Do you enjoy taking photos or videos, or both? Doesn’t everyone? However, if you live an active lifestyle, you may be concerned about water damage. But fear not, get yourself a waterproof camera and start enjoying taking pictures anywhere you want.
Waterproof cameras allow you to take your photos in places inaccessible to other cameras. Robust and well-protected, these will allow you to explore fearlessly and capture images anywhere. Even underwater!
But how do you choose the perfect waterproof camera for your needs? It isn’t easy with the number of quality cameras available these days. However, in this Best Waterproof Camera review, we showcase the best models currently available that will give you the ultimate shooting experience.
So let’s go through them and find the perfect underwater camera for you…
- 1 Best Waterproof Camera In 2021 – Top 10 Rated Reviews
- 1.1 1 Nikon Coolpix W300 – Best Waterproof Digital Camera
- 1.2 2 Fujifilm XP140
- 1.3 3 Olympus Tough TG-6
- 1.4 4 Ricoh WG-60
- 1.5 5 Panasonic FT30
- 1.6 6 GoPro HERO7 Black
- 1.7 7 GoPro HERO8 Black
- 1.8 8 DJI Osmo Action
- 1.9 9 Fujifilm FinePix XP140
- 1.10 10 SeaLife DC2000
- 2 Best Waterproof Camera Buyers Guide
- 3 So, What’s The Best Waterproof Camera?
But before that, a little background information:
There are two main types of waterproof cameras: waterproof compacts and sports cameras.
Waterproof Compacts tend to look like an ordinary compact camera, with the main difference that they are waterproof. They tend to be marked with distinctive bright colors (useful if you drop them underwater), and the main advantage they have over sports cameras is the presence of an optical zoom lens, allowing you get closer to your subjects without losing image quality.
Sports Cameras like GoPros also have their advantages. They are generally much smaller than waterproof compacts, which makes them lighter and easier to place on a harness, helmet, or similar accessory. The best sports cameras also tend to have better video specifications, delivering flawless 4K at high frame rates, which many waterproof compacts currently lack.
We have included both categories in our review – the best waterproof compacts and the best sports cameras to go underwater.
Best Waterproof Camera In 2021 – Top 10 Rated Reviews
1 Nikon Coolpix W300 – Best Waterproof Digital Camera
If you are a deepwater explorer, then this could be the camera you’ve been looking for, because it’s easily one of the best digital waterproof cameras currently available. The Nikon W300 is designed for depths of up to 30m, which is quite a bit deeper than most waterproof cameras can go, and comes with a barometer that provides useful underwater data, as well as an electronic compass.
The Bluetooth functionality is also integrated and combines perfectly with Nikon’s SnapBridge technology for fast image transfer. Videographers will also appreciate the inclusion of 4K video.
Another great feature is the generous 2.4 m impact resistance, so it’s basically shockproof.
- 5 x optical zoom.
- Excellent waterproofing.
- A little expensive.
2 Fujifilm XP140
The design of the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is fun and kid-friendly, making it a great choice for family vacations. However, that doesn’t mean that it skimps on imaging technology. Although it cannot compete with the Nikon Coolpix W300, it is a small full-fledged camera capable of shooting 4K videos (albeit at a disappointing 15p) and equipped with an optical zoom.
It, however, has an impressive 5x zoom with an equivalent focal length of 28-140mm, and all this at an extremely user-friendly price.
A new scene recognition mode allows the XP140 to assess what it is photographing, and the controls are well laid out and easy to use, even in harsh underwater conditions. For the price, it is a great buy and should serve you well.
- Good level of protection.
- 920,000 dot LCD screen.
- 4K at 15 fps video only.
- No manual control.
3 Olympus Tough TG-6
The Olympus TG line has an excellent reputation in the camera market. This is because it can withstand harsh conditions and is well equipped with impressive imaging and video technologies.
The TG-6 is a fairly minor update compared to the previous TG-5, but it adds some new features like improved LCD resolution and a new Underwater Microscope mode.
Producing 4K video at 30fps with the option of shooting Full HD video at 120fps for super slow motion, the TG-6 also has a generous 25-100mm optical zoom that lets you get closer to the action. It has a thick handle that ensures a secure grip on the camera. While the internal zoom mechanism ensures that the lens never protrudes from the body, protecting it from impact and bumps.
Simple but sophisticated, the TG-6 is easily one of the best waterproof cameras on the market, but will it be our winner? Read on to find out…
- 4K video recording.
- Generous optical zoom.
- Excellent slow motion capabilities.
- 15m water resistance.
- A little expensive.
4 Ricoh WG-60
This is the Swiss army knife of the camera world and is equipped with luminous rings around its lens, which function as a torch. These allow you to see what you are doing underwater in darker conditions and, of course, keep your subjects lit.
