Best Camera for Snorkeling
In order to find the best snorkeling camera for your next underwater adventures, you’ve got to do a deep dive into a number of different features and specifications.
Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best cameras for this purpose, and included an ultimate buyer’s guide to fill you in on the essentials.
It’s worth investing in quality when it comes to snorkeling, since you want to be sure that you’re swimming with equipment that’s built to last for many underwater excursions.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best camera for snorkeling
- A brief buyer’s guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Camera for Snorkeling
- Best of the Best: Fujifilm FinePix XP140
- Runner Up: Olympus Tough TG-6
- Best Features: Nikon COOLPIX AW130
- Best for Low Light: Ricoh WG-70
Best Snorkeling Camera Reviews
Fujifilm FinePix XP140 (⭐ Best of the Best)
We found the best camera for snorkeling to be the FinePix XP140 from Fujifilm, which is also a great all-round camera.
This reasonably-priced underwater camera could be all you ever need to bring with you on your future diving trips. Available in sky blue and yellow, you can pick the color scheme which best suits your style as you navigate the deep blue sea. The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is the best underwater camera in our estimation and it’s waterproof up to 82ft which should allow you to roam around on your dives and capture every last minute.
The colors aren’t what make this snorkeling camera special though, but the array of useful features and top specifications. One of the standout features of this camera is the 4k/15P video, which will allow you to capture schools of fish in all of their scaly glory. This 4k video capability will allow you to make the best home videos when the time comes to show off your snorkeling escapades and underwater sights to friends and family.
The smile shutter feature might seem like a gimmick at first, but you’ll soon realise how useful it is to have. If you want to be able to react quickly to the sealife moving around you, then activating the smile shutter feature is one of the best ways to do so. The camera will detect whenever you smile, and automatically take a photo. That means if a shark passes, you just have to try your best to smile and not scream to capture that memorable holiday moment in a flash.
There’s also the ISO 100-12800 sensitivity which will allow you to take many photos at once, and lets plenty of light in. This is great for snapping the best shot of a passing fish without attempting to line up the camera perfectly and timing the button press impeccably. This is backed up by a 16.4MP CMOS sensor and 5x optical zoom, so your photos will be just as epic as your video footage.
You’ll also appreciate the fact that this camera is shockproof up to 5.9ft and freeze proof to 14º F, which makes it both robust and weather proof. Plus, there’s Bluetooth capability so you can instantly transfer images you take to your smartphone or tablet.
- Available in sky blue or yellow
- Waterproof up to 82ft
- Records 4k/15P video
- 16.4MP CMOS sensor
- 5x optical zoom
- Shockproof up to 5.9ft, freeze proof to 14º F
- IOS 100-12800
Olympus Tough TG-6 (🥈 Runner Up)
Our runner up pick for the best snorkeling camera, and one of the best underwater cameras altogether, is the Olympus Tough TG-6.
This is a camera that’s very well known among divers and those who spend a lot of time snorkeling. It’s earned a solid reputation for being a waterproof camera that’s incredibly robust, reliable, and ready for action. This isn’t only a feature-filled camera though, it also looks like a premium piece of equipment. The sleek body of the camera will draw glances, especially if you opt for the striking red design.
As you might have already guessed from the name of this underwater camera, it is one of the more robust models on the market. The Olympus Tough TG-6 is waterproof up to 50ft, dust proof, shockproof to 7ft, crush proof to 100kgf, freeze proof to 14º F, and anti fog. That’s right, this camera isn’t going to break no matter what you do to it or what it’s exposed to. That’s a very useful trait for a camera that needs to survive underwater expeditions and snorkeling adventures.
The high resolution F2.0 lens, 8x zoom, true pic VIII and back illuminated CMOS image sensor combine for the most epic photos and videos you’re likely to take while snorkeling. The variable macro system with 4 different shooting modes allows you to take magnified shots up to 1cm from the end of the lens. Then there’s the 5 different underwater shooting modes, which include underwater microscope, so you can adjust the camera for every moment. There’s also 3 different underwater white balance modes for further tinkering.
One of the best parts of this camera though is the incredible video quality you can record. With the Olympus Tough TG-6, you’ll be shooting 4K video at full HD with an impressive 120fps. This will make the underwater scenes you record really come to life once you play them on your device. Perfect if you enjoy showing your footage to friends and family, or posting it to a video sharing platform for the world to see.
- Available in red or black
- Waterproof (50ft), shockproof (7ft), freeze proof (14º F), crush proof (100kgf), anti fog, dust proof,
- High resolution F2.0 lens
- Back illuminated CMOS image sensor
- 4 macro shooting modes
- 5 underwater shooting modes and 3 underwater white balance modes
- 4k full HD 120fps
Nikon COOLPIX AW130 (💎 Best Features)
The best underwater camera for features has to be the Nikon COOLPIX AW130.
