Best Waterproof Cameras of 2020

  Comparison

Product Size Weight Price range
Sony  RX100 VII Sony RX100 VII 4 x 1.7 x 2.4 inches 9.8 ounces $$$
Olympus TG-6 Olympus TG-6 2.6 x 4.4 x 1.3 inches 2.08 ounces $$
Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra 0.9 x 2 x 1.5 inches 1.2 pounds $
Nikon Coolpix W100 Nikon Coolpix W100 4.4 x 2.7 x 1.5 inches 1.01 pounds $$
Akaso EK7000 Akaso EK7000 0.9 x 2 x 1.5 inches 1.4 pounds $
Fujifilm Quick Snap Waterproof Fujifilm Quick Snap Waterproof 5.8 x 2.2 x 5 inches 5.9 ounces $

The very first thought that we tend to have nowadays is, ‘why do I need a camera in the first place? My phone can do that.’ And while true on its face, it’s also true that we depend on our phones in so many ways that we want to keep them safe. We especially want to protect them from water, which is where the waterproof cameras come in. Whether they are compact water-resistant cameras to start us on our new photography adventure or action cameras that can be submerged, there is an entire range of products out there.

Purpose

While not necessary when thinking about a waterproof camera, the purpose is still the best starting point. It’s the answer to the question, ‘what do you need it to do?’ If you only want to take pictures once, there are options for that, but if you enjoy vlogging while traveling there’s a different set of possible choices.

It can be hard to think about the matter realistically and systematically, and if that’s something that seriously makes you hesitate or if it makes you feel stuck, you don’t have to do it. You can throw a dart at a list or find a feature you like the sound of and then figure out what you can use it for. It’s sort of reverse-engineering the purpose but that’s certainly a possibility. 

If the reverse option isn’t for you and you want to go back to find a camera based on your needs, you may start by identifying your primary reason for using it. What’s the one thing you want the camera to do? Once that is established, you can try to find your secondary reasons, features that it will be good for the camera to possess but you aren’t terribly attached to them. 

Take, for example, underwater photography. It’s arguably the most difficult branch of photography, so you’ll need to start small, figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. However, it doesn’t have to be a very tedious and expensive process. You can go through it at your own pace and your budget. 

A look at our next points may clarify the purpose more. 

Photos vs Video


If your preference is towards one of the options, there you have it. In an ideal world, this one would be easy to answer, but don’t worry if it’s not. Most cameras offer the possibility for both, but the quality may differ. We’ll get to that in a minute, but it’s something to keep in mind. Of course, the most convenient camera is going to be amazing at both, but even that has its’ drawbacks. Try to figure out how important is for you to do either or both. 


Image Quality


It may very well be the point that edges ahead of the purpose but image quality is something that we can’t overlook. Of course, the rule of thumb here is the higher the better. It’s simple enough, easy to remember, and something that we don’t deny. You do want the best possible quality for your pictures. 

However, what that means depends on a lot of factors. Those can be simple, like the resolution where the rule of thumb applies (though even there, at higher levels of photography, things might get a bit tricky), to more complex, like how the speed of the film affects the quality of the pictures. The most common one you’ll find, however, is the night/day contrast. The camera having a flash can help, but it generally doesn’t make that much of a difference. It’s the reason why people so rarely mention it.  Anyway, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on not only the day/night discrepancy but the transition between those two. 

Another common factor that gets discussed when it comes to image quality is the type of pictures. 

With photos there are JPEGs and RAW shots, for example, the difference being that JPEGs are the already processed photos when compared to the RAW stills. If you’re not passionate about photography such distinctions might not interest you, and that’s okay, it’s perfectly fine to stick with auto, or it might interest you down-the-line. It’s a good idea, though, to know what they mean and that they are an option. 

A possibility that might interest beginners and more advanced users alike is macro photography with its many variants. Those are easier to identify, but if you want the feature or not depends entirely on you.  Burst photos and their speed is also part of the same category, where it’s a wonderful tool to have for those who are interested in it. 

With videos, though, auto options make all the difference. Nowadays, it’s not about the originality of what you create and the freedom to do it, but about crisp images when capturing motion. Here the rule of thumb not only applies but the better the auto-focus and functions related to it the better the result. 


