Taking underwater photos with a phone has become an exciting field. Waterproof phones are increasingly in demand by photographers, adventurers, and enthusiasts looking to document the fascinating world underwater.
From innovative camera technology that captures the vibrant hues of underwater life to rugged build quality that ensures protection from moisture, these phones push the boundaries to deliver unparalleled performance even in challenging aquatic environments.
This comprehensive guide highlights each device’s key specifications and features and details their unique features when photographing underwater.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiast looking to capture the beauty of underwater landscapes, this guide will help you decide and choose a waterproof phone that matches your vision and passion.
- 1 Best Phone for Taking Underwater Photos in 2024
- 2 1. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (2024)
- 3 2. Blackview BV8900
- 4 3. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
- 5 4. OnePlus 11 5G
- 6 5. iPhone 15 Pro Max
- 7 6. Nokia XR21
- 8 7. Xiaomi 13 Pro
- 9 8. Google Pixel 8 Pro
- 10 9. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
- 11 10. OnePlus 10 Pro
- 12 How to find the perfect waterproof phone?
- 13 Conclusion
- 14 Frequently Asked Questions
- 14.1 Which smartphones are completely waterproof?
- 14.2 When does a smartphone become waterproof?
- 14.3 What are the advantages of smartphones for underwater shooting?
- 14.4 What is the difference between IP67 and IP68?
- 14.5 Can I use my smartphone camera in seawater?
- 14.6 Will my phone be damaged if I submerge it in the sea?
- 14.7 How effective are waterproof phones for underwater photography?
- 14.8 What features does a waterproof phone have for underwater photography?
Best Phone for Taking Underwater Photos in 2024
In this article, we’ve handpicked the ten best waterproof phones that are durable and offer an excellent underwater photography experience in 2024.
1. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (2024)
The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a nearly perfect IP rating. Using the exciting Super HDR and ProVisual Engine features to take great underwater photos and videos is safe. The S24 Ultra’s primary camera is equally impressive and boasts a 200MP ISOCELL HP2SX sensor.
Enhancements extend to 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP 3X telephoto lenses, providing a wide range of optical ranges from 0.6x ultra-wide to 10x telephoto field of view.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s camera setup represents a giant leap forward over the S23, especially in its telephoto capabilities. Samsung has launched a powerful 50MP 5X periscope telephoto lens, a “downgrade” from the previous 10MP 10X model.
This innovation furthers Samsung’s pioneering spirit in smartphone photography before the launch of the iPhone 15 Pro’s giant periscope.
It may seem like a step back initially, but Samsung’s switch from a 10x to a 5x lens is based on user feedback and behavior. Data shows that most Galaxy Ultra users prefer shooting in the 5x zoom range.
It is therefore practical to improve the quality of this range. Moreover, Samsung claims that over 5x zoom will be powered by AI technology.
Samsung Galaxy S24 has an IP68 water resistance rating. This means it is certified to withstand immersion in fresh water up to 1.5m deep for up to 30 minutes. Additionally, the S Pen’s dust and water resistance are not permanent and may become so over time.
The star of the series, the Galaxy S24 Ultra, shines brightly (literally) with a 6.8-inch QHD+ display and is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor.
Also offering storage options of 1TB, 512GB, or 256GB along with a powerful 5,000mAh battery, it’s a photographer’s dream.
The overall design mirrors the S23 Ultra, but the refinement of the details, with more rounded edges and a textured grip that allows for a one-handed grip, may make the difference.
2. Blackview BV8900
The Blackview BV8900 rugged phone is the ultimate smartphone for professionals and enthusiasts who need a device that can withstand the most challenging conditions. With IP68/IP69K and MIL-STD-810H ratings, the BV8900 is water, dust, and shock resistant.
With underwater camera mode, you can explore the fantastic underwater world with the powerful Blackview BV9900 phone, which can take amazing underwater photos up to 1.5 meters deep. There are no compromises when it comes to outdoor entertainment.
