2y3k Review

Notice: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Best Underwater Cameras of 2021 (July Review)

After extensive research and examination of dozens of products, we've picked out the ***best underwater cameras on the market for any budget. Our top pick, the Go Pro Hero 7, is the best action camera available for most adventure sports and travel use. It improves on the renowned ruggedness of the previous Go Pro while adding 4K 60p video and hands-free voice control.

GoPro Hero7 Black --- Waterproof Action Camera

AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Super Action Camera

Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera

Since the best underwater cameras are intended for use underwater and on adventures in general, in making this list we looked for each camera's dive rating and whether they claimed to be shock and dust resistant. Some models, like the Nikon W300, our #3 choice, even specify what temperature range they can operate in. We made sure to note what lenses and sensors each of these cameras was equipped with, as well as the maximum resolution for video and stills.

We checked what accessories were included and available. These accessories usually included at least batteries, USB cables, and for action cameras, some mounting hardware. Finally, we checked the listed battery life; most action cams have a 900-1350 mAh battery, which equates to about 60-90 minutes of recording. We give extra points for the ability to shoot slow motion at different frame rates and good low-light performance.

Top 7 Best Underwater Cameras Comparison

#1 Go Pro Hero 7 Camera

View Price

What we like about it: Best-in-class video quality, 4K frame rates up to 60 fps, plus crisp 12 MP stills, and a rugged housing that's waterproof to 33 feet. Pros

  • Rugged, waterproof construction that's proven to last.
  • Very reasonable price
  • Image quality is the best we've seen from an action camera, with 4K video and 12MP stills.

Cons

  • Limited external controls for adjusting exposure
  • Only one lens option
  • Not suitable for deep dives, as it is only rated at 10 meters or about 33 feet.

The Go Pro Hero 7 is a safe choice for action sports and adventure travel enthusiasts. The Go Pro Hero 7 offers the best durability of any action camera - so many skydiving and racing videos are shot with the Go Pro There's a reason why it was shot - the Go Pro Hero 7 is also one of the more affordable waterproof cameras available.

It has a 1220 mAh battery, the largest of any action camera on our list, allowing it to record video for up to two hours per charge.

It has a waterproof housing and can be submerged up to 33 feet. This makes it ideal for surfing, boating or snorkeling, as well as capturing shallow water footage of you and your friends swimming. Like previous Go Pro models and most action cameras, the Go Pro Hero 7 runs primarily in set-it-and-forget-it mode. Simply press a button and it will record until the card is full. However, unlike earlier versions of the Go Pro and many of its competitors, the Hero 7 offers a clear and useful back screen, so you can use it for framing shots as well as still shots. the Go Pro Hero 7 also features voice control and supports live streaming.

#2 AKASO EK7000 4K Action Camera

View Price

What we like about it: This is a very affordable budget action cam with good specs, including 4K video and a deeper dive rating than the Go Pro Hero 7. It's great for those wanting to pick up an inexpensive underwater camera for diving, boating, and more. Pros

  • Rated to dive to 100 feet, three times the depth of the Go Pro 7.
  • Includes 2.4GHz remote control
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Limited camera control, as with most action cameras
  • 4K resolution is only 25 fps, so no 4K slow-motion Go Pro
  • Requires waterproof case

The affordable AKASO benefits from some advanced features like 4K video capture, burst mode, time-lapse mode and built-in Wi-Fi for quick and easy sharing. Plus, it dives even deeper underwater than our top pick, the Go Pro Hero 7, making the AKASO EK7000 a solid choice for adventurers on a budget. It's also an ideal second camera for skiing, surfing or boating trips.

While it doesn't have the longest battery life - you'll usually get an hour or so of recording if you use the screen - or the most noiseless low-light lens, it does come with a handy wrist-mounted remote that makes it easy to shoot without pausing for action. As with the Go-Pro, the wide-angle lens gives you a 170-degree field of view. Like most action cameras and professional underwater cameras, the AKASO doesn't have much in the way of external exposure control, but it can shoot high-resolution 4K video at 25 frames per second and HD 1080p at 60 fps.

