Whether a professional underwater photographer or a recreational diver who just loves to capture nature’s beauty, underwater lenses for photography are a must-have in your diving camera kit. No matter how great your camera is, to capture the vastly different life forms and scenery, underwater, you’ll need a way to adjust your camera’s view, and this is the work of your underwater lens for photography. This guide will give you an in-depth look at the most appropriate lenses for underwater use.
Best Lenses for Underwater Swimming
This section comprises our top five underwater lenses for photography on the market and the features that make them stand out.
This fisheye lens from Sigma with a large F2.8 aperture performs excellently even in low-light conditions, giving full-frame sharpness to blurred and distorted images within your camera’s field of view. With acute perspectives that are invisible to the human eye, this product lets you capture truly remarkable images.
- The fisheye lens offers up to 180-degree field of view.
- Multilayered lens coating to minimize ghosting and flare.
- Digitally optimized auto-focus lens is great in low light settings
The Sony FE macro lens is an ideal fit for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras. It’s got a dust and water-resistant construction, coupled with a maximum aperture of F2.8 for bright, clear pictures in poor lightings. Nano lens coating also helps reduce UV light and solves the problem of blue tints in images.
- The multi-coated lens helps reduce flare and reflection.
- Rugged, hefty dust and water-resistant design.
- Top-notch image stabilization capabilities.
The EF 100mm macro lens possesses an accurate 1:1 magnification ratio, meaning objects in real life appear in the same size when viewed through your image sensor. With Canon’s impressive image stabilization and unrivaled optics, the result is stunning portraits and the best filmmaking experience you’ve ever had with a camera, above or below sea level.
- Life-size optics without the use of an adapter.
- 100mm focal length and F2.8 maximum aperture.
- Equipped with Canon’s praiseworthy Hybrid Image Stabilization technology.
These non-zoomable diagonal NIKKOR fisheye lenses from Nikon are extremely wide-angle with 180 viewing and minimum focus distance of 0.85ft. The large and responsive f/2.8 maximum aperture ensures your images come out mellifluous and clear, especially in dim lighting. The high-quality lens coating provides proper color balance for your shots.
- Close-range Correction for both near and far focusing distances.
- Super-integrated lens coating to reduce flare and ghosting.
- Full-frame fisheye lens with 180-degree field of view.
The Vario-Tessar E-Mount lens from Sony is an expensive model with high-end specs. It is more suited to heavy and professional use in terrestrial or aquatic environments. The 16-35mm wide-angle lens offers an appreciable zoom range with Sony’s amazing image stabilization technology, resulting in refined optics and astounding image clarity. The constant aperture means you only have to worry about capturing your target and even after zooming, exposure settings and depth of field remain unaltered.
- 0 maximum aperture.
- Triple ED glass elements to control chromatic distortion.
- Dust and water-resistant with built-in OSS image stabilization.
Lenses for Underwater Photography Buying Guide
Lenses for underwater photography are an essential part of any diver who has a flair for photography. They work with your diving camera to enable you to capture and keep all the beauty and magic of the deep blue, frozen in time.
Our buying guide reviews the best lenses for underwater photography on the market based on their specified features and customer feedback to give you the best options to choose from. We then take it a step further and outline the deciding factors you want to consider when scouting for a lens for underwater photography before you make a purchase.
The first consideration you want to make is the type of camera you will be using the lenses with. Action cameras like GoPros don’t work with external lenses and are somewhat limited in versatility. Compacts, are a step ahead of action cameras and come with built-in lenses. Like action cameras, they are also limited in their applications but support wet lenses. This gives them an edge over action cameras as the wet lenses are easily switchable even underwater.
Mirrorless and DSLR cameras are the go-to cameras for professional underwater photographers and pack the most punch in image and video quality, and versatility. They are way more expensive than action cameras and compacts but support a wide variety of switchable lenses.
Lenses for underwater photography are classed as rectilinear wide-angle lenses, macro lenses, and fisheye lenses. Rectilinear wide-angle lenses are great for capturing images over a wide-angle or field of view and will come into focus from good distances away.
Fisheye lenses are a very popular choice among underwater photographers and are a type of wide-angle lenses that allows close-up shots of marine life.
Macro lenses are great for capturing very close subjects or tiny marine life.
Lenses for underwater photography like cameras, come in widely varying price ranges. From cheap to high-end products, there is a lens for just about any diver who wants to take good pictures underwater. Intuitively, you want to get the best value for your money. The higher-end, pricier lenses for underwater photography boast of brighter, crisper images, and have larger apertures.
Image Stabilization is another great feature some lenses but these come with an even higher price tag. It is also a great idea to look for lenses with color correction filters that compensate for the diminishing light components with depth.
In general, cheap lenses are great for beginner or recreational divers while professional underwater photography will require pricier, higher quality lenses.
Another important parameter to consider when shopping for a lens for underwater photography is its focal length. The focal length, in simple terms, measures how much zoom you’ll get. The shorter the focal length, the wider the field of view and the less magnified the subject will be. The longer the focal length, the smaller the field of view and the more magnified the subject will be.
Lenses for underwater photography come as either fixed lenses (prime lenses) or zoom lenses (variable lenses). Fixed lenses, have a fixed focal length and are cannot zoom into the subject. They generate brighter, sharper images. For any adjustments, however, you will have to physically move the camera.
Zoom lenses allow you to change the focal length, and thus, zoom in or out of the captured subject. These give great versatility for different subject distances.