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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.