The Best Underwater Cameras for Beginners
If there is one thing that’s true in the digital age, it's that we love documenting ourselves. Whether it's in everyday life or on vacation, social media sites have resulted in an increased rate of taking selfies and photographing our surroundings to share with the world. In fact, Google reported that 24 billion selfies were uploaded on their servers in 2015! It's estimated that 1 million selfies are taken daily, with people on average taking between one and four selfies per day.
Using your smartphone can be limiting, however, in terms of where you take pictures. Most people feel a little apprehensive of using their phones around water, and for good reason: over 100,000 smartphones are damaged by liquids every day. If you plan on taking a beach vacation, engaging in water sports including scuba diving, or hiking through waterfalls, you should bring a waterproof camera along with you so that you can capture your memories without ruining your phone or regular camera.
Taking an underwater photograph is different than an above-ground photograph. For one thing, you're going to want your flash on for most photos. Instead of zooming in on objects, try to get close if it is safe and keep your zoom on the widest setting. Clean and calm waters will often result in the best photographs. Finally, make sure to check your batteries before your dive! You don't want to be all the way out on the ocean or lake before realizing that you don't have any battery life left! Finally, obviously, you need a waterproof camera! Check out our favorites!
Top Underwater Camera: Nikon W300
The Nikon W300 is a great underwater camera for beginners. This waterproof camera measures 4.4 inches by 2.6 inches by 1.2 inches and weighs 8.2 ounces with battery and SD memory card installed. It is not only waterproof (to 100 feet), but it is also freezeproof (to 14 degrees), shockproof (surviving drops from up to 7.9 feet), and dustproof. In other words, you can take it anywhere and won't have a panic attack if you accidentally drop it. This camera offers 5x optical zoom so you can get a close-up shot without putting yourself in potential danger. You can use this camera for both still shots and video, and a number of extra features such as GPS, eCompass, altimeter, and depth gauge provide you with additional insight into your adventures. Users found this camera easy to use and even beginners were pleased with their consistently impressive results.
Budget Pick: Fujifilm FinePix XP120
The Fujifilm FinePix XP80 is our favorite budget-friendly waterproof camera. This camera measures 4.3 inches by 2.7 inches by 1 inch and weighs approximately 7.1 ounces including battery and memory card. The LCD monitor measures 3 inches, though there are buttons for operating the camera. This makes it easier to use since often time touchscreens don't work well underwater. This 16.4-megapixel camera can take clear shots and the 5x optical zoom lets you focus on what is important to you. It also has 10x Intelligent Digital Zoom to get you even closer. The Fujifilm FinePix XP80 offers thirteen different shooting modes such as underwater, underwater (macro), beach, snow, sunset, and more, which makes it easy for beginners to use. It feels durable and reviewers note that the camera was not damaged with accidental drops. It's not a high-end camera, but it's a good piece of waterproof technology for the money.
If you're going scuba diving, snorkeling, to the beach, or otherwise engaging in activities where you're bound to get wet, an underwater camera will allow you to capture those memories forever without ruining an expensive piece of technology such as your phone. The Nikon W300 if our favorite waterproof camera for beginners thanks to the quality of its performance and ease-of-use. If you're not ready to shell out close to $400 for a camera, however, check out the Fujifilm FinePix XP120 which offers a lot of good features at a budget-friendly price.