Edited by Nataly Bogorad
January 15, 2020
Best Waterproof Cameras
The typical camera won’t appreciate any contact with water. But if you’re looking to capture your underwater adventures, you need a camera that works just fine even when fully submerged in water. Thankfully, waterproof digital cameras are built just for this scenario!
Whether you’re heading out for snorkeling or scuba diving, or merely heading over to the beach, getting the best underwater camera can greatly improve your water recreation time. With the rise of smartphones like Samsung and their excellent cameras, it’s really understandable that you do not possess a dedicated camera.
But we don’t need our notable investments in our mobile devices and the valuable data stored on them disappearing just yet. This is why we’ve put together conducted reviews of the best underwater cameras on the market for your selection. While some of these are incredibly pocket-friendly with good enough features, others pack in some high-end features at fairly higher prices.
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Top 6 Best Underwater Cameras
From Canon to Sony, you’d be hard pressed to find a dedicated camera producer that hasn’t jumped on the waterproof camera train. For the purpose of this review, though, our focus will be on cameras that offer the best value – features versus price point – and aren’t overly pricey. The list is by no means exhaustive and it’s also not ordered in any form.
So, here goes our top picks for DSLR cameras that are beach-ready and rugged enough for extreme weather conditions.
Widely regarded as one of the top rated underwater cameras around for persons on a budget, the FinePix XP140 is a small, cheap and easy-to-use camera. This inexpensive camera boasts a fun and friendly design that is as rigged as it is subtle. A sturdy 16MP camera, it can be submerged up to 82ft (25m) underwater and dropped from 5.9ft (1.8m) above ground.
The XP140 is renowned not only for its rugged features, but also for its quality snaps. 5x optical zoom lenses keep pictures clear and steady at all times. At 920k-dot, the LCD screen is crystal clear. Although it lacks manual controls, a scene-recognition/exposure compensation features help keep images clear and free of noise. A lack of elaborate manual controls also means the camera is super easy to use.
For video, the XP140 offers a 4k video quality, capped at 15 frames per second (fps). This would leave the 1080p HD video shooting option – which gets up to 60 fps – as the better shooting mode. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features, and you’ve got a smart point and shoot camera on your hands. It may not be the sharpest underwater camera out there, but it’s a solid option if you’re on a budget.
Ready to go deep underwater? Then this is the camera for you! Equipped to get up to 100ft (30m) underwater, the Nikon W300 can follow you to depths very much unrealistic for other waterproof cameras. This means you can go in with your camera as far as your Advanced Open Water Diving Certificate allows. Throw in a shockproof strength of 8ft (2.4m), and this camera is undoubtedly rugged.
The W300 boasts a bright 16MP camera and a powerful 5x zoom lens. The result is seen in the quality pictures and videos it churns out with no damage to quality even when you zoom. With support for 4k video at 30 fps, video quality is assured. The W300 even lets you capture still images without interrupting your video shoot. And a variety of video settings, like the time-lapse feature, help ensure you get the best out of your video shoot.
Other useful features of the W300 include its GPS system, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, depth gauge, altimeter and a points-of-interest database. This is a notable upgrade on Nikon’s previous model, the AW130, with the increased picture and video stabilization really standing out. All of its features add up nicely for a quality waterproof camera and, with up to 280 shots per charge, you can be certain this camera won’t be dying on you right in the middle of your adventure.
Widely considered by many to be the best waterproof camera available, the rugged build of the TG-5 is matched only by few others. The TG-5 is built to withstand the elements, and is shockproof up to 7ft (2.1m) and water resistant up to 50ft (15m). Although the Nikon W300 now surpasses some of its rugged physical features, this TG-5 breathes durability in its every external feature.
The TG-5 camera comes in at a modest 12MP. While this is not as super sharp as the 16MP cameras, it preserves some of the noise that gives your images an authentic feel. Coupled with enabled Raw image support, that lets you fine tune your image contrast and white balance for better images, originality is hardly an issue. A 4x optical zoom, f/2 lens, and 4k quality at 30p ensure that video and image shooting is stellar. But the 460k-dots display falls a little below current standard.
