Best waterproof camera 2024: the finest cameras for underwater shooting

Whether you’re swimming in a river or diving into the sea, the best waterproof cameras have the durability to shoot sharp underwater. From rugged compacts to action cams, we’ve comprehensively tested all of the top waterproof cameras against our expert criteria and ranked our favorite options in the list below. 

We think the best waterproof camera for most people is the OM System Tough TG-7. With a compact yet rugged build and a useful 4x zoom, it’s a surprisingly versatile option with a lot of photography features for the price. Image quality isn’t perfect, but the camera itself is easy to use and pretty much indestructible. 

If you’d prefer a waterproof camera for recording quality video, we highly recommend the GoPro Hero Black 12. It’s not the best in low light, but the flagship model is packed with useful features that also make it one of the best action cameras.

Whatever you’re planning to capture, our extensive guide is designed to help you find the best waterproof camera for your needs and budget. You’ll find premium cameras and affordable options in the list below, as well as buying advice and quick links to the best deals available right now.

Written by
Tim Coleman
Written by
Timothy Coleman

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras editor, with over 15 years in the photo video industry and most of those in the world of tech journalism, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with all things camera related.

The quick list

Want to get straight to the best waterproof camera? Use our round-up below to quickly find a waterproof camera that suits you. You can find out more about it by jumping to our full write-ups using the links.

The best waterproof cameras in 2024

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Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best waterproof cameras in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best waterproof camera for most people

The OM System Tough TG-7 camera lying in a stream

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
The best waterpoof for most people

Specifications

Waterproof: 15m
Monitor: 3in
Sensor: 1/2.3in, 12MP
Video: 4K/30p
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Durable, pocket-friendly build
+
Straightforward to use
+
Bright f/2 aperture at widest zoom

Reasons to avoid

-
Rear LCD isn't a touchscreen
-
Underwhelming image quality

It’s not a huge upgrade over the Tough TG-6, but with a rugged, pocket-friendly build and plenty of photography features, we think the Tough TG-7 is a great grab-and-go option for most people. As the name suggests, it’s a camera to take anywhere: waterproof to 15m, it can also survive dust, drops, crushing and freezing.

Image quality from its 12MP sensor can’t compete with many modern smartphones, even with a fast f/2 aperture at the wide end of the 25-100mm zoom range. 4K/30p video is likewise a little dated. Yet the TG-7 does benefit from a surprising number of shooting modes, including macro focusing and white balance presets which match different water depths.

Although its 3-inch screen isn’t touch-sensitive, the tactile array of buttons makes it easier to handle than a GoPro in tricky conditions, particularly for beginners. While it isn’t the best action camera out there, the benefit of the TG-7 lies in its practicality, allowing you to shoot without fear in adventurous scenarios.

Read our in-depth OM System Tough TG-7 review

The best waterproof action camera

A photo of the GoPro Hero 12 Black

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)
The best waterpoof action camera

Specifications

Waterproof: 10m
Monitor: 2.27in (rear), 1.4in (front)
Video: 5.3K/60p, 4K/120p, 2.7K/240p
User level: Beginner/intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Great stabilization
+
Pro mode adds flexibility
+
Versatile mounting options

Reasons to avoid

-
Not great in low light
-
Mediocre battery life

Like its predecessor, the GoPro Hero 12 Black uses an 8:9 aspect ratio sensor to capture 5.3K video that can easily be cropped for social. With the addition of HDR video and GP-Log, together with the returning 10-bit color mode, we found the Hero 12 Black able to capture sharp, smooth and dynamic video in bright conditions.

In the hand, it’s all but identical to the Hero 11 Black, including the 10m waterproof rating. What’s new is a 1/4in thread mount, which unlocks greater versatility for attaching to mini tripods and seafaring accessories. Screens front and rear are handy for framing yourself at sea, even if the rear touch interface doesn’t work underwater.

Low light remains an issue for the Hero 12 Black, with our review noting that grain is evident in dimly lit scenes. Battery life from the Enduro battery was also underwhelming in our tests. All the same, if you want a feature-packed action cam that can shoot sharp video above and below water, the GoPro Hero 12 is compelling.

Read our in-depth GoPro Hero 12 Black review

The best waterproof camera for low light

DJI Osmo Action 4 camera in the hand with swimming pool background

(Image credit: Future)
The best waterproof camera for low-light video

Specifications

Waterproof: 18m
Monitor: 2.25in (rear), 1.4in (front)
Video: 4K/60p, 2.7K/120p
User level: Beginner/intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Improved image quality
+
Better than rivals in low light
+
Waterproof to 18m

Reasons to avoid

-
Minimum 0.4m focus distance
-
Average battery life

Designed as a GoPro rival, the DJI Osmo Action 4 edges out the GoPro Hero 12 black in a few key ways. While its peak video resolution is lower at 4K/120p, its larger 1/1.3-inch sensor uses bigger pixels to perform better in low light. From our tests, the result is superior footage quality in dim conditions, such as those that you might encounter underwater.

The Action 4 also supports DJI’s D-Log profile with 10-bit color. In our review, we found that this significantly improves color depth and dynamic range. Less handy is how the increased sensor size and wide lens extend the minimum focus distance to 0.4m, which could be an issue if you plan on recording sea life up close.

Physically, it features the same rugged build as the Action 3 before it, as well as the removable battery and versatile mounting system we appreciated in our previous review. In a win for swimmers, waterproof has been boosted to 18m, meaning it can comfortably out-dive the GoPro Hero 12 Black.

