Best waterproof cameras and housings in 2023

If you want to capture underwater images, don’t miss our guide to the best waterproof compact cameras and housings, by Claire Gillo and the AP team.

Our guide to the best waterproof cameras and housings in 2023 will help you capture spectacular images and videos of the world beneath the water. Whether you’re looking for a serious setup for deep-sea diving, or a casual little waterproof action camera for watersports vlogging, this guide will have the right model for you. We’ve tested plenty of waterproof cameras and housings over our years of reviewing cameras, and the options on this list are the ones we feel offer the best value for money.

First off, waterproof cameras and housings are different things, and we’ve covered both in this guide. The difference is simple; waterproof cameras are self-contained shooters in their own right, while waterproof housings are protective cases that you put a regular camera inside. A waterproof camera tends to be an inexpensive option, while housings are designed generally for professionals, and can frequently command four-figure price tags (though not always, as we’ll see).

The upshot is that underwater photography is possible to pursue on any budget – you just need to do some research and find the right kit. So before we start the list, let’s take a quick look at how to choose the best waterproof cameras and housings.

How to choose the best waterproof cameras and housings

As we’ve touched on already, the first question to answer is this: do you want a new camera to take underwater, or do you want to take your current camera setup into the deep? If it’s the latter, then you’re looking for an underwater housing. These can and do range wildly in price, from simple wraparound bags with two-digit price tags, to sophisticated housing rigs that cost thousands. We’ve recommended a few in the latter half of this guide – just make sure you get one that is compatible with your specific camera model!

If you’d rather keep your main camera out of the water (or you don’t have one), then your choices are going to be between tough compacts and action cameras, both of which we’ve included in the first part of this guide. Tough compacts look more like the camera form factor you’re used to, with a thin body, centrally placed lens and shutter button on top. Action cameras, meanwhile, are smaller and boxier – the GoPro HERO is the most famous, and they all pretty much look like that.

Which should you choose? Tough cameras are probably better for photographers, offering a greater level of manual control over stills, and often being equipped with optical zoom lenses. They tend to be easier to handle generally, with more physical controls, and also will often have a built-in flash, which is hugely useful underwater where the light is poor.

Action cameras, however, are often better for videographers, with higher resolution and frame rates (there’s a reason that GoPro shots have started showing up in Hollywood movies). They’re also much more wearable, with mounts available for chest, head, helmet and more, so they’re especially good for recording watersports and scuba jaunts.

We’ve included plenty of all the different options on this list, to give you a sense of which you might prefer. So let’s get into it!

If you want to cut to the chase, here is a quick rundown of the best waterproof cameras and housings…

Best waterproof cameras:

Best waterproof housings:

  • Best for serious divers and underwater photographers: Nauticam ​​NA-A1 for Sony A1 – check best price
  • Best for Micro Four Thirds users: Nauticam NA-EM5III – check best price
  • Best for divers and snorkelers shooting stills: Sealife Micro 3.0 Pro Duo 5000 – check best price
  • Best for boat users, canoeist and kayakers: DiCAPac WP-S10 – check best price
  • Best for DSLR users: Ewa-marine U-BZ100 – check best price
  • The best waterproof and underwater cameras

    First up, we’re running through our picks of tough compacts and action cameras designed to capture fantastic images and videos underwater. With great options from the likes of GoPro, DJI, Olympus, Fujifilm and more, there’s plenty here for watersports vloggers, avid snorkellers and casual beachgoers alike.

    Best for snorkelling: Olympus Tough TG-6

    Best waterproof cameras: Olympus Tough TG-6

    The Olympus Tough TG-6 has an optical zoom lens, unlike many underwater cameras.

