What’s the Best Underwater Camera for You?

What’s the best underwater camera? In 2011, the bestselling and best-rated waterproof shockproof digital camera on Amazon was the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3. But is this the camera for you? Choosing the perfect waterproof camera for you really depends on your needs. Are you a snorkeler who wants to take great photos on your vacation to Hawaii? A sports enthusiast who wants a camera to go with you on any type of outdoor adventure? A scuba diver who needs a camera that can go to 200 feet? Or maybe someone looking for an inexpensive second camera? Here are some of the bestselling, most popular and best-rated waterproof cameras separated into categories of users to help you find the best camera for you.

Best Underwater Camera for All-Around Use

The new model of the most popular waterproof camera in 2011

best underwater camera 2012 - panasonic lumix ts4The best underwater camera for everyday use and one that could easily serve as your primary all-purpose camera and camcorder is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4. This is a new waterproof camera for 2012 from Panasonic. Its previous incarnation, the DMC-TS3, was the best-rated and bestselling waterproof camera on Amazon in 2011, and the new TS4 is even better. The reason consumers love this camera is because it’s rugged and can go wherever you go. It’s waterproof to 40 feet, shockproof for falls from up to 6.6 feet, dustproof and freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

This Panasonic Lumix isn’t just tough, however; it’s popular because it shoots great photos and video. It has a 12.1 MP Hi-Speed CCD sensor for high resolution still images and the ability to shoot 1920 x 1080 full HD video in either AVCHD or MP4 format. For creative control, the TS4 allows users to adjust the shutter speed and aperture and offers automatic time lapse images and panoramic stitching. And if you’re taking it on an adventure, the TS4 comes complete with GPS, a compass, altimeter and barometer.http://underwatercamerareviews.org/wp-admin/post-new.php

This is the best waterproof camera for anyone who only wants to own one camera that can go everywhere and do just about anything.

Best Underwater Camera for Hands-Free Shooting

best underwater cameras 2012 - gopro hero2 outdoor editionIf you want the best waterproof camera for hands-free shooting, there’s no better choice than the GoPro Hero2: Outdoor Edition. This is currently the most popular underwater hands-free camera on Amazon and it has a 4- out of 5-star average rating from more than 100 pleased customers. The GoPro series of cameras are designed for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts who want to capture their adventures on film. You can strap this little camera to your helmet, surfboard, bike handlebars or just about anywhere else to capture 11 MP still photos or full (1080p) HD video. This camera measures only 3.9 x 3.9 x 9.6 inches and weighs a mere 1.7 pounds, so it’s easy a small companion to have along for your adventures.

The GoPro Hero2 is waterproof to 197 feet (60m) and capable of capturing 170-degree wide angle 1080p video and 11 megapixel photos at a rate of 10 photos per second. For hands-free shooting, the GoPro Hero2 is the best waterproof camera you can currently buy.

 

Best Budget Underwater Camera for Snorkeling

best underwater camera 2012 - fuji finepix xp30The Pansonic Lumix waterproof camera line offers some of the best underwater cameras available today, but you’ll pay a price to get these top-of-the-line cameras. A good alternative for snorkeling and other water sports is the Fuji FinePix XP30. Like the Lumix TS4, the FinePix is waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freezeproof, but not to the extremes of the Panasonic model. The FinePix is only waterproof to 16.5 feet (5 meters), but that still makes it a great camera for snorkeling.

It also features a 14-megapixel CCD sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, GPS tagging, panoramic mode and 720p HD video. At only 5.5 inches and 1.1 pounds, it’s also small enough to take just about anywhere or to slide into your luggage on your next vacation.

 

Best Underwater Camera For About $100

best underwater cameras under $100 -kodak sport c123As of this writing, the Kodak Sport C123 is one of the top 5 cameras in the underwater category on Amazon and is just a tad over $100 at $102.85 (Prices subject to change. See Amazon for the latest prices). You’ll pay about $125 right now for a different color, but that still makes the Sport C123 a good deal. And with a 3.5- out of 5-star rating from over 400 customers, this little camera has been tried and tested. The Sport C123 offers 12 MP resolution and a 2.6-inch LCD viewing screen. It’s only waterproof to 10 feet, but that’s plenty deep enough for most snorkeling and swimming, and it’s dustproof, too. This is not a camera you’d want as your primary photographic piece of equipment, but as a backup or an inexpensive way to capture photos underwater, the Kodak Sport C123 is the best waterproof camera about under $100.

