9 Underwater Cameras for Snorkeling that are Powerful, Affordable and NOT GoPros


Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Snorkel Ken

Pretty, clean shell.

Don’t get us wrong: We like GoPros just as much as the next snorkeler. Really. We use a GoPro Silver for many of our snorkeling photos and videos that you see around the site here. The only thing we find annoying about GoPro is the HUGE amount of accessories you need to make it work and do exactly what you want. Chest mounts, head mounts, wrist mounts, handle-bar mounts, red lens filter, waterproof housing, dive housing for LCD, tripod, telescopic arm, handles with floats, floats, etc.

Dang! Can’t we just an underwater camera that takes fantastic photos and video that we can pull out of our backpacks or snorkel gear bag and jump in the water with it without having to construct it with every accessory?


The first time I put the wrist strap, LCD panel, underwater housing, and float stick-thingy on my GoPro before snorkeling, I felt like I was putting together a circa 1980 Erector Set. Remember those? And let’s be honest, as small as this little GoPro camera is when it’s in your hand and naked of all add-ons, the camera can grow to just under “bulky” by the time you’re in the water. So, that’s why we put together this perfect list of other cameras that take GREAT underwater photos and videos WITHOUT breaking the bank that THAT ARE NOT GoPros! We hope you enjoy it!

9 Snorkeling Cameras that are Great Alternatives to GoPros

Our Olympus Underwater Camera Choices

Olympus has this whole underwater camera thing down to a tech-giant science. The Olympus cameras that we recommend below are not only waterproof, high-quality image-producing machines, but they’re also as tough as nails.

Olympus Stylus 790SW

This is a great little camera that is sleek and powerful. It has different color options; black, blue, yellow, orange, and all silver. Its toughness and affordability make this camera a completely stress-free instrument that will have you snapping awesome underwater photos for a long time, all the time!

  • 7.1-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for 15 x 20 prints in excellent photo quality. Take your memory card to your local print shop and get awesome images to hang or share with your family.
  • 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD screen minimizes glare
  • 3x optical zoom and standard Face Detection technology
  • Waterproof down to 10 feet of water which is just about right for snorkeling unless you’re doing some semi-serious diving as well. It’s freeze-proof, and crush-proof design makes a little tech-nugget or ruggedness.
  • 27 Shooting modes; in-camera editing options that allow you to fix and create from the camera control panel

Find Out More!

Olympus Stylus 6000

The Stylus 6000 comes in orange, blue, white, and yellow. The design is waterproof below 10 feet of water and, like the camera above, is shockproof and freeze-proof. You can drop this camera from several feet, and it will keep on clicking! The Dual Image Stabilization takes out the chances of perfect shots becoming a blur on the screen.

  • 10-megapixel resolution for photo-quality, poster-size prints from your home printer (as long as it’s a photo quality printer) or at your local print shop.
  • The “proofs” are in the pudding! Waterproof, shockproof, freeze-proof, crush proof and shake proof.
  • 3.6x wide-angle optical dual image stabilized zoom
  • 2.7-inch Advanced HyperCrystal III LCD screen
  • Compatible with xD Picture Cards and microSD memory cards (not included)

Find Out More!

Olympus Stylus Tough 8000

The Tough Olympus 8000 is our favorite that the brand makes. This thing is like a Sherman Thank that fits in your hand and takes incredible video and photos underwater. Ultra-tough. Ultra-clear. Ultra-sharp. That’s what you want when you’re in the water with a turtle or a dolphin. Plus, you can drop it out of the car, turn around and get it, and it will still work fine. (Elaboration…we don’t recommend trying it. Or do… Just don’t say we didn’t warn you! J

  • 12-megapixel resolution for photo-quality, poster-size prints
  • Waterproof, shockproof, freeze-proof, crush-proof and shakeproof
  • 3.6x wide-angle optical dual image stabilized zoom
  • 2.7-inch Advanced HyperCrystal III LCD screen
  • Compatible with xD Picture Cards and microSD memory cards (not included)

Find Out More!

Panasonic Waterproof Cameras for Snorkeling Choices

No doubt you’ve heard of Panasonic before. I remember the first TV I turned the dial on in my grandparent’s house…yeah, Panasonic. They are a trusted brand that makes it their business to create quality tech devices.   Their cameras are trustworthy and powerful little snapping machines. They may not be as pretty as the Olympus, but they get the job done, perhaps even better. You be the judge.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3

This thing can record hi-def quality video in AVCHD format. Know what that means? It’s like the Hulk of little underwater cameras. This camera was specifically designed for outdoor users who want to capture intensely detailed images in an action/adventure environment.

  • 4 Active Outdoor Scene Modes: The DMC-TS3 has 4 active outdoor Scene Modes – Sports, Snow, Beach & Snorkeling, and Underwater
  • LEICA DC Lens with Folded Optics Technology: The DMC-TS3 features a high-quality LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR 28mm wide-angle lens
  • 28mm Wide-angle Lens: The 28mm wide-angle lens lets you easily capture large groups of people indoors
  • Newly Developed 12.1-megapixel Hi-speed CCD: The newly developed 12.1-megapixel CCD with 2-channel signal output structure
  • Sonic Speed AF: The Sonic Speed AF system includes numerous re-engineering enhancements

Find Out More!

