Snorkeling brings you face to face with some of the most exciting photography subjects around. The best underwater camera will make those seafaring shots a breeze.
While your average digital camera comes with some weatherproofing, the last thing you want to do is submerge an expensive DSLR underwater. You’ll need to make sure you’re using some more specific gear.
This buying guide will explore some of the best cameras for snorkeling that are on the market. We’ll discuss the features that set them apart, their value, and how they weigh up against the rest of the competition. If you’re looking to pick up a new underwater camera, you’ve come to the right place.
Our Top Picks: Best Camera for Snorkeling
The list below contains some of our favorite snorkeling cameras. We’ve ranked them for price, feature set and overall performance. Read on to find the best underwater camera for you.
1. Nikon Coolpix W300 Underwater Camera
This option from Nikon gets a lot of things right. This is an underwater camera that’s built for adventure. The water, dust and shock proofing are all rock-solid and should keep your camera functional for years to come.
This machine is capable of producing some absolutely stunning high-resolution shots. The 4K video and time-lapse features are also excellent. This waterproof camera has everything you need to get some phenomenal underwater photography.
With a 5x optical zoom, built-in wireless connectivity and a temperature tolerance of -10 to +40°C, the Nikon Coolpix W300 is one to beat.
- Great underwater camera for snorkeling
- 5x optical zoom
- Handy connectivity features
- The autofocus is a little slow
2. GoPro Hero 7
The Hero 7 is a couple of generations behind the more recent Hero 9. This makes it an excellent option if you’re looking for a camera for snorkeling that won’t break the bank. The rugged design and solid waterproofing make this a brilliant underwater camera with some familiar GoPro features.
The intuitive touchscreen LCD on the back of this underwater camera is refreshingly easy to use. If you’ve used a GoPro in the past, you’ll know they’re designed to be easy to use and can capture a stunning moment instantly.
For dazzling 4K memories, the video mode on the GoPro Hero 7 works very well. The time-lapse feature can produce some brilliant clips too. Image noise is a key consideration when looking for snorkeling cameras.
The image stabilization on the Hero 7 keeps your shots stable even when you’re racing through the seas. With intelligent voice controls, stunning high-resolution shots and a burst mode that can capture 15 photos a second, this underwater camera is a fantastic choice.
- Familiar GoPro features
- Fast burst and time-lapse modes
- Probably the best underwater camera if you’re on a budget
3. Olympus Tough TG 6 Underwater Camera
This super-tough option is one of Olympus’s stunning underwater cameras. The rugged design, 8x optical zoom and 5 underwater shooting modes make this a waterproof camera that gives you a whole lot of bang for your buck.
The specific lighting conditions, weather, and color palette of the underwater scene you’re shooting will demand a broad range of camera settings. Fortunately, the scene modes specifically designed for underwater work on the TG 6 do a great job of adapting on the fly.
These modes include 3 white balance options which is a great touch. This is perhaps the best underwater camera on our list if you want to get up close and personal to your sea-dwelling subjects. The 4 macro photo modes on the TG 6 keep your focus razor sharp, even at short distances!
When Olympus say tough, they mean it. The TG 6 is water, dust, shock, crush and freeze proof. The built-in anti-fog technology also goes a long way in keeping your lens clear when working underwater.
The killer lens system, excellent shooting modes and durable design make this one of our favorite snorkeling cameras.
- Brilliant underwater shooting modes
- Anti-fog technology
- The lens cover isn’t included; it’s a $50 optional extra
4. Fujifilm XP140 Camera for Snorkeling
This is another camera on our list that’s very reasonably priced; finding an underwater camera for snorkeling doesn’t have to break the bank. The rugged, waterproof design of this 16.4 megapixel camera keeps it ready for action no matter what you throw at it.
The best underwater camera will make it easy to get creative when exploring the fabulous world of the sea. The cinemagraph, time-lapse and macro modes on the XP140 give users a fantastic level of flexibility when shooting.
If you’re worried about losing your device to the great depths of the sea, don’t worry; the included strap is designed to float if you accidentally lose your grip.
While a good camera for snorkeling won’t necessarily have the most powerful sensor on the market, you may be surprised by how good the videos and images taken by this camera look. With fantastic adventure proofing and a strong level of performance, this camera for snorkeling is tough to beat.
- Handy wireless connectivity features
- Gorgeous underwater photos
- Flexible shooting modes
- The controls are a little clunky
5. Olympus Tough TG 5 Camera
Another option from the Olympus line of sturdy underwater cameras, the TG 5 packs a whole lot of punch into a portable form factor. The snappy sensor on this camera dramatically boosts both low-light performance and noise reduction.
You’ll be able to get some gorgeous shots even in some murkier scenarios. You’ll benefit from some stunning image processing too thanks to the TG 5’s dual quad core system that allows for stunning color accuracy and dynamic range adjustments.
