Waterproof camera buying guide
How to find the best camera to keep up with your active lifestyle
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Quick facts about waterproof cameras
- Underwater cameras are designed to keep up with your active lifestyle.
- They are usually small and light enough to fit into a pocket and rugged enough to withstand harsh weather and extreme climates.
- The price of a fully waterproof camera typically starts at around $150 and can go into the thousands for a high-end model.
- How much you'll spend depends on how you plan to use the camera and any additional accessories you may need including mounting gear and tripods.
How to compare waterproof cameras
No matter what type of camera you're comparing, you'll want to think about how easy the camera is to use and how high the image quality is. For a full list of what to look for when buying a camera, check out our comprehensive digital camera guide.
Waterproof cameras are generally compact cameras. This means you don't have as many choices in terms of style and advanced features as you would when comparing other types of cameras. That being said, you do still have to consider your budget, desired image quality, level of durability and other key features.
When choosing an underwater camera, consider the following:
The price of waterproof cameras typically ranges from $150 to thousands of dollars. The amount you'll spend depends on the brand, the type of camera, image quality and any additional accessories you may need.
Generally, you get what you pay for. If you want to take professional quality photos while scuba diving at 30 metres, you'll probably have to pay thousands for a camera and other underwater accessories. If you're looking to document your next backpacking trip so that you can share photos with friends, you could find one for just a few hundred dollars.
Level of waterproofing
Some cameras are water-resistant and can withstand rain and water splashes. All of the cameras featured on this page are fully waterproof and submersible. The right choice for you will depend on how you plan to use the camera.
If you are choosing between two similar cameras, pick the one with the longer battery life. When you're taking photos of your next adventure, the last thing you'll want to deal with is a dead battery.
Do you want a mountable camera? Look for a brand that offers a range of accessories to make it easier to use your camera in any situation.
Waterproof cameras can come with a wide range of fun and useful features including Wi-Fi connectivity, geotagging, smart device apps and compasses.
Pros of using an underwater camera
Here are several ways that you could benefit from using a waterproof camera on your next adventure:
- Portability. Waterproof cameras are designed to be compact and portable. They can typically fit into a pocket or small bag.
- Durability. You can use waterproof cameras in virtually any condition. Most of them are built to withstand shock, freezing temperatures, dirt, mud, sand and, of course, water.
- Easy to use. Like most compact cameras, waterproof cameras are generally very easy to use and require little to no set-up. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take professional looking photos with a waterproof camera.
- Video quality. Durable action and waterproof cameras are designed to keep up with any activity. Some cameras shoot in high-definition or 4K (ultra high-definition) resolution to help you capture the clearest videos possible.
- Mounting options. Waterproof cameras are typically compatible with a wide array of mounting accessories including hand mounts, head mounts and chest mounts so you’ll never miss a shot.
Cons of using an underwater camera
Drawbacks to using a waterproof camera include:
- Limited zoom. Waterproof cameras have limited zoom ranges because the entire camera and lens must be sealed within the waterproof frame. The maximum zoom range for underwater cameras is typically 5x.
- Additional cost for accessories. Tripods, flashes, mounts, carry bags and additional waterproof casings can help make your camera more versatile but they will take up space and add to your overall cost.
- Limited battery life. If you plan to spend a whole day shooting, you’ll likely need a back-up battery or some way to recharge. Remember to plan ahead, especially if you’ll be travelling somewhere remote.
- Image quality. Underwater cameras are typically compact or point-and-shoot cameras. This means that while they are small and easy to carry, they don’t offer the high image quality of larger cameras.
- No viewfinder. Waterproof cameras do not usually come with a viewfinder, which can make it difficult to preview your shots in certain lighting conditions.
More guides on Finder
Finder Daily Deals: The 5 best online deals in Australia today
Today's best Finder Daily deals include: 50% off car essentials at Catch, half-price meat thermometers, eBay Plus tech sale.
Best bike lights in Australia
These are the six best bike lights you can buy in Australia right now.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: Features | Specifications | Pricing
Samsung’s mid-range 2021 flagship phone combines some serious camera zoom and a powerful processor.
Cot mattress buying guide
We’ll help you choose the perfect cot mattress to meet your baby’s needs.
Best camera drones in Australia
These are the best camera-equipped drones you can buy right now in Australia.
Best drones in Australia
These are the six best drones you can buy right now in Australia.
Best men’s watches in Australia
These are the six best men's watches you can buy right now in Australia.
Best compact cameras in Australia 2020
These are the best compact cameras for travel, low light and shoppers on a budget as chosen by thousands of online customers.
Best tablets for kids in Australia
These are the best tablets for kids you can buy right now in Australia.
Apple iPad Air 2020 review
Apple has shifted the value proposition of the iPad Air from being the "fancy" basic iPad to the "low cost" iPad Pro, but the regular iPad is still going to be enough for most people.
Ask an Expert