The Best Cameras For Surf Photography In 2023 (For Every Skill Level)
Looking for the best cameras for surf photography in 2023? Here’s my top pick, for professional-level photography:
Sony A1 Mirrorless is one of the newest and best mirrorless cameras on the market, and it’s excellent for surf photography.
Shoot with the Sony A1 Mirrorless
Buy the camera that’s winning awards and is called “the perfect camera” by reviewers! Why? Because it’s 8x faster than its predecessor, has 50.1 MP full-frame resolution and up to 30 FPS shooting.
There are many more fantastic options for the best cameras for surf photography for beginner, intermediate and pro levels. In this article, I’m sharing the top picks for each photography level for DSLR, Mirrorless and Action cameras, with alternatives listed.
Why would you want alternatives and all these options? Once you pick a brand, it’s easiest to stick with that brand because you can buy lenses that work with your camera and use them as you upgrade and add on.
If you switch brands, you’ll most likely have to buy new lenses, or you may be able to purchase an adaptor.
A quick note about action cameras: I’m recommending different GoPros for each level, because even though there are other brands out there, GoPro has ruled the game for years.
I used to own a Sony action camera and used it on archaeological digs. One year the dust and sand got to it and I tried to get it fixed, but everyone only had parts for GoPro… so this is why I’m recommending GoPro as an investment for surf photography!
Beyond top picks, pros and cons and alternatives, you’ll find accessories for surf photography, tips and more things you’ll need to protect your camera and up your game!
So, let’s get to it!
🏄♀️ The Best Cameras For Surf Photography for Professional-Level
Here are the best professional-level cameras for surf photography: DSLR, Mirrorless and Action Camera:
📸 Pro DSLR: Canon 1DX Mark III
For the best DSLR camera for pro surf photography, the Canon 1DX Mark III is the favorite and is considered industry standard.
Pros – Canon 1DX Mark III
✔️ 20.1 MP Resolution with Megapixel Full-frame CMOS sensor
✔️ New 191-point AF System can track subject’s head and face with deep learning technology
✔️ ISO range of 100-102400, expandable 50-819200
✔️ Fast and accurate Auto Focus with 3869 Manual AF and up to 525 Automatic Positions
✔️ Continuous shooting speeds of up to 16 FPS
✔️ Un-cropped 4K 60p Video with audio output and option to shoot 5.5K RAW or 10-bit video
✔️ Built-in WiFi, a first in this camera series
Cons – Canon 1DX Mark III
✔️ A bit heavy
✔️ Sensor is smaller than Sony A9 II
✔️ No image stabilization
✔️ No tilting LCD screen
Specs – Canon 1DX Mark III
Weight: 2.76 lbs
Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.9 x 7.8 in
Memory cards: 2 memory card slots
Connectivity: 3.5mm audio, Ethernet, Mini HDMI, USB
📷 Shoot with the Canon 1DX Mark III DSLR
📸 Pro Mirrorless: Sony A1
The Sony A1 is the best camera for surf photography overall. It has a high price tag, but the rave reviews prove that to those who want a perfect (or near-perfect) award-winning camera, it’s well worth it.
Pros – Sony A1
✔️ 50.1 MP Full-frame resolution
✔️ Up to 30 FPS shooting with world’s first 240 FPS refresh rate and range of selectable continuous shooting speeds (20, 15, 10, or 5 fps) assignable to Hi, Mid, and Lo drive modes
✔️ World’s first anti-flicker mechanical and electronic shutter with live feed (no blackouts)
✔️ New color profiles designed for both stills and video with added customization settings
✔️ New BionZ XR engine, which is 8x faster than Sony’s previous one. This means faster continuous shooting, autofocus and more
✔️ Improved anti-distortion shutter technology
✔️ Improved autofocus with real time Eye AF
✔️ 8K Video Recording
Cons – Sony A1
✔️ Expensive (see alternatives below)
✔️ Still can’t do more than 120p in Full HD Video and RAW output is only available in 4K
✔️ Auto Stabilization still crops – it’s better to stabilize in post
Specs – Sony A1
Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.1 x 5.59 in
Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, HDMI, NFC
Memory cards: 2 memory card slots
📷 Shoot with the Sony A1 Mirrorless
Alternatives for pro mirrorless include the Sony a9 II, Fujifilm X-T4, Nikon Z7 II
📸 Action camera: GoPro HERO 11 Black
The GoPro HERO 11 Black is the newest from GoPro, and the best (clearly) for pro surf photography and video. It’s waterproof down to 10m (33ft) without housing, and you can attach it to anything and film as you surf, or as your subject surfs. You can also attach it to yourself as you walk around or get in the waves to capture surfers and waves from the water or land.
