4 Best Underwater Cameras for Snorkeling

Capturing the amazing underwater moments can be challenging! You need a camera that gives you the best chance of not missing the beautiful scenes that lie beneath the surface. There are many great options that vary in price, specifications, and performance.

Hello everyone! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional photographer and videographer. For the past 14+ years, I have been providing professional services to clients across the United States. During this time, I have also dipped my finger in the waters (pun intended) of underwater photography.

In this article, I will discuss some of the things you should look for in an underwater camera, and I will also share with you the list of the best underwater cameras for snorkeling I’ve come across.

Key Takeaways

  • An underwater camera should deliver clear pictures, and video, and be 100% waterproof.
  • Panasonic TS7 is a great example of a camera for snorkeling that offers multiple shooting modes.
  • A good stabilization system on an underwater camera can help produce clear and stable videos and images.


Here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions.

What is the difference between a digital zoom and an optical zoom?

Digital zoom is a cropped version of zoom technology that enlarges a subject but does not provide more detail. Conversely, an optical zoom provides more detail as you zoom in closer to the subject.

Drop Proof gives you an indication of how durable the camera is. For instance, a drop-proof rating of 5 feet indicates that the camera can withstand the impact/force of being dropped from 5 feet without breaking.

Video resolution is the number of pixels on the screen. An underwater with a high video resolution allows you to record underwater video in a clearer and more crisp ratio. Video resolution must support the type of underwater conditions that you snorkel in.

What to Look for in an Underwater Camera for Snorkeling

Here are some things you should look for in an underwater camera.

  • Fully Waterproof: The first and most obvious thing to look for in an underwater camera is for it to be 100% waterproof. Some underwater cameras have waterproof housing and may only remain waterproof to a certain depth. You want a camera that allows you to remain underwater without fear of ruining your camera.
  • Zoom Quality: Another important feature is the zoom quality of the camera. Since snorkeling is done from a shallow depth, it is necessary to have a camera that can zoom in on targets without losing image quality.
  • Stabilization System: Water is fluid (obviously) and as such subjects are constantly moving. Therefore, having a camera with a good stabilization system is necessary to minimize blurriness and shake.
  • Image Resolution: While capturing images underwater, the resolution must be strong enough to provide detailed pictures that are not blurry or distorted. A minimal image resolution of 16MP is best for these conditions.

The Best Underwater Cameras for Snorkeling Reviewed

Let’s take a look at the list of the best underwater cameras for snorkeling.

1. Panasonic DC-TS7A Lumix TS7 (Best Overall)

  • Image Resolution: 20.4MP
  • Video Resolution: 4K/30fps
  • Zoom Quality: 4.6x
  • Waterproof: Down to 100 feet

The top choice is the Panasonic DC-TS7A Lumix TS7 Waterproof Tough Camera. This amazing camera ranks atop my list because of its excellent features. As the name indicates, it is an extremely durable camera that can handle the underwater environment.

This camera sports remarkable image quality of just over 20 megapixels and produces exceptional 4K video resolution at 30 frames per second. The zoom quality is impressive with a 4.6x zoom production. This camera is also 100% waterproof up to a 100 ft. depth. It has drop protection up to 6.6 ft. and freeze protection to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

The feature I like most about this camera is the different shooting modes. It offers underwater, beach, and surf shooting modes. It also has a powerful optical image stabilizer. Regardless of the water environment, this camera can handle it.

The only thing that gives me concern is low-quality production in low-light conditions. For snorkeling, this camera works exceptionally well, but it is not designed for diving purposes.

My Verdict: This is an excellent all-around camera for snorkeling activities. The zoom quality is very good. The image stabilization and video resolution are exceptional.

2. Olympus TG-6 Red Underwater Camera (Best Macro)

  • Image Resolution: 12MP
  • Video Resolution: 4K/30fps
  • Zoom Quality: 4x
  • Waterproof: Down to 50 feet

The Olympus TG-6 Red Underwater Camera is exceptional for capturing macro images. It is an excellent choice for snorkeling activities and can also work well in diving conditions.

The TG-6 offers several notable qualities. The 4K video resolution is very good with a 30 frames per second quality. It has good image stabilization and provides a user-friendly automatic mode. The camera also shoots in RAW.

The standout quality of this camera is the macro feature. It can capture images as close as 10 centimeters without losing image quality.

Olympus has a relatively low image resolution of 12 megapixels. With this low MP quality, the images are not as crisp as I’d like but it is usable.

My Verdict: Snorkeling normally includes small underwater life, therefore, this camera is great for these types of activities. The macro mode is awesome and allows you to zoom in nicely on subjects.

3. Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Camera (Best Durability)

  • Image Resolution: 16MP
  • Video Resolution: HD 4K/30fps
  • Zoom Quality: 5x
  • Waterproof: Down to 100 feet

The next choice is the Nikon W300. This compact camera is one of the most durable options in this category. It is perfect for travel purposes and works extremely well for snorkeling adventures.

The W300 offers several excellent features including two autofocus video modes, vibration reduction, stabilization, and several shooting modes. The 16 MP image resolution is good and the high-definition 4K video performance at 30 frames per second is also notable. The 5x zoom quality is also exceptional.

The most notable thing about this model is its durability. It is known as the “tough” camera. The camera’s housing is designed to withstand bumps and drops and its waterproof quality down to 100 feet makes it perfect for snorkeling activities.

The one drawback is the short battery life. It can only record video for 1 hour or less. Time underwater passes quickly and this short battery life is less than desirable.

My Verdict: This is an excellent camera for short snorkeling activities, with amazing zoom, camera, and video quality.

4. GoPro HERO11 Black (Best Video)

  • Image Resolution: 27MP
  • Video Resolution: 5K/60pfs
  • Zoom Quality: 8x (digital)
  • Waterproof: Yes

The last choice is another prime example of an underwater camera that can be used for snorkeling. The GoPro HERO11 Black is a small action camera that can be used in many circumstances.

It offers some excellent options, with a 27-megapixel image resolution and a remarkable 5K video resolution that records at 60 frames per second. The 8x zoom quality is also exceptional. 

The Hero11 Black video system is impressive. The Ultra high definition 5.3K video production system is head and shoulders above the competition. This camera is perfect for capturing impressive underwater video while snorkeling.

However, it is an expensive option. At a price point, the GoPro Hero 11 does cost a pretty penny. Additionally, the zoom is digital and not optical, which gives me some concern as well.

My Verdict: This camera easily sets the standard for video production underwater. It also has excellent image resolution. Overall, this camera is a great choice for snorkeling activities.

Final Thoughts

Snorkeling is one of the most enjoyable underwater activities that you can experience. When doing so, it is important to have an underwater camera that can enhance your snorkeling journey.

As we have discussed here, there are several great options for underwater cameras. A few other notable considerations for good underwater snorkeling cameras include the Trsunow Action Camera and the Wificial Waterproof Camera. Both of these are great for snorkeling activities and have respectable specifications.

Which camera has worked best for your snorkeling adventures? Feel free to share your experiences here and ask any questions that you might have.

As always, until next time, enjoy capturing the best moments of your life!

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