Compare Waterproof Digital Cameras

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Updated July 27, 2022

If you are shopping around for a durable gadget for outdoor excursions, you may begin to compare waterproof digital cameras. Many of the best digital cameras, after all, feature some form of water resistance. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of waterproof cameras and their image quality.


  • Many cameras are highly water-resistant or even fully waterproof, depending on their water resistance ratings.
  • Action cameras, otherwise known as travel cameras, tend to be water-resistant and able to withstand rainstorms.
  • Underwater cameras, on the other hand, are fully waterproof and intended for taking shots and recording video while fully submerged.

What is a Waterproof Digital Camera?

As the name suggests, a waterproof digital camera is a model that has been purpose-built to withstand the elements. Very few waterproof cameras are actually waterproof, rather they feature a higher-than-average water-resistance rating. This means you can drop them in a puddle for a few moments or expose them to a rainstorm for a minute or two without accruing any damage. Though, there are some models that are fully waterproof to suit underwater photography.

Insider Tip

Check the camera’s water resistance rating before making a purchase to ensure it can handle whatever you throw at it.

Types of Waterproof Digital Cameras

There are many different types of waterproof cameras, several of which are described below.

Action Cameras

The most popular choice for amateur photographers will be the action camera, otherwise known as the travel camera. As a matter of fact, if you are comparing point-and-shoot digital cameras, you will no doubt encounter the action camera. Action cameras are a subset of compact cameras and offer a similar image quality with a smaller image sensor than mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras, or medium format cameras. For a comparison of these types of cameras, check out our mashup of the Olympus TG 870 16MP waterproof digital camera vs Fuji waterproof.

Still, they are ultra-rugged and can survive inclement weather conditions, as the lens is shielded in a protective casing. Action cameras are not typically fully waterproof but can withstand exposure to water to varying degrees. Check the water-resistance rating before making a purchase. These action cameras do not usually include optical zoom. And, these types of digital cameras may have a translucent mirror on them. Check before you buy.

Underwater Cameras

These cameras are specifically designed for taking photos and recording HD video at 30fps while underwater. As such, they are fully waterproof, often featuring rubberized exteriors and lenses shielded in protective casings. Fine underwater cameras typically feature large image sensors to account for the low amount of light found underneath the sea. Before purchasing an underwater camera, check how deep it can go before accruing physical damage or becoming waterlogged. You may also want to check on wireless capabilities, especially if you are comparing Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi digital cameras.

Premium Compact Cameras

Certain advanced compact camera models will feature high water resistance or even a fully waterproof exterior. Check the specs and make your purchase accordingly.


What are the best waterproof cameras?

The best waterproof cameras feature large image sensors, a good dynamic range, and underwater housing.

What is the best camera to buy for a beginner photographer?

A solid choice would be an action camera, as these are nearly waterproof rugged cameras while offering features suited for amateurs. Mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras may make excellent choices, though they can be tough cameras to control.

What to consider when buying an underwater camera?

Image quality should be a primary concern, as should the option for manual controls. You may want to look for a decent dynamic range and a front-facing screen.

STAT: “In 2014, worldwide action camera sales increased by 44 percent from the previous year and half of them have the capability to shoot Ultra High Definition at 4K resolution.” (source)

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