Pros – GoPro HERO 11 Black
✔️ 5.3K60 Ultra HD Video
✔️ 27 MP Resolution Photos with 1 billion colors and 8:7 aspect ratio shareable on any social media platform
✔️ Livestream Webcam
✔️ Emmy Award- Winning HyperSmooth Image Stabilization
✔️ New image sensor with the most expansive field of view yet on a HERO camera
✔️ Water-repelling lens cover
✔️ Up to 75 minutes of uninterrupted video recording
Cons – GoPro HERO 11 Black
✔️ GoPros can overheat in higher heat, so video might not run as long if it’s hotter outside
✔️ Not as good in lower light conditions
✔️ Sometimes has noise in hyperview video
Specs – GoPro HERO 11 Black
Weight: 1 lb
Connectivity: USB and WiFi
Dimensions: 2.64 x 1.34 x 1.85 inches
Memory Card: MicroSDHC, Micro SD
📷 Shoot with the GoPro HERO 11 Black
📷 Get Waterproof Housing for GoPro HERO 11 Black
🏄♀️ The Best Cameras For Surf Photography for Intermediate-Level
Here are the best intermediate-level cameras for surf photography: DSLR, Mirrorless and Action Camera:
📸 Intermediate DSLR: Canon 5D Mark IV
The Canon 5D Mark IV is a newer, full-frame camera that will be a bit easier to use for intermediate photographers, and is loved by all levels of photographers. It has great reviews and is used for things like sports photography due to its high shutter speeds and 4K video, outdoor photography because of its ISO range, and more.
Pros – Canon 5D Mark IV
✔️ 30.4 MP Resolution with full-frame sensor
✔️ ISO range 100-32000; expandable 50-102400
✔️ Up to 7.0 FPS continuous shooting speed with high-performance DIGIC 6+ Image Processor
✔️ 4K 30p or 24p video with in-camera still frame grab of 4K 8.8-Megapixel images. Video options of Full HD up to 60p, and HD up to 120p.
✔️ EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) turns your camera into a high-quality webcam
✔️ Dual-pixel AF for more editing control
✔️ Touch-screen viewfinder
✔️ Great for travel: Comes with a travel charger and includes GPS so you’ll know where each photo was taken
Cons – Canon 5D Mark IV
✔️ Subject tracking is lower-quality than similar cameras
✔️ HDMI-out is limited to 1080p
✔️ Autofocus settings take time to learn
Specs – Canon 5D Mark IV
Weight: 2.73 lbs
Dimensions: 5.93 x 2.99 x 4.58 inches
Connectivity: WiFi and NFC with GPS
Memory cards: 2 memory card slots
📷 Shoot with the Canon 5D Mark IV
Alternatives for intermediate DSLR: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, Canon 6D (Canon 6D is the camera I use)
📸 Intermediate Mirrorless: Canon EOS R
The Canon EOS R is weather-sealed, great for traveling and taking photos and videos. It has amazing reviews and is great for surf photography with its resolution, FPS, high image quality, controls and more features.
