A brief synopsis of camera gear, specifically photography, with some recommendations for purchase.
When you generally think of water friendly cameras, you will probably picture the very popular GoPro Hero series. For the price and the functionality you could stop your camera gear search right there. I have a blog post where I discuss great GoPro accessories so I will try to avoid being redundant. On this page I’d like to recommend a wider range of cameras, camera gear that would set you apart from the crowd.
If you plan on making watersports photography your thing and have several hundred dollars to spare. I recommend investing in a digital camera. Digital cameras aren’t nearly as intimidating as many think. All the digital cameras I recommend have auto-focus, wireless data transfer, Bluetooth/ WiFi and preset shooting modes like landscape, close-up or action/ burst mode. With YouTube tutorials as your guide, you can master your camera and capture things that would otherwise be impossible on a phone. Below is a short list of pretty sophisticated cameras, all less than $1000, some come in kits with different lenses and accessories.
- Nikon D5600 DSLR
- Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera (Less than $500) (Recommended for beginners)
- Sony HX400V Compact Digital Camera (Less than $500)
- Fujifilm X-S10 Mirrorless Camera (Most expensive) (Lightweight)
The issue still remains. If you want to shoot water sports like kite surfing, wake boarding, surfing, diving or just shoot…”waves“. You can plan on getting wet and unless your camera is waterproof out of the box (Hint: Those listed above are not!) you are going to need some waterproofing.
Water Proof Pouches
Waterproof camera pouches are the budget friendly way to waterproof your camera, Depending on the lenses you use, you can prevent water intrusion and still have access to all your cameras buttons and features (Although touch screen options may be limited). All these pouches price from $35.00 to $100.00.
For serious water protection, there is a whole other level of waterproof housing. These hard shell cases are very camera specific so before you order one, make sure you have the correct case. These are also gonna be more costly than a pouch but they make operating the camera easier with buttons being built into the housing. For any activity where you will be consistently under the water, I recommend getting one of these.
Be sure to check and see if the camera you decide to purchase has a deep water housing available to avoid being stuck without one.
In our “GoPro Accessories” post I listed a dome port lens but the originally they were for mid water video/ photography. They turn the water surface into a clean line and gives great contrast between above and below.
Keep in mind that nearly all camera housing makers have their own version of the dome port.
Action cameras are tough, they can be submerged, dropped, tossed and jerked without compromising footage. As a plus they need auto stabilization so footage isnt as shaky. They should be compact so they can be placed in tight spots and be able to operate remotely. Easy to use and high quality. That basically describes GoPro’s Hero, not I said at the beginning that I wouldnt be redundant, so I wont mention the plethora of accessories and mounts for GoPro but two things I would like to mention are the Hero 9 and the types of cases and housings available.
GoPro Hero 9
The latest version of the hero series, waterproof out of the box with built in mounts for lights, screens, tripods etc.
Here is what GoPro’s website says about the Hero 9.
- Shoot stunning 5K video that maintains serious detail even when zooming in and capturing 14.7MP frame grabs. Also records in 4K, 2.7K, 1440p and 1080p
- Capture crisp, pro-quality 20MP photos—and use SuperPhoto to make sure you get the shot.
- The new Max Lens Mod delivers unbreakable Max HyperSmooth stabilization and Max SuperView, Our widest-angle perspective yet.
- HyperSmooth 3.0—now featuring in-camera horizon leveling—is our most advanced stabilization ever.
- HERO9 Black captures up to 240 frames per second for astonishing 8x slo-mo.
- Record mesmerizing time-lapse videos with TimeWarp 3.0. Go all out or tap Speed Ramp to slow the action while recording.
- Capture up to 30 seconds of footage before you start recording. Even if you press the shutter button too late, you’ll still get the shot.
If you plan any adventures that will occur deeper than 10m (33ft). You will need a deep water housing for the Hero ”Black”. Below are a few of those housings, keep in mind that not all housings are interchangeable with each series of hero.