This best underwater cameras 2019 selection helps you to find a professional waterproof camera for snorkeling and diving. See the comparison of the most recommended models from top manufacturers and read useful how-to-choose tips!
- 1 What are the best underwater cameras in 2019?
- 1.1 Olympus TG-5 – The winner
- 1.2 Nikon Coolpix W300 – Your all-rounder buddy
- 1.3 FujiFilm FINEPIX XP130 – Ready for adventure
- 1.4 RICOH WG-50 – All-weather solutions
- 2 How to choose underwater camera?
What are the best underwater cameras in 2019?
This best underwater cameras selection presents professional compact models that deliver high-quality footage and advanced waterproof features without an additional case. Our underwater camera picks are based on our own experience, friend’s feedbacks and customer reviews. We hope our tips will help you with your purchase, and you will find the best match for snorkeling and diving adventures.
Best underwater cameras 2019 comparison table
Related: Read our snorkeling photography tips on how to improve your underwater photos!
Olympus TG-5 – The winner
Rugged. Durable. Tough. And smart too – this is Olympus TG-5. No doubt, the TG series is worthily very popular by Olympus since ages. Olympus TG-5 is one of the best underwater cameras that is used and recommended by professional 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 like 12MP Hi-SpeedSensor to 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.
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)
- Crushproof to 220 lbf (100 kgf)
- Shockproof from 7 feet (2 m)
- Freezeproof to 14 F (-10 C)
- 3 inch LCD
- Anti-Fog lens
- top-rated professional underwater camera
- waterproof up to 50ft (15m) without an additional case
- 12 MP image sensor with advanced low-light functions
- 4K UHD video quality
- microscope function for super macros
Nikon Coolpix W300 – Your all-rounder buddy
Be part of the action with Nikon Coolpix W300 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! Nikon 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. Moreover, it is dust- and sandproof!
16 MP low-light sensor and fast f/2.8 NIKKOR lens for clear, sharp photos. Zoom out with the 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 main 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
- Nikon best waterproof compact camera
- waterproof up to 100ft (30m) perfect for diving too
- 16MP low-light sensor, 4K UHD videos
- Vibration reduction for sharp images
- advanced outdoor use functions like GPS & eCompass
Tip: if you like Nikon products but find the W300 a bit pricey, find here a detailed description about Nikon Coolpix W100 waterproof camera!
FujiFilm FINEPIX XP130 – Ready for adventure
The FujiFilm FINEPIX XP130 is the latest model in the XP series rugged camera category. Fuji introduced XP130 in Jan 2018 that replaced Fuji XP120. On the top of four rugged features, FINEPIX XP130 comes with new functions including Bluetooth, geo-tagging, double exposure and many more. A great choice among the best underwater cameras 2019 in the lower price range. The 16.4 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor provides great quality even underwater, or low light conditions. Optical image stabilization system controls camera shake. The 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 FINEPIX XP130 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)
- 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
- rugged camera from FinePix series
- waterproof up to 65ft (20m)
- 16.4MP photos, Full HD videos
- easy data transfer through Bluetooth, geotagging available
- advanced underwater modes with macro function
RICOH WG-50 – All-weather solutions
The RICOH WG series represents in the best underwater cameras 2018 category with tough models. RICOH 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. The 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 specification
- 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
- tough camera designed for outdoor use
- 16MP photo and HD video quality
- advanced image processing
- anti-shake protection to avoid blurry images
- intelligent zoom up to 36x
How to choose underwater camera?
To find the best underwater cameras for snorkeling or diving, we recommend answering a few questions to specify your needs:
- How often will you use your underwater camera
- What image/video quality do you expect
- How deep you will take it (do you go diving or only snorkeling)
- What extra options do you need (GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi etc…)
Generally, we suggest spending a bit more on a good model from trusted camera manufacturers that offer long warranty and professional repair service background. But we understand that not everybody needs the most advanced cameras. Should you look for simpler models, check our best budget snorkeling cameras post or find here the cheap waterproof cameras for kids and occasional snorkelers.
Our best advice is that don’t buy underwater camera just a few days prior to your snorkeling holiday! Although the best underwater cameras 2019 are all user-friendly and feature easy operation 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 underwater camera maintenance guide!