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Top 7 Best Waterproof Cameras

We look at the digital camera market and pick out seven of the best waterproof cameras for underwater and water sport use.

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Read our updated guide to the Top 10 Best Waterproof Cameras.

Waterproof digital cameras are becoming even more interesting looking and feature packed. Today's breed have video modes and fancy focusing options such as subject tracking and face detection. Many have a brace of scene modes and some have exposure compensation. But which are the best waterproof cameras you  should consider for your outdoor activities? Here we review seven of the current models from the leading camera manufacturers, which not only offer waterproofing, but add shock, dust and freeze-proof features too. 

underwater digital cameras
Panasonic Lumix FT3
The latest in a line of Panasonic underwater models adds GPS to the feature list. This records the latitude and longitude of your photo location and adds it in to the exif data. This camera has an extremely tough body with rugged design and is waterproof to 12m and shockproof to 2m. It's even freezeproof to -10 degrees C and dustproof. You can shoot stills on the 12.1mp sensor or record full HD movies and there's a 3D mode. 
Attractive looking, bang up to date with spec and as rugged as they come!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 digital camera

Fujifilm Finepix XP10 digital camera
Cool colours, fun shape and useful 5x optical zoom. This one's waterproof to 3m and shockproof to 1m. So not quite as rugged as the Panasonic, but just a few quid over £100 makes it a bargain, especially considering it's 12 megapixel, has a large 2.7in monitor and has an easy to web upload making it quick to throw your pictures on facebook and videos on youtube.
 Fujifilm Finepix XP10 digital camera

Sony Cybershot TX10
A super slim model with a large 3in touch screen LCD for easier setting of controls. Waterproof down to 5m and a close focus of 1cm makes it a versatile option that can shoot stills, video or 3D format. The Carl Zeiss 4x optical zoom ouzes quality and the 16mp Exmor R CMOS sensor ensures large prints can be made. Looks like a real camera, so good for nights out too. 
Sony Cybershot TX10 digital camera

Olympus mju TOUGH 8010
Feels slightly more soldily built than some of the competitiors and has better rugged factors. Useful 5x zoom range with a close focus of 3cm and a host of 19 scene modes from fireworks to cuisine, plus some interesting filter effects, such as pop art and pinhole. The movie mode is quite basic, but the 14mp sensor makes up for this for still shooters.
Olympus mju TOUGH 8010 digital camera

Canon Powershot D10
The Canon D10 is starting to look a bit dated in terms of spec with its moderate 3x zoom and 12.1mp sensor, but still up there in the design front. If you're after a camera for beach and water activities this one certianly looks and feels the part, but not so good for video as most of the others have superceeded it with HD recording. The lens offers a close focus of 3cm and face detection focusing.

Canon Powershot D10 digital camera

Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS
Recently launched Pentax model with built in GPS sensor makes it greate for location shooting with geo-tagging, and the heavy duty construction makes it a go-everywhere-in-any-weather camera.  Another interesting option is the macro mode of just 1cm with 5 LED lights around the lens to illuminate the subject in a ring light style.
 Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS digital camera
Casio Exilim EX-G1
When 30 Editors of the most respected magazines in Europe get together and give a camera the TIPA Award for Best Rugged Compact 2010 it has to mean something. Shock, dust, water and freeze proof this is one for the great outdoors, and it looks cool too. Spec wise it's starting to lag behind a bit with a 12mp sensor, 3x zoom and standard video. It does however have spot metering and spot focus to ensure more accurate results and an interval timer for timelapse. 
Casio Exilim EX-G1 digital camera
Specifications compared (bold is best)
  Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 Fujifilm Finepix XP10 Sony Cyber-shot TX10 Olympus mju TOUGH 8010 Canon Powershot D10 Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Casio Exilim EX-G1
Price £299 £114 £300 £255 £215  £279 £178
Sensor 12.1 12.2mp 16.2mp 14mp 12.1mp 14mp 12.1mp
Optical zoom 4.6x 5x 4x 5x 3x 5x 3x
35mm equiv 28-128mm 36-180mm 25-100mm 28-140mm 35-105mm 28-140mm 38-114mm
Waterproof depth 12m 3m 5m 10m 10m 10m 3m
Shockproof 2m 1m 1.5m 2m 1.22m 1.5m 2.13m
Freezeproof -10 -10 -10 -10   -10 -10
Video mode 1920 1080 1280 720 640 1280 640 (848-wide)
Shutter speeds 8-1/1300sec 1/4-1/2000sec 2-1/1600sec 4-1/2000sec 15-1/1500sec 4-1/1500sec 4-1/1250sec
LCD Monitor size 2.7in 2.7in 3.0in 2.7in 2.5in 2.7in 2.5in
3D mode yes no yes no no no no
Image Stabilization yes yes yes yes no yes no
Weight 175g 135g 133g 215g 212g 167g 154g

Sony Cyber-shot TX10Overall winner

It's a tough call, parden the pun, but there's got to be just one winner. We've chosen the Sony, Cyber-shot TX10. It may not look as fun as some of the others, but just because it's designed for outdoor sport use doesn't mean it has to look like a bathtime accessory.

The Cyber-shot TX10 will look just as good when you're out in the evening, but has a rugged case that makes it great for the rough conditions too.

Its larger LCD is brilliant for looking at results or framing up shots and the touch screen makes easy work of setting modes.

It's not as useful for deeper underwater shooting, but if you're going that deep you really need a serious underwater model anyway. The camera's video mode is high resolution, the sensor is the best of the bunch and the Carl Zeiss lens really will deliver super sharp  results.  
All that in the lightest body, makes it a model to carry at all times.   

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3
Read our updated guide to the Top 10 Best Waterproof Cameras.
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23 Jun 2011 10:08AM
Have you actually tried the Sony Cyber-shot TX10 in underwater photography or it was judged merely on "looks". Touch screen is not very useful underwater especially for adults who have big fingers. With hard buttons and controls, one can just feel one's way around. I would vote for Olympus mju TOUGH 8010. It has looks and function.

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"even freezeproof to -10C". I expect most cameras have no problems in -10C. My Nikon D50 was fine in -20C and it is not marketed as "freeze-proof".
15 Aug 2011 11:01AM
The article missed the most important rating Sad

Which one took the best quality pictures overall?

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