It has a FLIR Lepton thermal imaging camera with 4x spatial zoom to detect hot and cold spots. The Blackview BV8900 features a triple camera setup at the back featuring a 64MP bright ISO and OIS + 5MP rear camera with thermal imaging support.
The 16 MP front camera with PDAF technology lets you focus on your beauty. In addition to Google Lens, Pro Mode, Mono Mode, and beautiful 4K video recording, it is supported by ArcSoft 4.0 to enhance HDR Mode, Beauty Mode, Portrait Mode, Night Mode, and Panorama Mode.
The BV8900 also features a powerful Helio P90 processor, 16GB RAM, and 256GB storage to run even the most demanding apps without lag. BV8900 has a 10000mAh solid-state battery for better efficiency and longer lifespan.
33W fast charging lasts 45.5 days in standby mode after just 2.5 hours of charging. By supporting USB 3.0, the reverse charging speed is doubled, and the data transfer speed is ten times faster.
The 6.5-inch 2.4K display is bright and clear even under direct sunlight. The resolution is 1080×2400, covered with Gorilla Glass 7 tempered glass.
Upgraded from Android 12 to Android 13, Blackview BV8900 now features the new DokeOS 3.1. This gives users more privacy, individuality, convenience, and fluency options.
If you’re a construction worker, firefighter, or just someone who loves the outdoors, such as taking underwater photos, the Blackview BV8900 phone is the perfect smartphone.
3. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a powerful, feature-rich, water-resistant phone with a triple-lens camera system that includes a 108MP primary lens, a 48MP telephoto lens, and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, allowing you to take stunning photos and videos on land and underwater. The phone has an IP68 rating, making it water resistant up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is undoubtedly the best phone in the waterproof category. It boasts a stunning 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz for an immersive viewing experience.
Under the hood, it is powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and coupled with 12GB RAM and 512GB internal storage, it is one of the most powerful smartphones in the market.
It also supports 5G connectivity, is equipped with a large 5000mAh battery, and supports fast wireless charging. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a top-of-the-line waterproof phone with top features and performance.
4. OnePlus 11 5G
The OnePlus 11 5G boasts a powerful camera setup, including a 50MP primary sensor with OIS support, a 48MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 32MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, ensuring great photo versatility making it the best choice of 2024.
Various camera modes and a 6.7-inch AMOLED QHD display with a high refresh rate meet diverse creative needs. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 16GB RAM, and 256GB storage ensure smooth performance. 100W supervooc charging function ensures quick power replenishment.
5. iPhone 15 Pro Max
Apple has taken the iPhone’s water resistance further than its competitors. The iPhone 15 Pro Max can stay submerged in six meters of water for up to 30 minutes and has the highest IP68 rating of any smartphone released in 2024.
Thanks to Apple’s new A17 Pro chip, this smartphone was the first designed to handle console-quality games, and its new titanium design makes it lighter than ever. You also get the excellent iPhone Pro camera system, which has been improved with 5x optical zoom this year. Finally, Apple has abandoned its proprietary Lightning port and embraced the welcome weapon of USB-C.
iPhone 5 Pro Max is the best choice for those looking for a phone for taking underwater photos with the best environmental protection without sacrificing performance. It’s hard to argue with a device that offers four times the water resistance of Android flagships.
6. Nokia XR21
Nokia’s XR21 is a rugged, affordable smartphone that can take you on all of life’s adventures without too much worry, as it’s rated MIL-STD-810H and IP69K, meaning it’s protected from anything nature can throw at it.
Thanks to Gorilla Glass Victus on the screen and camera lens, the XR21 can withstand drops from up to 1.8 meters, and its IP69K dust and water resistance is the highest possible IP number. It can run water for up to 60 minutes but also handle powerful, hot water jets that spray continuously for at least 3 minutes.
That means you don’t have to worry about waterskiing or whitewater rafting. Of course, this level of robustness comes with some compromises. Notably, the XR21 is powered by the older Snapdragon 695 chip, so you shouldn’t expect strong performance.
