Shooting underwater can make for an amazing way to spice up any video. Underwater shots give us a look that most of us simply aren’t used to seeing. There are many options available to shoot underwater including: action cameras, compact cameras, and phone cases. We’ve included all of these on our list.
Here’s a few factors to consider when thinking about your underwater videos and photos. Action cameras provide the best footage and convenience. Compact cameras take betters still, but inferior quality video (and they’re slightly larger). Phone cases are great as protectors, but it can be tough to finagle a good image when one’s phone is looking through plastic. In short, it all depends what your needs are. Needless to say, if one’s budget allows, the top of our list won’t let you down. As usual, however, the best value is more in the middle. Be sure to note the “Editor’s Choice,” option; it’s the best value.
Here are our top 10 best underwater cameras in order of highest to lowest price.
1. GoPro Hero 5 Black
The GoPro Hero 5 is the gold standard for action cameras and underwater shooting. It packs so many features including high quality recordings cut out for professional cinematographers. It has a robust app ecosystem so you can edit and share your footage using your smartphone. This new model doesn’t even need underwater housing. You can just throw it in the water. That said, there is one big drawback to this camera. It’s expensive. The fact is that for most people, it’s overkill. One can get great quality underwater images and video at much lower prices. If you need the best of the best, however, this is the way to go.
- Stunning 4k video, 12 megapixel photos
- Broad ecosystem includes iPhone apps
- Top of the line action camera
- Built- in stabilization makes shots that much smoother
- Audio is best in its class (though underwater will be highly limited)
- Strictly for action footage, struggles with taking natural looking stills
- Extremely expensive
- Some users received defective units
- Low light quality still isn’t great
2. Fujifilm XP90 Underwater Camera
The FujiFilm XP90 is a nice, underwater camera that excels even compared to the GoPro Hero 5. One unique feature of this camera is its 5x optical zoom, allowing you to get in close. This set includes a variety of accessories including cleaning gear and other useful items. It’s praised as a great value and boasts an impressive depth capability of 50 feet.
Price: $189.99 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Waterproof to 50 feet
- 5x optical zoom, unique for underwater cameras
- Bundle kit includes cleaning gear, camera case, and small tripod
- Accessories praised as good value
- Some users had charging issues
- One user said pictures were consistently below expected quality
- Software for wirelessly transferring photos is not included
3. Powerlead Underwater Camera
The Powerlead Underwater Camera offers a lot of bang for the buck. It may be on the pricier side, but it has a bright look (meaning it’s easy to spot beneath the waves), and can take the footage and pictures users want. Another great perk of this camera, it includes a 12-month warranty and 30 day satisfaction guarantee. At 16 megapixels, it offers superb detail and a superb value.
- Waterproof up to 30 feet
- Ergonomic camera
- 12 month warranty, and 30 day exchange policy
- Variety of shooting modes
- 16 megapixels offers solid detail
- One user had issues with the battery
- One user had issues with the sensor; images randomly didn’t turn out
- Not as robust in terms of video capturing options
4. Akaso EK7000 (Editor’s Choice)
Boasting 4k and 1080p at 60FPS, the Akaso EK7000 is basically a budget GoPro. It’s waterproof up to 100 feet with its included housing. It also includes a wireless remote for those challenging shots. This is not to say there are no drawbacks: two minor flaws with this camera included cumbersome filetypes for post-processing and subpar photograph quality. Still, at this price, getting something that’s similar to a GoPro is a great deal.
This camera is the editor’s choice because it’s a great price and takes very decent footage. Sure, it’s not quite a GoPro, but for most people, they’re just not going to be able to tell the difference. 4K at 60FPS looks amazing.
Price: $83.99 (30 percent off MSRP)
- Full 4k resolution with 1080p at 60 frames per second
- Includes two batteries for total recording time of up to three hours
- Waterproof up to 100 feet deep
- Includes a wireless remote
- Records video as 10 minute clips, meaning your file outputs divided
- Poor photography quality, mainly good for video
- Audio quality is poor (comes with the underwater photography territory)
- Filetypes require conversion in post
5. Campark Act776
For those who are looking to shoot underwater, the Act 776 shoots 4k at 30fps and 720p up to 90 fps. It includes a variety of accessories and is almost as good as the camera above. Image quality is very comparable to the Akaso; the drawbacks here are mainly practical. The Campark’s battery life isn’t as good. Auto-exposure can also be finicky, meaning sometimes, one just plain won’t get the shot. Still, this is an awesome action camera for the money. Users love the quality of footage and its ability to output directly to HDMI, meaning you can easily screen you videos on a TV or monitor, no computer required. If you don’t have a computer and need a cheap option for showing off videos of you surfing, this camera offers a unique convenience.