    At a glance:

  • 12MP image sensor
  • 4x optical zoom lens, 25-100mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Waterproof down to 15m
  • 4K Movie
  • Price: $499 / £369
  • The Olympus TG-6 is a tough little camera that is lightweight, agile and great for those adventurous types who want to explore the surface of the water. Although additional waterproof casing can be purchased to take the TG-6 down to deeper depths, the standard camera body can survive up to 15m making this model perfect for those who want to snorkel and explore the surface. If you want to take it deeper the Olympus PT-059 Underwater Housing retails at £279 and enables the TG-6 to go down as far as 45m.

    The Olympus TG-6 comes with a host of shooting options from 16 different scene modes to an aperture priority setting. The ISO ranges from ISO 100 to 12800, and the bright F2 lens enables faster shutter speeds for capturing moving subjects, meaning it should be able to cope underwater pretty well. The camera is also capable of recording 4K movies for those interested in this feature.

    Pros:

  • f/2 aperture at wide end
  • Very tough
  • Grippable camera form factor
  • Cons:

  • Quality drops on zooming in
  • No manual settings control
  • Read our Olympus Tough TG-6 review

    Best for divers and water sports enthusiasts: DJI Osmo Action 3

    DJI Osmo Action 3

    The DJI Osmo Action 3 can natively dive to deeper depths than a GoPro.

    At a glance:

  • 12MP 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor
  • Waterproof down to 16m
  • 2.25-inch rear screen; 1.4-inch front screen
  • 4K video up to 120fps
  • Price: $329 / £349
  • When DJI brought out its first Osmo Action in 2019, it undercut GoPro on price, and innovated over them by introducing the front LCD (an idea that GoPro immediately adopted). Now, three years down the line, have they repeated the trick with the Osmo Action 3, which was announced on the same day as the GoPro HERO11 series?

    Well, for one, they’ve once again undercut GoPro on price, with the Osmo Action 3 generally selling for around £100/$100 less than the HERO11. The GoPro outpaces the Action 2 on a few specs, like video resolution and sensor size, however the DJI camera has one ace in the hole that’s relevant to our discussion here – it is natively waterproof down to depths of 16m, outstripping the HERO at 10m. This gives you much much waterborne flexibility without the need to shell out for a case (though if you do, it’ll allow you to go down to 60m), and makes the DJI Osmo Action 3 one of the best underwater cameras you can buy.

    Pros:

  • Deep native diving capability
  • More affordable than GoPro equivalent
  • Useful dual-screen setup
  • Cons:

  • New GoPro has bigger sensor…
  • … and more video options
  • Best for holiday snaps: Ricoh WG-6

    Ricoh WG-6 (Orange) Waterproof camera

    The Ricoh WG-6 waterproof camera in orange for easy visibility.

    At a glance:

  • 20MP CMOS image sensor
  • Waterproof down to 20m (for 2 hours)
  • 6 x LED ring light around lens
  • 4K video
  • Price: $396 / £349
  • The Ricoh WG-6 comes with a host of features and has been designed to be put through its paces thanks to its waterproof and shockproof features. It has a workable operating temperature from -10°C to 40°C making it compatible with many different environments.

    The tough outer body comes in a bright orange or a more understated black design, and the addition of the 6 LED lights surrounding the lens, which can be adjusted to use all or some, will help greatly in lowlight situations. Finally the Ricoh WG-6 also comes with an Underwater and Underwater Movie mode that fixes the white balance setting making the blue sea pop!

    Pros:

  • Dedicated underwater shooting modes
  • Built-in LED lights
  • Easy to use
  • Cons:

  • Struggles in low light
  • Little manual control
  • Best for amateur divers: Nikon COOLPIX W300

    Nikon Coolpix W300 Waterproof camera

    The Nikon Coolpix W300 uses a 5x optical zoom lens.

    At a glance:

  • 16MP CMOS image sensor
  • Waterproof down to 30m
  • 4K video
  • 5x optical zoom
  • Price: $575 / £399
  • The Nikon Coolpix W300 is a great all-round camera that can perform well in the water as well as on land. The 16MP sensor produces great results and the 4K video is another nice added bonus.

