Last updated: August 9, 2021

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A new adventure, a trip, exciting moments with your loved ones or a diving course. These moments want to be remembered and that's why we have taken a close look at different waterproof cameras, outdoor cameras and action cameras.

Because different adventures and needs also require different equipment. Be it stability, functions or handling. Because a waterproof camera is now more than just waterproof.

In our big waterproof camera test 2021, we have summarised the most important information to make the decision a little easier.




Summary

  • A waterproof camera is not just a waterproof camera. It is much more a perfect everyday companion due to its robustness and resistance to heat and cold.
  • In terms of price, waterproof cameras differ in terms of functions, features and water resistance.
  • For all water sports such as diving, surfing, fishing or snorkelling, a waterproof camera is indispensable. But a robust and waterproof camera also cuts a fine figure when hiking or on an excursion.

The Best Waterproof Camera: Our Choices

Waterproof cameras: buying and review criteria

There are many different uses and needs for a waterproof camera. However, they all have one thing in common.

Waterproof cameras have to bring out the best for you and fulfil certain criteria.

We have taken a closer look at the most important buying and evaluation criteria for you and now explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Water resistance

Of course, we don't want a camera that is not waterproof. Therefore, it is important to check whether the water resistance meets your requirements. The cameras differ in the maximum depth at which the camera is waterproof and can withstand water pressure.

With special cameras for diving, you can dive up to 50 metres.

You need to think about what you want to use the camera for. If you want to dive with the camera, we recommend a camera that has a high water resistance.

Outdoor cameras and action cameras differ greatly in their water resistance. Water resistance starts at 2 metres, so it's perfect for snorkelling, swimming, fishing or even as rain protection, for example when hiking or climbing. Water protection can vary from 5-15 metres, depending on the model.

Operation and display

During different activities, we often need to capture the perfect moment with one hand. This requires easy handling of the buttons and the shutter release. But also the operation to be able to make settings on the camera should not need a doctorate.

A display is an advantage for easy operation, in and out of the water. The larger the display, the easier it is to operate. The size of the buttons should be considered. Buttons should be easy to operate even when wearing gloves.

For special wishes, some suppliers offer extra equipment, such as selfie sticks or remote controls.

Stability

The camera can slip out of your hands when climbing or in the hands of children. Therefore, a stable and robust housing is important.

Outdoor and action cameras are not only waterproof but also very stable.

There are differences due to the workmanship. A break resistance of at least 2 metres should be ensured in any case. For all extreme athletes, there are models that guarantee break resistance of up to 20 metres.

But dust and frost protection are not uninteresting for all winter sports enthusiasts. Frost protection of -10 degrees is no longer unusual for outdoor cameras.

Memory and memory card

There is hardly anything more annoying than a full memory. Some cameras in the higher price segment have a very large internal memory. However, external memory cards are a good solution. These are already available in different sizes and variants, and are light and compact.

We therefore recommend waterproof cameras that have a compartment for an external memory card. Not only is it possible to have a seemingly endless amount of photo fun, but the transfer is also very easy.

Megapixels and zoom

The question of megapixels is often not a simple one. This is because the image quality is not only dependent on the megapixels, but also on the resolution, the zoom, the light and also on which device the images are processed.

Basically, we would not recommend a camera with less than 12 megapixels. But here again, a distinction has to be made between which photos are taken. For a particularly good picture quality, a sufficient zoom is necessary in addition to the megapixels. We would recommend a three- or fourfold zoom.

Depending on your preferences and whether you want to edit the photos afterwards, the megapixels and the zoom are important and relevant.

The higher, i.e. the better, the more accurate and beautiful the pictures can be printed out afterwards.

Waterproof cameras: frequently asked questions and answers

With such a wide range of cameras to choose from, some questions may come up. We have looked at the most important questions and answered them for you.

Who is a waterproof camera for?

Basically, a waterproof camera is suitable for anyone who likes to travel and take photos. There are differences in the water resistance, i.e. whether and how deep you can dive or whether the camera can only withstand rain.

Simply put, a waterproof camera is a camera that can withstand more than others. That is why they are also called outdoor or action cameras, because they are also more robust. They are also often protected against frost, dust and heat.

Now you could say that this camera is for all those who like to drop things. Yes, why not. At the same time, the camera is for all those who like to be on the move and want to protect their camera.

Wasserdichte Kamera

There are many accessories especially for action cameras to adapt the camera to your needs (Image source: Jakob Owens / Unsplash)

For various sports such as diving, fishing, snorkelling or climbing, waterproof cameras are an ideal companion.

But a robust camera is certainly not a bad idea for children either.

What types of waterproof cameras are there?

Not all cameras are the same, because each model and each type has different advantages and also disadvantages. Sometimes it is not easy to keep track of them all. In the following table, we have summarised the different types for you briefly and concisely.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Action camera Can be attached to additional equipment and allows freehand shooting, versatile Usually a bit more expensive, complicated handling, very small
Outdoor camera Easy handling, versatile, in different sizes almost too much choice due to different functions depending on model
Compact camera Easy to use, very small and compact and thus ideal for travelling Little additional equipment
Camera for children Very robust, very easy to use, playful design, many extra functions Rather poorer picture quality

As you can see, there is more than just "the one" right camera. But there are cameras that can also adapt to you.

How much does a waterproof camera cost?

The price range between different cameras is very wide. Depending on the functions, the price starts at around 50 euros and goes up to over 500 euros. It does not matter whether it is an action camera, outdoor camera or compact camera.

The better the image resolution, the higher the water resistance and the more stable the camera, the higher the price.

It is therefore extremely important to weigh up which functions are important to me in a camera.

If I never go diving, water resistance will probably not be as important as stability, because I often go hiking.

Wasserdichte Kamera

There are different cameras for different needs, and they also vary in price. (Image source: Jakob Owens / Unsplash)

The best thing to do is to think about how much money you would like to invest and what requirements you have for your camera. Then you can start your search with our tips.

Does a waterproof camera have a battery?

Most waterproof cameras are powered by a rechargeable battery that is charged via a cable. In rare cases, you have to remove the battery from the device to charge it.

Some cameras still run on batteries. We have often seen waterproof cameras for children that are battery operated. The advantage of batteries is that it is quick when the batteries are empty. Just replace them and go on. However, depending on how the camera is used, the battery runs out quite quickly. Moreover, the use of batteries is not very environmentally friendly.

We therefore recommend a camera with a rechargeable battery, as this usually lasts longer. Here, too, there are differences and you should always pay attention to the battery life specified by the manufacturer.

If the battery is broken, some manufacturers offer spare parts.

What alternatives are there to a waterproof camera?

But it doesn't always have to be a new camera. There are alternatives that we don't want to deprive you of.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Disposable analogue camera Usually quite cheap, available in local drugstores, very easy to use Single use, poor image quality
Protective covers/boxes Inexpensive, purchase with existing camera, ideal for rain Not robust, not suitable for deeper dives, can affect image quality

Think about what is important to you and then decide if you want a new camera or if one of the alternatives is better for you.

Conclusion

A waterproof camera, outdoor camera or action camera, is suitable for all sports enthusiasts, but also for amateur photographers and adventure seekers. A waterproof camera is now not only waterproof, but also stable and easy to use.

There is a suitable camera for a wide range of sports. Diving, fishing, climbing, snorkelling. A camera can be purchased for the respective needs.

But waterproof cameras also have a lot to offer technically. They are not lacking in megapixels, resolution and display size. For special wishes, some cameras have a WiFi and/or Bluetooth function.

Image source: Lishchenko / 123rf

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