Connectivity


How do you develop pictures? What about transferring photos? How do you store them? Can it all be controlled from your phone? 

This is the category that deals with those dilemmas. Depending on what you are willing to do and how tech-savvy you are, there are options out there for you: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, with different storage apps and options for transfer.  There’s a whole range of products that cater to every need, from having the pictures developed to controlling everything from your phone. Well, it’s worth noting that they are usually user-friendly so it doesn’t take that much work. You don’t need to be a computer programmer to figure out how to use these features, but you will still need to decide whether they are useful to you. 


General build


This section refers to how hardy the cameras are. Considering it’s a big advantage in buying them, that is something well worth your attention. All waterproof cameras have a degree of resistance to pressure—it comes with the name; water pressure is no joke—but most of them take advantage of that feature to add others of a similar nature next to it. The ability to take falls is one of them, but there are many more, like being able to function in cold weather. They can come in handy when you’re leaving the house or even just to know that they can be handled less carefully. 


Accessories


They can be completely irrelevant or extraordinarily vital. Do you need or want a microphone? What sort of quality are you expecting from it? How about a mount? Do you want to attach your camera on your bike? And cameras cases, those can be pretty important. What about lenses? 

As you can see, there’s a wide variety of accessories. Perhaps more important is how ‘what you need,’ pairs with ‘what comes with the camera,’ and ‘what can be added to it.’ For some of them, there are no extras to help you, some cameras have their own and none other will fit, and others have hundreds of possible additions. So, the only way to differentiate among them is your preferences. 


Price 


And of course, price is also important. It always tends to be, especially in a time where updates and upgrades are so important. However, there’s usually something for every budget.  


Vip Doctor on Demand

The Sony RX100 VII is a 20.1 MP versatile camera at around $1,300 with excellent image quality and different types of connectivity. 

Why is it special? 

It’s an ambitious camera. The Sony RX100 VII not only has great image stabilization, can record in 4k Ultra HD, and has a great auto mode, which were features lacking in our other picks, it also has accurate AI-based tracking technology. For example, it detects the human eye in photos or video and even has animal eye detection for stills. It tries its best—and mostly succeeds—at rendering motion is a clear way.

The connectivity is also worth paying attention to, the camera having WiFi, with NFC and QR Code. You can both transfer the photos and videos, and remote control the camera through your phone or tablet.  And the list of features doesn’t stop here. Whether it’s the microphone jack, the good selfies or the accommodating vertical mode recording, Sony RX100 VII knows the market and carves a place for itself.


Pros and cons

Pros:  Great image quality. It can’t be discounted when we’re talking about cameras. The Sony RX100 VII offers crisp, vivid images in a variety of circumstances: day, night, when the subject stays still, when it’s moving, or when you’re the subject. The animal eye detection technology is a step forward in wildlife photography, even if it’s just for stills, and, for motion, the tracking technology is another point in the camera’s favor. The usual methods of being creative haven’t been left behind either with the Sony RX100 VII offering the possibility for both macro and raw pictures.

Added to that, the variety provided by having both NFC and QR Code is refreshing and responds to the needs of the modern man. We have different reasons for using cameras, different ways to use them, so it stands to reason that the connectivity should be different too. Also, the option of allowing you to install a microphone reads as being very up-to-date with what people want: it’s useful for movies or vlogs. 

Cons:  The price. Although some complain about how slippery the camera gets or different other features, it’s the price that’s most often quoted as being its primary fault. At about $1,300, it’s pretty steep. If you are interested in underwater photography, for example, the Sony RX100 VII is a wonderful camera that certainly has its place, but costs almost as much as mirrorless cameras, which might be better for the job. 


The verdict

Is it worth it? It depends on how big a budget you have and/or what kind of plans you have for the Sony RX100 VII. That being said, it’s a superb camera. 


The Olympus TG-6 is a sturdy camera at around $400 with very good image quality that allows for a lot of creativity. 


Why is it special? 


