10 Best Waterproof Cameras | April 2017

We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If your photographic exploits have you fording streams and diving into oceans, you'll need one of these waterproof cameras to deliver stunning images without damaging your equipment. They can let you take awesome selfies underwater and share them with family and friends via built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. Skip to the best waterproof camera on Amazon.
10 Best Waterproof Cameras | April 2017
Overall Rank: 7
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 3
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
Outdoor enthusiasts won't want to leave behind the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS30A with its tough, waterproof, dustproof, shock- and freeze-proof design. It allows for instant creativity with built-in creative effects, and does a great job at recording panoramic shots.
  • face detection auto focus technology
  • 220 mb of built-in memory
  • colors can be a bit washed out
Brand Panasonic
Model DMC-TS30A
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The all-weather Fujifilm XP70 is ideal for action photographers who want to capture every moment and instantly share them with family and friends using its wireless connectivity. It also features a bright and clear LCD with an anti-reflective coating for full sun use.
  • auto scene recognition
  • one-touch wireless transfer
  • battery dies after just 100 photos
Brand Fujifilm
Model 16409284
Weight 14.9 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
Grab the Olympus TG-870 on your next excursion. It's packed with a powerful mix of image processing power and creative flexibility to capture share-worthy photos, plus it has a 21 mm ultra-wide angle lens and 5x optical zoom for shooting versatility.
  • can withstand 220 pounds force
  • has a super macro mode
  • 13 art filters plus live composite
Brand Olympus
Model V104200EU000
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS6R is easy to use and has some useful picture taking modes that make it simple to produce stunning images, such as the panoramic mode for large landscape vistas, and the sunset mode, which gently increases the red and orange color saturation.
  • records super-clear stills
  • wi-fi for on-the-spot mobile sharing
  • poor low light photography
Brand Panasonic
Model DMC-TS6R
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The Fujifilm FinePix XP90 has a 16.2 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor that does a bang-up job of taking quality images, even in low light situations, where many other cameras struggle. It's available in blue, yellow, green, or orange and fits comfortably in the hand.
  • interval shooting mode
  • has a one-touch movie button
  • supports remote shooting
Brand Fujifilm
Model Fujifilm FinePix XP90 Y
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
The Canon PowerShot D30 is waterproof to 82 feet and shockproof to 6.5 feet, so it should be able to handle your most extreme adventures. It can record 1080/24p HD video and has a super slow motion video mode that records at a 640 x 480 resolution.
  • 3-inch fixed lcd display
  • optical image stabilization
  • canon digic 4 image processor
Brand Canon
Model 9337B001
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
If you want a compact camera that is easy to take on the go and is designed for deep water dives down to 200 feet, the SeaLife Micro HD should be your go-to choice. It features 16 GB of onboard memory, so even if you fill your SD card you can keep on snapping shots.
  • easy to handle underwater
  • 140-degree fisheye lens
  • high capacity internal battery
Brand SeaLife
Model SL500
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
You'll get superior performance with the Olympus TG-4. It features 4x wide-angle optical zoom with a fast f2.0 high speed lens and underwater HD modes for exceptional clarity even when viewing the images on large screens. Plus, it can shoot in RAW for later editing.
  • built-in wifi and gps
  • freeze-proof to 14 degrees f
  • 16 megapixels maximum resolution
Brand Olympus
Model V104160BU000
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
The Nikon COOLPIX S33 is the cheapest underwater camera that takes high quality pictures and won't break after using it for a month or two. It is designed to be used while swimming, snorkeling, or on shallow dives of less than 33 feet deep.
  • oversized buttons for gloved use
  • very intuitive menu interface
  • easy enough for kids to use
Brand Nikon
Model 26495
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
The GoPro HERO5 is the newest iteration in GoPro's line of durable action cameras. It produces stunning 4K videos with vibrant color that is nearly unmatched by competitors. When it's time for still shots, it captures 12 MP photos in single, burst and time-lapse modes.
  • comes with multiple mounts
  • uploads footage to gopro plus cloud
  • 2-inch touch display
Brand GoPro
Model CHDHY-401
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Sealed To Perfection

A lot of good photography is only possible underwater. The obvious images that come to mind are of fish and sharks patrolling reefs of explosive color and variety of life. Less obvious to you, but perhaps equally fascinating, are images of a child learning how to swim, or of a raucous pool party taken from within the pool.

