The best waterproof cameras of 2019

Wet or dry, these rugged waterproof cameras capture your every adventure

best waterproof cameras badgeWhen it comes to documenting your wetter adventures, the Olympus Tough TG-5 is the best waterproof camera in the business. Whether you’re snorkeling in the sea or wading in the kiddie pool, water can wreak havoc on electronics, so having a camera you can trust to get wet is key.

Not only is the TG-5 built to survive a dip in the river, it can also handle freezing temperatures and being dropped. It doesn’t hurt that it still takes good quality pictures for the class, and has some interesting shooting features like an excellent macro mode and fun light painting mode.

It’s not the only option out there, and there a few different takes on the waterproof camera, so we’ve rounded up the best waterproof models, from point-and-shoots to 360 cameras.

At a glance

Product Category
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5 Best waterproof camera overall
Fujifilm Finepix XP120 Best budget waterproof camera
GoPro Fusion Best waterproof 360-degree camera
GoPro Hero7 Black Best waterproof action camera

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5

The best

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review
Hillary Grigonis/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: Good image quality and features; built-in GPS.

Who’s it for: Serious outdoor adventurers.

How much will it cost: $399

Why we picked the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5:

When you need a camera that can handle being dropped down a small cliff into a stream — and live to tell about it — the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5 is for you. With adventurers in mind, the TG-5 is waterproof to a depth of 50 feet, drop-proof from a height of 7 feet, and features a built-in GPS with geotagging and location logging abilities that can create a map of your adventure viewable in the Olympus Image Track app.

The resolution has actually dropped from the TG-4 to 12MP, but this improves low-light performance, which pairs nicely with the 25-100mm (full-frame equivalent) f/2.0-4.9 lens. It also offers RAW files for maximum quality, a 20 frames-per-second burst mode, and even 4K video. Plus, it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve, like an excellent macro mode and an effortless Live Composite mode that makes light-painting a breeze.

With its focus on image quality and features, the TG-5 is a great option for both beginners and experienced photographers who want an outdoor-ready camera. It won’t match the performance of an advanced point-and-shoot like the Sony RX100 series, but it gets you as close as you can get in a waterproof compact.

Our full Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5 review

Fujifilm Finepix XP120

The best budget waterproof camera

best waterproof cameras finepix xp120 of

Why should you buy this: It’s small, affordable, and easy to use.

Who’s it for: Vacationers looking for an inexpensive rugged camera.

How much will it cost: $120

Why we picked the XP120:

Fujifilm has mostly killed off its point-and-shoot lineup except for the rugged XP series. Why? Because it’s a category that still sells well. Although similar to the Olympus Tough TG-5, the XP120 has an affordable price tag — we’ve seen it as low as $103 online — and is as lightweight as possible. But don’t let its simple design fool you: The XP120 is waterproof to 65 feet, shockproof from 5.8 feet, freezeproof to 14-degrees Fahrenheit, and dustproof.

Inside the XP120 is a 16.4-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. The camera handles continuous shooting at 10 frames per second, and Full HD video is captured at 60p. The lens isn’t as bright as the TG-5’s, but its 5x optical zoom lens is optically stabilized to help you get steady pictures, even if you’re teetering on a log in a lake. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you upload vacation pics while you’re still on vacation, or print to one of Fujifilm’s Instax Share printers for pocketable instant prints.

If you don’t need the bright lens, GPS or RAW support of the TG-5, save yourself some cash with the XP120.

Read more here

GoPro Fusion

The best waterproof 360 camera

gopro hero6 black announced dcim106goprog0027825 jpg
GoPro Fusion

Why should you buy this: Great build quality, easy to use.

Who’s it for: 360 video aficionados

How much will it cost: $599

Why we picked the GoPro Fusion:

Strictly speaking, 360-degree cameras don’t exactly work underwater; the water itself distorts the camera’s view, thus making it impossible for both sides of the video from the dual lenses to stitch together properly. However, if you like the idea of immersive video and you want a camera that is at least capable of surviving some wet weather or a splash in a lake, look no further than the GoPro Fusion.

Aside from being waterproof, the Fusion has the best feature set of any dual-lens 360 cam we have ever tested. It also is relatively easy to use thanks to GoPro’s well-designed mobile app. The Fusion is also capable of delivering very good image quality with a nearly invisible stitching line — but you’ll need to edit in GoPro’s Fusion Studio desktop app for that, a process which is much more laborious.

360 video isn’t for everyone, and $600 may be a tough ask if you’re just looking to experiment with the format, but the Fusion offers the most potential of any compact 360 cam we’ve seen.

