Budget Underwater Camera

Top 10 Best Underwater Mirrorless Cameras for Beginners in June 2020 – Buying Guide

Last updated on June 5th, 2020 at 01:39 pm

Some people are wondering whether to transition from using compact cameras to mirrorless or DSLR cameras. Other professionals are hesitating over the worthiness, leaving their DSLR for a mirrorless camera. Even though mirrorless cameras are the most popular in the camera industry, a lot of people are still reluctant to own one. The concern mainly has to do with image quality and some features of both camera types. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 best underwater mirrorless cameras for beginners.

For those who want to balance high-end image quality and physical practicality, the mirrorless camera is the best bet. In the world of photography, the mirrorless camera is where convenience meets quality. With a DSLR, you may leave gears at home time and time again due to the inconvenience of dealing with a cumbersome device all day long. There is a saying that “the best camera is the one you always take with you.” You may not realize just how cumbersome your DSLR is until you try the mirrorless camera.

underwater mirrorless cameras

In this lengthy article, we explore some of the reasons why you might want to buy a mirrorless camera. We also explain some things to look out for when choosing one, and we present a review of the top ten mirrorless cameras you may choose from. Note that our analysis is based on researching expert reviews and analyzing customer feedback on Amazon.

Editor’s Choice

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Camera

This is our choice for the best overall mirrorless camera for beginners. First, it has lots of great features like high processing and shooting speed. It has a dual memory card slot and high image quality. It is also the best value for money at a very affordable price.

Best Underwater Mirrorless Cameras for Beginners Comparison Table

CAMERA NAMEEFFECTIVE RESOLUTIONFPSCARD SLOTS 
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Camera

20.3 MP120 fpsDual card slots
Sony Alpha A6600 Mirrorless Camera

24.2 MP11.0 fps continuous shootingOnly one card slot
Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera

42.4 MP10 fpsDual card slots
Panasonic LUMIX S1 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

24.2060 fpsDual card slots
PANASONIC Lumix GH5 4K Digital Camera

20.3360 fpsDual card slot


Nikon Z6 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera

24.5 megapixels30 frames per secondOne card slot
PANASONIC Lumix GH5S Body 4K Digital Camera

12.2 megapixels and 19.2 x 13.0 mm sensor60 fpsSingle card slot
Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera Body

30.3 megapixels30.3-megapixelOnly one SD card slot


Sony Alpha A6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera

24.230 frames per secondOne card slot
Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

12 megapixels and 6.16 x 4.62 mm senor20.0 fpsOne card slot


01. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Mirrorless Camera

This mirrorless underwater camera has a Micro Four Thirds sensor size of 17.4 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V) and a resolution of 20.4 megapixels. The sensor size is clearly larger than anything common in compact cameras and allows this mirrorless underwater camera to capture images at greater quality than any compact. At the same time, the camera has a compact design. With nearly 28 million pixels to display your image, this camera will satisfy the needs of all professionals and beginners alike looking for something small but with great quality for underwater photography.

The camera has a built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization for movies and still photos. The image stabilization allows you to take a picture without using a tripod, but still eliminate distortions as a result of shaking the camera. It has a 3-inch monitor and offers live-view with a high speed imager Autofocus system. Olympus OM-D E-M1 has top-quality exposure control featuring Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering), center-weighted average metering, and spot metering with a metering range of EV- 2 – 20 (using 17 mm f/2.8, ISO 100).

It has a variable shutter speed within 60 – 1/320000th seconds depending on whether it’s in anti-shock or silent mode. The wide range of adjustable shooter speed lets you make desired effects in the picture, like when you are shooting something in motion and want to allow the motion impression in the picture or to eliminate any sign of motion in the picture. It also lets you control the amount of light reaching the sensor to produce brighter or darker images. You also have a Sequential shooting frame count of 99 before the buffer is full. The silent sequential shooting can reach up to 60 frames per second, and 18 frames per second for a silent electronic shooter. There is also the 121 Point Dual Fast AF with Cross Type On Chip Phase Detection focusing.

The battery is really good, holds through 90 minutes of movie shooting. The small weatherproof design allows you to carry it around and even shot one-handed. The camera does a good job of getting the white balance right, so you won’t need much tweaking on files produced. To fully explore the advantages of this camera, you do need the best lenses. This is certainly one of the best underwater cameras for snorkeling, diving, or scuba diving. It is one of the best underwater cameras for beginners.

