10 DSLR Cameras for Underwater Photography

10 DSLR Cameras for Underwater Photography


The number of new releases of DSLR cameras for underwater photography over the last few years has been very overwhelming. In fact, the photography industry has benefited so much from it. 

Underwater photography can be an intimidating activity. It’s something that not everyone, even the photographers, can do all the time. Perhaps, the idea of putting expensive equipment inside a well-sealed box and bringing it under the waters scares them. Who wouldn’t be, right?

Thankfully, DLRS cameras today are more powerful than they were years ago. Taking stunning photos underwater has never been so easy and convenient. 

You might be wondering why you should go for a DSLR camera when, in fact, there are already a lot of compact cameras available. 

Well, the image quality, lens selection, and focusing speed of a DSLR camera are still unbeatable. Sure, the DSLR cameras are bigger and more expensive, but the results show why DSLR cameras are still far better when it comes to underwater photography. 

With the number of choices you have, choosing the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography can be quite difficult. How can you choose the best when they are all amazing? 

To help you out, we have compiled the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography. Feel free to read this article and learn more about our top picks. 

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Best DSLR Cameras for Underwater Photography

#1: Nikon D850 – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography
Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body (Renewed)
  • Nikon-designed back-side illuminated (BSI) full-frame image sensor with no optical low-pass filter
  • 45.7 megapixels of extraordinary resolution, outstanding dynamic range and virtually no risk of...

Nikon is really determined to elevate even more the world of photography with their Nikon D580. This camera is considered one of the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography this year, especially that full-frame mirrorless cameras are slowly dominating the world. 

To start, the Nikon D850 can expand the pixels on the new backlit CMOS sensor from 36.3 to 45.7 megapixels, which is equivalent to the 12% increase in the horizontal pixel width. This feature is perfect when taking close up shots underwater. 

The Nikon D850 also comes with a different sensor technology from its predecessors. Specifically, it features a back-illuminated BSI CMOS sensor, which can help you capture superior quality underwater images. 

Furthermore, this top-quality camera features both quick AF speed and high resolution, which is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a camera. Even in dark and low light environments, the Nikon D850 still can capture astonishing shots with its center AF point being sensitive down to -4EV. 

Other features that the camera offers include increased shooting speed and buffer size and full-frame 4K Video. 

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#2: Nikon D780 – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography
Nikon D780 Body
  • The D780 features 24.5 MP resolution and robust EXPEED 6 image processing engine
  • Capture full frame still images and 4K UHD video

After a long time, Nikon has released one of the most exciting and best DSLR cameras for underwater photography—the Nikon D780. 

The Nikon D780 is a new breed of camera that perfectly mixes DSLR and mirrorless technology. It comes with a phase detect live view AF 12 frames per second and an uncropped 4K video at 30 FPS.

The Nikon D780 is an F-mount DSLR camera, which means that it is compatible with nearly all F-mount lenses Nikon has ever released. It has a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor, which offers a better dynamic range alongside an improved noise performance at high ISO.

In addition, the Nikon D780 features on-sensor phase detection, which gives the camera 273 autofocus points spread across 90 percent of the frame. With this, missed shots are fewer, and the focus is better. 

Another great feature of the Nikon D780 is the focus stacking mode. This allows you to shoot a series of images, which can be as many as 300, with a minimal focus adjustment between shots. 

The images taken in these shots are all combined together to create a depth of field that is way better than what a simple lens can do. This is perfect when you are planning to take close-up underwater shots. 

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#3: Canon 5D – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
  • New 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting in nearly any light, with ISO range...
  • 4K Motion JPEG video (DCI cinema-type 4096 x 2160) at 30p or 24p; in- camera still frame grab of 4K...

Canon 5D is one of the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography. It has an 8–15mm fisheye lens that is sharp enough and is very versatile when taking unique wide-angle photos. 

It also has the widest non-fisheye lens on the market at 11-24mm WA lens, which can give you breathtaking images in large areas. The camera also uses the same latest-generation sensor technology from its predecessors and an on-chip digital-to-analog conversion, which relatively broadens the dynamic ranges and improves the noise performance. 

Canon 5D’s native sensitivity runs from ISO 100-32,000, which you can expand up to 50-102,400. Its AF system is sensitive down to -3EV and -4EV in Live View, which makes it easy to focus on your subject, even in low-light situations. 

