Best Waterproof Camera

If you love being outdoors and want to capture nature, animals and action shots in any kind of weather, having a waterproof camera can be a big help. Regular cameras that are not weather resistant can get fogged up in damp conditions or extreme cold, which makes the shots you’re trying to get hit or miss at best. There are many different kinds of waterproof cameras to choose from. We’re going to give you the top rated waterproof models on the market and tell you about their features so you can decide which one fits your needs the best.

Waterproof Camera Reviews
12 mins to read
26 products considered
15 products reviewed
39 hours reviewing

1. GoPro HERO

Best Overall Waterproof Camera

5/5 Product Rating
GoPro is one of the best selling cameras in the world and with good reason. User friendly, high quality 1080p30 and 720p60 video and features like QuikCapture you can be sure to get that shot that you’re after no matter where you are.

Recording is duper easy, just press one button and recording starts and enjoy Burst photo which captures fast action subjects at up to 5 frames per second.

The GoPro HERO can be worn, gear mounted and is constructed into a rugged, touch housing that stands up to the rigors of outdoor photography.

Another big plus of this fantastic customer favorite is that it is waterproof up to 131 feet or 40 meters which means you can get beautiful underwater shots too!

Other popular and often used features of the GoPro HERO are the SuperView and Auto Low Light which adjust to the lighting you are shooting in. It has an auto mic and ultra wide angle lens as well. The GoPro HERO is compatible with all GoPro mounts and accessories and has access to the GoPro software as well so you can share the incredible shots you’ve taken. It has the capability to support microSD cards up to 32GB which can be purchased separately.

The GoPro HERO is definitely for outdoorsy, active people who love to take pictures. It is lightweight, only 3.9 ounces, is super small and very portable too. Whether you wear it or mount it on your gear it will not weigh you down and is ready to help you take great photos in all kinds of weather and in all kinds of terrain.

2. Fujifilm

Best Overall Waterproof Camera

4.7/5 Product Rating
Fuji FinePix is one of the most popular brand names in cameras. The XP70 continues Fuji’s commitment to quality with a camera that is designed for all action photographers to take great pictures in all conditions.

Not only is the 16.4MP camera waterproof up to 33 feet, it is also shock-proof against drops, dust-proof and freeze-proof too.

One of the many popular features is the wireless connectivity it has that allows users to share their videos and pictures with a smartphone or tablet, all you need is the FUJIFILM Camera App which is free to download.

Record movies easily with the dedicated recording button that makes it easy to switch from taking pictures to taking video with a simple press of a button. For fast action shots, the Fuji Ninepin XP70 can freeze your fast moving subjects at a rate of 380 fps. You can also do continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second and ultra high speed bursts at 60-70 frames/second.

You will have all the capability you need to take fast action, underwater and any other shot you’re looking to capture with this customer favorite from Fuji. If yellow is not your color, you can choose from red or blue as well.

3. Nikon

Best Budget Waterproof Camera

4.5/5 Product Rating
You can take excellent pictures at the pool, beach or lakeside and even take underwater shots with no worry with the Nikon COOLPIX.

With 13.2MP, this dust-proof, waterproof, freeze-proof and shock-proof camera will produce beautiful, crystal clear pictures that you will be proud to show off.

The 3.3” touchscreen provides sharp detail on the OLED display. The built in LED lights provide the right lighting conditions for close up detailed pictures without shadows being cast from your camera.

The advanced in-camera stabilization prevents blurring which can ruin a great shot.

It is waterproof up to depths of 33 feet and can even handle falls from up to about 5.9 feet and dust will never get into the intricate mechanisms thanks to the airtight construction. You can even take it out in extreme cold as it is designed to withstand temps as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you’re trying to get that perfect underwater shot of you’re out n the town getting photos of the city lights, your Nikon COOLPIX0 will give you the best quality shots you can.

