The Best Underwater Digital Cameras Under $500

Are you looking for the best underwater camera on the market but are on a tight budget? Well, we’re offering the three best underwater digital cameras under $500. So, whether you’re looking to spend $150 or more, take a look at our top waterproof camera picks.

Have ever dropped your phone before?? You know like just straight out watched it fly out of your hand and watch gruelingly as it plummets in slow motion to the earth? Yup I have and I am sure you have too.

That’s one reason the Waterproof Digital Cameras are a good option for anyone, not only are they Waterproof, but most of them are Rugged enough to withstand a good drop or two. In technical terms the camera folks call them “shockproof”.

best underwater camera

ModelMega PixOpt ZoomWaterproof/
Shockproof
Price Rating
Nikon 1 AW1
nikon aw1
14MP5x49 ft / 6 ft$$$$3.5 stars
Read Review
Olympus TG-4
olympus tg-4
16MP4x50 ft / 7 ft$$$4.0 stars
Read Review
Canon Powershot D30
canon d30
12MP5x82 ft / 6.5 ft$$4.0 stars
Read Review
GoPro Hero 4
gopro hero 4
12MP2x130 ft / 5 ft$$$4.5 stars
Read Review
Ricoh WG-30W
ricoh wg-30w
16MP5x40 ft / 5 ft$4.0 stars
Read Review

To top it all off because they are considered Waterproof the cameras are completed sealed to protect them from water, dirt, dust, pocket lint, and anything else that might make its way into the caverns of your camera.

But lets be honest you are reading this article because you are looking for a Waterproof Digital Camera and probably want to know how much it is going to cost you to get a Underwater digital camera. The idea of taking pictures underwater is just plain neat and exciting, as not everyone has photos in their album from under the water.

Now you can get so called “underwater housings” for any camera, these models listed below provide the ultimate protection and ruggedness from the weather and Mother Nature on their own. These little bad boys are small and easy to take with you anywhere and we have included a wide array of choice for you below.

Best Advanced Waterproof Camera

Nikon 1 AW1

Okay I know you are looking for an underwater camera, but what if I told you, you could have a waterproof camera with interchangeable lenses as well. Yup Nikon recently released one called the Nikon 1 AW1 – the first and only underwater interchangeable lens digital camera. The Nikon 1 is a 14 megapixel mirrorless camera that is waterproof up to 49 feet deep. They also guaranteed it to survive a drop of 6.6 feet onto a hard surface, even better it is still realively small in size coming in at 4”x2.9”x1.5”

The great news with the Nikon AW1 is that it comes with all the standard features you would expect to get when you purchase a mirrorlsess camera, aperture, shutter, and full manual modes, as well as automatic controls for both normal shooting and video recording. This little beauty is pretty fast too with 15 frames-per-second continuous shooting using autofocus.

Ready for the bad news, even though the AW1 accepts many of the 11 1 Nikkor lenses you will want to make sure you get one of the all-weather models if you want to get those awesome underwater shots. The two lenses we would recommend are the $150 1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5 or the $200 1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f/2.8.

Best Overall Compact Waterproof Camera

Olympus Tough TG-4


The Olympus TG-4 isn’t a newbie to the underwater camera scene, this is Olympus’ 4th iteration of their waterproof & shockproof camera. Scuba divers can rest assured that this camera is good for those deep dives as it is good up to 50 feet deep in the water, making deeper dives definitely doable with the TG-4. The only self-contained compact camera to beat it out of the Deep Diver category was the Canon Powershot D30. But the folks at Olympus didn’t stop there, this camera is shockproof from a 7ft drop, dustproof, crushproof and won’t freeze even if the temperature goes subzero.

With a new and improved fast f/2.0aperture equipped inside the TG-4 it can capture light from even the darkest of underwater scenes. Olympus also equipped it with several modes just for underwater shooting, including macro (super close up) and wide-angle settings. The camera has 16 megapixel CMOS sensor and can also shoot in RAW format for those diehard photographers.

One thing is missing though, it doesn’t have full manual exposure control, it is equipped with several useful modes like Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Apeture Priority, Along with the standard modes you would expect to see on any point-and-shoot camera. One bonus feature is that the Olympus TG-4 has macro and microscope settings that allow you to get some really cool close up photos all while underwater.

Standard features of the Olympus TG-4 review are Wi-Fi, GPS, Electronic compass with longitude and latitude, barometric pressure and water depth. How nice is that.

Best Deep Diving Compact Underwater Camera

Canon Powershot D30


If you are looking for a simple, straightforward, easy to use self-contained camera then the Canon Powershot D30 is for you. After all who wants all those bells and whistles while you are searching around the barrier reef? The D30 won the title of the “Deepest Diver” as it can go up to depths of 82 feet. The Canon Powershot D30 has a 12 megapixel CMOS sensor, is shockproof when dropped from up to 6.5 feet and works in a temperature range of 14F to 104F, good for trips to Alaska or Myrtle Beach. The camera has a rubberized grip that surrounds the back and parts of the front of the camera. Make super easy to hang on to even underwater.

