Best underwater cameras
Olympus TG-1 Tough
This solid 12MP compact is waterproof to 12 metres and comes equipped with a superfast f2.0 wide-angle lens – ideal for grabbing pin-sharp sub-aquatic snaps without a flash. It also has a lens mount for fitting Olympus's aftermarket fisheye and teleconverter lenses and the TG-1’s auto white balance – a crucial ingredient in underwater photography – is top-notch.
Ikelite/Canon Ixus 125HS combo
If deep diving is your bag, consider this fathom-friendly scuba package. The Ikelite is basically a watertight plastic casing with a cluster of mechanical buttons that link to the controls of an enclosed compact or SLR. This Canon Ixus 125-specific model is depth rated to an ear-popping 60 metres and is a doddle to use while submerged.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4
With its reassuring 12 metre depth rating and robust protective shell, Panasonic's Leica-lensed compact is an ideal partner for snorkelling, boating and mucking about in the surf. Its auto white balance casts a faint off-white hue and the HD video could be a tad sharper but in the main it performs commendably. A fine do-it-all holiday snapper, though there's no telling what a feisty barracuda might think of its bright, goldfish-coloured livery.
Praktica Dpix 5000WP
Don’t expect your pictures or videos to win any awards – the Praktica’s paltry £80 price tag means you don’t have to worry about the yellowy colour temperature and lack of sharpness. It’ll take a three-metre dive and come back with 5MP images, making it a worthwhile alternative to forking out for an underwater housing.
Pentax Optio WG-2
Pentax's lurid 16-MP compact may look like the result of an origami competition but there's an undoubted air of rugged dependability about its funky, angular design. The WG-2 is shockproof, crushproof, coldproof and waterproof to a depth 12 metres – perfect for diving around a submerged construction site off the coast of Alaska, then.