Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling: 5 Waterproof Models

When it comes to selecting the best underwater camera for snorkeling, you have a couple of different options. These options range from very simple and inexpensive to a professional-level setup. Of course, there is not a “one setup fits all” solution. You have to select the option that works best for you personally.

Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling

Option 1: Disposable Waterproof Camera

This is the simplest and least expensive solution. You can spend a few dollars on a disposable point-and-shoot film camera. Then, you are ready to go with minimal investment in terms of money and time.

Fujifilm Quick Snap Waterproof 35mm Single Use Camera, 4 Pack (Blue/Green/White)
Fujifilm Quick Snap Waterproof 27

There are some negatives, however. First, the disposable waterproof camera does not have a flash. It is only good for beach photography and, possibly, for snorkeling in shallow waters in bright sunlight. You also have to get the film developed into prints.

Option 2: Waterproof Housing

The only disadvantage of this option is the high cost. The compact camera and waterproof camera will set you back over $1,000.

Option 3: Dedicated Waterproof Point-and-Shoot Digital Cameras

Camera manufacturers understand the need for an affordable solution for underwater photography that can produce better results than disposable underwater cameras. As a result, almost every camera manufacturer offers a dedicated digital waterproof camera suitable for underwater photography, snorkeling, and simple family fun on the beach.

This option is suitable for most people who want to bring a reliable waterproof camera to their beach vacation without investing too much money or time.

I am featuring 5 of the top waterproof cameras you can purchase today. These cameras range between $150 and $400. I will also reveal my top picks.

Quick Answer: 5 Best Waterproof Snorkeling Cameras

Olympus Tough TG-5

Megapixels: 12MP, Lens: 25-100mm (35mm Equivalent), Weight: 250g (8.8oz), Size: 113 x 66 x 32mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3″)
Fujifilm XP130

Megapixels: 16MP, Lens: 28-140mm (35mm Equivalent), 164g (5.8oz), 104 x 66 x 25mm (4.1 x 2.6 x 1.0″)
Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7
Megapixels: 16MP, Lens: 24-120mm (35mm Equivalent), 231g (8.15oz), 111.5 x 66 x 29mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.1″)
Panasonic DC-TS7
Megapixels: 20MP, Lens: 28-120mm (35mm Equivalent), 319g (11.25oz), 116.7 x 76 x 37mm (4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5″)
Ricoh WG-50
Megapixels: 16MP, Lens: 28-140mm (35mm Equivalent), 193g (6.8oz), 122 x 61 x 23mm (4.8 x 2.4 x 1.2″)

Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

OM SYSTEM OLYMPUS TG-5 Waterproof Camera with 3-Inch LCD, Red

1. Olympus Tough TG-5

Megapixels: 12MP
Lens: 25-100mm (35mm Equivalent)
Weight: 250g (8.8oz)
Size: 113 x 66 x 32mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3″)
Price: Check the latest price here

The Olympus Tough TG-5 is one of the few compact cameras that is made to last. It is the successor of the popular TG-4, which was launched back in 2015 and is packed with new features, including a 4K video and a new 12MP image sensor. In some cases, brands reduce the resolution (in our case, from 16MP in TG-4 to 12MP in TG-5) because they want to increase image quality in low light conditions.

Besides increasing the image quality in low light, Olympus has added an extremely useful dial on the top right of the camera that controls the exposure compensation. This dial gives you the ability to adjust the exposure whenever you want in a matter of seconds. In addition, the ability to change lenses for different types of shooting makes the TG-5 unique. You have the option to choose between a fisheye lens and a telephoto lens.

Last but not least, the Olympus Tough TG-5 is waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, and dustproof, perfect for an action camera. The lens has an f/2.0 aperture and goes down to f/4.9 when it’s fully zoomed in. It has a built-in GPS, compass, WiFi, and Bluetooth and records 4K video at 30p and Full HD at 120p, which is great for slow motion. The camera weighs less than 250 grams, and you can charge it via USB.

What we like:

  • Low light sensitivity 100-12.800
  • RAW files
  • 4K video
  • Accessories and lenses

What we don’t like:

  • Limited zoom range
  • Pricey for a compact camera

Check Latest Price & Reviews

Fujifilm FinePix XP120 - Sky Blue FinePix XP130 Waterproof Digital Camera, 2.78' x 4.34' x 1.26', Blue

2. Fujifilm XP130

Megapixels: 16MP
Lens: 28-140mm (35mm Equivalent)
Weight: 164g (5.8oz)
Size: 104 x 66 x 25mm (4.1 x 2.6 x 1.0″)
Price: Check the latest price here

The Fujifilm XP130 is a waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof camera perfect for the mountain, the beach, or action sports! The size is perfect for a point-and-shoot camera and comes in various colors. It features a 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor with image stabilization and 5x optical zoom, which is okay if you just want to bring your subject a little bit closer without losing detail.

Underwater, the new BSI-CMOS sensor by Fujifilm is designed to reproduce the colors matching what the human eye can see. The special underwater modes are designed to capture stills and video with great colors and clarity. Similarly, the XP130 can take up to 10 images per second in burst mode at maximum resolution. This ensures you get exactly the image you want using ultra-high-speed technology.

With the Fujifilm mobile app, you can transfer your images and control the camera remotely from your smartphone device. Along with the WiFi connection, Bluetooth allows you to easily pair your device and also add a location to your images with GEO tagging. The XP130 can take top-quality photos and videos. Even if no 4K feature is available, the camera can capture Full HD video at 60p and produce excellent image quality.

