Camera and Underwater Housing for Snorkeling Photography

A good compact camera is necessary but needn't be expensive

The least expensive compacts are OK to see if you like snorkeling photography but not for great pictures

I'm assuming as you are reading this, that you are beyond using disposable cameras.

Of course, what you want, can be done
with expensive, 'high-end' digital 4/3's or SLR' cameras in a purpose-built underwater housing.

Do you need the bulk and cost?
The higher end compact camera range is the 'sweet spot' for quality photos to print to canvas (ie good size), compactness and value for money.

You don't need to go 'expensive' but there are limits below which compact cameras lack essential features to be able to 'cut the mustard' for underwater shots.
Tall-fin batfish

The minimum needed:-
a) underwater housing specific to camera model
(gives access to all camera controls/ menus)
ie ability to use the zoom
ie control of, and access to, the flash
(sometimes want no, half or full - flash etc.)
b) white balance able to be sorted
RAW - easiest, best if camera offers it - go fo it
'custom white balance' - effective but repetitive
in-built 'white balance = underwater' setting - simpler but slightly less effective
c) a shade for the (LCD) screen
(essential but can buy separately)
Settings before getting in:-
a) shutter priority (rather than programme/ auto)
b) shutter speed = 1/250   (my choice)
c) white balance = 'underwater'
(don't confuse with underwater mode or scene)
d) ISO = 200   (my choice)
e) initially flash set to off
f) initially 'normal' rather than macro or super

Personnal preferences:-
g) colour set to 'vivid'
h) sharpness set plus 1
i) contrast set plus 1

Which camera for snorkeling
P1 of 11- Next -
Choice of underwater housing