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-6

The Olympus TG-6 continues the company's tradition of making the best compact waterproof cameras on the market. It offers impressive rugged specs, very good image quality with Raw support, 4K video, strong battery life and a tracking feature that associates data from environmental sensors with your photos. The TG-6 has numerous macro and underwater shooting modes, and Olympus offers add-on lenses, flashes, and much more, should you want to expand your system.

Downsides are few; The screen scratches way too easily, controls are cluttered, and there's no Bluetooth support.

If you don't need the additional underwater and macro features of the TG-6, it's worth hunting down the nearly identical TG-5 if it's on sale.

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.