they release your fingers for swimming. It’s also possible to add a distant shutter to your package, so you do not have to take away the digicam from the mount each time you need to begin rolling.

One other nifty device is a distant flash. As you descend in water, it will get darkish quick. Use a light-weight and waterproof LED flash bulb to light up your topics. You do not have to splurge on one thing tremendous fancy, both, since there are lots of fashions on the market which are each reasonably priced and efficient.

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How can I enhance my underwater photographs?

Water has a novel impact on mild. It absorbs it, in fact, however it additionally warps its path. The result’s an more and more larger lack of brightness, shade, and sharpness with distance. Thus, you need to attempt to get as near your topic as potential to seize all that mild info earlier than it will get distorted by the water.

The equipment we talked about above will assist to enhance the standard of your underwater images. A distant flash not solely brightens up your topic, however it should additionally improve the reflective shade patterns of fish scales, marine crops, and different pure hues. My dad is a scuba diver and photographer, and his underwater pictures are unbelievable, which is the place I’ve realized numerous my finest ideas.

He is snapped photographs of large groupers lurking amongst multicolored corals, clownfish peeking out of their anemone abodes, and rainbowfish as they streak via the ocean (try the grouper captured within the ’80s on one in all his journeys beneath). However virtually equally goliath, have been the dimensions of his underwater cameras. From the period of film-stock and incandescent flashes, they have been heavy, cumbersome, and tremendous delicate. As we speak’s underwater cameras are an entire completely different breed. But when he might get an attractive high quality photograph just like the one beneath on an older, bulkier system, I’ve religion with the following tips, some apply, and a digicam like those above, you can too.

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