The 6 Best Waterproof Cameras of 2020

Find the best cameras to bring on your underwater adventures

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with 3-Inch LCD, Red (V104190RU000)


This freshly-minted waterproof camera claims to be waterproof to 15m/50ft, shockproof from 2.1m/7ft, crushproof to 100kgf/220lbf and dustproof. (If you’re looking to plunge down to depths of 45m, check out the PT-058 underwater housing sold separately.) 

The TG-5 packs a new 1/2.3-inch 12MP BSI CMOS sensor, which is a change from the 1/2.3-inch 16MP BSI CMOS chip used in the previous model. While it drops from 16MP to 12MP, Olympus says this move helps to improve low-light capture. The lens is similar to that of the TG-4: it’s a 4x zoom lens (equivalent to 25-100mm) that features a variable f/2-4.9 aperture, but now also features anti-fog dual-pane glass that prevents the lens from getting foggy when it undergoes climate changes. Videographers will also be pleased to know that it supports 4K recording at 30p and Full HD high-speed footage at 120fps. While the camera doesn’t come cheap, it’s truly the best rugged choice on the market.

You may want to find out everything you need to know about troubleshooting underwater cameras before picking a camera for diving.

Best Mid-Range: Nikon Coolpix W300

For a mid-range digital camera, the Nikon Coolpix W300 performs like a heavyweight, with excellent performance both underwater and on dry land. Featuring water resistance up to 100 feet below the surface, the dust- and freezeproof W300 can also withstand a fall from heights up to 7.9 feet in the air.

The 16MP lens captures sharp, beautiful photos as well as 4K Ultra HD video, making it a great choice for bikers, surfers, SCUBA divers and more who want the best images from their most extreme adventures. In the event the action is further away, the Coolpix W300 has a 5x optical zoom and three-inch LCD display with anti-reflective coating for clear shooting even in direct sunlight. It is also capable of recording time-lapse video.

A built-in GPS, eCompass, and altimeter add to this camera's more adventurous features, and the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities let you easily transfer photos off the camera and onto a separate device. And, unlike much more delicate (and expensive) smartphones, the Coolpix W300's extra-large grip makes it easy to hold on to, even in the middle of the action.

Best Budget: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30
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You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to have a solid all-weather camera that captures impressive, high-quality images. And let’s face it, do you really need a camera that’s waterproof down to 50 feet? Might 20 feet do the trick?

Enter: the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30. This sturdy little guy is waterproof down to 26 feet, freeze-proof down to 14°F, and shockproof up to 4.9 feet. It’s even dust-proof. It captures bright, vivid still images through the 16.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and smooth HD (720p), whether underwater or on land. It has a number of built-in effects and shooting modes, and comes in three colors—red, blue and black.

There’s an optical image stabilizer, time-lapse shooting, and torchlight to bring to light those dark underwater vestiges you find on vacation.

For more options on the lower end of the price spectrum, check out our picks for the best cameras for under $250.

Best Interchangeable Lens: Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1
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Interchangeable lens cameras haven’t traditionally meshed with waterproof designs. In fact, there aren’t many of these on the market, but if this is the type of camera you’re looking, check out the Nikon 1 AW1. It claims to be the first waterproof, shockproof, interchangeable lens camera.

It’s water-resistant down to 49 feet, freeze-proof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and shockproof up to 6.6 feet. It’s compatible with all Nikon 1 lenses and two proprietary waterproof and shockproof lenses. The camera itself features a 1-inch 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, high-speed continuous shooting at 15fps and full 1080p HD video recording.

This is one sturdy, robust, multi-purpose camera. However, if you’re tempted to pull the trigger, you should be sure you have the need for an interchangeable lens waterproof camera. Most people do not, and this one isn't actually cheap (however, it does include an 11-27.5mm lens).

Best Design: Nikon Coolpix AW130

Nikon Coolpix AW130
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Let’s face it: If you’re in the market for a waterproof camera to accompany you on your next adventure, you’re probably not too swayed by design. After all, a sleek body will serve little purpose as it is sinking to the seafloor. But the Nikon Coolpix AW130 has all the features to survive your journey; the fact that it will look good while doing so is just a bonus.

The AW130 is freezeproof up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, shockproof for drops up to seven feet and waterproof up to an astounding 100 feet — that’s a good 20 feet more than almost any other in its class. It also has a handy rubber grip complete with an NFC tag, so you can pair it with your smartphone via onboard Wi-Fi and start sharing your photos while you’re still afloat. For those exploring uncharted territory, its onboard GPS has a points-of-interest feature that gives you a birds-eye-view of the surrounding area.

It rocks a 16-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch sensor behind a 5x zoom 4.3-21.5mm (24-120mm full-frame equivalent) f/2.8-4.9 lens. The smaller sensor means more noise than most interchangeable lens cameras will produce, but most adventure-seekers won’t find it to be a deal-breaker. So, if it’s design you’re after, the AW130 is your best bet.

Do you just want a sleek design? Check out our roundup of the best ultra thin cameras.

Best Budget All-Weather: Fujifilm FinePix XP80

Fujifilm FinePix XP80
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No discussion of waterproof, all-weather cameras is complete without mention of Fujifilm. Perhaps best known for its line of impressive mirrorless cameras, Fujifilm also makes one of the most popular lines of waterproof compact point-and-shoots. The Fujifilm FinePix XP80, in particular, is credited as a competitor of the Olympus TG-3 and TG-870, but it can be found at a significantly lower cost.

For that more-than-fair asking price, you get a sturdy little all-weather camera that’s waterproof down to 50 feet, freeze-proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, shockproof up to 5.8 feet and dust-proof. It’s got a 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor that works well in low-light underwater conditions, continuous shooting at up to 10fps, Full HD (1080p) video recording, wireless image transfers, and remote shooting. And it comes in a slim, sturdy package in one of three colors: graphite black, blue, and yellow.

Still haven't found what you need? Take a peek at our pickings for the best five-star cameras this year.

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent eight hours testing one of our readers’ favorite underwater cameras. They set it up, took it into the water, and experimented with taking both photos and videos. We asked our testers to consider the camera’s most important features, from photo and video quality to durability. We’ve outlined a few of the most important takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Waterproof Camera

Depth limit - Are you planning on taking some deep dives with this camera? Do you want a model specifically for underwater photography? If so, you’ll want to keep those things in mind when picking a camera — some of these models can work at greater depths than others.

Interchangeable lenses - Most cameras that have switchable lenses aren’t waterproof. But if photography is a serious hobby, you might want to look into one. After all, you often get better-quality photographs when you’re using a separate lens (instead of one built into the camera).

Durability - If you’re looking into a waterproof camera, chances are that your lifestyle is pretty active. That means that you’ll want to consider a camera’s cold and heat resistance as well as its shock resistance. If a camera is waterproof but can’t handle a drop or two, it might not suit your lifestyle.