Looking to get started in underwater photography or update your current system? With so many cameras on the market it can be a challange to find the right camera, well suited for underwater shooters. This year, Optical Ocean's top underwater camera choices have been chosen based on value for money and overall performance.
Ranging from simple point-and-shoot to the World's first 61MP full-frame mirrorless camera, here are our top underwater camera picks for this winter:
Best Camera for Beginners
A rugged camera that is shockproof, crushproof and waterproof (down to 50'). It features built-in image stabilization, 4K video at up to 30 frames-per-second and has a 24-100mm focal range. A 12MP sensor allows for high-quality images in a compact design. The TG-6 even offers a microscopic mode (no additional wet optic diopters required) for underwater macro lovers!
Olympus TG-6 Camera and Housing Packages starting at $649.98*
For more information check out our camera Review for the Olympus TG-6.
Best Value Compact Camera
Canon Powershot G7X Mark II or G7X Mark III
A travel-friendly camera with plenty of manual controls and superb low-light performance for the enthusiast who wants to produce high-quality images. It features a 20 MP, 1" sensor and fast maximum aperature of f1.8-2.8. While the Canon G7C Mark II shoots up to 1080p HD video, its successor, the G7X Mark III has 4K UHD capabilities up to 30 frames-per-second.
Canon Powershot G7XII Camera and Housing Packages starting at $849.99*
Canon Powershot G7XIII Camera and Housing Packages starting at $1099.95*
Best Compact Camera for Video
Sony RX100 VI / Sony RX100 VII
Featuring stellar autofocus, a 24-200mm zoom range and high quality 4K UHD video recording at 30fps. The RX 100 VI / VII even has a pop-up electronic viewfinder! The RX100 VII offers improved ISO sensitivity, burst shooting up to 90 frames-per-second, video autofocus and stabilization capabilities, as well as a newly added mic input feature.
Sony RX100 VI Housings and Packages starting at $359.99*
Sony RX100 VII Housings and Packages starting at $359.99*
Best Value Mirrorless
Olympus EM1 Mark II
A 20 MP weatherproof micro-four-thirds workhorse with an advanced autofocus system, 4K UHD video recording and unshakable in-body image stabilization. Feature highlights include: 121-point hybrid autofocus system, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, high-resolution electronic viewfinder, and 60 frames-per-second burst shooting capabilities. Paired with the superior resolution of M.Zuiko PRO lenses, the E-M1 Mark II will deliver brilliant imagery that’s coveted by professionals everywhere.
Olympus EM1 Mark II Camera and Housing Packages starting at $2944.98*
Click Here for more information on the Olympus EM1 Mark II
Best Full-Frame Mirrorless
Sony a7R IV
The world’s first 61MP high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera built for the demanding professional. Feature highlights include: 15 stops of dynamic range, a fast hybrid autofocus system with 74% frame coverage, up to 10 frames-per-second burst mode with continuous autofocus, 5.76M-dot electronic view finder and dual UHS-II memory card slots. The body's weather-sealing, buttons and grip have all been redesigned from previous models and upgraded for better handling. Make no mistake, this is a milestone camera in the full-frame mirrorless camera market!
Sony a7R IV Housings and Packages starting at: $1695*
For more information check out DPReview's full review of the Sony a7R IV
Best Value DSLR
A 21MP APS-C cropped-sensor DSLR packed with features from Nikon’s flagship full-frame DSLR built into a smaller more affordable body. The D500 boasts significant improvements in shooting rate, autofocus and video capabilities. Feature highlights include: super fast 153 autofocus points with nearly full-width coverage, high buffer rate with burst shooting up to 10 frames-per-second, 4K UHD video recording, and robust weatherproof design. With Snapbridge connection, auto-transfer images from the camera, and initiating the Wi-Fi connection for remote shooting or manual image transfer. The D500 has most of the features of a full-frame DSLR, for the fraction of the price.
Nikon D500 Housings and Packages starting at $1595*
For more information check out DPReview's full review of the Nikon D500
Best Full-Frame DSLR
The Nikon D850 is the best-all-around DSLR featuring a sophisticated and fast autofocus system, improved UHD 4K video recording capabilities and impressive battery life. Producing stunning image-quality with its 46MP high-resolution sensor, and incredible low-light performance with a native ISO range 64-25600, this camera is a power house for any underwater photographer. Additional features like 8K time-lapse, focus peaking, focus shift, WiFi and Bluetooth ready keep this camera competitively positioned two years after its release.
Nikon D850 Housings and Packages starting at $1695*
For more information check out our Review of the Nikon D850 and Nauticam NA-D850 housing
For help with deciding on the perfect underwater housing for your camera please check out our Pros and Cons of Underwater Housings blog which reviews housings by some of the most popular manufacturers on the market.
Also, please visit the Housings section on our website and look under the “Features” tabs for complete features and specifications. You can also select several housings to compare their specifications against each other.
*All prices are current as of 11/27/2019 at the creation of the article. For the the most up-to-date pricing please click on the links provided as sale prices are for a limited time only and are subject to changes.