Pros – Canon EOS R
✔️ 30.3 MP Resolution with full-frame sensor
✔️ Dual Pixel Autofocus with manually selectable points, focuses in up to 0.05 seconds for action shots
✔️ Continuous shooting speeds of up to 12 FPS for fast-moving subjects
✔️ Flexible priority mode which allows more control over shutter speed and ISO settings
✔️ Lightweight and durable, made with magnesium alloy chassis with protects from electromagnetic radiation and heat
✔️ 54mm diameter and decreased distance between rear lens element and sensor for improved image quality
✔️ Shockproof, Temperature Extremes, Waterproof and X-Ray Proof
Cons – Canon EOS R
✔️ Mirrorless viewfinder isn’t the same as optical, and takes time to adjust to (but you do get to see what the actual photo looks like instead)
✔️ Battery life not as long as DSLRs, so you may need an extra battery
✔️ No in-body image stabilization
✔️ Crops 4K video and maximum video quality for 120 FPS is only 720
Specs – Canon EOS R
Weight: 1.46 lbs
Dimensions: 3.3 x 5.3 x 3.9 inches
Connectivity: Bluetooth, HDMI
Memory cards: One memory card slot
Alternative intermediate mirrorless: Sony A7 IV
📸 Action camera: GoPro HERO 9
The GoPro HERO 9 is a step down from the newer 11, but remains a favorite with surf photographers because it shares many of the latest and greatest features with the 11.
Pros – GoPro HERO 9
✔️ 23.6 MP Sensor, 20 MP Photos with Superphoto – where GoPro picks the best image processing for you
✔️ Up to 5K Video Resolution
✔️ HyperSmooth Image Stabilization
✔️ TimeWarp 3.0 for time-lapse video
✔️ 8x Slo-Mo
✔️ Starts recording 30 seconds before you hit the record button so you don’t miss the shot
Cons – GoPro HERO 9
✔️ Not the best with low-light conditions
✔️ Touchscreen can be unresponsive at times
✔️ Voice controls can have issues
✔️ No 4K/120p mode
✔️ Slow HDR processing
Specs – GoPro HERO 9
Weight: 11.2 ounces
Dimensions: 2.83 x 1.32 x 2 inches
Memory Card: Micro SD
📷 Get Waterproof Housing for the GoPro HERO 9
🏄♀️ The Best Cameras For Surf Photography for Beginner-Level
Here are the best beginner-level cameras for surf photography: DSLR, Mirrorless and Action Camera:
📸 Beginner DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T6i
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i is a great starter DSLR for beginners looking for value and a simple foot-in-the-door to photography with this kind of camera. It won’t break the bank and will help you learn the basics. It’s great for surf photography because it still has excellent resolution, ISO, and FPS for its class, and it takes video.
Pros – Canon EOS Rebel T6i
✔️ 24.2 MP Resolution with DIGIC 6 Image Processor
✔️ ISO 100–12800 expandable to 25600; also has advanced scene analysis to detect and adjust for the best light settings
✔️ Continuous shooting of up to 5.0 FPS
✔️ 19-point all cross-type autofocus system
✔️ Full HD 1080p video in MP4 format
✔️ WiFi allows for remote shooting with the Camera Connect app
✔️ Vari-angle Touch Screen
✔️ EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) can turn your camera into a high-quality webcam
Cons – Canon EOS Rebel T6i
✔️ Not full-frame
✔️ Lower image quality than other DSLRs
✔️ Battery life isn’t as good as other DSLRs
Specs – Canon EOS Rebel T6i
Weight: 1.22 lbs
Dimensions: 5.19 x 3.06 x 3.97 inches
Memory cards: One memory card slot
📷 Shoot with the Canon EOS Rebel T6i
Alternative beginner DSLR “bridge camera”: Sony RX10 MK4
📸 Beginner Mirrorless: Sony a7 III
The Sony a7 III is a full-frame mirrorless that has also won awards for mirrorless cameras.
Pros – Sony a7 III
✔️ 24.2 MP Resolution with Full Frame Sensor with 1.8X readout speed
✔️ Continuous shooting up to 60 FPS
✔️ 693-Point Hybrid AF System
✔️ 5-Axis SteadyShot inside image Stabilization
✔️ ISO 50 to 204,800
✔️ 693 phase detection with 425 contrast AF points
✔️ 4K 2160p Video Resolution
Cons – Sony a7 III
✔️ Can overheat when shooting video longer than 30 minutes
✔️ Autofocus can be finnicky
✔️ Limited touchscreen control
Specs – Sony a7 III
Weight: 1.44 lbs
Dimensions: 5 x 3.88 x 3 in
Connectivity: HDMI, NFC and Bluetooth with Android 5.0 or later and Apple iOS Bluetooth 4.0 or later
Memory cards: 2 memory card slots
Alternative beginner mirrorless: Canon EOS M50 Mark II
📸 Action camera: Go Pro HERO 8
The Go Pro HERO 8 is older than the previous ones mentioned, but more affordable for beginner-level. Attach it to your board or camera housing to film as you photograph or surf.
