Photography has come a long way over the years, and amongst many areas of progress, there has been tremendous technological advancement in waterproof cameras. Once upon a time, such devices were somewhat scarce, at least on the personal photography front. Now, statistics from MarketWatch show that the global waterproof camera market is heading toward $7.59 billion by the end of 2023. Beyond pure technological improvement, the ever-expanding travel industry and high disposable income are believed to be the driving forces behind this booming market – particularly given that many (if not most) use cases involve water-based vacation activities like surfing and diving.
Whatever anyone might need the best waterproof camera for though, we’ve reached a point at which there are a lot of brands offering high-quality options. If anything, in fact, there might be too many, making it difficult to choose if you don’t have an existing preference. With this in mind, we want to highlight some of the best options to check out, whether you’re heading on a diving trip, fishing, snorkeling, underwater photography, or you just want to spend a bit more time by the pool next time the weather warms up.
Best Waterproof Cameras to Buy!
Are you still wondering which is one of the best waterproof cameras of all popular brands? We’ve got you covered!
1. GoPro Hero8
If you’re the really adventurous type — the sort who loves to go rock climbing, cliff diving, or any other activity that makes it nearly impossible to hold a camera — then the GoPro Hero8 is a camera you should seriously consider. This action-oriented camera is small enough to be attached to your surfboard or helmet so you can naturally capture whatever adventurous activity you’re engaging in without trying to juggle a device in your hands.
One review of the GoPro Hero8 mentions that it boasts improved image and video stabilization compared to its predecessors, as well as the ability to shoot 4K at 100mbps. These features make for crisp photos and ultra-smooth footage. The hyperlapse feature has improved as well, and now allows you to go back in real-time if needed then return to the time-lapse you originally started. The camera is waterproof down to 33 feet, making it good for most underwater activities as well. And at roughly $300, the GoPro Hero8 is really quite reasonable for its quality. This is about as good as it gets for an all-purpose action camera in 2021.
2. SeaLife Micro 3.0
If you’re looking for an option specifically for deep-sea diving, the SeaLife Micro 3.0 is the first one you should look at. This is because it’s permanently and fully sealed –– meaning you don’t need housing –and is designed to withstand depths down to 200 feet. It’s a pleasant underwater camera to operate as well, with a comfortable rubber-armored body that provides an easy grip and three large buttons at the back that make menu navigation simple.
At $599 the SeaLife Micro 3.0 is also quite reasonably priced considering how capable it is from a pure photography standpoint as well. It has a 16MP sensor and RAW image capability, meaning you can capture high-resolution images with plenty of opportunities for editing later on. The camera can also record 4K videos with video stabilization and offers expanded white balance modes to improve underwater videos and photos alike. Finally, you also have the option of purchasing add-on lights for deeper dives (or dives in lower visibility).
3. Nikon Coolpix W300
The Nikon Coolpix W300 is another great option for deep-water adventurers. You can take it to a depth of 100 feet, and it comes with a barometer that gives you underwater data points like altitude and depth. It also has an electronic compass. This camera isn’t permanently sealed, but a lock wheel mechanism prevents you from accidentally opening it in the water. Furthermore, if you happen to be using it on land, it’s quite a rugged camera, said to be shockproof for drops of up to eight feet.
Available for a touch over $350, this camera gives you a good balance of range and brightness whether you’re using it underwater or on land. As for videos, the Coolpix W300 supports 4K UHD footage and comes with 1080/60/50p mode.
4. Bell & Howell WP20 Splash3
If you’re more in the market for a convenient all-purpose camera you can take with you on your travels, this is an excellent one to look into. The Bell & Howell WP20 Splash3 stands out amongst the popular digital point and shoot cameras on Adorama because it is both pocket-sized and capable of submersion down to 10 feet. And with a price tag of only about $75, it’s a great entry-level option for anyone who wants to take good photos near or under shallow water without worrying about camera damage.
The WP20 Splash3 comes with some additional good features as well, such as a 20MP sensor and very handy anti-shake image stabilization. You can also shoot 1080p HD videos with this camera (which again is impressive given its size). The WP20 Splash3 has 10 preset scene modes as well, including “underwater,” “beach,” “high sensitivity,” and “scenery” –– all of which saves you the trouble of toggling for settings.
5. Panasonic Lumix TS30/FT30
The Panasonic Lumix TS30, or FT30 in other markets, is a rugged camera that’s waterproof in depths down to 26 feet. It’s not permanently sealed, but the camera reminds you to check if its housing is securely sealed each time you use it. It also comes with a silicone case for the body as an extra precaution aside from the lock to stop the battery compartment door from opening when you’re around water.
For about $180, it’s one of the strongest underwater cameras for photos with its 720p count. It’s outfitted with the LUMIX DC VARIO lens, which offers 4x optical zoom and 25mm ultra-wide angle. If you’re using it underwater, the TS30 also has an Advanced Underwater mode with particularly strong red color reproduction. Meanwhile, the Torch Light function to illuminate subjects in low light works whether on land or in water.
6. Olympus Tough TG-6
The is another versatile camera that you can use above ground as well. The Olympus Tough TG-6 ranks among action cameras as one of the best options and is an adventurer’s dream. The camera is waterproof down to 50 feet under and has a reputation for being particularly rugged – and specifically freeze-, crush-, and dust-proof (as well as shock-proof for drops up to seven feet). Despite all of these protections, however, it’s also a sleek, extremely portable device.
The Olympus Tough TG-6 sells at roughly $430, and at that price offers several tantalizing features. For instance, focus stacking for close-ups allows you to take photos where your entire subject (rather than just one point of your subject) is in focus. The camera also has a built-in compass, thermometer, manometer, and accelerometer. This means if you look back and see your shot of a coral reef, you’ll also the exact location where you took it, what the water temperature was, and how deep you were –– pretty cool perks for those who like to catalog their adventures!
Which Underwater Camera is Suitable for You?
If you’re in the market for high-quality and want the best waterproof cameras, one or all of these options ought to suit you, whatever your purpose for the device may be. We hope this has helped you to sort through your options and encourage you to check out our blog here at Genius Geeks for more tech tips and product recommendations.