Nokia has also cleverly designed the screen to be usable with wet hands and gloves, but it only has a maximum brightness of 550 nits, making it difficult to read on bright sunny days.
Still, the 120Hz refresh rate is a nice touch for a phone in this price range, and the dual 64MP and 8MP central/ultra-wide camera systems boast dual flash and night mode support.
And with 33W fast charging and 2-day battery life, you can keep using it in the field. Nokia also promises three years of Android updates and four years of security updates.
7. Xiaomi 13 Pro
Xiaomi 13 Pro is a waterproof phone designed to capture amazing photos and videos underwater. The IP68 rating means it is dust-resistant and can withstand submersion in water up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes.
This feature makes it an ideal choice for those who love taking photos or videos underwater. In addition to being water-resistant, the Xiaomi 13 Pro also features a triple-lens camera system on the back. Equipped with a 108MP primary lens, 13MP ultra-wide lens, and 5MP macro lens, you can take great photos and videos on land and underwater.
It is one of the best value for money among the waterproof phones listed in this article. It has an impressive 120Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 870 chipset, and 5G connectivity. The Xiaomi 13 Pro delivers flagship-level performance at a mid-range price point.
It’s also equipped with a large 4500mAh battery that supports 67W fast charging so that it can last all day and give you a quick charge when needed.
8. Google Pixel 8 Pro
The Pixel 8 Pro is an excellent phone for anyone who wants to take the best photos without hassle. The Pixel 8 Pro should be able to cover more than the typical 1 meter in 30 minutes, but we can’t say how much further Google has gone here. It’s likely to be at least the same as Samsung’s 1.5-meter certification, but we’re not sure.
Either way, the IP68 rating ensures it can withstand everyday splashes. This is good enough for us, considering how good every other aspect of the phone is, too.
This is thanks to the powerful computational photography and AI capabilities Google has built into its new Tensor G3 chip. This chip enhances every photo you take and lets you use new tools afterward. Remove or even move objects from your photos to seamlessly fill the space left behind.
Google’s unprecedented promise of seven years of updates will ensure you can keep using it until Android 21 appears.
Overall, the 8 Pro is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a waterproof phone that offers excellent value for money.
9. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
The Redmi Note 10 Pro has an IP rating of IP53, which means it is protected from dust and can withstand water splashes and light rain. It also has Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the screen and a silicone case with a cover cap for the USB port for better protection.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro is powered by MIUI 12 based on Android 11. Apart from this, the phone has a 6.67-inch Full HD Plus Super AMOLED display that also supports HDR-10 and has a brightness of 1200 nits.
The phone has a Snapdragon 732G processor, Adreno 618 GPU for graphics, up to 8GB LPDDR4x RAM, and up to 128GB storage.
10. OnePlus 10 Pro
The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is a premium waterproof phone with a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with an impressive 120Hz refresh rate. Equipped with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 12GB RAM, and up to 256GB internal storage, it delivers exceptional performance and speed.
The rear features a quad-lens camera system with a 64MP primary lens, 50MP ultra-wide-angle lens, 8MP telephoto lens, and 2MP monochrome lens to capture stunning photos and videos on land and underwater.
The phone has an IP68 rating, making it water resistant up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes.
How to find the perfect waterproof phone?
There are several factors to consider when choosing the best underwater housing for your smartphone. It would be best to ensure the housing is made of durable materials that can withstand pressure and seawater up to 100 meters (328 feet) deep, has shock and vibration absorption capabilities, and has air-filled chambers to increase buoyancy.
The best underwater smartphone housing has features like user-friendly controls, compatibility, and more. It should be available for a variety of smartphone models.
Lens quality should also be considered. This is important because a photo will look good depending on the quality of the lens used to take it. Look for housings that use high-quality lenses that have minimal distortion and provide sharp images.
There are several factors to consider when looking for the perfect waterproof phone.
