Liquid Diving Adventures

Latest News & Updates

The 5 Best Underwater Cameras for 2021 - Our Choices

The 5 Best Underwater Cameras for 2021 - Our Choices

You have taken the leap into a new adventure in life and become a certified diver. After buying the gear that fits your style and with a few trips to a resort or on a liveaboard, you notice many of your fellow divers are packing a camera of some sort. Some carry a small sports camera like the GoPro HERO, some carry a small compact and fully waterproof camera that requires no housing like the Olympus TG-6, and others carry a camera that looks like it was assembled by NASA. Now you have decided to become part of the photography crowd, but the question is which camera will best suit your wants and needs. The decision can be complex with so many options for the buyer. Once you start looking at cameras and housing and strobes, you may find your budget could be the driving factor. A full top end camera setup can cost a few thousand dollars.

 

We have selected what we believe are the best cameras in their category along with a couple of options on housings. This article doesn’t delve into the world of underwater strobes and lighting which deserves an article of its own. We hope this article helps you decide which camera might be your first purchase or if you already have an underwater camera and are ready to upgrade, what will be your next step.

 

Our categories are entry level compact, high-end compact, mirrorless, full frame mirrorless, and DSLR (digital single-lens reflex). Each type of camera has its own pros and cons.

 

Compact cameras offer an attached lens while both mirrorless and DSLRs offer interchangeable lenses. After shooting with a compact camera, many people eventually upgrade to a mirrorless or a DSLR. The advantage with a DSLR is the choice of interchangeable lenses. This difference limits the flexibility of a compact camera, although wet lenses that can be added while diving can help bridge this gap. You also have more flexibility with different focal lengths and better image quality from superior optics and a larger sensor. Interchangeable lens cameras also have reduced shutter lag and better focusing capability. These are huge advantages. 


Entry Level Compact Camera - Olympus TG-6

Key Features:

12MP Hi-Speed image sensor for low light performance and noise reduction

Dual Quad Core TruePic™ VIII Image Processor

F2.0 high speed Lens

4K and high speed video

Field Sensor System w/ GPS, Manometer, Compass & Temperature Sensor

Waterproof 


                               

                                               
The Olympus TG-6 is the same size as the TG-5 and has very minor improvements. The TG-6 will work in TG-5 housings. So, if you're really on a budget, take a look at the TG-5. Either the TG-5 or the TG-6 can be considered the best waterproof camera, outside of a housing. 

 

Although we are calling this an entry level camera, this is a very good underwater camera. It's also a good option for snorkeling because it's waterproof without a housing down to 50 feet (15 meters). 

 

The TG-6 has a high speed 12 MP sensor designed for excellent low light performance and noise reduction. It shoots 4k video, RAW photos, and includes built in WIFI, making transferring photos on the go easy. It's important to note that there is no full manual control on this camera. For the casual photographer who doesn't want to have to think about their camera settings this is probably not an issue. But if you want more control, you may want to consider a different camera. you'll be happier with an of the other cameras we mentioned above. For the housing, we recommend either the Olympus housing or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Smaller size for travel
  • Ability to change wet lenses underwater 
  • Much less cost 

 

Cons

  • Smaller sensor means less detail and more noise at high ISO
  • Shutter delay and focus delay is slow 
  • Less control over depth of field. 


High-End Level Compact Camera – Sony RX100 VII

Key Features:

1-inch 20.1 MP stacked CMOS sensor

BIONZ X processor

Built-in 24-200mm (equivalent) f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens

Electronic shutter up to 1/32000s

4K video with full pixel readout

S-LOG2, S-Log3, and HLG picture profiles

Pop-up EVF (2.36 million dots)


                                      

                                          

The Sony RX100 VII is packed with great features and improvements from its predecessor. New technologies have been integrated into the camera, which is similar to its cousins, the A9 and A6400. The improved autofocus tracking system, including animal eye autofocus makes the Sony RX100 VII a top choice for underwater photographers. You won’t find more useful technology for photographing underwater creatures on any other compact camera. Other upgrades include burst shooting without blackout and improved low light capability with a lower native ISO. 

 

There are three things that make the RX100 series one of the best underwater compact camera series. First, the 1-inch sensor size is larger than most other compact cameras. The larger sensor produces better image quality and better low-light performance due to a larger pixel size. Second, the auto-focus speed is faster than traditional compact cameras. Thirdly, the advanced 4K video features available in the RX100 series are the top-of-the-line when it comes to compact camera video systems.