    Compared to its rivals on the market at a similar price point this camera can go down as far as 30m making it perfect for amateur divers wanting to take a few snaps. The 5x optical zoom as well as the ISO being capable of stretching up to 6400 in the Auto mode should ensure you get the shot. This camera also comes with a speedy autofocus system and VR (Vibration Reduction) technology meaning sharp and steady shots are easy to achieve.

    Pros:

  • Built-in stabilisation
  • Native 30m waterproofing
  • Easy to use
  • Cons:

  • No RAW support
  • Not the best at close-ups
  • Best for Adrenaline action water sports: GoPro HERO11 Black

    GoPro HERO11 Black

    The GoPro HERO11 Black has significant internal upgrades over previous HERO cameras.

    At a glance:

  • 27MP image sensor
  • 5.3k video at 60p
  • Waterproof down to 10m
  • Enhanced colour depth – 8-bit or 10-bit
  • Price: $499 / £499
  • The GoPro HERO11 Black is the newest version of the popular action camera, and is the best bet yet for underwater shooting. GoPro generally picks one feature to focus its upgrades on when bringing out a new HERO camera, and this time it was the turn of the sensor. The chip in GoPro cameras has remained relatively unchanged for years, but the HERO11 sports a larger 27MP sensor that is capable of capturing better colour depth. It can also shoot 5.3K video in a near-square 8:7 aspect ratio, which is easy to crop into, improving your shooting flexibility.

    Underwater-wise, the HERO11 Black can natively descend to depths of 33ft or 10m, which is standard for GoPro cameras. This can be extended down to 60m with separately purchased housing, making the GoPro a solid choice for scuba-diving as well as snorkelling and water sports. Various mounts also allow you to attach it to your head, chest, helmet or wrist, freeing up your hands for swimming.

    Pros:

  • Bigger sensor improves colour depth
  • Loads of online-friendly video options
  • Large accessory ecosystem
  • Cons:

  • On the pricey side for an action camera
  • No optical zoom
  • Best for travel / pro video creators: Sony RX0 II

    Sony RX0 II

    Sony RX0 II is a slim but pricey action camera, with a 1-inch sensor.

    At a glance:

  • 15.3MP 1inch image sensor
  • Waterproof down to 10m
  • Shockproof up to 2m, crushproof up to 200kg
  • 4K video
  • Price: $698 / £679
  • The small and tough Sony RX0 II is perfect for those adventurous types who are on the go or for vloggers who want to create high quality 4K videos with image stabilisation. Despite being small the camera comes with a 180° tiltable monitor that enables you to frame up selfies or shoot video of yourself. The camera comes with a host of features including interval shooting (between 1 and 60 seconds) which can then be edited into a timelapse movie on a computer at a later time. It is also waterproof up to 10m, shockproof and crushproof so you can really put it through its paces. On dry land we recommend you get the additional VCT-SGR1 Shooting Grip to help you create more stable results.

    Pros:

  • Superb video quality
  • Sharp Zeiss-made lens
  • Effective stabilisation
  • Cons:

  • Even pricier than GoPro
  • 4K maxes out at 30p
  • Best underwater housings

    If you want to get the utmost in image quality underwater, then your best bet is to take your regular camera down with you. An underwater housing is just the thing, allowing you to shoot with a standard mirrorless or DSLR camera and capture all the wonders of the sub-aquatic world. Be aware that housings are quite costly and many are only compatible with one or a few specific models or camera. To help get you started, we’ve picked out some suggestions of the best underwater housings for this section.

    Nauticam ​​NA-A1 for Sony A1

    Nauticam NA-A1

    Nauticam NA-A1

    At a glance:

  • Compatible with Sony A1 (options available for A7S III, A7C, A9 II, A7R V / IV / III, A6600, A7 IV)
  • Depth rating 100m
  • Patented port locking system
  • Ergonomic rubberized grips
  • Weight in air 2.7kg
  • Measures 340mm x 169mm x 125mm
  • Price: $4,252 / £3,497
  • If you’re going to plunge your very expensive camera into water you need to be sure that the case you are putting it into is waterproof! Nauticam camera cases are the best around and although they don’t come cheap you can be assured your equipment will stay safe up to 100m in depth.