#3 Nikon W300 Camera

View Price

What we like about it: A rugged, dustproof and freeze-proof real camera with flash and autofocus that gives you higher quality stills than action cameras like Go Pro or AKASO can deliver, and without fisheye distortion, in extreme conditions. It's great for those who want to take memorable, high-quality photos and videos on their adventures, while using a more traditional camera form factor that works well in and out of the water. Pros

  • Built-in flash and LED movie light for added low-light capability
  • Provides more exposure control than Go-Pro or other action cameras
  • Waterproof up to 100 feet

Cons

  • Narrower field of view than Go-Pro and other action cameras
  • Does not include mounting hardware
  • Not as easy to set up and use as some of the other products on our list

The Nikon W300 offers 16 megapixels for stills or 4K UHD video and is rugged enough to be used for everything from mountain biking to skiing to scuba diving. While it lacks the helmet-mounted setup and forget-about-it convenience of an action camera like the Go Pro Hero 7 (our top pick), this Nikon underwater camera has its own advantages as more of a "real" camera. Unlike action cameras, it includes a built-in flash and LED light, so it's not completely useless in low-light conditions. It also benefits from a Nikon lens with a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, allowing it to collect more light for its 16-megapixel stills. the W300's battery can take up to 280 shots per charge.

While the setup is more time-consuming than the Go Pro or AKASO (our second choice), the Nikon W300 has more features to play with. In addition to built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it comes with GPS, an altimeter and a dive depth gauge, plus it even has a built-in barometer so it can read atmospheric pressure and water pressure, making it perfect for hikers and climbers, as well as scuba divers and snorkelers looking for clear, unambiguous underwater photos and video clips.

#4 APEMAN A79 Camera

View Price

What we like about it: An affordable underwater camera that can shoot up to 40 meters underwater, the deepest of all the underwater cameras on our list, it also has 4K video and the ability to mount an external microphone. It's perfect for YouTubers who want an easy-to-use action camera to capture cool underwater footage with better audio quality than the Go Pro. Pros

  • 4K video at up to 30 frames per second
  • Can shoot up to 40 meters underwater, deeper than most on our list.
  • Built-in 2" screen + included external microphone

Cons

  • No 5-axis image stabilization like the Nikon or Go Pro.
  • No 5-axis image stabilization like the Nikon or Go Pro.
  • Lens can be noisy in low light conditions

This affordable action camera is great for shooting 4K video of swimming, scuba diving, surfing, and more. For the price, it includes a surprising number of features (WiFi, 20MP sensor, remote control, built-in screen) and its 40m dive rating is deeper than the more expensive Nikon W300 underwater camera. Its battery lasts 90 minutes while recording video, which is about average for the action cameras on our list of best underwater cameras.

The APEMAN A79 stands out because it includes an external microphone so you can record clearer audio (although the microphone isn't as good for diving as the camera is). It also comes with a helmet and bike mounting kit. Just charge it up, put in a super micro SD card, assemble the included underwater housing, screw on the mount of your choice, and you're ready to go.

#5 CanPark ACT74 Camera

View Price

What we like about it: A super affordable action camera with a 16MP Sony sensor, 4k recording and a dive rating (30m) that matches the more expensive models on our list. It's perfect for snorkelers, travelers and scuba divers who want a camera that goes anywhere on a budget and still has good image quality thanks to its Sony sensor. Pros

  • 30m waterproof rating
  • Includes Wi-Fi lets you use your phone as a remote control
  • Comes with two rechargeable batteries and mounting kit.

Cons

  • Does not include lights or flash
  • The fisheye effect of the lens is quite noticeable
  • No anti-shake image stabilization like the APEMAN A79 (our #4 choice)

Thanks to its low price, this CanPark action cam is an underwater camera you can take on adventures where you might think twice about taking more expensive hardware with you. That said, it still delivers great results thanks to a high-quality 16-megapixel Sony sensor and the ability to shoot 4K UHD video at up to 30 frames per second.

It's also easy to use and set up. It includes mounting hardware for a helmet mount or bike mount, a waterproof case that lets you dive down to a rated 30 meters or about 98 feet, and it even comes with two batteries. Battery life is also comparable to more expensive action cameras, claiming 90 minutes of recording time.

#6 CrossTour Action Camera

View Price

What we like about it: It's the cheapest underwater camera on our list, with a 30-meter dive rating and smartphone remote capability. It's great for travelers looking for an affordable backup underwater camera, and it's also great for kids. Pros

  • Waterproof rating of 30 meters
  • 170 degree wide angle view, great for sports
  • 2" rear LCD

Cons

  • Video resolution is only 1080p, while everyone else on our list shoots 4K.
  • No built-in flash or LED limits use in low light compared to cameras like the Nikon W300.
  • 12 megapixels with a lower still resolution than the CanPark (our #5 pick).

