Whether you're sightseeing during a London downpour or wading through Costa Rican hot springs, an underwater camera will come in handy and should be part of everyone's travel arsenal. But which underwater camera is best for the common traveler? Well, I'm getting ready to buy my first underwater camera and after a few weeks of testing and research, here's my recommendations.
RICOH WG-4 with GPS
This is my #1 pick and should be arriving in the mail any day now. It's got everything you want and does it better than the competition- extreme durability, GPS tracking so you always know where your photos were taken, 1080HD video, super cool features like time laps and microscope mode, it's extremely fast to catch those quick moving shots (like when your friend swims quickly away from a giant shark) and it is one of the few crushproof cameras out there. This is the best camera you can buy before moving up to the next level of professional/pricey underwater cameras. Be on the lookout for example photos from my upcoming trip to Punta Cana.
Since this is a brand new camera, check out Amazon reviews for the Pentax WG-3, which is the previously released version.
NIKON COOLPIX AW120
The Nikon comes in a very close second for a great underwater camera. This is the exact camera we used during our trip to Huatulco and it worked phenomenally. It picked up crisp detail, vibrant color and took impressive HD videos. The Nikon comes with GPS and Wifi, unlike the Ricoh and has a nice wide angle lens. This camera was tested in the ocean, in the pool and on the beach and it withstood every test while taking perfect photos time and time again. With a slightly lower price tag than the Ricoh, this is an easy choice for the Type A traveler.
GoPRO HERO3+ BLACK EDITION
This is hands down the best option for adventure seekers and marries great photo quality with professional video capabilities into a tiny little box. This new version is lighter, faster, sharper and has an upgraded ultra wide angle lens. The kit includes a mount and a Wifi remote so you can keep the camera on your head and press stop and record with the remote in hand.
FLOATING CAMERA STRAP
Most underwater cameras, including all of the ones that I listed, DO NOT float. Buy a cheap strap and keep your investment safe. I like the Chums one based on the 500+ reviews and the fact that it's yellow so that you can easily spot it in the water.