Olympus TG-1iHS_Underwater shotRecreational divers see a different world beneath the water’s surface especially if they are in a region where the underwater vegetation, fish and other critters are breathtakingly beautiful. This means  just like with most people they will want to share their experience with family and friends. Only a special camera can capture the beauty of sea life which will have most scuba enthusiasts asking the question, what is the best waterproof camera for diving?

Participants who like to scuba dive and take pictures can combine the two for sharing with those of us who prefer to stay above ground and dry.  A few of the important issues that consumers will be weighing in on are picture and video quality, ease of use and affordability. Another major consideration will be the waterproof depth the camera can go because for recreational divers the safest depth for diving is 130 feet or less. This doesn’t mean however, that the camera chosen has to be certified to the 130 feet.

In the past, underwater cameras were not very affordable or had limited features. Nowadays, these devices are feature filled and can satisfy the most discriminating consumer. The models selected are affordable, are within the water depth level for recreational divers, have great photo and video quality and as stated from users they are all easy to use. Let’s take a look at them and see if they are up to the challenge.

The Nikon CoolPix AW100 was chosen because it has received great reviews on being able to go to water depths up to 38 feet with it becoming compromised or leaking. Most owners have described picture and video quality as excellent (checkout submitted images), this model was easy to operate with most users stating without having to read the manual and it’s also affordable.NikonCoolpix AW100

There were some consumers that complained the waterproof feature of the camera was not reliable and found that it either developed condensation after being in the water or leaked. However, most owners believed those that had problems either with received a defective model or did not read the manual to learn how to maintain the waterproof integrity of the camera.

Some of the features of the Nikon AW100 are: a 3 inch LCD display, 16 megapixel CMOS sensor ideal for low light shooting and fast operation, water-proof to a depth of 33 feet, shock-proof, freeze-proof and full HD 1080p video recording with stereo sound and one-touch recording. It is ruggedly built for outdoor reliability and ease of operation.

The Canon PowerShot D10 is an older version of the PowerShot D20 and was given good reviews for its image quality in underwater conditions, but Canon PowerShot D20_waterunfortunately, it does not have video. The D20 received good reviews by users for being a good rugged camera, photo and video quality is good (Take a look at submitted images), ease of use and described as a good value for what you get. The D20 has a 3 inch LCD display, (manual focus which is important to some users), waterproof to 33 feet, freeze-proof and shock-proof. It takes full HD 1080p video with a dedicated movie button, and comes with 12.1 megapixel and Image Processor for improved low-light performance.

The last noteworthy camera is the Olympus TG-1iHS. Not only is it praised for the quality of its video and photos (Checkout the video), but also the exterior has impressed users. The manufacturer placed the lens in the center of the model which helps users to not inadvertently place their fingertips on the lens when snapping pictures and also allows the user to take steadier shots. Additionally, it is described as sturdy, the lens has a water repellent coating on it to keep off beaded water, easy to use and the buttons are nicely placed.

Olympus TG-1iHSThe TG-1iHS has a 3 inch display screen that is OLED which means it is visible from any angle and even clear in sunlight. It has a 12.1 megapixel CMOS Sensor with full HD 1080p video, water-proof depth of 40 feet, shock-proof, freeze-proof, crushproof and dustproof. Other features include lens converter adapters, underwater housing to depths of 135 feet (Specifically designed for the TG-1iHS) and a low light mode for taking photos in low light conditions. One consumer stated that no leaking has occurred while using the model and offers that if one of the doors on the camera is opened to change the memory card or access the inputs, rub the a finger around the outside of the seals so that no stray hairs or anything else compromises the seal before you close the door.

All of the cameras mentioned suffer from issues with battery life especially when using GPS. Most users recommend having an extra battery on hand. Each device has features that are necessary for divers to be able to enjoy their passion of diving and taking pictures of the experience. The deeper they go underwater, the more turbid the water becomes which means the cameras must have a means to be able to capture video and photos in low light conditions. Further, users warn that although video and photo quality is great with these cameras, consumers should understand they are not of the same quality as the more expensive DSLR models.

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Filed under: Waterproof Camera Buying Tips

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