Over the years, bulky box cameras have evolved into tiny portable action cameras like the GoPro and Insta360 models. These compact, portable devices are often weather-proof and sturdy, letting you capture 4K video footage of all your outdoor adventures.
If you’re into marine activities like snorkeling or diving, having a waterproof action camera to record your underwater adventures is a must. Many models are waterproof up to certain depths, while others can be used with water cages and mods to help you film sealife and other underwater action.
Most underwater action cameras can be used for both snorkeling and scuba diving and offer high-quality video resolution whether you’re trekking on land or swimming with fish in the sea.
With so many models on the market, finding the correct equipment for snorkeling and underwater videography can be a challenge. But don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you. Here’s our list of the top ten best underwater action cameras for snorkeling!
What To Look For In A Good Underwater Action Camera:
While Snorkeling, snorkelers can reach a depth of anywhere from surface level all the way to a few meters underwater. Experienced snorkelers may even go as deep as 7 meters! (25 feet)
Keeping this in mind, here are three things that can help make a good action camera even better for underwater use:
1. Video and Image Stabilization:
While underwater, snorkelers constantly move around even when they think they’re in one place. To capture great aquatic footage without making your audience nauseous, you’ll need an action camera with good in-built video stabilization.
2. Native Waterproof Rating:
While many action cameras need an external waterproof casing to allow underwater videography, some are natively waterproof. This means you can use them for snorkeling up to certain depths without using a case, and it is great for accidental splash protection too.
3. Resolution and Video Quality:
If you plan on using an action camera for filming your snorkeling adventures, chances are you’ll be sharing it on social media. Like any other outdoor environment, you’ll need a camera with a great sensor capable of taking high-definition stills and videos as you snorkel through reefs and explore the oceans.
Keeping these factors in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best underwater action cameras for snorkeling. The cameras on our list meet at least one or more of the above factors, and you’re sure to find one in your budget range. Let’s dive right in!
The Best Underwater Action Camera For Snorkeling:
1. Olympus Tough TG-6:
Our top pick for this list is the Olympus TG-6, an ultra-durable underwater action camera that is natively waterproof up to 15 meters. If that’s not enough, this compact and rugged action camera is also freeze-proof, crush-proof, and shockproof up to 7 meters!
The TG-6 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor that is capable of capturing 12MP stills and amazing 4K, full HD 120fps video. This is possible through the high-speed wide-angle F2.0 lens with 8x zoom and a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor. It also lets you shoot in RAW!
The camera’s front has a 3-inch LCD screen that lets you frame your shots and change settings on the go. It can also focus as closely as 1cm, and optional light guide and flash diffusers allow for ultra-closeups, making it great for underwater macro photography.
This camera excels at both underwater photography and videography and has five underwater shooting modes. These include an underwater microscope and three separate white balance modes, allowing you to capture the perfect shot even in low-light conditions. It also has a variable macro system with four modes of magnified shooting.
The camera also supports a wide range of accessories, from fisheye and telephoto lenses to elaborate underwater casings. This casing increases your camera’s maximum underwater depth to an impressive 45 meters.
It also has an HDMI port for fast uploads and can be wirelessly connected via WiFi and Bluetooth. The side flap also has a USB port for charging, and the LI-92B batteries provide a battery life of 340 shots by CIPA standards.
The camera also has detailed geo-telemetry data sensors like GPS, manometer, barometer, compass, and thermometer, which let you track and overlay telemetry data over photos and videos. You can also add a date and time stamp for convenience.
Natively waterproof and super durable with good battery life, this one is hard to beat. If you’re looking for an underwater action camera to shoot crisp 4K videos or take insane aquatic macro images, the Olympus TG-6 is a great choice.
4K at 120fps
Yes (15 meters/50 feet)
Other Underwater Action Cameras For Snorkeling:
2. GoPro Hero 11 Black:
The latest in the GoPro Hero series, the Hero 11 Black is one of the best action cameras on the market, and an excellent choice for underwater videos. GoPro has done a great job at taking all the hits of the previous gen cameras while maintaining the same form factor and design so that you can use all your old GoPro mods and accessories.
This camera features the same design as the older models- a black frame with a power button and side-flap with a battery port, USB-C, and MicroSD slot. What has changed, though, is the software and sensors inside. The famous HyperSmooth stabilization and a new digital lens, HyperView, allow you to capture 4K video at 120fps, even underwater.
Despite having better battery life and a bigger sensor, the Hero 11 Black weighs the same as its predecessor. The same dimensions also allow you to swap out and use all the old GoPro mods. It is natively waterproof up to 10 meters, but with the Protective Housing Mod, you can film as deep as 60 meters (196 feet!).
