14 min. read

The Best Waterproof Cameras for 2023

Best Cameras for Underwater Expeditions

Our social feeds are constantly flooded with pictures of beautiful beaches with immaculate palm trees and crystal clear water. However, bringing your camera to the beach has its own set of dangers, since sand may get into areas you wouldn’t expect it to, and as a rule, most models won’t even be able to withstand being submerged in water for very long.

Perhaps you already have a camera that can withstand water. High-end smartphones like the newest iPhones and Androids can withstand brief periods of immersion in the water thanks to their IP ratings. There are fewer specialized point-and-shoot cameras on the market now than there were a few years ago, thanks in large part to the development of high-quality smartphone cameras. But even if you’re just going for a brief swim and want to take a selfie, you shouldn’t bring your high-priced phone in.

The solution, therefore, is to invest in a camera that can withstand water. It is something that doesn’t break the bank as easily, in case anything does go wrong. Waterproof cameras often have tough construction as well, making them resistant to accidental drops.

How We Picked

  • Waterproof + shockproof

    Knowing the maximum depth to which your camera can travel underwater without being damaged and the extent to which it can withstand impacts is important.

  • Type of lens

    It's important to understand your photographic objectives before choosing a lens type. Whether you want wide-angle shots or tighter zoom.

  • Image + video quality/resolution

    The resolution is a critical factor in determining the maximum size at which your photographs may be printed. Simply said, the higher the megapixel count, the greater the captured level of detail.

  • Price

    The price plays a significant role since it determines whether or not a camera is a good camera or a decent entry-level camera. It can be the difference between a camera for beginners or professionals.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Olympus

The best all-around waterproof camera.

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is water resistant up to a depth of 50 feet and features five different shooting modes for use underwater. Further, it is anti-fog, dustproof, can withstand drops from a height of seven feet, can withstand crushing forces of 220 pounds, and can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Buy Now for $499.99

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a powerful underwater camera that can withstand harsh environments.

Runner Up

GoPro

Best action camera for the price.

The GP2 CPU is responsible for the lightning-fast UI, the increased frame rate, and advanced picture stabilization. The highlight is the ability to record 5.3K video at 60 frames per second with the new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization in all settings, in addition to 23MP stills and the finest low-light performance ever. With a handy cable, you can instantly share media from your camera to your app and have your media uploaded to the cloud.

Buy Now for $409.99

The powerful GP2 engine allows for lightning-fast performance, sensitive touch controls, and double the frame rate, resulting in an incredibly fluid video.

Most cost-effective

AKASO

A superb action camera at a reasonable price.

The AKASO Brave 7 is a camera that is waterproof up to 33 feet without a case. captures high-quality images and ultra HD video at 4K30fps, 2.7K30FPS, and 20MP. The view angle of this action camera can be set between 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70°, depending on what you need. A dual-screen setup allows you to switch between rear and front views for better framing and monitoring.

Buy Now for $169.99

The Akaso Brave 7 offers a dual-screen similar to those of more expensive models, but at a far more reasonable price.

Almost made the cut

Nikon COOLPIX

Best waterproof camera for deep diving.

The Nikon COOLPIX W300 is a camera that can handle a variety of shooting situations and is simple to operate. There is a fascinating assortment of video modes, some of which include time-lapse and 4K quality footage. It is equipped with controls that are easy to use and well labeled. The best thing about it is that it is waterproof up to a depth of 100 feet.

Buy Now for $529.99

Among Nikon's compact cameras, the COOLPIX W300 boasts one of the best waterproof certifications.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Olympus

The best all-around waterproof camera.

$499.99

Buy Now

Runner Up

GoPro

Best action camera for the price.

$409.99

Buy Now

Most cost-effective

AKASO

A superb action camera at a reasonable price.

$169.99

Buy Now

Almost made the cut

Nikon COOLPIX

Best waterproof camera for deep diving.

$529.99

Buy Now

Who This Is For

If you want to take photographs while you’re in the water and explore what’s below it, then a waterproof camera would be ideal for you.
Waterproof camera vs a regular camera
In comparison to mirrorless cameras, the image quality of many waterproof cameras is limited due to their smaller sensor sizes. You will not receive the same dynamic range, nor will you receive the same depth of manual attention.

