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Best Waterproof Camera of 2020 (Review and Buying Guide)

Best Overall Choice
Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

Olympus Tough TG-6

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Best Premium Choice
SeaLife DC2000 Camera

SeaLife DC2000

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Best Budget Choice
Fujifilm QuickSnap 35mm Disposable Waterproof Camera

Fujifilm Quicksnap Marine

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Joe Appleton by Joe Appleton Updated on November 28, 2020. In Beach

If you want to take quality pictures underwater or in wet conditions, you’ll want the best waterproof camera you can buy. Unlike regular cameras, these units are designed with water resistance in mind. They’re tough, shockproof, dustproof, weatherproof, and most importantly: waterproof.

If you’ve ever taken your camera to the beach or on a boat, you’ll know that even being near water can be enough to make a regular camera give up the ghost. Take the stress out of your next trip by buying one of these awesome waterproof models instead!

Best Overall Choice

1. Olympus Tough TG-6

Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

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Kicking off the list, we have the Olympus Tough TG-6. As the name implies, this is a tough camera with premium specs that can handle a wide range of shooting conditions. Even underwater! The entire Olympus TG family are great cameras, but the most recent update, the TG-6 has the edge.

Unlike the older TG-5, the newer model has a few handy extra features. It can still shoot up to 12 megapixels, with 4K capable video, and super slow-motion modes, but it also has upgraded LCD resolution and a very cool Underwater Microscope function for close-up shots. It also features four more underwater shooting moods, with 3 additional underwater white balance settings.

It’s shockproof for drops from up to 7 ft, and it’s freezeproof to temperatures as low as 14°F. What’s more, it has an ergonomic handgrip for a confident grip, even in difficult situations. And of course, it’s waterproof to a depth of 50 feet, making the Olympus TG ideal for most underwater activities.

Pros

Camera Type: Compact digital
Megapixels: 12MP
Max Video Resolution: 4k
Waterproof Level: 15 meters / 50 feet

Best Premium Choice

2. SeaLife DC2000

SeaLife DC2000 Camera

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SeaLife might not be the most instantly recognizable brand name in the camera industry, but when it comes to underwater camera technology, they know their stuff. SeaLife’s products aren’t cheap, but they’re not marketed towards the casual user. These are professional underwater cameras for scuba divers.

The SeaLife DC2000 is designed for real underwater use. It can withstand depths of up to 200 feet (60 meters) and down to temperatures as low as -20°F! The DC2000 is powered by a Sony 20MP image sensor that can shoot high-quality photos (in RAW and JPEG) and 1080p HD video.

There are four underwater shooting modes, and 25 land modes, as well as intelligent image stabilization. SeaLife also provides a wide range of accessories for the DC2000, including carrying arms, and optional arm-mounted lighting and flash modules.

Though it has a high price tag, it’s an absolute bargain for anyone who takes underwater photography seriously: for divers, and snorkeling enthusiasts alike!

Pros

Camera Type: Professional compact digital
Megapixels: 20MP
Max Video Resolution: 1080p
Waterproof Level: 60 meters / 200 feet

Best Budget Choice

3. Fujifilm Quicksnap Marine

Fujifilm QuickSnap 35mm Disposable Waterproof Camera

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Single-use cameras may not be as popular as they used to be, but they’re still around. In fact, if you’re looking for a fun and affordable way to take photos above or below the water, we recommend buying a disposable camera—especially if you don’t have any long-term underwater photography plans.

This inexpensive point and shoot model is ideal for casual photography. It’s waterproof to up to 33 feet, which makes it great for snorkeling trips and full-on scuba diving. We like it for kayaking trips too—simply because it doesn’t matter if it gets splashed!

Since it’s a disposable model, there’s not a lot that you can do with it apart from point and click. Because of its simplicity, you should be aware of the camera’s limitations. It’s not going to produce great pictures without good outdoor light, you’re going to have to wind it up yourself, and it has no fancy viewfinder.

However, it’s cheap, waterproof, and anyone can have fun using it!

Pros

Camera Type: Disposable film
Film Type: 35mm
Exposures: 24
Waterproof Level: 10 meters / 33 feet

4. Ricoh WG-70

Ricoh WG-70 Waterproof Camera

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The Ricoh WG-70 is the latest in Ricoh’s impressive underwater range. It’s a durable and versatile camera with more modes than you’d know what to do with. It’s waterproof to a depth of 45 feet, shock proof, and freezeproof too!

One of the best things about the Ricoh WG family is the addition of light rings around the lens. These act as both a torch and a macro light for practical underwater illumination. These six LED rings allow for fast shutter speeds, which is ideal for underwater photoshoots.

Arguably, one of the best features is the camera’s Digital Microscope mode, which can take sharp macro photographs with impressive detail. The Ricoh WG-70 features a total of 25 different shooting modes, with a setting to match almost any condition. It also has a 5x optical zoom, GPS recorder, top quality slow-motion setting, and plenty more.