Pros – GoPro HERO 8
✔️ 12 MP Resolution Photos
✔️ 4K Ultra HD Video with 1080p Live Streaming Webcam
✔️ 3 Levels of Image Stabilization: On, High and Boost with HyperSmooth
✔️ TimeWarp 2.0 for time-lapse videos
✔️ LiveBurst setting to record 1.5 seconds before and after your shot to choose the best frame for photos
Cons – GoPro HERO 8
✔️ Only the rear touch screen with front status screen
✔️ Tends to overheat more easily than newer versions, especially in hot conditions
✔️ Doesn’t work well in low-light conditions
Specs – GoPro HERO 8
Weight: 13.6 ounces
Dimensions: 2.4 x 1.3 x 1.8 inches
Connectivity: USB and WiFi
Memory Card: Micro SD
📷 Shoot with the Go Pro HERO 8
📷 Get Waterproof Housing for GoPro HERO 8
🏄♀️ Important Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Cameras for Surf Photography
Look at your budget and find a camera that fits within your price range. If you’re looking for something cheaper, go with used and refurbished cameras, like these DSLRs which are all under $300.
Check to see if lens you already own will fit on your new camera, or if you’ll need an adapter, or if they won’t work at all. Research lens and find one that fits your photography style and budget. Also make sure it’s durable and weather-sealed for surf photography.
Check all the features and make sure the camera is to your specifications. Once you buy it, give yourself some time to play around with it to discover all the new features and get used to the way it works – most cameras will have unique settings, buttons and character!
🏄♀️ Gear You’ll Need for the Best Cameras for Surf Photography
Surf photography equipment you’ll need includes:
✅ Waterproof Housing
For cameras, you’ll need to find a specific housing for the camera you choose to buy.
Here are some top-rated options for smartphones:
For iPhone (13-14 models): AquaTech AxisGo iPhone Housing is the Industry Standard:
📷 Get AquaTech AxisGo iPhone Housing
For Android and iPhone, this diving waterproof housing is top-rated:
📷 Get Diverbox for iPhone/Samsung Galaxy/Android Phone Case Waterproof Underwater Phone Case for Surfing + More
✅ Over-Under Water Dome (this one works with GoPro)
This is what you need to capture the perfect half-over, half-under-water surfing photos, plus for photos while deeper underwater – like when surfing, or being in waves – plus snorkeling, diving and more activities!
✅ Editing software
The best editing software for surf photography (and other kinds of photography) is Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s easy to use and you can edit the colors, lighting and more to make it look more realistic and professional.
✅ Camera Cleaning Kit
This Altura Photo Professional Camera Cleaning Kit is an excellent choice for a high-quality kit for your camera and lens! It’s really important to have one on hand, and to regularly clean your gear, after being subjected to the elements like saltwater and air, sand and heat all day.
📷 Get the Altura Photo Professional Camera Cleaning Kit
✅ 4-In-One Travel Tripod
The best tripod for surf photography is one that is versatile, so you can use it with your camera or phone, or even as a monopod or selfie stick. This one is also perfect for traveling and walking around because it folds up smaller than most and is lightweight:
✅ Camera Insurance
If you’re going to be taking your camera and gear into the water, or doing other sports, you may want to spring for insurance. Companies like Progressive and Nationwide offer insurance for cameras and photography businesses.
👉 For travel insurance, I use Allianz.
✅ High-Quality SD cards
High-quality cameras are not made for regular SD cards. Especially doing video, I learned this the hard way when I first started out (my first DSLR came with a standard SD card). You need the best card to ensure you’re going to get the video without it stopping, say, every 10 seconds – and same goes for photos, especially with continuous shooting so you don’t end up with your camera stalling in-between shots.
I’ve been using SanDisk Extreme Pro Memory Cards for years.
