The best waterproof camera in 2014 may be difficult to decide because most of the waterproof digital cameras are just a minor upgrade from last year’s model. Most camera enthusiasts will admit that the external design of the cameras have not changed much except for maybe the weight is lighter, WiFi connectivity, filters for photo and video editing or the ability to grip the device more securely.
If of course, you have been using a camera without these features, the addition of them would make you very excited to own one of the new ones. I think it’s difficult to be enthusiastic about the photo editing enhancements unless you’re a really good photographer and you’re familiar with them and what they can do to enhance your photographs and videos.
There are those of us who can’t appreciate ISO speed, aperture measurements, shutter speed and other complicated camera talk. We are just camera users that look forward to features that offer convenience or simple neat tricks that will enhance our videos and photos experiences without having to consult the instructions every time we want to use them. It also fun to be able to share photos and videos with friends and family online in a “I wish you were here” gesture.
With that being said, if you are a novice like I am, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Further, it is important that the camera has some built-in simplicity to it where you don’t get rid of it because the operating instructions are too difficult to understand. Or even in situations where you have to call your 12-year-old over to help you take a photograph. That would be frustrating and not to mention limiting your enjoyment of snapping pictures in the moment while capturing memories to preserve for yourself and also to share with others.
Best Waterproof Camera 2014 Feature Comparisons
Updated features include:
- High resolution screen
- Longer battery life 350 shots vs 250 shots from the AW110
- 24 mm wide-angle lens vs 4mm equivalent wide angle is more versatile than the 28mm AW110
- 24 mm wide-angle lens and faster maximum aperture of 2.8
- Both models have built-in WiFi & GPS
- Nikon also incorporated its Dynamic Fine Zoom, which digitally extends the zoom range to 280mm
- Optical zoom at 5x f2.8-4.9 24-120mm lens, which is wider and faster than the 5x, f3.9-4.8, 28-140mm on the AW110
- Heavier at 7.5 oz. versus AW 110 at 6.9 oz.
- Internal memory: 56MB versus 21 MB for the AW 110
- Charger does not have the option of charging the battery out of camera. I believe this is a change from the AW110
- Added additional video formats
Overall, performance ratings for the camera does not go beyond the four star category. The AW 120 is one of the waterproof cameras that is a competitor to the Panasonic TS 5. They have about the same features, but some consumers have shared that the image quality is better. Others state there’s nothing like the quality of images and videos from the AW120 especially during underwater photography. One of the main issues users complain about is that the cameras do not have the ability to produce RAW images for manipulation later. The images are produced as JPEGs for the most part. The video quality is good, but there are times the colors look washed out. Still images are decent for a point and shoot, but not as good as one would expect in regards to the camera’s features and the cost.
Panasonic Lumix DMC TS5D
Available: March 2013 – Updated Lumix DMC TS 4
Updated features included:
- Larger screen 3.0 vs 2.7
- 2x higher screen resolution
- Both can take 3D photos and shown on compatible 3D devices
- Shoots photos faster & has in-camera panorama capability
- Has 16MP CMOS-family sensor: produces better quality images vs 12MP CCD on the TS 4
- Longer battery life 370 shots vs 310 shots from the TS 4
- Added GPS, Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communication), connects with compatible Wi-Fi device by simply tapping the two together
Overall, performance ratings for the camera does not go beyond the four star category. Overall, satisfaction for this model among users is above average. Most people are satisfied with the camera, but still are disappointed due to affordability, mediocre image and video quality, slow start-up, water leakage and customer service. Although, these issues may be small, they are could be enough to convince buyers to look elsewhere rather than take a chance on the new Panasonic TS5. On the surface, the features on this camera sound great and the prospect of owning the camera is also exciting, but the negative reviews and mediocre performance may encourage perspective buyers to look elsewhere.
