Last updated: June 11, 2018

Whether you want a compact camera for a trip to the beach or ski resort - or maybe just something that the kids won't break - there are plenty of waterproof, rugged cameras available at a variety of price-points.

All of the cameras in our group are waterproof, freezeproof and dustproof, while a few are also crushproof. With the exception of the SeaLife DC2000, the cameras have zoom lenses in the 4X-5X range, while the DC2000 has a fixed, 31mm equiv. prime. The DC2000 is also unique in having the only 1"-type sensor in the group, which should give it a big leg up on the other cameras in this market segment, which use 1/2.3" sensors. The Nikon W100 comes in even smaller with a 1/3.1" sensor equivalent to what's in a smartphone.


Our pick: Olympus Tough TG-5

Olympus has made many of our favorite rugged cameras and that tradition continues with the TG-5. Naturally, it can dive deep, freeze, be dropped or be crushed without skipping a beat. It also has a cool tracking mode that keeps a log of your location and altitude during your travels. Olympus has created a number of useful accessories for the TG-5, including fisheye and telephoto adapters and a ring flash.

While the TG-5's image quality will never match a camera with a larger sensor, such as the SeaLife DC2000, it's still very good. Having Raw support is a big deal, allowing you to adjust contrast and remove color casts in underwater photos. Performance is generally snappy (notably burst shooting speeds,) battery life is excellent and 4K video looks good.

Downsides are few; The control dial is poorly placed, there's no shutter priority mode, the video record button is too flush with the body and the screen scratches way too easily. Overall, though, the TG-5 is the best rugged camera in this class.

Also consider: SeaLife DC2000

If you want better image quality and don't mind having a fixed focal length lens, the SeaLife DC2000 is well worth considering. On its own the DC2000 can go 18m / 60ft underwater and with its included housing* those numbers increase to 60m / 200ft. The DC2000 has a 1"-type, 20 Megapixel sensor and a 31mm equiv. F1.8 lens. Image quality is markedly better than the rest of the cameras in the group, and Raw support lets you get the most of it the sensor.

What you won't find on the DC2000 is GPS, super-close macro mode or 4K video. Battery life is relatively poor, as well. But if you're a diver who wants to 'focus' on image quality, the DC2000 is easily the best in the group.

* You can purchase the camera without the housing directly through SeaLife


While we haven't completed full reviews of the cameras in this group, the summaries below give you a good idea about their feature sets and how they perform.