Best Underwater Cameras in 2023

We’ve picked the best underwater cameras for lounging on the beach and the best underwater cameras for swimmers.

The best underwater or waterproof cameras allow you to explore and photograph various new places. Take your shots underwater, capture frenetic whitewater rafting scenes, or shoot in the worst weather imaginable. The best waterproof cameras will handle it all, and the best part is that they tend to be relatively inexpensive.

Of course, there are tradeoffs. Many waterproof cameras are compact with relatively small sensors, so their image capture capabilities will be limited compared to the best mirrorless cameras.

You won’t get the same dynamic range or depth of manual concern. However, the weather resistance of waterproof cameras often extends to being shockproof, freezeproof, and crushproof so that they can handle much more than more sophisticated cameras.

However, a few variations between cameras can be called “water resistant cameras.” Choosing the right one means thinking about what you want to do with it: if you wish to take photos, videos, or both, for example.

Do you need a zoom lens or a fast burst speed? How deep underwater do you want to take the camera? And then, of course, the eternal question: how much are you willing to spend?

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At a Glance

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The Best Underwater Cameras in 2023

So, with the above in mind, let’s define our terms! When we talk about waterproof cameras, we can refer to several different types of cameras. We’ve divided our guide into sections accordingly, so here are some quick explanations of the categories.

Waterproof compact cameras look much like ordinary compact cameras: a self-contained camera with a fixed lens on the front. Many of them have a zoom lens, which gives them an advantage over action cameras (see below), which tend to have lenses with a single fixed focal length.

One thing that sets most waterproof compacts apart is that they tend to come in bright colors, unlike conventional cameras’ black, silvers, and greys. This makes them easier to see if you drop them in the water.

Action Cameras

Like GoPros, they are much smaller than waterproof compacts. Therefore, they are easier to mount or wear on a harness or helmet, making them ideal for water sports. Its video specs also tend to be better, with competitive higher 4K resolutions and frame rates. The aforementioned fixed lens means you’re stuck with a limited perspective (which is why videos taken with GoPro tend to have that same fishbowl look).

You don’t have to limit yourself to digital!

There are also some handy underwater disposable film cameras, which work like the disposable cameras you used to take on vacation. The crucial difference is that they can be taken underwater.

If you know what you want, you can click on the headings on the left to go directly to the section of your choice. Or you can just scroll as we count down the best underwater cameras you can buy right now!

Our Recommendations For Best Underwater Compact Cameras

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BEST UNDERWATER CAMERAS OF 2023: COMPACT CAMERAS


1. Olympus Tough TG-6

Best Cropped Sensor Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 12MP
  • Lens: 25-100mm (Equiv.) F/2.0-4.9
  • LCD: 3-inch, 1,040,000-dot
  • Water-resistant: 15m /50ft Dust-
  • proof Shock: 2.1m /
  • 7ft Freezeproof: -10ºC / 14°F
  • Maximum Video Resolution: 4K
  • Available Colors: Red or Black

The Olympus TG series has an excellent reputation in the rugged camera market, not only for having enough specifications to handle harsh conditions but also for being equipped with impressive image and video technology.

The raw-shooting 4K-capable TG-6 is a relatively minor upgrade on the previous TG-5 but adds some nifty new features like improved LCD resolution and a unique underwater microscope mode for zooming in.

Producing 4K video at 30fps and offering the option to record Full HD video at 120fps for super slow motion, the TG-6 also has a generous 25-100mm optical zoom lens that lets you get ever closer to the action.

It has a thick grip that provides a secure hold on the camera, while the internal zoom mechanism means the lens never protrudes from the body, protecting it from bumps and knocks. Simple Yet Sophisticated, Advertisement.

Pros
  • 4K video recording
  • Wide optical zoom
Cons
  • Waterproofing ‘only’ 15 m
  • Newer and more expensive

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2. Nikon Coolpix W300

Easiest-to-Use Underwater Compact Camera

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Lens: 24-120mm (equiv.) F/2.8-4.9
  • LCD: 3-inch, 921,000 dots
  • Water resistant: 30m /100ft
  • Shockproof : 2.4m / 8ft Freeze Resistant: -10ºC / 14ºF
  • Maximum Video Resolution: 4K
  • Available Colors: Orange, Yellow, Black or Camo.

