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Waterproof Camera Review : Olympus to Nikon

If ever before underwater photography enthusiasts had a limited choice of buying expensive professional equipment, now there is an alternative – budget waterproof camera. These cameras, due to the increased degree of protection, allow you to shoot under water without any additional equipment.

Waterproof cameras differ from conventional compact cameras in following ways: they have a comfortable ergonomic shape, camera does not slip out even in emergency situations due to rubber-coating, and has large control buttons.

waterproof camera 2015

When creating a control system for waterproof cameras manufacturers tend to abandon the usual levers and drives instead only rubber buttons with waterproof seals are used. Also always reliably protected with a durable lens glass, which allows shooting without worrying about it getting damaged.

Let’s look at the best waterproof cameras in more detail:

1. Olympus Tough TG-2 iHS

Olympus Tough TG-2 iHSTechnical features:

  • Matrix size: 1 / 2.3 “
  • Resolution: 12 megapixels
  • Screen size: 3 “
  • Zoom: 4x optical
  • Video resolution: up to 1920 × 1080
  • GPS
  • Weight: 230 g

Undoubtedly Olympus Tough is the best waterproof camera in 2015 – you can dive with it up to 15 m depth, it can withstand a fall from a height of 2.1 m, a pressure of 1,5 MPa and temperatures of up to -10 degrees.


But the actual tests showed that it is a much tougher product, after falling from three-meter height it continued to operate without any problems. Actually it’s so well protected that you can keep TG-2 in the freezer.

2. Panasonic Lumix FT5

Panasonic Lumix FT5Technical features:

  • Matrix size: 1/2,33 “
  • Resolution: 16,1 megapixels
  • Screen size: 3 “
  • Zoom: 4,6 x optical
  • Video resolution: up to 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 188 g

DMC-FT5 allows you to dive up to 13 m depth; it withstands pressure of up to 100 kg and a temperature of -10 degrees. Its 4.6-x zoom covers focal lengths of 28-128 mm (film equivalent). Another feature of the waterproof Lumix is anti-fog coated optics, helping you to capture fog or steam.

3. Pentax WG-3

Pentax WG-3Technical features:

  • Matrix size: 1/2,3 “
  • Resolution: 16 megapixels
  • Screen size: 3 “
  • Zoom: 4 x optical
  • Video resolution: up to 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 239 g

WG-3 can withstand immersion to a depth of 14 meters, can stay underwater for up to two hours (which corresponds to the IPX8 standard or JIS Class 8), can withstand a fall from a height of 2 meters – as approved and tested according to MIL 810Fm standard.

4. Canon PowerShot D20

Canon PowerShot D20Technical features:

  • Matrix size: 1/2,3 “
  • Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
  • Screen size: 3 “
  • Zoom: 5 x optical
  • Video resolution: up to 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 228 g

D20 can survive a fall from 1.5 meters, dive to a depth of 10 meters (in special cases even up to 40 m), operates in temperature conditions from -10 to + 40 degrees and has a full anti-dust protection. PowerShot D20 is beyond praise, turns on almost instantly, which is a very important and useful feature for any waterproof sports camera.

5. Nikon Coolpix AW110

Nikon Coolpix AW110Technical features:

  • Matrix size: 1/2,3 “
  • Resolution: 16 megapixels
  • Screen size: 3 “
  • Zoom: 5 x optical
  • Video resolution: up to 1920 × 1080 at 30 fps
  • WiFI/GPS
  • Weight: 193 g

AW110 can be submerged up to 18 meters – a record-holder in the niche. It has a simple set of controls and a clear menu.

In extreme conditions, when shooting with your gloves on pressing small buttons is uncomfortable, but active control system of Coolpix AW110 helps navigating through the menu simply by shaking the camera, and selecting items by pressing a single large button, which is really convenient.

Despite the high degree of protection, waterproof camera requires careful maintenance, especially when used in sea water. After each dive, camera should be rinsed with fresh water. The scope of some models includes special brushes to clean the dirt off.

Also, be aware that camera’s proper functioning underwater is guaranteed only for a certain time – usually no more than 1 hour.

5 Best Waterproof Cameras 2016 for Underwater Photography

Anyone who has ever been interested in underwater photography knows that taking photographs under water can produce some of the most breathtaking results. It is almost impossible to dive with your camera wishing to make just some regular photos to show your friends, especially since what you see at the bottom of the sea is remarkable in itself.

waterproof camera

So we will try to give you some suggestions on how to choose the best photo equipment to follow you under water and find the best waterproof camera that will be able to capture images that will come close to how you experienced those moments.

The Features That Make The Difference

When it comes to best waterproof cameras, aside from the image quality, which is naturally the number one concern with any camera, what should be one of its main aspects are waterproof depth and how much it can stand in terms of being shockproof and freeze-proof.

Now, depending on your knowledge in photography and what you want to achieve, you should take into consideration the freedom the manual control of the camera gives you.

best waterproof camera

You can go with auto-mode of course, but if you really want to create impressive and extraordinary images, auto-mode will simply not do and certain manual options such as ISO settings, white balance, focal length and shutter speed, are absolutely essential.


Finally, there is one non-technical issue and that is the issue of weight, which is only logical considering the whole dive equipment that you are already carrying.

The Waterproof Camera Winners of 2016

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1This one might be on the pricier side, but this is the first underwater camera with interchangeable lenses.

It can stand the depth of 49 ft, the fall from 6.6 feet and a temperature of 14 degrees F. It creates 14.2 MP images and it is rather fast (15 fps with full auto-focus and up to 60 fps fixed focus) with full manual options.

With interchangeable lenses, this camera is meant for those enthusiasts who really want to have advanced equipment and who have photography skills to make best use of it.

Olympus TG3 Tough

Olympus TG3 ToughThis camera is great value for money, being waterproof at the depth of 50 ft, highly shockproof to the limit of 7.2 ft and coldproof at 14 degrees F.

It creates images with 16 MP, but its biggest advantage is its ultra wide lens (f/2) that enables great light gathering and a macro mode that is perfect for capturing up close the incredible underwater life.

Another distinguished feature is its super-quick auto-focus and that it has a fish eye converter for amazing wide angle photos.

Nikon Coolpix AW120

This Nikon has the same resolution as Olympus above of 16 MP, but widest lens width is set to 2.8 which is not as great as Olympus, but it is still advantageous when it comes to shooting in low light.

Other than this, this Nikon has great depth abilities, with limit set to 59 ft, it is resistant to cold as low as 14 degrees F and fall from 6.5 ft. Its extra features include mapping and electronic compass.

Ricoh WG4 GPS

Ricoh WG4 GPSThis camera scores a lot of points on its design, toughness and durability, but its features also provide for good quality photos and reliability.

It has a resolution of 16.79 MP and it is shockproof up to 6.5 ft and cold-resistant to 14 degrees F.

It also has a manual focus, which is great asset, but no WiFi option. However, one of its main selling points is its crushing force of 220 LbF, so if you have concerns of this kind, this is the one to go with in 2016.

Canon Powershot D30

Main advantage of this camera is its incredible depth protection of 82 ft, making it the most submergable camera on the market. It is also cold resistant to 14 degrees F and it can stand a fall from 6.5 ft.

However, some aspects such as resolution of 12.1 MP and minimum aperture of 3.9 may be its weak points, but it is one of the more affordable cameras on this list and if you want to dive deeper to get great shots, this is the one for you.