Colorful fish, strange creatures, mesmerizing underwater scapes… The underwater world abounds in captivating subjects for photography. The cameras for underwater shooting have never been so high-performance and affordable and from now on everyone can come home with beautiful images from their snorkeling sessions.
For pictures, choose compact waterproof cameras, while the action cams remain the safe bet for videos. These models, which can be used at snorkeling depth without a waterproof case, are all compact and light.
We are often asked which camera we take our photos with. At Snorkeling Report, we have been using Olympus TG cameras since our beginnings to make our photo reports.
Our first camera was a TG2, released in 2013, and it still works great, although it has some micro-cracks on the metal parts. Considering our intensive use (it has dived hundreds of times, from Tahiti to Indonesia, and from Guadeloupe to Australia), we can say it is rather very resistant! Since then, we have also bought a TG5 and a TG6, the latest release of the brand.
Image rendering is great in underwater mode, especially at shallow depth and without flash. To be honest, it would be difficult to switch to another model! To help you if you are new to underwater photography, you can check our tips for taking snorkeling photos.
Example of a picture taken with an Olympus TG2 in N’Gouja (Mayotte), not edited. When you can get a good luminosity and stay stable in the water, the result is great, even with older cameras.
Behind the scene – here, Guillaume is taking a picture of a pelagic stingray from the surface of the sea at Cala Almadabra (near Benidorm, Spain) with an Olympus TG6.
In recent years, we have also started making short videos of our underwater explorations, which you can find for example on our YouTube channel.
All our videos are made with different GoPro models (the current one is a GoPro Hero 8, which is the action cams reference), most often simply mounted on a pole. In our opinion, the GoPro offers the best compromise between size and image quality and is the ideal companion for snorkeling.
We especially love filming in high frequency (up to 60 images per second in 4K – or 240 images per second in 1080p) which then allows you to edit superb slow motion (useful when dealing with fast swimming fish).
This video has been made with a GoPro on different locations in New Caledonia (for example, the green sea turtles have been shot in wonderful Îlot Amédée), simply handled with a pole or put down on the seabed.
Behind the scene – here, Guillaume is filming a shoal of yellow-tail grunt with a GoPro at Bartolome Island, in Galápagos archipelago. Aside, a screenshot of the video, that you can see on YouTube.
All the models recommended here are waterproof up to a depth of 10m minimum, which is useful for most of the snorkelers. For stunning images, purchase a dome, which allows you to shoot half water/half air pictures.
The brand new Olympus TG line, by far the best compact underwater. With it, you will have the best for snorkeling shots: waterproof up to 15m, 5 underwater modes, macro mode allowing you to approach 1cm from the subject, etc. All with clarity and unmatched color rendering. At SR, we have been using the TG line since our beginnings, and we can’t live without it!
Do you want to take advantage of the expertise of Olympus at a reduced price? Released in 2017, the TG5 remains an excellent option, which is still better comparing to most of the latest in competition. It offers several underwater modes, a water resistance up to 15m perfect for snorkeling, and a 4K video mode.
Waterproof up to 30m, the most recent backpackers from Nikon will delight those who also practice scuba diving. Its 16 megapixel resolution, its 5x optical zoom and its 4K videos make it a powerful compact, for a reasonable price.
Always stronger! The all-new GoPro Hero 8 Black offers the latest brand advances. The stabilization system, very useful in snorkeling, has been improved, and new slow motion options are proposed. At Snorkeling Report, we have adopted GoPro since our beginnings, especially to make videos for our YouTube channel. We do not plan to change it soon!
Released just over a year ago, the GoPro Hero 7 Black remains an excellent choice for underwater videos in HD/4K, offering the essentials of this best seller. Waterproof up to 10m, integrated stabilization, images slowed down to 8x thanks to an exceptional shooting frequency (240 images per second in HD), etc. And all that for a reduced price!
The pole is the must-have accessory for more stable and dynamic shots underwater with your GoPro. This light model, made of aluminum and waterproof, is robust and withstands the effects of salt water longer. The solid wrist strap limits the risk of losing your equipment in the water, which is, believe us, pretty annoying.
Half-air/half-water shots are THE ones everyone want to carry back home! It is indeed one of the best ways to remember your best snorkeling sessions and show others about it! This GoPro dome with floating handle allows you to take amazing photos and videos by moving the waterline away from the lens. Easy to use, give it a shot and you won’t regret it!
This book, initially designed for scuba divers also helps snorkelers to familiarize with underwater shooting. The technical aspects (light, macro-photography) are discussed in details. A useful guide, to delight both beginners and experienced underwater photographers!
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