Pros

  • High Image quality due to high megapixel-sensor combination
  • Compact size
  • Solid, weather-sealed exterior
  • Great stability
  • Dual SD slots
  • Lots of extras
  • Big long-lasting battery
  • Fast charging

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can’t reuse the old battery
  • Base ISO is 200

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02. Sony Alpha A6600

Sony Alpha A6600 Best Mirrorless Camera

This camera has an image sensor the size of an APS-C with an approximate effective megapixel of 24.2. it comes with the latest Ximage processing engine and the same LSI as the one in Sony’s popular full-frame cameras. The image quality is outstanding, showing rich details and real life-to-life color contrast. It features area specific noise reduction features that let the camera work a high ISO with little noise. The ISO ranges from 100 – 32,000 (Expandable up to ISO 102,400). The camera’s design optimizes readout time and shoots at a continuous 11fps in 4K recording and 120fps for Full HD resolution.

It is recommended to use a class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card for recording movies in the XAVCX format. At least a UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps.

The Camera utilizes Sony’s powerful 4D FocusSystem for a blazing fast AF acquisition time that can lock focus on a fast moving object in 0.02 seconds. It also wields a 425 phase detection and 425 contrast detection AF points positioned densely across 84% of the entire image area. This enables it to effectively track any object moving across the frame.

The compact design of this camera is meant to withstand the rigors of shooting in the field using an internal structure of a strong and rigid magnesium alloy body. Dust and moisture-resistant ceilings are made around the main buttons, dials, ports, camera doors, and all camera body openings including the media compartment and terminal area. The shutter unit has been proven to endure approximately 200,000 shutter releases to ensure long-lasting shooting exercise.

The Real-time Tracking feature of this camera is cutting edge tech component that employs a unique object recognition algorithm which processes color, depth, pattern, and special information. It also works for Artificial Intelligence features like face and eye location to ensure that the whole subject is captured with great accuracy. Plus, this feature can be activated by the press of a button and can be set to a custom function. You can also track an object by touching it on the monitor after engaging the Touch Tracking function. It has also other advanced tracking and AF functions aided by AI.

There is also a 180-degree tilting LCD touch screen for self-recording. This is just one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy for underwater activities. It is also among the best underwater mirrorless camera for beginners.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Very fast AF with Eye AF
  • Has Mic/headphone ports for videographers
  • Ability to lock dials
  • Has dedicated video record button
  • 3-mode toggle for top and rear dials

Cons

  • Very Expensive
  • Hard-to-reach back-menu button
  • Touch screen only works on AF not menus
  • No flash
  • Only one card slot

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03. Sony a7R III

best underwater mirrorless cameras for beginners

The Sony a7R III has a Full Frame (24 x 35.9 mm) size with an approximate effective megapixel of 42.4. it comes with the BIONZ X image processing engine and A new front-end LSI and BIONZ X™ boost processing speed and is teamed with the Exmor R™ sensor to deliver up to 15-stop dynamic range at low ISO sensitivity for stills, enabling richer tonal expression. The image quality is outstanding, showing rich details and real life-to-life color contrast. It features area specific noise reduction features that let the camera work at high ISO with little noise. The ISO ranges from 100 – 32,000 (Expandable up to ISO 50-102,400). The camera’s design optimizes readout time and shoots at a continuous 10fps in 4K recording, and 120fps for Full HD resolution 1080p.

The Camera utilizes Sony’s powerful AF having up to 399 zone points. Face Detection Details include eye Detect AF and face-priority AF function. It also wields a 425 phase detection and 425 contrast detection AF points positioned densely across 64% of the entire image area. Eye AF evolves with two times more immediate, effective eye detection and tracking, even when shooting a moving portrait subject.

The Real-time Tracking feature of this camera is cutting edge tech component that employs a unique object recognition algorithm which processes color, depth, pattern, and special information. It also works for Artificial Intelligence features like face and eye location to ensure that the whole subject is captured with great accuracy. It also has a folding 3” LCD display with functions like Peaking AF display, Touch AF, and display brightness control.

The purchase bundle for this camera includes Power cord, charger, cable protector, shoulder strap, body/shoe caps, eyepiece cup.

Sony a7R III is one of the best underwater mirrorless cameras for beginners and experts alike.