 

The highlight of this camera is its unprecedented macro capability. The zoom on the 24-200 mm f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens cannot be beaten by other compact underwater setups. Details captured with this lens are remarkable. When combined with a wet macro lens, the realm of super macro photography is attainable. The tiniest details of the smallest subjects can be captured with this set up. For the housing, we recommend either the Nauticam housing or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Sharp 8x zoom lens
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 1-inch sensor design
  • Eye detection

 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can't start video while images are writing to card
  • Limited touch functions


Mirrorless Camera – Panasonic GH5

Key features:

20MP Four Thirds sensor

5-axis in-body image stabilization system

4K footage taken using full width of sensor

Internal 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture

1080 video at up to 180p, enabling 7.5x slow-motion

4K and 6K Photo

9 fps shooting with continuous autofocus

Dual UHS II card slots

5GHz Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth

                      


The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 is the fifth in the company's industry-changing video and stills 'hybrid' lineup. With its 20MP Four Thirds sensor and deep video-centric feature set, it looks likely to pick up where the GH4 left off as a favorite of indie filmmakers and photographers whose interests venture into the realm of motion picture work.

 

The camera offers carefully thought-out features designed to let videographers of all levels record what they need with the new system. The body is larger and the price tag increased as a result, but the video produced speaks for itself. And the GH5's still photo capability holds its own against the best from Olympus and Sony.

 

The benefit of mirrorless cameras is that they offer the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, with a higher quality and better focusing than compacts in a smaller, lighter package than their DSLR counterparts. As the mirrorless cameras are becoming more robust, we’ve seen the sizes of these cameras begin to increase, getting close in size as DSLR cameras. We’re not quite there yet, and the Panasonic GH5, which the largest of the mirrorless options so far, is still smaller than a DSLR.

 

GH5 underwater housings are smaller than DSLR housings, and support both the GH5 and GH5s cameras, in addition to a variety of micro-four thirds lenses. The Panasonic 12-35mm lens is a popular choice for underwater video. For the housing, we recommend the Nauticam housing as it supports the largest number of lenses.

 

Pros

  • 20MP sensor gives increase in resolution without increase in noise
  • Highly impressive video specifications (4:2:2 10-bit color, 4K/60p)
  • Auto ISO added for manual movie shooting
  • JPEG color improved
  • Dual UHS-II card slots, support for faster V60 cards in the future
  • Settings can be saved to card
  • Good battery life

 

Cons

  • On the larger end of the Micro Four Thirds cameras
  • JPEG sharpening improved 
  • Viewfinder resolution drops noticeably during high-speed bursts
  • Autofocus in video can exhibit focus hunting
  • Slight decrease in video quality when shooting high frame rates (180fps)


Full Frame Mirrorless Camera – Nikon Z6 / Z7

Z6 Key features:

24.5MP sensor

5-axis image stabilization system

1080 video at up to 120 fps

4K video at up to 24 fps

12 fps burst shooting

ISO 100-51200

273-point hybrid phase-detection autofocus

 

Z7 Key features:

45.7MP sensor

5-axis image stabilization system

1080 video at up to 120 fps

4K video at up to 24 fps

9 fps burst shooting

ISO 64-25600

493-point hybrid phase-detection autofocus


                                    

                                               

The most important distinctions between the Z6 and Z7 are the sensor resolution and autofocus - both are markedly better on the Z7. Additionally, the Z7 has a native ISO of 64, expandable down to 32, which is better than the Z6's native ISO of 100 (expandable down to 50). This means the Z7 will pull out more details from the shadows and highlights than the Z6. Other than that, the cameras are almost the same, including the same physical dimensions and weights. And of course, the cost, with the Z7 about $1200 higher in price.

 

The most enticing thing about the Z6 and Z7 is the excellent construction. The weather sealing is tough in variable weather conditions. The Z7 is much smaller and lighter than the D850 (675g vs 1005g). For the travelling diver, the Z6 or Z7 wins every time. 

 

The image quality on the Z7 is amazing. At first you might think that 45.7 MP is more than enough pixels in one camera. However, every bit of that information is useful. When you have so many megapixels on a full-frame sensor, you’re left with an ability to crop photos and produce a large, beautiful images with very minute details. Details like this will open new worlds for macro photographers.

