As it appears that we will be able to take vacations this summer, you may be planning an ocean-side getaway or a day trip to the beach. You’ll no doubt want to share all of your fun on social media, but while many smartphones can withstand an accidental dip in the pool, they don’t like saltwater and aren’t designed to take photos underwater. So, if your plans include snorkeling or sailing on the high seas, or if you simply want to disconnect and leave your phone at home, a waterproof camera is the way to go. Best of all, the majority will be tough enough to withstand a few bumps and bruises along the way.
What to Think About?
1. Waterproof Rating
When purchasing a waterproof camera, it stands to reason that the most important factor to consider is how waterproof it is. The depth to which a camera can be submerged determines its waterproof capabilities. If you intend to scuba dive with it, look for something that can go at least 60 feet underwater. Otherwise, consider the depth of the water where you’ll be going and make your purchase accordingly.
2. Video Capabilities
Of course, we now expect our cameras to do more than just take pictures, and waterproof cameras can also record video. Most waterproof cameras can shoot at least 1080p video, but if you want to film yourself swimming with dolphins in high definition, make sure it can shoot in 4K.
Naturally, you’ll want to share photos from your underwater adventures on Instagram, and it’s so much easier when you can send photos directly to your phone rather than first downloading them to your laptop. As a result, look for a camera that includes Wi-Fi.
How did we select?
We surveyed a variety of reputable sources—from Wirecutter to CNET to PCMag—for their recommendations for the best waterproof cameras, cross-checked those with user ratings on Amazon, and came up with a selection of cameras for a variety of users and budgets, keeping specs and price in mind.
These are some of the best Underwater Cameras in the business.
10 Best Underwater Cameras
1. Olympus Tough TG-6 Digital Camera
- 12MP BSI CMOS Sensor
- TruePic VIII Image Processor
- Olympus 4x Optical Zoom f/2 Lens
- 25-100mm (35mm Equivalent)
- 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot LCD Monitor
- Water, Crush, Shock, Freeze & Dustproof
- 4K Video Recording and Full HD at 120p
- Built-In Wi-Fi, GPS, Field Sensor System
- ISO 12800 and up to 20-fps Shooting
- Pro Capture Mode & Variable Macro System
The red Tough TG-6 from Olympus is a sleek point-and-shoot capable of handling a wide range of adventures thanks to its extremely durable design. The TG-6, which has a 12MP BSI CMOS sensor and a TruePic VIII image processor, provides notable image clarity and low-light performance up to ISO 12800, as well as fast 20-fps continuous shooting, 4K30p video recording, and high-speed Full HD 1080p shooting at 120 fps. A versatile 4x optical zoom lens with a 25-100mm equivalent range and an f/2 maximum aperture to benefit working in low-light conditions complement the shooting capabilities.
Aside from imaging, the TG-6 has a robust set of features for weatherproofing, tracking your adventures, and sharing your images. When working in difficult conditions, the camera is rated for underwater use, has been tested to withstand falls and crushing, and is hermetically sealed against dust and moisture. A Field Sensor System also includes GPS, a manometer, a compass, and a thermometer for recording environmental details and embedding this data into photos and videos. Recorded data and imagery can also be shared to a mobile device for online posting using built-in Wi-Fi and the Image Track app.
2. Nikon Coolpix W300
- 16MP 1/2.3 BSI CMOS Sensor
- NIKKOR 5x Optical Zoom Lens
- 24-120mm (35mm Equivalent)
- 3.0″ 921k-Dot LCD Monitor
- Waterproof to 100′, Shockproof to 7.9′
- UHD 4K/30p Video Recording
- SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, GPS
- ISO 6400, Shooting Up to 7 fps
- Built-In LED Light
- Smart Portrait Mode, Glamour Retouch
The orange Nikon COOLPIX W300 is a sleek point-and-shoot camera with a reinforced physical design and adequate multimedia imaging capabilities, distinguished by its tough exterior. The camera is waterproof for depths up to 100′, shockproof for falls up to 7.9′ high, and freezeproof for temperatures as low as 14°F, making it ideal for adventures and even everyday mishaps. In terms of imaging, a high-resolution 16MP BSI CMOS sensor benefits both stills and video recording, with the ability to shoot continuously at up to 7 fps, record video at UHD 4K/30p, and produce low-noise imagery with an ISO 100-6400 sensitivity range. A 5x optical zoom lens covers wide-angle to telephoto focal lengths, and Vibration Reduction helps to reduce camera shake for sharper handheld imagery. The W300 also includes SnapBridge wireless connectivity, which uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to share imagery and remotely control the camera from a linked device. In-camera geotagging is also possible thanks to the built-in GPS.
3. Ricoh WG-70
- 16MP 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS Sensor
- Ricoh 5x Optical Zoom Lens
- 28-140mm (35mm Equivalent)
- Water, Crush, Shock, Freeze & Dustproof
- 2.7″ 230k-Dot LCD Monitor
- Full HD 1080p Video Recording
- Digital Microscope Mode & Built-In LEDs
- Pixel Track, Digital, and Movie SR
- Face Detection and Self-Portrait Assist
- Image Tone and Digital Filter Modes
The orange Ricoh WG-70 is a compact, durable, and versatile point-and-shoot camera designed for both everyday and extreme adventures. A reinforced physical construction makes it waterproof to 45.9′ depths and shockproof to 5.2′ heights, as well as freeze, crush, and dustproof. In terms of imaging capabilities, the WG-70 has a 16MP 1/2.3″ sensor “back-illuminated CMOS sensor for high-resolution stills and Full HD 1080p video recording, as well as a sensitivity range of up to ISO 6400 for working in a variety of situations A 5x optical zoom lens, which covers a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm equivalent focal length range, adds to this versatility, and is complemented by Pixel Track, Movie, and Digital SR modes to help achieve sharper imagery when shooting handheld. Additionally, the WG-70 includes a 2.7 “A 230k-dot LCD monitor with an Outdoor View Setting mode for improved visibility in bright lighting conditions, as well as six LED lights surrounding the lens to help illuminate close-up subjects when using the Digital Microscope mode, are included.