How to Take the Plunge With Your Camera
New technology is making it easier than ever to capture stunning underwater images. From smartphone dry bags to professional diving lights, we've rounded up the best gear for taking photos and videos of the underwater world.
Joto Universal Waterproof Cellphone Dry Bag
With a price tag of only $6.99, the Joto cellphone dry bag provides the cheapest and easiest way to take underwater photos. It fits nearly every size of phone and is waterproof down to 100 feet. Your touch screen will keep working through the plastic (while above water). Plan on using your phone's side buttons to take pictures underwater.
Nordic Flash Waterproof Camera Float
Most underwater cameras will sink like a stone if dropped. The Nordic Flash waterproof camera float doubles as a wrist strap and a floatation device, so you never have to worry about a wave knocking your camera out of your hands. The float is powerful enough to buoy lighter devices like GoPros, point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones. It also comes in bright colors that are easy to spot in the water.
Credit: Nordic Flash
DiCAPac WP-S10 Pro DSLR Camera Series Waterproof Case
This DiCAPac waterproof case is an affordable option for DSLR shooters who don't want to drop thousands of dollars on professional underwater housing. The bag is a bit cumbersome and makes it difficult to change settings, so plan on using auto mode or prepping your ISO, shutter speed and f-stop in advance. We also recommend doing a test in your bathtub before trusting the bag to protect your DSLR.
Olympus Tough TG-5
With a 12-megapixel sensor, 4K video mode and the ability to shoot in RAW, the Olympus Tough TG-5 is one of the best underwater point-and-shoots on the market. Its rugged build can withstand depths of up to 50 feet and drops from up to 7 feet. The camera also has underwater settings for HDR and macro (close-up) photography. If you need a camera for deeper dives, consider the Nikon Coolpix W300 or the Canon PowerShot D30, which can operate at 100 feet and 150 feet, respectively.
GoPro Hero 5 Black
The GoPro Hero 5 Black has similar features to those of the Olympus Tough TG-5 and costs about the same as that device. But it outperforms its competitors when it comes to underwater accessories like lights, filters, mounts and custom housing (read on to see our top picks). Unlike previous GoPro models, the Hero 5 is waterproof down to 33 feet without any housing and can reach depths of nearly 200 feet with a Super Suit case. The camera can shoot 4K video and 12-megapixel photos in RAW.
Shoot Waterproof Diving Light for GoPro Hero
The deeper under water you go, the less light there is for photography. To prevent murky, washed-out images, most professionals attach artificial lights to their cameras when diving or snorkeling. If you're using a GoPro, the Shoot diving light is an affordable way to make your underwater photography pop for only $22.99.Credit: Shoot
Vicdozia TELESIN 6-Inch Dome Port Lens for GoPro Hero 5 with Waterproof Housing Case
Take beautiful "over-under" shots with your GoPro Hero 5 using the Vicdozia Telesin 6-inch dome port. By moving the waterline away from the lens, dome ports allow you to capture split images of the view above and below the surface. This model comes with a floating handle and trigger, making it easy to fire the camera.
Rain-X Glass Treatment Spray
Droplets of water clinging to the lens can spoil a great photo. If you're shooting "over unders," surfing photos or any images near the surface, you'll want to invest in a $7.32 bottle of Rain-X glass treatment spray. Designed for car windshields, Rain-X coats your lens in water-repelling molecules to help droplets slide right off. Be sure to buff in the spray so it doesn't leave a haze over your photos, and apply it only to the plastic lens on your housing, not the actual lens in your camera.
SeaLife AquaPod Underwater Monopod
The SeaLife Aquapod Monopod extends up to 53 inches to help you get closer to objects that are just out of reach. It has a standard mount that will fit point-and-shoot cameras like the Olympus Tough TG-5 and comes with an adapter for GoPros. If you want to take shots of yourself, just turn the camera around and you've got an underwater selfie stick.
Telesin Waterproof Smart Wi-Fi Remote Control
If you want to take underwater photos using a monopod, you will need a way to fire the camera from a distance. The Telesin waterproof smart Wi-Fi remote control is compatible with GoPros and conveniently attaches to your wrist or monopod for easy access. Unfortunately, it goes down to only 3.3 feet, but you can place it in a waterproof bag or upgrade to the pricier GoPro smart remote($79), which is waterproof down to 33 feet.
Impact Imagery Anti-Fog Inserts
Fog inside the camera housing or dry bag is a common problem with underwater photography. To make sure your images stay crystal clear, invest in some anti-fog inserts by Impact Imagery. The inserts are slim enough to fit inside any waterproof case, and you can reuse them if you dehydrate them in the oven.
FineGood Diving Lens Filters for GoPro Hero 5
Images that are taken at more than a few feet underwater look blue or green. Luckily, you can correct that problem using special underwater filters. For just $8.49, you can get these FineGood diving lens filters, which conveniently snap over the lens of the GoPro Hero 5. They come in a variety of shades for different environments, such as lakes, deep water and tropical water.
SeaLife Sea Dragon Duo 3000 Underwater Lighting Set
For those who want to go all out, the SeaLife Sea Dragon Duo 3000 underwater lighting set provides professional-quality lighting up to 200 feet down. It has a standard mount that will fit point-and-shoot cameras like the Olympus Tough TG-5 and comes with an adapter for GoPros. With 3,000 lumens of continuous light from two LEDs, the colors in your stills and video are guaranteed to pop.
Neewer Underwater Case for Sony A6000
If you happen to own a mirrorless Sony a6000 or the newer a6300, you're in luck. Neewer makes top-notch underwater housings for both camera models. The cases are waterproof down to 130 feet, offer full camera functionality and come with a standard tripod mount so you can attach a monopod or underwater lights. The a6000 housing is available for $159.99 on Amazon, and the a6300 housing is available for $198.48.
Hitcase Pro for iPhone 7
If you have an iPhone 7, the Hitcase Pro will let you take your phone down as far as 33 feet below the waves, and the cases's aluminum frame will absorb drops from up to 16 feet. It comes with a superwide lens (and is compatible with other Hitcase lenses and accessories) and has a built-in mount that works with most GoPro accessories, as well as the Sealife Aquapod Monopod and the SeaLife Sea Dragon Duo 3000 underwater lighting set. At $129.99, the Hitcase is pricier than the Joto cellphone dry bag, but its versatility could make it worth the investment. The company also makes cases for the iPhone 6/6s and 7 Plus.