Alchemy partner Daan Verhoeven, the go to guy for all things underwater freediving photography, was recently featured at the Freedive Cafe podcast. One of the questions which popped up, was his opinion on the best underwater camera under $1000.
"If you stick just underneath the surface, you can just take good pictures with your phone and instantly edit them on there, which is a nice thing to do. If you have a bit of a budget, buy a case for your phone, i’d say. The phone might be a tiny sensor but computational photography is getting better and better, so i’m a big fan of phones and i’ve seen pretty good videos as well. They are really quite good.
When it comes to action cameras, it depends on what you want. If you are after video, Go Pro used to be the best but these days i’ve been filming more and more with Insta 360 ONE R, which has an one inch sensor, it is a bigger sensor than normal action cams have. You can tell the difference. The Go Pro is easier and looks better but the Insta - if you start editing that footage - it gives you more room to play and i think you can get a better result eventually. The photos are also better because the pixels have more room. With Go Pro, when you zoom in, it gets dirty quite quickly where Insta doesn’t have that problem. So, for an action camera, i’d say get the Insta 360 ONE R but be prepared to edit.
If you have 1k budget i’d go for a SONY RX100, probably the 4, or get a second hand 5, but the 3 is very good as well. It’s a good compact camera with an 1inch sensor and you can get a housing for it too in that budget. Then you have a really good set up and you can take professional shots with. It is a compact camera but you can tell it exactly what to do, there’s a lot of manual controls in there. I would work with a camera like that and be happy".