Underwater photography can be an exciting adventure. Choosing your underwater camera is the first step. But how do you pick from the dozens of choices out there? Here are some pointers to help you choose a camera for underwater photography.
Buy a camera and housing separate or together?
I recommend you buy a camera that will perform well underwater and above water. Check the reviews of the camera on dpreview, or on another camera review site. All cameras will need a plastic case called a waterproof housing, which will keep your camera waterproof up to at least 100ft. Some companies, like Sea & Sea and Sealife, sell housings and cameras as one package. If you are considering one of these, make sure you know what the actual brand of the camera is, and check the reviews on it. If you can’t find out who actually makes the camera, that’s not a good sign.
Underwater Housing Manufacturers
If you purchase a camera and underwater housing separately, I would look at housings from Canon, Fuji, Olympus or Ikelite. An underwater housing will cost at least $150.
How many Megapixels?
I would not worry too much about Megapixels, 6 megapixels is usually more than enough for most purposes.
Full manual controls
If you think you will ever want to take more than snapshots with your camera underwater, I’d recommend looking for a camera with full manual controls. This will definitely narrow your search down dramatically.
Manual white balance
When shooting underwater without a flash, having the ability to set your white balance manually is an important feature, and it much more accurate than an “underwater mode” that some cameras provide.
My favorite brands
Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, and Sea & Sea all make good cameras or sell camera/housing combinations that perform well underwater. You probably will not go wrong with any of these choices. Before buying a camera, make sure there is an underwater housing available – a quick good search will give you the answer.