 

Best Underwater Camera for Scuba Diving

Until recently, scuba divers basically had two options when taking photos underwater – get an expensive underwater housing for your SLR /DSLR, or use a waterproof compact camera that didn’t have the high resolution or creative controls offered by a DSLR. There’s still no underwater DSLR, but the SeaLife DC1400 is a good alternative at a great price.

best underwater cameras for scuba diving - sealife dc1400This is the best underwater camera for scuba divers who don’t want to spend thousands on a waterproof housing and strobes for their DSLR but want to capture great underwater photos. This camera can go to 200 feet underwater and allows users to set the ISO from 64 to 3200, select a shutter speed from 1 second to 1/2000 and manually adjust the white balance or choose from several settings. It comes with 6 underwater modes and 27 modes from shooting on dry land without the underwater housing.

The SeaLife DC1400 was introduced in late 2011 as the successor to the popular DC1200, which Sport Diver magazine selected as the Editor’s Pick for Underwater Cameras for New Photographers.

 

SeaLife DC1400 Review

sealife dc1400 reviewOne of the most amazing underwater digital cameras to date is the SeaLife DC1400. It is a 14 MP high definition camera that can shoot videos and stunning clear still images up to a depth of 200 feet. If you’re serious about underwater photography but can’t spend thousands on an underwater housing and strobes for your DSLR, the Sealife DC1400 may be the camera you’re looking for.

What is a SeaLife DC1400?
The DC1400 from SeaLife is an underwater camera designed to be used for deep water photography. It has built –in features such as large “piano key” controls and 6 underwater modes that make it easy to capture great shots all the time.

SeaLife is a brand well known in equipment for underwater photography. From strobe systems, video systems, underwater lighting camera sets, lighting sets and accessories, SeaLife produces equipment that is made specifically for divers. The DC1400 from SeaLife will give you years upon years of amazing photos and videos each time you use it.

How does the SeaLife DC1400 work?
The DC1400 works like many other digital camera, but it has been designed for easier use underwater. What separates SeaLife cameras from some other waterproof models on the market is the versatility – you can easily purchase external strobes, video lights, flash diffusers and other accessories that will help you get great shots underwater, and you’ll get more manual control over important exposure controls such as white balance, ISO and aperture. It may not be an underwater DSLR, but the SeaLife DC 1400 will give you many features you want in a camera for less cost than you’d pay to buy a waterproof housing and strobes to bring your DSLR diving.

The buttons and levers on this camera are built to make it easy to take photos while diving. Scuba Diving magazine said, “We’ve used the DC1400’s predecessor, the DC1200, and the keys are easy to push even with bulky drysuit gloves.” Huge buttons allow easy one-step recording and photo shooting. The SeaLife’s Easy Set Up mode has an on screen guide that helps you set your camera to expertly shoot pictures even when you are a novice hobbyist. Choose from 6 Underwater Modes that are set for different underwater conditions. The SeaLife DC 1400 also has built-in digital color correction filters, and optional accessories like strobes to make sure you get the best looking photos. It also has a Spy Mode that will allow you to shoot pictures at preset automatic intervals without using your hands.

What are the benefits of using a SeaLife DC1400?
If underwater photography is your hobby or business, this camera won’t let you down. Chosen by more and more experts in this field, here are some of the reasons why this model is by far the best one of its type in this price range:

• Waterproof to depths of 200 feet.
•  Large piano key controls make it easy to access menus and press the right controls even when you are wearing scuba gear.
•  Comes with a built-in 26mm wide angle lens for capturing the action.
•  6 Underwater modes includes 4 underwater color correction settings, a snorkel mode for shallow water and 4 flash modes.
•  Quick start up and fast shutter response time (as fast as 0.1 seconds).
•  Auto focus system down to 2 inches
•  You can buy this unit by itself or with one or two external strobes.
•  Can be used without the housing on dry land and includes 27 land modes.