We highly rate this camera, and if you’re looking for the best waterproof camera for an affordable price, then this should be high on your list.

Pros

Camera Type: Compact digital
Megapixels: 16MP
Max Video Resolution: Full HD
Waterproof Level: 14 meters / 45 feet

5. Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera

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The Nikon Coolpix W300 is a popular choice for those looking for the best waterproof camera. It’s a compact camera with huge capabilities. Unlike many small digitals on the market, this camera can operate to impressive depths. In fact, it’s capable of staying waterproof to depths of up to 100 feet (30 meters)!

If that wasn’t enough, the Nikon W300 has a number of water-focused features that really set it apart from the crowd. For example, it features a built-in barometer that can display key diving information, such as altitude, depth, and heading. Other cool features include WiFi, Bluetooth, and impressive shockproofing to 2.4 meters.

In terms of actual shooting ability, the Coolpix W300 boasts 16 megapixels and can shoot video in 4K. It’s the perfect camera. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support RAW images. However, if you’re cool with JPEGS, then this is the perfect waterproof camera for both amateurs and professionals alike.

We would have rated it higher than the Olympus Tough TG model but this one is a little more expensive. Still, if you can spare the extra expense, this one is a solid choice.

Pros

Camera Type: Compact digital
Megapixels: 16MP
Max Video Resolution:  4K
Waterproof Level: 30 meters / 100 feet

6. GoPro Hero8 Black

GoPro HERO8 Black 4K Waterproof Action Camera

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Yes, the GoPro Hero9 is out and available, but now that the GoPro Hero8 isn’t the top model, it’s significantly cheaper and therefore better value—especially if you’re looking for waterproof and underwater ability. Why? Well, the latest Hero’s notable upgrades are only minor. There’s a little more resolution and a front screen for selfies…which the average watersports enthusiast can live without.

By saving your money, you gain access to a camera that can shoot up to 12 MP, and impressive 4K video, all wrapped up in a smart, compact, and tough package. It features a cool burst shooting mode, time-lapse video, improved HDR, and GoPro’s signature TimeWarp function, to name but a few favorites.

And of course, the most important thing: it’s waterproof to a depth of 33 meters, which makes it absolutely ideal for casual paddlers and snorkelers, to serious divers and watersport enthusiasts. Plus, it’s versatile and you can use it out of the water too, on the ski slopes, on your skateboard—wherever you like!

It’s not expensive either. The asking price is more than fair, especially if you opt for the older GoPro Hero8 model over the newer Hero9.

Pros

Camera Type: Action camera
Megapixels: 12MP
Max Video Resolution: 4K
Waterproof Level: 10 meters / 33 feet

7. Sony RX0 II

Sony 1.0-type Sensor Ultra-Compact Camera

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If you like the sound of the GoPro but want something a little more premium, then a good alternative would be the Sony RX0 II. This is one of the more expensive action cameras but if you’re looking for a versatile device that can be used in extreme conditions whilst shooting in high-definition, then this model is worth considering.

This 15.3 MP camera is tiny! It’s small in stature but big in features. Inside the small body, you’ll find a large 1-inch sensor that can comfortably record 4K video in extreme situations. The previous iterations of this model rely on an external recorder because the technology wasn’t small enough to fit inside a self-contained unit, but the RX0 II doesn’t suffer from that impediment!

Ideal for extreme sports, scuba diving, and more, the Sony RX0 II won’t disappoint. It’s shockproof, and waterproof to a depth of 33 feet. If extreme sports are your thing, this is an excellent tool to have.

This camera is available with a vlogging bundle, which includes a handy camera grip, cable clamper, and more. In our opinion, it’s worth the extra expense for those added bonuses.

Pros

Camera Type: Action camera
Megapixels: 15.3 MP
Max Video Resolution: 4K
Waterproof Level: 10 meters / 33 feet

8. Fujifilm FinePix XP140

Fujifilm FinePix XP140 Waterproof Digital Camera

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The Fujifilm Finepix XP140 is a smart little camera that is fun for kids and adults alike. It’s compact, easy to use, and takes great pictures in dry and wet environments. It’s waterproof to depths of 65 feet, shockproof, freezeproof, dustproof, and it takes great pictures too. And it’s not expensive either!

Now, this camera can shoot in 4K, which is great, but only at 15p, which is a little disappointing. However, when you look at the price, the fact that it can shoot in 4K at all is an impressive feat. The 4K could be better, but the camera’s 5x optical zoom lens, 16MP image quality, and easy point-and-click interface more than make up for it.

Another cool feature is the camera’s integrated Bluetooth. The XP140 uses a low-energy Bluetooth system that offers easy image transfer to other Bluetooth enabled devices, with simple pairing registration. It also transfers time and location data and attaches them to your images. Since it’s low-energy, it won’t deplete your battery quickly like other Bluetooth services often do.

