Best underwater cameras 2018 – Compact category

Buying a good waterproof camera is a key factor in documenting your snorkeling adventures. We want to make your decision easier with our underwater camera tips. Find with us the best underwater cameras 2018 for snorkeling and never miss a moment under the sea!

How to choose underwater camera?

Selection became wide and now countless manufacturers offering snorkeling cameras. We want you to find the best available options that fit your budget and meet your needs!

Therefore we split the recommended UW cameras into 3 categories:
Best budget underwater cameras – for occasional snorkeling
Snorkeling cameras – best value for money cameras
Best underwater cameras 2018 – Compact category

You find great deals in each category. Consider your needs before purchase:

  1. How often will you use it?
  2. What image/video quality you expect?
  3. How deep you will go (do you dive too or only snorkel?)
  4. What extra options do you want (like GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi etc…)?

Generally, it is worth to spend a bit more on a good model from trusted manufacturer with long warranty period. Don’t buy camera just few days prior your snorkeling holiday! Although the best underwater cameras 2018 are all user-friendly and easy to use thanks to pre-set modes, always take your time to learn how to use it, study the settings and instructions. To preserve the waterproof feature for the longest time possible, read our guide on how to clean your underwater camera!

Best underwater cameras 2018 for snorkeling – Our picks

Selecting the best underwater cameras 2018 and make decision is a long process. But we are here to help you! We do the research, compare products to make the decision making faster for you. Our waterproof camera tips are based on our own experience, friend’s feedbacks and customer reviews. We hope our efforts will help you with your purchase, and your new snorkeling camera will be your reliable buddy for a long period.

Best underwater cameras 2018 – Compact category

Olympus Though TG-5 – The winner

Rugged. Durable. Tough. And smart too – this is Olympus Though TG-5. No doubt, the TG series is worthily very popular by Olympus since ages. Olympus TG-5 is one of the best underwater compact camera for snorkeling, used and recommended by underwater photographers too!

Advanced modes specially designed for underwater photography makes this model one of the best underwater cameras for snorkeling and diving. Shooting functions including Snapshot, Wide, and Macro, Underwater HDR.
Packed with pro shooting features: 12MP Hi-SpeedSensor: shoot bright, detail-rich video and blur-free pictures even of fast-moving subjects. Great for shooting at dusk, dawn, around campfire, capturing coral reefs in stunning clarity. Your photos will come out with little noise and increased dynamic range thanks to the image sensor and advanced dual quad-core TruePic VIII Processor.
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Supporting RAW shots up to a blazing 20 fps. Video recording in 4K (lifelike resolution). Full HD 120 fps high-speed video for slow-motion playback and 4K Time Lapse also available!
Built-in Action Track Sensors records your movement and environmental data. GPS, compass, a temperature sensor, manometer for altitude and water depth. Data Log for recording tracking data for extended time periods.
With the Built-in Wi-Fi and free Olympus app, you can photos/videos transfer to your smart device.
Microscope function lets you get as close as 1 cm to your subject. Nighttime Live Composite scene for amazing cityscapes and star trails shots. Custom modes let you instantly access favorite settings via Mode Dial.

Olympus TG-5 key features:

  • 12MP Hi-Speed Sensor for improved low light performance and noise reduction
  • F2.0 high-speed Lens
  • AUTO ISO: 100 ‐ 1600 with customizable upper limit from 100 to 12800 Manual ISO: 100 – 12800
  • 4x optical zoom
  • ultra HD 4K video
  • Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII Image Processor
  • Wi-Fi, GPS, Manometer, Compass, and temperature sensors
  • 20 fps Continuous Shooting in RAW
  • Waterproof to 50 feet (15 m)
  • Dustproof
  • Crushproof to 220 lbf (100 kgf)
  • Shockproof from 7 feet (2 m)
  • Freezeproof to 14 F (-10 C)
  • 3 inch LCD
  • Anti-Fog lens

Nikon Coolpix W300 – Your all-rounder buddy

Be part of the action with Nikon’s though waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof, dustproof camera. Take it snorkeling, surfing, skiing, SCUBA diving, biking, climbing. Useful and smart functions make Coolpix W300 one of the best underwater cameras 2018!
W300 is waterproof up to 100 ft (30m) Do you prefer winter adventures? No problem, it is freezeproof up to 14 F (-10 C). It can handle rough conditions, including drops from up to 7.9 ft (2.4 m) high. Dust- and sandproof!

16 MP low-light sensor and fast f/2.8 NIKKOR lens for clear, sharp photos. Zoom out with flexibility to get the whole scene into the frame or to in for a tight view with 5x optical zoom lens. Hybrid VR (Vibration Reduction) keeps your photos and videos steady.
4K Ultra HD or 1080p Full HD video recording with stereo sound. Short Movie Show creates 30 second clips with background music and effects. Time-lapse and Super lapse also available. You can even shoot stills while recording video. Extra-large grip and smart button placement make for stable one-handed shooting. While wearing heavy gloves, you can change modes simply by moving the camera. Quick access to GPS, eCompass and other tools with dedicated tool button.
With a compatible smartphone/tablet, you can transfer, review and share your photos, add text or take pictures remotely. Nikon SnapBridge app can automatically back-up your photos to Nikon Image Space as you shoot them.

