7 High-quality Underwater Cameras Under $1000 For Videography

Underwater videography opens up an entirely new world to explore with a camera. Capturing high-quality videos of marine life and seascapes requires specialized equipment to withstand water pressure at diving depths. Thankfully, there are great options available for less than $1000.

I tested and reviewed 7 stellar underwater cameras perfect for videography without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a hobbyist or aspiring professional videographer, this list has a camera that will meet your needs and budget.

Key Considerations When Buying An Underwater Video Camera

Before jumping into the cameras, let’s go over a few key factors to consider when choosing an underwater videography camera:

Depth Rating

The depth rating indicates how deep you can take the camera before water pressure damages it. For recreational diving and snorkeling videos, 30-40 meters is sufficient. Cameras with 60+ meter ratings allow technical diving videography.

Video Resolution

Underwater scenes demand sharp, high-res footage to capture the vibrant colors and details of sea life. Look for cameras that shoot at least in 1080p full HD. 4K video capability is even better for cropping and stabilizing footage.

Controls

Large, well-spaced physical buttons you can operate while wearing thick gloves are important. Some cameras also come with wireless remotes to start/stop recording.

Battery Life

Since recharging batteries mid-dive isn’t possible, I recommend getting a camera with at least 60-90 minutes of battery life per charge. Having spare batteries on hand is a good idea as well.

Underwater Housing

Each camera needs a waterproof housing case to protect it at depth. Some housings allow full access to all camera controls while keeping the water out.

1. Best Cheap: AKASO EK7000

Key Specs

  • 4K at 25fps, 2.7K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps
  • Waterproof case rated to 40m
  • Wireless wrist remote
  • Rechargeable batteries x2

Why I Like It

The Akaso EK7000 punches way above its price point. You get gorgeous 4K and 2.7K video on a budget. The included waterproof case keeps the camera bone dry and allows you to use the wireless remote to start/stop recording while diving.

It even comes with many handy mounts and accessories for mounting on dive masks, helmets, and hands. The Akaso might lack some bells & whistles of pricier models but provides incredible value at under $100.

Downsides

  • No image stabilization
  • Short battery life per charge
7 High-quality Underwater Cameras Under $1000 For Videography

2. Best Value: Olympus TG-6

Key Specs

  • 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 120fps
  • Waterproof to 15m without housing
  • F2.0 fast lens
  • 5 image stabilization modes
  • GPS, compass, temperature sensors

Why I Like It

It’s tough to beat the Olympus TG-6 for the price. Its fast f2.0 lens allows more light for better video quality compared to cheaper compact cameras. The dual IS modes result in gimbal-like stabilized videos.

I also like the TG-6’s internal GPS that geotags where your videos are shot. And it packs excellent macro capabilities to shoot small sea creatures up close. Overall, it’s a great rugged, compact camera built for outdoor adventures above and below the waterline.

Downsides

  • Battery drains quickly when shooting 4K video
  • No microphone input

3. Best Auto Controls: SeaLife DC2000

Key Specs

  • 1080p at 60fps
  • Waterproof to 60m
  • 130 ̊ wide-angle lens
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Sea Dragon flash

Why I Like It

The SeaLife impresses with its easy automatic photo and video modes. With a simple turn of the mode dial to video, it’s ready to capture pro-quality underwater scenes sans any manual adjustments. The fisheye lens provides a huge 130 ̊ field of view too.

It’s also rated to dive up to 60 meters deep straight out of the box–no housing required. The bundled sea dragon flash adds powerful lighting. Altogether it takes the complications out of shooting great underwater video.

Downsides

  • No RAW photo capture
  • Slow TTL flash recycle times
7 High-quality Underwater Cameras Under $1000 For Videography

4. Best For Travel: Olympus TG-5

Key Specs

  • 4K at 30fps
  • Waterproof to 15m
  • F2.0 25-100mm zoom lens
  • GPS and compass sensors
  • Variable macro modes

Why I Like It

Olympus hits another home run with the TG-5. It builds on the TG-6’s impressive specs but adds a wider 25-100mm zoom lens. The lens gives you more creative freedom to frame shots on land and underwater compared to fixed lenses.

I also like the Pro capture mode which records video before you hit the shutter allowing you to nab hard-to-time shots. It’s also compact and durable enough to stuff in your suitcase without worry making it one of the best underwater cameras for travel.

