If you travel a lot, you’re sure to want a camera that’s up to the task. Although phone cameras are useful (you likely take it everywhere, and it’s ready at the touch of a button) they’re not the most robust of devices. A trip to the beach or dropping one in a pool could lead to all kinds of trouble. What you need in a travel camera is something that is robust and waterproof. Nikon waterproof digital cameras are an excellent choice, not only if you’re going to be near water, but for any kind of adverse conditions. We’ve compiled a list of favorites, as well as what to look for when buying one.
Nikon Waterproof Digital Cameras: Our Top Picks
Why it’s great:
- Affordable and easy to use underwater camera.
- Full HD video capture.
- Waterproof to 10m / 33ft
As one of the cheapest Nikon waterproof digital cameras available, the Coolpix S33 balances performance and affordability. Its straightforward design and easy-to-use interface makes it perfect for those just looking to experiment with underwater photography. The S33 is waterproof up to 33ft, making it perfect for family holidays by the beach.
- This is another camera that likely won’t offer quite enough for the experienced user. Image quality is average at best.
Why its’s great:
- Waterproof up to 100ft / 30m, shockproof up to 7ft / 2.1m and freezeproof up to 14F / -10°C.
- 16-megapixel compact sensor.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.
If you’re looking for a camera that’s robust enough to withstand even the most adverse conditions, the Nikon Coolpix AW130 could very well be the answer. It’s waterproof up to 100ft, shockproof up to 7ft and freezeproof up to (or down to) -10 °C. This impressive durability is backed up by good performance and connectivity; a 16-megapixel takes good-quality images, and the camera can be controlled on a smartphone via the built in Wi-Fi. A 5x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 24-120mm, covers wide angle to telephoto ranges with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. Overall this is our favorite Nikon waterproof digital camera.
- There is some noticeable image noise, particularly at higher ISO settings.
3. Nikon 1 AW1
Why it’s great:
- Water resistant up to 15m / 49ft, freezeproof to 14F / -10°C, and shockproof up to 2m / 6.6ft.
- Interchangeable lenses.
- 1-inch 14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor.
In a first for Nikon waterproof digital cameras, the 1 AW1 accommodates for interchangeable lenses. This innovative move really opens up the options for photographers who thrive in tricky conditions. Its compact body is incredibly resilient, and it performs fantastically well as a camera. It has features that include an advanced hybrid autofocus system, high-speed continuous shooting, and HD movie capture. What’s more, it’s water resistant up to 49ft, freezeproof at temperatures as low as -10°C, and shockproof up to 6.6ft. This is a fantastic camera for those looking to get unique yet high-quality shots in challenging situations.
- It’s not a cheap camera, and additional lenses will come at an extra cost.
Why it’s great:
- Upgrade to our number one choice, the Nikon Coolpix AW130.
- Improved features, including 4K video capture.
- Improves shockproof rating up to 2.4m/7.9ft.
Our favorite Nikon waterproof camera was the AW130, and its big brother, the W300, is another great option. It has improved on the AW130 in a number of areas. The most notable are the inclusion of 4K video capture and an increase in the shockproof rating; 7.9ft compared to 7ft. The video capture is a huge bonus on this camera and works excellently at 30fps and allowing the user to take stills at the same time. Connectivity remains excellent, with built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, altimeter, depth gauge and point-of-interest mapping. It has the same great style and build-quality that its predecessor has.
- It’s more expensive than the AW130, and if video capture isn’t vital you may be better suited to the older model.
- Some users have reported issues with Wi-Fi performance.
Why it’s great:
- Affordable and robust.
- Waterproof up to 10 meters/32ft, shockproof up to 1.8 meters /5.9ft.
- 2 megapixel sensor and a 3x optical zoom.
Some of the other options we’ve seen have been a little on the pricey side. The Nikon Coolpix W100 is an affordable and robust alternative. It’s described by Nikon as ‘family-friendly’ and this certainly comes across in its sturdy design and ease of use. It may not be packed full of features, and likely isn’t entirely suited to the experienced photographer, but if you’re looking for an inexpensive way of getting some underwater shots, this could be the camera for you.
- Its simple features and lack of manual controls make this slightly too basic for all but the complete beginner.
Why it’s great:
- 360° image capture, and waterproof up to 30m / 98ft.
- 4K video recording.
- 2 x 20.1-megapixel 1/2.3inch CMOS sensors.
The KeyMission 360 4K Action Cam is a really unique Nikon underwater camera. It has a 360×360 field of view and can capture high-quality 360° images and video up to 4K. Despite being so sophisticated, it’s surprisingly easy to use. As standard, it’s waterproof up to 65ft, but with the included lens covers that expands to 98ft. It can record 4K video at 24fps in a 360° field of view. This impressive performance is backed up by its compact and robust design. Overall, if you’re the type of photographer who loves to go to the extremes, this is a great companion to document your adventures.
- It’s not possible to view and record at the same time, which may be frustrating for some users.
How to Buy a Nikon Waterproof Digital Camera
When it comes to making a purchase, there are a few factors that you should consider. These are: price, durability, and functionality. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:
The price of the Nikon waterproof cameras mentioned in our list varies greatly. At the entry level you can feasibly pick up a camera for under £100 that will be waterproof to a degree. This may be the perfect option if you just want something you can throw in your bag when you travel. At the opposite end, a camera that performs as well as regular camera could set you back a bit. As we saw with the Nikon 1 AW1 and its interchangeable lenses, that kind of performance can take you well above the £700 mark. How much you spend is down to your own personal needs and budget.
Although most cameras can withstand some degree of abuse, if you’re planning on taking your new camera underwater or to a challenging climate, you’ll likely want something a bit tougher. The waterproof cameras we’ve looked at so far can usually withstand some degree of deep water, freezing temperatures, and drops from a height. Again, how durable your camera needs to be will depend on what kind of situations you’ll be experiencing with it. If you’re going snorkeling, climbing, or plan on doing extreme sports, you’ll want something that’s up to the challenge.
The cheaper cameras in this particular bracket are fairly basic. They’re essentially point-and-shoot cameras that have some weather and water sealing. More experienced photographers may get frustrated with the lack of features and manual controls they offer. More expensive waterproof cameras can have all the mod cons you’d expect of a modern digital camera; built in Wi-Fi, 4K video capture, and a full set of manual controls. Find your level, and think about what kind of photos you want to take. This will allow you to determine what features are essential, and which ones you can do without.