I purchased my first dedicated underwater camera last year and it was the most fun I had with photography in a long time. When you take pictures of your kids all the time like I do, there’s something refreshing and magical about photographing them in a new, underwater world. Reactions are genuine and the fun is captured easily. I’d recommend starting with something on the lower end of the price scale to see how you like underwater photography, and then working your way up as your interest and desire for better images increases.
Aquapac waterproof camera cases let you take photos in places you wouldn’t otherwise take your camera. Aquatic offers waterproof cases that will fit point and shoot, mirrorless, and DSLR cameras from Canon, Fuijifilm, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic Lumix, Pentax, Ricoh, Samsung, Sony, and more. The case shown (428) features a tough acrylic lens for top-quality photos, supple TPU material to easily navigate controls and menus, and the Aquaclip (a patented, ultra-secure, rustproof, injection-moulded plastic seal) that opens and closes with a simple twist of two levers. $35-$140
The Olympus Tough TG-4, with built-in Wi-Fi, is rugged enough to go anywhere, but its powerful imaging technology makes this camera the most versatile yet. The TG-4 is waterproof to depths of 50 ft/15 m, features 16mp RAW capture, full HD 1080p video, and the super-bright f2.0 wide-angle zoom lens create amazing images no matter how challenging the environment. $380
3. GoPro HERO4
Waterproof to 131 ft (40 m), HERO4 Silver combines versatility and pro-quality capture with the convenience of a touch display. Use it to preview photos and videos to frame your perfect shot. Play back content, and relive the moment instantly. Easily navigate camera menus and adjust settings—just tap and swipe the screen. Capture stunning 1080p60 video that’s sharper and more lifelike than ever. High-resolution, high frame rate 720p120 and 960p100 video delivers exceptionally smooth slow-motion playback of all your highlights. And for still photos, the HERO4 takes 12MP with a burst mode of 30 frames per second. $399
If you already have a point and shoot camera, such as the Sony RX100, Canon Powershot, or Fujifilm XQ1, then there may be an underwater housing made specifically for your camera. The benefit to going this route is the ability to use the camera you already know and love, in new and unchartered waters. The case for the Fuji (WP-XQ1) is ideal for photography at up to 40 m underwater and the control ring, a key feature of the FUJIFILM XQ1, can be fully operated when using this waterproof housing. $330
5. DSLR Housing
If you’ve tried a few underwater options but want all the functionality that you’re used to with your DSLR, then you’ll want to research DSLR housings. Ikelite DSLR housings offer a seamless blend of functionality, lighting integration, durability and waterproof integrity. Ikelite’s signature clear construction lets you see that the housing is watertight and dry before you enter the water, and provides full view of the camera while in the water. Ikelite housings are designed, built, and tested in the USA. They use locally sourced, top-grade materials and their housings are built by hand and individually tested for fit, function and waterproof integrity. $1800
REMINDER: Keep in mind that with more investment in underwater gear and cameras, your equipment insurance coverage should be adjusted to match.