📸 SanDisk Extreme Pro Memory Card for DSLR and Mirrorless
📷 Get the SanDisk Extreme Pro Memory Card
📸SanDisk 128GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card for GoPro
📷 Get the SanDisk Extreme MicroSDXC for GoPro
✅ External Hard Drive for backups
Always back everything up in 2-3 places! This is usually on the cloud, on your computer and on an external hard drive. Seagate is one of the top brands for external hard drives, and I’ve used them for years.
📷 Get the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive
✅ Waterproof Backpack
The Peak Design Everyday V2 20L waterproof hiking backpack will fit your camera and accessories – plus other things you need, of course! Also, it’s top-rated by reviewers and companies alike, so it’s definitely one of the best ones out there.
🎒📸 Learn More About the Peak Design Everyday V2 20L backpack here
✅ Waterproof Camera Case
I absolutely love this waterproof case for my DSLR and lens. It’s not 100% sealable – it has a velcro cover – but it’s made to fit inside any backpack! I love that I can switch it out between my travel and hiking backpack.
📷 Get the DSLR Waterproof Camera Insert Case
✅ Camera Strap or Clip
Get a high-quality camera strap or clip – and, if you’re going to be hiking with your camera you may want a clip or even a harness. Check out these amazing options for hiking and backpacking:
📸 Best Camera Straps For Backpacking
✅ Remote Shutter (this one works with Canon cameras)
A remote shutter helps you take long-exposure photos at night and sunrise/sunset with your tripod, and for continuous shooting and any kind of photo remotely for less blurry, clearer shots!
👉 Remote shutter (2-pack) for smartphones:
✅ Other accessories for the best cameras for surf photography
Here are more things you’ll need for your camera, and to keep it clean and dry:
- Lens for DSLR and Mirrorless cameras – this is up to you, and you. can have multiple ones. I recommend getting a good zoom lens since you’ll need to have a good range of focus with surfing.
- UV Protection Lens Filters – these can help protect your lens and camera from the sun, like sunscreen!
- Circular Polarizer – These help you get better photos, especially of water reflections and the bottom of clear water. Just make sure to get the right size to fit your lens!
- Backup battery and Backup Battery charger – you’ll need these for those times when you forget something or when you run out of battery charge.
- Backup lens cover – if you drop yours in the water or sand, you’ll want a backup for sure!
- Bag of rice – this is great to have on hand for surf photography in addition to your cleaning kit in case you actually drop your camera or phone in the water, or if it gets hit by a big wave (it’s happened to me with my phone)!
🏄♀️ What Your Camera Needs For Surf Photography
When it comes to surf photography, there is land-based and water-based surf photography. You may do one or both and the cameras listed can be used for both – you’ll just need to prioritize water-sealing and water resistance, plus get the best water-housing for your camera for water-based photography.
Land-based surf photography can also benefit greatly from water protection because of the sea air and sand.
🏄♀️ Environmental and Element Protection
Your camera needs waterproof protection plus protection from the salt air, heat, moisture and sand. You’ll need:
✅ Weather-sealing. Most cameras (and lenses) will say if they’re water resistant and/or water-sealed.
✅ Waterproof housing. Especially for water-based photography, but also if you’re going to get close to the water and waves, you’ll need waterproof housing, which you can buy separately. You can also bring a rain sleeve for added protection when you’re not using waterproof housing.
📷 Get this DSLR Mirrorless Camera Rain Cover Sleeve
🏄♀️ The Right Lighting Features
Lighting is extra important with surf photography because weather conditions vary, which means constant lighting changes. You’ll need control over things like ISO, as well as a camera that can capture the most realistic lighting and colors, even the most cloudy or sunny of days.
✅ Full Frame Sensors are better than cropped because:
- Full frame sensors allow more light to enter, which lets you capture a more complete range of color and mood.
- If you’re using a wide angle lens, it also helps your photos have more realistic (less warped) angles.
- Your camera sensor determines the type of lens you can buy, so if you get a full-frame camera, you’ll usually only be able to fit full-frame lenses. This is a good thing, because even if you’re not a pro, your camera is an investment.
