Smartphone cameras are pretty incredible pieces of gear these days. Often, the camera on your smartphone can take pictures that are every bit as good as “professional” cameras. Heck, you can create an entire feature film using nothing more than a smartphone if you wanted to. However, for adventurers who want to capture their outings on film, it still pays to have a real camera. That’s especially true for divers and snorkelers who want to capture underwater photos. Here are some of the top underwater cameras.
Top Pick Overall
Nikon Coolpix W300
The Nikon Coolpix is an ideal camera for divers because it doesn’t cost as much as a high-end underwater camera, but it’s more waterproof than most other cameras of this kind on the market. The Coolpix W300 is waterproof to a depth of 30 meters, which is enough for anyone who is going to stay within the confines of their open water Scuba certification. It can also shoot 4K video and comes with integrated GPS, altimeter and a depth gauge. It can usually be found for under $500.
Top Pick For Someone Who’s Going To Beat The Heck Out Of Their Gear!
Olympus Tough! TG-5
Know this up front: the TG-5 is NOT a dainty little camera! This thing is built like a tank. It’s bulky and rugged and it’s made to take some serious abuse. Those are perfect qualities if you’re a serious outdoorsman who will likely be throwing this thing around in luggage, dropping it down some steep trails or taking video in all sorts of weather, including underwater depths of up to 15 meters. It will shoot in 4K and it comes with a built in GPS, pressure sensor, temperature gauge and compass. You can get a ton of accessories that will fit this thing, making it a venerable tool for anyone who’s serious about capturing their adventures on film.
Top Budget Pick
Fujifilm FinePix XP130
If you’re not quite ready for the hardcore underwater cameras like those described above, the FinePix XP130 is probably the best bet for you. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that the other models on this list have—you won’t find a GPS or pressure sensors, but it does come with Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s waterproof down to 20 meters, so if you’re looking for cheap, family-friendly point and shoot camera to take on your snorkeling trip it’s a perfect option. Plus, it will only set you back about $140.