Waterproof cameras let you capture all the action in any outdoor situation. Whether you want to take photos and videos underwater or simply snap away in the rain, a waterproof digital camera is a way to go. It offers complete peace of mind and new creative possibilities. Dedicated waterproof compacts are fashioned with a greater range of physical controls, and are easier to handle and operate underwater than smartphones. Most also come with stronger optical zooms as standard. Furthermore, the best waterproof cameras will protect against freezing temperatures, shock and even being crushed. That means you’re far more likely to use them where you might feel it too risky for your smartphone.
Choosing the right underwater camera is no simple task, as there is no best camera, only the right camera for your personal needs and budget. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been an influx of camera models, and an option exists for photographers at every level.
The resolution of your camera’s still photos will be determined by the number of megapixels (MP) it offers. The general rule is: The higher the megapixels, the sharper and better your photos will look. All cameras recommended here have plenty of MP.
Video resolution on cameras can be anywhere from full HD 1080p to a whopping 4K Ultra HD. All cameras listed in this buying guide have excellent video quality regardless of the resolution. If you have a 4K monitor you might want a 4K camera, too.
Before you start looking at any camera to use underwater, check and make sure that there is a suitable housing available for it. If the camera you are looking at does not have a housing, it is simply not a viable option. Almost all SLRs made by Nikon and Canon will have at least one housing option, while there are very limited offerings for Sony and other brands.
Many modern waterproof cameras are designed to be drop-resistant, meaning you can drop them at a certain distance without breaking the camera. It’s a good feature to have for extra peace of mind, especially outdoors. But still, better don’t drop your camera.
The single biggest decision you will have to make when deciding which camera to purchase is whether you will be shooting in manual mode or not. While auto mode works well when shooting on land, it is far less effective underwater, because it was programmed for air and not the sea. Because of this, it is advisable to take the time to learn manual controls.
Here are the top 10 options for all budgets, from affordable, kid-friendly models through to advanced waterproof digital cameras that marry their robust housings with equally strong image quality.
Table of Contents
- 10. Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera
- 9. BYbrutek Kids Camera
- 8. Nikon COOLPIX AW130 16.0-Megapixel 5X Optical Waterproof Digital Camera
- 7. Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera
- 6. Olympus TG-4 16 MP Waterproof Digital Camera
- 5. Ricoh WG-50 16MP Waterproof Still/Video Camera
- 4. Nikon Coolpix W100 Wi-Fi Shock & Waterproof Digital Camera
- 3. Olympus TG-870 Tough Waterproof Digital Camera
- 2. Nikon COOLPIX S33 Waterproof Digital Camera
- 1. Sony DSCRX0
10. Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera
Ideal for snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and other outdoor leisure activities, the FinePix XP80 complies with IP68 standards*. This means it is waterproof to 50 ft/15 meters, can withstand a drop of up to 5.8ft/1.75m, it will still operate in temperatures as low as 14°F/-10°C and is dustproof to prevent dust or sand ingress. Further protection from the elements is offered by the double-lock mechanism on the battery/memory card compartment that prevents accidental opening, plus there are a front grip and thumb rest for assured handling. A single push of the Wi-Fi button transfers photos to your smartphone or tablet without having to enter an ID or password, allowing you to share photos with friends or upload to social media. The bright, clear LCD monitor is treated with anti-reflective coating to ensure excellent visibility, even in bright sunlight. LCD monitor brightness is automatically adjusted in response to lighting conditions to maintain optimal visibility and prevent unnecessary battery drain. The XP80 offers a 5x optical zoom lens that includes a 28mm wide-angle setting for sweeping landscape and scenic shots. The optical zoom range can be doubled to 10x with Fujifilm’s Intelligent Digital Zoom technology, while the camera’s Optical Image Stabilization function ensures that any effects from camera shake are minimized.
