Underwater cameras: the best action, compact and film

To capture your submerged adventures in the best quality, you will need one of these compact action cams.

Best underwater cameras placed on top of coral

by Emily Farquhar |

With the rise in popularity in underwater photography and videography, there seems to be quite a range of excellent high-quality cameras on offer. From action cameras such as Go Pros to compact cameras, the accessibility of these products has never made it easier for people of all experience levels to grab one and dive face-first into the deep end. Whether it’s diving, macro, surfing, boating or white-water rafting – it's all possible if you’ve got the right gear.

Underwater camera quality, versatility and durability are definitely three key factors that usually come to mind. But there are many other features depending on the budget and what you’ll be using the camera for, that one should consider.

To figure out what kind of camera to go for, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I want a camera that can shoot stills, video or both?
  1. Can image quality be compromised?
  1. Will I be focussing on action photography (on burst mode) or macro slow-moving subjects?
  1. If diving is on the agenda, how deep does my camera need to go?
  1. What is my budget?

What is the difference between a waterproof compact and action camera?

Compact camera: equivalent to a normal compact camera but usually bold in colour, these have great optical zoom lens options helping you capture subjects up close without compromising image quality

Action camera: Smaller in size, these you will usually see on a helmet mount or strapped to a surfer’s arm and are great for (4k) video creation

What to read next:

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The best action cameras: digital and video

Compact cameras - the best things come in small packages

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