Waterproof Camera Comparison


GoPro
HERO
View

Fujifilm XP70 16 MP
View

Nikon COOLPIX S33
View

Sony DSC-TX30/D 18 MP
View

SVP Aqua 5500 18 MP
View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12.1 MP
View

Bell+Howell Splash WP7 12 MP
View

Panasonic DMC-TS25D
View

Sony W800/B 20.1 MP
View

Canon PowerShot D30
View
Fixed Focus
(mm)

2.8 2.62 3.1 3 2.8 3.1 2.8 3.1 3.1 2.3
Digital Zoom 4X 2X 4X 2X 4X 4X 8X 4X 10X 4X
Recording Media microSD/HC SD/HC/XC SD/HC/XC Memory Stick Micro/M2
microSD/HC
microSD SD/HC/XC microSD SD/HC/XC SD/HC/XC SD/HC/XC

ISO Sensitivity

Auto, 100-6400 Auto, 100-6400 Auto, 125-1600 Auto, 80-3200
(Extended Mode: 6400-12800)
Auto, 80-3200

(Extended Mode: 6400-12800)

100-1600 (High Sensitivity Mode: 1600-6400)

Auto, 100-6400 Auto, 100-3200 (High Sensitivity Mode: 1600-6400) 100-3200 Auto, 100-3200
Shutter Speed
(seconds)
1/4 to 1/4000 4 – 1/2000 4 – 1/1600

4 – 1/1600 1/4 to 1/4000 8 – 1/1300 4 – 1/2000 8 – 1/1300 2 – 1/1500 1 – 1/1600
Self Timer
(seconds)
2, 10 2, 10 2, 10 2, 10 10 2, 10 10 2, 10 2, 10 2, 10, 15
Video Format H.264 H.264, MOV MOV MPEG-4,
MPEG-4 AVCHD
VGA, QVGA MJPEG, MPEG-4 AVCHD VGA MPEG-4 AVI MOV, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Aspect Ratio 16:9 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 4:3 4:3, 16:9 4:3, 16:9 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 4:3 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 4:3, 16:9 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
Still Image
Resolution
JPEG: 5 Megapixel,
2592 x 1944
JPEG:
4608 x 3456
13 MP:
4160 x 3120
18.2 MP:
4896 x 3672
JPEG:
4928 x 3696
12 MP:
4000 x 3000
12 MP:
640 x 480
16 MP:
4608 x 3456
20.1 MP: 5152 x 3864 12 MP:
4000 x 3000
Audio Format AAC with AGC Linear PCM (Mono) WAV AC3 AC3 Linear PCM
(Mono)
Linear PCM (Mono) Linear PCM
(Mono)
MP3 Linear PCM (Mono)
Burst Rate Up to 5 fps
for up to 10 frames
Up to 10 fps
at 16.4 MP for
up to 10 frames
Up to 4.7 fps
at 13 MP for
up to 11 frames
Up to 10 fps
at 18.2 MP for
up to 10 frames
Up to 5 fps

for up to 10 frames

Up to 3.7 fps at 12.1 MP for up to 7 frames Up to 5 fps

for up to 10 frames

Up to 1.3 fps at 16.1 MP for up to 10 frames Up to 1 fps at 20.4 MP for up to 100 frames Up to 1.9 fps
Waterproof
Depth Rating
131.0′ /
40.0 m (Camera)
33.0′ (10.1 m) 32.8′ (10.0 m) 33.0′ (10.1 m) 131.0′ /

40.0 m (Camera)

33.0′ (10.1 m) 32.8′ (10.0 m) 23.0′ (7.0 m) 131.0′ /

40.0 m (Camera)

82.0′ (25.0 m)
Connectivity 1x Mini-USB
microSD/HC

HDMI D (Micro),
USB 2.0
HDMI D (Micro), Micro-USB Memory Stick Micro/M2
microSD/HC
microSD DC Input

HDMI A (Full Size)

AV Output
USB 2.0
microSD

AV Output

USB 2.0
AV / USB Multi, USB 2.0 AV Output, HDMI C (Mini)
Screen Size
(Inches)
3 2.7 2.7 3.3 2.7 2.7 2.4 2.7 2.7 3
Effective Pixels 12 MP 16 MP 13.2 MP 18.2 MP 18 MP 12.1 MP 12 MP 16.1 20.1 12.1
Sensor CMOS CMOS CMOS CMOS CMOS CCD CMOS CCD Super HAD CCD CMOS
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year

 

Waterproof Camera Buying Guide

Waterproof Camera Buying Guide

What is a Waterproof Camera?

