Waterproof cameras: find the best camera to keep up with your active lifestyle

We’ve compared 10 of the most popular waterproof cameras to help you find the right camera to suit your needs.

Waterproof 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.

Read on to find out if a waterproof camera is right for you.

Compare 10 of the most popular waterproof cameras for 2018

Data obtained at time of publication. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Price (AUD) Type Sensor Waterproof? Shockproof height Freezeproof capability
Olympus Tough TG-5
Olympus Tough TG-5
$549.45
Compact
1/2.3in, 12MP
Up to 15m or 50ft
2.1m or 7ft
-10ºC
The Olympus Tough TG-5 is able to deal with just about any conditions you can throw at it.
Nikon Coolpix W300
Nikon Coolpix W300
$532.86
Compact
1/2.3in, 16MP
Up to 30m or 100ft
2.4m or 8ft
-10ºC
Nikon Coolpix W300 offers some of the best waterproofing on the market for those who want to dive deep.
Panasonic Lumix TS7 / FT7
Panasonic Lumix TS7 / FT7
$619.75
Compact
1/2.3in, 20.4MP
Up to 31m or 102ft
2m or 6.5ft
-10ºC
The Panasonic Lumix TS7 / FT7 has a built-in viewfinder that lets you preview your photos as you shoot.
Fujifilm FinePix XP130
Fujifilm FinePix XP130
$275.38
Compact
1/2.3in, 16.4MP
Up to 20m or 66ft
1.75m or 5.8ft
-10ºC
Fujifilm's offers an affordable action camera with the XP130.
Ricoh WG-50
Ricoh WG-50
$312.56
Compact
1/2.3in, 16MP
Up to 14m or 45ft
1.6m or 5.2ft
-10ºC
The Ricoh WG-50 features built-in LED lights, face detection and a 5x optical zoom.
GoPro HERO6 Black
GoPro HERO6 Black
$475.08
Compact
1/2.3in, 12MP
Up to 10m or 33ft
N/A
-10ºC
GoPro is a leader in creating in action cameras for the most adventurous photographers.
Panasonic Lumix DMC TS30 / FT30
Panasonic Lumix DMC TS30 / FT30
$192.8
Compact
1/2.3in, 16.1MP
Up to 8m or 26ft
1.5m or 5ft
-10ºC
Panasonic's Lumix TS30 / FT30 is an easy-to-use and rugged camera for those with active lifestyles.
Sony RX0
Sony RX0
$964.06
Compact
1in, 15.3MP
Up to 10m or 33ft
2m or 6.5ft
N/A
The Sony RX0 is designed to take high-quality photos in extreme conditions.
Fujifilm FinePix XP120
Fujifilm FinePix XP120
$184.57
Compact
1/2.3in, 16.4MP
Up to 20m or 66ft
1.75m or 5.8ft
-10ºC
Fujifilm's XP120 is an affordable compact camera with plenty of fun features.
Leica X-U (Type 113)
Leica X-U (Type 113)
$4,814
Compact
APS-C, 16.2MP
Up to 15m or 49ft
1.22m or 4ft
N/A
Leica's X-U is a high-end camera for those who want to capture the best images possible.

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Pros of using a waterproof camera

To help you decide what type of camera is right for you, we’ve explored some of the best and worst aspects of using a waterproof 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 a waterproof 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 waterproof 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. Waterproof 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.

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.

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 a waterproof camera, consider the following:

Which waterproof camera is best for me?

The best waterproof camera for you depends on how you plan to use it. Someone looking to shoot 30 metres underwater on their next scuba diving trip will have different requirements from someone who wants to take selfies on their boat without worrying about a rogue wave damaging their camera.

To help you get started, we’ve highlighted five of the most searched for and highly reviewed waterproof cameras below:

The good The bad
Olympus Tough TG-5
  • Supports RAW files.
  • One of the most rugged and travel-friendly cameras available.
  • Only submersible to 15 metres.
  • Zoom can be awkward to use.
Nikon Coolpix W300
  • Excellent waterproofing down to 30 metres.
  • Features 5x optical
  • Does not support RAW images.
  • Photo quality suffers in low light.
Fujifilm XP130
  • Affordable price.
  • Features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Does not offer 4K video recording.
  • Poor image quality compared to higher priced models.
Ricoh WG-50
  • 5x optical zoom range.
  • Built-in LED lights.
  • Does not support RAW files.
  • Low-resolution screen.
Sony RX0
  • Tiny size makes it ultra-portable.
  • Offers 4K HD video.
  • Expensive.
  • Only waterproof up to 10 metres.

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Sarah Brandon

Sarah Brandon is a writer for finder.com.au and loves the challenge of tackling a new comparison. When she’s not at the office, she can be found writing novels or searching for the perfect artichoke dip.

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