A pair of flamingo tongue sea snails mating, showing detailed anatomy.

Dive Into Cozumel Marine Life with This Cost-Effective Underwater Camera Gear

When I first started taking underwater photos, I had no idea what I was doing.

My diving buoyancy control was finally up to snuff, so then and only then, I bought a cheap marine housing for the point-and-shoot camera I already had (that was not known for its performance underwater…), and thought I was on my way to National Geographic! (not.)

Not surprisingly, all my beginner dive photos came out blue or green, blurry and dull. Arrgh. What was the point?

After some more practice and trial and error, I eventually invested in the right camera gear and it’s perfect for diving in Cozumel, Mexico.

I love my simple but excellent-quality camera, underwater housing, and accessories. And I love the underwater images I can take with it, from the wide-angle beauties of Cozumel’s awesome eagle rays, to midrange portraits of our beautiful green sea turtles, and on down to the fine detail it achieves on Cozumel seahorses or even more tiny macro critters like nudibranchs and lettuce sea slugs.

Cozumel green sea turtle gliding over full coral reef with flippers outstretched.
Wider angle images without flash come out great – thanks to Cozumel visibility!

Now, I have a hobby that I love and that gives me sustainable keepsakes (photos!) from all over the big blue planet.

So if you’re a certified scuba diver with some experience and are looking to take amazing underwater photos in Cozumel and beyond, don’t waste your first money on a dirt cheap setup.

But also, don’t go overboard (pun intended) and spend $$ thousands on your very first underwater camera and marine housing, either.

Invest in the right gear and you won’t be disappointed.

The kit of parts outlined below can keep you happy for years, grow with you if you want (you can add a tray, strobes, and a video light later if you need those), and will eventually make a wonderful starter set to pass on to the next aspiring dive photographer in your gang, if you ever truly outgrow it.

For more of my thoughts on starting small, check out this guest post I did for Moziak Underwater Cameras on how to start in UW photography without breaking the bank.

CozInfo’s Recommended Underwater Camera Gear for Cozumel Diving

So, if you’re getting started with underwater photography but aren’t sure what to buy, read on.

This setup is easy and inexpensive, gets absolutely glowing technical reviews all over the internet, and is the camera used by thousands of divers all over the world.

It’s also inexpensive, lightweight, and can easily fit in your carry-on bag – a big consideration these days as luggage limits and fees continue to squeeze.   

This straightforward diving photography kit is accessible and simple when you’re just starting out, but it can grow with you as you progress in your new hobby. 

This is the exact UW camera gear I use on every dive and for all the UW images on this site.

A close up shot of a red and white striped peppermint shrimp in a pink sponge in Cozumels coral reef.
Rare crisp capture of a peppermint shrimp in Cozumel

My Tried and True Cozumel Dive Photography Gear: 

OLYMPUS Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

Great investment, for all of your family's needs.

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03/08/2024 08:14 pm GMT

Olympus TG-6 Compact Camera

The TG-6 is in the Olympus’ “tough” series of cameras, meaning it’s inherently waterproof (to about 30ft/10m) and dust/dirtproof, so the base camera is a good investment.

The TG-6 is great for any outdoor activities where you might be nervous about using a more delicate camera, yet still works great as your everyday point-and-shoot camera take a long to weddings, land vacations, and special events. 

Small and durable. Known for its high performance in low light environments (like deep blue water! yay!).

Outstanding macro photo capabilities, underwater and on land.

OLYMPUS PT-059 Underwater Housing for The TG-6
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03/09/2024 01:31 am GMT

Olympus PT-059 Marine Housing

Olympus’ own marine housing for the TG models allows the camera’s onboard flash to operate without additional cables or added strobes.

This is important if you don’t want to deal with external strobes, etc. (I love using the built-in flash, and though I consider adding a strobe from time to time, I love the simplicity of my set up, my ability to pack light, and I’m happy with the results 95% of the time).

Here’s more on my thoughts about waiting to purchase external strobes, when you’re just starting out.

The marine housing is needed for scuba diving, but is not required for snorkeling or swimming depths. 

SanDisk 64GB Ultra SDXC UHS-I Memory Card
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03/08/2024 10:10 pm GMT

64GB Memory Card

I’ve used this exact card for years, and it hasn’t failed. I bought a backup, but haven’t needed it, yet. 

Any SD card of this size will be fine, but don’t go for the bargain basement. A good one will last you for years and years.

Transcend USB SD/microSD Card Reader
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03/08/2024 07:04 pm GMT

Memory Card Reader (*optional)

I find this memory card reader a dead-simple way to save my photos to my MacbookPro at the end of each dive day. 

I don’t want to rely on wifi during dive trips, and I don’t want huge photos automatically getting sync’d with my phone.

Plus, while I’m using the card in the card reader, I can be recharging my camera for the next day.  

Don't Make the Same Mistake!
Heavy Duty Lanyard w/ SS Clip for Underwater Camera

The best $20 bucks you'll ever spend on dive gear!

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03/08/2024 07:10 pm GMT

Camera Lanyard with Marine Quality Metal Snap Bold Clip (*essential!)

I’m not kidding – if I had a dollar for every time someone posted on local social media diving groups about losing an underwater camera rig on one of Cozumel’s dive sites, I’d have…hundreds of dollars!

Plus, I’ve lost my own camera and housing here…TWICE!  Luckily mine was “only” a few hundred bucks to replace, rather than tens of thousands.

Lesson finally learned. 

Now I never go in without my camera attached to this simple coiled lanyard with a good strong clip that attaches to a D-ring on my BCD. The adjustable coil length gives me plenty of range of motion.

But best of all is the security of knowing I won’t throw another camera and housing down the drain. 

Honestly, this will be the best 20 bucks you’ll spend on this hobby.

A pair of Cozumel flamingo tongue sea snails mating, showing detailed anatomy.
Capturing rich detail of flamingo tongue sea snails in Cozumel

Simple Cozumel Camera Gear for the Win

So…that’s really it!

You could go crazy with the underwater photography, and maybe you will. But you really don’t have to! Especially not in the early days.

In the beginning, for many many dives, your pictures won’t be that great anyway!

Sorry to say, but unless you’re already an excellent photographer and a solid diver, it really takes a lot of practice to get consistently good. Especially when you’re trying to shoot pictures and maneuver in Cozumel’s varying currents, etc.

For some tips and tricks to try when you’re just starting out with UW photos in Cozumel, read a little more right here.

I’ve also met several veteran divers who grew tired of all the bells and whistles, and were in heaven once they shifted down to a nice simple camera kit that packs easily and is easy and simple to maintain, year after year. And for far less money.

These are my honest opinions on products I use every day. The links above are affiliate links, where I may receive a commission on referred visits and purchases at no extra cost to you.

Enjoy, and happy diving.

Colorful detailed shot of a tiny macro head-shield slug in the seagrass of Cozumel's marine park.
So small! The TG-6 Can focus in on colorful head shield slugs in Cozumel, MX

To get a sense of the great underwater diving photos you’ll soon be taking in Cozumel with this exact camera setup, check out more of my own Cozumel marine life pictures on my Instagram feed:

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