Waterproof Camera1If you’ve never used a waterproof or underwater camera before but you feel that you would get a lot of use out of, there are some things that you can consider to help you decide what type to get and what features to look for. A waterproof camera is a camera that can take pictures underneath the water. They are very popular with divers, snorkelers and surfers as well as those who just love being near or in the water.

Think about how you will be using your camera to determine whether you want to purchase a weatherproof, waterproof or underwater camera. We’ve outlined the differences between the three below to help you.

Weatherproof – Weatherproof cameras come in all styles and sizes. What the term weatherproof means is that the camera can handle a light spray of water to a downpour without issue. If the model you are considering is weather sealed this means it will keep out dust and sand as well but you will want to check with the manufacturer to make sure. Weatherproof cameras were not designed to be submerged under water and cannot take underwater pictures.

Waterproof – A waterproof camera can be submerged under the water and it will vary from model to model how deep it can be submerged. There are underwater camera cases that can be purchased for cameras that are not waterproof that you can get if you have a camera you love but that doesn’t have this capability. Waterproof cameras can take pictures while submerged under the water.

Underwater – Unless you are going to be deep under the water all the time, there isn’t a need to buy a specific underwater camera. If you find a waterproof camera that you love, you can get an underwater housing for it that enable you to achieve great depths with your existing equipment and not have to buy dedicated underwater equipment that can be extremely costly.

Different Types of Waterproof Cameras

There are several different types of waterproof cameras that you can choose from. We have outlined them below and given you some explanation of the differences between each of them so you can see which one appeals to you and fits your needs the best.

  • Point and Shoot Cameras – These types of waterproof cameras are very basic and good for hanging out at the beach or pool and casual settings. They generally have smaller bodies and limited optical zooms. One of the things customers like about these types of waterproof cameras is their wireless capabilities that allow the picture taker to transfer the images from the camera to your phone so you can share them on social media sites like so many like to do these days.
  • Compact System Cameras – This is a new type of camera that can have the lenses changed which gives the user a lot more flexibility. You may also see these cameras called Mirrorless cameras. They have a larger image sensor than point and shoot cameras which increase the quality of the pictures you take. Many of these compact systems cameras have HD video and GPS tagging as features that are very popular. They make good underwater cameras for those who don’t mind cameras that are a little larger in size.
  • Video Cameras – GoPro has become a household name and these compact video cameras are favorites with whoever purchases them. They offer compact sized video cameras that have wide fixed lenses that can record HD video and do still images as well. These cameras have rugged housings that are waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof and freeze-proof. They are great choices for taking great video above and below the water. The only drawback that some feel this camera has is the lack of an LCD screen that makes getting still images a bit awkward.

Waterproof Camera Features

Higher cost – In general you may end up paying a little more for a waterproof camera than you would a regular camera but this isn’t always the case. While you don’t want to look for the cheapest camera you can find, you don’t want to get the most expensive one either simply because it is expensive. Look at the features it offers as well as the reviews it has to help decide rather than just basing it on the price.

Waterproofing depth – The higher end waterproof cameras will have a waterproofing capability of up to 15 meters or more, but look for a minimum of 10 to get the best performance and protection.

Shock-proofing is important – The purpose of shock-proofing a camera is to protect it against being dropped which can happen quite often when taking pictures outdoors. Look for shock proofing capabilities of about 4-5 feet or more for the best protection.

Zoom capabilities – Most waterproof cameras don’t have extreme zoom ability simply because the lens is usually behind a rugged, sealed casing and that doesn’t allow for it to extend very far. For the most part you can expect to see 5x optical zooms in most waterproof cameras.

Harsh weather capable – Rugged, waterproof cameras are designed to handle a lot of different weather conditions, from extreme cold as low as 14 degrees and are typically sealed so they can operate safely in humid, sandy areas as well. Sand and moisture can wreck havoc on a regular unsealed camera, so to be truly rugged and able to handle these elements, make sure yours is sealed.