With 30m of waterproofing, it’s a great underwater camera for deeper divers.
If you are a deep-sea explorer, this is your selection of the best underwater digital cameras. The Nikon W300 is rated for depths of 30m, beating most underwater cameras, and comes with a barometer that provides valuable underwater data such as altitude and depth and an electronic compass. Bluetooth functionality is also on board, which pairs well with Nikon’s SnapBridge technology for speedy image transfer.

Video recorders will also welcome the addition of 4K video to the W300’s toolkit, and the generous 2.4m shockproof rating means it’s additionally protected against knocks and bumps.

While the lack of Raw support is a shame, if you’re happy to stick with JPEGs, you’ll find it an excellent all-rounder for daring underwater adventures.

Pros
  • Decent zoom range
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Four color options
Cons
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Do not shoot Raw

3. Ricoh WG-70

Best Value Compact Camera

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Lens: 28-140mm (equiv.) F/3.5-5.5
  • LCD: 3-inch, 230,000-dot
  • Water resistant: 14m/45ft
  • A Shockproof: 1.6m / 5.2ft Freezeproof: -10ºC / 14ºF
  • Maximum Video Resolution: Full HD
  • Available Colors: Orange or Black

One of the toughest available, with clever extra features and a price to match the Ricoh WG series, is the Swiss Army Knife of rugged cameras. Like its predecessors, the WG-70 has ring lights around its lens that function as both a flashlight and a macro light, allowing you to see what you’re doing underwater and keep your subjects illuminated. It has some nifty features that make it worth considering.

Microscope mode allows you to focus down to 1mm, and this mode has been enhanced to offer higher resolution on the WG-70 than on the previous WG-60. In addition, the Handheld Night Snap quickly captures multiple images of a low-light scene and combines them to create a blur-free composite image. All this is housed in a body with serious protections, capable of remaining submerged in 14 m of water for up to 2 hours.

Pros
  • Decent zoom range
  • Useful built-in ring lights
Cons
  • No 4K video
  • Very similar to WG
  • 60Advertisement

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4. Panasonic Lumix TS30/FT30

Best High-End Compact Camera

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 16.1MP
  • Lens: 25-100mm (Equiv.) F/3.9-5.7
  • LCD: 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot
  • Water resistant: 8m/26ft
  • Tested Shock Resistance : 1.5m / 5ft
  • Freeze Resistant: -10ºC / 14ºF
  • Maximum Video Resolution: 720p (HD)
  • Available Colors: Blue, Black, Orange, or Red

Panasonic’s waterproof TS30 is ideal for stills first, then video.
The Panasonic Lumix TS30 (FT30 in other markets) isn’t the newest waterproof digital camera. It doesn’t offer the best specs in its class, but what it provides is commensurate with its very reasonable asking price.

It’s also slim enough to fit in a skinny jeans pocket or the like, though this comes at the cost of a secure grip; you may want to invest in a wrist strap to ensure the TS30 doesn’t slip out of your hands.

As long as you keep it, the TS30 is a solid and versatile waterproof camera that should be well suited to recording your aquatic adventures in still image form.

The lower video resolution of 720p means that if you’re a video buff, you’re probably better off with one of the other waterproof digital cameras on this list.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Smart design
  • Four color options
Cons
  • Showing its age with many specifications.
  • Lens has a relatively narrow maximum aperture

5. Fujifilm XP140

Best Compact Camera for Macro Underwater Photography

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Lens: 28-140mm (equiv) f/3.9-4.9
  • LCD: 3-inch, 920,000-dot
  • Waterproof: 20m /65ft
  • Shockproof : 1 .75m / 5.8ft Freeze Resistant: -10ºC / 14ºF
  • Maximum Video Resolution: 4K
  • Available Colors: Yellow, White, Gray, Blue, or Green

The Fujifilm FinePix XP140’s fun and kid-friendly design make it a solid choice for family vacations, but that doesn’t mean it skimps imaging technology.

While it’s not going to challenge something like the Olympus Tough TG-6, it’s a capable little camera in its own right, capable of shooting 4K video (albeit at a disappointing 15p) and equipped with an impressive 5x optical zoom lens with an equivalent focal length. 28-140mm range. All of this comes at an amicable price of under £200.

