iPhone Snorkeling
Waterproof Housing & Picture Tips

Want to use your iPhone snorkeling for pictures and videos, instead of lugging around another camera? It's a good idea, if you get a quality underwater housing. The iPhone can take some good pictures snorkeling, but there are some pluses and minuses to it we share below, along with some setting tips and recommended waterproof housings and accessories. 

Get A Real Underwater
Housing - Not A Waterproof Case

Your iPhone is worth a lot of money, and it has a ton of your pictures and contact information on it. Don't risk snorkeling with a lesser waterproof case.

For iPhone snorkeling, we recommend you get a housing made by Watershot. These are real iPhone snorkeling housings from a company who makes housings for motion picture cameras. They are much tougher than the other iPhone waterproof cases, have real underwater housing seals, optical quality glass lenses, and a great app that gives you many picture/video controls on your phone. Tons of people use these and love them, even diving. Note, some screen protectors don't work with the Watershot (it seems to be mostly the glass screen protectors).

For the iPhone 5 and 5s, there is either the standard Watershot 5, waterproof to 120 feet, or the Watershoot 5 Pro, waterproof to 195 feet. The pro versions have a better grip and the option of an interchangeable wide angle lens.

For the iPhone 6 there is also the standard Watershot 6 Splash, waterproof to 33 feet, and the Watershot 6 Pro, waterproof to 195 feet, which is available in a kit with the wide angle lens.

What about the iPix housing? Watershot outsells them by leaps and bounds. The iPix is a decent option, but not nearly as respected.

For iPhone snorkeling conditions we would avoid all of the cases made by these companies, and all soft bags: LifeProof, Otterbox, Armour Shell, Pelican, Dog & Bone, Catalyst, Lunatik Aquatik, Hitcase, Seideio, Incipio, Griffin, Snowlizard, Optrix, Mophie, Tech21, PureGear. 

Pluses of Using Your iPhone Snorkeling?

The biggest benefit of using your iPhone snorkeling is that you already own it! You don't have to buy and carry around another camera, and it's easier to share pictures from. You can get some pretty good snorkeling pictures with it. It has a fast F2.2 lens, 8 megapixel still pictures and great 1080P video. Plus you can shoot 10 frames per second to catch that fish! The iPhone 6s even has optical image stabilization.

Minuses Of Using Your iPhone Snorkeling?

The iPhone has a small sensor, so the image quality will not compare to cameras with bigger sensors. And you do not have much control of functions. The iPhone camera tends to select too slow a shutter speed, which will give you blurry fish pictures at times. You also don't have the white balance control of better cameras, so your colors will not be great in deeper water. There are a couple of possible solutions to this you can read about below. And let's face it, you are risking losing your phone and everything on it.

iPhone Snorkeling Pictures Tips

Here are a couple of tips to get better pictures snorkeling with your iPhone. 

First, and foremost, backup your phone data before snorkeling!

In the app, use these settings:

  1. Turn Auto-Lock to "Never"
  2. Use airplane mode to prevent calls and texts
  3. Turn on the app before putting it in the case
  4. Fully charge your iPhone before snorkeling
  5. If you pay for the advanced camera app you have more options.

While taking pictures:

  1. Put the app into sleep between pictures (long hold on picture button) to save battery and to reduce lens fogging from heat. Once the 20% battery life warning pops up you can't take pictures anymore.
  2. Video quality will be better than picture quality. Shoot video when there is good fish motion to record. In video try not to move the camera, or pan it very slowly for better results.
  3. There is a focus lock feature in the app that is handy in some situations for recomposing.
  4. Use a red filter for better color when looking down into deep water, or when there is a lot of water between you and your subject. In shallow bright conditions, or when your subject is close, don't use the filter.
  5. If the light is low, and there are moving fish, shoot in burst mode to have a better chance of getting a sharp picture.

Recommended iPhone Snorkeling Accessories

Your iPhone will likely not float in it's housing. So you must have a strong wrist lanyard, and preferably a floating buoyant lanyard. Note that the iPhone 6s is too heavy for this lanyard and will not float.

For better color, get a red filter

You will definitely want a iPhone car charger for between snorkel spots.

Get more anti fog strips. They will help keep the housing and lens from fogging up.

Finally, it may be worth it to pay for the Watershot Advanced Camera App to get access to more camera functions, including some color and white balance settings.



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