This camera from top electronics brand Nikon is available in 3 colors – black, yellow, and blue. As the name suggests, this is a camera that has been designed to capture only the coolest, most epic pictures. That’s what makes it an excellent choice for a snorkeling camera, since it has the shooting modes and options to turn that generic fish photo into one you’ll want to frame and hang up in your home.
You won’t need to go fishing for compliments with this camera, as they will surely come flooding through. Let’s dive into the specifications and features of the feature-packed camera from Nikon, to see what it’s really about.
For a start, this camera is waterproof up to a staggering depth of 100ft, which blows the other cameras on this list out of the water. Aquatic puns aside, being able to reach this kind of depth is very useful for snorkeling and other diving-based activities. The camera is also freezeproof up to 14º F, and shockproof for falls up to 7ft. Wherever you go, this camera will be able to come with you and capture every last moment of underwater exploration.
The 5x optical zoom NIKKOR ED wide-angle glass lens is perfect for taking photos which capture the vast nature of the water, and capturing shots from afar. You can take as many as 5 shots per second too, just in case you’re planning on capturing some fast-moving aquatic creatures.
As far as the cool features go, this camera has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC which allow you to instantly transfer photos to your smartphone. There’s also built-in GPS, mapping, electronic compass, and points of interest. That’s not to mention the wide selection of different shooting modes which include ‘underwater’, ‘beach’, and ‘close up’. These shooting modes make it easy for the novice to take professional level photos without tinkering with the settings the whole time.
- Available in black, blue, and yellow
- Features many different shooting modes
- 5x optical zoom NIkKOR ED wide angle glass lens
- Built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC
- Electronic compass and points of interest features
- Waterproof (100ft), freeze proof (14º F), and shockproof (7ft)
Ricoh WG-70 (💡 Best for Low Light)
The Ricoh WG-70 underwater camera is our top pick for low light conditions.
This is one of the most unique looking cameras around, and is built for use under the water. The Ricoh WG-70 is an all-weather adventure camera, which means as suitable as it is for use underwater, it can also be used for other types of adventures too. It has been designed to withstand the harshest conditions, making it one of the most durable cameras you can find.
To be more specific, this camera is waterproof up to 45 ft, shockproof up to 5.2ft, crushproof up to 100kg of pressure, and freeze proof to a temperature of 14º F. There’s virtually no environment that will break this brick-like unit, whether you’re scaling ice mountains or snorkeling underwater your camera will be able to keep up with you at all times.
This isn’t just a solid camera though, it’s also very competent as far as specifications and features go. The smile mode, while it may seem trivial, is very useful for taking spontaneous snaps while under water. All you need to do is smile and the camera will automatically take a photo, so you can just concern yourself with getting into the perfect position.
There’s a back-illuminated CMOS 16MP sensor, which is capable of a wide dynamic range for all of those eventful underwater scenes that unfold as you’re snorkeling. There’s even an underwater mode which makes shooting photos underwater a breeze. Plus, if you’re interested in creating epic underwater videos, you can record in full HD at 30fps or use the underwater movie mode which can reduce camera shake. The 25 different shooting modes ensure that it’ll be easy to take great shots whatever your experience level with photography.
What makes the Ricoh WG-70 so good for low light conditions is the LED ring around the lens, which is made up of 6 individual lights. This allows you to focus in on small details with the digital microscope mode, and capture every last scale on a passing fish’s body, or every last detail of a colorful coral. The LED lights minimize blur by allowing for faster shutter speeds.
- Back-illuminated 16MP CMOS sensor
- Waterproof (45ft), shockproof (5.2ft) , freeze proof (14º F), crush proof (100kg)
- LED ring around lens and digital microscope mode
- Full HD video at 30fps and slow motion
- Underwater mode
Ultimate Guide to Snorkeling Cameras
Picking the right underwater camera for your needs can be a tall order.
It’s always a tough decision when it comes to choosing between different cameras, since there’s a lot of factors to take into account.
From the technical specifications to extra features, there’s plenty to think about, especially if you take your photography seriously.
One of the most important factors to take into account when buying a camera for snorkeling is the depth to which you can take it safely.
If you know that you dive down to a certain depth, then you can pick your underwater camera accordingly.
The last thing you want is to buy a camera without paying too much attention to the waterproof depth, only to find that when you resurface after a dive it’s broken.
To give you a general idea of what you can expect when it comes to waterproof depth, you’ll tend to find that most cameras will go to at least 16 feet which equates to 5 metres.
