Salt water camera

Pics thru my iPhone thru a JOTO plastic case are just too crummy and soft, not to mention hard to control thru the plastic. I am looking to buy a compact used waterproof camera to use on flat salt water for landscape, birds and sea life and short video. Needs to have IS, reasonable image quality in good light, optical zoom (200mm equiv would be nice), not lots of shutter lag, resistant to salt spray and splash and possible immersion. looking to know recent models (newer than 10 years old) but don’t need latest/greatest. Suggestions?

If you have not, check at B&H, they buy and sell used equipment.

Used Department: Cameras, Computers, TVs & More | B&H (

Another place to try is KEH:

Used Cameras, Lenses & Gear For Sale | Buy & Sell at KEH Camera

My wife loves her Olympus Tough TG-6


10 years of paddling much of it saltwater with this camera in a lifejacket pocket that has been treated roughly but still working. It is a waterproof Nikon cool pix W200 with 5X optical zoom with 16MP 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor. It was $200 on sale when new. It is no longer made but has been replaced by the Nikon cool pix W300.


Nikon Coolpix or Olympus Tough lines are often used, but aren’t quit as good cameras as many of the more recent phones. And aren’t going to have as good zoom as you are after - the Olympus I have is 5x which is about the same as 120 mm, but really anything about 2x gets fuzzy when hand held. To get above this, you need an adjustable lens, and these don;t like salt water.

I suspect the Joto is the limiting factor, and if you go to a better case, you may do better. I use Aquapac for my phone, which may be better (at lest they cost some 3x the price, so hopefully are better).

My Google Pixel phone is supposed to be water resistant, but I don;t trust it so do use a Aquapac bag (added benefit of the leash). If your iPhone is recent, it should also be waterproof to some level, so you could decide to risk it and take photos without a protective case.

It’s older than your 10 year cutoff, has no IS, but I’ve been happy with my old Pentax WS80. It has 35-175 (35mm equivalent) optical zoom, has been splashed by salt water (not submerged) and rinsed often with the kitchen sink sprayer. Here’s a photo at full zoom taken from the water, no post processing, no sharpening, etc. There are certainly better cameras but I haven’t felt any need to upgrade.

You should be able to click on the photo to get the full size file:

Otterbox Fre case on my iPhone. Unfortunately when Otterbox took over Lifeproof they discontinued the waterproof Fre for all except iPhone. Too bad, since the quality of the case went up a lot. I’ve had no problems that weren’t my own fault. Any time I’ve thought of getting a better waterproof camera I haven’t found anything easier to use than the phone (I do have a GoPro if warranted).


Wow, nice pic, @Wolf !

My Olympus Tough recently died after about 20 years and I’m looking to replace it as well.

In the meantime, I’ve been using my iPhone in an Otterbox and it’s been ok.

One of the big drawbacks to phone use is that it can’t go to camera without using the touchscreen (less than reliable when wet). I’ve set up (deep in settings, I can hunt it up again if you need it) “tap the back of the phone three times to bring up camera” in the hopes of solving this problem but I haven’t gotten my back-of-phone tap reliable. In theory, I should be able to tap the back of the phone and use the volume-up button for the ‘shutter’ without taking off gloves or worrying about wet hands on wet screen.

Let us know if you find some rare unicorn. My IP68 3x Galaxy phone takes better pictures than my Nikon cool pix W300 with 5x zoom. My Lumix FZ300 claims 24x optical zoom and IS but is only “splash proof”, and my old Canon Rebel takes far better pictures. Olympus sells a splash proof mirrorless and weatherproof lenses… not compact.

The big headache for me is drops of water on the lens; good luck dealing with that while kayaking, especially in salt. I settled for this unique lens cap on the FZ300 but I take most of my pics (like this one) with my unprotected phone.

Good ideas so far. My iPhone 6s has a 20mp camera but can’t zoom, which is the limiting factor. First photo is taken with the Joto case, second without. Not sure if the plastic limits in this case. If you zoom in you can see the pixelation from cropping to enlarge either. Which is why I want an optical zoom lens.

Hi im in Australia but have just put my Underwater camera up for sale if your interested its on facebook marketplace. I bought it 6 years ago for a trip to the barrier reef. Was in storage for a while but have been using it on my kayak for the last 8 months. Works really well. Only reason Im selling is that my partner has bought me a go pro. Cheers Peter

I am on my second Olympus Tough. I can take 600 photos on a six day sea kayaking trip. I also use my iphone when in camp or walking on islands. The iphone takes a better video.

Olympus Tough - I have a T-6, but they are now on T-7. Pictures are OK. I use Photoshop Elements to crop and auto-adjust everything anyway. It has a lot of features that I don’t use like Bluetooth and GPS. I also have the zoom and wide angle lens.

I’ve used my Fujifilm XP60 in saltwater and fresh. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. 5x optical zoom. You can find ‘em used on Amazon for a nice price.

Fujifilm FinePix XP60 16.4MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD

FYI, newer iPhones are waterproof so you could just get rid of the case if you don’t want another device.


So far I have not heard any meaningful anecdotes of successful iPhone usage in salt water on the web. Only a lot of speculation. And lots of hand wringing about water resistant vs waterproof and progressive damage from the corrosive nature of salt water. I’d love to hear credible stories of repeated salt water immersion on any smartphone, but haven’t seen this so far.

Did you watch the video. This guy actually takes his iPhone 15 into salt water in the video. He said his iPhone 13 has been under water for almost 30 minutes before. Not that I would do it. The problem for me with the phone is it doesn’t have a lanyard. Waterproof or not if you drop it, it may not prove to be recoverable.

I did not see a video link. Do you have one?

Mikala above posted the video.

iPhone 15 vs GoPro Hero 12 Black Tested! - YouTube

Cool video. Thanks. I wonder how an iPhone 11 would fare.