8 Best Waterproof Compact Cameras of 2019

These days, as waterproof technology for adventure sports is becoming more and more popular, it can be tough to find the best product. The market is full of waterproof tech that sounds great, but doesn’t really work as advertised. Waterproof compact cameras are definitely no exception.

To help you out, we have put together this buyer’s guide and list of the top 8 waterproof compact cameras on the market right now. All of these little cameras are 100% waterproof, functional and easy to use – and they are all absolutely worth the price. They would make a great gift for a loved one, or a handy gadget for your next adventure.

Ready to learn more? Read on.

How to Choose the Best Waterproof Compact Camera

Waterproof Rating

It may sound silly, but the term “waterproof” does not always mean the same thing. There are tons of different levels of waterproofing. Some products out there that claim to be waterproof will hold up during a rainstorm, but can’t be submerged underwater. Others can be submerged, but only to a certain depth. Before you pick out your waterproof compact camera, you are going to want to know exactly how waterproof it is.

One good indicator to look for is an IP rating. IP, or Ingress Protection ratings, are a measure of how well sealed an enclosure is. An IP rating of 65 or higher tells you that the enclosure is sealed against moisture as well as dust. IP67 or 68 ratings tell you that the enclosure can be completely submerged in water up to a certain depth.

A lot of cameras out there will tell you exactly the depth of water it can be submerged to safely. As you go deeper underwater, pressure increases, and waterproof casing is more likely to crack. You should look for a camera that can be submerged at least to around 20 feet, for the most secure waterproofing. 

Size

The ideal size of your waterproof camera depends on how you would like to use it. Smaller, more compact cameras like most GoPro models are great for mounting on your body or gear to constantly record what you are doing – people use these kinds of cameras when snowboarding, waterskiing, skateboarding or other outdoor activities.

On the other hand, if you are just looking for a handheld camera that you can safely use in the water (for family vacations, beach days, etc.) you may want to look for a larger size that you can comfortably hold. The advantage of a larger camera is that you can aim and shoot more easily, and review your pictures on a digital screen as you go.

In summary, for continuous recording of action sports, you should go smaller (2-4 inches tall) and for more casual, handheld shooting, you might want to go larger (5-8 inches tall).

Digital Display and Bluetooth

Some more simple models of waterproof cameras do not come with a digital display. That means that you will not be able to review your photos and videos as you are shooting, and you will not be able to clearly see the charge level or camera settings. A digital or LCD screen makes it easier to use your camera. Even with the smallest compact sizes, it helps to be able to adjust the settings and see how your photos and video are turning out.

Another super helpful feature is Bluetooth connectivity. If your camera is Bluetooth enabled, you can stream photos and video directly to a compatible app on your smartphone or laptop, no cables required. This is especially helpful on a smaller camera, so that you can see your content more clearly than on the tiny LCD display.

Bluetooth connectivity will drive the price of your waterproof camera up, but the price hike might be worth it for the convenience.

Top Waterproof Cameras of 2019

1. Garmin Virb XE Compact, Waterproof G-Metrix HD Action Camera

Garmin Virb XE Compact, Waterproof G-Metrix HD Action Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 1.6” x 3” x 1.5”
  • Weight: 5.4 ounces
  • LCD display: No

The Garmin Virb is a super lightweight, durable camera for high speed and action. It is designed to clearly capture video and audio while you are moving. This particular model comes with tons of accessories, and would make a great gift for the adventurer in your life.

The camera is a professional-grade video camera, shooting HD quality videos with image stabilization to reduce blur. The 12 pixel camera can take photo bursts in up to 30 frames per second as well as time lapse photos. It is easy to start, stop and adjust settings, but does not come with a digital display screen. The whole camera is super rugged and durable, waterproof up to 50 meters without any extra casing.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Smooth recording and audio at high speeds.
  • Bluetooth compatibility.
  • Comes with multiple accessories for convenient use.
  • High durability without an additional case

Cons

  • No display screen.
  • Photo quality not as great as video quality.

2. Sony 1.0-type Sensor Ultra-Compact Camera

Sony 1.0-type Sensor Ultra-Compact Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 2.4” x 1.6” x 1.2”
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • LCD display: Yes

This Sony camera packs a lot of power in a tiny, compact size. It is waterproof and shockproof, and takes smooth, clean videos and photos even at high speeds. This could be a great tool for a pro athlete or avid vlogger.

The Sony 1.0-type is one of the smallest cameras on our list – just about 2.5 inches tall and under 10 ounces. It is easy to mount on a vest, helmet, belt or other gear for continuous recording. The camera has an LCD digital monitor to review what you have shot and adjust the settings. It is also Wifi compatible to connect to the Sony mobile app. Video quality is detailed and clear, even while you are moving.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Super compact and lightweight.
  • Monitor as you shoot on LCD screen.
  • Wifi connectivity.
  • Waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters) without additional casing.

Cons

  • Tiny size makes it difficult to handle.
  • No image stabilization – movement may show up in video and photos.

