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The Best Cheap Waterproof Camera

Updated on March 18, 2014

Get a cheap underwater camera that takes great photos

Are you looking for an affordable rugged camera that can shoot excellent quality photos? You can find underwater cameras under $100 on the market, but the resolution on these models is typically low and they don't offer many features. If you're going on a once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling adventure, you probably don't want to choose one of those models.

Fortunately, for under $200, you can choose from a few rugged underwater models that not only take great photos, but also capture HD video as well. Here's a look some of the best cheap waterproof cameras for 2014.

(Image: Panasonic TS25 available on Amazon. See link below.)

The Best Cheap Waterproof Camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25

The Panasonic TS25 takes the title for best cheap waterproof camera due to its high resolution, four-way rugged protection, ability to shoot HD video, in-camera editing features and its excellent price.

The TS25 is waterproof down to 23 feet, shockproof for falls from up to 5 feet, freezeproof down to 14°F and dust proof. So it can go just about anywhere. And with a 16 MP sensor, 4x optical zoom (8x digital zoom) and 720p HD video, you're sure to get great shots with this little point-and-shoot. The Lumix also offers creative panorama and 12 in-camera filter effects.

There are definitely more expensive and feature-laden waterproof models on the market from big names like Nikon and Canon, but if you're looking to get a decent camera at a good price, you can't go wrong with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25 waterproof camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25 16.1 MP Tough Digital Camera with 8x Intelligent Zoom (Blue)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25 16.1 MP Tough Digital Camera with 8x Intelligent Zoom (Blue)

Product description:

The FinePix XP50 is outstandingly durable. It's waterproof to a depth of 5m (15 feet) and can capture both movies and still images underwater. The camera's casing will withstand shocks or drops from a height of 1.5m, while cold environments are also no problem for this rough and ready device. The FinePix XP50 can withstand temperatures down to -10�C and dust is never a problem, with all the camera's access points specially sealed for ultimate protection.

 

See It in Action - Sample video from the Lumix TS25

What type of images can you capture with a rugged camera? Take a look at this video for a sample. These cameras are great for use in the pool, ocean, lake or local water park.

An Affordable Runner-Up - Nikon Coolpix S31

What sets the Nikon S31 apart from other underwater digital cameras is its ease-of-use. Nikon is marketing this as a camera that the whole family can use, from kids to grandparents, so they've simplified the menus and controls. Then they added a whole host of fun options, such as in-camera albums and slideshows, and special effects such as starbursts, soft focus and digital borders.

Some of these options will probably appeal more to kids than adults, but the family-friendly point-and-shoot comes with solid photo shooting capabilities that everyone will appreciate. It has a 10.1 MP sensor, 3x zoom and 720p HD video. It's waterproof to 9.8 feet, shockproof to 2.6 feet and dustproof. And it's priced to appeal to families.

If you need a simple model that the kids can use, too, you won't find a cheap waterproof camera that's easier to use than this one. Check out my article on the Best Nikon for Kids to see photos my 5-year-old and 11-year-old kids took with the predecessor, the Nikon S30, to get an idea of what's possible.

The S31 is available in blue, pink, white, brown or yellow.

More Options to Consider - Find other underwater models

Want some other options to consider? The following list shows the bestselling models in Amazon's underwater camera category and is updated daily so you can see what's popular. Many of these cameras will be much more expensive than the models shown above, but you can find mid-range models that achieve a good balance between price and features. Also, don't forget that these waterproof, shockproof models are great for shooting on land, too. They're perfect for travel!

SVP 18MP Pink WP6800 2.4" LCD Digital Waterproof Camera
SVP 18MP Pink WP6800 2.4" LCD Digital Waterproof Camera

These models are cheap, but don't expect great quality.

 

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Take Photos Anywhere

Rugged cameras are great for water parks, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking or any other activity in or around water. But don't forget they're also great for shooting on land!

Have You Ever Owned a Waterproof Camera? - Or is it still on your wish list?

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Have you ever owned a camera you could use underwater?