The camera is also compatible with many useful accessories like the Handler mount, a floating hand grip that provides excellent stability and angles for snorkeling shots. If you accidentally drop it, the bright orange end of the handle pops up to the surface, making it easy to spot!
With its nearly square sensor, this latest action camera in the GoPro Hero series is super versatile. What does this mean? Simply put, the Hero 11 Black features an 8:7, 27MP, 10-bit camera sensor, which captures near-perfect square 5.3K content. Whether you’re posting to YouTube or Instagram, you can easily crop your snorkeling videos to create native 4K clips in whichever aspect ratios you like!
The GoPro companion app, Quik, has also been upgraded to support the improved camera software, which now offers an all-new “Easy Mode.” This mode is perfect for beginner enthusiasts looking to buy their first action camera.
If you have the budget and are looking for an all-around action camera that is perfect for snorkeling or even diving, the GoPro Hero 11 is a no-brainer.
$499.99 ($399.99 with a GoPro subscription)
5.3K at 60fps, 4K at 120fps
Yes (10 meters/33 feet)
3. GoPro Hero 10 Black:
The GoPro Hero 10 Black is next on our list of underwater action cams and has similar features to the current flagship, the Hero 11. With a 23MP sensor and great video quality with up to 5.3K video resolution, the Hero 10 Black is a slightly more affordable variant that delivers nearly the same performance.
The Hero 10 Black supports top-quality 5.3K video shooting at 60fps, making it excellent for capturing pristine snorkeling footage. The HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization technology makes this camera very versatile for all kinds of action sports and ensures a high-quality underwater experience.
The camera comes with a single removable 1720mAh battery and comes with fast charging. The three microphones around the camera allow you to capture audio in both raw and stereo and are good enough not to require an external mic.
The camera is also waterproof up to 10 meters and has a solid outer covering that is perfect for enduring all kinds of outdoor abuse. Its dimensions are the same as the Hero 8 and 9, and this allows you to use the waterproof Protective Housing to increase its underwater rating to 60 meters!
Compared to the Hero 8 and 9, this action camera definitely improves upon features like stabilization, enhanced interface, and more complex software processing for your videos. But when compared to the next generation, things like HorizonLock and the various night effects are missing.
Perhaps the most important difference between the Hero 10 and Hero 11 is the sensor dimensions; the latter’s near-square sensor allows for more versatile shooting and cropping. Although convenient to have, you can easily bypass this problem by using a video editor to make your snorkeling footage compatible with any aspect ratio.
If you need pristine quality 16:9 footage and don’t care about the aspect ratio or cropping, this is a great alternative to the next-gen and will save you ~$50. All things said, this is an excellent underwater action camera that will leave you impressed and is worth considering if you have the budget.
$499.99 ($399.99 with a GoPro subscription)
5.3K at 60fps, 4K at 120fps
Yes (10 meters/33 feet)
4. Akaso EK7000 Pro:
This entry-level action camera from Akaso offers beginner snorkeling enthusiasts a cheap alternative to GoPros, and lets you shoot 4K video at a fraction of the price! With a 2” IPS touchscreen display, the camera also features adjustable viewing angles to help you frame the perfect marine shot.
The EK7000 Pro features built-in Electronic Image Stabilization to stabilize your action videos, whether it’s swimming or snorkeling. This ensures smooth and steady footage, even with fast-moving subjects like fish or marine life. Apart from this, it also has customizable settings for manual white balance adjustment. The camera also allows you to capture 16MP stills.
Apart from the 4K video that you can shoot at up to 30fps, this action cam also has a wide FOV of 170°, which lets you grab a good chunk of the scene in your frame. You can also edit all your footage through the Akaso Go app, which offers a bunch of tools to create immersive films.
The accessories you get with this action camera are perhaps the best part. It comes with a host of straps, ties, and mounts so that you can attach it to whatever surface you need. It even has a tiny remote control for a hands-free experience.
The underwater video stabilization offered by this cam is very good for the price. If your main focus is shooting high-resolution 4K underwater footage on a budget, the Akaso EK7000 Pro is a great choice.
4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps
5. Akaso Brave 7:
The Akaso Brave 7 is another great underwater action camera if you’re on a budget. At roughly half the cost of a flagship GoPro model, this action camera manages to hold its own with features like an IPX8 waterproof rating and 170° FOV. It is also lighter yet feels sturdy and is weatherproof for all kinds of outdoor activity.