Pros

Camera Type: Compact digital
Megapixels: 16MP
Max Video Resolution: 4K
Waterproof Level: 20 meters / 65 feet

9. Panasonic Lumix Waterproof Camera

PANASONIC LUMIX Waterproof Digital Camera

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The Panasonic Lumix range is well-known in the underwater photography industry for producing practical, affordable, and quality models. This one is no different. The latest Panasonic Lumix model can competently photograph scenes out-of-water and underwater with ease, to a depth of 26 ft. It’s also shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof too!

This 16MP camera can record dynamic HD videos too in a variety of modes. Some of these modes include and advanced underwater mode with clever color compensation, a creative panorama function, and dedicated Sports, Beach, and Surf modes. Plus, it features a MEGA O.I.S Optical Image Stabilizer to eliminate blurring.

One feature that we love that isn’t talked about enough is the battery life. The Panasonic Lumix can handle a fairly shot-heavy weekend without having to be charged. That’s quite impressive when compared to other similarly priced models on the market. If you’re looking for the best camera that’s tough, durable, affordable, and with great battery life, this one is worth considering.

And it comes in a number of cool color options too, including Red, Black, and Blue.

Pros

Camera Type: Compact digital
Megapixels: 16MP
Max Video Resolution: 720p HD
Waterproof Level: 8 meters / 26 feet

10. Kodak Sport Underwater Camera

Kodak Weekend Underwater Disposable Camera

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For our last entry on the list, we decided to include another disposable film camera. If you’re really worried about water damaging your expensive camera, then the best thing you can do is leave it at home and buy a single-use model that you really don’t have to worry about. Also, if you really want to take underwater pictures, it’s a wise idea to play with one of these first before investing big bucks into something that you may only use a handful of times.

While we love the Fujifilm Quiksnap listed above, we thought it’s only fair to mention this little package from Kodak. It’s cheap, fun to use, fully waterproof, and effective! In fact, it’s waterproof down to an impressive depth of 50 feet (15 meters), which makes it an attractive option for both casual snorkelers and professional divers alike.

As it’s a Kodak product, the Kodak Sport Underwater Camera uses Kodak’s own ISO800 color print film, guaranteeing quality results! Naturally, since it’s a film camera, you’ll have to pay to get your photos developed at a print shop, but for the cost, it’s hard to find fault with this disposable option.

Pros

Camera Type: Disposable film
Film Type: 35mm
Exposures: 27
Waterproof Level: 15 meters / 50 feet

Buying Guide: The Best Waterproof Cameras In 2020

Like buying any kind of camera, buying a waterproof camera can be difficult. There are all kinds of things to consider, from image quality, photography features, battery life, and more. However, rather than go into nerd-level depth, we’ve decided to give a snapshot of the types of cameras available, and you can decide which one suits your need best and may warrant further investigation.

The key to success is to understand what kind of camera you want, and how much mileage you want out of it. As cameras can range in price from a few dollars right up into the thousands, there are plenty of models to choose from. You should ask yourself how often you plan to use your camera, and in what kind of situation.

For example, for a few poolside pictures on holiday, you don’t need to invest thousands. However, if you’re a regular scuba diver who likes to photograph fish and coral in high-definition, you’re going to want something sturdy, hardwearing, with top-quality specs. Or perhaps you’re an extreme sports enthusiast looking for one quality camera that can competently film you underwater, wakeboarding, or skydiving?

Because there’s a different type of camera for every type of user. For most users, you’ll want one of these types:

Waterproof Compact Cameras

Small, compact, cameras are great options. These little point and shoots are relatively idiot-proof and come in varying levels of quality. All of the models that we’ve listed above will take great pictures underwater and in wet conditions. For the best results, we recommend spending a little more money. You can get them for under $150, but the overall quality won’t be great. Spend more to get more.

Action Cameras

These little cameras barely resemble cameras at all! Still, these action-focused cameras are built for image capture in extreme situations, from underwater to on top of mountains. Buying an action camera is a great option for those who have eclectic outdoor hobbies. They’re great underwater, but you can strap one to a motorcycle, or onto the wing of a plane, with great results.

Professional Underwater Rigs

Cameras like these are best reserved for professionals. Unless you’re planning on being underwater or in really wet conditions 90% of the time, then they probably aren’t worth the investment. They’re powerful, impressive cameras with top-level specs…but they have a top-level price tag that reflects that.

Disposable Cameras

Disposable waterproof cameras are a cheap and inexpensive way to photograph underwater landscapes or in wet environments. You can pick them up for next to nothing, but they lack any real photography features. These are great for those who don’t want to invest any real money and are just looking for something fun.

Other Ideas

It’s also possible to buy waterproof casings for regular digital cameras, but only for certain models. Before investing in a dedicated waterproof camera, it might be a good idea to search and see if there’s a water-safe product for your existing model. It could save you a lot of money!

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