Housings are a topic that deserves a detailed post of their own and you’ll see one here on The Adventure Junkies in the future. But, until then let me briefly talk about choosing an underwater housing. Also, you can read Basics of Underwater Photography: Choosing Cameras & Housings which goes into more detail about housings as well as ports, lenses and accessories.
The Sony A7 series has led the charge in full frame mirrorless cameras and the A7 III and A7R III have been some of the most popular cameras on the market since their release in April 2018. Similar to the Nikon Z6 and the Panasonic S1, the Sony A7 III has fewer, larger pixels compared to the A7R III and therefore, a more favorable for video use due to the resulting low light capabilities. The A7 III tops out at 4K 30p and records internal 4:2:2 8-bit video. You also have the ability to shoot on various picture profiles like HLG & S-Log3 Gammas, which offer less-compressed video capture and facilitate maximum color rendition and dynamic range for post-production flexibility. It also has impressive autofocus capabilities with a 693-point hybrid autofocus system.
So what makes a good underwater camera? In addition to image and video quality, there are several other important factors to consider, like the overall quality of the camera's optics, including zoom range and maximum aperture. The latter is crucial for low-light photography, as larger aperture typically results in better photos since it allows more light in. It also minimizes motion blur, making larger apertures perfect for action shots. (Note: The smaller the number, the larger the aperture.)
Most models have a single lens, with an ultra-wide angle of view, so you can experiment with mounting and get a big view of the world in frame. Some dual-lens cameras, like the recently announced GoPro Max, capture a 360-degree view of the world. VR playback isn't as popular as it was at the peak of the fad, but editing tools make it possible to convert 360-degree footage into a 16:9 playback format in creative ways.
The Sony RX100 VI is our choice for best underwater camera for macro. This camera boasts a 24-200mm lens that can produce incredible magnifcation for even the tiniest subjects. The zoom and optical quality of this new lens has the capability of producing stunning, detailed macro, and super-macro images – especially when paired with a wet lens. The quick autofocus is also a key feature of the camera.
Compared to the Olympus Tough TG-6, the Nikon COOLPIX can capture higher resolution images with more versatile zoom range. But the TG-6 has a brighter lens (f/2.0 versus f/2.8 in the Nikon), as well as the ability to shoot photos with higher ISO, so it's better in low-light photography. The Olympus also has higher burst-capture capabilities than the Nikon (20 versus 7 frames per second).
The Sony a7II is the only full-frame mirrorless camera to offer in-body image stabilization systems and its performance is excellent. The body is comfortable to shoot with and offers a broad set of features that should appeal to both still and video shooters. The Sony a7 II has a 24.3MP resolution, great Full HD video capabilities and fast auto focus.
The Canon 1DX Mark II has been a staple DSLR camera for professional video since its release in early 2016. It comes equipped with a 20MP, 35mm Full Frame Canon CMOS sensor and records 4K video at 60fps or Full HD video at 120fps. Very few full-frame cameras can record video at these high frame rates and a high bit-rate, which can then be slowed down for slow-motion video.
What kind of SD cards do GoPros use?
The Nikon Z6 is the Nikon equivalent of the Panasonic S1 -- Nikon’s lower-megapixel version of their Z Series full frame mirrorless cameras. The Nikon Z6 offers a 24MP, full frame sensor with fewer, larger pixels than the Z7 making it a more favorable choice for video due to the low light advantages. One benefit of the Nikon Z7, as compared to the Panasonic S1, is its size. The Z7 is small and compact -- a major reason why people are turning from DSLR cameras to mirrorless cameras. The Nikon Z7 has phenomenal autofocus capabilities with 273-point hybrid phase-detection contrast autofocus technology. It tops out at 4K 30p but can natively output 10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI in the new N-log color profile, promising greater dynamic range and flexibility in post. Beyond that, with its new firmware, it will become the first hybrid camera to offer RAW video output when coupled with the Ninja V monitor/recorder.
Before you start digging into the reviews, a few notes on choosing a cam that's right for you. You'll definitely want to consider frame rate, expressed as frames per second (fps). Some action cameras offer up to 240fps recording, while others only go to 30fps. For standard playback, 30fps is perfectly fine. It's when you want to slow footage down in editing to create dramatic scenes that frame rate matters. Footage captured at 240fps can be slowed down and played back smoothly at one-quarter speed. You may also want to go for a cinematic look, in which case you'll want one that has a 24fps capture option, the same speed used by most Hollywood productions.