It supports 4K video and has built-in wifi as well as an HDMI connection. While it doesn’t support shooting 4K at 60fps, the Brave 7 makes up with its selfie screen at the front that is perfect for vlogging and can help you frame your snorkeling shots. With its image stabilization and a limitless selection of fixable mounts, you can be sure to utilize this camera for any sport.
Other nifty features include a dedicated bike mount, accelerometer, gyroscope, and mic input. The camera also responds to voice commands, making shooting films a lot easier for vloggers and adventurers alike.
Besides its 20MP camera sensor and 6-axis stabilization, the Brave 7 comes with many accessories. The best part? You get not one but two batteries included in the box! And if you’re still not satisfied, there are 19 different mounts available for this action camera, everything from a handlebar mount to a wristwatch remote.
The camera UI itself is well-made and can be used with ease. To access its full functionality and preview your marine footage, you can download the Akaso GO companion app for both iOS and Android.
While it doesn’t have the best stabilization or a USB-C port, the Brave 7 gets all the basics right and can be easily used underwater. If you’re looking for a good starter action camera that doesn’t break the bank, this one is worth the purchase.
4K at 30fps, 1080p at 120fps
Yes (10 meters/33 feet)
6. GoPro Hero 9 Black:
The final GoPro action cam on our list is the Hero 9, an excellent tool for filming your aquatic adventures. Released in 2020, this camera was a big upgrade in the Hero series at the time. The first in the Hero series to offer a 23MP sensor, the Hero 9 can shoot 5.3K resolution videos with great clarity and also capture 20MP stills.
The dimensions are the same as Hero 8, and this camera too can be used with the Media Mod and Max Lens Mod, supercharging your camera’s capabilities. The camera comes with a 1720mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery and is natively waterproof up to 10 meters. With the Protective Housing case, you can increase this depth limit to 60 meters!
Other than being slightly bigger, the main difference from previous generations lies in the software. The HyperSmooth 3.0 technology offers excellent video stabilization and comes with a boost mode.
This GoPro is also the first one to introduce a front-facing selfie screen, a 1.4-inch display that can be used for live streaming yourself or simply clicking selfies! Along with wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, the Hero 9 also allows for 1080p live streaming with the HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization turned on!
Other cool features like the TimeWarp offer great time-lapses, and the night mode lets you take an HDR time-lapse of the night sky. The camera works perfectly with the companion app, but the touchscreen color display is a tad laggy.
For nearly $100 cheaper than the Hero 10 and 11, this camera offers most of the same functionality and is more affordable. If you want a fair mix of price and performance, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is a no-brainer.
$349.99 (cheaper with a GoPro subscription)
5.3K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps
Yes (10 meters/33 feet)
7. DJI Osmo Action 3:
After monopolizing the video drone market, DJI has ventured into the world of action cameras, and the Osmo Action 3 is one of their best yet. It features dual touchscreens, with a larger 2.25-inch rear display and a smaller front display that is perfect for filming snorkeling and other underwater activities.
The Osmo Action 3 has a 1/1.7-inch sensor that can shoot 4K video with great clarity. The stills, however, fail to impress and only allow up to 12MP images to be captured.
The camera has three built-in microphones that offer active noise cancellation. The Quick-Release mount adapter uses magnets and clips to hold on firmly to your bike, helmet, or underwater selfie stick.
The camera body is also extremely rugged and can withstand temperature extremes, is natively waterproof up to a depth of 16 meters, and can survive harsh conditions without a problem. The rechargeable Extreme Battery is included with the camera and operates down to -20°C!
This allows you to film in frigid conditions without a problem and can be useful for scuba divers. With an additional waterproof case, this compact action camera can be used as deep as 60 meters!
The companion mobile app called Mimo lets you make full use of features like RockSteady and HorizonSteady, which are DJI’s unique stabilization tools. The app also enables you to shoot in various modes, customize camera settings, and even includes an editor with downloadable templates.
With similar dimensions and looks to the GoPro hero series, with the added benefits of a magnetic quick-clip, amazing battery life, and great video stabilization, the Osmo Action 3 is a cheaper yet worthy alternative.
5K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps
Yes (16 meters/52 feet)
8. Insta360 X3:
The Insta360 X3 is not like your regular action camera; it lets you shoot 5.7K 360 video through its dual lenses or switch back to a single lens mode that allows for regular use as a 4K resolution action cam!
It also has a 170° ultra-wide FOV shooting mode, and all the 5.7K 360 footage can be reframed while editing to regular ‘flat’ photos and videos. It does all this with a powerful ½ inch sensor inside.