✅ F-stop and Aperture
The Aperture is a hole in the lens that has an opening for light. It determines how much light comes into the sensor. The aperture’s blades (or diaphragm) opens and closes when you take the photo. If they aperture is low, the opening is smaller, and if it’s high, the opening is wider. This makes your photos lighter or darker, and also determines the depth of field, which is how much of your photo appears in focus versus blurry.
If you can control the aperture, you can control your photos more.
The F-stop (or F-number) is the ratio of the lens focal length to the diameter of the entrance pupil, or basically the number you see when you adjust the aperture size. This is basically the aperture written out as a fraction. For example, f/2 is larger than f/16, which is smaller.
People will pay much more for cameras that allow for a larger maximum aperture, particularly for low-light photography and for allowing for more depth of field. The minimum f-stop isn’t as important.
You can use ISO to brighten photos (by increasing it) when the weather conditions aren’t light enough, like on cloudy days or even at night. Cameras with a range of around 400-200 are needed for surf photography. You will only need ISO when the aperture and shutter speed don’t do enough for your photos.
🏄♀️ The Right Camera Features for Fast Surfing
Surf photography is a type of sports photography. Waves and surfers move extremely fast, and if your camera can’t capture the action, you’ll miss the moment when “the shot” happens. Here are the features to look for in a camera to capture the action for surf photography:
✅ 12 or higher Frames Per Second (FPS)
Look at this to see how many photos you can take per second continuously. This is absolutely important for action photos… 12 or higher is the best. Don’t go lower than 5.
✅ Shutter Speed for Fast Burst Shooting
This is about the light that your camera takes in. If it’s too low, your photos will turn out blurry, especially with motion as in surfing. In contrast, you want slow shutter speed for night photography, but everything has to be still because of the long exposure. Fast shutter speed means shorter exposure time.
Autofocus is always important, and even more for beginner and intermediate photographers. It’s normal for photographers to be snobby about not using auto-anything, but don’t listen. No one is going to know if your amazing shot was made with autofocus… and you’ll get more amazing shots with it on!
I always like to experiment with both to make sure I get non-blurry shots (if I happen to not see the image clearly enough on the viewfinder).
FPS is the frame rate, or number of frames recorded, per second when capturing video. The higher your frame rate, the smoother your videos will be, which is especially important for fast-moving waves and sports like surfing.
✅ Continuous Drive (Burst) Mode
Continuous Drive, or Burst Drive Mode is when you hold down the shutter button and your camera continues to take photos. It’s great for surfing photography, so you can ensure that you’ll get the shot, or even to capture a series. The higher the burst mode, the more shots you’ll be able to capture!
🏄♀️ Durability for The Best Cameras For Surf Photography
Durability will depend somewhat on the type of camera you buy, and a lot on how well you care for it (see how to make your camera last longer at the end of this post).
Higher-level cameras are built to be more durable, which is part of the reason for the high price tag.
I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s an aspect of durability to ensure you’ll get a camera that can withstand the weather conditions for surf photography.
✅ Construction materials
The most durable and high-quality cameras are crafted with a single piece of metal. Many lower-priced cameras are made with plastic, and can still be quite durable.
✅ Shutter actuations (DSLR)
This varies by model and there are estimations for how many each model is expected to have. Usually, you’ll be wanting to upgrade by the time the camera wears out, if you care for it well!
🏄♀️ Additional Needs for Best Cameras For Surf Photography
Here are a few more things to consider when choosing the right surf photography camera for you:
✅ Video capability
Unless you’re never going to want to capture video, this is important. A high FPS, as mentioned earlier, is a factor to consider, and how long the camera can capture video (usually not more than 30 minutes at a time). With social media, it’s definitely a plus to have high quality video capability!
✅ WiFi capability
Having WiFi lets you automatically send photos from your camera to your phone or laptop, as well as taking photos from your phone with an app (selfie, anyone?). This is helpful for getting backups to ensure you get each photo safely to your computer, or for being able to send photos to others or yourself on-the-go without messing with the memory card download process.
✅ RAW image format
Shooting in RAW is very important because it captures more data so you can edit, print large photos and more, all of which will give you the highest-quality, professional photos to share!
