Going somewhere nice? We take a look at some of the best waterproof cameras on the market at the moment to help you decide on a companion

Most major camera manufacturers now offer some form of waterproof compact as part of their ‘rugged’ compact range, usually waterproof to a depth of between 10 and 30 metres. While there are a couple of exceptions, most waterproof compacts are built around small 1/2.3in sensors and are perfect as handy, portable companions for an underwater adventure. Here are six of our favourite models on the market at the moment.

Olympus TG-4

Price: £262 | www.olympus.co.uk


Key specs:

  • Sensor: 1/2.3in, 16MP CMOS
  • Lens: 25-100mm f/2-4.9
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-6,400
  • Waterproof depth: 15m
  • Dimensions: 112 x 66 x 31mm
  • Weight: 247g including battery and card

Waterproof to a depth of 15 metres, the excellent TG-4 is ideal for general snorkelling as well as freediving in shallow water. With a 16MP CMOS sensor the TG-4 features a 4x optical zoom lens (25-100mm equivalent), and a 3in 460k-dot LCD display. The TG-4 offers a host of automatic shooting modes including five distinct Underwater modes. Better still, it can also capture Raw images, which gives you greater post-processing potential. Olympus sells a range of accessories that can be used with the TG-4, such as the FCON-T01 fisheye attachment (£130) and the LG-1 Macro ring light flash (£30).


Nikon AW130

Price: £200 | www.nikon.co.uk


Key specs:

  • Sensor: 1/2.3in, 16MP CMOS
  • Lens: 24-120mm f/2.8-4.9
  • Sensitivity: ISO 125-6,400
  • Waterproof depth: 30m
  • Dimensions: 110.4 x 66 x 26.8mm
  • Weight: 221g including battery and card

With a depth rating of 30m the AW130 is ideal for snorkelling, swimming and shallow water dives. It has a 16MP CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom with a 35mm focal range equivalent of 24-120mm. The 3in, 921k-dot OLED display on the rear is one of the sharper displays found on this type of camera. There’s built-in Wi-fi and NFC connectivity that enable you to transfer images to a compatible smartphone or tablet, as well as control the camera remotely. The AW130 also has a built-in GPS and altimeter module that writes location and depth data directly to your images. Keeping this permanently switched on affects battery life, though.


Panasonic Lumix FT-5

Price: £200 | www.panasonic.com


Key specs:

  • Sensor: 1/2.3in, 16.1MP back-illuminated MOS
  • Lens: 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-3,200
  • Waterproof depth: 13m
  • Dimensions: 109.2 x 67.4 x 28.9mm
  • Weight: 188g without battery and card

Launched in 2013, the FT-5 remains Panasonic’s flagship waterproof compact. With a depth rating of 13 metres the FT-5 isn’t designed for deep water diving, but is ideal for snorkelling, swimming and splashing around in the hotel pool with. It has a 16.1MP CMOS sensor and a 4.6x optical zoom (28-128mm equiv.). At f/3.3 the FT-5’s maximum aperture is a little on the slow side though. It boasts a built-in GPS module that records location data as well as altitude/depth data, along with built-in Wi-fi and NFC connectivity so you can pair the camera with your smartphone or tablet to either transfer images or control the camera remotely.


Canon D30

Price: £180 | www.canon.co.uk


Key specs:

  • Sensor: 1/2.3in, 12.1MP back-illuminated CMOS
  • Lens: 28-140mm f/3.9-4.8
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-3,200
  • Waterproof depth: 25m
  • Dimensions: 109.4 x 68 x 27.5mm
  • Weight: 218g including battery and card

Released in 2014, the D30 remains a competent little waterproof camera that, with a depth rating of 25 metres, can easily handle shallower dives as well as snorkelling and swimming. While there’s no built-in Wi-fi or NFC connectivity, the D30 does have a basic GPS module that can tag images with location data. Unlike more modern waterproof compacts, its GPS functionality does not extend to recording depth or altitude data. The D30 benefits from large buttons for easy handling and a large – if not particularly sharp – 3in, 460k-dot LCD display. Overall, while it’s starting to show its age, the D30 is still good value for money.


Nikon 1 AW1

Price: £550 | www.nikon.co.uk


Key specs:

  • Sensor: 14.2MP CX-format (1in) CMOS
  • Lens: 30-74mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Sensitivity: ISO 160-6,400
  • Waterproof depth: 15m
  • Dimensions: 113.3 x 71.5 x 37.6mm
  • Weight: 356g including battery and card

Released in 2014, the Nikon 1 AW1 was the first Compact System Camera designed to withstand being fully submerged in water and is still the only waterproof CSC. Nikon offers two fully waterproofed lenses for it: a 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 (30-74mm equiv.), and a 10mm f/2.8 (27mm equiv.). The lens mount can also take all the non-waterproofed Nikon 1 lenses. The AW1 has a 1in CX-format CMOS sensor – which is much larger than the sensors used in most waterproof compacts – and can record Raw as well as JPEGs. It also has built-in Wi-fi and NFC, plus a GPS module that measures depth/altitude as well as positional data.


GoPro Hero4 Silver

Price: £330 | shop.gopro.com


Key specs:

  • Sensor: 1/2.3in, 12MP CMOS
  • Lens: 14/21/28mm, f/2.8
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-6,400
  • Waterproof depth: 40m
  • Dimensions 71 x 71 x 39mm inside housing
  • Weight: 147g including housing

As regular readers will know we like to throw a bit of a curveball in, and this time it’s GoPro’s Hero4 Silver. We’ve chosen the Hero4 Silver over the more expensive Hero4 Black because it has a built-in touchscreen that allows you to be much more precise when composing still images. If you want the more advanced video options of the Black edition, GoPro makes an optional LCD Touch BacPac display for around £65. The Hero4 Silver can capture 12MP still images and is waterproof down to 40m when placed in its protective housing. GoPro also offers accessories for its Hero4 cameras, including specialist underwater filters.