Waterproof cameras, on the other hand, are generally also resistant to shock, freezing, and crushing due to their robust construction.
Is it worth splurging on?
It’s a good idea to invest in a waterproof camera whether you’re going to be shooting on a tropical beach, doing white water rafting, or just going to a location you know will get a lot of rain. You may take it swimming and use it to take pictures and videos in the water. Because it is waterproof, nothing will be damaged if you accidentally pour anything on it.
Do you need different lenses?
Some trade-offs must be made to make a camera waterproof. The most obvious example is with the lens; some cameras have tiny sensors that don’t need huge lenses, thus the zoom lens may be hidden away safely within the camera. Others opt for fixed lenses that aren’t great for either wide-angle or close-up shooting.
Waterproof camera vs GoPro
GoPros offer an ultra-wide angle field of vision, are mountable, are waterproof, and are shockproof. GoPro cameras, including the HERO10 and HERO9 Black, are waterproof to a depth of 33 feet right out of the box. You’ll need dive housing if you plan on diving any deeper. Action cameras from GoPro are notoriously pricey, but cheaper alternatives are available. Despite popular belief, GoPro is not the only company developing rugged, compact, waterproof cameras with the ability to capture high-quality stills and films.

Why You Should Trust Us

The term “waterproof camera” encompasses a wide range of devices, so picking the proper one requires some consideration. For instance, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll mostly be taking photos or videos. To simplify matters, we combed through consumer feedback on many waterproof cameras and compiled their comments on the devices’ usefulness. These experiences included working with a wide variety of waterproof cameras. Here, we take a look at waterproof compact cameras, a type of self-contained camera with a fixed lens on the front. We also examine action cameras, which are far more compact than standard waterproof compacts. In addition, certain convenient disposable film cameras for use underwater are also considered. With so many people’s own experiences to draw from, our methods should help you zero in on the best waterproof camera.

So, we scoured the market for the best waterproof camera that will suit your needs. When making our selections, we looked at what type of lens it uses, the resolution of the camera, the maximum depth to which they could dive underwater, if it is shockproof, and, lastly, how cost-effective they are.

How We Picked

There are a few important considerations while shopping for the ideal waterproof camera. Learn what level of waterproofing is required of a camera before you take it diving. Similarly, if your hobbies necessitate wearing gloves, you’ll want a camera that’s easy to use and has physical controls you can reach with your gloves on. Another factor to consider is image stabilization which may help reduce blur from camera shake; low-light capability is important if you’ll be taking photos in low light, and a smart connection is essential if you want to quickly share your underwater photos online. In addition to this, we investigated the camera’s maximum resolution, its ability to withstand shock, how much memory it supports, and the sort of lens that it uses. And last but not least, how cost-effective they are.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Olympus

Best Pick

Olympus

The best all-around waterproof camera.

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is water resistant up to a depth of 50 feet and features five different shooting modes for use underwater. Further, it is anti-fog, dustproof, can withstand drops from a height of seven feet, can withstand crushing forces of 220 pounds, and can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Buy Now for $499.99

Who it is for

If you're looking for a waterproof camera that can do it all and still able to take high-quality shots, look no further than the Olympus Tough TG-6. It is perfect for snorkeling, shallow dives, and those who just want a camera they can bring everywhere.

Why it is great

Aside from being waterproof to a depth of 50 feet, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is true to its name, it is shockproof for falls of up to seven feet, can resist up to 220 pounds of pressure, and is freezeproof in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Potential flaws

One of the biggest flaws is the price. Although it is not the most affordable underwater camera on the market, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is, in terms of cost, equivalent to a GoPro. But unlike GoPros, you'll see that this one is designed for usage in the water.

Other features

The camera can withstand depths of up to 50 feet underwater, and it is also resistant to shock, crushing, dust, and even freezing temperatures. With its anti-fog features, you can capture clear images in any weather. The camera has a wide-angle F2.0 lens and an 8x optical zoom on a 12-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The quality of the pictures and videos taken by the users will be high.

The Microscope Control Mode on the Olympus Tough TG-6 enables magnifications of up to 44x, making it ideal for use in macro photography. Also, the camera has five different underwater shooting modes, so you won't have to fiddle with the settings as much when recording below the surface. In addition to recording 4K video at 30 frames per second or 1080p video at 120 frames per second, the camera is capable of filming high-quality slow-motion video.