It’s well-rounded. The Olympus TG-6 can be knocked down, submerged, crushed and exposed to dust and cold weather. Its macro, micro, and raw photos features leave a lot of room for originality, while the battery life is great. And the price tag isn’t so bad. 


Pros and cons


Pros: Exposure to the elements isn’t a problem anymore. The Olympus TG-6 has an anti-fog feature, it can be submerged up to 50 feet (and has an anti-fog feature for cloudy days) and it can fall up to 7 feet. It can deal with cold weather of about 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can also handle being crushed (100 kgf).  These specifications mark the Olympus TG-6 as the clear winner when compared to the Nikon Coolpix W100, at least regarding what can happen to it and still be okay.

Customization is a topic we have to talk about here. The Olympus TG-6 is a wiz at it. Not only does it offer macro photos with four shooting modes, of which micro (they can be taken with the lens almost bumping into the subject) shots deserve a mention, it also allows the option of raw photos. These are photos that can later be manipulated with the least quality loss. The color balance has three preset settings, but you can also do it yourself according to your environment. That not only guarantees good pictures but they turn out also exactly as you want them. 

Cons:  The auto mode, auto-focus included. Customization isn’t just preferable, it’s necessary. What can be a great camera for beginners, the Olympus TG-6 isn’t at its best for those who prefer to leave their settings alone.  While professional-grade photos can be taken with it, you have to spend some time fiddling around with the camera. That’s easily done, considering its user-friendly interface, but it’s just more work for some. 


The verdict


If you want an amazing camera, with a great price-quality balance, and one that allows you to have your creativity run free without being extra-careful and protective of it, the Olympus TG-6 is it for you. 


The Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra is one of the best waterproof cameras available for online purchase and it stands out with its impressive image quality.

Why is it special?

Are you searching for a camera to bring on your underwater adventures? If yes, then you don’t need to look any further than the H9R Action Camera Ultra from Eken. The camera can shoot videos 4K resolution at 30FPS and this makes it the perfect device to have while scuba diving or surfing. Not just that, but thanks to the waterproof technology, you can take the camera even on your snowboarding or skiing adventures.

While the Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra might do an amazing job of filming and taking photos underwater, it can do much more than that! You will never need to use your smartphone to take a picture because this device features 12 million pixel high-definition shooting. Yes, you read that right. The pictures snapped with this device feature 12 million pixels.

Pros:

Obviously, the image quality of the Eken H9R Action Camera is super impressive. This is all thanks to the Sunplus SPCA6350M chip, OV4689 sensor and 6 layers of glass lenses. The powerful chip is paired with the premium lens and this is why the device can record videos at 4K/30FPS, 1080P/60FPS while at a 170-degree wide view angle. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Don’t you just hate it when you want to take a group photo and you can’t find a stranger to hold the camera and take the photo for you? Someone needs to leave the group and this is never pleasant. Fortunately, this is not something that you will need to worry about anymore if you decide to go with the Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra. The reason behind this is that the device is equipped with 4G wireless remote control.

Another important feature that we want to highlight is the distance that the Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra can go without any problem. If you enjoy scuba diving, then you are going to love this camera! You can dive up to 30 meters (98.4-feet) underwater and the camera’s waterproof dive case is going to keep it safe and running at all times. To top it all off, the lightweight design that is paired with a 2.0-inch HD LCD screen makes it super easy to carry the camera in your backpack.


Cons: 

Even though the camera has an outstanding rating of 4.8 stars, we do need to mention that there are some cons. Nothing major, just small inconvenient things that you need to be aware of before purchasing the camera. First off, some customers are saying that taking the camera out of the waterproof dive case can sometimes be difficult. Another piece of criticism that the Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra has received is that the software set-up can be tricky when you first do it.


The verdict


From the looks of it, the Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra is a premium underwater camera that excels at recording videos and taking photos in high-quality.


The Nikon Coolpix W100 is a 13.5 MP waterproof and shatterproof camera at around $115 with built-in WiFi.


 Why is it special?


A perfect camera for kids. The Nikon Coolpix W100 is a hardy little jewel that can be your kid’s first camera. The customized photo framing and sounds make it a very appealing choice. It can also serve very well to the clumsy out there or just the people who want more protection for the camera. 


