I hope this snorkeling camera guide helps make your choices easy. Because picking a camera and getting good colorful pictures just about drove us nuts. Most underwater camera advice comes from divers. But snorkelers' needs are different because we have plenty of light at the surface.
After years of snorkel trips, many cameras, and tens of thousands of pictures later, we know a few things to help you out. That's Galen above, doing what he loves, taking a picture of the turtle (taken by Nicole).
We will help you get a camera that:
And answer these critical questions:
OK. Let's check out some cameras.
If you are in a rush, this page shares my top picks of all camera types.
To learn more about each type of camera, and to see more options in other prices ranges, make sure and check out the pages below.
This category of camera is what I most recommend; a compact digital camera with a separate waterproof housing. For a reasonable price you will get great pictures, and it will last longer than the waterproof cameras below.
This camera type is already waterproof, and does not need a separate housing. All of its little buttons and other doors have waterproof seals.
You can get good pictures, but these are not as durable as a camera with a separate housing.
GoPro makes great little cameras, that take amazing HD videos and good pictures. They are used extensively in action sports.
They are either waterproof or come with a housing and are reasonable in price, but are very limited in controls.
If you have an iPhone, you have a pretty good snorkeling camera already, with the correct waterproof housing. Read our tips on what housing to buy, and how to get the best pictures from it.
You will not spend much money on one of these, but you will also be very disappointed with the pictures you get. If you are determined to go this cheap read my tips about how to improve your pictures from these types of cameras.
We currently use the wonderful Canon G7X. Read our full review here. It has a fast lens through its zoom range, a large 1 inch sensor, and fast focusing and shooting speeds. The Canon housing works well for this camera and is not very expensive.
Read our review of this camera that is built into a snorkeling mask.
Snorkeling Camera Feature Descriptions - If you don't understand what a fast F2.0 lens is, or why high ISO performance might matter, read this page where I go through all the important features of a good camera for snorkeling.
Underwater Camera & Housing Care & Maintenance - Learn how to prevent camera floods and fogging, and find some more tips on basic camera care.
Improve Your Snorkeling Photography - Learn how to get better color, create better compositions, and many more techniques for getting pictures that make people say wow!
See Every Snorkeling Camera Post