- Waterproof to 50ft/15m, Shockproof to 5.8ft/1.75m, Freezeproof to 14°F/-10°C and Dustproof
- 16.4 megapixel 1/2.3” inch BSI CMOS sensor
- 5x optical zoom with 28mm wide-angle setting
- Wireless connectivity with smartphones and tablets
- Full HD movie capture
9. BYbrutek Kids Camera
Think of a good gift for your kid’s birth? Want them to begin every moment of their lives themselves? What if we suggest BYbutek Kids Camera? This camera is built with a 2.0″ TFT LCD screen, 5 MP CMOS sensor, 12M Pixels Optical Lenses and 4x digital zoom photos. All the memories are stored in the Micro SD card up to 32 GB. The design is made to be waterproof, perfect for your children to take to their swimming lessons. Plus, it supports night portrait, night scenery, sport party, beach and even high sensitivity. The flash provides super bright light for clear, bright and good pictures at night.
- PC Camera: Yes
- Storage Media: Micro SD card, up to 32GB
- Digital /Optical zoom: 4X Digital Zoom
- Aperture: F2.8 f=5.3mm(40.16MM according to 35mm camera)
- Lens feature: 4PCS plastic of metal Lens
8. Nikon COOLPIX AW130 16.0-Megapixel 5X Optical Waterproof Digital Camera
Make the Nikon Coolpix AW130 Shock & Waterproof Wi-Fi GPS Digital Camera part of your go-to gear and start turning those radical moments into photos and Full HD 1080p videos that amaze. One of the most comforting things about the AW130 is its reassuringly tough turn-dial latch, which unlike some other underwater cameras, never leaves you wondering if the flaps have been properly secured before going for a swim. There’s a small grippy bulge on the right to provide a purchase for your hands, and a small but sturdy lens hood to protect the most important part of the camera in the event of a fall. The Nikon Coolpix AW130’s lens is located in the top-right corner when viewed front on, shielded by a clear lens cover that is open when the camera is turned off and on. The lens is a 5x zoom of the internally stacked variety, so it does not extend upon power-up or zooming. In 35mm equivalency, it spans focal lengths ranging from 24mm to 120mm. Aperture-wise it is fairly fast (for a fixed-mount compact camera lens, that is), its brightness being f/2.8 at the wide end and f/4.9 at full telephoto. It features a lens-shift vibration reduction mechanism that enables you to take sharp hand-held shots at shutter speeds that would otherwise be critically slow for the chosen focal length. On the front of the AW130, there’s also a slimline flash unit, four small holes below the lens for the camera’s stereo microphones, and the shared self-timer/AF-assist/movie light lamp. The AW130 also features built-in NFC for easy pairing, Wi-Fi for simple sharing and GPS for no-nonsense metadata embedding, so you can enjoy your adventure without getting lost in your tech.
- Waterproof up to 100 ft;
- Freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit
- Shockproof for drops up to 7 feet
- 5x optical zoom NIKKOR ED wide-angle glass lens
- Capable of taking up to 5 shots per second
7. Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera
The Coolpix W300 is a rugged and waterproof camera that continues Nikon’s tradition of producing versatile point-and-shoots that perform as well in the open air as they do underwater. The camera is waterproof down to 30m/100ft, freezeproof to -10C/14F, dustproof, shockproof to 2.4m/8ft and even tracks your altitude and water depth. Simple camera features let you focus on the adventure at hand, while an affordable price makes the camera available to the everyday adventurer. Nikon has a chunky yet pocket-sized new contender for your latest outdoors-friendly action camera in the all-weather Nikon Coolpix W300. It’s available in a variety of colors including eye-catching camouflage and the unit we were sent: a hard-to-miss, high-vis jacket-like canary yellow. The Nikon W300 camera has a solid build. It’s fairly light and much thinner than the 1-inch-type sensor compacts, making it easier to manage during outdoor adventure activities. The front grip helps you hold the camera with one hand, and there’s a convenient thumb grip under the zoom control.
- Waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof
- 4K Ultra HD videos, Time-lapse videos, Super lapse videos and music montages
- 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens with telephoto power and Hybrid VR image stabilization
- Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, eCompass, altimeter, depth gauge and more
6. Olympus TG-4 16 MP Waterproof Digital Camera
If you want to take pictures when you’re out kayaking, hiking or biking but you don’t want to subject your smartphone to the kind of punishment those activities usually entail, then it’s time to check out more outdoor-friendly cameras. That’s where Olympus’ TG-4 comes in. With a 16-megapixel sensor that’s made for both land and sea, the TG-4 can easily keep up with your active lifestyle while snapping sharper and more detailed pics than its competition. Shooting underwater is a breeze with TG-4’s customized Underwater Modes, which are activated fast via the Mode Dial. In addition to Snapshot, Wide, and Macro modes, TG-4 boasts an advanced Underwater HDR mode, which automatically combines multiple images to create vivid underwater scenes with enhanced light and shadow. Make sure you have this camera tied or strapped to you – if you are in a large body of water and it slips out of your hands, it will sink. The camera is heavier than most at 8.7 ounces. At 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 inches, the dimensions are fairly average for underwater cameras. The TG-4 has two menus: a function (shortcut) menu that pulls out from the right side of the screen as well as a more traditional menu. Both are responsive and easy to navigate. One thing to note is that Raw can only be turned on in the shortcut menu.
- 16MP BSI-CMOS sensor
- F2.0-4.9, 25-100mm equiv. Lens
- 3″ LCD w/460k dots
- Waterproof to 15m/50ft
- Raw support
- GPS with compass and manometer
- Wi-Fi w/smartphone app
- 1080/30p video
- Optional conversion lenses
5. Ricoh WG-50 16MP Waterproof Still/Video Camera
It’s safe to say that the WG-50 is not just another tough camera. Not only is it crushproof up to a hefty 100kg, but it also has a few additional features that make it an extra-compelling photographic prospect. Chief among these is a built-in macro ring-light on the front of its lens, which provides handy extra illumination in a pinch. The Ricoh WG-50 features a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 5x (28-140mm equivalent) zoom. It’s capable of Full HD (1080p) video recording and a high-speed shooting rate of 8 frames per second (for about 10 frames). The LCD is 2.7 inches (230k dots) and features an Outdoor View Setting that improves visibility on bright days. The WG-50 continues that tradition in approaching things a bit differently. While it generally works much like its competitors, it also has a few unusual features that stand out, such as the built-in macro lighting. And as you can see pretty quickly, it tries to set itself apart in its looks. In broad strokes, it hews pretty closely to the conventional compact camera layout, but the design looks like it’s inspired by a Transformers movie, with ostentatious rivets and armor plating look.
- 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor offers plenty of image detail
- Wide angle 5X internal optical zoom lens
- Waterproof to 46 feet – perfect for use when submerged
- Shockproof, ruggedized design protects from drops up to 5 feet
4. Nikon Coolpix W100 Wi-Fi Shock & Waterproof Digital Camera
Share all your family fun with the Nikon Coolpix W100 Wi-Fi Shock & Waterproof Digital Camera. It is waterproof down to 33 feet underwater, plus it’s shockproof to 5.9 feet, cold resistant to 14 degrees F, and dustproof. Shoot high-quality photos and Full HD 1080p videos with stereo sound, while SnapBridge wirelessly transfers images to your compatible smart device for easy sharing and storage. The Nikon Coolpix W100 is fairly bulky for a compact camera, but it’s a typical size for a toughened, waterproof model. The well-spaced, and oversized buttons are easy to use whilst underwater or when wearing gloves, with the four buttons alongside the screen directly controlling common menu options. Underwater the camera almost floats, with one side of the camera higher than the other – this should make it quite easy to attach even a small floatation device to the camera to make it float. You can also remotely control the camera with your phone. So it’s an inexpensive no-frills waterproof compact that scores highly on connectivity and ease of use.