 

The video on the Z6 / Z7 can be considered on par with the D850. This puts it at the top of the line for most underwater video systems. The color rendering is as good as in the Nikon D850 - which was revolutionary for Nikon at the time of its release. But the best feature on the Z7’s video is the autofocus full-time function. It outperforms the D850 and most other competing cameras. I did, however, have a little bit of trouble with this function in very low light. The most exciting thing for videographers using the Nikon Z7 is that it’s a full-frame camera with 4k video, capable of outputting video at 10 bits. Many cameras with this capability are over 10 times the price. An N-Log color profile is also available for the Nikon Z7, which will bring out more details after post-processing. 

 

For the underwater housing, we recommend the Nauticam or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Amazing image quality 
  • Very high resolution
  • High functioning electronic viewfinder
  • Smaller than competing DSLRs

 

Cons

  • Banding in low light
  • Noise at low ISO 
  • AF slightly lower performing than the D850
  • Battery life
  • Single XQD slot

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Key features:

30.4MP CMOS full-frame sensor

DCI 4K 30/24p video using Motion JPEG + 4K Frame Grab

61-point AF system 

Dual Pixel AF

ISO 100-32000

7 fps continuous shooting

Wi-Fi w/ NFC + GPS

       


The Canon EOS 5D series is one of the most recognized camera lines of the digital age and the Mark IV is designed to appeal to a wide range of professionals. Nearly identical in appearance to its predecessor, it features considerable upgrades, including: a higher-resolution sensor with Dual Pixel auto-focus, 4K video capture, an upgraded AF system, improved weather-sealing, built-in Wi-Fi/NFC, an interval timer and GPS. All this adds up to an amazing camera that fits into Canon's product line.

 

The 5D Mark IV is Canon's first full frame camera that can continuously focus in Live View during stills capture, and because of the way Dual Pixel AF works, focus is generally very accurate. It's good at sticking to the original subject on which you initiated the focus, and it's easy to specify the subject by tapping on it on the touchscreen in 'Face Detect+Tracking' mode.

 

Underwater and even in poor visibility, the camera will easily snap autofocus. And, if the camera is tilted from a near subject to a far subject, the focus triggers quickly and smoothly. The new autofocus features in this camera could be a milestone in video autofocus for underwater photographers.

 

No other DSLR camera on the market can master natural light white balances underwater without a color correction filter like this camera. This allows the shooter to take lights in the water and have the option to do natural or artificial light shooting on the same dive. The white balance procedure is a little bit different compared to previous models. This camera does not allow photos in video mode. This requires an additional step to switch to photo mode, take a shot, then go back to video mode. This is not big deal, but if you were used to the procedure on a previous Canon, it’s an additional step.

 

Canon has made some vast image quality improvements over the previous EOS 5D. Still images are superb and as far as video quality, Canon is the king. For the underwater housing, we recommend the Aquatica or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Improved dynamic range
  • True live autofocus in video mode
  • Now shooting 4K 30p
  • High 500mbps data rate
  • 4:2:2 color space
  • 1.64 crop in 4K movie mode

 

Cons

  • No zebra or focus peaking in-camera, but available on external monitors
  • Large file sizes for 4K video
  • Fastest CF card on the market required to ensure uninterrupted video


                                                                              

Atlantis Resort Dumaguete Welcome Back - 35% Savings

Atlantis Resort 

Dumaguete, Philippines 

Welcome Back - 35% Savings

                                   

Book a 2021 vacation and take 35% Off the normal rate for deluxe accommodations, delicious meals and up to five world class dives per day! Book Worry Free with the ability to reschedule your vacation for up to 18 months at the same rate.

Deposit 50% within 7 days of your booking, the remaining 50% is due 60 days prior to arrival if the country is open to tourism
Or
If the country is not open to tourism 60 days prior to arrival, you can reschedule the same vacation during the next 18 months at no additional charge for accommodations, meals and diving, subject to availability.