Downsides

  • The lens exhibits softness around the edges at wider apertures
  • Battery drains quickly shooting 4K

5. Best Video Quality: Panasonic Lumix FT7

Key Specs

  • 4K at 30fps
  • Waterproof to 31m
  • Leica lens
  • Large OLED display
  • 4K post-focus mode

Why I Like It

While compact, the Lumix FT7 captures beautifully crisp, stabilized 4K video. Its Leica branded lens also exhibits superb sharpness and less distortion than cheaper lenses. Having a large OLED screen helps compose and preview shots on the camera compared to tiny rear LCDs on other waterproof cameras.

One jaw-dropping feature is the post-focus mode allowing you to select a focus point even after shooting. It really makes pulling off-focus transitions look professional during editing!

Downsides

  • Not the best option for still photos
  • 4K video limited to 5-minute clip lengths

6. Best For Macro Video: Canon PowerShot D30

Key Specs

  • 1080p at 24fps
  • Waterproof to 25m
  • 28mm wide angle lens
  • HS system improves low light video
  • Super macro to 1cm

Why I Like It

The brightly-colored PowerShot D30 excels at near-microscopic macro videography thanks to its 28mm wide lens, internal macro ring light, and super macro mode. You can get close-up animated footage of minute marine life and textures that would otherwise go unnoticed.

It allows shooting these small subjects at sizes up to 7x larger than viewing them with the naked eye. The built-in ring lights adds even, diffused lighting which is crucial for super macro work.

Downsides

  • No 4K video capabilities
  • Short battery life with heavy use

7. Best All-Around: Sony RX0 II

Key Specs

  • 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 120fps
  • 1” sensor
  • Tough, waterproof design
  • Flip screen for selfie video
  • Advanced Eye AF tracking

Why I Like It

From its compact size down to its large 1” sensor, the Sony RX0 II is quite possibly the ultimate videography camera that can follow you anywhere land or sea. It shoots buttery-smooth super slow-mo HD footage alongside crisp 4K video with absolutely stellar image quality.

Having a 180° tiltable LCD screen is handy for framing up vlogging-style underwater videos too. It even touts Sony’s advanced eye AF that locks focus on sea creatures automatically for perfectly focused footage.

Downsides

  • Expensive for a point-and-shoot
  • No zoom lens

Conclusion

Underwater cameras have come a long way allowing hobbyists to capture brilliant 4K video at consumer price points that were unattainable just a few years ago. Whether you’re looking for super slow-mo HD capabilities or want macro-style close-ups of coastal creatures, there’s an underwater camera here to meet your needs without going over budget.

Don’t let false assumptions about cost or complexity stop you from taking the plunge into underwater videography. Today’s best waterproof cameras can go almost anywhere shooting professional-grade footage. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

FAQs About Underwater Videography Cameras

What features should I look for in an underwater video camera?

Prioritize a depth rating over 30 meters, 4K/1080p video capabilities, at least 60 minutes of battery life, and a waterproof housing or body. Larger sensors, image stabilization, wide lenses, and strong macro modes provide additional benefits for capturing great underwater footage.

What equipment do I need to start shooting underwater videos?

At the minimum, you need a waterproof camera, a mount like a short handle or tray to grip the camera while swimming, and lights if you plan to shoot below 15 meters in depth. A neoprene wetsuit and fins also help you swim smoothly while filming.

Is it safe to take any camera underwater?

Not! Only properly sealed waterproof cameras—including action cams like GoPros in their housings—are designed to withstand submersion without flooding. Taking non-waterproof cameras underwater will destroy them. Water damage is not covered under warranty!

How long does an underwater camera’s battery last?

Depending on video resolution, expect anywhere between 45-90 minutes of run time. Shooting lengthy 4K clips will drain batteries faster. I strongly recommend packing spare batteries and having the camera fully charged before each dive. Some external battery packs exist for select camera models too.

What’s the best way to mount an underwater camera to capture stable video?

Using a tray or short handle grip paired with a wrist lanyard secures the camera and makes panning more controlled. GoPros and compact cameras also mount well to dive masks, helmets, and handheld poles or sticks to “float” the camera steadily as you swim. This avoids shaky footage from minor hand movements.

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