This budget action camera from CrossTour is the cheapest model on our list, costing less than some SD cards and batteries sell for. However, it's a fully usable underwater camera with a 30-meter dive rating, even deeper than you'll get with the Go Pro Hero 7. It also includes a handy 2-inch rear LCD screen and comes with accessories like a bike mount and helmet mount. Battery life ranges from about an hour to 90 minutes.

While it may not offer 4K like the leading underwater cameras on our list, or a zoom feature like the DragonTouch 4K (our #7 pick), it can shoot crisp 1080p video, which is useful for sharing and posting online.

#7 DragonTouch 4K Action Camera

View Price

What we like about it: An inexpensive 4K underwater camera that comes with a ton of accessories, including a wrist-mounted remote control. It's perfect for vacationers or people just getting started with action cameras. Pros

  • Unlike most wide-angle action cameras, this one offers a zoom feature.
  • Comes with 7 mounts, 2 clips, a tether, and even a wrist remote.
  • Some extra features like driving mode, time lapse photography and 1080p slow motion.

Cons

  • Not as much dynamic range or noise reduction as the Go Pro or the CanPark with Sony sensors (our #5 pick).
  • Wrist remote is not waterproof
  • Not Mac compatible (although it can be shared via iOS devices)

Despite its low price, the DragonTouch Vision 3 underwater camera comes with a lot of features like built-in Wi-Fi, a 2-inch rear screen, a slow-motion mode, and a 4x zoom. Like most similarly designed action cameras, it has a wide-angle lens with a 170-degree field of view, making it perfect for taking panoramic shots of coral reefs, as well as making sure you don't miss the action on sports shots.

The Vision 3 even offers some manual exposure control like the GoPro Hero 7 and Nikon W300, which is a rarity at this price point. With the included housing, it's rated for 30 meters of water depth. It also includes a wide range of accessories, including a cute wrist-mounted remote that's perfect for sports. However, it's worth noting that the remote control isn't as waterproof as the camera.

Best Underwater Cameras Buying Guide

Features to consider

  1. Diving Depth When choosing the best underwater camera for every budget and purpose, we chose a model with an official rating of at least 10 meters diving depth. This is what distinguishes a truly dedicated "underwater" camera from one that is merely "waterproof" or "weather sealed". Most high-end DSLRs, for example, have no problem using them in the rain, but for diving they need an external housing.

  2. Built-in Wi-Fi With action sports, diving and boating in mind, we picked underwater cameras that are easy to use and have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities for quick sharing and editing. Some underwater cameras also allow you to use their built-in Wi-Fi as a remote control. Our #4 ranked APEMAN A79 has this feature.

  3. Video resolution and frame rate The best underwater cameras offer at least 1080p video. Many of today's underwater cameras now offer 4K video as well, although the quality of the footage varies. Some, like the Go Pro Hero 7, our top pick, offer very reasonable professional-grade image quality and can even be used for student film projects or be edited for broadcast. Most of the cameras on our list record 4K at 24 frames per second and 1080p at 60 frames per second. the Go Pro Hero 7, our top pick, stands out here, recording 4K at 60 frames per second, so you can shoot slow motion footage at 4K resolution if you like.

  4. Rugged, durable construction We look for durability and make sure that every camera on our list is at least "shockproof" and dustproof, and is waterproof. One of the keys to the longevity of these outdoor adventure cameras is an effective seal around the USB port, battery compartment, and lens. Most action cameras achieve this by covering all of these ports in an included clear plastic waterproof housing, whereas the Nikon W300 is all-in-one.

  5. Battery Life When looking for the best underwater cameras and action cameras, having at least an hour of battery life while shooting video is a must, because the whole point of an underwater camera or action camera is to go on an adventure where it may usually be more difficult to find an outlet somewhere.

  6. Still Image Quality Image quality is not just a matter of megapixels. As with all digital cameras, the photo quality of these underwater cameras depends on the performance of the lens and sensor. The latter includes the reduction of noise available in low light, as well as dynamic range - the ability to display highlights and shadows - and color reproduction. The best underwater cameras on the market can approach the level of DSLRs in this regard, with 13 stops or more of dynamic range to capture useful images even at dusk. Even budget models like the APEMAN 79 do a better job than most smartphones when it comes to these measures of image quality. Besides, it's much easier to go whitewater rafting with a sub-$100 camera than it is to put your multi-hundred dollar phone in an external housing that may cost more than these underwater cameras.

Buying Guides

Products

Articles & Tips