Nikon Coolpix W300 key features:

  • 16-MP Backside Illuminated CMOS Sensor
  • 5x Optical Zoom NIKKOR Lens with Vibration Reduction
  • 4K Ultra HD or 1080p Full HD videos with stereo sound
  • 3.0-inch LCD has an anti-reflective coating
  • waterproof up to 100 ft (30 m)
  • freezeproof up to 14 F (-10 C)
  • shockproof from up to 7.9 ft (2.4 m) high
  • GPS, eCompass, altimeter, depth gauge
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Built-in Bright LED Light
  • 20 scene modes


FujiFilm FINEPIX XP130 – Ready for adventure

FINEPX XP130 is the latest model in the Fuji XP series rugged camera category. Fuji introduced XP130 in Jan 2018 and replaced Fuji XP120. On the top of four rugged features (waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof, dustproof) FINEPIX XP130 comes with new features including Bluetooth, geo-tagging, double exposure and many more. A great choice among the best underwater cameras 2018 in the lower price range.
16.4 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor provides great quality even underwater, or low light conditions. Optical image stabilization system controls camera shake.
Advanced Underwater Mode for perfect underwater photos. Fujifilm’s years of experience ensure that colors are reproduced exactly as they are seen by the human eye. “Underwater macro” mode to capture small details under the sea.
3 inch LCD screen with anti-reflective coating automatically adjusts brightness in response to the lighting conditions. Electronic Level function helps when capturing horizontal subjects such as a beautiful landscape or solid architecture.

FujiFilm XP130 key features:

  • 16.4 MP BSI CMOS Sensor
  • Fujinon 5x (28-140mm) wide-angle optical zoom plus Intelligent Digital Zoom
  • Full HD Movie (1080p / 60 fps) – high speed movie function also available
  • Burst Button
  • Waterproof to 65ft (20M)
  • Freezeproof to 14 F (-10 C)
  • Shockproof to 5.8ft (1.75M)
  • Dustproof
  • 3-inch 920K-dot LCD screen
  • Electronic Level & Eye Detection
  • Bluetooth capability for instant file transfer to smartphones and tablet devices
  • Geo-Tagging function with Auto adjustment to local time zone
  • Remote Camera Operation with FUJIFILM Camera Remote app
  • 11 special filters for photo effects, 7 for videos


RICOH WG-50 – All-weather adventures

RICOH represents itself in the best underwater cameras 2018 category with WG series which is known for tough design. WG-50 is a new waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and crushproof tough compact camera that can be used in all conditions.
Wide range of features facilitate all types of still-image shooting and movie recording. Sensor delivers with top sensitivity of ISO 6400, high resolution photos with 16.0 MP.
Advanced image processing functions for sharp, clear, high-resolution pictures. Hand-held Night Snap scene captures several images of the night scene from which produces a single, blur-free image. Underwater mode with white balance optimized making colors appear more natural by adding reds. In Underwater mode the Flash Off and Flash On option allows the user to capture two pictures with a single shutter release: one without flash and one with flash. White-balance optimization in Landscape shooting to reproduce colors.
5-times optical zoom lens with a focal-length coverage from 5mm to 25mm to accommodate a wide range of scenes and subjects. Macro function to capture dramatic close-ups from up to one centimeter. Intelligent Zoom function extends range to 36 times without compromising quality.
Advanced shake-reduction compensates camera shake. During movie recording, Movie Shake Reduction compensates the misalignment of images caused by camera shake for blur-free movie clips.
The brightness of the LCD can be increased by up to two steps to make dark areas of the display easier to see in sunlight, or lowered by up to two steps to reduce glare.

Ricoh WG-50 key features:

  • 16 MP Backlit CMOS sensor
  • 5X internal optical zoom lens (28-140mm equivalent)
  • 1080P HD at 30 fps
  • triple anti shake protection
  • 2.7 inch LCD screen
  • Auto Picture mode with 16 different scene options
  • Face Detection, Smile Capture
  • Pet detection
  • 12 digital filters
  • Waterproof to 46 feet (14 m)
  • Shockproof from drops up to 5 ft (1.5 m)
  • Freezeproof to 14 F (-10 C)
  • Digital microscope mode with 6 macro LEDs


Best waterproof cameras 2018 conclusion: it does not matter you want a cheap waterproof camera, budget underwater compact or you go for the models of the best underwater cameras 2018 category. Manufacturers adapt to customer’s needs and you will find the product that meets your needs and budget!

Anett Szaszi

Anett fell in love with the ocean immediately when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea back in 2010. Discovering megacities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. She has a big interest in exploring the world’s last hidden underwater paradises and marine conservation. She hopes to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

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