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To compile a list of the best waterproof camera you can buy online we’ve looked at the specs of the top models from Kodak, Panasonic and more, focusing on submersible depth, video resolution, image quality and battery life. While the go-pro like mountable action camera design is often very convenient for scuba diving, skiing and hiking, or even for use with a selfie-stick, we’ve also included some more traditional waterproof camcorder style and waterproof point-and-shoot cameras for those who prefer a more involved, creative picture taking or filming process.
Our top pick, the best waterproof camera, is the GoPro Hero 7. It shoots 4K ultra HD video at 30 or 60 frames per second, is waterproof down to 10m even without a housing, and includes a unique “hyper smooth” video stabilization as well as two digital “virtual lens” modes that crop its normally 170-degree wide angle field of view and give you a “linear” view without the fish-eye effect common to most action cameras. This variance in shooting modes propels this camera to the top of our list. It is perfect for those looking for the best underwater camera.
The GoPro Hero 7 Black is the go-to action camera for adventurers and outdoor sports enthusiasts looking to record quality video from a platform that’s tiny and portable enough to be mounted anywhere and rugged enough to go along for the ride when dirt-biking, mountaineering, and surfing. Like past GoPro models and like our honorable mention, the Kodak Pixpro, this GoPro action camera is rated waterproof down to 10m or about 33 ft, making it great for pool parties, while divers may find a submersible housing is required for going deeper. This is the best camera on our list for a reason.
Stand out features on the Hero 7 Black waterproof camera include built-in live streaming via Facebook Live, intelligent photo mode for still capture and selfies, and the Go Pro “hyper smooth” electronic image stabilization, which promises “gimbal-like” footage without a gimbal. This model is at the top of our list for a reason. But if you’re able to spend a bit more, take a look at the GoPro Hero 8 or Hero 8 Black. This upgraded model will take the features you already love, but with a distinct bump in quality. If you’re looking for the best GoPro, this may be your pick.
This Kodak action camera is rated for 10m of diving and has the added benefit of IPX8 dust-proof and
2m shook-proof ratings as well as being freeze-proof down to -10C. With this durability it makes a great action camera for skiing and other winter sports. It also offers good still image quality, and with 14 MP, does so at a higher resolution than our top pick, the Go Pro hero 7. A major plus for excursions further from civilization is the fact that the Kodak Pixpro SP1 has a longer lasting battery than most action cameras, with a full charge typically lasting for 3 hours of video recording as opposed to the 1 hour to 1.5 hrs the GoPro Hero 7 provides. This could be compared to the Olympus Tough TG-6, which is similar to the Hero 7 in it’s resistance to the elements. It also boasts an additional 1.2/3 inch 12MP BSI CMOS sensor. If 4K video is important to you, consider the Tough. If you’re looking for another great Olympus product, take a look at Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R Zoom Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras.
The Pixpro SP1 Waterproof camera comes with built-in WiFi for sharing, a 1.5” screen for reviewing footage, and while the file format may confuse some phones, pairing and WiFi set up is easy with the included Pixpro app. Downsides to this rugged camera are that it only records 1080p video, so no 4K ultra HD, and its atypical shape means that it doesn’t work with all “universal” action camera mounting hardware.
At around half the price of the GoPro Hero 7 Black, the AKASO V50 Elite nonetheless comes with many of the same features and offers higher still resolution (20MP vs 12MP) than the GoPro or our #2 pick, the Kodak Pixpro S1 (14MP.) The V50 Elite waterproof camera also features a clear, bright 2” rear screen for composing, and it ships with more accessories, too. You get helmet and handlebar mounts, tethers, the waterproof housing and two 1050mAh batteries good for 1-2+ hours of recording.
The extra battery is a plus, since the battery life is one of the V50 Elite’s drawbacks. Your mileage may vary but a full charge lasts anywhere from 30 minutes when shooting full 4K to 90 minutes in 1080p mode. If you just need a great digital camera for your next photoshoot, try out the Fujifilm FinePix.
