In the category of frequently asked questions, visitors to Maui ask ALOT about underwater photography. We cringe when asked about some cheap and risky options to use a cell phone to snap underwater pics and videos. Here’s our opinion of different solutions proposed, and a good option to get great underwater shots on a budget.
Can I snorkel with my bare phone?
While it is possible in theory to snorkel on the surface with a bare cellphone which has an IP68 water-resistance rating for 30 minutes or less, it is not recommended or supported by phone manufacturers. The risk of damage is high enough that either additional damage and loss protection should first be added to your device or a separate dedicated camera with a higher waterproof rating should be used instead.
How about a waterproof phone pouch?
Visitors on a budget are drawn to one-size-fits-all waterproof pouches that slide over a cell phone and seal the end. These are nice in the sense that they can fit a lot of different types and sizes of phones. However, they’re often tough to get good photos and video out of because the pouch material usually won’t sit snug against your phone’s camera lenses which easily makes for blurry or hazy shots. So, they don’t really suit the purpose.
Thoughts on an underwater case for my phone?
A case designed to fit over your specific phone model can work well if you use them correctly and follow all of the directions. This includes the maximum depth limits and amount of time you can spend in with the phone case in the water. The biggest downfall is the high risk of failure, flooding your phone with saltwater. There is usually one silicone gasket that seals the case. The tiniest grain of sand introduced with opening and closing the case before entering the ocean can mean impending disaster. There are also port seals that need to be covered.
Evaluating the risks
All of the above ideas put your expensive cell phone at risk. So, would you rather save a few bucks to risk destroying a cell phone worth several hundred dollars? For not too much more you can buy a decent quality underwater camera, and leave your phone secured on shore. Here are som top picks, starting around $80.
Best choice: An inexpensive underwater camera:
- #1: Best Seller & CHEAPEST: Akaso EK7000
- #2: Our TOP PICK: Akaso V50 Elite
- #3: Great Value Cheap Underwater Cam: Dragon Touch
- #4: Cheap Underwater Camera for Divers: Sealife Reefmaster RM-4K
- #5: Best Cheap Underwater Camera for Macro: Olympus Tough TG-6
- #6: Highest Quality Underwater Action Camera: GoPro Hero 9
- #7: Best Snorkeling Camera: Panasonic Lumix TS7
- #8: Extra Durable Underwater Camera: Nikon Coolpix W300
- #9: Cheapest Waterproof Cam: FuijiFilm Finepix XP140
Happy vacationing on Maui. And don’t forget to rinse the saltwater off the outside of your new underwater camera.