Underwater Smartphone Photography
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Which Smartphone is Best for Underwater Photography

Although many smartphone manufacturers claim that their devices are waterproof, it does not necessarily mean you can take stunning underwater pictures without ruining your camera. We have done some research and came up with our top 3 best smartphones for underwater photography. And we will give you several tips to use your current mobile underwater.

The best smartphone for underwater photography at the moment is the One Plus 8 Pro because of its waterproof IP68 license, large screen, competitive pricing, and good quality photographs. 

As you can see, the days of bulky and rugged underwater smartphone cameras are over. Nowadays, you can choose any sleek device with a waterproof certificate to take on your holidays to the beach. With our top 4, you can’t go wrong! 

  1. One Plus 8 Pro Cheapest waterproof phone IP68
  2. Apple iPhone 12 (all variations) Top range waterproof iOS phone IP68
  3. Samsung Galaxy S20 (all variation) Top range waterproof Android phone IP68
  4. Apple iPhone SE (2020) Most affordable water-resistant phone IP67

One Plus 8 Pro

One Plus 8 Pro Best Camera for Underwater Photography

The One Plus 9 Pro is rated IP68, which means it can be submerged in 5 feet of water (1.5 meters) for 30 minutes. Here is what One Plus says about the test: “Tested under controlled laboratory conditions IEC 60529 with an IP68 rating. Resistance to water and dust may decrease with age.”

The sizeable 6.78-inch Quad HD screen has a refresh rate of 120 frames per second. That’s a very smooth experience while taking images en shooting videos. 

You can take stunning images with a 48MP primary camera, a 48MP wide-angle lens, and an 8MP telephoto lens. The 8GB of RAM and a powerful Snapdragon 865 processor make it very easy for you to use third-party camera apps and editing software. When you think it can’t get any better for this price, you will also find a 4,510 mAh battery that can last a very long time and is quickly recharged with the included Warp Charge 30 charger.

The One Plus 8 Pro is a wallet-friendly option compared to the iPhone 12 and Galaxy S20 range from Apple and Samsung. At the moment, it isn’t easy to find the One Plus 8 Pro on Amazon, but we found an affordable solution on Banggood.com 


Which smartphone is fully waterproof?

Smartphones with an IP68 are fully waterproof and tested in a maximum of 3 meters of freshwater. Be careful, though; the device can still get damaged when held underwater for too long. Read about saltwater performance here.

We will explain more about the Ingress Protection (IP) numbers in the next paragraph. You will want to know the difference between IP67 and IP68 before buying a waterproof smartphone camera. 

When is a smartphone water-resistant or waterproof?

The degree to which a smartphone is water-repellent or waterproof is expressed in an IP number. Ingress Protection is the degree of protection in which your smartphone is protected from water and dust. The first number indicates to what extent a smartphone is dustproof (between 0 and 6), and the second number tells you how water-resistant a device is (between 0 and 8). In which 8 means completely waterproof.

IP68 Rapting for Smartphones

What is the difference between IP67 and IP68?

If you buy a new waterproof smartphone, chances are it has an IP rating of 67 or 68. In both cases, your phone is waterproof, and you can submerge the device without hesitation. The difference between the two IP numbers is the depth and duration of the immersion. 

IP 67 means your smartphone is waterproof up to 1 meter in depth. Your phone will not break right away when you go slightly deeper, but the water pressure can damage your device. At a 67 rating, the phone is tested underwater for 30 minutes at a maximum of 1 meter

IP68 means your camera phone can be submerged indefinitely (or at least as long as you need to find your lost phone on the bottom of a large swimming pool.) If the smartphone has an IP68 certification, the manufacturer tested it to a maximum depth of 3 meters. If your phone is in an extremely deep pool or another water source, the water can still damage the device over time. Check the description of your phone’s manufacturer to see what the maximum depth is for your device. 

Please be aware: the manufacturer of your phone does not cover water damage. Please be sensible about using your smartphone in water. 