Guests may cancel up to 1 week before their arrival date with no penalties.
Cancel 2-7 days prior to arrival - 20% Cancellation Charge
Cancel 24-48 hours - 80 % Cancellation Charge
Cancel less than 24 hours - 100% Cancellation Charge
Cancellations will be given a credit, net of the cancellation charge, toward a future booking at either of our land based resorts or liveaboard to be utilized within 12 months. Offer expires March 31, 2021



Atlantis Resort Puerto Galera Welcome Back - 35% Savings

Atlantis Resort 

Puerto Galera, Philippines 

Welcome Back 35% Savings

                                      

Book a 2021 vacation and take 35% Off the normal rate for deluxe accommodations, delicious meals and up to five world class dives per day! Book Worry Free with the ability to reschedule your vacation for up to 18 months at the same rate.

Deposit 50% within 7 days of your booking, the remaining 50% is due 60 days prior to arrival if the country is open to tourism

Or
If the country is not open to tourism 60 days prior to arrival, you can reschedule the same vacation during the next 18 months at no additional charge for accommodations, meals and diving, subject to availability.

Guests may cancel up to 1 week before their arrival date with no penalties.
Cancel 2-7 days prior to arrival - 20% Cancellation Charge
Cancel 24-48 hours - 80 % Cancellation Charge
Cancel less than 24 hours - 100% Cancellation Charge
Cancellations will be given a credit, net of the cancellation charge, toward a future booking at either of our land based resorts or liveaboard to be utilized within 12 months. Offer expires March 31, 2021.





Carpe Novo Liveaboard - Maldives - Nov 20-27, 2021 - Dive Adventure

Carpe Novo Liveaboard - Maldives

Travel Dates Nov 20-27, 2021

"An amazing scuba dive adventure"

                 

We have an amazing group deal on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard in the Maldives. The ship will depart Male and travel to some of the best reefs in the Maldives. The route will be North Male --> South Male --> Vaavu --> South Ari --> North Male. Divers will experience 7 nights accommodation in luxurious cabins, an attentive crew, experienced divemasters, and amazing chef-prepared meals. Select either a Standard Cabin at $2540 ppdo or a Junior Suite at  $2740 ppdo.

North Male Atoll offers manta cleaning stations, South Male Atoll offers channel dives to experience pelagic critters, Vaavu Atoll offers amazing night dives where you will encounter nurse sharks, at South Ari Atoll we will find whale sharks, and then back to North Male.
 
               

               

Little Cayman Beach Resort - Sept 4-11, 2021 - Scuba Dive Adventure

Little Cayman Beach Resort

Travel Dates Sept 4-11, 2021


We have a great package deal to one of our favorite Caribbean resorts...Little Cayman Beach Resort. Our package includes 7-nights accommodation (ocean front or pool view), three meals daily, airport transfers, 2 morning dives, FREE afternoon dives, and FREE nitrox. Plus great food, great people, and great diving. Choose a Pool View room ($1995 ppdo) or Ocean Front room ($2345 ppdo). Contact us for our agent discount...!!


Turneffe Island Resort - 25% OFF thru Dec 18, 2020

Turneffe Island Resort

25% Discount thru Dec 18, 2020

$2,543 USD per Person Double Occupancy


7-Nights Deluxe accommodations, transfers To/From Belize City, all meals, 2-3 boat dives per day (including a Tuesday trip to the Great Blue Hole, Half Moon Cay and Long Caye and a Thursday night dive) for a total of 15-single tank dives, and complimentary use of the gym, standup paddleboards, kayaks, and Hobie Cats - (12.5% government tax is additional) 
  • Valid for 7-night stays only. New reservations only.
  • Good for travel through December 18th, 2020. Limited availability.
  • Arrivals and departures only on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
  • Cannot be combined with any other specials or promotions.
  • Full payment due upon booking.
  • We are offering a flexible cancellation policy: for all new reservations that want to take advantage of this promotion, we are offering 100% refund due to COVID-19 issues. This policy is valid until further notice.

Roatan is Open! Anthony's Key Resort BOGO - First Diver Pays, Second Diver FREE

Roatan is Open! 

Anthony's Key Resort BOGO Deal!!

First Diver Pays, Second Diver FREE

Travel Until December 18, 2020 and December Holiday Rates To Jan 2, 2021


Anthony's Key Resort 2 for 1 Promotion
Packages include 7 nights accommodations, airport transfers, welcome cocktail, 3 meals daily, free Wi-Fi, 3 single tank boat dives per day, 2 single tank night dives per week, unlimited shore dives during shop hours, stand-up paddle boards, and entrance to Roatan Museum. Rates listed don't include 18% Government Tax.