    Nauticam produces an extensive range of housings for Sony mirrorless cameras. The one we’ve highlighted here is compatible with the full-frame flagship Sony A1, but there are options for recent cameras like the A7R V, the A7 IV, the A7S III and more. For producing underwater images and videos at top-notch professional quality, these housings are the choice for Sony users.

    Pros:

  • Sealed to depths of 100mm
  • Premium construction
  • Range of compatible options
  • Cons:

    Best for: Serious divers and underwater photographers

    Find out more

    NiMar underwater housing for Canon EOS R6 Mark II

    Nimar Underwater Housing for Canon EOS R6 Mark II

    Nimar Underwater Housing for Canon EOS R6 Mark II

    At a glance:

  • Depth rating 60m
  • Compatible with Canon EOS R6 Mark II (options available for other EOS R and EOS cameras)
  • Body made of high impact resistant technopolymer
  • Mechanical command switches
  • Overall dimensions without side handle 220mm x 170mm x 130mm
  • Weight with side handle 1.70kg
  • Price: €1,490
  • If you want underwater housing for heading down to some serious depth but you’re on more of a budget look at the NiMar range. Made in Italy, these waterproof housings have been designed to go to 60m in depth. The outer housing has been made from a high impact resistant technopolymer and the back cover is fully transparent giving you a full view of the camera and so you can be assured that the seals are working.

    We’ve picked out a sturdy housing here for one of Canon’s most recent cameras, the EOS R6 Mark II. However, there are plenty more available for a range of EOS R mirrorless and EOS DSLR cameras over at Nimar, all constructed from the same hard-wearing technopolymer materials.

    Pros:

  • Available for lots of recent cameras
  • Tough build
  • Full rear screen visibility
  • Cons:

  • Not as deep-rated as Nauticam
  • May need to be imported
  • Best for: Underwater photographers on a budget

    Find out more

    Nauticam NA-EM5III

    Nauticam NA-EM5III underwater housing

    Nauticam NA-EM5III underwater housing

    At a glance:

  • Compatible with Olympus OM-D E-M5 III model and OM-SYSTEM OM-5
  • Supports flash
  • Depth rating 100m
  • Weight in water 0.18kg (including camera and battery)
  • Weight in air 1.4kg
  • Price: $2,373 / £1,786
  • For Micro Four Thirds users Nauticam offers a range of underwater housing for various models. The NA-EM5III model is compatible not only with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 III, but also the new OM-SYSTEM OM-5. It also supports the use of Olympus’ FL-LM3 flash or the optional Nauticam Mini Flash Trigger. This particular housing is cheaper than many of Nauticam’s other products of a similar nature so if you were looking to buy a camera and housing specifically for deep water diving this could be a more affordable setup. Nauticam also produces housings for other Olympus cameras, including the OM SYSTEM OM-1 and even our friend the Tough TG-6!

    Like most Nauticam housings this model can go down as far as 100m making it a strong contender for those who are serious diving. Thanks to the quick and easy secure single rotating housing latch, memory cards or batteries can be changed without fuss (just obviously do this above the water!).

    Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Supports flash
  • Cheaper than comparable systems
  • Cons:

  • Still pricier than the cameras it houses.
  • Best for: Micro Four Thirds users

    Find out more

    Sealife Micro 3.0 Pro Duo 5000

    Sealife Micro 3.0 PRO DUO 5000

    The Sealife Micro 3.0 PRO DUO 5000 has a built-in camera body.