A new scene recognition mode helps the XP140 assess what you’re shooting (which partly makes up for the lack of manual controls), and the rules are well laid out and easy to use, even in murky underwater conditions. For the price, this is an excellent buy.

Pros
  • Healthy level of protection
  • 920,000 dot LCD screen
Cons
  • 4K 15p video only
  • No manual control

6. SeaLife Micro 3.0

Best Cropped Sensor Mirrorless Camera

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Lens: 100-degree FoV, 19mm equivalent, f/2.8 LCD: 2.4-inch, 260,000 dots
  • Water resistant: 60m /
  • 200ft Shockproof: N/A
  • Freezeproof: N/A
  • Maximum Video Resolution: 4K 30fps
  • Available Colors: Red

Professional dive camera with lighting options.SeaLife cameras are the most severe underwater option, without buying separate underwater housings and optical ports for a mirrorless or DSLR camera.

The ability to be taken to depths of 200ft/60m is profoundly (!) impressive. Still, it’s also photographically capable, thanks to a 16MP Sony-derived sensor and the ability to record RAW files.

The chamber is permanently sealed to protect it from potential leaks and weighs just 329g.

You can buy the camera yourself, but if you’re using this for deep diving (and that’s the point of a camera like this), take a look at the various kits that include one or two of SeaLife’s mighty Sea Dragons. ‘ Led lights. These can put out at least 3000 lumens to illuminate the dark underwater depths while also acting as chunky, ergonomic carrying handles.

Pros
  • Water resistant to 60m
  • Large buttons
  • Available with or without illumination
Cons
  • Small image sensor
  • Small low resolution screen
  • No zoom

ACTION CAMERAS

7. GoPro Hero10 Black

Best Action Camera

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SPECS

  • Weight: 153g
  • Waterproof: 10m
  • 5K Video: Up to 60fps
  • 4K Video: Up to 120fps 1080P: Up to 240fps
  • Still Image Resolution: 23MP Battery
  • Life: Estimated 1-32 hours

It may look nearly identical to the Hero9 Black in almost every way, but the Hero10 Black is nonetheless a significant upgrade. It’s all due to the use of the new GP2 processor, which drives a fast user interface, doubles frame rates, and powers the best image stabilization technology.

The highlight is 5.3K video at 60 frames per second, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of GoPro’s new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization, in all modes, along with 23MP photos and better low-light performance.

Throw in a nifty cable for super-fast camera-to-app media transfer and auto upload of videos and pictures to the cloud while recharging, and the Hero10 Black was worth the wait.

Pros
  • Faster user interface
  • Higher frame rate
  • Hydrophobic lens coating
Cons
  • Incremental improvement on Hero9 Black
  • Larger than Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black
  • Not compatible with older batteries.

8. DJI Osmo Action

Best Camera For Underwater Video

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 12MP
  • Lens: 145° field of view, f/2.8
  • LCD: Front; 2.2-inch rear LCD
  • Waterproof: 11m / 36ft
  • Shockproof: up to 1.5m / 5ft
  • Freezeproof: -10ºC / 14ºF Max Video
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Color Options: Gray

The DJI Osmo Action’s feature set and price make it pretty evident from the start that it’s an attempt to undermine the best GoPro cameras. Is successful? Like all things, it is complicated. The front screen is a godsend, stabilization is as silky smooth as the HERO’s, and its wallet-friendly price is nothing to sneeze at.

That doesn’t mean it’s perfect; there are some lag issues at high resolutions, the app can be unreliable, and the HERO video is a bit flatter, which counts in the pro realm regarding rating. However, the Osmo Action is a fantastic option for an affordable alternative to a GoPro camera. Advertisement.

Pros
  • Fantastic image stabilization
  • Useful front display
Cons
  • App can be moody
  • Some lag in max resolution

9. GoPro HERO9 Black

Best Affordable Action Camera

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SPECS

  • Weight: 158g
  • Water Resistant: 10m
  • 5K Video: Up to 30fps 1080: Up to 240fps
  • Still Image Resolution: 23.6MP
  • Battery Life: 1-1.5 hours continuous shooting (estimated)
  • Color Options: black

Facing fiercer competition from the likes of DJI (above), GoPro needed to dig something out of the bag for its ninth Hero camera. He included a front LCD screen, like rival DJI in its Osmo Action.

