Here are the key factors that we looked at to crown our overall champions for 2018’s best waterproof cameras selection:
Reliability is a top concern. You need a camera that will not leak, and will perform to the specifications stated by the manufacturer. If it says it’s waterproof to 50 feet-then it SHOULD be!
Durability is unquestionably important. It’s not enough to ONLY be waterproof. A good waterproof camera is also dustproof and shockproof, as the environment you will be using the camera in will likely require it. Saltwater is corrosive. Our best waterproof cameras picks have been extensively tested to ensure quality.
Excellent Picture Quality is a must. You want a camera that will take great pictures both in and out of the water. Some take great pictures, but their underwater picture quality is poor. Our chosen cameras below will be well rounded for any shooting condition that should arise.
TheProCamera 2018 Best Waterproof Cameras Selection:
The Olympus TG-5 is a remarkably good and reliable waterproof camera featuring all the bells and whistles you could ever want. GPS, Temperature sensors, Compass, Anti-Fog technology. It’s all there. It can shoot at a remarkable 20 frames per second. The TG-5 also shoots 4k video, so if you want to see super high definition on your 4k TV, this camera will make it happen. Excellent macro mode = getting close to any aquatic life you want to capture!
MSRP $276.95 See Amazon Price
Combining both form and function into a small pocket sized wonder, the Ricoh WG-50 will wow you with it’s waterproof picture quality. Ricoh/Pentax was an early entrant into waterproof cameras and has been a market leader ever since. Waterproof to 46 feet, and shockproof for drops of up to 5 feet, this camera can and will happily take some use and abuse and still perform excellently. It’s our top pick for a snorkeling camera in 2018.
#1 Budget Camera
MSRP $59.99 See Amazon Price
The Ivation 20MP Waterproof camera is our top budget pick. It offers waterproof capability down to 10 feet, a dual screen that makes taking selfies really easy, and runs on AAA batteries. A couple caveats: It lacks a good zoom, and the batteries run out pretty fast. But, for the price, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a serviceable and inexpensive waterproof camera. Particularly great as a backup or for kids.
Still looking? We’ve got some additional information below that is categorized by outdoor activity. If you’re not sure if a waterproof camera is the right choice for you, check out our Camera Types page for more information about the types of cameras available.
Waterproof Cameras for Snorkeling
You need a waterproof camera that’s light, super easy to use (you’ll have a mask on making it harder to see small buttons), and takes great pictures underwater. You also need it to have underwater capability to at least 10 or 15 feet (but preferrably more). Ability to handle saltwater is a given, but some models handle repeated uses in saltwater better than others. These are the best waterproof cameras for snorkeling that we’ve found for 2018:
Our #1 pick for the best snorkeling camera is the Ricoh WG-50. Waterproof to 46 feet, and available in 2 colors, it’s a great value. It offers easy photo transferring when you’re done with the ocean and examining all of the cool underwater life that you’ve taken pictures of. Plus it’s available in several eye pleasing colors sure to please any underwater photographer. Ricoh says it’s drop proof to 5 feet, so accidental drops should be no problem. We especially like the “microscope mode” that allows you to take close up pictures.
Our second choice for snorkeling cameras is the recently released Nikon Coolpix W100. List price is at $159. We like this model because it has 4 large buttons on the left hand side. So, if you’re underwater fumbling around or have gloves on, it makes it easier to adjust settings if you need to. It’s waterproof to 33 feet and has a nice ergonomic design that feels nice and solid underwater.
At under $10, this waterproof float tether & strap is a really great deal. Some new waterproof cameras come with their own in the box, but if you need one, or aren’t sure, you can’t really go wrong with the price. It will work with smaller point and shoot waterproof camera models like the Ricoh WG-50 and Nikon Coolpix W100.
Waterproof Cameras for Scuba Diving
Depending upon the water depth you dive to, scuba diving camera equipment is generally more robust and has the ability to go to deeper depths than a small compact waterproof camera. As the water presssure increases dramatically, exerting more force and testing the limits of the waterproof gear, the challenges to take good pictures increases. There is less sunlight, making it very important that any camera you use while scuba diving to have excellent white balance to retain good image quality. Scuba diving camera gear can get VERY expensive, so how frequently you dive/your interest in photography should play into your budget for scuba camera gear. The 2 options below are our picks for the best waterproof cameras for scuba diving.
Our #1 choice scuba divers’ best waterproof cameras is the Sealife Micro 2.0. Retailing at around $500 depending upon the configuration/accessories, this is a good option if you want a sturdy/solid camera to take pictures at up to 200 feet down. Sealife specializes in high performance underwater cameras, This camera has several color correction options that you can adjust real-time underwater to ensure the best picture quality. This particular model also has a 64gb internal memory, which at 16mp resolution, will hold around 10,000 pictures! Once you’re on land, you can hook up the camera to your computer to download the pictures taken.
Our second choice for the perfect scuba diving camera on a budget is the Olympus TG-Tracker. This is a new release from Olympus at around $300, and it’s a pretty cool and unique camera (just check out it’s design). We’ve personally used this camera, and have found it to be a great scuba option. It’s waterproof to 98′, so not quite as deep as the Sealife Micro 2, but still quite adequate for most dives. It also has enhanced 4k video capability, so if you want to film short clips, the video quality is excellent. It does have a small ergonomic design, so we’d recommend tethering this with the included handstrap.