Our Top Pick of Each Type
Updated – October 2023
This is the quick and easy best snorkeling cameras 2023 buying guide. You can also see our reviews and thoughts on other similar cameras through links below each camera on this page.
We chose these cameras based on what is currently available in the marketplace, our experience using some of them on many snorkeling trips, and opinions and sample pictures from the large snorkeling community who follows this website. You really can’t go wrong with any of these options for the best snorkeling cameras.
Note: Our suggestions come from hands-on experience. We hope you find them helpful. You can help us if you purchase from the links below. We may make a small commission, from Amazon or other companies, at no extra cost to you.
Best Waterproof Snorkel Camera for Most Folks
OM System (Olympus) Stylus Tough TG-7
The TG-7 is waterproof without needing a separate housing. Although getting the waterproof housing for it may be a good idea, depending on your budget.
It seems the best fit for the needs of the majority of snorkelers. It’s affordable, compact and takes great pictures, and is the king of easy macro shots. Really the only downside to the TG-7 is that it is less durable (more likely to flood), than a more expensive compact camera with a separate housing, and the image quality is slightly lower.
The OM System TG-7 continues this immensely popular camera series following the TG-5 and TG-6, with some very minor changes to improve what was already one of the best snorkeling cameras in a number of ways. The TG-7 now has a higher resolution screen, with better colors. And the hand grip is slightly better. There are also a few minor firmware/setting updates that are not relevant to a snorkeler. So in all other ways it is identical to the TG-6, with a 12mp sensor, and 4K video.
It has excellent underwater white balance setting options for different depths. And if you like shooting in macro, this camera is the king, allowing very close focusing.
It retains the fast F2.0 lens, 25-100mm, a great range for snorkeling. It also has fast focusing speeds. Both make it easier to stop fish motion and get sharper pictures. And it still has dual image stabilization, a compass, and a manometer (water depth).
You can solve the risk of the TG-7 flooding with the Olympus PT-059 housing (available direct from OM System here). Besides making the TG-7 virtually bombproof, it makes this small camera easier to hold and control with bigger buttons. Also, the housing gives you access to more underwater accessories, like a wide angle lens. It includes a lens cap (great feature) and a screen sun shade.
The camera also has a number of cool accessories available for it when not in use with a housing.
Best Compact Camera with Separate Housing for Excellent Pictures
If you want manual controls on your camera, and less chance of flooding, then compact cameras with housings are the best snorkeling cameras. They are what we use, and give you an ideal blend of small size, excellent picture quality, and manual controls. The price is higher for this type of setup, but the benefits are worth it for the image quality, if you have the skills to use the features they offer.
Canon G7X II With Housing
The Canon G7X II (at B&H here) is the second version of the camera we both use and love. There is also a third newer version of the camera, the G7X III, but we think the II is a better option for snorkelers.
The Canon G7X II has a big 1″ sensor so that you get lots of details even when you crop your image closer. It has a fast F1.8-2.8 lens, that zooms from 24-100mm.
True, the G7X II lost the ability to do a one button custom white balance setting that our older cameras have. So if you dive down fairly deep to take pictures a lot doing a custom white balance is more challenging.
But, unlike the G7X III, the G7X II still has the automatic underwater scene mode settings, which do a great job in most snorkeling conditions of taking very colorful JPG pictures, without having to set a manual white balance. Since the G7X III no longer has this function, you would likely need to shoot in RAW file format and post process your colors on a computer, which you may not wish to do.
Plus, Canon made an affordable housing for the G7X II, the Canon WP-DC55, but did not make one for the G7X III.
About the only advantage of the newer G7X III is that it has 4K video, and the G7X II has 1080P video.
Best Action Video Camera for Snorkeling
DJI Osmo Action 4
If you shoot mostly video, and don’t mind a super wide angle fixed lens (no zoom), then the DJI Osmo Action 4 is one of the best snorkeling cameras. It is a super small camera that is waterproof without a housing. Having a very small camera when snorkeling can be useful, both for packing in your luggage, and for just having less stuff to deal with in the water.
GoPro used to be the best, but this DJI camera has a new larger sensor that provides superior video quality in low light, and equivalent video quality in all other situations despite being 4k as compared to the 5.3k of the GoPro Hero 12. It also has larger and better touch screens, front and back, easier setting changes, a larger battery and faster charging. And it is waterproof to nearly twice the depth of the GoPro Hero 11, and has a dedicated white balance sensor for better colors underwater.
On our GoPro For Snorkeling page you can read more about the GoPro Hero 11, and about the DJI.
By the way, our free monthly snorkeling newsletter has lots of snorkeling camera and photography tips in it.
Are iPhones the Best Snorkeling Cameras?
Could Be With a ProShot Housing
You already own a great camera on your iPhone. With a ProShot case you can safely take your iPhone snorkeling, at a bargain price. They are offering our readers 20% off your first purchase at the link above with the code TropicalSnorkel20. ProShot is a true waterproof housing that is suitable for snorkeling. They include a software app to make the most use of your iPhone underwater.
If you felt like the technical camera features mentioned above were a bit of a mystery to you, you can learn what they all mean on this page.