Price: $69.99 (63 percent off MSRP)
- Included mount and accessories make setup have no additional cost
- Can output direct to HDMI, meaning one can screen footage on their television or monitor directly
- Records 4K at 30 frames per second, and 720P up to 90 fps
- Included waterproof casing
- Battery life is only 90 minutes long
- App can glitchy
- Auto-exposure can be inaccurate
- Colors in footage are on the muted side, some users describe them as dull
6. Cymas Action Underwater Camera
The Cymas Action underwater camera offers users a unique perk in this price range: a screen so one can clearly see what they’re getting. It also links up to one’s iPhone or smartphone to let you get a look at what the sensor sees from afar. The action camera includes multiple accessories to help you use it to its fullest capabilities. This camera offers its users a good value with great quality video.
- 2 inch high definition screen
- Records 1080p at 30fps and 720p
- Features battery that lasts up to three hours
- Users impressed by quality of footage; comparable to a GoPro Hero 4
- Waterproof down to 68 feet
- Built-in wifi features
- Some users found it difficult to use
- One user had an issue with the battery life
- Camera can have issues recognizing particular memory cards, be sure to format it as FAT32 first
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7. Soocoo Action Waterproof Camera
With two rechargeable batteries, a two inch screen, and 98 feet below water’s surface waterproofing, the Soocoo action camera boasts great value. The camera also built-in Wifi an an app to let you see what it sees on your phone. There’s also a 12-month warranty, meaning one can feel safe they bought something they know will hold up at least that long.
Price: $49.99 (17 percent off MSRP)
- Stabilization in-camera is decent
- LCD screen has solid resolution
- Include two batteries for recording time total of almost three hours
- Low light quality is very poor
- Some users had issues with the battery life
- Time-lapse mode doesn’t work with 4K, only compatible with 1080P
8. Vtech Kidizoom Underwater Camera
Perfect for kids and those seeking a tiny, attractive camera, the VTech Kidzoom is as yellow as it is affordable. It includes a rechargeable battery and shoots low resolution 640 x 480 footage. It may not be the best in terms of features and footage quality, but it certainly gets the job done at a very reasonable price.
Price: $37.4 (38 percent off MSRP)
- Durable, includes waterproof protective case
- Praised as a “GoPro for kids”
- Rechargeable battery
- Has fun features, including games and overlays
- Resolution is acceptable for kid-based video
- Very limited space on camera; one will need to purchase a Micro SD card
- Resolution is too poor for stills
- Clip-on atachment broke for some users
9. Voxkin Universal Waterproof Case
For those who may be thinking, do I really need a new camera? We all carry around a camera constantly, our smartphone. The Voxkin waterproof case offers protection at a great price. Users praise it’s sharp capture and durability. There is a money-back guarantee, but this, of course, doesn’t protect the cost of your phone. Still, the vast majority of users say the case has proved reliable and effective.
Price: $9.99 (80 percent off MSRP)
- Praised as reliable waterproof for smartphones
- Passes the napkin and paper towel test for not allowing any water in
- Pink look means it’s a stylish choice for some
- Can’t fit an iPhone 7 plus or iPhone 6 plus
- One user felt the case obscured the camera too much and they couldn’t get good quality pictures or video
- One user had an issue being unable to press buttons on his touch screen device
10. Mpow Waterproof Case (2 for 1)
Slightly cheaper than the Voxkin, the Mpow delivers very similar results albeit with a black aesthetic. The Mpow also works with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. It’s a waterproof phone bag that won’t let one down. Users praises its durability and consistency. The price is also extremely hard to beat.
Price: $8.99 (47 percent off MSRP)
- Two for one means the price is right
- Praised as keeping phones “bone dry” in situations like cruises, water parks, and beaches
- Users feel it does a great job of protecting their phones
- Some users even felt case was a great fit for documents
- One users phone got wet
- One user said it did not fit his Passport
- Two pack only includes one lanyard
- One user said his case tore after one week of use
Still looking for the right underwater camera? Browse more top-rated underwater cameras on Amazon.