Pros

  • High image and video quality
  • Very fast and responsive
  • Top quality of light/high ISO capability
  • Extremely malleable files
  • Good button placements and size
  • Good battery
  • Great autofocus including eye-AF
  • IBIS and hybrid stabilization
  • Dual SD cards
  • Silent shooting
  • GPS location tagging via Bluetooth
  • Customization

Cons

  • No instantaneous boot
  • Difficult to delete both memory cards
  • no built-in intervalometer
  • No lossless compression option

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04. Panasonic Lumix S1 Full Frame

best beginners underwater camera

Panasonic LUMIX S1 has a 35mm full-frame (35.6mm x 23.8mm) CMOS sensor with 24.20 effective megapixels. it comes with a Venus Engine image processor. The image quality is outstanding, showing rich details and real life-to-life color contrast. It features wind noise reduction stereo which lets the camera work at a high ISO with little noise. Light Sensitivity ISO 100-51200, ISO 102400, ISO 204800, ISO 50, and ISO auto. The camera’s design optimizes readout time and has a maximum of 60 fps for MP4 high speed video. in 4K recording, and 120fps for Full HD resolution. It has a built-in flash function with both TTL Auto and Manual.

It is recommended to use the UHS-I Speed Class 3 SD card for 4K video and high speed movie.

The Camera utilizes CMOS Contrast Detection (with AF Illuminator), a 25 point / All target, and single target selection mode. The focus modes include, Single AF (S-AF) / AF tracking / Manual Focus (MF) / Super macro (AF) / Super macro (MF).  It has a blazing fast AF acquisition time that can lock focus on a fast moving object instantly.

Panasonic LUMIX S1 has an approximately 100% field of view in Live View which encompasses exposure compensation preview, WB adjustment preview, Gradation preview, Face detection preview for up to 8 faces, and Gridline. Live View display modes set to Standard, Histogram, Highlight & Shadow, Level Gauge, and Off.

The camera has a design that enables stress-free use in fields where flexibility is required. Olympus cameras are designed to coexist compactness and easy operation. The design also features some tough capabilities as with characteristics like being waterproof up to 15 meters through JIS/IEC protection class 8 (IPX8), dustproof with JIS/IEC protection class 6 (IP6X), freeze-proof down to -10℃, crush-proof up to 100 kgf, and shockproof up to 2.1 meters.

It has input and output functions like a remote control connector via USB micro B, an HDMI connector by Micro HDMI (type D), a Wireless Lan with built-in (IEEE 802.11 b / g / n), a PC interface using USB2.0 Hi-Speed, and a DC connector via USB micro B.

There is also a 180-degree tilting LCD touch screen for self-recording. This is just one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy for underwater activities. It has a 3.0-inch color LCD at Approx. 1040K dots and aspect ratio of 3: 2 with a ±7 levels brightness control.

With the high-resolution F2.0 lens and maximum 8x zoom, you 4K movies and full HD videos at 120 fps. The 5 underwater shooting modes include an underwater microscope and 3 underwater white balance modes.

It is one of the recommended options for those aiming to buy the best underwater camera for beginners.

Pros

  • Great hybrid full-frame mirrorless camera for both photo and video
  • Great 24mp still image color, contrast, and clarity
  • 8-bit 4K 60p video @ 150mbps, 4:2:0 color space
  • Excellent low-light performance
  • Simple white balance execution & multiple banks
  • Video color looks nearly perfect after one-click white balance correction in post
  • Sigma adapter allows the use of Canon EF lenses
  • Lots of customizable functions, menus, and modes

Cons

  • No AF-C functionality with a lens adapter
  • Slow autofocus with the lens adapter
  • Bulkier than SLR

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05. Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K

best mirrorless underwater cameras

PANASONIC Lumix GH5 has a 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS Sensor with 20.33 effective megapixels. it comes with a Venus Engine image processor. The image quality is outstanding, showing rich details and real life-to-life color contrast. It features wind noise reduction stereo which lets the camera work at a high ISO with little noise. It has the following ISO sensitivity for still images as Auto / Intelligent ISO / 100 (Extended) / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800 / 25600 (Changeable to 1/3 EV step) which provides for a good exposure control. The camera’s design optimizes readout time and has a maximum of about 60 fps for MP4 high speed video.

It has a dual SD card slot with support for a wide variety of card types to include: SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDHC UHS-I Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, and SDXC UHS-I Memory Card.

PANASONIC Lumix GH5 camera has a splash proof, freezeproof, and dustproof design. It is freezeproof to -10 degrees and made of durable magnesium alloy body that endures heavy and long use. There is weather sealing at every joint, dial, and button. The camera’s 5-axis dual image stabilization corrects all lens including classic ones lacking O.I.S to mitigate blur and minimize body and lens shake for both video and photos.

It records videos smoothly in 4K resolutions at up to 60fps. In addition, it has several connectivity types like 3.5-millimeter audio port, connect to devices with USB 3. 0, an external monitor or external Recorder with a full size HDMI port; available Twin SD card slots (UHS-II U3 compatible).

If you are an expert or beginner, this is one of the best mirrorless underwater cameras for you.