Although it has not been updated much from the previous WG-50, it does have some interesting new features. Its microscope mode allows it to focus at distances as close as 1mm, while the portable Night Snap device captures multiple images of a dimly lit scene in quick succession and blends them together to create a composite image without blur.
The whole unit can be housed in a rugged case, which will seriously protect it from damage, but this is an optional extra at an additional price. But even without the case, it is capable of staying immersed in 14m of water for 2 hours. So unless you’re very heavy-handed, you may well not need it.
- Microscopic mode for close up detail.
- Useful recessed lights.
- Very similar to the now cheaper WG-50.
- No 4K video.
5 Panasonic FT30
The FT30 is not the latest waterproof digital camera on the market and doesn’t offer the highest specifications, but it is available at a very reasonable price. So if cheap and cheerful is what you’re after, this could well be the camera for you.
It is also thin enough to fit in the pocket of your jeans. However, being so thin doesn’t make it the easiest camera to grip.
The FT30 is a solid and versatile device, which should be well suited for recording your aquatic adventures – in the form of still images, anyway. However, the video resolution of 720p is quite low, so if you’re a video lover, there are far better options available.
- Very affordable.
- Stylish design and different color options.
- Low video quality.
- The lens has a relatively small maximum aperture.
6 GoPro HERO7 Black
In 2017, following some financial difficulties, GoPro needed a commercial success. And that’s exactly what happened when they released the HERO6 Black.
A few have passed since then, and now they have released the Hero7 Black. It features new HyperSmooth image stabilization and the ability to capture 4K video at 60 frames/second, which allows for a smooth 2x slow-motion effect during playback.
Tell it what to do…
You can also watch your adventures live while simultaneously capturing them on the internal memory card, although it will need to be connected to the GoPro app for this to work. It also features intuitive voice control, so it will respond to verbal instructions such as “GoPro, take a photo”, which is very cool!
The GoPro Hero7 Black is waterproof up to 10m and makes a great choice for anyone looking for a rugged action camera!
- 4K video at 60 frames/second.
- Video stabilization.
- Voice Control.
- Not the best choice for very cold temperatures.
7 GoPro HERO8 Black
Following on from the Hero7, we have it’s bigger brother, the latest generation of GoPro, the HERO8 Black. This is an extremely impressive action camera allowing full HD video to be shot at 120 frames/second, which is great for slow motion. It also allows you to take photos in Raw format, which gives you more flexibility to edit them in post-production.
But this level of quality doesn’t come cheap; however, if you don’t mind the expense, this waterproof sports camera should more than meet your needs.
Versatile and practical…
The redesigned format of the camera makes it easier to transport, and the rods hinged at the base allow you to change the mount quickly. Therefore it offers vloggers, professional filmmakers, and budding creators previously unimaginable possibilities, thanks in particular to fast-charging and accessories such as flashes, microphones, LCD screens, and many others.
The HERO8 Black has three stabilization levels to allow you to choose the best option depending on the situation. This allows you to capture time-lapse ultra-stabilized videos while on the go.
Don’t miss a thing…
Finally, the camera automatically records 1.5 seconds before and after your shots. You, therefore, have even more options to select the perfect photo or produce an exceptional video to share.
- 4K video with effective image stabilization.
- Voice control.
- Lots of cheaper competitors.
8 DJI Osmo Action
If you’re looking for all the features of the GoPro Hero8, but at a more affordable price, the DJI Osmo Action is a great choice.
This durable and versatile action camera features some very advanced technology that means you will spend less time worrying about the settings and more time living the action. And the Rocksteady image stabilization combines EIS and complex algorithms, therefore delivering shake-free footage regardless of how exciting the action gets.
Light to dark…
It also features technology that allows natural transitions between lighter and darker areas. This enables it to capture rich details that are often lost where there is complex lighting. This, along with the 4K/60Fps at 100Mbps video capture, ensures the footage will always match the intensity of the moment.
If you need a perfect underwater companion, OSMO action could well be it, it’s waterproof to depths of up to 11 meters. It’s also good for colder climates, unlike some of the GoPro range, as is temperature resistant to -10℃. Plus, as a bonus, it’s supplied with an extra battery, which should keep you going for even the longest of shoots.
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the GoPro Hero8, you could do a lot worse than the DJI Osmo Action for the price.
- Fantastic image stabilization.
- Front screen for selfies.
- There is sometimes a lag at maximum resolution.
9 Fujifilm FinePix XP140
The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is a robust digital camera, complemented by flexible imaging capabilities. Its 16.4MP CMOS sensor allows high resolution shooting, UHD 4K (15p) video recording, and offers a wide range of ISO 100-12800 sensitivity adapted to the most diverse conditions.
