lake-launch-waterproof-camera
Chris Maxcer

Do You Need a Waterproof Camera in the Age of the Smartphone?

Disclosure: Man Makes Fire is reader-supported. When you buy gear using retail links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work. Learn more.
lake-launch-waterproof-camera
Not a bad shot, but it would have been better from the water.

AS THE CAMERA on my iPhone gets better and better, I suddenly find myself taking more pictures with it than with my big Canon DSLR. At the same time, I find myself getting cool photos I might not otherwise have gotten at all because I almost always have my iPhone. But it’s a catch-22: I also take lousy photos, trusting important moments to my iPhone’s tiny little lens rather than to a camera more suited to the task at hand. Many people, it seems, are willing to accept blurry action and poorly lit photos in favor of convenience.

This begs a closer look: Why buy a dedicated camera at all when you always carry a smartphone camera? What are you really missing?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and personally, what I’m finding is that my behavior with my iPhone has also had an adverse affect on my photo taking. Instead of snapping some shots, I don’t bother taking out my iPhone because I know the results will be lackluster. In addition, I don’t bring out my iPhone in fear that I’ll drop it, break it, get it wet, or lose it down into some deep dark ravine.

Not only could I lose the value of the phone and still be shackled to a cellular service contract, I might also be stuck back in the woods without a means of communication.

Enter the Waterproof Camera

I realized that I’ll capture more adventurous moments if I simply invest in a handy little waterproof camera. While this class of camera isn’t nearly as good as a full-sized DSLR with a big lens, they are multipurpose wonders that you can use in the rain or swim with underwater.

Instead of going rafting or kayaking and fishing and coming back with just a handful of quick snapshots taken from the safety of shore, I’m more likely to return with photos that will lock-in memories and let me share them.

And this is why you need a waterproof camera, too.

Can a Waterproof Camera Be a Catalyst?

lake launching
A DSLR or smartphone can take photos from afar, but get down in the lake? Nope. Not having a waterproof camera means missed opportunities, plain and simple.

Besides taking a camera on rough-and-tumble adventures, I’m already thinking ahead: What kind of footage can I get if I go snorkeling in the local rivers and lakes this summer if I use a waterproof camera? And more importantly, will I get off my ass and do more because I might snap a once-in-a-lifetime photo?

I can only imagine.

I do know this: If I had a good waterproof camera like the Nikon AW130 last summer or even a GoPro, I would have been treading water in a mountain lake shooting video and photos of kids launching into the water. Instead, I was stuck on the dock, behind the action, trying to get an angle and not drop my DSLR.

Next time I’ll be ready. That’s the promise of a waterproof camera.

Disclosure: Reviews and Gear Links:

In addition to Man Makes Fire buying gear for reviews and guides, gear manufacturers occasionally ship review units to Man Makes Fire. If we like it, we spend some quality time with the gear and review it, noting if it was provided to Man Makes Fire. After the review, we return it, give it away, or work on longer-term review follow-ups when applicable to reader interest.

We do not accept any gear in exchange for coverage. If we do not truly appreciate the gear, we don't write about it at all -- bad gear will fade into obscurity on its own if everyone ignores it. In addition, we focus on gear from reputable companies, reputable brands, and reputable retailers we trust.

The gear links on Man Makes Fire are focused on what we are willing to recommend to our own family and friends. Many of our specific gear links connect to industry-standard affiliate advertising programs. When you buy something using the retail links in our guides and reviews, we may earn a small affiliate commission that helps pay for our work.

Basically, we deliver the advice and insight you need, you get the gear you want, and then everyone wins. Pretty straightforward.

Complete Site Details & Disclosures Here