- 13.2-megapixel CMOS sensor
- 3x optical zoom lens, 30-90mm-equivalent, f/3.3-5.9
- 2.7-inch 230,000-dot LCD screen
- Waterproof to 10m, shockproof to 1.5m, dustproof
- Full HD 1080p video recording
- ISO 125 to 1600
3. Olympus TG-870 Tough Waterproof Digital Camera
Your journey starts soon. You need something to capture the memories anywhere. Then you need a rugged camera with versatile features to instantly shoot and share, day or night. The TG-870 is designed for you. Waterproof to 50 ft (15 m), crushproof to 220 lbs (100 kg), shockproof to 7ft (2.1 m), freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C), and dustproof. From selfies to overhead concert shots to low-angle underwater shots, the advanced 180° flip LCD lets you compose images and video from any angle. The monitor’s adjustable positioning and enhanced brightness and clarity make the TG-870 perfect for outdoor and underwater shooting. The design of the 16-megapixel TG-870 is more sophisticated than rugged cameras of the past – less toy-like, more of a tank. Available in colors like Gunmetal Metallic (dark gray), Metallic Green, or Pure White, it’s a compact point-and-shoot measuring 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches and weighing around 8 ounces. There’s no trouble carrying it around all day as it easily fits in a pocket.
- Waterproof to 50 feet (15 meters), Shockproof to 7 feet (2.1 meters)
- Crushproof to 220 pounds force, Freeze proof to 14 degrees F (-10C)
- 21mm Ultra-Wide Angle Lens, 5X optical zoom
- Built-in Wi-Fi & GPS (oI Share & OI Track), Eye-Fi Card Compatible
- Super Macro mode
- 13 Art filters plus Live Composite
2. Nikon COOLPIX S33 Waterproof Digital Camera
The Nikon Coolpix S33 is the most affordable and easy-to-use waterproof camera in our lineup. It is simple in look and functionality. Nikon claims the S33 can handle underwater depths of 33 feet and can handle a drop from 5 feet. Upon first glance, the look and feel of the camera do nothing to suggest its ruggedness. The camera is mostly white and has a smooth plastic exterior. After playing with the camera for only a few minutes, we were able to navigate through all its functions and menus. Simplicity is this underwater camera’s greatest attribute. The S33’s 13.2-megapixel sensor performs adequately in good light when shooting close-range subjects. Vibrant color reproduction gives images instant appeal, but shots with distant detail such as landscapes can often look smudged and painterly when viewed more closely. Indoor or low light shots appear soft even on casual inspection due to considerable noise reduction processing and detail smoothing. Other features include ISO sensitivity of up to 1600 and 4.7 fps continuous shooting. The camera also features a dedicated movie record button for jumping directly to video. Overall, this camera is designed for worry-free intuitive handling in a wide range of conditions.
- 13.2 megapixel 1/3.1 inch CMOS sensor
- 3x optical zoom
- Maximum aperture f/3.3-5.9
- Maximum shutter speed 1/2000
- ISO range 100-1600
- Electronic vibration reduction
1. Sony DSCRX0
The Sony DSC-RX0 is Sony’s premium compact action camera, and with a 1-inch sensor, it offers one of the largest sensors available in this type of camera. The RX0 features a wide-angle Zeiss 24mm equivalent lens, shoots 15mp still images, records Full HD video to MicroSD cards, and 4K video to an external recorder (optional extra). The camera is waterproof to 10m underwater without any additional case and has built-in Wifi and Bluetooth. This cube-shaped camera measures just 59 x 40 x 30mm, weighs just 110 g and manages to squeeze in a 1.5″ LCD. The RX0 is waterproof, shockproof from 2m, crushproof to 200 kgf and dustproof. The RX0 uses a Sony NP-BJ1 (700mAh) battery, and the camera can be used with an external battery charger/power source connected. The camera battery is charged using the MicroUSB connection.
- 20mp 1inch BSI Stacked CMOS Sensor / 15mp images
- 24mm (equivalent) f/4 Zeiss Tessar T* Lens
- 1.5 inch Screen, 230K dot resolution
- Full HD video at 100/50/25fps
- High-speed video at 250/500/1000 fps
Now you’ve read our guide and met our top 10 elites. It’s time for you to decide. Think carefully, but remember all these cameras serve only one purpose, bring you the best quality of your memories as possible. Click order now to present yourself or your loved ones the best gift of all time.