Pros and cons


Pros: It’s waterproof, shatterproof, and more. The Nikon Coolpix W100 can be brought underwater to about 33 feet and it can take falls up to 5.9 feet. Also, it holds up to cold weather (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and is dustproof. Though 33 feet doesn’t seem that much compared to the Fujifilm Quick Snap’s 35 feet and the Akaso EK7000’s 100 feet, the rest of the features have to be considered. The Fujifilm Quick Snap is hardy, but it doesn’t have a set height it’s guaranteed to survive falls from; The Nikon Coolpix W100 does. What’s more, the Nikon Coolpix W100 has also a longer standby battery life than the Akaso EK7000. All of these features have to be considered in context. 

Another advantage is that the interface is simple to navigate. The menu is straight forward and easy to use. It has big buttons that are helpful for the lower dexterity of children, but also work very well if it’s slippery or you have dexterity issues, incidental or otherwise. Plus, you or your kid can customize your photos by adding colorful frames or funny noises. 

The quality of the photos is also a point in its favor. The Nikon Coolpix W100 can offer professional shots in the right conditions. It’s something that’s expected for Nikon, but something that we should mention nonetheless.  

Cons:  Speaking of interface, you should probably help your kid with the SnapBridge, at least for the setup.  It’s a bit tricky and, while not the hardest thing out there, it’s not as accessible as everything else. After the setup is done, however, it becomes easier. 

Customization is something we should address here. You can change some of the settings, for example, you can adjust brightness, you can pick the recording mode, or if and when you want the flash to activate. When it comes to more advanced settings, however, you can’t adjust them. You’ll have to be content with automatic ones.


The verdict 


The Nikon Coolpix W100 is a tough little (1.01 pounds) camera great for kids, beginners, and safe for holidays or rough conditions. 


The Akaso EK7000 is an action camera at around $60 with build-in WiFI and HDMI, that can be remote-controlled, has longer battery life, and boasts ultra HD 4k video recording. 

Why is it special?

Action camera features. It’s on the low side of the scale financially speaking and perfect when you are unfamiliar with the capabilities of cameras within its category. There is no need for you to commit to a pricier camera without trying it for yourself. 

Pros and cons


Pros:  It has a long battery life while in use. The Akaso EK7000 has two batteries; each battery can record up to 90 minutes of footage, which adds up to about 180 minutes of autonomy while filming. It can be a real point in its favor if you’re vlogging or just want to be reassured that the battery is going to last. 

Plus, the Akaso EK7000 can be remote-controlled. The remote itself is about the dimensions of a man’s watch and macro shots with you in them have never been so easy. It provides you with the opportunity of shifting between video (which is its standard-setting) to camera to burst photos (12 MP shots at the speed of 30 frames per second) to time-lapse (customizable from 0.5 to 60 seconds). The remote isn’t waterproof, but it’s useful and versatile. 

In comparison to the previous camera, the Fujifilm Quick Snap, the Akaso EK7000 offers you the option to take it up to 100 feet underwater. That means that it could be your next step in underwater photography or it could simply ease your mind that nothing is going to happen to it. The camera also has big buttons and can be easily maneuvered when it’s slippery or if you’re wearing gloves. 

The Akaso EK7000 also comes with a lot of accessories. A durable, waterproof case, for example. The remote is another one of them, and it has a companion that allows you to attach it securely to your wrist and have access to it while leaving your hands free. There are many ways of anchoring the Akaso EK7000 to things, like mounts and tethers, and it’s a great way to get used to different accessories and see if you like them or not. 

Cons:  The video quality in fine in daylight, but it isn’t suited for night. While in direct light the image quality seems more vivid than usual, night shots aren’t as good. As with the Fujifilm Quick Snap, the Akaso EK7000 might present problems underwater. 

Another disadvantage of the image quality is the lack of image stabilization when it comes to filming in 4k Ultra HD. Other modes do a better job of it, especially the 1080p. And actually, the 4K Ultra HD is interpolated footage, so you might want to stick to 1080p. 

As to other odds and ends, memory cards deserve a note here. They must be chosen carefully. Micro SD cards, Class 10 are recommended, with a maxim of 64 GB.  The microphone isn’t powerful, and the standby battery life isn’t that great. 