Canon has equipped the Powershot D30 with a special setting that helps contrast the blue cast you get while taking photos in the water. Like the Olympus TG-4 the D30 can focus super close up ( 0.4 inches) or closer yet with the digital zoom option. This helps you capture the texture of all those creatures swimming in the ocean.

As mentioned above this camera isn’t equipped with a lot of extra features, just the bare minimums. However it does have a fisheye effect setting and a super slow-motion video setting you can play with.

Best Underwater Action Camera

GoPro Hero 4


GoPro changed the game in 2004 when they released their tiny little cameras and video in action sports and even in underwater photography hasn’t been the same. GoPro now has 4 basic models that you can choose from, but the best of the bunch is the new GoPro Hero 4. The Hero 4 has a 12 megapixel sensor for still photography and shoots video in 4K at around 30 fps.

Every GoPro comes standard with its waterproof underwater housing, which makes this tiny camera a dolphin loving fool capable of going to depths of 130+ feet. However if you want to go deeper you can always buy the stronger deep diving photography housing for an extra $60.00 that is good up to 197 feet underwater.

The deeper you go the darker it gets and more light is absorbed so you will need one or two video lights to get the videos you want. We recommend going with the BigBlue, it is a single kit that has a dive light and a GoPro tray attached to it for around $260.00. There are other options available, but this one has everything you need in it.

The Latest edition of the GoPro Hero 4 has a slew of features. Here are a few.

  • Built-In WiFi + Bluetooth: Delivers enhanced connectivity to the GoPro App, Smart Remote.
  • Protune – Now for Video + Photos: Cinema-quality capture and manual control of color, ISO limit, exposure and more.
  • Night Photo Lapse: Customizable exposure settings up to 30 seconds for single and Time Lapse Photos.
  • Auto Low Light: Automatically adjusts frame rates for optimal low-light performance.
  • High-Performance Audio: New Audio System captures clean, high fidelity sound and nearly 2x the dynamic range.
  • Ultra Wide-Angle Glass Lens: Enables engaging, immersive footage of you and your world.
  • Selectable FOV: Three FOV settings – Ultra-Wide, Medium and Narrow – allow for a broad range of perspectives.
  • HiLight Tag: Mark key moments while recording for easy playback, editing, and sharing.
  • QuikCapture: Power on and record automatically with the press of a single button.
  • SuperView: Captures the world’s most immersive wide-angle field of view

Overall Compact Best Underwater Camera Candidate

Ricoh WG-30W


You can get all this for only $250, Ricoh has stepped up their game with the Ricoh WG-30W. Not to mention you can get it in Flame Orange, which is awesome. The Ricoh WG-30W is the newest family member to join the adventure-proof WG rugged compact waterproof cameras. The Ricoh can swim in waters up to 40 feet deep and is shockproof when dropped from 5 feet or less. The WG-30W comes with a 16-megapixel backlit sensor and a 5x optical zoom feature.

Ricoh has specific modes dedicated for underwater pictures and video called “Mermaid Mode.” They also have a microscope mode that allows you to take extreme closeup shots or macro shots in any conditions. Another advantage of the Ricoh WG-30W is it comes standard with Wi-Fi so you don’t need to reach for your cable every time you want to transfer shots to your computer.

What is the Best Underwater Camera to Buy?

The best camera will be determined by your needs. Whilst you might be looking for durable underwater camera housing to survive arduous conditions, another person might simply be in need of a stylish piece of equipment to take on a sunny holiday. So, don’t just scan the following articles to view what is the best camera to buy, and really read the waterproof camera reviews so you can discover the ideal item for your needs.

Nikon Cameras

When it comes to the best waterproof digital camera, you should definitely consider Nikon cameras, as they specialise in creating high quality cameras to suit different budgets.

We strongly recommend the Nikon CoolPix S32 waterproof camera, which offers:

  • 13 megapixel sensor
  • 10m waterproof
  • 1.5m shockproof
  • 3x optical zoom lens of 35mm
  • Motion blur reduction
  • Dustproof
  • 1080p HD video with stereo sound

Not only is the camera 10m waterproof, but will also look great in your hand, as it offers a stylish design that comes in a variety of colours, such as pink, blue, white and yellow. It’s also designed for children as well as adults, which is why buttons and dials are kept to a minimum. So, whether you are looking for a waterproof camera for yourself or a loved one, you should most definitely consider this amazing Nikon camera.

How much is it? It’s available for the low price of just $82.60 from selected shops, but prices may vary. It is undoubtedly the lowest priced

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