Guide to the best SLR cameras of 2021 for scuba diving

Although hybrid cameras are of excellent quality, the old standards are still resisting and have outstanding arguments to defend themselves and remain at the top in 2021.

Whether it is for the quality of the images (although the gap is gradually closing), the choice of lenses within your reach, or the speed of focus, SLRs are still a step above other cameras. They are still heavier and more massive and often more expensive, but the results are there.

There are many models available on the market but only two leading brands, i.e. Nikon and Canon. It is essential to check the compatible lenses according to your desires. It is crucial to choose the right lenses with all these choices because they will make the biggest difference, unlike the camera body, which will not be a determining factor.

As for hybrid cameras, you will also have to choose between a full-frame or an APS-C camera. We can apply the same rule as for the latter to determine which is more suitable. Most people will be happy with an APS-C sensor. Still, suppose budget and size are not the determining factors, and you want the best quality. In that case, a full-frame camera is a better option.

As a rule, APS-C is better for macro and wide-angle photography, while the full-frame is a beast in low light, has a wider dynamic range, and improved focus

So what are the best options available to you when purchasing an SLR camera?

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Best SLR cameras

Nikon D850









The Nikon D850 is undoubtedly one of the best cameras since its release. Thanks to its fast focus and extraordinary definition, the most demanding photographers will be satisfied.

Moreover, due to the success of this camera, many perfect waterproof housings are available.

The Nikon D850 hides a lot of technical features under its hood like:

  • A 45.7 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Basic ISO of 64, with an outstanding dynamic range.
  • Focusing has been imported from the D5 with improved speed. Subject tracking is also better, even in low light.
  • Can shoot in 4K at 30fps
  • Increased burst mode and buffer memory


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Nikon D780









A perfect blend of SLR and hybrid technologies, the D780 features live view phase-detection focusing, which will delight underwater photographers who have been looking forward to this feature. Lighter in price, the Nikon D780 is one of the most innovative models of recent years.

Videographers are not forgotten either with the D780, which is Nikon’s most powerful model for filming. This makes it an excellent, if not the best, value in all areas for full-frame cameras, and it will follow you on all your adventures on or underwater.

There are still few housings available, but all the major brands will soon be on the market.

Here is a small summary of its main technical characteristics:

  • BSI CMOS 24.5MP sensor
  • ISO 100-51,200
  • Burst mode between 7fps (viewfinder) and 12fps (live view)
  • Shutter speed between 1/8000 and 900sec
  • Phase detection focusing system in live view
  • 4K video at 30fps
  • Improved screen and battery life

Best SLR cameras for video

Canon 5D Mark IV

5d mark iv







As in all fields dominated by two big names, each photographer defends his parish. Even though the D850 gets the majority as the best camera, the Canon 5D Mark IV is the video champion. Moreover, it is still very good at taking pictures and will not limit you in any way.

Some of the lenses Canon offers are excellent, especially those for wide-angle photography. Here are two perfect lenses:

  • Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens for wide angles
  • Canon 11-24mm wide-angle rectilinear

Just like other cameras, there are many housings for the Canon 5D Mark IV.

  • Higher bit rate than other cameras for better quality.
  • Dual Pixel Focusing
  • The highest dynamic range of Canon SLRs
  • High ISO performance

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Best APS-C SLR cameras

Nikon D500









At the top of Nikon’s APS-C camera lineup, the D500 is a favorite among photographers. In the line of the D850, it has the same focusing system and 4K video but for a much lower price. Its 10fps burst mode and its low light performance make it the king of APS-C.

As for the other cameras, the housings of the major brands are available.

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Best value by brand

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

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Thanks to the possible housing and lens combinations, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 offers incredible quality for a reasonable price. The Tokina 10-17mm combo and the proper housing give you great images within budget. No other camera offers this possibility for this amount of money.

The camera is relatively compact and light but has an APS-C sensor of 24MP and has other Canon cameras, the Dual Pixel system.

For quality and a reasonable price, this camera is a severe competitor.

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Nikon D7500

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The Nikon D7500 is an excellent performer for a mid-range camera. Although it doesn’t have as many features as the D500, it still has the same 21.5MP APS-C sensor and the same raw image quality. Its focusing system is precise and fast.

It is an all-terrain model that will satisfy you on land and underwater.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about underwater cameras.

Whether you are a beginner, amateur, or very experienced, you can join us at Dragon Dive Komodo and discover the wonderful Komodo National Park and all its opportunities to take the perfect shot.

See you soon