This camera's Field Sensor System remembers your precise position, temperature, and motion so that you'll never lose track of the specifics of your recollections. The Olympus Tough TG-6 boasts a respectable battery life, allowing you to shoot up to 340 still shots or 50 minutes of video before needing a recharge. The longest you may shoot for in one continuous session is 29 minutes.

Runner Up - GoPro

Runner Up

GoPro

Best action camera for the price.

The GP2 CPU is responsible for the lightning-fast UI, the increased frame rate, and advanced picture stabilization. The highlight is the ability to record 5.3K video at 60 frames per second with the new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization in all settings, in addition to 23MP stills and the finest low-light performance ever. With a handy cable, you can instantly share media from your camera to your app and have your media uploaded to the cloud.

Buy Now for $409.99

Who it is for

The camera's small body and wide-angle lens make it a go-to for point-of-view (POV) action shots, and it also functions well as a webcam and live-streaming, making it an ideal piece of equipment for vloggers.

Why it is great

The updated and enhanced CPU within the GoPro Hero10 Black allows for recording at resolutions as high as 5.3K/60 fps, as well as 2K video at 240 fps and 4K video at 120 fps. As a bonus, it weighs somewhat less than its predecessor despite having a bigger 23MP picture sensor. The Hero10's improved image stabilization is the device's crowning achievement; the camera may be tilted at an angle of up to 45 degrees and the footage will still be steady.

Potential flaws

Some consumers have reported overheating issues with the GoPro Hero10. Because of its small, waterproof design, it generates a lot of heat when used intensively, which might be problematic if the camera is left stationary with no ventilation while recording at high resolutions and frame rates indefinitely. However, a firmware upgrade released by GoPro may help fix the issue.

Other features

For good reason, when most people think of action cameras, the first brand that pops into their head is GoPro. GoPro cameras are small, light, and rugged enough for the harshest conditions.

The GoPro Hero10 can capture high-quality 23MP photos as well as 5.3K movies at 60 frames per second. The camera can shoot 2.7K 8x slo-mo material, allowing you to produce dramatic shots. Thanks to HyperSmooth 4.0, the Hero10 Black ensures that your videos will always seem steady and professional.

The camera should work better in dim light, and the horizon leveling with a larger tilt limit will ensure that your recordings are perfectly straight. Taking photos or videos of oneself is simplified by both the rear touch screen and a new front-facing camera.

As with previous Hero models, the Hero10 Black is very durable and can withstand depths of up to 33 feet of water. There is a new waterproof lens cover included with the camera that does a fantastic job of protecting the lens from moisture and glare.

Powered by a 1720 mAh battery, it can operate for up to two hours before needing a recharge. The camera's HyperSmooth stabilization and webcam mode make it ideal for real-time broadcasting. The Hero10 Black incorporates Wi-Fi directly into the device, allowing for speedy download of media from the camera to a mobile device.

Most cost-effective - AKASO

Most cost-effective

AKASO

A superb action camera at a reasonable price.

The AKASO Brave 7 is a camera that is waterproof up to 33 feet without a case. captures high-quality images and ultra HD video at 4K30fps, 2.7K30FPS, and 20MP. The view angle of this action camera can be set between 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70°, depending on what you need. A dual-screen setup allows you to switch between rear and front views for better framing and monitoring.

Buy Now for $169.99

Who it is for

If you want a GoPro alternative at a fraction of the cost, the AKASO Brave 7 is the best option.

Why it is great

AKASO has begun to separate itself from the competition among GoPro alternatives thanks to its reliable quality and low cost. They duplicate some of the essential aspects of GoPros but at a considerably lower cost.

Potential flaws

The battery life is subpar, as is the case with the vast majority of action cameras, providing at best an hour and a half of recording time. How much time you receive depends on several variables, such as the shooting mode you're using and the presence or absence of settings like video stabilization.

But it's wonderful that they've included a replacement battery in the package (making it two batteries) and a USB dual charging dock.