Recommendations
The DC1400 from SeaLife is a great underwater camera for scuba divers who want to capture great images without paying the high price of a DSLR housing. If you are looking for a digital camera that will outperform cameras designed to capture only shallow water shots, then the  SeaLife DC1400 is the camera for you. (See full specs below.)

See the Sealife DC1400 in action:

Get the best prices on SeaLife DC1400.

Customer Comments
“I just completed a dry suit dive in the Columbia River at a balmy 37 degrees Fahrenheit and had no issues. The camera took wonderful pictures, stayed totally dry in the housing, and the buttons were easy to use, even with heavy gloves in COLD water.”

SeaLife D1400 (SL720) Specifications:
Image Sensor: 14 megapixel CCD
Color: 24-bit (RGB)
Image Resolution: 4288×3216, 3264×2448, 2304×1728, 1600×1200, 640×480
Picture File Format: JPEG
Movie Resolution: HD 720p/30fps, 640×480, 320×240
Video File Format: AVI
Lens: 5X optical zoom
Lens Aperture: f2.8(W) ~ f7.9(T)
Focal Length: 4.7mm ~ 23.5mm (film equivalent: 26 ~ 130mm)
Focus Type: Auto focus 1 in. to infinity
Focus Modes: Auto, AF Tracking, Face Detection, Macro, Super Macro, Infinity
Shooting Angle: Horizontal FOV (no zoom) Land: 68 degrees; Underwater: 51 degrees
Digital Zoom: Record: 5X (25X total); Playback: 4X
Shutter Speed: Mechanical Shutter: 1 to 1/2000 sec
Shutter Response: Up to 0.3 sec. (Ext. Flash Mode, Infinity focus)
Recycle time: 3 sec.
ISO: Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Flash Modes: Auto, Force ON, OFF, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Pre Flash
Underwater Modes:
– Dive Mode (with UW color correction for diving without external flash),
– Sn orkel Mode (with UW color correction for snorkeling without external flash)
– Ext Flash Auto Mode (for auto exposure settings with one or two external flashes)
– Ext Light Mode (for automatic exposure settings when using one or two external photo-video lights)
– Ext Flash + Light Mode (for auto exposure settings when using external flash and photo/video light combination)
– Ext Flash Manual Mode (for manual aperture and shutter-speed exposure controls with one or two external flashes).
Land Modes: Program AE, Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Intelligent Scene,
Smile Detection, Anti-Shake, Panorama, Skin Soften, De-Blemish,
Portrait Man, Portrait Lady, Landscape, Sport, Night Portrait, Night
Scene, Candlelight, Fireworks, Text, Sunset, Sunrise, Splash Water,
Flow water, Snow, Beach, Pets and Natural Green.
Exposure Adjustment: Auto, Manual (-2 ~ +2 EV in 1/3 steps) or Ext Flash Manual
White Balance:
Land: Auto, Manual, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2
Underwater: Ext. flash WB, Blue water <25ft./8m, Blue Water >25ft./8m, Green water <25ft./8m, Green Water >25ft./8m.
Self-Timer: Self Portrait, 2 second, 10 second delay, and 10+2 second (2 pictures)
Shooting Modes: SPY Mode, Single Shot, Continuous (3 pics), AEB (bracketing), Album Shot, Continuous Flash, Burst, Pre-Shot, Couple Shot, Burst 30fps
LCD: 3-inch color LTPS TFT LCD
Memory: Internal: 20 MB, External: up to 32 GB SD or SDHC card (16GB Class- 6 SDHC recommended)
Video Output: Yes (NTSC and PAL support)
Audio Output: Yes (mono, 1x speaker)
EXIF Format: EXIF 2.2
USB: V2.0
Operating Environment: PC: Windows XP/Vista/7; Mac: OS 10.4 and up
Language Support: On-Screen Display: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese (T-C and S-C), Korean
Instruction manual: English (printed), German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch (download at www.sealife-cameras.com)
Connector: USB, AV, USB AC power adapter
Power: Battery: Lithium rechargeable included (3.7v, 700 mAh)
Battery life: Approx. 200 pictures or about 1 hour of video per charge
Certification: CE, ROHS, FCC,
Weight: 134 grams (4.7 oz.) with battery and SD card
Dimensions: 2.4″ H x 3.8″ W x 0.8″ D (60mm x 97mm x 19mm)
Accessories: Camera pouch, underwater housing with strap, battery, A/C power adaptor, TV cable, USB cable, International adaptors, Flash Link adaptor, Flash diffuser (for on-camera flash), Instruction manual, Cleaning kit and Moisture Muncher drying agent

