The kayaking water sport is one of the best ways to enjoy a calming cruise over the warm sea breeze.
Making use of high-end cameras, like the ones featured in this list, is great for catching those beautiful sceneries you would otherwise only get on a kayak trip.
We’ve handpicked only the best-equipped line of cameras meant to handle water sports like kayaking. Let’s start.
- Best Overall: GoPro HERO9 Black
- Best for Lifestyle: Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Aviation
- Best Durable: Olympus Tough TG-6
- Best Value: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30EB-A FT30/TS30
Best Cameras for Kayaking
Here are our most recommended cameras for kayaking.
- Key Features: Ultra HD, Timelapse, TimeWarp 3.0, 8x Slo-Mo, HyperSmooth 3.0, Bluetooth, Detachable Lens
- Resolution: 5k
- Waterproof: Yes (up to 33ft)
- Megapixel: 23.6
- Best for: Overall
With its 5k resolution, you can be sure that the HERO9 is definitely top-of-the-line gear. You’re able to maintain exquisite detail even when zoomed in, which is extremely useful for taking shots that are far off the horizon.
This camera comes packed with HyperSmooth 3.0 image stabilization technology. Though it is a version prior to the HyperSmooth 4.0 installed in the GoPro HERO10 Black, 3.0 is still an effective image stabilizer in 2022 that gets the job done.
The HERO9 has many great features to nail any shot you can dream of. These features include timelapse, timewarp, slow motion, and integrating with apps like the GoPro Quik App.
You can connect to the camera through your pc or Bluetooth, which makes cameras like these extra convenient.
However, the GoPro HERO9 also tends to shut down once it’s overheated, especially when you record in 4k or 5k for long periods, so you’ll have to wait for it to cool down before using it again.
Regardless, considering all its features, we’ve dubbed this camera as the Best for Overall use.
- Key Features: 3-Axis Image Stabilization, High-sensitive Audio & Voice Control, GPS, G-Metrix
- Resolution: 4k at 30 fps
- Waterproof: Yes (with the case, up to 40m)
- Megapixel: 12
- Best for: Lifestyle
When we talk about the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Aviation, we think of daily living and how it fully integrates. This camera has many features in its arsenal that make it capable of more than just capturing films and pictures.
The VIRB Ultra 30 comes equipped with G-Metrix technology, which is a way to measure your current altitude, speed, G-force, and heart rate. This is integrated flawlessly with a GPS that you can use to prove how far and how fast you went.
Its 3-axis image stabilization technology captures smooth and steady video even during fast-moving shots, providing a smooth end-product
The device also has the option to be voice-automated. Simple commands like “start recording” or “take a picture” are integrated into its settings to provide a hands-free experience. However, note that its voice control works for English commands only.
It doesn’t stop there, as the device can be used with its mobile application VIRB, allowing you to easily live stream what your camera sees directly to Youtube. Not only that, you can also use the app to control the camera and edit footage.
- Key Features: Digital Zoom, Shock-proof
- Resolution: 4000 x 3000
- Waterproof: Yes (up to 50 feet/15 meters)
- Megapixel: 12
- Best for: Durability
The OLYMPUS Tough TG-6 isn’t called tough for nothing. Familiar with the Nokia mobile smartphone? In terms of durability, the OLYMPUS TG-6 is the camera version.
In pretty much most scenarios, whether you’ve accidentally left it in freezing temperatures or dropped it from a high height or in water, this camera will probably last longer than your next one. Equipped with a 2x digital teleconverter, this OLYMPUS digicam enables zooming up to 8x, providing a wide range of photography.
With built-in image stabilization technology, it allows up to 120 fps at 1080p resolution. You can also connect it via Bluetooth or your WiFi network at home.
With its durability comes some weight that adds to its protection as the OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-6 is built bulkier than most cameras.
Not being a helmet camera also adds to its drawbacks. This means it can’t be mounted on you during your kayak trips. Lastly, it isn’t touch-screen, so you’ll have to do with the classic button-pressing interface for now.
Regardless, we’ve rated this cam as Best for Durability for its unmatched durability, longevity, and general toughness.
- Key Features: 4x Optical Zoom (F3.9-5.7/25-100mm) with 8x Intelligent Zoom, Mega Optical Image Stabilizer, USB 2.0 Connectivity
- Resolution: 4608 x 3456
- Waterproof: Yes (Waterproof to 8m/23ft)
- Megapixel: 16
- Best for: Value
The Panasonic Lumix DMC comes with 16 megapixels and high-caliber zoom—up to 4x and 8x Optical and Intelligent Zoom, respectively.
The camera is equipped with an optical image stabilizer that makes your videos smoother. This is useful when you expect to be moving rapidly on your kayak due to fast paddling or strong waves.
It’s generally a durable camera, as it is waterproof up to 23 ft, shockproof up to 5ft/1.5m, and freezeproof to -10C/+14F.
However, the camera only offers USB 2.0 connectivity exclusively. Other cameras in the market usually have built-in Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity to facilitate ease of use.
Nonetheless, for its handy features and reasonable pricing, we’ve handed this camera the title of Best for Value.
Best Camera for Kayaking – What to Consider
Consider the following factor when choosing the camera for kayaking.
The max video resolution a camera can put out determines its camera quality since higher resolution means more pixels per frame.
However, this can come at the cost of having lesser frames per second. You want your videos and photos to be crisp and clear, so you record every detail you might miss in the heat of the moment.
Megapixel (MP) can be taken by multiplying the horizontal and vertical axis of a resolution and then dividing that value by a million. For example, to get the MP of a 1920×1080, you multiply 1920 to 1080 to get 2,073,600. Dividing this value with 1,000,000 gets you 2.07 megapixels.
Oftentimes, it’s this calculation that’s the reason that people usually interchange resolution and MP.
Since we’re talking kayaking, it’s essential to get a waterproof camera. A simple splash on a brand new non-waterproof camera could spell early destruction and a waste of money.
Note that most cameras are only waterproof up to a specific depth. So, if you’re planning on taking a kayak trip on relatively deep waters, getting a camera that supports a higher waterproof capacity is recommended.
When it comes to using cameras on generally hands-on water sports, every ounce counts. Be sure to use cameras that are just the right weight for you.
Typically with fast-paced activities, the lighter the camera is, the better.