Best Waterproof and Underwater Camera

Are you looking to take pictures underwater? Whether in the ocean, a lake, a river or the sea having a high quality underwater camera can make this happen. A high quality waterproof camera is also a great option for those who want to take pictures at the beach.

I have reviewed the most popular underwater cameras on the market and after reading this article you will know the top picks. To see prices and customer reviews see the links below or read on for the full review.

  1. Fujifilm FinePix XP120
  2. Panasonic TS30A
  3. Fujifilm FinePix XP130
  4. SeaLife Micro 2.0 WiFi
  5. Panasonic Lumix TS7
  6. GoPro HERO5 Black
  7. SeaLife DC2000
  8. Sony RX0
  9. Ricoh WG-50
  10. Nikon Coolpix W300
  11. GoPro HERO7 Black
  12. Olympus Tough TG-5

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Fujifilm FinePix XP120

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 16.4 megapixels
  • Built in 28-140mm f/3.9-4.9 lens
  • Has a large 3″ LCD screen with 920k dots
  • Waterproof rated to 20 meters
  • Freezeproof rated to -10 degrees C
  • Full high definition video capture

The XP120 is an older generation camera but still packs great features at a low price point. You will see the updated version in a minute but if this model still deserves consideration if you can go without a few features or don’t have the budget for a higher end model. This model offers excellent image resolution and a fast and accurate autofocus. The LCD screen is large and well lit. You do not get GPS, Wifi, or Bluetooth though. This camera is a solid value for a durable camera for both stills and video.

Panasonic TS30A

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 16.1 megapixels
  • Built in 25-100mm f/3.9-5.7 lens
  • 2.7″ LCD screen with 230k dots
  • Waterproof rated to 8 meters
  • Freezeproof at -10 degrees C
  • Shockproof rated up to 1.5 meters
  • 720 high definition video capture

The FT30 is another excellent value underwater camera option. It excels at capturing still shots with it’s 16.1MP resolution. It does offer video recording but only offers 720p so there are better options if video is a priority. This model has been around for a while and it has a lot of satisfied owners who like it’s durability and image quality. One of it’s biggest selling points is it’s ultra slim design making it ideal for putting in your pocket or pack. It’s waterproofing and shockproofing is top notch and at this price point it is an excellent value.

Fujifilm FinePix XP130

  • Compact camera
  • has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 16.4 megapixels
  • Built in 28-140mm lens
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 920k dots
  • Waterproof rated to 20 meters
  • Shockproof rated at 1.75 meters
  • Freezeproof rated to -10 degrees C
  • 1080p video capture

This camera offers an exceptional depth of waterproofing and at 20 meters is enough for almost everyone. Few cameras in this price range offer anywhere close so if depth is a priority this is an exceptional model for you. It’s build quality doesn’t end there, it also offers top notch shockproof rating meaning this camera can stand up to abuse. You do have some trade offs though. First off, the image resolution is not the best around but it is good enough to make the list especially when looking at the low price point. It also does not offer GPS but that is not usually needed at this budget level. This make’s an excellent vacation or diving camera as long as top image quality is not a priority.

SeaLife Micro 2.0 WiFi

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 16 megapixels
  • Built in ultra wide angle 20mm lens
  • Waterproof rating to 200 feet
  • Not freezeproof
  • Not Shockproof
  • 1080p video capture

This second camera from SeaLife to make the list is a blast to shoot with. The fish eye lens is a solid performer and it is an ultra wide which I really like for taking shots underwater of sea life and coral. It provides a stellar waterproof rating up to 200 feet which is plenty for most photographers. The button layout is well designed making operation easy so you will spend less time messing with settings and more time taking great pictures. I found pushing the buttons easy even when wearing gloves. This fun and easy to use camera is an awesome choice if you are looking for depth and an ultra wide angle lens.

Panasonic Lumix TS7

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 20.4 megapixels
  • Built in 28-128mm lens
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 1,040,000 dots
  • Waterproof rated to 31 meters
  • Freezeproof -10 degrees C
  • Shockproof rated at 2 meters
  • 4k video capture

This is an excellent overall underwater camera with a ton of awesome features. One of my favorites is the built in viewfinder. It is clear and offers an excellent framing experience. With a 20.4 MP resolution this camera produces great image quality. Images are clear and realistic making this a great still shot camera. The built in lens offers up to 4.56x zoom which is one of the longest focal lengths on the list. It is not a Leica lens (the previous generation did have a Leica lens) but it is a very good performer. If image quality and a high quality EVF viewfinder are important to you then this is an excellent model for you.

GoPro HERO5 Black

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 12 megapixels
  • Built in 14-28mm f/2.8 lens
  • 2″ LCD screen
  • Waterproof rated to 10 meters
  • Not shockproof
  • Not freezeproof
  • 4k video capture

The Hero5 is the lower priced GoPro of the top rated underwater cameras. It does not offer as good of performance as the Hero7 but it is a very good waterproof camera. The sensor is not as large meaning the image quality is not quite as good but it is still very solid. The 4k video capture is very smooth and crisp. With it’s excellent video quality this is the best value priced underwater video camera. The frame rate is lower than the Hero7 but still well above the other cameras on the list in this price range. The screen is high quality but a bit on the the small side at 2″. It captures images in Raw format which allows you to dig in to post production editing if you wish. You will also get great audio quality with the dual microphones. This is easily my favorite lower priced point camera for underwater video.