Underwater Housing Specifications:
Depth: Individually tested to 200 ft. (60m)
Buoyancy: Positive
Controls: Control buttons for Power, Mode, Shutter, Playback, Menu, Flash, Focus and Zoom
Operating Temp: 33 to 110 degrees F
Storage Temp: -20 to 140 degrees F
O-Ring: Silicone
Lens Port: Optical glass with anti-reflective coating and snap-on ring to adapt accessory lenses
LCD Port: Optical-grade polycarbonate window
Tripod Mount: Standard 1/4-20 thread
Lanyard: Padded lanyard with swivel attachment clip
Hardware: 304-316 series marine-grade stainless steel hardware
Material: Rubber overmolded polycarbonate housing
Weight: 370 grams (13 oz.); 504 grams (17.7 oz.) including camera
Size: 3.7″ H X 5.3″ W X 2.8″ D (93mm X 135mm X 71mm)
Warranty: 1-year limited

Find the lowest prices on the SeaLife DC 1400

5 Affordable Digital Cameras for Diving

In the past, underwater photography was quite an expensive hobby. You either had to invest in an underwater camera like the Nikonos or buy a waterproof housing for your existing camera. Either option was pricey. But times have changed. While underwater housings for top-of-the line DSLRs can still set you back over $1000 for the case alone, not to mention the strobe lights you’ll need to get good underwater photos, there are much cheaper alternatives on the market for those who are just exploring underwater photography for the first time and can’t afford to invest thousands of dollars in equipment. Here are five affordable digital cameras for diving. All of these underwater cameras, along with the necessary underwater lights, can be purchased for under $1000.

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GoPro HD Hero2

Waterproof to 197 feet

The 11 MP GoPro HD HERO2 is a very popular and well-rated 11 MP waterproof camera that also shoots HD video. Over 300 reviewers on Amazon have rated it 4 out of 5 stars. Many of these reviewers aren’t scuba divers – the camera is popular with all types of outdoor enthusiasts because it comes with a variety of accessories that allow you to wear it or mount it on your sports gear. That’s why the basic camera comes in three editions: Outdoor Edition, Motorsports Edition and Surf Edition. Each edition comes with a different set of mounts and straps. Its rugged design and depth rating make it great for scuba divers. With a waterproof depth rating of 197 feet and a full 170º wide angle field of view, the GoPro Hero2 is well-suited for either Open Water or technical diving. This underwater camera shoots both video and still frames, and has the ability to shoot photos automatically every .5 seconds in TimeLapse mode or to shoot a burst of 10 photos in a second.

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SeaLife DC1400 Pro

Digital camera for diving to 200 feet

If you’re looking for high-quality underwater cameras made for scuba divers, SeaLife manufactures some of the most popular cameras on the market. Last year, Sport Diver magazine chose the SeaLife DC1200 Elite as their Editor’s Pick for “Underwater Cameras for New Photographers.” The SeaLife DC1400 Pro, the successor to the DC1200, builds on an already great product. The new model can capture beautiful still images and HD video with a 14 megapixel CCD, 6 underwater modes and 4 built-in digital color correction filters. Most importantly, the camera can be paired with one or one two off-the-camera strobes for great underwater color. The SeaLife DC1400 was designed with deep diving in mind – it has 5 “piano key” controls that make it easy to operate, even with wetsuit gloves on. It also has a “spy mode” that will automatically shoot photos at set intervals. If you want creative control and high quality images, but can’t afford a DSLR with an underwater housing, this is a great digital camera for diving.