However, you can get cameras, like the Nikon COOLPIX AW130 which can be safely taken down to a depth of 100 feet which equates to roughly 30 metres.
As far as snorkelling goes, you’ll probably want to stick close to the surface of the water, so the waterproof depth shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
But if you’re planning on diving deeper into the water, then you’ll want to make sure you get a camera that’s safe at a greater depth to minimise the risk of it breaking on you.
While not everyone is interested in video, a lot of people are.
This is something you’ll have to decide for yourself, given that some cameras are much better equipped to record video footage than others.
The Olympus Tough TG-6 for example can record crisp video at a stunning 4k full HD at 120fps. This is about as good as it gets for underwater videography, so this is for those epic video montages or uploading footage to a video sharing platform like YouTube where quality really matters.
On the other hand, you have cameras like the Fujifilm FinePix XP140, which is capable of recording video in 4k at 15fps. While this will still make for some great footage, it won’t be as smooth as that of the Olympus camera, which can be a dealbreaker for some.
These are both cameras with high quality video recording, but there are others on this list like the Ricoh WG-70 which offer a lower end experience which is fine for casual video recording.
It all depends on how much you value high quality video, which some people would sacrifice in favor of crisp photos, although the two things aren’t mutually exclusive.
Features are just as important as specifications when it comes to underwater photography, especially if you don’t have extensive prior experience.
The main reason why you might want to invest in a feature-heavy underwater camera is that it can take care of the settings for you.
Unless you’ve been involved in photography for a while, the chances are you probably don’t want to be fiddling with the various settings while you’re in the water lining up a shot.
Here are some of the best features that we believe make an underwater camera worth considering.
This is going to sound odd, but we believe one of the best underwater camera features is the smile mode.
The caveat is that it can only be used for selfies and photos with people in frame.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to capture stunning photos of the aquatic life all around you.
In fact, this is exactly why we rate the smile mode so highly.
Imagine you’ve spotted something big headed your way at speed, you know that you’re going to struggle to get a crisp photo of it without blur and you also know that you want to be in the photo.
Select the smile mode and smile just as the aquatic creature swims behind you, that way, you get both a memorable selfie and get to show your friends and family exactly what you saw under water.
Cameras with various shooting modes can help you take professional-level photos, whatever your current experience level.
Especially if the camera has specific underwater shooting modes, since this will allow you to get away with minimal tinkering.
All you’ll need to do is find your favorite preset shooting mode, and then snap away.
This not only saves you time, but ensures that all of your photos are taken in the same way and with the same level of quality.
This is ideal for making a cool thematic slideshow with your photos upon your return home.
Durability is huge for any camera, but especially so with an underwater one.
Aside from the waterproof depth which we’ve already been over, other things you’ll want to consider are the shockproof, freeze proof, and even crush proof resistance of the camera.
While some of this won’t be necessary for your standard underwater excursion, if you plan on getting adventurous with your photography, then it’s worth having a camera that can stand up to wear and tear.
Even if you feel like you have a secure grip normally, you never know when something might cause you to slip and drop your camera on a rock or other hard surface.
Most underwater cameras are fairly sturdy, but there are 2 in particular from our list that stand out for their robust designs.
The Olympus Tough TG-6 and the Ricoh WG-70 are both excellent cameras for snorkelling, which stand up to just about everything.
Durability is one of those factors which is easy to overlook, but can also ensure that your camera survives for many underwater excursions and other adventurous trips.
Related: What Camera Does Sam Kolder Use?
Frequently Asked Questions About Cameras For Snorkeling
What is the best camera for snorkeling?
We believe the best camera for snorkeling is the Fujifilm FinePix XP140.
This is a very affordable underwater camera that has plenty of features to make sure your next dives go swimmingly.
The smile shutter feature is great for capturing those fleeting moments with the passing school of fish or larger aquatic critters.
What is a good cheap underwater camera?
The Fujifilm FinePix XP140, our top pick, also happens to be one of the more affordable underwater cameras you can get your hands on.
The value for money is outstanding with this camera, especially considering that it’s a good few hundred dollars less than some of the competition.
This is probably the least you can pay while still getting a very competent underwater camera.
What is the best camera for underwater photography?
The Nikon COOLPIX AW130 is an excellent camera for underwater photography.
This camera has many shooting modes to scroll between which makes it straightforward to take great photos regardless of your level of prior photography experience.
You can take this camera down to an impressive depth of 100ft too, which makes it great for epic snorkeling shots.
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A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
Selecting the perfect camera for snorkeling is a matter of finding the right balance of extra features, top specifications, and durability.
There are many options out there, and it’s worth making sure you pick the right one to take on future underwater adventures on your travels.