Furthermore, Canon 5D also features Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology, which means that there are few phase-detection points on the imaging sensor itself. This makes it possible to have quicker AF acquisition and faster performance than other mirrorless DSLR cameras out there. 

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#4: Nikon D500 – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography
Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR (Body Only), Base
  • 20.9MP DX format CMOS sensor. Viewfinder: Eye level pentaprism single lens reflex viewfinder
  • Expeed 5 image processor; Monitor size: 3.2 inches diagonal

The Nikon D500 is one of the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography for a lot of good reasons. It has the same autofocus system as the D5 and D850 alongside its DX-format sensor. 

This incredibly cheap DSLR camera comes with an APS-C format sensor of 20.9 million effective pixels and a standard range ISO at 100-51,200. It features a 21MP camera sensor, which can shoot up to 10 frames per second.

One of the best features of the Nikon D500 is its ability to focus and shoot very quickly. Its AF system offers two parameters for fine-tuning the autofocus tracking behavior, which allows you to specify your subject’s movement to help you address other objects blocking your subject. 

The Nikon D500 comes with both a joystick and a touchscreen to make it easier for you to capture images the way you want. What makes this DSLR camera even better is that it allows you to capture up to 200 Raw frames.

It also includes a larger viewfinder, with 1.0x magnification, which by far is the largest optical viewfinder in an APS-C camera. 

Lastly, it comes with a Snapbridge system that uses Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi, which allows you to connect the camera to your smart device, making it more convenient to transfer files. You can even remote shooting or manually transfer images with it.

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#5: Canon EOS Rebel SL3 – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is the successor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2, which gives you high-quality results even when you are shooting under the waters. This is one of the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography with a faster processor and a longer battery life. 

Furthermore, this DLRS camera is considered one of the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market since it only measures 4.82 x 3.65 x 2.75 inches and weighs 15.84 ounces. Despite being small and lightweight, the camera houses a side-hinged touchscreen LCD, which can be adjusted to any angle. This is perfect when you are taking overhead or low-to-the-ground shots.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 also has a Live View monitor, which provides you with a real-time view of settings adjustments. It also allows you to access the excellent Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detection AF, which you can use to keep track and lock your focus on your subject. 

When shooting with the Canon EOS Rebel SL3, you’ll get high-quality and sharp images with the right amount of saturation and vividness. Its ISO ranges from 100-25,600, while its battery can shoot up to 1000-1600 images.

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#6: Nikon D7500 – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

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Despite how long it has been available on the market, the Nikon D7500 is one of the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography. This DSLR camera features an 8fps burst shooting and generous buffer, suitable when shooting underwater action photos. It can also shoot 4K video at 30fps. 

The camera has an ISO range of 100-51,200, which gives you extra flexibility when shooting around. It also comes with a 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen display with a 922,000-dot resolution and an eye-level pentaprism optical viewfinder that offers 100% coverage. 

In addition, the Nikon D7500 also sports Nikon’s SnapBridge technology, which you can use to connect it to your smart device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. With it, you can automatically or manually transfer your files or shoot remotely. 

When it comes to weather sealing, the Nikon D7500 has an upgraded dust and water resistance capacity. It’s ISO button is located strategically, so you can access it easier whenever you need it. 

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#7: Canon 6D – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body, Wi-Fi Enabled
  • 26.2 Megapixel full frame CMOS sensor
  • Optical viewfinder with a 45 point all cross type AF system. Compatible Lenses: Canon EF lenses...

If you are looking for one of the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography that is small and light yet powerful enough to use when shooting underwater, the Canon 6D is exactly what you are looking for. 

Canon 6D is a groundbreaking technology for Canon because, for the first time, it comes with a couple of modern niceties, including GPS technology and Wi-Fi. GPS is very handy when recording your location. 

On the other hand, the Wi-Fi setting allows you to have wireless control on your camera. You can even use it to upload your images directly to your computer or Facebook. 

The Canon 6D comes with a 20.2 million pixel full-frame CMOS sensor and a Digic 5 processor, which allows a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600. These features are very helpful when shooting in low light areas, including underwater photography. 

This wonderful camera has a total of 11 AF points, wherein the central one is the cross-type. The AF setting of the Canon 6D is more advanced too, which makes it possible to easily adjust the tracking sensitivity and the acceleration and deceleration of tracking. With this, shooting moving objects has become easier. 

You can even easily pair the Canon 6D with your smartphone to access the Canon EOS Remote app. You can do this to select the shooting mode and adjust the settings straight from your smartphone. 