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Liquid Image Wide Angle Scuba Series HD Camera Mask

Hands-free camera mask also takes video to 130 Feet

An innovative option for hands-free underwater photography is the Liquid Image Wide Angle Scuba Series mask. This new addition to Liquid Image’s line of camera masks has a 136-degree wide-angle lens that offers a greater field of vision than the previous models and allows you to capture 720p HD video or 5 MP still images down to 130 feet. An LED inside the mask indicates whether you are in still image or video mode, and lever-style buttons make it easy to use while wearing gloves. It’s available in two sizes. The mask doesn’t come with filters or a flash, but you can purchase these separately. Liquid Image makes both a 4.7-watt and 5.5-watt light that can attach to the camera mask, so you won’t need to carry it in your hands. For hands-free underwater photography, the Liquid Image scuba mask is a good choice.

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Intova CP9 Digital Camera for Diving

An inexpensive scuba diving camera to 130 feet

If you’re really on a budget, the Intova CP9 for diving may be the model for you. The MSRP on this underwater camera is $139.95, which is a pretty low price for an underwater camera anyway, but you can get it for about half that price on Amazon. The CP9 can shoot 9 MP still photos and VGA resolution (640 x 480) video down to 130 feet. It comes with a number of scene modes, including Sports, Night, Portrait, Landscape, and Backlight, plus Program AE. You can choose between three quality options for stills (fine, standard, and economy) and two options for video (fine and standard). The one thing it’s lacking is a light source, but with the money you’ll be saving on the camera itself, you should be able to get a decent handheld light source to illuminate your photos.

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Panasonic DMC-TS3

A waterproof camera for shallow diving to 40 feet

This waterproof Lumix camera from Panasonic isn’t particularly suited for scuba diving except in shallow waters, as it’s only waterproof to 40 feet. But if you want a top-rated camera for everyday use that is also waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freezeproof, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 is all of those things. It’s been the most popular camera in Amazon’s underwater camera department for months. In addition to offering a 12.1 MP Hi-Speed CCD Sensor and 1920x1080p HD video in AVCHD and MP4 format, the DMC-TS3 has fun features like GPS and 3D photo mode. If you only want one camera that can go just about anywhere and do just about anything, this is a good choice. And if you really like it, both Panasonic and Ikelite make underwater housings that will allow you to take this camera to deeper depths.

Any of these waterproof cameras can get you started in underwater photography for less than $1000.

DC 1200

DC 1200SeaLife’s DC 1200 point and shoot digital camera allows you to capture underwater scenes like never before. The specifics it has are many, making it a masterpiece of technology. However, SeaLife’s business is knowing the needs of divers; thus, this camera meets those requirements with ease.

The next time that dark outline creeps up on you, you do not have to leave its image at sea. Bring back all the exotic shapes, vibrant colors and unbelievably serene settings to the land”lubbers in your life. One quick click and sights unseen are your memoirs forever.

This 12 megapixel lightweight beauty sports features to fill a ship. Various picture”taking modes make a novice a pro. Easy mode does the work for you. All you do is shoot. Sea mode allows different hues depending on the water’s color. Snorkel mode adjusts to match the pale shades of shallow water. Catch the whole amazing story of that dolphin jumping out of the waves until he dives back down with the successive automatic photography of the Spy mode.

Two other modes, External Flash Manual and Automatic capture those ripe sunsets at perfect settings when you are topside. No hassle, even in scuba gloves, toggle switches and over sized shutter buttons ensure that every desired picture is taken. Extraordinary close”ups, as near as four inches, are possible with the auto focus feature.

And this camera will last, being water resistant to 200 feet, and including the potential for expandability with other lenses, purchased separately. Containing a large viewing screen, not a tiny peephole, there is no squinting. Optical Image Stabilization and a no”slip rubberized coating protect against unwanted movements. Take continuous video footage, with sound, from the same piece of equipment.

At less cost than one would expect from such a feature”rich camera. It includes SeaLife’s uncompromising quality. Compatible with multiple memory cards for home printing. You will soon see how the DC 1200 will be as needful as your mouthpiece