Pros

  • Fast and reliable
  • Strong beautiful design
  • Dual card slot
  • Good in-body image stabilization
  • Affordable pricing
  • Great battery life
  • Versatility in lenses

Cons

  • Log profile to be purchased separately
  • Different versions for different countries with different warranties

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06. Nikon Z6 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera

Nikon Z6 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera

Nikon Z6 FX-Format has a new larger Z mount for increased optical performance. With a 24.5MP and a backside illuminated image sensor, you are guaranteed a top quality image and video anytime you use your camera. It produces detailed images with natural colors, particularly skin tones. It has 273 points on sensor phase detect AF system and shoots at some 12 fps in 4K ultra HD video, with 8K time lapse. The camera is compatible with a new Z Nikkor lens, and more than 360 F mount Nikkor lenses. The new Z6 is likely to exceed your expectations if you are a Nikon loyalist and have just decided to test their mirrorless camera.

For Nikon lovers, this camera is truly Nikon. The build quality is outstanding, and everything looks and feels a 100% Nikon. Particularly for those who have used a Nikon DSLR, it is highly likely that they will like this camera. The camera gives a variety of options for shooting different effects, and the Z6 has been upgraded to include a good number of filter effects not present in previous top-notch DSLRs. Aside from many settings, there are the new U1-U2-U3 settings to the program dial which is far more convenient than prior top-quality offerings. It allows for navigating between 3 different camera modes: landscape, portrait, and action. The LCD monitor is a touchscreen.

Nikon Z6 FX-Format camera has a high ISO performance, able to shoot as high as 12,600 with scarcely noticeable noise while giving excellent images in both RAW and JPEG format. Even in very-dark scenes, the bright no-lag electronic viewfinder shows bright, clear images that rival night vision for very dark night scenes with no obvious lag. It is one of the best underwater mirrorless cameras for beginners.

While some users have expressed disappointment over performance lag with autofocus in the Z7 model, especially in tracing fast-moving subjects, that problem is unlikely with the Z6. Though not as fast to capture less-contrast subjects in AF-C modes as a D500, it is very close. It has a 3D subject racking mode under “auto” which reveals a white box when you press the “OK” button. Moving this over to your subject by re-framing or nub control and half-pressing the shutter will let you track your subject throughout the frame.

Pros

  • High image quality
  • Great AF system
  • Plenty of control settings
  • Beautiful and sturdy design
  • Fast shooting and recording
  • 4K video support
  • Compatible with a wide range of lenses
  • Acceptable battery performance
  • low light performance
  • IBIS-VR
  • Light weight

Cons

  • Being Full Frame Digital makes it sort of old-school
  • Lack of native, wide, fast lenses
  • EVF and monitor brightness difference
  • Requires an adapter to put on NIKON lens

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07. Panasonic Lumix GH5S 4K Digital Camera

best budget underwater mirrorless cameras for beginners

This Panasonic digital camera has a 10.2-megapixel resolution, a Micro Four Thirds sensor with a higher photoreceptive surface per pixel delivery. The Dual Native ISO produces highly sensitive video capture with very low noise. It has a rugged splash and freeze-proof design from durable magnesium allow to withstand heavy use out in the field. It is also freeze-proof down to 10 degrees. It is impenetrable by dust, having weather sealing construction on every joint, dial, and button.

The camera is capable of internal SD card capture of 60p50p 8-bit, 30p25p24 4:2:2 10-bit, 4K: 60p50p 4:2:0 8-bit, and, 30p25p24p 4:2:2 10-bit. It captures images and videos at a resolution of 1080p with a refresh rate up to 240fps, and C4K 60p VFR. It has a 3.2-inch LCD. The operating temperature can go as low as -10 to 40 degrees. The connectivity and ports include TC In/Out/Synchro Terminal (via included BNC cable), a 3.5mm mic jack that has a line input, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 2.5mm remote socket, an HDMI Type “A” socket, a USB-C 3.1 Socket, and twin SD card slots compatible with UHS-II U3.

The camera also has a high resolution (21mm) 0.76X OLED eye viewfinder that comes up to exactly how you want the image displayed even under direct sunlight. The manufacturer recommends that you use a memory card with a video speed class 60 or higher for 4K video recording.

This camera even with its great features is not one of the best underwater cameras for kids. It is meant for professionals or adults who want something that is a lot more capable than the popular compact cameras, though some compacts are really good and can even rival a mirrorless camera in image quality, especially in the hands of an expert. However, it is also one of the best budget underwater mirrorless cameras for beginners.