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#8: Nikon D800 – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography

Boasting a total of 36.3 pixels at a smaller body and cheaper price, the Nikon D800 is indeed one of the best DSLR cameras for underwater photography today. It comes with an EXPEED 3 processor that offers a 91k-pixel metering system and 51 autofocus points. 

The Nikon D800 is a promising camera when shooting underwater or in low light situations, with its -2 EV focusing capacity and ISO 25,600. It has 11 AF points, which can function at f/8. With this, the AF function and teleconverters can work simultaneously. 

Unlike the Nikon D700, the Nikon D800 can record 1080p video at 30, 25, and 24fps frame rates. When shooting slow-motion videos, you can choose from either 60 and 50fps rates at 720p.

Furthermore, the D800 comes with dual memory card slots, which can support Compact Flash and SD/SDHC/SDXC card formats. It also has a built-in pop-up flash unit which can provide fill-in lights. This can also trigger external lights wirelessly. 

The Nikon D800 has two available versions—a ‘standard’ body and a special edition called the D800E. The Nikon D800E has a modified filter over the sensor and has no anti-aliasing qualities. 

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#9: Canon EOS 90D – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography
Canon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual...
  • High image quality with 32.5 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
  • High-speed continuous shooting of up to 10 fps with no time Lag during ovf shooting

The Canon EOS 90D is one of the best and groundbreaking DSLR cameras for underwater photography that can capture eye-catching images under or above the water. 

It is packed with 32.5  megapixels, which is so far the highest one for an APS-C camera. Such a type of resolution allows you to capture more details. At the same time, it gives you the flexibility to crop your images to have a closer look without compromising the quality. 

The Canon EOS 90D comes with Canon’s latest Digic 8 image processor, which allows you to shoot 4K videos. What makes the video capacity of the Canon EOS 90D different is that it uses the entire width of the 90D’s sensor.

Alongside that, this DSLR camera is also equipped with a maximum burst speed of 10fps with continuous autofocus and a native ISO range of 100 to 25,600, which can be expanded up to 51,200.

It also features a 45-point cross-type AF system with a new 220,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with face detection capacity when using the camera’s viewfinder. The face detection capabilities are also automatically available, while the 90D’s Intelligent Tracking and Recognition Autofocus (iTR AF) feature is used. 

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#10: Pentax K-1 Mark II – DSLR cameras for underwater photography

DSLR cameras for underwater photography
Pentax K-1 Mark II w/ D-FA 28-105 WR Lens: 36.4MP Full Frame High Resolution Digital Camera 5 Axis,...
  • High resolution Images: 36.4 effective megapixels ensures that details are shown clearly, delivering...
  • Optical Viewfinder with nearly 100% field of view: assuring a clear view of the subject and ease of...

Pentax K-1 Mark II is the only full-frame DSLR from the brand, which has a tough, weather-sealed construction, making it the perfect partner when taking photos underwater. 

This solid camera comes with a highly effective sensor-shift image stabilization system, which works well with any lens. Its 5-axis stabilizer delivers anti-aliasing correction when the trick modes are used. 

The Pentax K-1 Mark II also delivers better and finer details and textures. Equipped with a 36MP full-frame image sensor, the camera sure does capture amazing photos wherever you are. 

Also, the Pentax K-1 Mark II has an impressive maximum sensitivity of ISO 819,200, which boosts the camera’s processing capacity while giving better quality images. But the best part about this DSLR camera is the ASTROTRACER mode. 

The ASTROTRACER mode uses the camera’s sensor-shift mechanism alongside its built-in GPS sensor to shoot stationary objects without any streaking during long exposures. In addition, the camera is also equipped with a Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution, which takes four images in quick succession before merging it into one. 

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DSLR cameras nowadays are really more powerful that they have made it possible to take clear and crisp images underwater. With these cameras, underwater photography is no longer as weak as before—making it possible for everyone, even those who can’t dive to have a glimpse of what is below the seas. 

Related Questions

What camera is the best for underwater photography?

The Nikon D850 is the top choice when it comes to underwater photography. This is because this DSLR camera comes with an unsurpassed lens quality and image stability. Its other features are one of a kind as well, making it the best option among all DSLR cameras for underwater photography. 

Are DSLR cameras waterproof?

No, DSLR cameras are not waterproof. Immersing them in the water could damage it, most especially when done for a long time. When taking underwater photos, cameras are usually placed in a well-sealed box before being submerged into the water to protect them.

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