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Best Underwater Camera?

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New York
3 posts
Best Underwater Camera?

I don't really know much about cameras so I would appreciate if someone could fill me in.

My mum has asked for a underwater camera for her birthday as she'll be doing a fair bit of snorkelling in the next few months. I suspect she'd also like to use it above land.

I see a lot of cameras are waterproof, but don't know if these are water resistant similar to watches that can get wet but aren't appropriate for full time water use.

Can anyone suggest an appropriate camera for the above mentioned use? Looking for <$600 if possible.

Thanks in advance.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
2,484 posts
1. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

There are several things to look at on a water proof camera. They come as self contained units or you can buy the camera and the case separate. Then there is the depth rating for the water proof. I am a diver so my case is rated for 130ft. You don't need that for snorkeling. However, I have a Canon that is designed as a land camera and the case is separate, so I use it in the case diving, snorkeling, in the pool with the grand kids, on boats or on land as a regular camera with out the case. If you buy one in the case then you can use it only in the water. A new Canon or something like it can run in the $300 range and the water proof case can cost $150-250. The cases are model specific. You might also just rent a camera if this is a one time trip.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
2,484 posts
2. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

I correct myself. Some of the self contained units are multifunctional and can be used on land as well. You just don't need one that is water proof to say below 20' for snorkelling

San Diego...
Level Contributor
2,484 posts
3. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

As I think about this a bit more. It might be best to get a self contained unit. The separate case gives you a lot of flexibility but you really have to be careful with the case or you can flood the camera. They say that those that haven't will. I flooded my camera once and it immediately became toast. So an inexpensive self contained by work. Here is a sample for Sea and Sea that has a separate case.

Tjonk is was $149. There are tons of brands out there. Also look at B and H Photo

Reviews about Intova Sport 10K

Intova Sport 10K:

SPORT 10K is an affordable solution to Sports photography. The compact housing is waterproof to 140 feet / 40 meters and features a shock absorbent liner, double O-ring design and full function control buttons.

The camera is waterproof to 10 feet / 3 meters and features great video and photo performance. 2AAA batteries provide easy power solutions anywhere in the world. Memory is via Micro SD card up to 32GB for hundreds of photos and/or hours of video content.

The standard tripod mount is compatible with all Intova mount systems for an easy solution to Sports Photography / Videography. Model# SPORT 10K.

Reedsport, Oregon
Level Contributor
3,675 posts
34 reviews
4. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

Most of your "Tough" or "Life proof" cameras will have depth limits, many getting down to 40+ ft. now, but most only say they are good for 1-2 hrs. being wet before they need to come out and dry. If you want to get a camera to stay under longer you will need to go with a case. With your $600 that is doable but just barely in most cases.

I have an Olympus TG-1 which was quickly replaced by the TG-2. The TG_1 seem to have better ratings but they are discontinued so the new ones left on the market are outrageous in price. I also have a Panasonic TS3 which is almost 2 years old now and like it very much old now but the pictures are much nicer on the Olympus.

DPReview.com has reviews on many of the newer waterproof cameras. The Oly TG-2, Canon D20, Nikon AW-110, and the Panasonic TS-3 and all rated pretty close to the same overall but each camera had areas it did better in than others. May want to check it out.

Reedsport, Oregon
Level Contributor
3,675 posts
34 reviews
5. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

Just a note, I looked at the 4 cameras manuals I listed above and the Oly, Nikon and Panasonic all were rated for one hour. I could not find anything on the Canon but I would imagine it's not much different.

Another thing, the big reason I went with the Oly TG-1 is the two wet lenses available for it. I got both and the wide angle is amazing. I hardly took it off on our trip to the Big Island in May. I took pics I couldn't imagine with all the other cameras I have had over the last 10 years. A 9ft. manta just a couple feet away and was still able to catch most of her in my screen. Great underwater landscape shots and I even played around with the cool over/under water shots I have seen before. I'm hoping for some calm water in Maui in September to get more of them.

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
10,721 posts
196 reviews
6. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

Hello ulysseed: I'm not sure if it's been said but Welcome to TripAdvisor and the Maui forums.

Best is subjective. Here are a few recent links discussing underwater cameras. It is so nice of you to get one for your mum!





Happy shopping.

Boston, MA
Level Contributor
3,096 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

I also have the Olypus TG-1 Camera and I've been very happy with it. It's small enough to be easy to carry around everywhere, and it's underwater performance is very good. For snorkeling, any of the "tough" or "lifeproof" cameras are going to be fine. My biggest issue with this category is the lag time between pressing the button and getting the picture. Let's just say I have a great collection of "Fish @ss" pictures (sounds like a good name for a coffee table book). The TG-1 and TG-2 have very short shutter lag (less than 1/10 second, if pre-focused, 1/10 second if not pre-focused) and it's easy to capture great pictures. The camera also has a very wide angle lens, to begin with, and as DreaminofMaui mentions, you can buy extra lenses for fisheye effect or telephoto.

Overall, I think the Olympus is the top of the tough category, right now, but things change fast. Here's a nice comparison of "best" in the lifeproof category: steves-digicams.com/knowledge-center/best-li…

Reedsport, Oregon
Level Contributor
3,675 posts
34 reviews
8. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

grandeau, you almost made me spit soda on my computer with the fish @ss comment. Those go along with the, "It was right there a second ago." pictures. I cover those up with the, "Look at that beautiful coral." comment. LOL

As for the lenses there are after market ones out there but I stuck with the OEM ones. Like I mentioned the fisheye one was awesome. I really didn't give the tele converter ( they don't call it telephoto) a good workout. I will in Maui in September. It only works at the very end of the cameras own zoom capabilities. The farther you zoom back out you start getting light only from the center of the frame and the hole gets smaller the farther you zoom out. I will throw out one caution with the lenses, they need to be flooded to work right. Meaning there needs to be water between the camera lens and the wet lens. The adapter allows for this to be done easily but be sure to do it in shallow water where you have a good grip on the lens.

Edited: 5:56 pm, July 07, 2013
Wayne, New Jersey
Level Contributor
424 posts
9. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

We bought a Nikon from costco! It has excellent reviews! It was right under $300

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
118 posts
33 reviews
10. Re: Best Underwater Camera?

I recently purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25 on sale for $129 for this very purpose. Compared to the Canon Powershot (with housing) that I used last time, the Lumix has hardly any lag at all. I have tested it at home and in the pool, but not snorkeling yet. I anticipate it will perform a lot better than my Powershot ... when most of my underwater photos were either blurry, or of a rock, because the fish was long gone by the time it actually took the picture! This camera is compact and slim, and won't be a burden to carry along whenever I'm in the ocean. And with the lower price, if something does happen to it, I won't have to kill myself. I think it's $151 on Amazon right now.