3. GoPro HERO5 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera

GoPro HERO5 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 1.8” x 2.4” x 1.3”
  • Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • LCD display: Yes

It’s hard to talk about compact, waterproof cameras without bringing up GoPro. This is the company that changed the photography game. The Hero5 is a little outdated now, but still a great action sports camera and very affordable for the quality.

The Hero5 comes in the lightweight, super compact size standard for most GoPro cameras. It has an LCD touchscreen display to monitor what you have shot and adjust the settings. There is also a smaller digital display on the front of the camera to check the battery level, recording status and memory card at a glance. The camera is submergible up to 33 feet (10 meters) without additional casing.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High quality pictures and video.
  • 2 inch touchscreen display.
  • Bluetooth connectivity to stream to an app.
  • Multiple GoPro cases and accessories available.

Cons

  • Older, slightly outdated GoPro model.
  • Does not perform as well in bright light as more recent models.

4. GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera

GoPro HERO6 Black Waterproof Digital Action Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 1.8” x 2.4” x 1.3”
  • Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • LCD display: Yes

Moving on to the next generation of GoPro Hero – the Hero6 is an upgraded model, with stunning HD video, a rugged waterproof build and easy streaming and sharing.

The Hero6 definitely tops the Hero5 in terms of video quality – it has an optimized GP1 chip and improved image stabilization for a clear picture no matter how much you are moving around. It works great in all lighting, and shares videos to a compatible app as you shoot, so there is no waiting to view. The 2 inch LCD display now comes with a zoom feature to get a clearer picture before and while you are shooting.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Clear, stable image quality.
  • Instant streaming capability.
  • Redesigned intuitive touch screen.
  • Super easy to mount or use as a handheld camera.

Cons

  • High or low extreme temperatures will affect battery life.
  • Can only stream and edit videos with the compatible app.

5. GoPro HERO7 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera

GoPro HERO7 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 1.8” x 2.4” x 1.3”
  • Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • LCD display: Yes

The Hero7 is the last GoPro on our list, and the most recent model of the Hero line. This camera has all the great features of the previous Hero models, with improved video and photo quality and some new technical features.

The 2 inch touchscreen display allows you to zoom and adjust camera settings easily as you are shooting. The camera comes equipped with GoPro’s SuperPhoto technology, which will filter, clarify and reduce noise in photos automatically, so you get clean, pure shots every time. One of the coolest features of this Hero camera compared to the previous models is voice control technology – the camera will actually respond to your voice commands, so you can use it hands-free while you are on the go.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Improved photo quality.
  • Voice commands for hands-free use.
  • Instant streaming and sharing to app.
  • Intuitive touchscreen display.

Cons

  • Lower battery life than older models.
  • Prone to overheating in high temperatures.

6. Nikon COOLPIX S33 White Waterproof Digital Camera

Nikon COOLPIX S33 White Waterproof Digital Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 6.42” x 2.6” x 6.18”
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • LCD display: No

This Nikon camera is a little bigger than some of the other options on our list, but great for shooting casual photos and video in and out of the water.

The camera has a wide-angle lens with a high-capacity automatic zoom. It takes clear photos and video, especially in bright sunlight. Waterproof up to 33 feet, this is a great camera for capturing memories on a family beach day or at the pool.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Super easy to handle and use.
  • Automatic zoom.
  • High quality photos in bright light.
  • Large memory capacity.

Cons

  • No image stabilization – not recommended for action sports.
  • Not easy to mount.

7. Ricoh G800 Waterproof Compact Digital Camera

Ricoh G800 Waterproof Compact Digital Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 1.6” x 4.7” x 2.8”
  • Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • LCD display: No

This Ricoh digital camera is rugged, durable and great for travel. It is fairly small, but still large enough to hold and handle easily. It is dust resistant, shock proof, and waterproof up to 33 feet. While it does not take stabilized video, it is great for simple photos in any conditions.

This is not the best cameras for action sports. If you are looking for a durable camera for travel and outdoor adventures, though, it could be a great choice.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable shock-proof, dust resistant design.
  • Simple, intuitive controls.
  • Shoots clear photos in bright light.
  • Small enough to travel with easily.

Cons

  • Not as great photo quality as some other options.
  • No image stabilization.

8. Fujifilm FinePix XP120 Compact Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP120 Compact Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 6” x 8”x 2”
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • LCD display: Yes

Last up on our list is an extremely user-friendly little camera from Fujifilm that could make a great addition to your next family camping trip.

This camera is shock proof and waterproof up to 65 feet. It has a wide lens with a clear, automatic zoom feature and takes great quality pictures even in motion. The controls are easy to use and understand, and the LCD display on the back of the camera allows you to review your photos and videos as you go.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Shockproof and waterproof up to 65 feet.
  • Easy to use and view photos – great for kids.
  • Clear, high quality zoom.
  • Lightweight and easy to travel with.

Cons

  • Not as high quality photos in low light.
  • Not great for action videos.