The basic principles of waterproof cameras and camcorders were known for a long time. The first camera was just a dark chamber with a pin hole and this was known as Camera Obscura. The fact that certain chemical responded to light was also known long time back. The first attempt to combine these two principles was made in 1800 by one Thomas Wedgwood though the attempt was a failure. From humble beginnings both cameras and photography have developed to the extent of being capable of taking photos of subjects that cannot be seen by humans in dark. Similarly, camcorders, a fusion of cam (era – re) corders, came into existence because of a rejection of a patent application by American inventor Jerome H. Lemelson, for making one. The rejection only spurred him to make one. The first camcorder came into the market under the aegis of JVC in 1982. Today high-quality cameras and camcorders that are waterproof and can work under 65 feet water are available.
The market of waterproof cameras was dominated, till a few years back, by Pentax and Olympus. Recent times has seen explosive growth in this market with the greatest advantage being that a waterproof camera is available for as low as $100. The Olympus Tough! TG-4 is one of the best camera in the market. It supports raw format. It has an exceptional build quality, an ergonomic design with features like GPS, electronic compass and depth and pressure gauges. Panasonic Lumix FT5 / TS5 called TS5 in the US boast of a fast autofocus, full featured GPS, a 4.6x zoom and optically stabilized. It also features an impressively bright LCD monitor, accurate metering, Wi-Fi with remote camera control and NFC pairing for easy image sharing, are some other features. Camcorders also have high quality waterproof models like the Olympus TG-Tracker that has 2040 ultra-wide-angle lens and 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. It claims to have a video resolution of 4k at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and an impressive 240fps at 720p for slow motion capture. It has a small LED video light, GPS, compass, acceleration sensors, barometer and thermometer all inside the compact case. It is waterproof up to a depth 30m, and features built in stabilization and can withstand temperatures down to -10 degrees celsius. Veho Muvi K-Series K2 NPNG, Garmin Virb XE are some other brands.
No product is ever perfect and it is only prudent to go through some user opinions before deciding on the brand one buys. One should also critically review the feature that fits their requirements.