Read our in-depth DJI Osmo Action 4 review

The best budget waterproof camera

Fujifilm XP140

(Image credit: Future)

4. Fujifilm XP140

The best affordable waterproof compact

Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.3in, 16.4MP
Lens: 28-140mm f/3.9-4.9
Waterproof: 25m
Freezeproof: -10°C
Shockproof: 1.8m
Monitor: 3-inch touchscreen, 920K dots
Movies: 4K/15p
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Practically indestructible
+
Generous 5x optical zoom

Reasons to avoid

-
Disappointing 4K video
-
Screen could be brighter

Almost identical to the Fujifilm XP130 before it, the XP140 features the same 16.4MP sensor, the same 5x optical zoom and the same 3-inch touchscreen. It is marginally more rugged than its predecessor, making it close to indestructible: it's dustproof, shockproof to 1.8m, freeze-proof to -10ºC and waterproof down to 25m.

The biggest changes are found inside the camera. It can now capture 100fps slow-mo in 720p, as well as true 4K footage – though we found the 4K frame rate disappointg at 15fps. It's much more capable as a Full HD 1080p recorder. Maximum ISO has also been doubled to 12,800 for enhanced low-light performance, while subject and scene detection skills are backed up by a range of in-camera filters.

Because the sensor is stabilized and back-illuminated, the XP140 can deliver great results underwater, while the sizeable display makes framing easy even with goggles on. When you’re back on dry land, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity make it a cinch to offload images via the Fujifilm app – or an Instax Share printer for instant prints.

The best waterproof camera for deep water

5. Nikon Coolpix W300

The best camera if you want to go deep underwater

Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 16MP
Lens: 24-120mm
Waterproof: 30m
Freezeproof: -10°
Shockproof: 2.1m
Monitor: 3-inch, 921K dots
Movies: 4K
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof down to 30m
+
Wide zoom range

Reasons to avoid

-
Fiddly controls
-
Exposure inconsistencies

Designed to operate at class-leading depths, the Nikon Coolpix W300 is rated down to 30 meters – as far as an Advanced Open Water diving certificate will get you. To match this impressive durability, it features a neat digital depth gauge readout.

With freezeproofing and shockproofing complementing the W300's swimming skills, while 5x optical zoom enhances its shooting flexibility. Vibration reduction is a welcome addition, too.

Its 3.0-inch LCD isn't the sharpest at 921,000 dots, but it's visible enough when shooting underwater. Likewise, the 1/2.3-inch sensor inside is small compared to premium compacts with 1-inch sensors, but 16MP stills and 4K/30p footage are decent enough. Factor in features such as Wi-Fi connectivity and terrific GPS, and the W300 shapes up as a good value option.

The best budget GoPro

GoPro Hero 10 Black

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
The best budget GoPro action camera

Specifications

Waterproof: 10m
Monitor: 2.27in (rear), 1.4in (front)
Video: 5.3K/60p (100Mb/s bit-rate), Slo-mo video: 4K/120p, 2.7K/240p
User level: Beginner/intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Snappier menus and interface
+
Powerful GP2 processor
+
New 4K/120p mode is fun
+
Class-leading stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Same small sensor
-
Still not a low-light king
-
Budget rivals offer better value

The Hero 10 Black is no longer top of the GoPro pile, but it remains a great choice if you want to save money on a waterproof action camera and don’t need 10-bit recording or support for vertical video. In our tests, we found both its 5.3K/60p and 4K/120p footage impressive. We also found it versatile, fun and easy to use, even if its responsive touchscreen doesn’t work underwater.

With HyperSmooth stabilization available across most shooting modes, it’s an ideal tool for recording high-resolution clips in all conditions. Low light does remain a challenge, though, which means performance will drop off if you test its 10m waterproofing in dim conditions.

The latest GoPro Hero 12 Black offers more editing flexibility, while the DJI Osmo Action 4 performs significantly better in low light. But if you want a GoPro action camera without the flagship price tag, we think the Hero 10 Black is still a great option to consider.

Read our in-depth GoPro Hero 10 Black review

The best waterproof camera with a viewfinder

The best waterproof camera with a viewfinder

Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.4MP
Lens: 28-128mm
Waterproof: 31m
Freezeproof: -10°C
Shockproof: 2m
Monitor: 3-inch, 1,040,000 dots
Movies: 4K
User level: Beginner/intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in viewfinder
+
Waterproof down to 31m

Reasons to avoid

-
Image smoothing at high ISOs
-
No raw capture

Launched in 2018, the Panasonic Lumix TS7 (known as the Lumix FT7 outside the US) isn't the latest waterproof camera here. Still, it remains relevant by virtue of one feature in particular: a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), something rarely seen on a waterproof camera.

The 1,170k-dot, 0.2-inch display might not be the largest out there, but it does offer a useful alternative to shooting with the rear display, especially in bright light, which can make composition tricky.

There's lots to like about the Lumix TS7 / FT7, including its excellent tough credentials. Lens coverage remains the same as its predecessor, with a useful 4.6x zoom range that covers 28-128mm. What lets it down is the sensor, which crams too many pixels onto a relatively small area: Panasonic increased the pixel count from 16.1MP on the TS5 / FT5 to 20.4MP on the Lumix TS7 / FT7. 

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix TS7 / FT7 review

The best miniature waterproof camera

The tiny Insta360 Go 3 held between finger and thumb

(Image credit: James Abbott)
The best tiny waterproof camera

Specifications

Waterproof: 5m
Monitor: 2.2in (Action Pod)
Video: 2.7K/30p, 1080p/120p
User level: Beginner