Imagine you're on a ship at sea, a boat no bigger than The Orca, which you might remember was the fishing boat used to hunt the shark in Jaws. If the sea gets a little rough, the fishermen keep working, but you'd have to put your regular camera away for fear of getting it splashed as swells can bank up against the hull and crash buckets of water over your head.

Whatever your need for a waterproof camera, it's reassuring to know that they all function in ways that will be familiar to anyone who's operated a digital point-and-shoot camera, with the added benefit of seals against water.

The majority of those seals, the rubberized linings that prevent water from seeping into the camera, are put in place by the manufacturer along the camera's housing, and they require no maintenance for their performance. There are one or two seals, however, that do require some attention, and these you will find along the door to the battery compartment, as well as the door to the memory card slot. Most manufacturers have combined these two locations to cut down on moisture variables, but a few still separate the ports.

It is imperative that these seals remain clean and dry when you close their hatches. Any little bit of dust or moisture can render the seal ineffective, and as soon as the pressure is great enough, water will get in. I've even seen the integrity of a seal compromised by a single human hair. Luckily, most of these cameras come with a little brush to help you maintain cleanliness along the line of the seals.

One other vulnerable point on these cameras would be the lens, but if you look closely, you'll notice that the lenses on these waterproof cameras actually live behind an added element of clear plexiglass. Not only are the edges of this plexiglass sealed inside the camera body, the material itself is far more durable than the glass of the lens, meaning an angry fish won't break through your lens the way the shark in Jaws 3 inexplicably rammed his way through a thick glass window.

Slippery When Wet

One of the more fascinating properties of water is that it can act as an adhesive or it can cause you to slip and fall on your rear. While water's adhesive qualities are tied in with its ability to erode materials, we're more concerned with the other end of the spectrum today. Sure, your camera's plastic would eventually erode from constant exposure to flowing water, but that would take a few thousand years. It only takes a second for a wet hand to drop a camera.

I bring this up because the some of the makers of waterproof cameras also decided to incorporate a certain degree of shock-proofing into their designs. You can let these cameras go from up to five feet off of the ground and their warranties will cover against any damage incurred from the drop. If you're a little on the clumsier side, or if you're looking at this as a summertime investment for your kids to get to know photography, shock-proofing is practically a mandate.

Beyond that little feature, the usual camera buying conundrums present themselves. How many megapixels do you need? How high a quality of video do you want to be able to shoot? Answer these questions, and your model will readily present itself from those on our list.

It's also worth noting that all but one of the cameras on this list are modeled after standard digital point-and-shoots. The GoPro is the only standout, and its waterproofing isn't built in like it is with the rest. Instead, it comes with a waterproof housing that fits around the entirety of the camera. It also has the widest field of view of any of the cameras, making for a more fisheye view of the world, which may or may not suit your interests.

Almost Sixty Years Submerged

Nikon produced the first amphibious camera marketed to the public back in 1963. Called the Calypso or the Nikonos, the camera was the first of its kind to operate independently of any additional housing. It shot using standard 35mm film, but its film and battery compartments carried with them rubberized seals not too dissimilar from what manufacturers use today.

The obvious problem with this design was the same problem you find any time you compare film and digital photography. Once the roll of film ran its course, you had to change it. That's not the easiest or the safest thing to do underwater.

Digital photography changed the field dramatically, though the first underwater photography achieved digitally was done so with the use of housings, which still maintain a dominance among photographers willing to spend the extra money to bring their high-end equipment underwater.

As digital camera technology continues both to shrink and improve, the thought of bring $5,000 worth of camera gear on a snorkeling trip becomes increasingly silly.

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Last updated on April 23 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.