Waterproof Cameras: Taking Digital Photography into Deep Waters
Travel-friendly, durable and constantly pushing the envelope for innovation, waterproof cameras happen to be a brilliant addition to the niche of specialist digital cameras. Like most members of this exclusive club, waterproof cameras have a special application. Here, this happens to be being fully function even when underwater and performing brilliant even when wet. These high-end cameras are not meant for the casual clicker. However, they are a wise selection for marine photography enthusiasts and those into deepwater exploration.
An Ode to Incomparable Advancements & Summarizing the Best
If you are amongst those who usually plan snorkeling, if your idea of relaxation means deep-sea diving, if lounging along the beach is your idea of a weekend, then waterproof cameras make a lot of sense for you. Apart from being used in environments with water or where water-based activities are pursued, those where moist and cold conditions prevail, also call for using waterproof cameras. These cameras let you snap great photos in moisture-thick conditions and keep ticking no matter how tough the outdoors get, including handling abuse and shooting underwater. Leagues ahead than their humble point-and-shoot colleagues, waterproof cameras boast of advanced features that make them effective for such demanding applications. For instance, the strong casing to keep water and dirt out is leagues ahead in terms of non-corrosiveness, impenetrability, resistance to water seepage, and water-induced surface damage.
In our opinion, here are the Top 5 Waterproof Cameras for 2015:
Whether you ride or ski, bike or hike, snorkel or surf or love to shoot underwater or outdoor, the TG-4 is meant for you. Durability, Waterproof, Shockproof and Freeze proof nature are some of the USP of this highly versatile camera. Capturing shots everywhere, this rugged camera is specially designed for adrenaline junkies, who love to click fast action under extreme environments. It is waterproof to up to 50 ft or 15 m and crushproof up to 220 lbf 100 kgf. Built to outlast any impact, the Olympus TG 4 is shockproof up to 7 ft or 2.1m. Impressive weather-proofing translates into being freeze-proof up to 14°F (-10°C). This high-end camera boasts rugged inner and outer chassis construction along with brilliant features like:
• Nighttime Live Composite
• Super-bright F2.0 wide-angle zoom lens
• RAW capture
• Built-in Wi-Fi
• Multifunction eCompass GPS
More features at glance:
• iHS Technology
• TruePicVII Image Processor AUTO Internal Flash
• 1080P HD video
• Underwater modes with Underwater HDR
• 16 Megapixels 1/2.3 Inch CMOS with Primary color filter
• 7.6 cm / 3.0 inch LCD Display with protective panel
Buy the TG4 for its ease of connectivity, easy sharing and the capability to capture RAW images. The 15 m waterproof rating seems a bit low, but it is great for hobby, personal shooting.
Compact point-and-shoot with a 16MP, 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor built for adventures—these features define the Nikon Coolpix AW130 Waterproof Camera. Giving wings to your underwater creativity, the Nikon AW130 is a great proposition if you are into skiing, scuba diving, rafting, snorkeling, snowboarding, or fishing. We call it the perfect outdoorsy adventure camera. It has amazing shockproof and freeze-proofing abilities. The COOLPIX AW130 is waterproof down up to an amazing depth of 100 feet and resilient against freezing temperatures of up to 14°F. The touch chassis can withstand drops from as high as 7 feet. Well-designed for rough handling, this camera comes with:
• Near Field Communication technology
• 5x Optical Zoom
• Wide-angle (24 mm equivalent) NIKKOR glass lens
• 3.0" OLED screen
• Hybrid Vibration Reduction
• Built-in flash
• Wi-Fi® & GPS
More features at glance:
• Intelligent autofocus
• Skillful of taking up to 5 shots per second
• In-camera image editing capability
• Downloadable Nikon View NX2 Software
• Dustproof and cold resistant to -10°C
• Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for easy transfer to your smartphone
• Amazing image quality in low-lit conditions
• Built-in GPS mapping
• Comes with Electronic Compass and Points of Interest (POI)
This is perhaps the most compact and functional underwater camera we have come across in a humble price range. The Nikon Coolpix AW130 features NFC, Wi-Fi and GPS along with in-camera image editing capability. Overall, the handling is rather easy for a camera packed with so many features.
Pentax continues to impress us with its constant dedication to perfection, trying to better things even when they seem to work perfectly. It is among our favorite heavy-duty underwater shooting cameras. It performs flawlessly, even in waters that are 14-meters deep. Capturing underwater scenes or night scenes is easy with this quick performer. It is equally good at capturing fast moving subjects. The Pentax/Ricoh WG-5 GPS Camera offers exceptional image depiction along with enhanced shockproof performance even under life-threatening conditions—creating a benchmark in this segment. Whether you want to capture from macro photography of flowers or a wide-angle shooting of sweeping landscapes, this camera is a safe bet. The tough WG 5 is:
• Waterproof to 14 m
• Shockproof to 2.2 m
• Crush-proof to a pressure up to 100 kg
• Cold-proof down to –10°C
The Pentax/Ricoh WG-5 boasts of:
• Superior performing 4.0 x folded optical zoom lens
• maximum aperture 2.0
• backside illuminated 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor
• GPS function
• 25 mm wide-angle and large aperture F.2 (W)
More features to impress:
• Dual anti-shake protection for sharp, blur-free images
• Six Macro Lights for close-up shooting
• TFT color LCD
• Full HD 1920 (1920x1080) video recording
• GPS function
For us, the Pentax/Ricoh WG-5 is the true tough-guy in our summary of the best waterproof cameras available today. It can withstand any fall and offers blur-free pictures in such extreme conditions that is worthy of being called a military application camera. Also loaded with GPS and macro lights for close-up shots, this is the best underwater camera a civilian can purchase.
