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Are you looking to purchase a video camera for your underwater adventures? Do you want a camcorder that can withstand the elements while kayaking? We’ve got a ton of options for anyone looking for these parameters, and below we’ll go over 7 reviews of our favorite waterproof camcorders of the year. Don’t forget to look below our picks for a buyer’s guide that’ll give you the full scoop when buying one—you’ll save time and money!
|GoPro Hero 10 Black||
|Sealife Micro 3.0||
|Olympus Tough TG-6||
|DJI Osmo Action||
|Depth limit:||33 feet|
GoPro may be the most prominent player in the waterproof and action camera industry, with leaps and bounds across many generations of its Hero Black series. The latest Hero 10 model has a new GP2 processor for a snappy user interface, as well as the best-in-class stabilization you can find in any action camcorder. You can shoot up to a max 5k resolution and even get crazy slow-mo footage with 4k at 120 fps (frames per second). The 33-foot submersion limit hasn’t changed in its waterproofing, but GoPro added some hydrophobic elements to the lens cap to keep the water at bay. In the end, it’s the best overall waterproof camcorder you can buy, and it’s a well-known piece of gear among photographers and videographers alike.
|Depth limit:||98 feet (with casing)|
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to the GoPro name, AKASO has a competitive camcorder that we think is the best underwater camcorder for the money. With 4k recording up to 30 fps, it has a good standing in terms of video quality. It also has a superior depth range to our top dog, but remember that this is only when the waterproof case is used. You’ll still be able to get out and do most water-bound activities with no major issues. However, the biggest disadvantage of the EK7000 is its lack of image stabilization. The battery life could also be better, as you’ll likely only get 1.5 hours of usage. Still, it’s the best value waterproof camcorder since it’s just a fraction of the price that you pay for the more popular brands.
|Depth limit:||200 feet|
Those looking to buy the hardiest waterproof camcorder need to check out the Sealife Micro 3.0. This is the best-in-class camera for deep divers, and it can be submerged under an incredible 200 feet of water. One of the great things about the Micro 3.0 is that there is a lighting accessory that can be attached and easily used when you’re at depths that have little to no light. If you’re all about underwater caves or meeting up with a few whale friends, this is the right choice for you. Still, the problem is that the price of this camera far surpasses the others on our list, but it’s a premium product.
|Depth limit:||50 feet|
The Olympus Tough TG-6 is shaped like your average disposable camera, but there is a lot of power on the inside. It can record up to 4k in 30 fps and sets itself apart with a close focusing distance. You can submerge the camera 50 feet, and you won’t need to worry about water leakage. The TG-6 is durable but has a bit of heft to it compared to smaller action cameras. It’s a high-ticket item, but there isn’t a front screen for those who want to create vlogs. Unfortunately, dirt and debris can also get into the front lens area since it has a concave design. However, it’s still worth the money if you need something more robust than the GoPro or AKASO.
|Depth limit:||36 feet|
DJI might be famed for their drones and gimbals, but they still have a rock-solid action camera that really holds its own against the GoPro. Since its capable of 36 feet of water submersion, it outclasses our favorite in this category. The Osmo Action is an ultralight camcorder, and you can mount it pretty much anywhere without even noticing it’s there. With 4k video recording and DJI’s Rocksteady Stabilization inside, the camera is ideal for filmmakers. It has a front screen for easy viewing so you can see yourself or others in the frame without worry.
|Depth limit:||33 feet|
Although Kodak is known more for their disposable point-and-shoot cameras, they’ve created a rugged, waterproof video camera as part of their product lineup. The PIXPRO SP1 is a unique action recorder that has a form factor that resembles the classic camcorder look but in a tiny package. The best thing about the Kodak is its durability. It’s shockproof up to 6.5 feet, with a hard plastic shell to keep it from being damaged. On the other hand, it does fall short with a maximum 1080p video resolution. However, this is still a great option if you’re not concerned about the highest video quality possible.
|Depth limit:||16 feet|
Compared to the other options on our list, the GoPro Max is an introduction to an untapped genre of recording: 360° video. With this in hand or mounted, you can see everything around you in up to 5.6k resolution in 30 fps. It has the same tough and stable build that all GoPro cameras boast but is a bit larger to accommodate the multi-lens design. The drawback of the Max model is that it isn’t capable of deep underwater missions. The 16-foot limit can be a dealbreaker for some. However, it can still be used closer to the surface or above water when unavoidable splashes occur. The combination of flexibility and quality alone sets this product uniquely apart from many other options.
Listed below are the essentials that you should know to make the best purchase decision for a waterproof camcorder.
When it comes to withstanding the high pressures of water, a camera needs to have a robust housing or frame to prevent any water from leaking in. In this case, it depends on which actitivies you’ll be using your camera for. If you’re considering snorkeling, river hunting, shallow diving, or other activities just beneath the water’s surface, you won’t need more than 50 feet of depth. If you’re planning on deep-sea diving excursions, you may need to get dedicated housing if your camera isn’t up for it. Likewise, if you are someone who just wants to protect their camera from the water, depth may not be a big deal.
Those who are after a basic camcorder that is just waterproof, may not need the same level of picture quality that a professional is looking for. However, the sharper and clearer the image is, the more pleasing it will be to either demographic. 4k, also known as Ultra-HD (UHD), is a new modern standard for high-quality videos. There’s no shame in getting a 720p or 1080p footage since you may not necessarily need a high-performance camera. The lower resolutions won’t just save memory on both your micro-SD card and battery life but on your wallet as well.
While you’re out there having fun and getting videos, the last thing you want is to have your video cut off because the camera is out of juice. Of course, carrying extra batteries is a must, but generally speaking, it’s a good thing to have a battery that will last at least three hours. That’s enough for most people looking to take a ton of neat clips.
One of the biggest advances in modern camera technology has been the addition of usable in-body image stabilization (IBIS). Years ago, keeping your footage shake-free was a difficult task that could only be resolved by using an expensive and clunky gimbal. Now, many companies like GoPro and DJI have made the gimbal a thing of the past. Remember that some cameras have no stabilization, but it may not be a dealbreaker for you.
There are a few features that are always nice to have and make life much easier for us. Things like a touch screen, an intuitive user interface, and Wi-Fi compatibility will have you focused more on the fun and less on the technical aspects.
If you want a purchase decision you won’t regret, the GoPro Hero 10 is the way to go, with an impressive battery life and picture-stabilization feature. At a budget-friendly price, the AKASO EK7000 is a great bang for your buck but has a few compromises. If you’re looking for high-end electronics, DJI has a competitive waterproof camcorder constructed with premium materials. Of all these options, your choice depends on what will work best for your activities and shooting style, but we’re sure that our reviews on these hydrophobic beasts will help you select your favorite.
Featured Image Credit: NeagoneFo, Shutterstock
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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