Our Offer - An Additional $50 Discount per person off the below rates...!
Travel to December 18, 2020
Hill Standard Room - 1st Diver Pays $1,649 / 2nd Diver Free
Hill Superior Room 1st Diver Pays $1,949 / 2nd Diver Free
Key Superior Room - 1st Diver Pays $2,299 / 2nd Diver Free
Key Deluxe Room - 1st Diver Pays $2,649 / 2nd Diver Free


Want to travel Christmas and New Years? Here's the deal!
Our offer - An Additional $100 Discount per person off rates below.
Travel December 19, 2020 to January 2, 2021
Hill Standard Room - 1st Diver Pays $1,849 / 2nd Diver Free
Hill Superior Room - 1st Diver Pays $2,149 / 2nd Diver Free
Key Superior Room - 1st Diver Pays $2,499 / 2nd Diver Free
Key Deluxe Room - 1st Diver Pays $2,699 / 2nd Diver Free

Sorido Bay Resort - "Heart of Raja Ampat" - October 2-12, 2022

Special Deal - Save $500

$4,460 per person

Sorido Bay Resort

“Heart of Raja Ampat”

NEW DATES   October 2-12, 2022   NEW DATES

* *  5 Sentani Bungalows Available  * *

                                 

Why Sorido Bay Resort…The resort is located in the center of the Raja Ampat Marine park. This area has been declared a “no take” zone and the reefs in close proximity to Sorido Bay are regarded as the best dive sites of Raja Ampat. The dive guides are all Papuans, and are the most experienced of Raja Ampat. This is their home and they have dived their backyard reefs for many years. And the kitchen chefs will serve familiar dishes but will also offer you the chance to discover new local dishes and tropical fruits and vegetables. This will be an adventure you will not soon forget.


                                     

Our unique adventure will brighten your day with an original Papuan smile that will stay with you years after this vacation. Your adventure includes 10-nights accommodation in a Sentani bungalow, all meals plus snacks, water, coffee, tea (sodas and alcoholic bevies not included), 3 boat dives per day and unlimited unguided jetty dives, free nitrox for certified divers, free laundry service, free Wi-Fi, use of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, scheduled island transfers, and all taxes. 

 

Some of our favorite dive sites include Cape Kri, Sardines, Blue Magic, Manta Sandy, and The Passage. There are more than 25 more dive sites within close proximity to the resort and the 10 km fuel surcharge limit. Excursions to more distant dive sites can be arranged and can include land tours.

 

Cost: Our discounted rate $4,460 USD - Save $500 USD  

Published rate 4,084 € / $4,960 USD per person double occupancy. 

 

NAD-Lembeh Resort - February 5-15, 2022

NAD-Lembeh Resort

Blackwater Dive Adventure

NEW DATES    February 5-15, 2022    NEW DATES

* *  4 Bungalows Available  * * 

NAD-Lembeh Resort and the Lembeh Strait are famous all over the world for the peerless macro and muck diving. NAD-Lembeh is expert in photography, nitrox, rebreathers – this resort does it all. The dive team is second-to-none, with 15 full-time dive guides who between them have over 100 years of experience diving in Lembeh. NAD-Lembeh offers a 2:1 diver to guide ratio, and is handicap friendly. We have selected the Beachfront bungalows because of the easy access for our mobility-challenged divers.

Lembeh Strait offers a stunning variety of dives and there are more than 70 individual named dive sites. Divers visiting Lembeh are likely to see a vast list of critters. Frogfish, rhinopias, a huge array of nudibranchs and octopus, the Blue-Ringed Octopus and Mimic Octopus, being a highlight. Lembeh is not just muck diving though! On this adventure we will explore all around the island and beyond to find some of the best reef diving in South East Asia.

This trip is timed to coincide with the new moon phase in February to offer the best opportunities for spotting critters during the Black water Night Dives. Our unique adventure offers 10 nights Beachfront bungalow accommodation, 3 meals a day (plus snacks, water, coffee, espresso, tea), evening dinner on day of arrival and breakfast on day of departure, 3 dives per day (total 26 dives), unlimited house reef dives, nitrox for certified divers, airport transfers, and all taxes. There is the option to upgrade the 3rd dive of the day to a Night/ Mandarin Dive for an additional $20 (not applicable for Blackwater Night Dives).

Cost: $2,102 USD per person double occupancy includes our 5% DISCOUNT  

Previous Posts