Underwater photography isn’t often seen for various reasons, but the visuals that can come out of it are pretty incredible. There are very few people who dare to take their camera underwater and I don’t blame them. You pay lots of money for camera gear and the last thing you want to see is your camera drenched in water and not working. You might be asking, “aren’t the big brand camera bodies water resistant?”
Water resistant, yes, but even the best DSLRs or claimed water-proof cameras can only sustain so much water pressure before breaking your thousand dollar plus camera – so why take the risk?
With the amount of waterproof cases on the market, it’s hard to find the best underwater camera housings for your underwater photography needs. Luckily, we’ve seen the reviews and we’ve compiled the top-rated underwater camera housings in the game to popular camera bodies.
1. Nimar Underwater Camera Housing for Canon EOS 80D
Price: $1497 from B&H Photo
The Nimar is an underwater camera housing specifically designed for the Canon EOS 80D body. Why the 80D? Because it is a great mid-range camera that produces high-quality video and images. This watertight housing is rated at 197′. Which is much deeper than a level 2 recreational diver would go.
The housing comes with a manual 5-pin strobe connector allowing you to connect external strobes with your DSLR with the help of sync cords. Shooting through the viewfinder may be somewhat of a problem because of the low light. But yet some videographers prefer to use it for better composition. The Nimar comes with a removal eyepiece that allows you to use the viewfinder to compose your frames underwater. The housing also comes with mechanical controls including a host of regularly used functions.
A housing that allows you to dive deeper and stay longer means you have a better chance of photographing fish that are more elusive and also capture them in their natural habitat. The Nimar Underwater Housing for the Canon EOS 80D is perfect for that purpose. There is a moisture alert system built into the housing to tell you when there is any sort of water breach as well. The only thing is that the housing doesn’t come with a ready lens port. Having said that you can connect a wide variety of lens ports for the specific lens you want to use with the housing.
2. AquaTech BASE Water Housing with Cable Release and Camera Plate for the Sony A7 II, A7R II and the A7S II
Price: $995 from B&H Photo
The Sony A7S II is a favorite for many low-light photography enthusiasts. It is widely considered as one of the best in the business when it comes to low noise signature performance when shooting in LV 7 to anything around LV 1. The Sony A7S II is considered as the champion when it comes to low light photography.
We selected the AquaTech BASE Underwater Housing to use for the Sony A7 bodies because of a few reasons. The camera will perform well in the murky low light situations that we usually find in water. The AquaTech BASE is a fantastic underwater housing solution because of its polyurethane body with anodized aluminum and stainless components. These materials give it great strength and resistance for underwater photography operation. The depth rating of the AquaTech BASE is 33′. Not as much as the Nimar underwater housing that we discussed earlier, but good enough for most recreational divers.
The camera housing comes with an optional Sync cable connector for strobes. This extends the usability of the camera in darker waters. A unique feature of this camera housing is the pistol grip. This pistol grip allows for more focus and shutter control which helps you manage more settings with just one hand. There is also a side grip for additional control for two-handed operation when you need it. An optional lens gear ensures that you have zooming control as well while the Sony a7 is in the underwater camera housing – useful when using a zoom lens.
3. Ikelite Underwater Camera Housing for Canon 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5DS and the 5DS R with Dry Lock Port Mount
Price: $1495 from B&H Photo
Ikelite manufactures some of the best underwater camera housings in the business. The one we have selected to be included on this list is the underwater housing for the 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5DS and the 5DS R. We mainly have the 5DS and the 5DS R in mind because of the huge resolution difference that these full-frame cameras have to offer.
The Ikelite Underwater Housing has a depth rating of 200′. This depth is more than what you would typically ever need. The optional back also come with a rating of 200′. The standard back, however, is only rated for 50′. But, you have the option to change the detachable back and get the optional one that has the same depth rating as the front of the camera housing.
