The next level up would be a high end compact, such as the Canon G7X Mark II or the Sony RX100 IV / V.
These cameras are highly popular among underwater photographers and are a significant upgrade compared to a GoPro.
The first and most important difference is that a GoPro cannot trigger underwater strobes since it doesn’t have a built-in flash.
A good compact camera can use the pop-up flash to trigger and sync an external strobe, which is the best way to light up photos underwater and bring back the lost colors.
In addition, optics are much better on these cameras, and they allow zooming in for close-up and macro shots, as well as adding wet lenses which expand the camera’s capabilities on the wide or macro end.
Last but not least, image quality is significantly better, with a high quality 1″ sensor and advanced graphic processors which produce excellent colors, sharp and crisp details and better results overall.
Ran is a professional photographer for over 14 years. His passion for scuba diving and photography has pushed him to combine his profession and hobby and become a professional underwater photographer. Teaching is one of his greatest passions and over the years he has shared his experience with many divers and aspiring photographers. Along with his wife Danielle, an experienced Scuba Instructor, they have founded Dive and More, leading dive trips and UW photo workshops all over the world. Ran is also an electrical engineer and an avid internet marketing specialist. Visit his personal portfolio at www.ranmorphoto.com.