Must-Have Underwater Cameras

With underwater photography becoming increasingly accessible and popular with more and more scuba divers, ScubaLab has put together a list of cameras and underwater housings that are great for scuba shutterbugs of all skills levels.

  • Nikon D810 FX and Subal D810 Housing
    Price: $9,725.70 (for the body, housing port, and lens) | Contact: backscatter.com

For serious photographers, the D810 has an excellent ISO range (64 to 12,800) and will produce impressive images even in low-light conditions. The camera features an incredible 36.3 megapixels (40 mp RAW files), a large full-frame sensor and a lightning-fast autofocus. The D810 underwater housing’s built-in leak alarm is an especially nice touch.

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  • Sony A7R II Camera and Housing
    Price: $6,473 (for the camera, lens, housing, and port) | Contact: backscatter.com

A full-frame mirrorless camera, the A7R II is a fraction of the size of a DSLR and has a wide selection of lenses. It delivers high resolution and great low-light performance; it was the first camera of its type to feature a back-illuminated sensor to achieve high ISO with low noise performance. Sony was also one of the first to feature 4K 30p video in a full-frame camera recorded to an onboard card.

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If you’ve used the Sealife Micro HD, you’ll appreciate the refinements made to the 2.0, which comes in 32GB and 64GB versions. Compact, lightweight and fully sealed down to 200 feet, this camera was a hit when we tried it in the Florida Keys. It has a 16 mp Sony CMOS image sensor and full-HD video. With no O-rings, this camera is flood-proof. It comes with a 130-degree fisheye lens.

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  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nauticam Housing
    Price: $7,787.95 (for the body, housing port, and lens) | Contact: backscatter.com

The EOS 5D Mark III offers super-fast autofocus, improved ISO sensitivity and a new high-quality video codec. This video format compresses each frame individually instead of across multiple frames, allowing for much more latitude in color correction in post. The Nauticam 5D Mark III housing puts the controls you use the most in a place where they’re easy for you to access; it also features Nauticam’s patented two-stage shutter release, which allows you to feel the half and full-press positions when focusing.

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  • Gopro Hero 4 Silver and Black Editions
    Price: $399 and up (for the camera and housing) $99 (for the Flip4 three filter kit) | Contact: gopro.com and backscatter.com

GoPro makes a solid point-and-shoot camera system available for under $500. The GoPro system delivers high-quality video in two versions: Black and Silver. The Black version shoots 4K30 frame resolution and 1080p120 video; the Silver version shoots 2.7K frame resolution and 1080p60 or 720p120 video. Backscatter’s FLIP4 filter system is essential for getting good results with this camera because it makes a dramatic difference in restoring color and contrast. You can pick up the Flip4 three filter kit to enhance your images. This camera accessory comes with a shallow, dive, and deep filter.

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  • Vivid-Pix Photo-Editing Software
    Price: $49.99 and up | Contact: vivid-pix.com

The Vivid-Pix patented scuba imaging software was developed for the unique needs of underwater photographers, offering an exceptionally quick and easy way to overcome the challenges presented by shooting underwater and getting colorful, sharp, bright pictures. We’ve tried it on our own images and were immediately impressed. It allows you to improve your photos instantly with just one click, and its moving sliders allow you to fine-tune your images. Works great topside too.

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