The underwater camera housing comes with Ikelite’s bulkhead strobe connector allowing you to use an external strobe for that artificial lighting source that you may need depending on the conditions. You have both manual and TTL flash exposure control with this camera housing. The underwater housing also comes with a series of mechanical controls for controlling your camera’s major functionalities. This is one the major benefits of buying an underwater housing designed for a specific camera since it is much more convenient to adjust settings below water. The overall construction of the Ikelite camera housing is made from white ABS with a Polycarbonate Body. The underwater housing comes with a clear back and an interchangeable DL lens port system. You have to buy the specific lens port as this depends on the kind of lens that you prefer to use with this underwater camera housing.
4. Fantasea Line FG7X II Underwater Housing and Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II Camera kit
Price: $1075 from B&H Photo
The Fantasea Line FG7X II is an underwater camera housing designed specifically for the Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II. The Canon G7X Mark II is one of the more popular and capable point & shoot systems out there on the market. It comes with a variety of shooting features including a wide zoom lens and a fast maximum aperture. These features make the Canon G7X Mark II perfect for underwater photography on vacations and underwater activities.
The Fantasea Line FG7X II has a depth rating of 200′. Once again, that is way more than what you would ever need to shoot for recreational dives. The housing is designed out of shock resistant polycarbonate material and has a double O-ring main seal. The underwater housing comes with dual fiber-optic cable ports for mounting strobes. It is recommended that you use strobes when shooting with this camera housing and camera body because the small flash on your G7X Mark II will not be sufficient for shooting underwater in darker conditions. Additionally, the underwater housing comes with a moisture detection system that will alert you if water happens to seep through. Since the Canon G7X has a fixed lens, the lens port on the Fantasea Line FG7X II is flat and is designed specifically for the lens on the Canon G7X so you won’t have to purchase any extra lens ports.
5. GoPro Super Suit Dive Housing for the Hero5 Black
Price: $49 from B&H Photo
When talking about underwater photography, you can’t leave the GoPro out of the discussion. The GoPro HERO5 Black is one of the GoPro’s latest action cams. It can produce some great action footage, but works especially well for underwater photography. The only thing that severely handicaps the GoPro from the other underwater cameras is the small sensor. This is why the GoPro Super Suit housing would help you produce better underwater imagery. The GoPro Super Suite Dive has a depth rating of 196′ and housing does more than just protect your GoPro HERO5 Black from water damage. The underwater housing comes with a skeleton backdoor which allows touchscreen functionalities. The standard waterproof backdoor will only allow some limited functions. The lens port comes with a flat glass lens that goes with the GoPro’s lens design and ensures that there is no additional distortion or light diffraction that comes with a curved design.
6. Olympus PT-EP13 Underwater Housing for OM-D EM5 Mark II
Price: $999 from B&H Photo
The OM-D EM5 Mark II is a tough rugged mirrorless camera. Cameras such as these work best when paired with the right accessories. The Olympus PT-EP13 is specifically designed for the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II. The Olympus PT-EP13 has a depth rating of 147′. The underwater housing is crafted out of polycarbonate. To attach an external strobe or flash, there are dual fiber-optic cable ports.
These allow you to use additional artificial lights in situations where the water is dark or for times when you are shooting deeper in the water. The lens port is flat ensuring an easy fit for your lens on the Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mark II. The Olympus PT-EP13 comes with an array of mechanical controls as well. These enable you to access the camera’s core functions giving you greater shooting convenience. There is also an optical viewfinder to help you underwater.
7. Olympus PT-05 Underwater Housing for TG-5
Price: $299 from B&H Photo
Another excellent underwater housing is the Olympus PT-058. This one is designed for the Olympus TG-5. The Olympus TG-5 is the latest in a long line of action waterproof cameras designed by Olympus. The TG-5 is powered by a 12 megapixel BSI sensor which makes it suitable for low light shooting. The camera itself is waterproof and doesn’t need a housing up to a 15 meter depth. But with the Olympus PT-05 underwater housing on, the depth rating becomes 147′ and ensures that your camera will be safe. The underwater camera housing allows you to mount two separate external speedlight units for additional lighting when shooting underwater. The best thing about the Olympus PT-05 is that you have access to all of the functionalities of the camera through the underwater camera housing.