I made the mistake once of taking a really nice Canon SLR on a kayaking trip in Nepal once. Even though I though the camera was safely stored in my bag, it was unusable at the end of the trip. If you are an avid outdoor adventurer, you need to seriously consider getting a good waterproof camera so yours not end up like mine. In this article I will briefly review the best waterproof camera choices as of 2015.
The Ricoh WG-4 GPS Camera is can withstand a lot of abuse from the environment while delivering a good 16 MP picture. It features a 4x optical zoom and a maximum aperture of f/2.0 to let in a lot of light for dark environments. One really unique selling feature of this device is the presence of six
ED lights on the front of the camera. This allows the camera to get great illumination of close up pictures using its 1 cm Digital Microscope mode. If you love taking pictures of insects and other tiny objects, this might be the camera for you.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 Camera would likely be the best choice if you are looking for the best image quality in a rugged design. The clarity of the 16 MP pictures is impressive with a sensitivity up to ISO1600. It features a bright and clear LCD to help get a good view of what you are shooting, and the autofocus feature is excellent. The camera features a 4.6x zoom that serves a 35mm equivalent range of 28-128mm. However, it is not a great camera for close up macro shots. While still pretty rugged, the underwater rating is not quite as deep as some of the other waterproof cameras at only 13 meters depth.
Nikon Coolpix AW120 Camera has one of the most impressive feature sets of the best waterproof cameras listed here. It has a full featured GPS system with an interactive world map included. It has altimeter and underwater depth gauge in addition to WiFi connectivity. Divers will like the incredibly deep 18 meter underwater rating. Action photography enthusiasts will appreciate the ultra fast 6.9 frames per second burst shooting mode and full HD video capture. The battery life is impressive as well at 350 pictures. The only downsides to the camera are the flimsy grip and an image quality that is not as good as some of the other models due issues such as under saturated colors and white balance inconsistencies.
For those outdoor enthusiasts that subject their cameras to the most abuse, the rugged Olympus Stylus TG-3 will most likely be the best choice. Are you traveling in the freezing cold? It can withstand bone crushing temperatures down to -10 degree centigrade. You can drop it from at height of up to 2.1 meters. Are you diving underwater? You can go down at least 15 meters with this camera. It can even withstand 100kg of crushing force. Its 16 MP image quality might not be quite as good as some of the other models, but it has all the features such as GPS system and electronic compass that you would expect and should withstand whatever you throw at it.
Avid outdoor adventurers need a good quality camera so they do not have to return to civilization to replace their equipment when it gets wet. The best waterproof camera will feature strong impact protection, cold weather resistance, and decent underwater depth ratings. The models listed above should be great for most, with the choice dictated by the trade offs offered in feature sets versus picture quality that a person most prefers.