1. It is essential to consider your phone’s IP rating: This indicates the water and dust resistance of the phone. Phones with higher IP ratings are more resistant to water and dust, making them ideal for users, often in wet or dusty environments.
It’s also important to consider your phone’s specifications, including display, processor, RAM, and storage. A high-quality display makes your phone easy to use and provides a great viewing experience.
On the other hand, a powerful processor, ample RAM, and ample storage space ensure the phone can handle all your apps and multitasking needs.
2. Consider camera quality: Many people use their smartphones as their primary camera, so choosing a phone with a camera that suits your needs is essential.
Phones with high-resolution cameras and additional ultra-wide or telephoto lenses can deliver excellent photo and video quality.
If you’re interested in underwater photography, you’ll be better off purchasing a flagship smartphone. However, if you’re on a tight budget and want to take pictures and share them on social media, you may want to consider a budget smartphone. Whatever your budget, we have listed the eight best waterproof smartphones with good cameras at every price point.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which smartphones are completely waterproof?
With an IP68 rating, the smartphone is fully waterproof and tested in up to 3 meters of fresh water. But be careful. Your device may be damaged if kept in water for too long. Read about saltwater performance here.
The following paragraphs will discuss Ingress Protection (IP) numbers in more detail. Before buying a waterproof smartphone camera, you might want to know the difference between IP67 and IP68.
When does a smartphone become waterproof?
A smartphone’s water-repellent and waterproof level is expressed by its IP number. Ingress Protection is a level of protection that protects your smartphone from water and dust. The first indicates the smartphone’s dust resistance (0 to 6), and the second shows the device’s water resistance (0 to 8). Here, 8 means completely waterproof.
What are the advantages of smartphones for underwater shooting?
Smartphones are the future of camera technology, and taking underwater photos with a smartphone is the best option with a limited budget.
Smartphone housings are relatively inexpensive and primarily common. If you want to take photos to share on social media, a smartphone can save you the extra step of downloading and editing photos. Edit directly on your phone and send immediately from your phone.
What is the difference between IP67 and IP68?
If you buy a new waterproof smartphone, it will likely have an IP rating of 67 or 68. In both cases, the phones are water-resistant, so you can submerge the devices in water without hesitation. The difference between the two IP numbers is the immersion depth and duration.
IP 67 means the smartphone is water resistant up to 1 meter. Going deeper won’t immediately break your phone, but the water pressure may damage it. Phones rated 67 have been tested underwater for 30 minutes at depths of up to 1 meter.
IP68 means the camera phone can be submerged in water indefinitely (or at least while you have to look for your lost phone at the bottom of a large swimming pool). If your smartphone has IP68 certification, the manufacturer has tested it in a maximum water depth of 3 meters.
Can I use my smartphone camera in seawater?
IP68 rating has been tested in freshwater, not saltwater. Therefore, smartphones with an IP67 or IP68 rating should not be used in the sea or other liquids. However, you can use other tricks to make your smartphone usable at sea, with or without a proper IP rating.
Will my phone be damaged if I submerge it in the sea?
A device with an IP rating of 67 or 68 will not necessarily be damaged if it falls into the ocean. Immediately remove it from the salt water, rinse it with clean water, and dry it with a soft towel. Your smartphone is most likely fine! Before taking a new image, clean the camera lens with a microfiber cloth.
How effective are waterproof phones for underwater photography?
The effectiveness of a waterproof phone for underwater photography depends on the phone’s waterproof performance and camera quality. High-end models are generally more effective than low-end ones, but mid-range models can produce good results.
What features does a waterproof phone have for underwater photography?
A waterproof phone for underwater photography should be highly rated and have a good camera with manual controls, preferably a wide-angle lens. Some models offer underwater shooting modes, image stabilization, and RAW capture.
What is the maximum depth a waterproof phone can withstand?
The maximum depth a waterproof phone can withstand varies depending on the model, but most high-end models can withstand depths of up to 10 meters or more. It’s essential to check the specifications of your specific phone to determine its depth rating.