Like any good underwater camera for snorkeling, this option comes with dust, water and shock proofing as standard. Olympus has put a lot of thought into the design of the TG 5 so you can focus on exploring the ocean’s secrets.
It’s worth mentioning that this model is waterproof up to 50ft, so you may want to consider an option with a higher tolerance if you need a camera for scuba diving.
- Good onboard image processing
- Super sturdy design
- Decent low-light performance
- Not quite tough enough for scuba diving
6. AKASO EK7000 Waterproof Camera
A super-affordable answer to the GoPro line, this is one of the most affordable underwater cameras we’ve ever reviewed. While the EK7000 isn’t the most powerful option around, the portable design and killer price point more than compensate for this in our opinion.
In many ways, the EK7000 stands as a testament to how far camera technology has come over the past few years. It’s still 4K capable, waterproof up to 100ft, and designed with some surprisingly smart wireless features, all for less than $50!
The included protective case that comes with this snorkeling camera goes a long way in keeping the device protected. The EK7000 is built to withstand a fair bit of punishment. A nice feature of this model is the included wireless remote that lets users control the unit hands-free.
When it comes to snorkeling, this offers a fantastic level of versatility for an activity that already gives you plenty to think about. If you’re looking for a crazy-cheap underwater camera for snorkeling, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.
- Ridiculous price considering the performance
- Tough, waterproof design
- Portable footprint
- The video compression and image-quality are decent but not excellent
7. Kodak PIXPRO WPZ2 Underwater Camera for Snorkeling
Wi-Fi connectivity, waterproofing and a rugged design make this camera from Kodak a great option for snorkeling pics. The 16 megapixel CMOS sensor is far from the most impressive, but it’s no slouch when it comes to underwater photography either.
This camera produces shots with good image quality and strong color accuracy. Even underwater environments with lower lighting conditions shouldn’t be too much cause for concern.
The lightweight, portable design of the WPZ2 makes it easy to carry with you when swimming. Your movements shouldn’t cause too much motion blur either thanks to this camera’s electronic image stabilization. The bright yellow color of the camera body is also super-easy to spot if accidentally dropped.
The connectivity features of this camera are a nice touch for speedy photo sharing on the go. Underwater cameras are a common “bring-along” for holidays, so the ability to effortlessly share to social media is great.
- Great image-quality and optical performance
- Super-tough design
- Connectivity features as standard
8. GoPro Hero 9
The Hero 9 is a compact camera built with reckless adventure in mind. There’s an impressive level of optical performance crammed into this thing. Forget 4k video, the 5k capabilities of this GoPro are stunning. Expect gorgeous videos and crisp still shots.
Underwater cameras like this don’t come cheap, but they’re well worth the money if you have it. Everything from the video smoothness to the convenient touch controls screams quality. GoPro has spent nearly a decade building a strong reputation in the world of “adventure cameras”.
Their experience is certainly evident with the Hero 9. The waterproofing on this camera is good down to 33ft, making it a great option for snorkelers. If you’re familiar with a GoPro setup, this will probably be the best waterproof option for you.
Definitely not a budget option, but with more than enough firepower to make it worth your while, the GoPro Hero 9 is one of the best waterproof cameras available in 2021.
- Stunning image quality and video performance
- Super portable
- Handy GoPro features
- Photos can take a little while to fully process which can be frustrating when taking shots in quick succession
How to Pick the Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling
This buying guide features what we feel are some of the best waterproof cameras on the market. That said, it’s worth understanding what makes an underwater camera great in the first place. Picking a camera for snorkeling need not be confusing!
Read on to get to grips with the key features to look out for.
Check the Waterproofing Rating
While it goes without saying that any camera for snorkeling needs to be waterproof, it’s also worth double-checking just how waterproof a particular model actually is. Make sure your chosen camera can tolerate the depths you’re going to be swimming at.
If you’re scuba diving, a camera with 100ft+ of protection should be a minimum. Watch out for terms like “water resistant” too, as this describes devices that can tolerate the odd splash but definitely shouldn’t be used underwater.
The last thing you want when shooting is to risk losing your camera underwater. The best underwater cameras use float straps designed to keep your device at the surface of the water in the case of accidental drops. Always check for features like this before buying.
Another feature of the best underwater cameras is strong image stabilization. When shooting underwater, your stability is constantly compromised. Not only are you constantly treading water, you’re also at the whim of the movements of the sea!
The solution to this issue is image stabilization. Opt for optical stabilization if you can afford it.
The best underwater camera is the one that fits your requirements and budget. Consider your needs closely and weigh the options we’ve explored in this guide.
Whichever camera you choose, we hope you have fun using it!