The verdict


The Akaso EK7000 is a low budget action camera that can be perfectly acceptable on its own or can help you sort out if it’s the type of camera for you and, if it is, can ease you into figuring out your preferences for the future. 


Fujifilm Quick Snap is a 35 mm disposable camera at around $15, loaded with an 800-speed color film that can take up to 27 photos.  

Why is it special?

Good for trips and holidays. The camera is around $15, which is on the very low side of the scale as you’ll see the further down the list. It’s even sold in packs of two, four, or ten. This is a great camera to have alongside your phone because if you lose it, drop it down a cliff, or something else happens to it, it won’t be a big deal. Sure, you’ll be upset about the pictures, but the financial loss isn’t as significant as with other choices.  

Pros and cons


Pros: The retro feel of the photos is really nice. In a time when aesthetics matter, it’s like having a filter already built in the camera. The pictures come out in a nostalgic palette of colors—warm, and, at the same time, slightly desaturated—with the light muted.  You might even like the Fujifilm Quick Snap purely for the vintage-feeling photos.

It can also take a bit of rough handling. While not the hardiest from the list, far from it, the Fujifilm Quick Snap isn’t delicate either. It can take being brought up to 35 feet underwater and can serve as the very first step in underwater photography. Next to the price, it makes for a good deal. 

Cons:  The images are not very clear. It’s a bit grainy as is expected for an 800-speed film, with the worst part being that it can’t handle darkness with any sort of grace. If the environment leans toward a lack of direct light, the picture will come out darker than expected. That is a problem, especially once you’re underwater, where lighting becomes an issue. 

Another disadvantage the camera poses is the low number of photos you can take. To some, twenty-seven shots are plenty, to others the number may be too small, but in reality, it depends on what you use it for. The pictures do tend to go incredibly fast once you see something that you are interested in or you want to have any angle covered. 

And that brings up another point: developing the pictures. They can’t be developed at all drugstores, even if there are a lot of them that can, so you have to find one that handles the Fujifilm Quick Snap. Among the places that do develop them, though, there are ones that can have them ready for you in as fast as an hour. Still, something to keep in mind.


The verdict


The Fujifilm Quick Snap Waterproof is a disposable camera that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Yes, the photos might have quality issues, the vintage look of them is an acquired taste, and the capacity for pictures is limited. Some suggest not buying it, but there are a lot of people that have a different opinion. Why?  Because, when used within its parameters, it offers is a great opportunity of having a waterproof camera, with ensuing decent photos, on a low budget. 


Q: Can I DYI a case for my phone to make it waterproof?

A: You can. A simple Ziploc bag would do the job if you’re careful. It’s still a risk, though. 

Q: Is a camera housing necessary?

A: Sometimes. It depends on the specifications of your camera. However, even if it’s not, you might want to use one for your peace of mind. 

Q: Are there waterproof cases for your phone? 

A: Yes. The prices vary a lot so it’s a good idea to do a bit of research before buying. 


Q: What is the first thing that you change when you want to move from your automatic settings? 

A: The color balance is generally your best choice. You can start small, adjusting the brightness, and then go further. For example, you can establish a light grey color that you have in your environment due to poor lighting as white and the rest of the colors will follow. 


Q: Can you give me tips & tricks to make my photography better?

A: The first thing you can do is have fun and get creative with your perspective. Get under your subject or closer to it. Of course, pay attention to the legality and the ethics of what you are doing. You don’t want to damage something irreparably. 


Other than that, though, you could try following the big guidelines in photography. The rule of thirds is one of them. Imagine a 3x3 grid over the image; the subject should be where two lines meet. Then you have framing, where you get things from your environment to create a frame around your subject. Next is leading lines. This one is pretty clear; you want to have lines in the environment that direct the eyes straight to your subject. And the last is the famous golden spiral. It’s a set of proportions that existed first in nature and are generally considered especially beautiful. 


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1Sony  RX100 VII
Sony RX100 VII
2Olympus TG-6
Olympus TG-6
3Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra
Eken H9R Action Camera Ultra