Fujifilm XP 70
Available: January 2014 – Updated Fujifilm XP 60
Updated features included:
- Basically most features are the same as the XP 60
- Added extra 13 feet depth to Waterproof down to 33ft (10m) vs 20ft (6m) on the XP 60
- WiFi connectivity for transfer of images to social media sites and PC; No GPS or Geotagging
- Higher resolution screen
- Higher resolution movies 1920 x 1280 @30 fps vs 1920 x 1080 @ 60 fps shoots higher resolution video at lower frame rate
- Longer battery life 210 images vs 200 images from XP 60
- Weighs less than the XP 60
- Add-on lens (the ACL-XP70, sold separately) extends the wide angle field of view from 28mm to 18mm equivalent
- Three model colors vs five model colors on the XP 60
Overall, performance ratings for the camera does not go beyond the four star category. Overall, satisfaction for this model among users appears to be above average. This camera basically does what it is designed to do. Most users were impressed with image and video quality especially when using it underwater. What was interesting is that users that reviewed this camera purchased it because it was an economical buy that they could afford to lose or damage during their outdoor activities. However, upon operating the camera consumers were pleasantly surprised with the ease of use, overall picture quality was good, video quality sharp and clear and they loved having the WiFi for media transfer. The most consistent complaint about the XP 70 is charging the battery which can only be done while inside the camera.
For the price, the Fujifilm XP 70 has most of the features of the more expensive waterproof digital cameras and performs well. This is an inexpensive option that is rugged, dependable and will provide photos and videos that will make you proud. One thing you may consider if you are not excited by the features on this camera are the 2013 models by other manufacturers after the price drop due to the newer models.
Updated features included:
- Described as “ultra-rugged” due to tough features that are the same as the TG-2 ( Submersible to 50 ft/15m; freezeproof to 14°F/-10°C/; shockproof 7ft/2.1m and crushproof to 220lbs/100kgf
16 MP vs 12 MP on the TG-2
- 3 inch LCD screen (460 dots) vs 3 inch OLED screen (610 dots) on the TG-2
- Built-in WiFi (remote camera operation and file sharing), GPS & eCompass vs GPS, compass & manometer on the TG-2
- 36MB internal memory vs 22MB internal memory of TG-2
- Longer battery life 380 shots; 120 minutes continuous video shooting vs 350 shots; 120 minutes continuous video shooting on the TG-2
- Optical Zoom: 4x Optical Zoom + 2x Super Resolution Zoom + 4x Digital Zoom; captures full 1920 x 1080 HD video recordings
- Added a Focus Stacking option, new time-lapse and sequential shooting modes
- Tad bit heavier at 8.7 oz vs 8.1 oz for TG-2 and smaller 4.4 in vs 4.5 in for the TG-2
As of this writing, the Olympus TG-3 has not been rated by consumers because it will not be available to retailers until June 2014. A few digital camera reviewers have had the opportunity to checkout this new model and proclaimed that it works great for general photography and video, underwater as well as on dry land. However, except for the manufacturer’s website, no photos have been shown to compare the image quality of the TG-3 with it’s predecessor and other popular models with comparable features.
The TG-3 is the new offering from Olympus with some updated features. For example, reviewers are very excited about the first-ever Advanced Super Macro Mode that has four macro settings in one: the Microscopic, Microscope Control, Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing Modes. With the Microscopic Mode users have the ability to magnify a subject more than 40x from as close as 1cm. If the subject you’re shooting measures just 1mm, it can appear as large as 44.4mm on the TG-3’s LCD screen! The new Focus Stacking Mode automatically shoots multiple shots of a macro subject with different parts in focus and then merges them to a crisply focused high quality image. The camera is touted as allowing the user to have the maximum creativity without the use of a computer.
