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The best underwater cameras

Underwater cameras are a great companion to have on your travels. Unfortunately most standard cameras don’t hold up too well in aquatic or wet-weather environments and this can discourage you from taking a camera with you at all to certain activities. If you sign up for deep sea diving, jet skiing or other water-based activities, your smartphone just isn’t going to cut it. One tiny splash of water or a drop in the sand and it's game over. 

But you shouldn’t miss out on capturing some fantastic holiday snaps and neither should you have to pay through the nose for expensive excursion company photos.  If you’re a keen adventurer, then you’ll want something robust that isn’t going to let you down when you need it most. Many of the best underwater cameras of 2017 are shockproof and weather-proof, too; making them ideal for all eventualities. So whether you’re swimming, skiing or rock climbing; an underwater camera is an essential piece of equipment if you want to document your trip. 

To save you some time, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best underwater cameras on the market today, with tricky jargon and specifications explained for a hassle-free shopping experience. For most of us, image quality is the most important thing we’re looking for when buying a camera, so look out for the sensor specification on your choice of camera. 

Most of the cameras on our list feature a 1/2.3 inch sensor which is much smaller than professional land cameras such as DSLRs. Megapixels vary, and zoom lenses aren’t as wide in range, but the best underwater cameras will allow you to capture some high-quality action shots! So prepare to get wet ‘n’ wild with our top picks for the best underwater cameras 2017 has to offer. 

1. Nikon Coolpix W300

Snap yourself in action with this adventure companion

Best for: Adventurers | Underwater depth: 30m | Megapixels: 16 | Video: 4K | RRP: £399.99

Share images wirelessly
Very expensive 

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then the Nikon Coolpix W300 is your new best friend. This camera is waterproof up to 30 metres meaning you can capture some fantastic shots with your favourite sea life and built-in GPS allows you to tag your exact location before instantly sharing your memories via Bluetooth connectivity. When filming, the camera automatically adjusts the light for the highest quality underwater videos and it features a 5x optical zoom for close-up shots. 

2. Fujifilm FinePix XP120

A high-quality picture for less

Best for: Value for money | Underwater depth: 15m | Megapixels: 16.4 | Video: 1080P | RRP: £189.99

Long battery life
A bit fiddly 

If you want to get the best price for your pixels, then this Fujifilm FinePix XP120 underwater camera is a great choice at just under £200. This camera comes with many features yet is intuitive and easy to use. Customers love this camera for its long battery life and compact design which makes it easy to carry on your adventures. It has a high resolution, but you do have to fiddle with the settings to get the best quality pictures depending on your environment. 

3. Olympus Tough TG Tracker 4K Action Camera

When the going gets tough, the tough take pictures

Best for: Off the beaten track | Underwater depth: 30m | Megapixels: 7.2 | Video: 4K | RRP: £279.99

60 Lumen headlight
Image stabilisation 
Not for everyday shots 

Do you like to venture off the beaten track on your travels rather than stick with a guide? Then the Olympus Tough TG Tracker 4K Action camera is your must-have companion to ensure you capture even the sketchiest moments. This is a tough little piece of equipment that can withstand the elements no matter where you are. So if you’re swimming in caves or snowboarding down a rocky mountain, this is the best underwater camera for action shots because it has a built in headlight that will give you clearly lit photos every time. Some people don’t like the wide angle fisheye lens but it is perfect for capturing you in action. 

4. Nikon Coolpix W100

The high-tech camera that’s family friendly

Best for: Family holidays | Underwater depth: 10m | Megapixels: 13.2 | Video: 1080p | RRP: £129.99

Range of colours
Too basic for some 

Capture some great memories on your family holidays with this Nikon Coolpix W100 Camera. This is a bargain buy that won’t let you down on quality. If you like the look of the Nikon Coolpix W300 but the price tag is a little high, this is a great alternative. You can shoot HD videos and take sharp photos to share with your friends via SnapBridge instantly. The camera has family-friendly features and an intuitive interface; making it great for even the little ones to snap some action. Perfect for excursions or days by the pool, this camera would make an ideal camera for your first holiday.  

5. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

Get wet ‘n’ wild with this compact camera

Best for: Image sharing | Underwater depth: 13m | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Video: 1080p | RRP: £349.99

Long battery life
Built-in Wi-Fi
A little pricey 

If you love sharing pictures of your travels on social media or a blog, then the Panasonic Lumix FT5 just made your life a whole lot easier. This camera has built-in Wi-Fi for quick and easy file sharing and syncs with The Cloud in case of theft or loss. Although it has a lower depth than some cameras, this is the best underwater camera for backpackers or adrenaline junkies who are always on the move. It has a long battery life meaning you can pack light without the need to carry extra batteries or a charger if going out for the day, and it comes in a range of stylish colours.  

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