The sensor is complemented by a Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens, which covers an equivalent focal length range of 28 to 140mm, and image stabilization by moving the sensor minimizes the appearance of camera shake for more precise shots by hand.
Built for the roughest conditions…
The real calling card of the XP140 is its durability specifications, which include water resistance up to 82 feet, impact resistance up to 5.9 feet, frost resistance up to 14° F, as well as dust protection for the toughest jobs you can think of.
In addition, its intuitive design incorporates a 3.0″ LCD monitor for clear viewing and image review. And all essential camera controls are located on the right side for quick and simple one-handed control.
Stream your videos…
Finally, its Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity enables fast and automatic wireless image transfer between the camera and a mobile device, as well as geolocation and time synchronization features.
- Suitable zoom range.
- Excellent waterproofing.
- Great price/function ratio.
10 SeaLife DC2000
The SeaLife DC2000 is SeaLife’s most advanced waterproof camera with a Sony 20MP image sensor, full HD video, RAW image format, and a high-resolution X3 LCD screen.
It has four shooting modes allowing you to focus at different distances – Auto: 15 cm to infinity; Macro: 9 to 50 cm: Super Macro: 9 to 50 cm and Infinity: 60 cm to infinity. As well as a built-in flash, Bluetooth and WiFi.
While previous SeaLife models drew attention due to having a 1-inch sensor in a tiny package, they had the downside that in order to record 4K video, it had to be physically attached to an external recorder. Although they are waterproof and shockproof, this limitation meant that 4K video could not be recorded in extreme situations.
The new SeaLife DC2000 removes this restriction by internally recording flawless 4K video and adds welcome additional features.
Quality does not come cheap…
It’s the most expensive device on this list, but if you need the top of the line clarity that a 1-inch sensor provides, it’s an unrivaled device.
- A 1-inch sensor in a very small body.
- 4K video
- Small LCD display
- Very expensive.
Best Waterproof Camera Buyers Guide
How To Choose A Good Waterproof Camera?
In order to buy a quality waterproof camera, there are a few things you need to consider. So, let’s go through them…
Are you are a professional or an amateur? Or an amateur who is thinking of making action photography a profession? This will affect the quality of the camera you need and how much you will need to spend. If you’re going to be selling the pictures or video, then buying a SeaLife DC2000 is necessary and understandable.
However, if it’s just for fun, then the cheaper GoPros or the Panasonic FT30 we reviewed will probably do more than you need it to.
Also, consider where you will be using it? Is it mainly for extreme sports, or underwater, or both? Getting a specific model for your use could save you quite a bit of money on features that you don’t really need.
It’s natural to want the highest quality video you can get. But that comes at quite a cost, so unless you plan on doing mega screen playback, it really isn’t worth paying the extra money for.
DVD-quality video is more than suitable if you only need the footage or pictures for personal use, or to send and share with friends on social networks. Most standard PCs or Macs will easily manage the files produced, so there are no additional costs.
Full HD 1080p resolution is suitable for both a professional and an amateur who demands excellent video or image quality. However, you will need more advanced computers with greater memory to handle and manipulate the files.
720 p HD resolution comes between these two standards and is suitable for both lower professional and personal use.
Decide what you need and go for a suitable camera, no point paying for quality that you just don’t need.
Consider how you will use your camera and how and to what it will be attached. Then make sure that everything you need is included with the camera or can be easily and cheaply bought as an extra.
Some cameras, such as the GoPro Hero8 we reviewed, are supplied with a large number of accessories and numerous fixing options. If you need a lot of different ways to attach the camera or are not sure of what you will need in the future, these can be more economical than buying every accessory individually.
Whatever option you choose, make sure your camera is always firmly attached. Don’t take the risk of bad footage because of an insecure camera, or worse still no camera at all because it’s lost in the snow!
Most people don’t need every function that is available on some of these high-tech cameras. So try and find one that has the functions you need and may need in the future, but not a lot more. This will not only save you money but usually make the camera far easier to use, with fewer complications.
Features that may be of interest include the ability to take photos continuously, a slow-motion option, a remote control, a zoom function, a screen that allows you to instantly watch the video, the level of waterproofing, a GPS, etc. etc.
So, What’s The Best Waterproof Camera?
Action cameras are a load of fun, regardless of whether you’re a pro or an amateur. Therefore, if you enjoy the rough and tumble of action sports or the underwater world, then you need one to capture your experiences.
Our reviews and buyers guide should have narrowed down your choices a lot. And remember that all these cameras are the best of the best, so there are no bad choices. It’s just a case of finding the perfect camera for what YOU need.
Our personal favorite is the…
Offering a superb zoom range, excellent waterproofing, and arguably the best value for its impressive functions, its a great choice that won’t cost you a fortune.