This is not a budget underwater camera but is certainly among the best underwater camera for scuba diving, diving, snorkeling, etc. You need a waterproof housing to use it underwater, and there are plenty of good ones that fits the camera very well.

 Pros

  • High image and video quality
  • Fast processing speed
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Supports high capacity SD cards
  • Has several connectivity ports
  • Great protective design
  • Comes with V-log installed
  • Great image details in the shadows and low pixelation

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can be difficult learning to use
  • Not so great focus in evenly lit situations
  • Produces horizontal noise unless you shoot in “Natural” profile at 200 ISO or less

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08. Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

This camera has a 35mm full-frame (36 x 24 mm) CMOS sensor with an effective 30 megapixels. it comes with a Venus Engine image processor. The image quality is outstanding, showing rich details and real life-to-life color contrast. It features wind noise reduction stereo which lets the camera work at a high ISO with little noise. It has Auto 100-40000 (in 1/3-stop or whole stop increments) ISO that can be expanded to L:50, H1: 51200, H2: 102400. The camera’s design optimizes readout time and has a maximum of 100fps for HD – 1280 x 720 Maximum fps and buffer capacity may be reduced depending on the cameras settings, light level, subject, memory card brand and capacity, image recording quality, ISO speed, drive mode, Picture Style, Custom functions, etc. It is recommended to use the UHS-I Speed Class 3 SD card for 4K video and high speed movie.

The Camera utilizes a Phase-difference detection system with an image sensor (Dual Pixel CMOS AF). Manual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen). Autofocus modes include Dual Pixel CMOS AF (Face Detection and Tracking AF, 1point AF, Expand AF Area Zone AF, and Touch Shutter.  It has a blazing fast AF acquisition time that can lock focus on a fast moving object instantly.

The camera has an approximately 100% field of view in Live View which encompasses 3 levels: Basic shooting information, Advanced shooting information, and Advanced shooting information with Histogram. It is designed to withstand both water & dust. It has Auto white balance with the imaging sensor settings of WB (Ambience priority/White priority), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom, Colour Temperature Setting. It also has a 3.15″ clear view LCD and a 170° vertical and horizontal viewing angle. The LCD has capacitive touch features with menu functions such as Quick Control settings, playback operations, and magnified display. AF point selection in still and Movies, touch shutter is possible in still photo shooting.

This is one of the best beginners underwater mirrorless cameras and experts alike.

Pros

  • Acceptable price
  • High quality image
  • Fast processing
  • Fast autofocus
  • Great RF lenses
  • Great portability, size, weight, and ergonomics
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Beautiful and protective design

Cons

  • No IBIS
  • Only one SD card slot
  • Does not work with remote flash
  • Cumbersome adjustments
  • Sigma Art lens doesn’t work that great
  • Cropped 4K video

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09. Sony Alpha A6500 Mirrorless Underwater Camera

Sony Alpha a6500 mirrorless underwater camera

Sony Alpha A6500 mirrorless underwater camera comes with a newly developed 24.2 MP effective resolution and an APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor. It features copper wiring and advanced circuit procession that boosts light collection efficiency by reducing the depth of the wiring layer. Noise reduces significantly due to a BIONZ X image processor and a new front-end LSI throughout a wide sensitivity range of ISO 100-512005. The front-end LSI and conductive copper circuitry greatly accelerate readout speed to support high speed shooting with low lag. It also supports 4K movie shooting at full pixel readout pixel binning. The camera can shoot Full HD at 120 fps and 14-bit RAW output for still.

The Camera utilizes Sony’s powerful 4D Focus System for a blazing fast AF acquisition time that can lock focus on a fast moving object in 0.05 seconds. It also wields a 425 phase detection and 425 contrast detection AF points positioned densely across 84% of the entire image area. This enables it to effectively track any object moving across the frame.

The new touchscreen functionality enhances focus capabilities for intuitive and immediate focus response. All you need a select a focus point anywhere on the LCD to get quick and precise AF response. The electronic viewfinder lets you simply shift focus points by touching and dragging with your finger on the touchpad to the desired point.

The camera has great image stabilization such that any lens will benefit from it. The 5-axis image stabilization system performs particularly great during video recording and also eliminates blur due to movement by the photographer. The stabilization effects can also be monitored in the viewfinder or LCD screen. You can do this by pressing the shutter halfway or magnifying the image, or you can enter movie mode.

The viewfinder is capable of continuous shooting at 8 fps with AF/AE tracking. This makes it easier to shoot fast moving objects.

