Looking for a cameras for wild swimming?
Whether you are new to wild swimming or an old hat that has been swimming in the seas and rivers from before, it was called “wild swimming. ” No matter if you’re new or not, at some point, you may want to film your swim, be it for training purposes to improve your swim stroke or you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel or you just want to film some scenery and wild life to show your family and your asking yourself what’s the best cameras for wild swimming, then you have landed on the right page.
Why do you need a camera for wild swimming? What’s your plan?
First off you need to determine what you want to capture with your camera. Are you looking to capture your entire swim and edit it to music afterwards? In this case, a good built-in microphone is not important. Possibly you’re looking to start a YouTube channel and you plan to Vlog from the water, then you will need a good microphone option. Possibly you just want to take stills and the video functionality is not so important. Whatever your scenario it’s best to have a plan as there are many options available. I will go through a few of each as well as a good general setup.
Most popular camera setups for wild swimmers.
It is possible to switch between all of these positions. These are the most common setups that a wild swimmer will use to capture their swim on film.
Camera mounted on a tripod, allows you to talk hands-free and direct to the camera. A camera mounted on a tripod is good for introducing a video pre-swim and giving your thoughts to the camera, post-swim.
Camera mounted to head for a POV (Point of view) experience: Good for capturing the action of the swim as it unfolds, as well as any swimmers that are with you as you swim about and interact in the water.
Camera mounted onto Tow Float: Great for capturing your swim from behind, showing the environment you are swimming in, and producing a fairly stable camera shot and probably the most cinematic option.
Camera mounted to a floating grip: Great option for hand-held moments, talking to the camera and capturing the swim motion as well as other swimmers and landscapes.
Cameras for Swimming
The biggest and most well known brand of waterproof action cameras for underwater captures is GoPro Hero cameras. These guys have been industry leaders for a while now but they do have stiff competition for today’s best waterproof camera. The competition comes from Sony, DJI, Insta360 as well as an army of cheaper Chinese made action cams. NOTE: Some of the budget friendly Chinese action cams are ace and super affordable. Here we will look at the main brands and the main features a wild swimmer will need when filming. Each of these rugged cameras will be waterproof and shoot in HD.
There are so many options when it comes to video and many variables that will impact your decision. First off if your plan is to create video to watch on the TV, for the family or to push up on to social media (YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter) then filming at 1080 or HD is perfectly fine. Most modern-day computers will handle HD video editing, easily. If you want super duper 4K videos for your mega 85 inch TV, or you’re getting serious about expanding your YouTube channel, then you will need to make sure you have a computer that can handle editing 4K. Something like a high-end Macbook Pro, or a Gaming laptop will do the trick.
If your singular focus is photos, be it for wildlife, sunsets, or just general captures you can do this with the video cameras mentioned above, each has a dedicated photo mode. However, there are a few dedicated waterproof cameras available from big camera brands like Lumix (Panasonic), Fujifilm, Canon and Olympus. These cameras may have better zoom functionality and more specialist stills photography modes and features.
The field of view is how wide the lens is, and how much the camera will capture. The insta360 cameras capture everything, literally 360 degrees of action. The GoPro, DJI and Sony’s all have varying FOV modes so you can select the angle of capture from super wide to narrow depending on what you are filming.
If you’re planning to shoot outdoors on a sunny day almost every camera will be fine, however, if you plan to film some low light (early morning, late evening, or swimming in a dark canyon, for example) or you plan to film underwater, having a camera that can either handle these situations or one that has a dedicated lowlight or underwater setting is best. Go Pro and DJI action cams are both renowned for a having really good low-light performance.
Lens/ water repellent solutions.
When swimming your guaranteed that the lens of your camera will get wet, how that water reacts and interacts with the lens is key to good video being captured. The standard lens that comes with almost every action cam will disperse the water well, however, a dedicated hydrophobic lens coating will do a far better job. This is the difference between videos that have water droplets that contort the footage and videos that are always crystal clear. For a little investment you can guarantee ultra clear footage. Highly recommended.
I contemplated whether to put this in or not, being that it is so obvious. Yes, you need to make sure that the camera you purchase for outdoor swimming is waterproof. There are varying degrees of waterproofness available and yes, some cameras have better ratings than others. The main video cameras here are rated as such.
Buy the best memory card you can afford. Memory cards have two main components which are, storage capacity and data read and write speeds. If you purchase a camera for filming in 4K you will need a large capacity card to store your 4k footage (filming in 4K takes up a lot of space) and super fast data transfer speeds to handle the 4K. The faster the card the better. This is not a place where you should save money or cut corners!
Camera stabilisation, hyper smooth, optical image stabilisation whatever you want to call it, is an essential function for filming open water swimming. Stabilisation software or hardware built into the camera eliminates camera shake, and camera wobble and provides stable, usable footage for you to edit and view.
Battery life can be affected by cold weather, so having a camera that is rated for colder temperatures will keep the battery from depleting quickly. Battery capacity, interchangeable batteries and quick charging are some of the key components when thinking about your action cameras battery option. Especially if you intend to film longer swims, multi-day swimpacking adventures etc.
As mentioned, cold weather can drain batteries fast, and warm weather as well. Most modern action cameras have fantastic operating temperature ranges. This is only really a factor for the extreme range. I.e You’re an avid winter swimmer who will be swimming in ice and super cold water or you swim abroad a lot in very warm environments. But if this is you, check the operating temperature range and pick the best camera for your use case.
Mounts and mounting options.
Options include floating grips, selfie sticks, chest harnesses, helmet harnesses and more. Decide on how you plan to film your swimming adventures and purchase the appropriate mounts to facilitate it. The four common filming positions whilst swimming are listed at the beginning of this article.
Big Buttons/Easy access/Gloves/Cold Fingers
Something to consider is how easy is the camera to operate. No matter which camera you go for make sure that you practice a few times before going on your first open water swimming film shoot. If you wear gloves practice in your home with the camera and your gloves on etc. Practice makes perfect.
As mentioned above most modern-day PC,s and Macs will handle 1080P HD video footage with ease. However, if you are shooting 2K or 4K (which most of these cameras offer) then having a capable computer is key. For video editing, it is always recommended that you have lots of storage, as well as fast components.
Video Editing software
There are many solutions out there from Adobes Premier Pro, Davinci Resolve, Apples, Final Cut, (Free Video Editors)
Make a plan
If you are new to filming and have just a passion for recording your swim sessions then take yourself to YouTube. Look for videos that you enjoy and then take a few minutes to back engineer them. Think about how they are filmed, the angle, the mount, the script (Intro, action shots, some random scenery, some more talking, outro) etc. Make a plan and over time you will get to be where you want to be.
Conclusion to Best cameras for wild swimming
Filming your swimming adventure can be great fun, allowing you to take your hobby, sport, passion to the next level and share your experience with friends, family and the world. We hope this article on the best cameras for wild swimming has been useful. if it has please feel free to share it out on your social channels for others to enjoy. Please check out our other open water swimming articles.
Stay safe and enjoy the outdoors.