Camera - List of Needs

What makes a camera suitable for snorkeling photography

Higher-end compacts hit the 'sweet spot' - quality of output, little bulk and relatively low cost

What is needed in your underwater camera specifically with snorkeling photography in mind?

1 - not too expensive (but too cheap is too basic and is a false economy)
2 - not too big and clunky or too complicated
3 - moderate zoom (you don't need a lot of zoom - 4x max?)
4 - camera deals with white balance
spacer - effective 'white balance = underwater' setting is best
spacer - one-click white balance setting also works but is more fiddly

Canon DC35 underwater housing
5a - a waterproof housing that gives easy access to all the controls (even with gloves on if in cold water)
spacer using the zoom and turning the flash on and off I find the most important
5b - housing to include access to manual controls if you outgrow auto (point and shoot)

  6 - a large sensor
  7 - a big aperture to let in loads of light (f1.8/ 2)
  8 - produces good, sharp pictures at a relatively high ISO
  9 - overall - a package of good optics, big sensor, big aperture and good ISO performance
10 - very little lag between pressing the 'shoot' button and the shot being taken
11 - a big, clear well lit viewing screen (LCD), and a shade for it
12 - little recharge time/ delay between shots so can take a 'burst'
13 - tracking autofocus (too often locks on and tracks a rock or a coral)
14 - RAW image capture as well as jpeg??? - (up to you, not essential)
Which camera for snorkeling
P7 of 11 - Next -
Why your camera needs these features