Top 5 Underwater Compact Cameras for Beginners

Even though I put beginners in the title, these are great for underwater enthusiasts of all levels of photography expertise. The reason I put beginners is they are perfect for beginners and that’s what I want to focus on in this post. These are my “Top 5 Underwater Compact Cameras for Beginners”. Each of these cameras have many bells and whistles but I’m going to keep it simple. They are in no particular order since I think each will do a outstanding job, I feel it’s more important to choose the camera that suits you and your needs. Some of the things I look for when choosing an underwater camera are, cost, low light capability, macro capabilities and the video capabilities.

I give a brief overview and my thought on each below. I put links below each camera, to make it easy to order right from Amazon. I also put links to the underwater housings that go with each camera.

Scuba Stu – 

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Olympus Tough TG-4


This camera is waterproof up to 50′ deep and would be great for snorkeling, and in and around the pool and at the beach. The low light capability is okay with a ISO of  6,400 and video is very capable 1080p @ 30fs. Where I feel this camera really shines is that it’s waterproof without a housing up to 50′ and the Macro ability. It can focus 1cm/0.39 inches away from a subject in “Microscope” mode. It does need a Dive Housing to take it scuba diving but it would do a great job diving as well. Below are links to buy one and a couple housing to choose from.

Canon PowerShot G7 X

Canon PowerShot G7 X

The G7 X does everything really really well. Low light is good with a ISO of 12,800. Video is a really good  1080p @ 60fs. In Macro mode you can focus 2″ away from a subject which is really useful.  This camera is also very popular with the daily bloggers on YouTube, like Roman Atwood. If you choose this camera you won’t be disappointed. Below are links to buy one and 3 housings to choose from.


Sony RX100 IV



The RX100 is the most expensive of the 5 but it might the best performer. It has a outstanding ISO range that goes up to 25,600. The video is a top notch 4k @ 30fs or 1080p @ 60fs & 120fs. It doesn’t have a macro mode but it lists its closest macro focus distance at 2″/5cm. To me, the only downside to this camera is the price and if you’re really into macro photography, it’s not the best option. Below are links to buy one and 3 housings to choose from.


Panasonic Lumix LX100k


The LX100 great at everything also, the megapixels are a bit low at 12.8 but I think the 3 other areas are more important. Great low light performance with an ISO reaching 25,600, 4K Video @30fs and 1080p @60fs, and a closest macro focus distance of 1.8″ or 4.5cm.  Below are links to buy one and 3 housings to choose from.


SeaLife Micro 2.0

The SeaLife Micro 2.0 is not the best performer but at the price range, it put it into the top 5. It’s a ready to go dive camera that does everything well and is rated for a depth of 200′ (60m), right out of the box. The low light is not great with its ISO only reaching 800. the video is a solid 1080p @ 30fs/60fs, and the closest focus range is 12″/30cm. It doesn’t have stats that will blow you away but it’s simple to use and doesn’t have the maintenance that you get when using a dive housing. You can increase its performance by adding a light or two and it does have a macro kit also. Below are links to buy one and some other options.

Please leave a comment below and tell us what you would get and why.

Scuba Stu – 

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