Other features

The AKASO Brave 7 LE has a modest, compact overall design with few knobs or buttons. When placed inside its included waterproof casing, the AKASO Brave 7 LE can withstand water pressures up to 131 feet. Without the case, it is waterproof up to 33 feet. It is rated for pressures substantially deeper than a usual recreational scuba dive. It's also important to note that the touch screen on the camera cannot be accessible through the housing's back door.

Having a waterproof casing is a less complicated and less expensive option for the overall design. The camera's casing offers some protection from the elements, so that's a plus. If you accidentally bump or bash the camera, the housing will crack first and be easily and cheaply replaced. In addition, knowing that the watertight seals are completely shut gives you some added peace of mind. Instead of having to double-check that each camera door is closed individually, the housing employs a single big seal.

The user need not spend extra money on a waterproof case, since everything needed is included in the package. Accessories fill the box. The Brave 7 comes with a variety of accessories and mounting options, including a helmet mount, lens cloth, handlebar mount, strap, zip tie, adhesive pads for the included USB cable, and a quick-start guide.

Almost made the cut - Nikon COOLPIX

Almost made the cut

Nikon COOLPIX

Best waterproof camera for deep diving.

The Nikon COOLPIX W300 is a camera that can handle a variety of shooting situations and is simple to operate. There is a fascinating assortment of video modes, some of which include time-lapse and 4K quality footage. It is equipped with controls that are easy to use and well labeled. The best thing about it is that it is waterproof up to a depth of 100 feet.

Buy Now for $529.99

Who it is for

Nikon COOLPIX W300 is an excellent all-purpose camera, and it's especially well-suited for people who want a bit greater depth, like scuba divers.

Why it is great

Nikon's COOLPIX is a great option if you want an underwater camera that is rugged enough to use without a housing. It features waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof qualities. It also has one of the highest waterproof ratings with a depth of up to 100 feet.

Potential flaws

When exposed to adequate light, the W300's 16-megapixel CMOS sensor produces stunning results. It's a shame there's no RAW shooting mode, as this would be useful for serious photographers.

Other features

The Coolpix W300 has several useful features built right in, including 4K video, a GPS, an interactive globe map, Wi-Fi connectivity, and even an altimeter and underwater depth gauge.

While its 921k-dot OLED display and other features are excellent, the W300's ability to work at depths of up to 100 feet (the limit of a diver with an Advanced Open Water certification) is truly remarkable.

Furthermore, it is protected against dust and can withstand falls of up to 7.9 feet. The camera can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees, so you may take it snowboarding or skiing in the winter. With its 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, the Nikon Coolpix W300 can capture detailed stills and smooth motion videos. It also can capture time-lapse and super-lapse films, which is a neat feature. Because of its big grip and anti-reflective LCD screen, using the camera in strong light is a breeze.
To fit distant subjects into the frame, the camera's lens offers 5x optical zoom. Even without a tripod or gimbal, it maintains stability thanks to its Hybrid VR (Vibration Reduction).

Care and maintenance

The first step in cleaning your camera is to wipe down the body. To remove fingerprints and dirt, just use a dry microfiber cloth. Lightly dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth and use it to gently wipe the screen or body down if there are any particularly stubborn stains. You may also use a blower to clear out the camera’s inside and exterior of dust and dirt.

Dust and dirt may be removed from the lens using a little blower brush. Avoid blowing on the lens with your mouth. Besides the obvious danger of splattering the lens with saliva, the acids in our breath may erode the protective coating on the lens. Apply a drop or two of lens cleaning solution on a lens tissue, and then wipe the lens in a circular motion, beginning in the middle and working your way outward. Avoid getting cleaning solutions on your lens directly. If you don’t have any lens tissue on hand, you may use a microfiber cloth or other soft, lint-free cloth instead.

Keep in mind that before putting away your camera, you should take out the batteries and any memory cards. There are several ways in which moisture may damage a camera or lens. The dry cabinet may be used to combat the moisture problem. Dry cabinets are specialized containers or cupboards that are constructed to prevent moisture from getting in. Another benefit of these cabinets is that they keep dirt and dust from settling on your equipment.

Equipment that isn’t kept in a dry cabinet requires extra care and attention. Choose locations where the sun won’t shine directly on your equipment. Choose a spot that won’t be subject to severe cold, and most crucially, keep the camera away from any electronics that emit a magnetic field.