The compact design of this camera is meant to withstand the rigors of shooting in the field using an internal structure of a strong and rigid magnesium alloy body. Dust and moisture-resistant ceilings are made around the main buttons, dials, ports, camera doors, and all camera body openings including the media compartment and terminal area. The shutter unit has been proven to endure approximately 200,000 shutter releases to ensure long-lasting shooting exercise. It is one of the best underwater mirrorless cameras for beginners.

Cons

  • Many have to remove dust manually form a sensor
  • Seems to overheat in about 30 minutes
  • The battery may not be so great
  • No low light
  • Steep learning curve
  • Does not record 4K video for a lengthy period of time

Pros

  • Great image and video quality
  • Can perform at 120 fps for Full HD
  • 3” LCD
  • Fast image processing
  • Great AF function
  • Great protective body design

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10. Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera has a 1/2.33-inch image sensor with 12 million effective pixels. it comes with a TruePic VIII processing engine. The image quality is outstanding, showing rich details and real life-to-life color contrast. It features wind noise reduction features which let the camera work at a high ISO with little noise. The auto ISO ranges from 100 – 1600 with a customizable upper limit from 100 to 12800. The camera’s design optimizes readout time and has a sequential shooting of approx. 20 fps with selectable 10 / 20fps. in 4K recording, and 120fps for Full HD resolution. It has a built-in flash function with both TTL Auto and Manual.

It is recommended to use the UHS-I Speed Class 3 SD card for 4K video and high speed movie.

The Camera utilizes CMOS Contrast Detection (with AF Illuminator), a 25 point / All target, and a single target selection mode. The focus modes include, Single AF (S-AF) / AF tracking / Manual Focus (MF) / Super macro (AF) / Super macro (MF).  It has a blazing fast AF acquisition time that can lock focus on a fast moving object instantly. These features and a host of others makes this one of the best underwater cameras for beginners. This is not a mirrorless camera, but it shoots just as well as a mirrorless camera.

Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera has an approximately 100% field of view in Live View which encompasses exposure compensation preview, WB adjustment preview, Gradation preview, Face detection preview for up to 8 faces, and Gridline. Live View display modes set to Standard, Histogram, Highlight & Shadow, Level Gauge, and Off.

Design

The camera has a design that enables stress-free use in fields where flexibility is required. Olympus cameras are designed to coexist compactness and easy operation. The design also features some tough capabilities as with characteristics like being waterproof up to 15 meters through JIS/IEC protection class 8 (IPX8), dustproof with JIS/IEC protection class 6 (IP6X), freeze-proof down to -10℃, crush-proof up to 100 kgf, and shockproof up to 2.1 meters.

It has input and output functions like a remote control connector via USB micro B, an HDMI connector by Micro HDMI (type D), a Wireless Lan with built-in (IEEE 802.11 b / g / n), a PC interface using USB2.0 Hi-Speed, and a DC connector via USB micro B.

There is also a 180-degree tilting LCD touch screen for self-recording. This is just one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy for underwater activities. It has a 3.0-inch color LCD at Approx. 1040K dots and aspect ratio of 3: 2 with a ±7 levels brightness control.

With the high-resolution F2.0 lens and maximum 8x zoom, you 4K movies and full HD videos at 120 fps. The 5 underwater shooting modes include an underwater microscope and 3 underwater white balance modes.

Pros

  • Great image quality with bright performance in low light
  • Exceptional Macro for underwater shooting
  • Great dynamic range with proper exposure of shadows
  • Flexible custom settings
  • Has wrist strap
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons

  • Slightly below-average video stabilization
  • Somewhat steep learning curve
  • Slightly weak blues and greens in distant landscape shots

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Best Beginners Underwater Mirrorless Cameras 2020 – Buying Guide

A very prominent advantage with a mirrorless camera is that eliminating a mirror box and prism gives it a lighter and more compact design than a DSLR. The strain on your neck and shoulders as a result of lugging a DSLR during a long shooting day can be intolerable. Mirrorless cameras aren’t anywhere as bulky as a DSLR, and you won’t need to carry all the many extra gears that go along with a DSLR. Also, the size of DSLRs tends to make people more nervous about posing for photography, where the camera itself nearly blocks the photographer’s face entirely. You will find people are more willing to let you snap a photo of them in the streets when you use a mirrorless than carrying a big, and maybe intimidation DSLR.

Faster AF in Live View

Depending on how you use a DSLR, there is normally two types of the autofocus system. It is either you shoot while looking through the optical viewfinder using a phase detection autofocus. Or you switch to Live View mode and look at the rear screen as you shoot. The AF mode is faster than the live view mode.