This is among the most versatile of our adventure, outdoor cameras. The multi-faceted camera delivers ultimate toughness. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT6 Compact is a prudent option for outdoor trips offs the beaten path or encountering water. This perfect companion turns memorizing moments in stunning photos and videos. This all-round camera is great for snorkeling, diving, camping, fishing, snowboarding, skiing to mountain climbing. Its Creative Control and Creative Retouch feature offers power to your imagination. Apart from amazing photo shot, this camera let you capture 1920 X 1080p Full HD video recording in MP4 and AVCHD progressive format free from finer nuances.
This resilient camera is:
• Waterproof to 13m/43 ft
• Shockproof to 2m/6.6 ft
• Freeze-proof to -10C/+14F
• Crushproof to 100 kgf/220 lbf
More features at glance:
• Shoot continuously at 10 fps
• 16.1MP CMOS sensor
• 4.6x lens
• GPS receiver
• Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
• 3.0 inch LCD Screen
• GPS Compass
• Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC technology
• Built-in-flash Quad Indicator
• GPS and GLONASS
• LEICA DC Lens with Folded Optics Technology
• POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer)
• Creative Panorama
• Time Lapse Shot
• Pressure Resistance Up to 100 kgf
Reasonable pricing and high-quality photography with great optic technology does not make this is the best selection for demanding photographers but overall, this is a great package. Unless, you need professional deepwater imagery, this camera excels on all accounts. Also, it is loaded with all the goodies (GPS Compass, Altimeter, Barometer) we have begun to expect in this category.
This is a globally bestselling option in the niche of shockproof digital cameras that survive admirably in freezing conditions. Tough and sporty, this is the best selection for the dedicated outdoorist.
We call the Canon PowerShot D30 a lifestyle camera—especially designed for folks who find themselves underwater, outdoors or in extreme environments for biking, hiking, climbing, scuba diving, or snorkeling. Whether you are on dry land or underwater, this worlds deepest waterproof compact camera lets you, capture amazing snaps with exceptional detail, depth and clarity. It best-in-class Smart AUTO automatically recognize 32 predefined shooting positions to ensure unparalleled quality in every click.
The PowerShot D30 camera is:
Waterproof down to 25 m
Shockproof to 6.5 feet
Temperature resistant to 14° C to 104°F
Impressive features include:
• 1/2.3 type back-illuminated CMOS
• 12.1 Megapixel HS System
• 28 mm
• 5x optical zoom with Intelligent IS
• Large 7.5 cm (3.0") PureColor II LCD with Sunlight LCD mode
• Lens shift-type image stabilization
• Movie Digest
• Super Slow Motion Movie
Some features at glance:
• Canon DIGIC 4 Image Processor
• ISO 100-3200
• 3" fixed LCD with 461,000 dots
• 1 cm macro mode
• 1.9 fps continuous shooting
• Offers Good color and exposure
Offering exceptional performance in the harshest of sub-zero degree applications, this camera is a true value-for-money proposition. It can capture detailed-oriented shots with less noise and has the credentials to outlast many of its contemporaries. A great investment if you happen to be an adventure junkie.
How to select a waterproof camera?
There are two basic parameters to consider when selecting Waterproof Cameras
Since all of these cameras are meant to survive in the harshest conditions, they need to be extremely resilient. Yes, waterproofing is a prime requirement but they also need to be able to handle impacts, shocks, drops, and longer durations of being submerged in freezing water. From swimming to boating to hiking in wet conditions, the waterproof camera should be able to handle the most demanding conditions.
• Image quality:
There has been a proliferation in the number of underwater cameras but all of them are not capable in terms of capturing impressive images. While dry-land baseline performances can be impressive, underwater performance can take a beating. Some cameras deliver a clear and vivid picture while other produce detailed, exceptionally clearly images. The eventual decision is yours.
Other important factors include:
1. Waterproof rating (DEPTH)
Check the waterproof rating on your camera. If you are just a hobbyist, looking for a camera to accompany you when going fishing, swimming or on the beach, water resistance ranging from 15 m to 30 m should be enough. For diving, underwater photography and more demanding needs, select a camera with better rating.
2. Durability (DROP TESTING)
Cameras brought to such excursions are subject to physical abuse. Always look for reviews and ratings of the camera you are planning to buy, in terms of toughness.
3. Battery Life & Storage
Some cameras require rechargeable Li-ion battery and other requires AAA batteries. Rechargeable Li-ion battery is most optimal option to ensure the superior performance of the camera. On a full charge, this offers over 300 shots, depending on usage and shooting environment. Mostly, all cameras require SD cards to store photos due to the significant internal storage.
4. Size & Weight
Lightweight yet built to last, this should be at the core of waterproof camera composition. For adventure trips, the small and light cameras are perfect but for underwater activities, slightly heavier cameras are a more sensible option.
Check for the warranty and user manual besides the overall reputation of the brand. Never buy into camera brands that seem too good to be true. Usually, there are intricate details that are concealed in such misleading promotional campaigns. Instead, go with the choice of seasoned photographers. Use their wisdom to your advantage. Also, check for the authenticity of the brand in terms of having a supplier network in your area and after-sales service.
6. Availability of Accessories
You dont want to be stuck with a camera where spare parts and user-friendly accessories come at a premium. Leading brands invest heavily in providing a range of accessories that help you extract better performance from the underwater camera. Choose a camera where you have the option of opting for different filters, battery packs and stands.