This is very useful for vlogging. GoPro upped the ante elsewhere, too, upping the video resolution to 5K, improving stabilization, and adding the ability to extract stills from 14.7MP video, ensuring you never miss a moment.

This technology makes the HERO9 Black a bit heavier than previous cameras for real, but not by much. Although it was expensive at launch, the HERO9 Black has been replaced by the HERO10 Black, and discounts can be had on what is still one of the best waterproof action cameras.

Pros
  • Handy front display
  • Excellent stabilization
  • Great app synergy
Cons
  • Heavier than some previous GoPros
  • Some touchscreen lag

10. GoPro HERO8 Black

Best Budget Action Camera

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SPECS

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch
  • Megapixels: 10MP
  • Lens: 14-28mm (Equiv.) F/2.8
  • LCD: 2-inch touchscreen
  • Water-resistant: 10m/33ft
  • Shockproof: Not Rated
  • Freezeproof: Not Rated
  • Maximum Video Resolution: 4K Weight: 126g
  • Waterproof: 10m 4K Video: Up to 60fps 1080: Up to 240fps 720: Up to 240fps
  • Still Image Resolution: 12MP
  • Battery Life: 1-3 hours Estimated
  • Color Options: Black

Now two generations old, the HERO8 Black is a steal!
GoPro’s flagship model from 2019 brought some brilliant features and is still a great buy.

A critical introduction was foldout feet, which provide a built-in camera mount and the ability to customize the Hero8 Black with extras called ‘Mods.’ We particularly like the Display Mod because it adds a second monitor, which is perfect for bloggers.

There are also plenty of other Mods, including a Media Mod to enhance your videos’ production value and an LED Light Mod. These added capabilities, and the fact that it’s already waterproof to 10m without a case, make the Hero8 Black an excellent underwater action camera.

Pros
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Excellent 4K video
  • Wide range of frame rate options
Cons
  • Smaller rear window
  • No front screenAdvertisement

DISPOSABLE UNDERWATER CAMERAS


11. Fujifilm Quicksnap Marine

Best Disposable Underwater Camera

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SPECS

  • Type: Single-Use
  • Film Format: 35mm
  • Exposures: 24Lens: 32mm f/10
  • Viewfinder: Direct View
  • Modes: Auto
  • User Level: Beginner

This disposable film camera is perfect for families at the beach.
This is a waterproof camera at a throwaway price! Yes, it costs a few quid more than your usual disposable camera, but you’re getting a waterproof camera, for God’s sake! Fujifilm says its plastic case is waterproof to a depth of 10m, so you’re likely to run into trouble long before the camera does.

The Fujifilm Quicksnap Marine comes loaded with 24 exposures of Fujifilm ISO 800 Superia color negative film that you should be able to develop at any conventional chemist or online photo lab.

The control is limited in the sense that there is not. Exposure is fixed at 1/125sec at f/10, so you’ll need good outside light to get decent results, but that’s true of any single-use camera. While the Quicksnap Marine is still widely available in the US,

Pros
  • Waterproof and disposable
  • Easy enough for anyone
Cons
  • Uncertain results
  • Hard to find in the UK

12. Kodak Sports Underwater Camera

Best Kodak Underwater Camera

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SPECS

  • Type: Single-Use
  • Film Format: 35mm Film
  • Type: Color
  • ISO Speed: ISO800
  • Number of Exposures: 27
  • Lens: Not Specified
  • Viewfinder: Live View
  • Modes: Auto

Go deeper than most waterproof cameras with this ‘hands-free’ contender
An alternative to the Fujifilm Quicksnap Marine, which also gives you a fully waterproof camera that you can take diving.

This one is good down to depths of 50ft (15m), which would even make it attractive to the diver. It comes preloaded with ISO800 Kodak Color Printing Film, which you’ll obviously have to wait (and pay for) before seeing your images.

Pros
  • Waterproofed to 15m / 50ft
  • Wrist strap provided for ‘hands free’ carry
Cons
  • No built-in flash

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Mark Wilson
By Mark Wilson

Mark is CamerasFob Editor and is responsible for all of the site's photographic coverage, from the latest mirrorless cameras to drones and digital photo frames. Naturally, he also writes explainers on the latest camera phone tech and is attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person.

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