Panasonic Lumix DMC TS5

If the DMC TS-3 were the Incredible Hulk of the Panasonic line, then this camera would be like the entire Avenger team morphed into one super-charged superhero. Panasonic makes one camera that may outdo this, the TG-4 16 MP, but this is pretty much where the buck stops when it comes to performance.

  • 16.1 MP 1/2.33″ CMOS sensor
  • 28-128mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 lens (4.6x optical zoom)
  • 5-axis optical image stabilizer
  • Up to 10 FPS continuous shooting (7 images max./full resolution) plus 40 FPS high-speed burst
  • ISO 100-3200 (expandable to 6400)
  • 1080/60p HD video (AVCHD/MPEG-4)
  • Pressure resistance of 200 lbs/100 kg
  • Waterproof to 43’/13m!       This means you can dive down 20 feet, drop it 23 more, and have a SCUBA diver recover your still perfectly working Lumix DMC TS5.
  • Shockproof from 6.6’/2m
  • Freeze-proof to 14°F/-10°C
  • 3″ TFT LCD with 460,000 dotsBuilt-in GPS, WiFi, and Altimeter

Find Out More!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25

This is a tough little nugget of gold. Comes in black, blue, orange, red, and white. Not quite as pricey as the TS5A or the TG-4, but it still delivers the same dependability, toughness, and clarity as any affordable snorkeling camera on the market. There are 670 reviews on Amazon for the Lumix DMC-TS25, and 70% are 4 stars or higher.

  • 16.1 Mega Pixel, 4x optical zoom, 8x Intelligent Zoom, Mega O.I.S., Rugged Design, waterproof to 23 feet, shockproof from 5 feet, freeze-proof to 14 degrees F, dust-proof
  • 2.7″ LCD Screen, Intelligent Auto Mode, Venus Engine, 12 Effective Create Control
  • 720p Motion JPEG Video, Sonic Speed Auto Focus, Creative Panorama Shot, 12 Effective Creative Control

Find Out More!

Canon Underwater Cameras for a Leading Performer!

Canon is a known powerhouse in the digital camera line. They make some of the BEST cameras on the planet. These 3, in particular, will not destroy your bank account, but they’re also not going to lie down and die in ANY underwater photo and video competition. They hold their own, and many people live and die by Canon for their picture and video needs. Take a look at these 3 winners!

Canon Powershot D10

The Powershot D10 from Canon has an ultra-modern look that fits comfortably in your hand, on your wrist, in a cargo pocket, or in a purse. The image processor is super strong for a camera this size and at this price. 33 feet of waterproof tightness might make this the most sensible choice on the list.

  • 12.1-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality poster-size prints
  • Waterproof to 33 feet, cold resistant from 14-104 degrees (F), and shockproof up to 4 feet.
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor; evolved Face Detection Technology plus Face Detection Self-timer
  • Smart AUTO intelligently selects the proper settings
  • Compatible with SD/SDHC, MMC/MMC Plus/HC MMC Plus (not included)

Find Out More!

Canon Powershot D20

The Powershot takes excellent photos in almost any condition, but we’re primarily concerned with how well it performs in underwater situations, and that’s where it shines. Take a look at all the features below, and you’ll figure out why this camera has a 70% 4 + star rating on Amazon.

  • 12MP 1/2.3″ BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 28-140mm F3.9-4.8 equivalent lens with optical image stabilization (5x optical zoom)
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 3″ fixed LCD with 461,000 dots
  • 1080/24p HD video plus super slow motion video at 640×480 (H.264)
  • Waterproof to 25m / 82′
  • Shockproof to 2m / 6.5′

Find Out More!

Canon Powershot G16

The Big Tamale, the Big Cheese…the Big Barracuda (?) on the block, and especially on this list. We don’t recommend any camera for snorkeling more than we recommend the Canon Powershot G16. It’s, quite frankly, our dream camera. I wish I owned one. I had the opportunity to use one at a local beach in the past few weeks, and OMG! This camera is the most real of the deals. It’s the Head Honcho in my world!

  • Upload virtually anywhere on your iOS or Android device with a free download of the Canon Camera Window app
  • Capture breathtaking 1080p full HD video capture at 60fps and playback on an HDTV via the HDMI output
  • 1 megapixel high-sensitivity 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor combined with the Canon DIGIC 6 image processor for outstanding low-light performance up to ISO 12800
  • 5x optical zoom (28mm-140mm) and a bright f/1.8(W) – f/2.8(T) lens enable you to capture more in your frame

Notice how none of the above cameras are GoPros? Those are the best snorkeling cameras that perform awesomely and will take it pretty much easy on your wallet. Just like we promised, we gave you a solid list of underwater cameras that perform but will not require you to buy waterproof housings, LCD attachments, or a chest strap.

Note:  For this camera, you need a waterproof housing:


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