The TG-5 boasts an impressive battery quality of 380 shots per charge. It’s also easy to use with more dials and controls than regular underwater cameras – all of which as well protected. The adapted Field Sensor System from the TG Tracker – with pressure, temperature, compass and GPS sensors – all make for impressive usage.
The Panasonic Lumix FT7 is a feature-rich camera, with its standout feature being a first-of-its-kind viewfinder on a waterproof camera. But its many notable features belie its sturdy exterior. Big and somewhat heavy, this camera is water resistant up to 102 feet (31m) and shockproof up to 6.6ft (2m).
Going inside, the camera has a high pixel count of 20MP. 4.6x zoom range of 28-128mm and a 49-point Autofocus system with contrast-detect capabilities. The camera shoots at 12 fps. Once again, though, you may have issues with the noise reduction system, particularly with the camera lacking Raw capture support.
A 4K video function at 30p is of premium quality, with a 1080 HD option available at 60p. Features like ‘Post Focus’ and ‘4K Photo’ ensure you get the best out of the FT7’s 4K capabilities. Battery life is a healthy 350 shots per charge. And while it misses a GPS sensor, it does boast an altimeter and a compass. And outdoor shooting benefits a whole lot from the presence of the 1,170k-dot viewfinder.
Ricoh’s WG-60 is an entry-level rugged camera for beginners. The camera is waterproof up to 46ft (14m) and shockproof up to 5.2ft (1.6m), meaning it’s far from the most rugged on this list. However, the WG-60 is sure to strike you by its unusual appearance. This unusual shape, though, makes it easy to grip, even if it also leaves the controls a little cluttered.
The camera comes at the standard-level 16MP with a fairly broad 5x optical zoom range of 28-140mm. Its most striking feature, however, are the six built-in LED macro lights which provide uniformed and bright lighting for your subject in low light situations. But the rear screen display is low-res at 230k-dots and its wide aspect ratio of 16: 9 feels a little off for image capturing.
The WG-60 produces very presentable pictures and takes up to 300 shots per charge, which is about the average for its class. It captures videos at 1080p HD of up to 30 fps, which is quality enough. Sadly, image focus still feels shaky, its main menu looks dated and the camera lacks Wi-Fi. Still, it makes for a good budget waterproof camera.
The GoPro Hero7 Black is a thoroughly impressive camera, remarkable for its extremely smooth video shots. If the Hero6 Black was GoPro’s first major hit, the Hero7 Black has even surpassed it, taking all we love in the 6 and bettering it in the 7. And all of this at a decent price range that is cheap for its features.
At 12MP, the Hero7 Black shoots fairly decent still photos. Thanks to Raw capture support, however, it has a better noise management than most. A new image stabilization function also keeps your photos crisp under and above water. But where it truly impresses is in its video shots. It captures 4K videos at a remarkable 60 fps, and offers a smooth slow-motion playback effect.
The Hero7 also comes with the added ability to stream your underwater adventure live while simultaneously storing this to your internal SD card. It also records sound better than ever before. And it comes equipped with the standard GoPro features – a touchscreen, waterproofing up to 33ft (10m), viewfinder, the GoPro mount and access to the GoPro QuikStories feature.
Making the most of your underwater videos
Your underwater adventures are one of those moments that absolutely must be shared with others. Whatever your budget, taste or needs maybe, you are certain to find a high-quality waterproof camera for your needs. Except you’ve chosen to stream your videos live using the GoPro Hero7 Black, you will likely have the time to edit your videos before sharing with others.
Video editing adds more life to your videos, giving them a cool touch that beats anything a live video may offer. With the Movavi Video Editor Plus, editing these videos is now easier than ever. You don’t need any major lectures and long learning curves before you can edit your videos professionally. With easy to apply drag-and-drop effects, filters, titles and transitions, your videos can move from beginner to pro in just a few minutes.
Once you’ve completed the process of capturing and editing your videos to add cool effects and cut out unwanted sections, you are now ready to wow the world by sharing your videos with any who cares to watch. And how we do care!
Movavi Video Editor Plus
Your next step in video-making
- Edit video clips, images, and audio on a timeline
- Add transitions, filters, titles, and stickers
- Animate objects using keyframes, use more built-in media
- Export videos in any popular format
* The free version of Movavi Video Editor Plus has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length. Learn more