What I like:

  • Beautiful designed rugged body
  • Image quality
  • 10fps burst mode
  • Underwater special modes

What I don’t like:

  • No 4K video
  • White balance tends to be too cool

Check Latest Price & Reviews

Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera with TFT LCD, 3', Orange (26524)

3. Nikon Coolpix W300

Megapixels: 16MP
Lens: 24-120mm (35mm Equivalent)
Weight: 231g (8.15oz)
Size: 111.5 x 66 x 29mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.1″)
Price: Check the latest price here

If you are an adventurous person, love sports, or have a big family with lots of kids, Nikon has designed a camera that might be ideal for your type of shooting. The Coolpix W300 is a waterproof point-and-shoot camera packed in a rugged body with increased capabilities. It goes down to 30 meters in the water, endures in low and high temperatures, and can survive a 2.5-meter fall.

The 16MP sensor produces high-quality images with pleasing colors. Nikon has also placed a very capable f/2.8 NIKKOR Zoom lens with 5x optical zoom and image stabilization for best performance. The autofocus is fast and accurate on almost every occasion. The Coolpix W300 captures 4K video at 30p, making it ideal for recording the underwater world providing rich, vivid colors and saturation.

Families with lots of kids will love using this camera. You can take it with you everywhere you go without the worry of damaging it. The friendly interface, easy-to-use menu, and navigation make it fun to use even for a novice user. Among the great features, we should mention the built-in GPS, altimeter, WiFi connectivity, and fast USB charging. Despite the high cost, the Nikon Coolpix W300 is a great waterproof camera packed with great features.

What I like:

  • High-quality body structure
  • It is waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof
  • Built-in World Map
  • Great 4K Video

What I don’t like:

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Panasonic DC-TS7A Lumix TS7 Waterproof Tough Camera, 20.4 Megapixels, 4.6X Zoom Lens, USA, with 3' LCD, Blue

4. Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7

Megapixels: 20
Lens: 28 to 128mm (35mm Equivalent)
Weight: 319g (11.25oz )
Size: 116.7 x 76 x 37mm (4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5″)
Price: Check the latest price here

The brand new Lumix TS-7 is Panasonic’s latest rugged, compact camera with a 20.4 Megapixel sensor, an Electronic View Finder, and 4.6x optical zoom. The camera is waterproof to 31 meters (the deepest for a compact camera) and won’t break if it accidentally falls from your hands. You can take it with you on winter vacations and take photos in freezing weather of -10 degrees Celsius. The camera can also withstand up to 100kg of force.

On a sunny day, the EVF (electronic viewfinder) can be very useful. You can accurately frame and focus on your subject without using the LCD screen when the sun is bright. The image quality is pretty good, and the 20.4MP are plenty for landscapes and cityscapes. One of the downsides is the lack of Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes, two common features most brands include in all their cameras, compact or interchangeable.

The Lumix TS-7 can shoot 4K video with perfect video quality at 24p and 30p. You can create awesome underwater videos with great image quality. When you’re hiking in the mountains, you can use the built-in altimeter and compass for navigation. The battery life is decent for a compact camera; if you need extra power, you can always use a USB charger. You can also transfer your photos wirelessly to your phone with the proper mobile app.

What I like:

  • Waterproof up to 31 meters
  • 20.4MP image sensor
  • EVF is very useful
  • Beautiful colors on stills and video

What I don’t like:

  • Lack of Aperture Mode and Shutter Mode
  • Lack of RAW support

Check Latest Price & Reviews

Ricoh WG-50 16MP Waterproof Still/Video Camera Digital with 2.7' LCD, (Orange)

5 Ricoh WG-50

Megapixels: 16MP
Lens: 28-140mm (35mm Equivalent)
Weight: 193g (6.8oz )
Size: 122 x 61 x 23mm (4.8 x 2.4 x 1.2″)
Price: Check the latest price here

The Ricoh WG-50 is a low-budget waterproof compact camera. It features a 16 Megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor and a fixed lens with a focal length equivalent to 28-140mm. Similar to other rugged cameras, the WG-50 can resist water, dust, shock, extreme heat, and freezing conditions. Despite being cheaper than its rivals, the Ricoh WG-50 can take good images and capture Full HD video at 30p.

The camera is capable of taking great macro shots at 1cm away. Moreover, it is useful for everyday shots, family, kids, fun moments, and action. With a maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds, the camera is not good in low light conditions, and I wouldn’t recommend it for long exposure shots. However, the image detail and sharpness are pretty acceptable and would please anyone who wants to have a rugged action camera without paying a fortune.

In conclusion, there are mixed feelings about this camera. It is not considered the best camera in the market and definitely can’t compete with its rivals, but it has much more to give to those who don’t want to spend too much money. It is a good camera for everyday use or a backup if you already own a DSLR or a more expensive system that doesn’t support weather-sealing.

What I like:

  • Easy to use with a friendly interface
  • 16MP BSI-CMOS sensor
  • Rugged weather-sealed body
  • Affordable

What I don’t like:

  • Poor image quality
  • No 4K video or GPS

Check Latest Price & Reviews

Best Underwater Camera for Snorkeling | Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best underwater camera for snorkeling, the Olympus Tough TG-5 is your best bet. It’s a great overall waterproof model with pro-like features that takes excellent photos and videos. The Fujifilm XP130 is a great option if you’re on a budget. Close behind the top best models are the Nikon Coolpix W300, Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7, and Ricoh WG-50.

No matter what model you choose, you’re sure to have a better vacation experience with a waterproof camera in hand.

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