Best camera for saltwater aquarium pics and general use?
I currently own and use an older Nikon Coolpix 3200. I get ok pictures with it, but it's lacking in some things I'm trying to do..

I'm trying to figure out what camera to get that will allow me these uses:.

First, I want to be able to take pictures of my saltwater reef aquarium, especially close up pictures of corals. This means taking pictures through the glass, of a coral that could be a couple inches inside the glass to over a foot away, and still be able to get very nicely detailed magnification of the subject. I can take ok pictures with the camera I have, but it gets pretty noisy when I try to get close in views..

Secondly, this has to be a pretty simple camera to use, as well as not real expensive. I figure that DSLR's are out as I can't afford all that glass. I'm looking for something in the below $500 range or so, that is something that my wife could use as a point and shoot if need be..

So, that's it. Would really appreciate recommendations as I keep looking at cameras but don't have any idea of which ones would do best with my specific requirements. There are so many choices that it's pretty confusing. Any suggestions on additional equipment like lenses and such for my specific camera uses would be appreciated as well. thanks..

Comments (8)

Anybody got anything at all for me?.

Perhaps not even a specific camera, but maybe certain things to look for like a particular sensor size or pixel count or whatever, so that I can look for those kinds of things in the cameras reviewed on here?..

Comment #1

Basically you want almost any camera. If it's a case the camera might be exposed to saltwater itself ( e.g. spray /splash ) I'd suggest an underwater housing would be a good choice..

I'll assume that's not the case..

The Fuji F30 or F31, or the S6500 would be reasonable choices. The E-900 would also be good, but not quite up to the low-light performance of the first three, although still quite good by non-DSLRs. The S6500 would be best as it gives you more zoom, better handling etc..

If you can swing it a DSLR, even second hand, would be a better camera to own, although I don't think you have to have one to take the photos you want.. Still it's hand to fault a DSLR..

In terms of how to take good shoots bare in mind you probably will have to adjust white balance in post processing. You may get away with a preset or auto, but basically the water and any lighting will be likely to change white balance from what your eye perceives..


Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #2


No, there's not really any concern as far as getting water on the camera. By far the majority of shots I try to take are from the outside glass and not from over the top of the tank looking down...although, some people get some really nice coral shots that way..

I know the DSLR would be a nice way to go, but having a reef tank leaves me very low on funds anyway, so I can't afford all the extra glass that the DSLR's seem to need to do various functions. That's why I'm basically looking for a nice quality point and shoot that would hopefully get me the pics I want. I am able to adjust the white balance on my current camera and do pretty good with that, it's the ability to get really nice close ups of corals that I want to accomplish and my current camera just can't swing it, no matter how much I try..

Thanks for the suggestions. I will check these cameras out, but still would like other suggestions and experiences with offerings from Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, etc...

Comment #3

Maybe consider one of the above..

You wouldn't have to worry about the glass of the aquarium, because you could stick the camera riight in the water at whatever distance of your corals..

These cameras are shockproof, crushproof (the 770) and waterproof to depths of 3 m (the 790) of even 10 m (the 770). So you could even take them when visiting corals in their natural environment...Just my thoughts.Roel..

Comment #4

Interesting idea, however, sticking the camera in the tank is not really something I want to do and I don't think I would get very good pics this way. My tank is 2 feet tall and on top of an almost 3 foot tall stand. Shooting the corals near the bottom would take a contortionist, to say the least. lol However, way to be thinking outside the box. .

Still just looking for ideas on better cameras to get. Perhaps I should just leave the aquarium side out of it and just ask for what kind of camera....or components on a camera....should I be looking for if I want something that is good for day to day shots, but also give me nice, clear VERY close up shots as well from a distance of up to a foot away from the subject?..

Comment #5

One advantage the Fuji models I mentioned have is that they can take shots with relatively little light and still get reasonable results. No other non-DSLR will do this as well..

Remember you won't be able to use a flash..

Since I replied before I have read the first detailed review of the Canon G9 and suggest you add that to your list of candidates. It has very good low-light/high ISO performance ( although still not up with the Fuji S6500 and F30/31 )..


Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #6

I had been looking at the G9 and waiting for a complete review. Sounds pretty nice. You have mentioned low lighting and I'm not sure if my tank really qualifies for that. Since it is a reef tank, it requires high lighting to keep the corals alive. I have two 250w metal halide lights over it. All the pics I have done previously have been without a flash and they have done quite well in respect to lighting.

Thanks again..

Comment #7

This is an example of a shot I got with the old coolpix 3200, shot through a magnifying glass and the picture blown up in my camera itself before being transferred to my computer. I don't have any computer photography altering software. This is the kind of closeness I would like to get without so much noise. Each of these zoanthid coral heads is just slightly larger than a pencil eraser:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #8

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