The AKASO V50 Pro is similar to the V50 Elite, our #3 pick, in that both offer high end features for less than half the price of a Go Pro Hero 7 Black; they share 20MP still resolution, adjustable viewing angles, and a clear, 2” rear screen for easy composing. They also both include a variety of mounts and hardware pieces, including tethers for diving and surfing. Still, both these cameras are great for taking action footage of activities like snorkeling or canoeing or snowboarding.
The V50 pro is rated to work in temperatures ranging down to -5C, so it’s technically snow friendly but not as “freeze proof” as our #3 pick, the Kodak Pixpro S1. The AKASO V50 Pro, however, once you assemble the included case, is rated for 30 m of diving depth, compared to only 10m for the Go Pro and the Kodak. Lastly, it doesn’t record in 60 fps much like our #3 pick. For the best underwater 4k Ultra video, compare this model to the Nikon Coolpix W300. While the Nikon Coolpix is on the pricier side (at upwards of $200 more than the AKASO), this cameras capability for high def underwater video and 5x optical zoom may make the price spike worth it. If you’re looking to upgrade your Nikon Lens, you might also want to look at the Nikon Nikkor 55mm F/1.2 F Mount 35 mm camera lens too. If the Coolpix is out of your price range, you’ll still be getting a great camera with the AKASO.
An affordable, easy-to-use point and shoot, this Panasonic Lumix waterproof digital camera doesn’t compete directly with the action cameras like the Go Pro Hero 7 (our top pick) which are designed to be mounted somewhere or placed on a selfie stick and record basically continuous video, but is designed more for still photos and occasional video clips. To that end, it lacks the ultra wide angle lens found on the AKASO V50 and Go Pro, but this means it also doesn’t produce the fisheye distortion you see in those cameras. This camera will be easy to use on your next family vacation.
The Panasonic Lumix also features a built-in light for low light photos, and a larger screen than any action camera, making it easier to compose shots. Another plus, the Panasonic is the only camera on our list to feature 220MB of built-in memory, so if your card runs out you can still take about 34 more photos. If you want your photo quality to stay great on land too, consider the Nikon F2 for your next shoot.
The least expensive of the AKASO 20MP action cameras on our list, this versatile waterproof camera is good for dives down to 100 feet when using the included waterproof case. It. Also comes with 19 accessories, most of which are cross compatible with other Go-Pro sized action cameras. Like the Go Pro Hero 7, our top pick, it offers different field-of-view options, ranging from 70 degrees to full-wide angle 170 degrees. These features will have you getting quality photo and video in no time.
The AKASO brave also has a clear and bright 2-inch rear screen, though it’s not a touch screen as on the AKASO Elite, our #3 pick. It does, however, include a built-in smart gyroscope for image stabilization, helping you get smooth, crisp video. Plus there is WiFi which connects to your smartphone up to 10m away.
#7 Campark X20 – Best Budget
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This Campark action camera delivers crisp 4K video and takes 20MP stills that rival the quality of more costly waterproof cameras like the AKASO Elite and Kodak Pixpro S1. It even has a touch screen, which you can use to select functions like zoom, up to 4x, or viewing angle. Like the Go Pro Hero 7 Black, our top pick, this action camera offers selectable field of view options. Go full wide at 170 degrees to make sure you don’t miss any of the action, or narrow down to 110 degrees to reduce fish-eye distortion. Plus, with quality this good, your white balance will never be off.
It’s waterproof down to 30m or about 98 feet with the included case, but as with the AKASO action cameras, the case is required in order for it to be waterproof. A bonus with this Campark camera is that it includes a 2.4Ghz remote control that’s water resistant (though not submersible), so if you want to set it up and trigger it remotely you don’t need to use your phone.
We looked for waterproof cameras that offered full submersion capability and were flexible enough to use for video or still shots. To that end, we selected models rated for at least 10m of depth. Some of the best waterproof cameras go as far as 40m, such as the AKASO V50 Elite, our #3 pick.
We also limited our search to cameras that provided at least 8 MP of resolution for still photos– this is big enough to print out vacation snaps on a postcard, for example. For video resolution, we looked for at least full HD 1080p, but many of the best waterproof cameras offer 4K video at 24 or 30 frames per second.
In addition to resolution and dive depth, we narrowed it down to those which provided at least an hour of battery life on a full charge while recording video.