Mirrorless cameras have AF, too, only a much better one than DSLRs. If you intend to shoot many videos or if you want to shoot with the camera below your waist or above your head, then a mirrorless camera is better as you will get faster focus times, especially when locking onto subjects towards the edges of the camera. Some innovative mirrorless designs even employ both phase and contrast-detection AF in tandem, and this has improved the speed.

OLED Viewfinders

Mirrorless cameras also omit the optical viewfinder (OVF). Some models replace the OVF with an electronic version known as the electronic viewfinder (EVF). The EVF lets you see a live preview of how the sensor records the image. You can see the exposure and white balance effect before snapping a picture. It also lets you add customizable screen info and even activate a magnified view to improve manual focus.

OLED Viewfinders

In the past, one needs to look through a small dim EVF that was like looking at a computer screen. Many DSLR users didn’t like it that way and were reluctant to go mirrorless. But today’s mirrorless cameras eliminate that problem by introducing spectacular high-resolution OLED displays for the EVF. Such OLED displays produce a large, bright scene view with so many details it’s easy to forget you aren’t using an OVF.

Silence is Great

By eliminating the mirror, a camera shouldn’t produce the loud thwack-sound that comes when the mirror in a DSLR swings up to let light reach the sensor at a press of the shutter button. A quite camera lets you work without the embarrassment of drawing attention due to the thwack sound, especially when shooting wedding occasions.

Compatible with a Wide Range of Lenses

Mirrorless cameras offer a wide range of lenses. Mirrorless Four Thirds mount alone can support up to 60 compatible lenses. These lenses perform tremendously and some even better than the (still excellent) optics for DSLRs. You have the convenience of automatic correction of lens distortion and chromatic aberration.

You can also find some vintage glass, mirrorless cameras that are compatible with focus M-mount lenses via commonly available adapters.

Some Notes When Buying a Mirrorless Camera

This section describes some features you need to look out for when deciding on your next underwater mirrorless camera. What we tried to describe here the most essential features of a mirrorless underwater camera for diving. A camera must not have all the features here to be worth buying. There are many functions, a combination of which is suitable for different purposes. The features described here do not form an exhaustive list for an underwater mirrorless camera. You should visit the manufacturer page for more significant details, read customer feedback on the product before parting with your money.

Protective Design

The best underwater mirrorless cameras for scuba diving or other activities must have a reliable waterproof design. You should be able to dive with that camera to an acceptable depth without worrying about water damage. The deeper you can dive with it, the better. It’s freezeproof, dustproof, shockproof, and snow proof will be an added advantage.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is essential for image clarity. While you can use slow shutter speeds for night photography or dark scenes, your camera should be able to take images at fast shutter speeds. This is particularly important if you usually take pictures of objects in motion, like flying birds or speeding cars. Camera with a slow shutter speed will make your images bloat out due to too much light reaching the sensors or due to camera shake, or even both. Again camera with slow shooter speed will require you to use a tripod to eliminate camera shake, unless if the camera has anti-shake technology. Shutter speeds of above 1 second are considered slow. A camera should support a shutter speed of at least 1/200 seconds. Typically, all high-quality cameras will have shutter speeds of up to 1/1000th seconds.

FPS

FPS is an acronym for frames per second, and it means the speed at which a camera can snap photos. Different types of cameras are capable of different fps. Compact action cameras tend to have the lowest FPS (mostly between 2 – 3), followed by DSLR (within the 3 – 5) ranges. Some cameras have FPS in double digits. As technology continues to evolve, faster fps cameras will enter the market. What all this means is the number of pictures your camera can take in a second.

frames per second fps

However, the speed at which a camera can shoot is not only dependent on fps. A host of other factors combine with the fps to increase or reduce the speed at which your camera takes photos. The factors include the time it takes the shutter/mirror mechanism to re-cock itself, the speed of the camera’s in-built memory. When you snap a picture, the camera first writes it to the buffer (the in-built memory) before transferring it over to the memory card. There could be a bottleneck in the process if your internal memory is not so fast enough to allow several photos written to it per second. Even the speed of your removable memory card has an effect on fps. for example, if your camera shoots at 14fps (meaning 14 pictures per second) and you put a slow removable memory card in it, the camera cannot clear the buffer fast enough to allow another image write to it. The buffer must transfer each picture to the external SD card to clear itself for another photo.

FPS is essential if you intend to engage in sports and wildlife photography. It can make all the difference when you try to capture that timely photo of a moving animal or some scene in sports.