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Cheap Waterproof Camera Reviews and Comments - Share your thoughts

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    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 3 years ago

      @pluson: The lighting underwater can be tricky, but if you're in shallow water (for instance, while swimming in a pool or snorkeling in the ocean), you should have plenty of light and the color will be fairly natural. The main problem when shooting at these depths is going to be the possibly of backscatter, or little particles that reflect light and make white spots in your photo. To minimize the possibility of backscatter, change your angle until you no longer see spots in the water and avoid using the camera's flash.

    • profile image

      pluson 3 years ago

      How about the lighting underwater? Will it be tough to take a steady shot?

      Informative lens! Good job.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 4 years ago

      I think my underwater camera is a Fuji and it works great even though the case is cracked.

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: That's a nice camera! Definitely not as cheap, but if you're looking for an underwater camera with a high resolution, Sony is an excellent option. They've replaced the DSC TX10 with a new model this year (TX20), and it's worth a look for anyone who wants a more expensive model. Here are some other new waterproof models this year:

      http://www.squidoo.com/new-waterproof-cameras

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      I have a Sony DSC TX10 which I dearly love. It's not as inexpensive as the waterproof cameras you've detailed but it's one of the best out there, imho. I've gotten some stellar underwater shots with it. BTW, your self portrait article continues to crack me up. Love that one too!

    • profile image

      mistaben 4 years ago

      Interesting Waterproof Camera lens =)

    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      Yes! I'm looking for a cheap waterproof camera that can shoot excellent quality photos! This lens suit my needs.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 4 years ago from Maryland

      My mom needs one of these. She lives in FL and loves to take pictures, but she is always afraid to take her expensive camera out on the water. A waterproof camera would be perfect!

    • AstroGremlin profile image

      AstroGremlin 4 years ago

      I put a Flip video camera in a ziplock bag and it worked okay to film underwater. But later it died.

    • profile image

      alicialoyd 4 years ago

      Great list, very helpful. Fuji cam seems great.

    • profile image

      barbiefashionistas 5 years ago

      I want such a camera for when I am surfing next time in Hawaii.

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      I need to buy it, but I am seriously lagging.. great lens, thanks or sharing!! I cannot wait to purchase one.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I have this camera! We got it for the beach, and it has since stayed in my pocketbook, ready for those sunset pictures we may happen up. We did capture a rainbow with it ~ boy, was I glad I had it with me! It does take great pictures! B : )

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @Dressage Husband: I haven't taken any of my waterproof cameras in the ocean yet, but I'm planning to take the Panasonic TS4 on my next scuba dive.(I won't be taking the XP30 because it's only rated for 16.5 feet.) I don't really anticipate any problems.

      If the camera was in salt water every day over an extended period, then it might be a problem, but think about the metal you dive with - the tank, the octopus, the metal clasps for straps on your mask and fins, etc. Those do just fine in the salt water if you take care of them properly.

      All the waterproof camera manufacturers recommend that you rinse the camera off in clean tap water after every use, and I always do that when we get out of the pool, and you should definitely do that after getting out of salt water.

      The most vulnerable aspect of these cameras - as with any underwater housing - is really the waterproof seal. If they don't seal well, you're in trouble. Otherwise, I fully expect to be using my waterproof cameras for quite a few years.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      This was very interesting do you know how well they hold up if you use them in salt water? The reason I ask is because for snorkeling and scuba they usually recommend a plastic shell designed for the specific camera. I would be concerned about salt damage to the optics and any metal on the case.

      If Funi have a solution to those issues then I am really impressed with the quality of the shots and the overall value of the camera.

    • profile image

      WinWriter 5 years ago

      Helpful lens about waterproof cameras. I went snorkeling for the first time last year and we definitely plan to take another trip like that. We saw so many beautiful fish that I wish I had a good waterproof camera at the time!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great information!

    • shreeve21 profile image

      shreeve21 5 years ago

      those are some NICE cameras! Good finds!

    • Shoputopian profile image

      Karnel 5 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      I have 2 cameras and silly me never did get a waterproof camera, next time I guess after reading your great information, thanks for sharing