Salt Water Smartphone

Can I use my smartphone camera in saltwater?

The IP68 rating is tested in freshwater and not saltwater. Therefore, you should not use your smartphone with an IP67 or IP68 rating in the ocean or any other liquids. 

However, you can use other tricks to make your smartphone with or without the proper IP rating usable in the ocean. 

Is my cellphone damaged after dipping in the ocean?

If your device with an IP rating of 67 or 68 drops into the ocean, it does not necessarily mean it is ruined.

Take it out of the saltwater as quickly as possible, rinse it in freshwater, and dry it with a soft towel. There’s a good chance your smartphone is fine!

Clean the lenses of your camera thoroughly with a microfiber cloth before taking any new images.

Rinse Smartphone in fresh water

How can I make my smartphone waterproof?

You do not have to buy yourself an expensive new phone with an IP67 or IP68 rating to create underwater images. There are many affordable accessories to create a waterproof buffer between your smartphone and the water source. 

Here are two very affordable options:

  1. Underwater Pouch
  2. Hardshell case

Be aware of this so-called solution

Waterproof Smartphone Camera

Underwater pouch for smartphones

The cheapest option for underwater photography

An underwater pouch for smartphone photography is an inexpensive option to turn your device into an underwater camera. You can pick up our favorite Joto Universal Waterproof Pouch for around $9.99 on Amazon. This pouch will fit almost all smartphones with or without other protective cases. 

The pouch will not only protect your precious device from water but from sand and dust as well. Your touchscreen even works while using underwater. 

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Waterproof up to several meters
  • Most phones fit without removing a protective case
  • Wrist band/lanyard to keep the device close to you
  • Simple snap and lock access to the pouch
  • Suitable for snorkeling, canoeing, swimming
  • The touchscreen works underwater

Cons

  • Not suitable for scuba diving
  • Compatible for devices up to 6.9″ (diagonal)
  • It does not float (add a marine key bobber or similar to the strap)
  • Face recognition and fingerprint scanner do not work
  • It will not create the same quality images without a case

Hardshell case for cellphones

A very safe solution in an unbreakable case

There are many different hardshell cases for smartphones on the market. But this one from Willbox is pretty awesome because of its durability, safety, and price. You can use it up to 50 feet (15 meters) of water, and it has an IPX8 standard waterproof level. You can use the primary camera lenses on the back of your phone and the selfie camera. 

It has a phonograph steady point to use on a tripod or monopod with a universal receptacle. Pretty convenient if you want to capture a selfie with the marine life you encounter on your diving and snorkeling adventures. You can even use it in the snow while skiing or during any other outdoor activity on or in the water.

The shutter control button is connected to the volume up button on your phone. Make sure you follow the setup instructions that are included. One important thing to remember is to turn on your camera app before putting it in a hardshell case and to make sure to remove your auto-lock. 

Pros

  • Affordable solution
  • Very sturdy
  • Usable on tripod
  • Allround protective case
  • Wrist lanyard
  • Suitable for snorkeling, canoeing, swimming, and diving 

Cons

  • It will not create the same quality images without a case
  • It does not float (add a marine key bobber or similar to the strap)

Nano coating for camera phones

Some people claim that you can make your smartphone water-resistant (not waterproof) with a nano coat. Although we haven’t tried it ourselves, we do NOT recommend using it. You will have to apply it thoroughly, and still, things can go wrong. 

What else can I use to improve my Underwater Photography?

You should use one essential accessory while taking underwater images taken with a smartphone while scuba diving or snorkeling:

Underwater strobe

Use a strobe while photographing fish and other marine life. Strobes can significantly improve your underwater photographs. It helps introduce more light to the scene, which helps bring out your subject’s true colors and reduce the green and blue wavelengths that dominate most underwater images. 

An underwater strobe can also help freeze motion and enable a higher shutter speed from your smartphone camera, which comes in handy with fast marine life. These waterproof devices for underwater photography do not come cheap, but they will definitely enhance your images significantly if you are serious about underwater photography. 


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