Best Underwater Cameras for Christmas 2015

Best Underwater Cameras for Christmas 2015

Nov 21
Best Underwater Cameras for Christmas 2015

Best Cameras for Underwater Photography & Video

10 Ideas For the holidays of 2015

By Scott Gietler

Which underwater camera to get? With so many great cameras, lenses and housings out there, the decision is tough. Here are some models that you can’t go wrong with for all budgets, whether your shooting stills or underwater video- and we’ll mention some runner-ups at the end of the article.


#1 Best deal, $1500 off

Olympus OM-D E-M5 bundle

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Underwater Housing BundleThe Olympus OM-D E-M5 underwater housing bundle is the deal of the year, selling for $1,299 instead of $2,825. It includes the E-M5 mirrorless camera (which is an awesome high-end camera!), 14-42mm lens, housing, port, & zoom gear. The ports are WAY easier to change than the E-PL5 or E-PL7 housings, making this deal a no-brainer, especially as a back-up setup for your dSLR setup.

Not a good enough deal? Check out our half-off Olympus E-PL5 bundle for $799


#2 Entry Level, Snorkeling or Divingtg-3-housing-front

Olympus TG-4

The Olympus TG-4 is well priced at $349, and is waterproof to 50 feet (15 meters). There is also an inexpensive Olympus TG-4 housing available for it for $299, which we highly recommend. The TG-4 even shoots in RAW, and can take quite good photos & video for such an inexpensive camera. It will work well with high quality wet lenses such as the UWL-04 fisheye lens, or the Bluewater +7 macro lens. Check out our great Olympus TG-4 packages on sale.


#3 Small housing- serious underwater photos

Sony RX-100 II for wide, Canon G16 for macro, Canon G7X a little of everything

RECSEA_CWS-RX100--RX100II_DiffuserThe tiny Sony RX-100 II can take excellent photos, especially when combined with the UWL-04 fisheye lens for very good wide-angle. There is also a good selection of Sony RX-100 II underwater housings for it, including the inexpensive Recsea CW housing. We like the RX100 II better than the III & IV for stills. For macro enthusiasts, the Canon G16 is still king, with its long zoom range allowing for great prize-winning macro shots with a wet lens. G16 housing options include the Nauticam G16 housing, Recsea G16 housing, and at $399 the very well-priced Fantasea G16 housing.

The Canon G7x can take great video, and good macro & wide-angle, and is an excellent all-around compact camera choice. It has a better zoom range / macro capability that the RX100 III/IV, and a brighter lens than the RX100 II, and there are some very well-priced high-quality housing like the Fantasea G7X housing. See our G7x housings.


#4 Small housing- professional photos

Olympus E-M1, Pany GH4 or Olympus E-M10

01The Olympus E-M1 is still the king of mirrorless cameras, with great E-M1 housing choices (read our E-M1 review) and an excellent selection of lenses. The Aquatica E-M1 housing is incredible. To save a decent amount of money, go for the Nauticam Olympus E-M10 and you’ll get the same image quality.

The Panasonic mirrorless cameras are also strong contenders due to their great auto-focus systems, with the GH4 and the new GX8 both being strong contenders. I recommend the GH4 due to the better features and better housing options. Here are some stunning shots taken recently with the GH4.

Sony A6000

The Sony  A6000 boasts a larger sensor than the E-M10/E-M1, resulting in spectacular video quality and dynamic range in wide-angle photos. The higher-end A6000 has an electronic viewfinder, and works well in the Nauticam Sony A6000 housing. The Sony A5100 is a great bargain with the Nauticam A5100 housing, and takes basically the same images.


#5 Small housing- professional stills & videos

Sony A7 II, A7s II, A7r II

MDX-a7II-FRONTThe Sony A7 II series is considered the ultimate choice by some underwater photographers and videographers. There is a great selection of housings and lenses, and the full frame sensor produces incredible stills and videos. We recommend the A7R II, as the 42 megapixels will come in handy for both wide-angle and macro, high ISO performance and dynamic range are both great given the smaller pixel size, and the video features are almost as good as the A7S II.

The downsides are slower responsiveness in general compared to a DSLR, especially when using the Sony 90mm macro lens, and very poor battery life. Check out the housings from Nauticam, Sea & Sea and Aquatica – they support all 3 of the Sony models, or read our Sony A7 II / A7R II review.



#6 Best of the best

Canon 7D Mark II, Nikon D7200 or Nikon D810

With 36 megapixels, a full-frame sensor and amazing auto-focus, the Nikon D810 is the top choice – view our Nikon D810 housings, or our complete D810 review for underwater.  The advantage of the Canon 7D Mark II is much better auto-focus during video than most other dSLRs, view our Canon 7D Mark II housings. For excellent image quality and dynamic range, without the full-frame expense, check out our Nikon D7200 housings.


#7 Gifts for the GoPro Owner

Lighting packages, accessories

We have several GoPro lighting packages, including ones for best price, small size, and great power. We also stock most GoPro accessories & GoPro mounts.

#8 Best for Video

Sony RX100 IV, Panasonic GH4, Sony A7R II

The Sony RX100 IV has game-changing slow-motion video capability – see an example here, and great housing options for all budgets. For professional level video, the Panasonic GH4 is unbeatable for its size, price and lens selection – we like the Nauticam GH4 housing. Stills from the GH4 are also excellent – check out these killer hammerhead photos taken with the GH4. The full-frame Sony A7R II can take video at an ISO higher than any other camera we mention in this article, and we expect this camera to also be a top choice for pro film makers. The RX100 IV, LX100, GH4 and Sony A7R II all take 4K video. Last, but certainly not least, the Canon 70D and Canon 7D Mark II are the only dSLR’s to offer good auto-focus during video.


#9 Other options for underwater photographya5dsr

Sony RX100 III, Panasonic LX100, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

There are other excellent cameras out there, like the Sony Rx-100 III, LX100, Olympus E-M5 Mark II, and the Canon 5D Mark III. All of them are very capable of excellent photos and/or video. The white balance of the LX100 during video is suberb – see our uw video and LX100 review. The E-M5 Mark II is a very close contender to the E-M1 – read our E-M5 Mark II review for underwater. The full-frame sensor of the Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 5DS R can result in spectacular photos, and Canon has some of the best full-frame wide-angle lenses on the market as options.


#10 In-depth articles on the best cameras

You can also read our three in-depth articles on the best camera choices for underwater photography for 2015 – best compact cameras for underwater photography, best mirrorless cameras for underwater photography, and best dSLR cameras for underwater photography.


#11  Sale! 20 – 40% off Focus & Video Lights Nov 26th – Dec 5th

20-40% off a large number of focus & video lights – see all the specials here, including the Sola 800 photo for $240, iTorch Venom 3800 lumen video light for $499, iTorch Venusian III for $139, and the FIX 2000 spot/wide/red light for $499.


Twelve Unbeatable Dive Travel Specials

Be sure to view our 12 crazy dive travel specials, all are for travel next year, courtesy of our sister company Bluewater Travel – who specializes in personal & individual dive travel. Already have photo / video gear? Give the gift of dive travel!


Cyber Monday Sales

Check out our sales & specials page for amazing Cyber Monday deals, which will continue on through Dec 5th. Up to 50% off strobes, housings, lights, lens and more from Light & Motion, iTorch, Recsea, Olympus, Sony, Sea & Sea and many others.

Sample underwater photos