The 6 Best Waterproof Cameras to Buy in 2017

Find the best cameras to bring on your underwater adventures

Waterproof cameras are more than just cameras you can take underwater. Their tough, durable constructions allow for use in a variety of environmental conditions, whether it’s the frozen peaks of the Rocky Mountains or the depths of some coastal reef. If you constantly find yourself wishing you had a camera for some condition that a smartphone camera just can't handle, take a look at this guide to the best waterproof cameras.

Best Overall: Olympus TG-4 16 MP Waterproof Digital Camera

Olympus TG-4 16 MP Waterproof Digital Camera
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When it comes to waterproof cameras, the most important specs to look out for are, obviously, the weatherproofing. How much depth can it stand? How high of a drop? How low of a temperature? To that end, the Olympus TG-4 is the best all-around waterproof camera, as it offers the best range of “proofing,” as well as a slew of extra features that make it a valuable companion for all outdoor and travel activities. Specifically, it’s waterproof down to 50 feet, freeze proof down to 14°F, shockproof (drop-proof) up to seven feet and crushproof up to a whopping 220 pounds. Seriously, this thing is tough, and it’s got awesome camera specs to boot. With 16-megapixel sensor, 4x wide-angle optical zoom, RAW image capture and Full HD (1080p) video recording, this thing would stand alone as a solid camera—with or without the weather-proofing. It’s not exactly cheap, but when you add in the WiFi, GPS and compass functionality you have, it's hands-down the best waterproof camera on the market.

Best Mid-Range: Olympus TG-860

Olympus TG-860
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If you like the look, appeal and brand of our top pick, the Olympus TG-4, but are turned off by the steep asking price, you may want to consider the Olympus TG-860 instead. It offers a lot of the same perks and specs but for around $120 less. It’s waterproof down to 49.2 feet, freeze-proof down to 14°F, shock-proof up to seven feet, and crush-proof up to 220 pounds. Those are more or less the same proofing specs as the TG-4. So what’s the difference, then? The TG-860 has a smaller lens aperture, no RAW shooting, no manual focus and a shorter battery life. There are a few other design considerations that give the nod to the TG-4, but if you really don’t want to spend that extra money then the TG-860 is every bit as qualified for your outdoor or underwater shooting needs.

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 cis 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 a torch light to bring to light those dark underwater vestiges you find on vacation.

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°F, 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 15 fps 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 a 11-27.5mm lens).

Best Design: Sony DSC-TX30/D

Sony DSC-TX30/D
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if you’re looking for something with a robust, flashy design and something that can also withstand a full range of weather conditions, consider the Sony DSC-TX30/D. This guy is waterproof down to 33 feet, shock-proof up to five feet, freeze-proof down to 14°F and dust-proof. It includes an 18.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, 5x optical zoom and a 3.3-inch OLED touch screen. It records Full HD (1080p) video, and offers over three hours of recording through the 8GB embedded flash memory. It’s also super compact and lightweight, with a flashy minimalist design that comes in three color schemes: orange, black and pink.

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-860, but is can be found at a significantly lower cost. For that more-than-fair asking price, you get a study little all-weather camera that’s waterproof down to 50 feet, freeze-proof down to 14°F, shock-proof 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 10 fps, 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.


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