Megapixel and Sensor Size

The misguided belief that megapixels have significantly worked to the advantage of camera manufacturers, allowing them to sell millions of cameras over the years. Well, the megapixel myth isn’t working so well anymore. Disappointed consumers who expected a high-quality photo from their double-digit megapixel cameras have wised up to the fact that a higher megapixel camera does not mean a higher picture quality than a lower megapixel camera. For example, because the camera “A” has a higher megapixel than camera “B” does not follow that “A” will produce a better picture than “B.” This can only be the case if the sensors of both cameras are equal, or the difference in sensor size isn’t much.

Megapixel and Sensor Size

Of course, megapixels are important for image quality. Megapixels simply measures the number of pixels that the camera has. Pixels are what the camera uses to create images. They are tiny boxes that collect light to form images. The more pixels in the same screen size, the sharper an image becomes, and vice versa. The number of pixels alone is not all that matters. The size of each pixel also contributes to image quality. For example, let’s assume both cameras “A” and “B” have 1 million pixels each, and the size of pixels in camera “B” is larger than that of the camera “A.” What happens is that the bigger pixel sizes of camera “B” will absorb more light than their small counterparts in camera “A,” letting the produce better images. More light means more details on the object being photographed. But to have larger pixel sizes means to have larger sensors capable of accommodating an acceptable number of pixels. Larger sensors, in turn, require more extensive camera construction. This is the reason why DSLR and mirrorless cameras a bigger than compact cameras, and although they might have small megapixels, they always produce far better images than compact ones.

Manufacturers use different conventions and measurements for sensor size. They may use inches, others use millimeters, and some use certain industry conventions. You should be able to read, interpret, and convert these measurements to know the sensor’s capability of the camera you are buying.

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras were designed primarily to minimize the bulkiness of DSLRs while offering the same or similar performance. Some mirrorless cameras today are so small that they can be mistaken for compact cameras. A mirrorless camera uses a small sensor than a traditional DSLR, but bigger than a compact camera. As a result, smaller lenses are used. With the small sizes comes a reduction in cost.

Sensor sizes commonly used in mirrorless cameras typically range from Micro Four Thirds to APS-C. The smaller ones include the 1/2.3-inch (6.17 x 4.55 mm), the 1-inch (12.8 x 9.6 mm), and the Micro Four Thirds 4/3-inch (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor. Some larger ones are the (22.2 x 14.8 mm) sensors, (23.5 x 15.6 mm), and the Full Frame (36 x 24 mm) sensors. With sensors sizes you will also see things like APS-H (27.90 X 18.60 mm), APS-C (canon) (22.20 X 14.80 mm), APS-C (23.60 X 15.60 mm), 1.5” (18.70 X 14.00 mm), 1” (12.80 X 9.60 mm), and more. If you ever get confused concerning the mm equivalent of a sensor size denoted in inches or other formats, consult this Wikipedia page, which has pretty much every sensor size listed. You must consider both two factors (megapixel and sensor-size) when buying a mirrorless underwater camera.

High Resolution Viewfinder

Go for the ones with higher resolution viewfinders, as this also has a direct effect on the quality of images you get. You should prefer viewfinders with at least 2.36 million dots. But depending on your budget and purpose, lower than 2.36 million dots can still do.

Sensor-Based Image Stabilization

Sensor-bases image stabilization is controversially better than the traditional image stabilization functions of a conventional camera. It gives you stabilization regardless of whether there is a built-in stabilization in the lens you are using or not. Sensor-based image stabilization also allows you to use older lenses released before the invention of sensor-based image stabilization technology.

Dual Memory Card Slots

Dual memory card slots are good for the security and convenience of file management. It allows you to continue shooting when one memory card fills up. You can also record the same data to both cards as security against one memory card getting corrupt. You can also decide the type of files each memory card stores, like one store’s RAW files while the other stores’ JPEGs.

Hybrid Autofocus

With Hybrid AF, you can better track moving objects when shooting video. This is very important for shooting flying or swimming subjects. The Hybrid AF combines two focusing technologies: contrast-detect AF and phase-detect AF. This allows you to benefit from the accuracy of the first and speed of the second. An underwater mirrorless camera that combines them is better than one that doesn’t.

LCD

Modern mirrorless cameras come with LCDs that let you control some functions of the camera and also see important information like battery life, exposure, the maximum number of images for your card. They are not a necessity but are essential.

Other features include tilting screens, eye detection, silent shooter, high-resolution mode, battery life, and more.

Conclusion

There is a personal factor to choosing a mirrorless camera. It is best to study all the features of a camera by visiting the product page on the manufacturer’s website as there is far more detailed information about the product than any review can give you. Select the best features in accordance with your photographing needs and consult e-commerce sites for consumer feedback on the product before you buy it.

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