|Price Range (USD)
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
|Sony a7R IV
|Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
|GoPro HERO10 Black
|DJI Osmo Action
|DJI Air 2S
|Autel Robotics EVO II Pro
Please note that the prices mentioned in the table may vary depending on the region and availability. Also, these prices are for the camera bodies only (except for action cameras and drones) and do not include additional gear like lenses or water housings.
Capturing the beauty and excitement of surfing requires not only skill but also the right equipment. In this article, we will discuss the best cameras and gear for surf photography, providing you with options for various budgets and expertise levels. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of the top equipment to help you capture stunning surf photos.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a full-frame DSLR camera that offers excellent image quality and performance. With a 30.4-megapixel sensor, it provides high-resolution images, and its robust weather sealing ensures it can withstand harsh surf conditions. The 5D Mark IV’s autofocus system is fast and accurate, making it perfect for capturing fast-moving subjects like surfers.
The Nikon D850 is another full-frame DSLR camera that is highly recommended for surf photography. With a 45.7-megapixel sensor, it delivers stunning image quality, and its weather-sealed body can handle harsh environments. The D850’s 153-point autofocus system ensures you won’t miss the perfect shot, even in challenging lighting conditions.
Sony A7R IV
The Sony A7R IV is a top-of-the-line mirrorless camera that boasts a 61-megapixel sensor, producing exceptional image quality. Its compact size and lightweight design make it a popular choice for surf photographers, while the weather-sealed body protects against the elements. The A7R IV features an advanced autofocus system with real-time tracking, ensuring that you can capture sharp images of fast-moving subjects.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is a versatile mirrorless camera with a 26.1-megapixel APS-C sensor. It has a rugged weather-sealed body and offers fast autofocus performance, making it an excellent choice for surf photography. The X-T4 also features in-body image stabilization, which helps to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld.
GoPro HERO9 Black
The GoPro HERO9 Black is the latest addition to the popular GoPro lineup, and it’s perfect for capturing high-quality surf photos and videos. With a 20-megapixel sensor, 5K video capabilities, and waterproof design, the HERO9 Black is the ultimate action camera for surf photography. The camera also features HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization, ensuring smooth footage even in rough surf conditions.
DJI Osmo Action
The DJI Osmo Action is another excellent action camera for surf photography. It offers a 12-megapixel sensor, 4K video capabilities, and a waterproof design. With RockSteady stabilization, your footage will remain smooth, even in challenging conditions. The Osmo Action also features dual screens, making it easy to frame your shots and review your photos.
Aquatech offers a range of high-quality water housings designed specifically for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. These housings provide complete protection for your camera, allowing you to capture stunning surf photos in challenging conditions. Aquatech housings are compatible with a variety of camera models and offer interchangeable lens ports, giving you maximum flexibility.
SPL Water Housings
SPL Water Housings is another top choice for surf photographers seeking durable and reliable protection for their cameras. With custom-built housings for a wide range of camera models, SPL offers excellent performance and functionality. The company also provides a variety of lens ports and accessories to help you capture the perfect shot.
Wide-angle lenses are ideal for capturing expansive surf scenes and dramatic action shots. Popular options for surf photography include the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. These lenses allow you to capture the entire scene while maintaining sharp image quality.
Telephoto lenses are essential for surf photography, as they allow you to capture close-up shots of surfers from a safe distance. Some popular telephoto lenses for surf photography include the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. These lenses offer excellent image quality and fast autofocus performance, ensuring you never miss a moment.
A sturdy tripod is essential for capturing sharp surf photos, particularly when using telephoto lenses. Some top options include the Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 and the Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Series 2. These tripods offer excellent stability and durability, making them ideal for use in challenging surf conditions.
Dome ports are used in conjunction with water housings to capture stunning underwater and split-level shots. They provide a clear, undistorted view of the underwater world while keeping your camera protected. Popular dome ports for surf photography include the Aquatech P-Series and the SPL GoPro Dome.
A reliable camera strap is crucial for keeping your camera secure while shooting in the surf. Options like the BlackRapid Sport Breathe and the Peak Design Slide offer excellent security and comfort, allowing you to focus on capturing the perfect shot.
Drones for Aerial Surf Photography
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is a top choice for aerial surf photography, offering a 20-megapixel Hasselblad camera and 4K video capabilities. Its compact design and long flight time make it perfect for capturing stunning aerial shots of surfers in action.
Autel Robotics EVO II Pro
The Autel Robotics EVO II Pro is another excellent drone for capturing breathtaking aerial surf photos. With a 20-megapixel camera and 6K video capabilities, it delivers outstanding image quality. Its long flight time and advanced obstacle avoidance system ensure you can safely capture stunning shots from above.
Choosing the Right Gear
When selecting the best cameras and gear for surf photography, consider factors such as your budget, skill level, and specific needs. It’s essential to invest in high-quality equipment that can withstand harsh conditions and deliver the image quality you desire. Don’t forget to consider additional accessories like water housings, lenses, and tripods to enhance your surf photography experience.
Surf photography is a thrilling and rewarding endeavor, but having the right gear is crucial for capturing those epic moments. From DSLR and mirrorless cameras to action cameras and drones, there are plenty of options available to suit every need and budget. With the right combination of cameras, lenses, and accessories, you’ll be well-equipped to capture stunning surf photos that will leave a lasting impression.
Q1: Is it necessary to have a water housing for surf photography?
A1: A water housing is essential if you plan to take your camera into the water, as it protects your equipment from water damage and allows you to capture unique perspectives.
Q2: Can I use my smartphone for surf photography?
A2: While smartphones have improved in terms of camera quality, they may not provide the same level of performance and versatility as dedicated cameras. However, with the right accessories and apps, it’s possible to capture impressive surf photos using your smartphone.
Q3: How can I improve my surf photography skills?
A3: Practice is key to improving your surf photography skills. Spend time in the water, experiment with different angles and settings, and learn from experienced surf photographers to refine your technique.
Q4: What are the best settings for surf photography?
A4: The ideal settings for surf photography depend on your specific camera and the conditions you’re shooting in. Generally, you’ll want to use a fast shutter speed (1/1000s or faster) to freeze action, a low to medium ISO for minimal noise, and an appropriate aperture to control depth of field.
Q5: How can I keep my camera safe while shooting in the surf?
A5: To keep your camera safe while shooting in the surf, invest in a high-quality water housing, use a secure camera strap, and always be aware of your surroundings. Additionally, properly clean and maintain your equipment after each session to prevent damage from saltwater and sand.