Have you ever wanted to take your camera snorkeling? Wanted to capture images when you’re scuba diving? Are you frustrated by the limitations of your waterproof point-and-shoot and left wondering how pros take those dramatic images in dive magazines? Underwater imaging is an exciting—though complex—pastime, yet it has never been more accessible than it is today thanks to digital cameras. This article seeks to demystify some of the most important concepts behind underwater photography and videography and provide our recommendations on the best cameras (and housings) available today for beginners looking to learn how to shoot underwater.
I’ve been taking photos underwater for 16 years now. I started out on film with amphibious cameras like the Nikonos V, moved onto housed-film systems like the Nikon F100, worked with some of first digital cameras housed for underwater use in the early 2000s. I used to work in sales of underwater imaging equipment. I know what works and how these systems hold up to sustained use in salt water, one of the harshest, most corrosive environments you can bring your camera. Throughout my career, it has become clear that digital cameras have democratized underwater imaging even more than they have for topside (surface) photography. What was previously unavailable to all but the wealthiest shooters is more accessible than ever, more able to deliver incredible, publishable results.