The sun’s out, you’re at the pool and everything is so perfect you decide to take a video with your phone and… suddenly you drop it in the water. Ruined.
With a waterproof action camera, you never have to worry about that scenario again. With a rugged design, waterproof action cameras can handle a dunk in the water and then some. A few quick things any waterproof action camera should possess are:
- Native waterproofing without a bulky case
- An easy shooting and editing workflow
- High-quality video capture capabilities both above and underwater
But the best one for you might vary based on how you plan to use the camera and what you plan to shoot. Read on to discover the best waterproof action cameras for water sports, diving and more.
Best Waterproof Action Camera for Water Sports
Your first thought when you think of a waterproof action camera is probably a box-shaped wide-angle camera. But with these cameras, you’re missing out on the world of creative possibilities that a waterproof 360 camera offers.
Using a waterproof 360 camera like Insta360 ONE X2 (waterproof to 10 meters/33ft) is one of the most hassle-free ways to shoot when you’re on the water. While you might not care about shooting immersive 360-degree content, the real value of a waterproof 360 camera is that you don’t need to worry about pointing the camera. Just mount the camera (say to the edge of your surfboard) and reframe the shot in any direction later.
Without moving the camera even once, you can switch the video angle to get multiple views in one shot. And you can still export it as a traditional format video that you can share directly to social media like any other video. Check out how it works below, as the camera pans from one diver to the other:
The next best thing about a waterproof 360 camera is the Invisible Selfie Stick. When you hold the selfie stick or use an extension rod mount, the stick will automatically be removed from the shot, making it look like your camera is floating in the air. This is because the stick falls in the blind spot between the camera’s two lenses. All you need to do is import your footage into the Insta360 app and like magic, the stick is gone.
Insta360 ONE X2 is also equipped with Insta360’s gimbal-like stabilization algorithm, known as FlowState stabilization, and built-in 360-degree horizon leveling. FlowState stabilization ensures that your footage remains butter smooth and upright, no matter how you jump, flip or move on the water.
ONE X2 is natively waterproof without a case, but for underwater 360 shots, pick up the Dive Case for ONE X2 for seamless underwater stitching of the footage from both lenses. You can also use the Premium Lens Guards for shooting wide-angle shots (non-360) in Steady Cam mode.
Best Diving Camera
Capturing underwater videos in deep waters is often difficult due to the lack of natural light. So, in selecting the best diving camera, the size of the image sensor is a critical consideration. Larger image sensors can capture more light, delivering better dynamic range and details in low-light conditions.
Many waterproof action cameras use a 1/2.3” sensor, which is standard for a consumer-level action camera. But the Insta360 ONE R 1-Inch Edition uses a larger 1-inch sensor, which allows it to capture 5.3K wide-angle video and 19 MP photos with more balanced and accurate colors.
Check out some footage shot on the Insta360 ONE R 1-Inch Edition here:
Insta360 ONE R is natively waterproof to 5 meters (16ft) when installed into the mounting bracket, a thin frame which comes with the camera. So for snorkeling, there’s no need for an extra case. But for going deeper, you can also buy a dive case to go up to 60 meters deep (196ft). The case is form-fitting, so it doesn’t bulk up your setup like some DSLR underwater housings.
Insta360 ONE R is also an interchangeable lens action camera. While the 1-Inch Edition comes with the 1-Inch Mod, you can also upgrade to the Expert Edition to get a Dual-Lens 360 Mod as well.
Smallest Waterproof Camera
For everyday use, sometimes you just want a mini waterproof action camera that you can take with you anywhere.
Insta360 GO 2 weighs just 27g (less than an ounce) and is no bigger than your thumb, making it the smallest waterproof camera in Insta360’s product lineup. GO 2 is native waterproof to 4 meters (13ft), so it’s great for sitting poolside or for underwater shooting too.
The best thing about a mini waterproof camera is that you never have to worry about whether to take it with you on a day out on the water. Just throw it in your beach bag and you’re all set for the day. Starting and stopping shooting is as easy as pressing the front of the camera, which has a built-in button.
Because GO 2 is so small, it’s also ultra-mountable and wearable. The included Pivot Stand is a handy accessory that can be used underwater as a handle to hold the camera. For more high-intensity water sports, you can pick up the Action Mount Adapter to mount the GO 2 with a range of accessories. GO 2 also comes with a Lens Guard to keep the camera’s lens protected on a day out.
Plus, because the camera is so small, you can put it in places you might not have thought of before…
But what about the edit?
No matter what waterproof action camera you use, one of the most annoying things about shooting underwater video is that ugly blue or green haze you get that covers your entire video. The underwater colors never look as natural as they do above ground, because water naturally absorbs red light.
One common solution is to buy a red filter, which filters out blue light to make a video appear more red. However, another option comes automatically with Insta360 cameras—AquaVision. AquaVision is an AI-powered color correction editing tool in the Insta360 app that gets rid of the blue haze and turns water crystal clear. Just import your footage shot on any of the waterproof action cameras above and toggle on AquaVision on export. Check it out below:
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