Whether you’re snorkeling with vibrant coral reefs, taking a plunge into a crystal-clear lake, or snapping photos of your friends jumping into a fountain, having one of the best waterproof cameras at your disposal will allow you to enjoy the scene without worry. The best part about having a waterproof camera is the comforting feeling of knowing that your camera can take the plunge right alongside you, capturing memories that would otherwise be lost to the depths. The devices we have listed below are great for photographers across a range of skill levels.
The best waterproof cameras are designed to capture stunning underwater photos and videos even in the harshest aquatic environments. They feature robust, sealed bodies that are not only waterproof but also dustproof, freeze-resistant, and shockproof, ensuring they can handle a wide range of outdoor conditions. These cameras are equipped with high-resolution sensors and advanced image stabilization technology, allowing for sharp and clear imagery above and below water.
Moreover, high-quality models boast user-friendly controls and intuitive interfaces, making them accessible for both novice and experienced photographers. Some models offer additional features like built-in GPS for geotagging and Wi-Fi connectivity for easy sharing of your underwater adventures. Whether you’re snorkeling, scuba diving, or simply enjoying a day at the beach, these cameras are your go-to choice for capturing your waterborne escapades with exceptional quality and durability.
These devices are your passports to adventure and creativity. So, the next time you embark on a watery quest, don’t forget to pack one of the best waterproof cameras as recommended by experts. It’s your best buddy for making a splash in the world of photography! Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Waterproof Camera, According to Experts
The top pick on our list is the Olympus Tough TG-6. “If you’re looking for an exceptionally durable and reliable waterproof camera, the Olympus Tough is a good choice. This underwater camera’s unique selling point is that it’s waterproof, shock-proof, crushproof, and freezeproof. Besides its durability, it also takes excellent photos and can capture a water drop in 4K resolution. The Olympus Tough’s zoom can extend up to eight times, so small details in the distance are easy to capture. Image quality, even without editing is vivid and bright,” shares Dive In.
This waterproof camera allows you to capture memories that are as unforgettable as they are unique. “The Olympus TG series has a great reputation among the tough camera market, not only for being sufficiently specced to handle tough conditions but also equipped with impressive imaging and video tech. The Raw-shooting, 4K-capable TG-6, is a fairly minor upgrade on the previous TG-5, but we love that it adds some nifty new features like improved LCD resolution and a new Underwater Microscope mode for getting in close. Producing 4K video at 30fps and offering the option to shoot Full HD video at 120fps for super-slow-motion, the TG-6 also has a generous 25-100mm optical zoom lens that lets you get closer and closer to the action,” notes Digital Camera World.
Whether poolside or a trip to the beach, a waterproof camera is the life of the party. “With the camera’s waterproofing down to 50 feet without an extra case, using the TG-6 for diving or snorkeling is a reasonable expectation,” explains USA Today. “Reviewers liked the different underwater shooting modes on this camera and found using the TG-6 underwater straightforward. With an additional waterproofing case, as well as underwater LED light, the TG-6 can reach 195 feet, well past recreational scuba limits. With some time invested in learning the settings for this camera, the Olympus TG-6 offers excellent results from a waterproof, rugged camera. You can purchase an additional year of warranty from the Olympus site; this includes a checkup and camera cleaning during that time, too.”
Lesser known in wider circles but highly rated within the amateur photography industry, Insta360 is a novice photographer’s best kept secret. Many models were lauded by experts. “Tiny enough to fit in any beach bag, the Insta360 Go 2 is a dinky camera that’s designed to quickly capture the action wherever you go,” shares Tech Radar. “At just 26.5g, the Go 2 is as light as a pebble, but don’t let its diminutive form fool you: the pared-back camera can capture excellent 1440p video at 50fps, with decent dynamic range and good detail, even in reduced lighting. Image stabilization is also impressive, if not as good as a GoPro…When you’re back on dry land, the protective charging case doubles up as a remote control and tripod, making the Go 2 a versatile waterproof option.”
Life is all about seizing the moment, and the best waterproof cameras ensure you can. “If you’re the designated photographer on family holidays, often it looks like your family goes on vacation without you. With a waterproof camera like the Insta360 One X2, even the photographer is included in shots,” notes USA Today. “Reviewers liked the shots, using a particular selfie stick that gets erased by the Insta360 software, resulting in footage that looks like a drone or a camera crew snapped it. Shoppers liked the high quality of the camera and the straightforward use with the quick capture button.”
“If you want to change up the style of your underwater footage, take a look at the dual-lens Insta360 X3. The waterproof action camera records spherical video that you can reframe with an editing app, plus has a single lens mode for regular video,” writes PC Mag. Beach days become even better with this waterproof camera by your side.