Olympus boasts “lifeproof construction”because of the “ultra-rugged” features that include the Tough TG-3 being able to withstand submersion in up to 50 feet of water, and it will still work in temperatures as cold as 14 degrees F (10 degrees C). It can handle drops from 7 feet and weight pressures of 100kgf, which means it is crushproof to 220 pounds of pressure. It is also equipped with built-in WiFi that not only permits users to transfer media over a wireless connection using the free Olympus Image Share app, but also to remote control camera operations. The TG-3 also has the ability to perform photo geotagging using GPS location information from iOS and Android mobile devices. There is also a designated GPS and eCompass feature on the camera that can locate a position within 10 seconds.
Canon PowerShot D30
Available: February 2014 – Updated Canon Powershot D20
Updated features included:
- Touted as being top notch for maximum submersion depth of 82 ft (25m) vs 33ft (10m) for the D20
- Withstands falling from 6.5ft (2m) vs 5ft (1.5m)
- Re-designed exterior body
- Added rubber strip around the edge to absorb impact & a rubberized grip on the front to improve camera from slipping from hands when wet
- “Quick” focus mode added (at fixed distance of 10 ft/3m)
- Sunlight LCD mode added; claims to make it easier to see the monitor in bright sunlight; has 3 in LCD screen
- Manual exposure mode added
- No WiFi; has built-in GPS that records location and time of images and videos
- Panorama Mode: None
- Internal Memory: None; does have external memory card slot (not included)2
- Longer battery life 300 shots vs 280 shots from the D20
- Optical Zoom: same 5x Optical Zoom for both cameras & captures full 1920 x 1080 HD video recordings
- Tad bit smaller at 2.7 x 4.3 x 1.1 vs 2.8 x 4.4 x 1.1 for the D20; Weight: 7.7 oz vs D20 at 8.0 oz
The Canon Powershot D30 is a waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof digital camera, with a wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens, a 3 inch LCD screen and geotagging through built-in GPS. Reviewers love the fact that Canon has increased it’s waterproofing to depths of 82 feet without the need for external housing to protect the camera. This is noteworthy not because it is a diver’s dream, but that it surpasses the 59 feet waterproofing from the new Nikon Coolpix AW 120. However, despite this change, the addition of a new Sunlight LCD mode to reduce glare, and a redesigned body, the D30 is basically the same as the two-year-old PowerShot D20. It just has a new body.
The Canon Powershot D30 feels solid and durable when gripping it. It not only can be used for water activities or sports, but even for family outings on land. The D30 has some good features, but consumers will not be getting much value for the money when compared to other waterproof digital cameras.It lacks a number of useful features found on other new digital camera releases, for example, a higher resolution sensor, wireless connectivity, remote camera options and advanced GPS. Performance and image quality are still acceptable, but not anything along a professional photography. If you want to capture memories and you don’t mind waiting to transfer or share your images and video, the D30 may work for you. This is basically a mid-tier camera that takes acceptable photographs and video, but it may be too expensive for the features and performance offered.
After wading through the specs for the new digital cameras, I can say with certainty that there is no best waterproof camera 2014. Why? It is because only you can make that determination. The beauty of your videos and picture quality can only be measured by what you consider as acceptable. In other words, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.
It has been interesting to discover what new features have been added or expanded to waterproof digital cameras. None of the new models have undergone a major overhaul, but manufacturers have only made minor updates or changes to their cameras. What’s also apparent is that the major players are after your dollars because smartphones are taking a chunk out of the compact digital camera market. In response, wireless connectivity became the trend for digital cameras and now has found its way to the tough and rugged waterproof camera market.
The information that has been most helpful is to know the differences between the new model versus last year’s cameras. When changes are made to a device, it affects the cost and also what you may have loved in last year’s model may not be a part of the new one because some features have to be discontinued to make room for the new upgrades. This also means price becomes a factor. Only one of the older models have WiFi and GPS, and that is the Nikon Coolpix AW 110. If you don’t want to pay the higher price for a new updated camera, last year’s model may be easier on your wallet.
Filed under: Waterproof Camera Buying Tips
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