The Insta360 X3 camera also lets you shoot super high-quality 72MP spherical images, perfect to wow your Instagram audience. With the ONE X companion app, users can also gain access to a host of tools, shooting modes, and other customizable settings.
One of the coolest features of this action camera is the Bullet Time mode, which allows you to spin the camera around for a slow-mo 360 matrix-style video! It is also IPX8 waterproof-rated for up to 10 meters underwater and can be used to shoot stunning aquatic footage.
This action camera is natively waterproof up to 10 meters and is perfect for free diving and snorkeling. You can also buy a separate Dive Case for scuba diving, which increases this camera’s water rating to an impressive 50 meters. This cleverly designed dive case features a dome shape compensating for water refraction and providing crystal-clear underwater shots.
With a slim design, a great companion app, and full support for underwater videography, this is a versatile action camera. If you primarily use your camera for 360 video footage but would like the option to shoot regular 4K aquatic video, the Insta360 X3 is a perfect choice.
4K at 60fps
Yes (10 meters/33 feet)
9. SeaLife Micro 3.0:
The SeaLife Micro 3.0 is a premium underwater action camera that comes with a hefty price tag. This specialized compact camera is specially designed for underwater use and is one of the few that can reach depths of 60 meters (200 feet!) without waterproof housing.
A powerful 16MP CMOS image sensor provides sharp, colorful pictures and 4K Ultra HD video at 30fps. It also features a 2.4-inch TFT color LCD display to help you preview shots, customize settings and get the perfect angles for your underwater adventures.
The setup is easy and intuitive, with five Land and Sea scene modes, three built-in digital UW color correction filters, and manual white balance to customize UW color correction to your specific depth and water conditions. These configurable settings are perfect for experts, but maybe a bit overkill for the casual snorkeler.
This underwater camera also shoots 10 high-resolution 16MP pictures in 1 second and captures 8mp still images while recording 4K video. It can also shoot in RAW, which is supremely useful for editing underwater footage.
The build of the camera body is solid and durable, and it is leak-proof with no O-rings, so you never need to worry about accidentally flooding the camera. Its compact design makes for easy handling, and the fully rubber-armored shock-resistant body is natively waterproof up to an impressive 60 meters.
Other cool features include ultra-fast shutter response, 100° ultra-wide FOV angle lens, and smooth electronic stabilization. It also has “Piano Key” button controls for easy operation, WiFi support, and 64GB of internal memory. The great battery life supports almost 3 hours of continuous filming.
It also has cool shooting modes like underwater time-lapse and upside-down shooting. You can pair it with the SeaLife Micro 3+ app for additional functionality and sharing. If you’re a professional snorkeler or need high-end equipment specifically designed to brave the depths, the SeaLife Micro 3.0 is an excellent choice.
4K at 30fps, 1080p at 120fps
Yes (61 meters/200 feet)
10. Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edition:
The Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edition is a modular action camera that lets you shoot both 4K single-lens video and 360-degree video in 5.7K resolution. So whether you want to experiment with new shooting styles or stick to crisp 4K aquatic footage, this action cam has you covered.
The Twin Edition features three different modules, which rest atop the base battery mod. These include the 4K lens mod, the 360 video mod, and the core. The core module houses the power and record buttons, MicroSD slot, and touchscreen display. All these fit snugly onto a battery base that holds the mods while fully assembled.
You can also purchase a bulky battery booster mod for doubling the battery life or a 4K wide-angle mod with a Leica lens sensor for wide-FOV footage. The battery booster greatly helps if you’re out at sea for long hours.
Whether you’re riding the waves or snorkeling in the reefs, the proprietary FlowState stabilization technology ensures smooth footage no matter the content you shoot. The companion app also has one of the simplest yet most powerful editing tools to help your edit and post on the go. The AI-tracking software also allows for automatic subject tracking in post-production footage.
The camera is super durable and can shoot up to 5 meters underwater. It also features Active HDR for shooting fast-paced outdoor action with FlowState stabilization enabled.
With its powerful 1-inch sensor and 5K video resolution, and all the mods, this camera has it all. With fantastic support for mounts that’ll let you shoot while snorkeling, this camera also lets you shoot stabilized 4K action videos. If you’re looking for an all-in-one package with interchangeable lenses for all shooting modes, this action camera is your best bet.
125g-135g (depends on attached mod lens)
6k widescreen at 25fps, 5.7K 360 video at 30fps, 4K at 60fps
Yes (5 meters/16 feet)
40 meters/131 feet