Among the competition for reliable waterproof cameras, Fujifilm stands alone. “Almost identical to the Fujifilm XP130 before it, Fujifilm’s latest tough camera retains many of its specs: there’s the same 16.4MP sensor, the same 5x optical zoom and the same 3-inch touchscreen. Though you wouldn’t know it from looking, the XP140 is marginally more rugged than its predecessor, making it close to indestructible. Dustproof, shockproof to 1.8m and freeze proof to -10ºC, it’s also waterproof down to 25m, so it should survive even the deepest of snorkeling expeditions,” writes Tech Radar.
Looking for a waterproof camera on a budget? “If Olympus’ and Nikon’s cameras are too pricey for your budget, FujiFilm’s FinePix XP140 may be more to your liking. This camera costs a shade under $200, making it the best waterproof camera for those on a budget. It’s waterproof to 82 feet — deeper than the Olympus, but shallower than the Nikon — can withstand drops from about 6 feet, and can withstand temperature ranges from 14 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit,” declares Toms Guide.
“If you are looking for a hassle-free Bluetooth photos transfer to your smartphone or any other digital device, you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm FinePix XP130. It boasts the newly installed Bluetooth low energy technology. It provides you with instant and automatic a-few-seconds transfer to your tablet,” notes Dive In.
GoPro’s waterproof cameras turn every adventure into a visual story worth sharing. “The GoPro Hero 10 Black doesn’t reinvent the action camera, but it is a much more user-friendly and refined version of its predecessor, and the most versatile action cam you can buy,” writes Tech Radar. “The new slow-mo frame rates and wired data transfer modes are useful, while the snappier interface and small image quality improvements make it an enjoyable waterproof companion for adventures and b-roll footage.”
Don’t think GoPro has lost its steam due to many more camera brands joining the industry. “It may look almost identical to the Hero9 Black in almost every way, the Hero10 Black is nevertheless a significant upgrade. That’s all down to its use of the all-new GP2 processor, which powers both a speedy user interface, doubles the frame rates, and fuels the best image stabilization tech yet,” shares Digital Camera World.
If I were you, I would take the journey with GoPro. “The GoPro Hero11 Black is the company’s latest and best action camera. It records 60fps at 5.3K—double the resolution of 4K—plus supports 4K120 and 1080p240 for ultra slow-motion captures. GoPro goes a bit crazy with some feature names, but HyperSmooth stabilization lives up to its billing and the front-facing color screen is handy for vloggers,” comments PC Mag.
While tech reviewers from everywhere may disagree on the precise model they prefer, most agree that RICOH is a brand that can be trusted. “The WG-60 from Ricoh has some pretty strong tough credentials – it’s waterproof to a depth of 14m/45.9ft and shockproof from a fall of up to 1.6m/5.2ft, while it should withstand a force of up to 100kg/220lbs. It’s also dust-proof and can operate in temperatures down to -10°C/14°F,” explains Tech Radar. “The 5x optical zoom has a pretty broad focal zoom range, from 28-140mm, while there are six LED macro lights dotted around the front of the lens barrel to deliver bright and uniform lighting round your subject – ideal when shooting underwater subjects.”
The NY Times varies with their opinion of the RICOH but ultimately lend their recommendation. “The Ricoh WG-70 produces colors that can be off sometimes in challenging lighting situations, but its colors are typically okay in natural light, and its images are still good enough for people who aren’t super picky about that,” shares The NY Times. “The WG-70 can take falls as long as 5 feet and can work in freezing-cold weather (14 degrees Fahrenheit) or down to nearly 50 feet underwater. It can’t capture video in 4K and lacks Wi-Fi to transfer images to your smartphone, but at around $100 less than the Olympus TG-6, it’s a fine choice if you don’t want to spend the extra money and don’t think you’ll miss the TG-6’s extra features. We think the WG-70 could make a good first camera for a child or teen to play around with, as well.”
So many features, so many uses. No wonder RICOH stands out among the best. “The Ricoh WG series have a reputation as being the Swiss army knives of tough cameras. WG-80 is equipped with ring lights around its lens that function as a torch as well as a macro light, allowing you to see what you’re doing underwater as well as keep your subjects illuminated (these lights are twice as bright as its predecessor, the Ricoh WG-70,” observes Digital Camera World. “The WG-80 has got a fair few nifty features that make it worth consideration. The microscope mode lets it focus at distances as close as 1mm, and this mode has been improved to offer a 16-megapixel resolution (as on the WG-70),”
Where are you taking your waterproof camera next? Leave a comment to let us know!
You might also be interested in:
- Digital Camera World
- The NY Times
- Tech Radar
- PC Mag
- Get a Pixel
- Dive In
- Tom’s Guide
- Camera Decision
- USA Today
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.