Our  full GoPro Fusion review

GoPro Hero7 Black

The best waterproof action camera

GoPro

Why should you buy this: Super smooth electronic image stabilization, great user experience

Who’s it for: Extreme athletes, travel vloggers, and professional filmmakers

How much will it cost: $500

Why we picked the Hero7 Black:

Each year, GoPro finds small new ways to improve on the best, but the Hero7 Black has made a giant leap in electronic image stabilization. Sure, this feature has been around for several generations now, but its implementation in the Hero7 Black is a significant improvement, to the point where GoPro has even coined a new name for it: HyperSmooth. It even allowed us to capture perfectly stable footage of a downhill mountain bike ride.

GoPro’s new flagship action cam also now features native live-streaming, so you can show off your stunts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo, and more. The sound recording capabilities have also been improved, promising less vibrational noise and better dynamic range (the range from quiet to loud sounds the microphone can capture without distorting).

And of course, the Hero7 Black includes all the standard features we’ve come to expect from GoPro, like waterproofing without the need for a case, a nice touch screen, and interface, and the ubiquitous GoPro mount that lets you attach the camera to virtually anything with the right accessory.

Read more here

Deals

Looking for an action camera this summer? Best Buy halves price of GoPro Fusion

Looking for a great action camera? Best Buy's got a killer sale on the GoPro Fusion 360-degree action camera, a device we think is the future of 360-degree video. Normally $600, Best Buy has it on sale for half the normal price.
Mobile

The best bezel-less phones cut all the right corners without losing space

As the smartphone industry marches toward a bezel-less future, we compare the shrinking bezels on the latest and greatest devices. Find out which manufacturers have the smallest bezels on their smartphone as we compare them side by side.
Home Theater

Sonos Beam vs. Sonos Playbar: Which home theater soundbar should you buy?

The Sonos Playbar and Sonos Beam: United by all of the features that make Sonos superb, they're two soundbars intended for very different situations. Which one is right for you? We put them head-to-head to find out.
Mobile

Motorola One Vision vs. Moto G7: Which phone is a vision of budget perfection?

If you're shopping for a new smartphone and you don't have much to spend, it's always worth checking out Motorola's wares. But which bargain phone is best — the Motorola One Vision or the Moto G7? Find out as we compare them.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1 vs. Canon EOS R: A full-frame mirrorless matchup

The Canon EOS R and Panasonic Lumix S1 both represent their company's first attempts at full-frame mirrorless cameras, and each manufacturer brought different competencies to the table. Here's how to two high-end camera compare.
Photography

Lightroom adds first new slider in 4 years and will teach you how to use it

Say hello to Lightroom's first new slider in four years, the texture slider. The update joins new in-app learning tutorials, one of the company's most requested features. The updates also include batch editing for Lightroom mobile.
Product Review

DJI's dual-screen Osmo Action is a serious attempt to dethrone GoPro

With two screens, screw-on filters, and a very GoPro-like user interface, DJI's first real action camera takes a stab at dethroning the king. And it just might succeed.
Deals

The Dragon Touch Vision 3 action cam is an affordable GoPro alternative

In the arena of action cameras, GoPro has long held a firm grasp on the top spot. Now, thanks to GoPro alternative Dragon Touch, which is currently on Amazon for just $50, you have a more affordable choice.
Photography

DJI’s waterproof Osmo Action camera to take on GoPro with two LCD screens

DJI is expanding into new territory with the Osmo Action, a waterproof action camera with both front and rear LCD screens and electronic image stabilization. Shooting up to 4K at 60 fps, it could be enough to take on GoPro -- and win.
Social Media

Save me: How to download Instagram photos from any device

Browsing photos in Instagram is one thing, but saving them is another. Until recently, it wasn't easy to get your pics and data off the 'gram and saved elsewhere, but now you can download Instagram photos with just a few clicks.
Photography

Eye autofocus is here for the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7. So just how good is it?

Nikon's new mirrorless cameras are getting a boost thanks to firmware version 2.0, which adds eye-detection autofocus, expanded low-light autofocus, and autoexposure for high-speed continuous shooting to the Z 6 and Z 7.
Photography

Photographer sues Ariana Grande after she posts his images of her on Instagram

A professional photographer is suing Ariana Grande after she posted photos on Instagram that he'd taken of her. Grande used the post to promote one of her albums, but the photographer says she used the photos without permission.
Social Media

Instagram ditches plans for stand-alone Direct messaging app

Instagram is shuttering it's stand-alone messaging app, Direct, after testing it since 2017. While the messaging features remain intact inside Instagram, the separate app will be discontinued in the next few weeks.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.