Waterproof Cameras 101: 5 GoPro Alternatives

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GoPro may be the most popular kid in class, but does that necessarily mean it’s the best? We did our research and found 5 alternatives to the latest GoPro, the Hero4 Black that offer more camera settings and special features to give you the high quality adventure photos and videos without the insanely high price tag.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS6A - $277.99

If video quality is what you are looking for, this camera provides amazing HD video and several shooting settings at almost half the cost of the GoPro Hero4 Black. It includes time-lapse recording (with the ability to create movies in-camera) and Full-HD 1920 x 1080P video recording. Because of its ability to be submerged in 42.5 feet of water, this is a popular choice for scuba divers and snorkelers that want amazing quality videos. You can even shoot in dark murky water with its built in torch light!

Video isn’t the only upgrade on quality. The Panasonic Lumix also shoots photos with 16.1 megapixels vs. 12.1 with the GoPro Hero4 Black. Out of all the cameras on our list, it has the best burst shooting option with 10 frames per second. And don’t forget geotagging and social sharing - The Panasonic Lumix has built in GPS, a compass, an altimeter and even a barometer to show and record altitude, barometric pressure, water depth and orientation data. The best part? The Panasonic Lumix can connect to your smartphone with its built in wi-fi for remote shooting, remote view and social sharing with the Panasonic Image App.

Ricoh WG-30W  - $279.95

The Ricoh WG-30W looks like an adventure camera from the future! If you are tough on your technology, this is the camera for you. It is built to withstand a 6.5 foot drop, can shoot continuously for two hours submerged in 39 feet of water, is crushproof up to 220 lbs and can shoot in 14°F weather! As tough as it is, it still stands among its competitors with 16 megapixel photos and 1080P HD video shooting.

The WG-30W also has a completely unique feature, 6 LED Macro Lights surrounding the circumference of the lense to help illuminate your subject (and psssst…. even a self portrait mode for the selfie lovers out there). The lights can also be manually activated, turning your camera into a helpful tiny torch in the night. This camera comes with a macro tripod stand and  Ricoh also offers 10 different additional mounts, from helmet straps to kayaks and bike mounts to make sure the WG-30W doesn’t miss out on any adventures. It also comes equipped with Wi-Fi + GPS  for sharing capabilities, and Ricoh offers an optional remote add- on for remote shooting.

Olympus Stylus TG-4 - $329.99

This camera is perfect for the serious adventurer who is also a serious photographer. It is known for its fast focusing abilities that result in brighter and bolder action shots than its competitors. It is the only camera on our list that has RAW shooting capabilities and it definitely wins in the micro shooting contest. It can quickly focus on subjects as close as 1 cm away, even while 50 feet underwater!

The TG-4 also features additional lenses and cases, including the Fisheye Converter for ultra-wide shots (similar to the GoPro fisheye), the Tele Converter that extends the zoom to nearly 7x, and an underwater housing for extra deep dives. It even has an LED Light Guide to illuminate those underwater macro shots and a Sport Holder that attaches the TG-4 to your chest harness or backpack straps for a dramatic point-of-view.

It also comes with built in Wi-fi and GPS for easy geotagging and social sharing, as well as remote shooting via your smartphone.

Nikon Coolpix AW120  - $249.95

The Nikon Coolpix AW120 offers many of the same specs as the others on our list in terms of photo and video quality and durability, but it takes the cake for the best price! It is also known for Nikon’s new Hybrid VR system that helps keep shots sharp and steady even when in motion or when you take the camera along for a bumpy ride.

Of all the tough adventure cameras we’ve reviewed, the Nikon COOLPIX AW120 offers the largest internal storage at close to a third of a gigabyte. While an SD card would be necessary for videos, the internal memory can store several high quality photos, unlike the others. Nikon also offers additional accessories including colorful silicone camera covers and cases, camera chest mounts and a floating strap that while attached to the camera, prevents the camera from sinking and allows it to float on the water’s surface for easy retrieval.

Canon Powershot D30  -$329.99

The Canon Powershot D30 is perfect for the adventurer that wants to easily capture all the fun and action without having to worry about the setting on the camera. With more than 30 predefined shooting situations, this camera uses Smart Auto to automatically recognize which settings are best to deliver the easiest, most high quality photo every time. It also wins for deepest dive, giving you waterproof photos and videos up to 82 feet! (20+ feet further than any other camera to make the list). And it is perfect for a sunny day at the beach with its Sunlight LCD screen, offering an easier-to-see screen in the bright sun.

However, it does fall short on photo quality & toughness with only 12.1-megapixel photos and it is the only camera featured that is not crushproof.  Sharing your photos and videos will require more work on your end as well as this camera is the only one to make the list that does not include Wi-Fi.

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Stephan Aarstol is an American internet entrepreneur and author of the book The Five Hour Workday, which is based on Tower Paddle Boards' invention of the 5-hour workday in 2015 that would eventually spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. Since founding Tower in 2010, it has gone on to become one of America's fastest growing companies and Mark Cuban's best investment in the history of Shark Tank. Tower has diversified into a direct to consumer electric bike company called Tower Electric Bikes, a beachfront event venue called Tower Beach Club, and NoMiddleman.com, where consumers can shop all the world's finest direct to consumer brands from one easy place.