Of all the cameras on the market, none showcase the wonders of modern technology like the waterproof point-and-shoot. Consider the new TG-Tracker from Olympus, for example. Due out next month, it has a super-wide-angle lens for capturing panoramic images and shoots 4K video and is rugged enough to withstand a drop of 7 feet on dry land or a deep sea dive to 100 feet. And that's just for starters.

What makes it unique is a built-in LED light with the power to cut through the darkness at those towering depths. If it can spotlight an octopus in its natural habitat, it can no doubt capture your young Boy Scout on his first overnight camping trip or your twentysomething college pals on a midnight kayak run.

Pros and Cons of Waterproof Cameras

A decade ago, the early models were more like novelties, especially when it came to image quality. But today's cameras rival their less rugged counterparts in almost every category. Case in point: The Olympus TG-4 (shown below), a high-scoring waterproof point-in-shoot that scored just a point lower than the Canon PowerShot N100.

Still, there are some features you won’t find on a waterproof camera. The new Olympus is a bit extreme—it has no optical zoom at all. But most waterproof point-and-shoots have just a 4x (25-100mm) or 5x zoom (25-125mm), because telescoping lenses are an inviting entry point for water and other liquids. Some regular point-and-shoots offer 24x zoom.

If you're in the market for a waterproof camera, consider these models. For more information, check our digital camera buying guide and Ratings

Photo of the new Olympus TG-Tracker waterproof camera
The New Olympus TG-Tracker, $350, includes a powerful LED light for taking better photos underwater.
Photo: Olympus

Olympus Stylus TG-4, $330

A photo of the Olympus Stylus TG-4 waterproof camera
The Olympus Stylus TG-4 waterproof camera

Waterproof to 50 feet, this sturdy, top-rated model can capture photos as RAW files, which contain all the data recorded by the camera's sensors.(JPEG files compress that data, leaving you with lower-quality images.) The TG-4 also has an excellent liquid crystal display, an f/2-aperture lens, and a built-in compass and GPS for geotagging your photos. Learn more about the Olympus Stylus TG-4.

Nikon Coolpix AW130, $300

A photo of the Nikon Coolpix AW130 waterproof camera
The Nikon Coolpix AW130 waterproof camera

Waterproof to a depth of 98 feet, this model comes with a built-in compass and GPS. It produces very good still images, even without the flash. The f/2.8-aperture lens ranks among the widest zooms in its class (24mm-120mm). The video quality is good, too. Learn more about the Nikon Coolpix AW130.

Canon PowerShot D30, $300

This is the Canon PowerShot D30 waterproof/rugged camera
The Canon PowerShot D30 waterproof/rugged camera, $300

Waterproof to a depth of 82 feet, this thin, lightweight camera produces very good photos and video. And, yes, it has built-in GPS. Learn more about the Canon PowerShot D30.