best dive cameras

The Best Dive Cameras of 2020

| Updated July 6, 2020 |

The number one question we get from you guys, is what underwater camera gear we use on  our excursions, so we finally decided to put together the ultimate list of the best dive cameras out there, as well as the housings, lighting, trays and accessories we use!

While learning to shoot underwater videos and photos, we have gone through a lot of different cameras, and in this guide, will list all of the best gear for every budget and experience level.

Everything from action cams to full-frame pro systems, this guide will cover them all! For each category we will list the top few cameras, and then if you want a more comprehensive guide with the full list, just click on the links provided after each category!

If you want to get into underwater photography, or just want to upgrade to the latest and greatest, this guide is all you need!

ALSO READ: Best SCUBA Diving Cameras for Beginners

ACTION CAMERAS

Paralenz Vaquita

paralenz vaquita camera

$749.99 | Paralenz 

The Vaquita is the latest version from the first Paralenz camera, with big upgrades. This 4k/60fps camera still has the military-grade aluminum housing that is depth rated to over 800 feet.

The upgrade features include a display screen, and software that tracks your your dive profile along with the current depth and temperature information, and records it to your Paralenz smartphone app, similar to a dive computer.

| BUY NOW ON AMAZON |

Gopro Hero8 Black

gopro 8 dive camera

$299.99 | GoPro Hero8

The GoPro HERO8 Black is the latest and greatest in a long line of amazing action cams, and this one has some sweet upgrades. It should also note that the prices are also starting to get more reasonable. 

As far as 4k action cams go, this guy does not disappoint. This dude comes with touch screen 4K ultra HD video, 12MP photos 1080p, and live streaming stabilization. The $299.99 price point does not include the dive housing you’ll need underwater, and there is a huge variety of options for those and other options out there. 

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Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

$499.99 | Garmin Action camera

Garmin has been coming out with a lot of awesome innovation for divers lately, including dive computers, and the action cam called the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is a great example.

This puppy shoots an impressive 4k video at 60fps or 1080 at 120fps, as well as 3-axis image stabilization for ultra smooth shots. The price point is a little more than the latest GoPro, but it should be noted that the dive housing (rated to 40m) is included in that price.

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DJI Osmo Action

DJI Osmo Action

$299.99 | DJI

We all know that DJI makes the best drones out there, but it seems like they now want to go head to head with GoPro even more, and give divers some sweet action cams!

And this thing IS sweet! Not only does the Osmo shoot in 4k, and is water proof without the housing to 11m, but it also shoots 8x ultra slow motion! This dual-screen beauty is going to just get more and more popular, and might be our best option!

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If you want to see more options, be sure to check out our full guide to the best underwater action cameras for 2020

COMPACT CAMERAS

Canon G7x III

canon g7x 3 underwater

$619.99 | Canon

I’ve tried out all of the compact dive cameras on this guide, and in the end, the G7X mark 1, 2 and 3, have become my favorite. It feels like they were really made for underwater, with great white balance presets you can set at depth, great video focus and more.

I shot the video above with a G7x mark 1, and if you want to see more of what it can do, watch my entire documentary – Critter Hunter: The Philippines, that was shot completely with G7X.

Also read: My ultimate compact camera dive setup

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Sony RX100 VA

Sony RX100 VA

$998.99 | Sony

It was really a close race when I compared the RX100 and the G7X underwater, and although I lean towards the Canon, the verdict is really split evenly between divers. On paper the Sony has much better stats, but on testing, I got better videos with the Canon, but very slightly.

In the end they are so similar, that the real factor is that the Sony is hundreds of dollar more expensive. So if you are a hard-core Sony fan, then this is the best compact for you! Of course, both cameras do have plenty of options for their housings and accessories, so thats no issue.

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Olympus Tough TG-6

Olympus Tough TG-6

$329.99 | Olympus

I’ve been seeing more and more amazing footage coming out, from the TG-6, specifically the macro shots. This is because of it’s awesome “microscope mode”, that gets closer than any compact camera above, without wet lenses!

It’s also waterproof up to 5 meters, making it one of the best underwater cameras for snorkeling as well. Get the housing and lights, and you have a great setup.

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DSLR CAMERAS FOR DIVING

Canon 7d Mark II

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

$958.99 | Canon

Another favorite among regular photographers, the 7d is also an awesome rig underwater. Get some good macro lenses, and a good wide angle, and you have a very high quality set up. Add in some strobes for photos, or video lights if you are filming, and you can’t really go wrong.

The auto focus, which is always a problem underwater for video, is very impressive with the 7d. Many underwater photographers recommend this camera highly.

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Canon 5D IV

Canon 5D IV

$2499.99 | Canon

In many diver’s opinions, this is the best full frame rig you can get for underwater cameras. If you have the budget for the huge price tag for a 5d series setup, this is the go-to camera for many pros.

Some of the best content I have ever seen, both video and photo, has been produced by a Canon 5d Mark 3 or mark 4, and it is seriously impressive.

*Prices above don’t include lenses, housing or dome ports. It’s the body only, then you will need to put together your perfect setup. 

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MIRRORLESS DIVE CAMERAS

Panasonic GH5

Panasonic GH5

$1399.99 | Panasonic

If you have the money, and want to step into the pro world of underwater videography or cinematography, then this might be the one to get.

Even the Great Johnathan Bird from Blue world uses the GH5, when he doesn’t want to lug around his Red Cameras.

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Sony A7S 2

sony a7s 2 housing

$1799.99 | Sony

I’m listing this as my top choice, even over the Canon 5D, for a few reasons. I just got done filming with a Sony A7S II, and am convinced that this is the ultimate underwater camera for video you can get.

I was blown away. Sony lovers also know that the A7S II, A7r2, A7 etc, are also amazing for photos, and underwater is no exception.

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*Prices above don’t include lenses, housing or dome ports. It’s the body only, then you will need to put together your perfect setup.

MORE CAMERA REVIEWS:

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