Underwater is arguably the most difficult place to take photos. Light conditions are slightly different from the usual scenarios above the surface. Fortunately, there are now compact cameras out there that can take up the challenge.

Today’s compact cameras can deliver high-quality images that are almost at par with photos delivered by DSLR cameras. More than that, there are exciting low-cost options you can choose from. If you’re a casual beach traveler, affordability may be at the top of your requirements.

To help you out, here are a few compact cameras to consider.

Best Entry-Level Underwater Camera

The GoPro Hero 4 is still one of the most excellent choices for taking photos and videos underwater and other outdoor activities. It’s perfect for beginner and casual photographers who don’t want the fuss that comes with tweaking settings or lugging a bulky system around.

The quality of video you can take underwater with this camera is astonishingly good. Just make sure to use multiple filters, though. Moreover, while the GoPro can shoot decent stills, if photography is your main goal, you my want to go up the ladder as this camera has limited capability for stills, especially since there are only minimal semi-manual adjustments.But for just grabbing some great footage of your dive adventures at an entry-level price, the GoPro is hard to beat.

Waterproof Compact Camera

The Olympus TG-4 doesn’t only look stylish but also performs great underwater. It is the much improved version of last year’s TG-3 model that’s also shockproof and waterproof. Although there’s no real difference when it comes to their external design, the changes are actually all under the hood. There are new scene modes, a RAW capture, and a faster GPS. In fact, this is the first ever model in the camera industry that is rugged, waterproof and with RAW file capture capability all in one.

The TG-4 can be taken in as deep as 50 feet of water without an add-on housing. It is freezeproof at up to 14 degrees F, shockproof at up to 7 feet, and crushproof at up to 220 pounds. Additional feature is its F2.0 High-Speed Lens that captures light fast, preventing blurry photos and producing only crisp, detailed images with minimal noise even in low light settings.

Point-and-Shoot Camera for Underwater Photography

With the right housing, you can take the Sony DSC-RX100 Mark II underwater and get amazing, high-quality images. Its low-light performance is what sets it apart from its contenders on the market. Thanks to its hotshot, you can take it underwater, as the camera no longer needs to rely on its own flash to take photos.

This Sony camera delivers outstanding stills and full 1080p video in a sleek, elegant package. Featuring a very large sensor size, it has the best of photo and video worlds. It also sports a stunning resolution of 20 megapixels and still maintains great low-light performance. Ergonomically, it resembles the tried and true designs from the Canon S series, featuring a ring around the lens that can be programmed to control aperture, zoom, focus, and more. Moreover, it may not ave a dedicated Macro mode, and must be zoomed all the way wide in order to achieve close focus, but it can still provide a reasonable option for shooting small critters. Overall, this is a great value for money if you want to take underwater photography to the next level.

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