When going on deep dives, there’s a wide range of expensive cameras you can rely on to get exceptional image quality and video quality to capture every moment. Sadly, the same can’t be said if you’re on a budget and are looking to get a cheap underwater camera.
Not only are most digital cameras in lower price ranges unfit for underwater action, but these cheap diving cameras also lack many of the features that optimize smooth underwater photography.
That being said, there are a few exceptions!
Although you may have to make a few compromises here and there, we’ve come up with a list of underwater action cameras that have accurate focus and take decent quality photos and videos.
So, if you have multiple cave dives lined up, here’s a list of the lowest-cost, quality underwater cameras to check out!
1. Best Overall – AKASO Brave 4K Wide-Angle Shooter
An unparalleled amphibious camera, the AKASO Brave 4K is a solid choice if you want to get full value for money on a budget.
Touted as the upgraded version of its sibling, the AKASO EK7000, these underwater cameras afford you with 20 megapixels resolution. With such power at your disposal, your underwater photography will be sharper and more colorful.
Speaking of the video and photo quality, you get to work with a tasteful dual screen, 2K quality (30 FPS video), and a 4K wide-angle shooter!
As you know, such cool features are usually found on a more expensive option.
These waterproof cameras also shine when it comes to the variety of scenarios you can use them in.
For example, it gives accurate focus and beautiful action shots under one foot of water as you can go as deep as 30 meters! And while you won’t get 360-degree cam options with this gear, its wide-angle lens is still able to easily take tight or expansive pictures and videos.
In addition to these amazing basic features, the AKASO Brave 4 also gives you Wi-Fi and HDMI capabilities!
Apart from the ease with which you can handle the image transfer of your underwater shots, the Wi-Fi capabilities help you take shots with exceptional image quality via a remote control wrist strap too.
This affordable high-definition camera complements its attractive key features with impressive battery life. So, not only are you finally free from poor quality pictures and videos, you won’t have to cut your deep dives short simply to recharge your waterproof camera!
- It shoots excellent photos and videos while remaining watertight.
- It comes with a lot of helmet accessories.
- It’s decently priced.
- It offers a lot of basic and key features that help you display your photography skills to the fullest.
- It has a low battery drain.
- It offers Wi-Fi and HDMI connectivity.
- It comes with a dual-display feature.
- The remote control feature could be improved.
- The screen interface may be a little too busy for some users.
2. Best Budget – AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Underwater Action Camera
With one of the best housings for cameras underwater, it’s no surprise that the AKASO EK7000 was the cheap underwater camera champion for what seemed like forever.
The AKASO EK7000 is capable of producing 4K quality videos and images, helping you easily replicate those great shots you see on National Geographic during cave dives!
Although it has several attractive basic features, one that appealed to us is its simple yet comprehensive user interface. It puts everything you might need to take the best underwater photos in view without pushing all that information on you.
A common rule in many dive destinations is that divers aren’t allowed to take souvenirs. Using this underwater camera housing, you won’t need to! Thanks to its automatic depth-controlled color correction and ability to shoot fast-moving objects, you’ll be able to immortalize anything you want.
The other basic options and key features on this device will help you get the best of the digital camera world at little additional cost.
- It’s the cheapest option for divers.
- It has a decent focus and gives great broad shots.
- Its water housing easily holds even under 120 feet of water.
- It has an impressive optical zoom lens.
- It offers a touchscreen display.
- It comes with a load of accessories.
- It gives you different underwater shooting modes to choose from.
- It tends to produce poorer quality pictures if used for extended periods at a time. This is because its underwater camera housing fogs up with protracted use.
- It has a heavy battery drain.
3. Best Runner Up – COOAU Quality Underwater Camera
Another solid choice you can make when looking at quality, affordable compact cameras that give excellent video and image quality is the COOAU.
Like the other entrants on our list, this camera with amazing underwater housing gives you a 20MP resolution to work with. It’s distinct from other cameras because it ramps up its 4K output to 60 FPS video!
So, even if the external light or natural light isn’t too great, it’ll add color to photographs and videos shot.
Also, it comes with a user-friendly touchscreen, a strong battery life, and Wi-Fi connectivity options. It also supports remote control and features an external microphone too.
We especially like that this amphibious camera takes microscope mode and macro photography to the next level with the wide array of shooting options it offers.