🏄♀️ The Best Cameras for Surf Photography: Brands and Types
If you’re considering which brand to go with for your camera, here’s some things to consider:
- Canon: Considered industry standard and overall best brand for photography and video.
- Nikon: Another great brand, but more expensive and less options. Also not as great for video.
- Sony: More affordable and easy to use, great for video and really improving especially in the mirrorless arena.
- GoPro: A GoPro is an action camera, and much like a drone or 360-degree camera, it’s in its own category. This makes an excellent addition to a good camera to get action shots, and it’s best for video.
- Phones: If you get an upgraded phone with a higher quality camera, you can get great photos. However, you’ll want to be careful when zooming in – usually the megapixels can’t match a high quality camera. You also may not be able to print out large photo prints of phone pictures.
🏄♀️ Tips for Choosing The Best Cameras For Surf Photography
Here are a few extra tips to consider when making a choice for what camera to get for surf photography:
- Don’t purchase used gear from other surf photographers. Other used cameras are okay, but the ones from photographers who have been out in the ocean air and around the sand and heat will have damage that has built up over time from the elements.
- Use a GoPro mounted on your camera water housing to capture video while shooting photos! This will help you get lots of easy extra footage, and you can take stills from the GoPro video.
- Don’t use a point-and-shoot. If you’re serious at all about photography (even as a hobby), trust me – you’ll never be truly satisfied with a point-and-shoot. Plus, even starting from a beginner DSLR or Mirrorless camera will help you learn the settings. Once you’re used to it, it gets easier!
🏄♀️ Making your camera last longer for surf photography
✅ Don’t leave batteries or memory cards in for long periods of time
✅ Don’t charge your battery or camera on the wrong kind of charger (you could ruin it)
✅ Keep your camera out of extreme heat or cold, or high moisture for long periods of time. Also don’t take your camera from one extreme temperature into another right away. You can use a bag to prevent damage for this kind of circumstance.
✅ Use a high-quality camera strap or clip and avoid letting your camera bump or bounce around too much
✅ Use a protective bag specific for cameras when traveling
✅ Know how to use your tripod and always make sure everything is secured and leveled correctly.
✅ Always turn the power off immediately when you’re not using the camera
✅ Bring a soft cloth, bag of rice and cleaning kit to make sure it’s dry at all times
✅ Keep your lenses clean
✅ Let the professionals take care of anything else
🏄♀️ FAQs for The Best Cameras For Surf Photography
👉 What is the best camera for surfing?
The Sony A1 is the best Mirrorless camera for surf photography, the Canon 1DX Mark III is the best DSLR for surf photography, and the GoPro HERO 11 Black is the best action camera for surf photography and video.
👉 Is 300mm enough for surf photography?
For lens, you’ll want a really good zoom especially if you’re photographing surfers from land, so you can get close-ups as well as photos with some scenery. 300mm telephoto lenses are enough, but you may want stronger eventually.
👉 How do you take a good surf picture?
For surfing, a few tips are important for taking good surf pictures: Practice leveling the horizon in the photo; experiment with lighting so your subject gets good light; make use of continuous shooting and get a good camera for surf photography.
👉 How do you photograph surfers in water?
Get comfortable in the water, and use both a GoPro for consistency and a good camera like the ones listed in this article. Make sure it’s not too heavy for you and that you have waterproof housing for it. Then, it’s all about practice!
👉 What’s the best waterproof camera for surf photography?
GoPros are the best waterproof action cameras for surf photography, but you’ll need waterproof housing for anything deeper than 10m (33ft). The best cameras for surf photography in general are DSLRs and Mirrorless, and they’re listed in this article. You’ll need waterproof housing for all of them.
👉 What’s the best surfing camera that follows you?
GoPros are the best surfing cameras that follow you because you can attach them to a surfboard, helmet, or literally anything else and just press record. Later, you can pull video and photos from the footage. GoPro has Emmy award-winning stabilization, too.
🏄♀️ All In All: The Best Camera For Surf Photography In 2023
I hope this guide helps you in your quest for the best cameras for surf photography! Happy photo-taking, surfing, and traveling!
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