Best Buoyancy Solutions For Underwater Cameras

We consider buoyancy the number one reason divers struggle with underwater photography. A camera system with comfortable buoyancy is much easier to use, will result in better photos, make your dive more enjoyable, and protect the reef.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for buoyancy, but there are some ground rules. First, make sure you understand the smaller your housing is, the more likely you’ll need to add floats. Second, you’ll want to determine if you’re more comfortable with positive, negative, or neutral buoyancy and select the best buoyancy accessories to meet your needs. We’ll walk you through the details below.


First, we need to define two key terms in underwater photography housing use. “Buoyancy” is how heavy or light your camera feels in your hands. “Trim” is how much your housing twists forward or back in your hand. A perfect camera would feel weightless underwater (perfect buoyancy) and not further tire your wrists with it twisting up or down (perfect trim). If you’ve experienced these issues, this is the article for you.

graphic to illustrate buoyancy vs trim

Dialing in your camera with proper buoyancy and trim will make your dives more enjoyable. Take the time to get your camera system comfortable for you. The team at Backscatter can help.


Customers visit Backscatter to put their hands on housings and are always attracted to the most compact option. We always warn that “While it looks travel friendly, you’ll need to add floats so that it’s not as heavy as a brick underwater.” Experienced underwater photographers quickly learn that smaller camera systems need a significant bulk of arm floats to make them enjoyable to use underwater. While compact housings may be small in travel size, they lack air space in the housing to make them easy to handle underwater. Adding additional lenses, focus lights, and hardware can increase this underwater weight. Buoyancy on the arms is a must and you’ll definitely want additional buoyancy options if adding wet lenses.

image of multiple camera sizes.. Mirrorless and SLR

While mirrorless and compact cameras are attractively small for travel, most need floats to be enjoyable to use underwater.

image of multiple camera sizes.. Mirrorless and SLR

Cinema housings are the largest for travel but are surprisingly fun to swim. Most cinema housings come with trim weights that can be positioned front or back to dial in perfect trim.


image of diver with perfect neutral rig

Diving with a perfectly neutral rig will make underwater photography more enjoyable and you more productive. Make the time to get your rig dialed in.

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