With the load of accessories it comes with, which includes helmet accessories and other useful devices, you may find that you don’t need an expensive camera after all!
- It has durable water housing.
- Its wide-angle lens offers excellent auto mode, microscope mode, and macro mode.
- It delivers great audio.
- It has Wi-Fi connectivity.
- It supports a remote control.
- It comes with a load of accessories.
- Its battery life could be better.
- The level of risk of loss is higher when the adhesive support is used as the camera easily falls off after a while.
4. Best Under $70 – SJCAM SJ4K 30FPS Ultra HD Video Underwater Cameras
As a cheap underwater camera under $70, the SJCAM SJK4 is quite impressive.
SJCAM has a leg up over most of the competition as it’s known for making great housings for cameras.
It builds on this by giving you a 2-inch LCD screen on a camera with basic features like continuous shooting modes and macro shooting mode options.
Its digital zoom is nothing to scoff about as the heavyweight imaging company ensures that the device’s individual pixel values don’t drop up to 5X.
What’s more, these waterproof cameras are functional in moderate depths and in depths of 90 feet. Your underwater photography is sure to improve with this camera.
- It’s one of the best cheap diving cameras.
- It offers good lens option adjustment.
- It gives excellent broad shots.
- It has a large LCD display screen.
- It works well even in low ambient light.
- It doesn’t offer 360-degree cam options.
- It’s difficult to get spare batteries for the camera.
5. Alternative – Kaisoon Tech 48MP Underwater Camera
Sharp and just right for enhancing your underwater photography skills, this is certainly one of the best waterproof cameras in the digital camera world at the moment.
Two deal breakers that people have pointed out about this product are that it has a small battery capacity and doesn’t support deep dives.
While this is certainly true, we think the pros of owning this device from Kaisoon Tech photo company far outweigh its cons.
To start with, you get a sufficiently large dual display and dual-screen capability from these compact cameras. It also has a powerful flash level as these compact cameras give excellent video lights and clarity.
The camera itself has a stylish build and design as you can get it in two different colors. You’ll be glad you have this device the next time you’re in salt or freshwater!
- It’s available in two different colors.
- It’s a great adult and kids camera.
- It has a host of attractive basic features.
- It has an elegant dual-screen display.
- You can use the camera while charging it.
- It gives decent quality shots.
- Its underwater mode only supports a depth of 10 feet.
- You may need to incur additional cost if you want to increase the storage capacity of the device.
- The battery capacity could be larger.
When it comes to picking the perfect affordable underwater camera for you, there are several factors you have to consider. This includes:
The Camera Type
You generally have two options in underwater photography. The first is compact cameras while the second is DSLRs.
These two camera types have pros and cons. For instance, DSLRs offer better photo quality while compact cameras are cheaper.
Water Resistance Type
Just like with camera type, you get two options here as well. You can either get a camera that’s built to be water-resistant or you can get a camera with water housing.
Waterproof cameras are just fine if you won’t be going in too deep. However, if you’ll be snorkeling at 50 feet or deeper, you may be better served with an underwater housing camera.
The Megapixels Afforded
Things can get a little tricky here.
While you may want to get a camera with high megapixels, keep in mind that this doesn’t assure you of high image resolution.
As such, your focus should be on getting larger sensors like the megapixel CMOS sensor. This ensures that the shots you take have larger individual pixel values and come out looking better and sharper.
Does Flash Level Matter in an Underwater Camera?
Yes, it does.
Using forced-flash mode can improve the quality of your shots underwater considerably.
Why Do Some of My Underwater Pictures Come Out Blue?
This is often because clear water appears blue.
Consequently, the deeper you go, the more likely your pictures are to turn out this way. You can combat this issue to an extent by using forced-flash mode or strong flashes.
External flashes also work well here too.
How Do I Stop My Underwater Photos From Turning Blurry?
The best way is to close the distance between yourself and the object you want to shoot.
The closer you’re able to get, the less the water will be able to affect the contrast and sharpness of your pictures.
Choosing the perfect cheap underwater camera for your needs should be a little easier now that you have a great list of options to consider.
Although we strongly recommend the AKASO Brave 4K Wide-Angle Shooter, we’re more than confident the other cameras will easily meet your requirements as well.
Have fun diving!