SeaLife DC2000

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1″ sensor
  • 20 megapixels
  • Built in 31mm lens
  • Has a large 3″ LCD screen with 920,000 dots
  • Waterproof rated at 60 feet
  • Not freezeproof
  • Not shockproof
  • 1080p video capture

The SeaLife DC2000 is a very impressive camera and shares a lot in common with my number one pick, the Olympus TG-5. After reviewing it I can say I am seriously impressed. It is also a significant improvement in performance over the other SeaLife that made the top picks. The one inch sensor and 20 megapixel resolution produce excellent images. It offers excellent waterproof depth but does not provide shock or freeze protection. The 31mm lens provides low distortion pictures with a wider than average focal length. The 1080p video capture is sufficient but this camera really shines as a stills camera. Combined with a 60 foot waterproof rating this is a solid choice for those looking for a still shot camera. If you are a diver and need more depth, there is an optional case available that allows you to go as deep as 200 feet.

Sony RX0

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1″ sensor
  • 15.3 megapixels
  • Built in 24mm f4 lens
  • 1.5″ touchscreen LCD screen with 230k dots
  • Waterproof rated to 10 meters
  • Shockproof rated to 2 meters
  • Not freezeproof
  • 4k video capture with external recorder

The Sony RX0 is the best performing one inch sensor model I reviewed. With a 15.3MP resolution you can get outstanding image quality. It is significantly better than it’s one inch sensor competitors. Images are clear and with little to no distortion. Image noise is almost non existent. This camera is equipped with a touchscreen LCD that offers high frame rate and can handle 4k video if you opt to add an external recorder. The price point is a bit higher but you get a true high quality underwater camera with this one. It is popular with divers and hobbyists alike.

Ricoh WG-50

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 16 megapixels
  • Built in 28-140mm f/3.5-5.5 lens
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 20k dots
  • Waterproof rated to 14 meters
  • Shockproof rated to 1.6 meters
  • Freezeproof rated to -10 degrees C
  • Full high definition video capture

Ricoh offers an excellent line of cameras for all types of photographers and the WG-50 is no exception. Owned by Panasonic, you get the advanced performance and features you expect. This model has one of the best build specs you can get. It offers superb durability and waterproofing making it ready to stand up to whatever you throw it’s way. It is shockproof from drops of over five feet and is crush proof rated to withstand weight reaching over 200 pounds. It offers a built in macro ring light at the lens making it great for low light underwater subjects. It also has a 5x optical zoom and slow motion video capture. It has a moderate price tag but for the performance it is an excellent value.

Nikon Coolpix W300

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 16 megapixels
  • Built in 24-120mm f/2.8-4.9 lens
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 921k dots
  • Waterproof rated to 30 meters
  • Shockproof rated to 2.4 meters
  • Freezeproof rated to -10 degrees C
  • 4k video capture

I am a huge fan of the W300. It offers exceptional performance as well as a great list of features perfect for water photography. It can handle underwater depths reaching up to 100 feet which is well beyond the needs of most photographers. If you like exploring this camera is a great partner to have. It offers built in Bluetooth for quick and easy uploading of images as well as a barometer for great environment info while shooting. I like how fast it was able to send my pictures to my phone. It is also shockproof from drops of almost eight feet. The 4k video recording worked flawlessly and offers great image quality. The major down side is this camera does not shoot in Raw so you will have to get your pictures how you want them with the camera. This camera is also very easy to use making it a great option for users of all skill levels.

GoPro HERO7 Black

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 12 megapixels
  • Has a built in 14-28mm f/2.8 lens
  • 2″ LCD screen
  • Waterproof rated to 10 meters
  • Not shockproof
  • Not freezeproof
  • 4k video capture

The GoPro HERO7 is an absolute beast. It offers some of the best image and video quality you can get in an underwater camera. It is also well designed and very compact making it an exceptional all around option. GoPro has legions of loyal fans and the HERO7 is one of the most popular cameras they make. It provides superb image stabilization technology which will help you keep camera shake as limited as possible which will significantly improve your image quality. The 4k video recording is smooth and you can even shoot in slow motion which is a ton of fun. With the HERO7 you can livestream your video or store it on an internal memory card. You can even record while livestreaming. The waterproofing works very well which is great for peace of mind as this camera comes in at a premium price point. If you are looking for professional video and image quality this is a great option.

Olympus Tough TG-5

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 12 megapixels
  • Built in 25-100mm f/2-4.9 lens
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 460k dots
  • Waterproof rated to 15 meters
  • Shockproof rated to 2.1 meters
  • Freezeproof rated to -10 degrees C
  • 4k video capture

The Olympus TG-5 is the most durable point and shoot camera on the list. It has the most robust build quality on the market and it is ready to take almost whatever you can dish out. The shock and freeze proofing is industry leading and the waterproofing is all the way to 15 meters. You can even let the kids use it worry free. It does not have the image quality of the HERO7 but it does shoot in Raw so that you can edit your images post production. The 4k video capture works great and it even has a slow motion feature. And even though it only offers 12MP the image quality is still very good. If you need the toughest underwater camera around then this is the camera for you.

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