Megapixels – The higher the Megapixels the clearer and better your pictures will be. Look for cameras that have a minimum of 16.4MP to get crystal clear pictures that you will love and enjoy showing.

Wireless Connectivity – What this feature does is allow the user to transfer the pictures from the camera to a smartphone or tablet so they can be shared on social media venues. Since this is becoming the age of “selfies” and sharing images, having this wireless connectivity can be very helpful of you don’t want to have to go through a more time taking process to extract the photos from the camera.

Additional Features

Waterproof Camera2Other features that can be included in a great waterproof camera are Full HD video, Image stabilizer, built-in GPS, freeze-proof, crush-proof and more. The key to sorting through all these features is to figure out what you need and then look for the cameras that have at the very least, everything you are looking for it to have.

Know what you want

Before you start your search it is very important for you to know what your needs and preferences are. Ask yourself a few questions that will help you narrow down the choices when you do start looking and be honest in your answers so you end up purchasing the camera you truly want and need and not settling. We’ve outlined these questions for you below.

  • Where will you be taking pictures most often? – This question is not meant to lock you in to only indoor or outdoor pictures, but if you plan on doing a massive amount of outdoor action shots, underwater photography and rock climbing shots, you want to look for rugged cameras that offer plenty of protection, fast action shooting capability and other relevant features.
  • What is your budget? – If you have a specific amount of money allocated for your waterproof camera, you need to be aware of what that is so you are not consistently looking at cameras that are above your budget. As a rule of thumb, purchase the best camera you can afford to buy that has the features you need and want.
  • Does size and weight matter to you? – Some of the compact system cameras can have a little more size on them than the compact point and shoot styles, so knowing ahead of time whether you want something very lightweight and small or if a heavier and larger camera is no problem, can affect the models that you will be interested in.
  • Just for Fun or Something more Serious? – One of the biggest questions you can ask yourself is if you just want a camera to capture memories or if this is something more serious for you. If you are just having fun, then that doesn’t mean you want a lower quality camera, but what it does mean is that you can look for cameras that are lower-cost and that have the basic features you need without the frills. If you’re looking to make this a potential career, then you want to get a camera that will allow you to take the best quality video and pictures possible.

Some Things to Look at When Researching

Design – Design will vary according to the manufacturer of the cameras you are considering. Each company wants their camera to stand out and be noticed and that means fancy housings, bold colors, polished metal and other eye-catching details. Some models end up looking very James Bond with lots of metal and smooth lines, like which appeals to camera enthusiasts of all kinds. The good news is that there are all styles and colors of waterproof cameras available for all tastes.

Functions and Modes – Always look at the features and functions that each waterproof camera offers. You want to find the one that has all of the features you’re looking for or as many as you can. The idea is to look for the camera that has the best overall features, look, weight and performance. That is the one that you will be the happiest with.

Waterproof Camera3Display and Menu – The ease in which the menus and display can be accessed and used is just as important as the features a camera offers. If it has a ton of features, but the menu is difficult to access and understand you may find yourself in a constant state of frustration when trying to use the camera. Customer reviews can be helpful when you want to get information on how easy it is to navigate. You also want to look at things like how convenient are the controls placed, are the icons legible and do they make sense? Do you have to read the manual over and over again to figure out how to use the camera or can you learn to operate some things without it? How well you see the LCD screen? How sensitive is the touchscreen if it has one? All of these things will play a part in how well the camera performs for you.

Conclusion

Waterproof cameras used to be extremely expensive pieces of equipment that were reserved for professional photographers, but with the increasing popularity of picture taking and social media sharing, the price has come down for many models that work great for the recreational picture enthusiast. A good quality waterproof camera can provides years of wonderful pictures both in and out of the water.

With the knowledge you’ve gotten in this buyer’s guide you have what you need to compare the different models of the cameras that appeal to you and decide which one fits your needs the best. Make sure that the camera you choose comes with a good warranty as well.

Resources

  1. GoPro – http://shop.gopro.com/
  2. Sony – http://store.sony.com/
  3. Fuji FinePix – http://www.fujifilmusa.com/