    At a glance:

  • 16MP 1/2.3” CMOS sensor
  • Waterproof down to 60m
  • 4K videos
  • Built in 64GB memory
  • Raw shooting
  • Permanently sealed micro camera
  • Price: $1,399 / £1,269
  • This is something of a hybrid between a housing and an underwater camera – effectively, it’s a housing with the camera already built in. The SeaLife Micro 3.0 Pro Duo 5000 set comes with a camera body, two Sea Dragon 2500F lights and an ergonomically balanced Flex-Connect dual tray. This makes the camera easy to hold underwater and get into position. The Sea Dragon 2500F lights create a total of 5000 lumens combined which is a decent amount of additional light when you’re down deep.

    The camera is permanently sealed meaning you can’t change the memory card or swap over the battery. The 3 hour battery life and inbuilt 64GB is plenty for those wanting to focus predominantly on underwater images however for video we would recommend you looking elsewhere – although it does have a 4K video feature for those wanting to shoot short video sequences.

    Pros:

  • Complete setup
  • Internal 64GB memory
  • Bright built-in lights
  • Cons:

    Best for: Divers and snorkelers shooting stills

    Find out more

    DiCAPac WP-S10

    DiCAPac WP-S10 for DSLRs

    The DiCAPac WP-S10 for DSLRs is an inexpensive option.

    At a glance:

  • Waterproof down to 5m
  • Fits DSLR Camera with lens
  • All controls accessible
  • Size: 270mm (W) x 230mm (H)
  • Case: PVC, TPU, ABS
  • Lens: ABS, Polycarbonate, Silicone
  • Weight: 450g
  • Price: $79 / £66
  • The DiCAPac WP-S10 has been designed to fit most DSLR cameras and would also easily house any mirrorless body although the smaller DiCAPac WP-S5 might be a better option for the latter.

    Although we have no doubt the DiCAPac WP-S10 is fully waterproof we recommend this product for those doing surface water sports such as boating, canoeing or kayaking. It’s a great budget option when you want to take your expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera out on the water. Like any waterproof casings we suggest you do regular checks on this product without the camera in the bag to ensure no leaks have sprung.

    On this model the lens port allows the lens to extend out to 50mm and the polycarbonate lens cover has low scratch-resistance and hard coating.

    Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Broad compatibility
  • East to take everywhere
  • Cons:

  • Not suitable for diving
  • Not up to same build quality as other options
  • Best for: Boat users, canoeist and kayakers

    Find out more

    Ewa-marine U-BZ100

    Ewa-marine U-BZ100 Waterproof bag for DSLR

    The Ewa-marine U-BZ100 Aqua housing / Waterproof bag works with a large range of DSLRs.

    At a glance:

  • Waterproof to 20m in depth
  • Compatible for lenses with a filter thread of 77mm and 82mm
  • Lenses with a smaller filter diameter can be used with a step-up ring
  • Compatible with range of large DSLRs
  • Price: €315
  • Ewa-Marine have a range of underwater housing that vary in size and price. Their more flexible waterproof bags mean they can be used with many cameras. The U-BZ100 is compatible with larger DSLRs on the market such as the EOS 5D and EOS 1DX ranges, and similar cameras. It should also be noted that the U-BZ 100 can be used with a lens up to 300m, which makes it a strong contender for canoeists and other outdoor photographers that want to take pictures of birds and wildlife while in or on the water.

    Again like any underwater housing product check it before use to ensure the seals are waterproof to avoid any expensive accidents and read the instructions well to ensure you have set it up correctly. If you are going to take this underwater to its maximum depth we recommend buying the additional BF1 lead weight that can be inserted into the housing, underneath the camera for an easier descent.

    Pros:

  • Cheaper than many other options
  • Can be used with tele lenses
  • Lots of compatibility options
  • Cons:

    Best for: DSLR users

    Find out more

    Ready to give it a go? Read our complete guide to underwater photography or have a look at our latest buying guides for more great options.

    Don’t miss our guide to the best camera bags for something to carry all your new kit in, and we also have a handy guide to the best camera phones, many of which are increasingly being outfitted with limited waterproofing.

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