In this post, I share my experience of using the Nikon Coolpix W300 waterproof underwater camera for dive photos. This tough, compact digital camera is ideal for adventurous travel activities and for scuba diving! As an ex dive instructor, I can totally recommend this camera for scuba diving for a variety of reasons that I share in this blogpost. This review of the Nikon Coolpix W300 underwater camera also explains why I prefer this waterproof camera above the GoPro, for photography!
Little video about the Nikon Coolpix W300 Underwater Camera
I’m so enthusiastic about this dive camera, that I even made a video about it on my YouTube channel. I´ll include it here before I go into more detail about the above reasons, my history with underwater cameras as an ex-diving instructor and the Nikon Coolpix compared with the GoPro for underwater dive photography.
Other review than the Nikon Coolpix underwater camera: a waterproof phone!
I’m not often doing product reviews, but only share about certain product that I’m really happy about and think can serve other people with a similar travel lifestyle. You might also like my post about the waterproof, rugged Android phone, which is great for the outdoors and similar travel adventures. Or you can also read this post about my travel electronics packing list.
Why I’m so happy with the Nikon Coolpix waterproof camera
Also, I give you some specifics about the Nikon Coolpix W300 camera and share some links to Amazon where you can buy your Nikon Coolpix. I do receive a small commission if you purchase anything through those links, but I’m not sponsored by Nikon. All photos in this blog post are taken by using the Nikon Coolpix waterproof camera as a scuba dive camera, click here to find this product on Amazon. So the photos serve as an example and to give you an impression of the quality of the underwater pictures. The model I use is the Nikon Coolpix W300. There are some very good reasons why I’m so happy with this camera, so let`s get to it!
Nikon Coolpix W300 is a great camera for underwater photography
In my opinion, the Nikon W300 is amazing for adventurous dive travel. My main reason is that this camera is waterproof to 30 meters, or 100 feet (without an underwater housing). Other reasons include that this compact camera comes with a built-in flash and LED light, macro mode, and 5x optical zoom.
Waterproof underwater cameras when working as a diving instructor
When I worked as a scuba dive instructor, I did not have an underwater camera for a long time! And for a couple of reasons. As an instructor, you need to be focused on your students so it does not make much sense to take your camera on your scuba dives. Also, in those years, it was very sporadic for me to go fun diving simply because I did so many dives that on a day off I did not feel like going scuba diving. Also, I did not have a high budget and I was always very packed, especially in the years I even carried the paper version instructor manual and other books.
Before the Nikon Coolpix waterproof camera: scuba diving with the underwater house
Then, one day, when I was working in the Maldives, I found an Olympus camera with a waterproof underwater house stuck on the rocks between the coral. My colleague and I called the surrounding island resorts to check if someone lost his or her camera, but since we couldn´t find the owner of the dive camera, I decided to keep it. The underwater camera still worked perfectly, I just needed to order a new battery. I did enjoy using the dive camera with a waterproof underwater house for fun diving and traveling, although there was one little problem.
My issue with using a camera with a waterproof underwater house for dive photography
The problem was that after a fun dive in Australia, the housing of the Olympus camera broke. I’m not so handy at times, and I dropped it on the floor whilst climbing in the back of a truck on our way to the dive boat. By that time, about 2 years after finding the dive camera, the camera model was getting a bit out of date. And I couldn´t find a waterproof underwater house for that specific camera model. This issue made me think about my next underwater camera.
No need for an underwater house with the waterproof Nikon Coolpix W300 camera
Looking at dive photography, the underwater housing of a camera for scuba diving is often as expensive as the camera itself. And sometimes the waterproof house costs even more than the camera. If either your camera or the underwater housing breaks, you need to make sure that whatever breaks, is still available on the dive camera market. If not, you´re either stuck with an underwater house but without a camera, or with a camera that is not waterproof (like in my case). Here is where the Nikon Coolpix W300 as an underwater camera offers a great solution: it´s waterproof till 30 meters, or 100 feet, without any housing! Click here to find the Nikon Coolpix W300 on Amazon (ad).
The Nikon Coolpix W300 camera doesn´t need an underwater house, it’s waterproof till 30 meters/100 feet
There are different models of the Nikon Coolpix. As mentioned before, I am using the Nikon Coolpix W300 underwater camera to scuba dive and travel. The best news about this waterproof camera is that you don´t need underwater housing to 30 meters, or 100 feet. Besides this, this compact camera is pretty tough. I have been carrying it with me on my travels for more than five years now. When I travel or go scuba diving, I only use a wash mitt to protect the lens of this amazing Nikon camera. The camera doesn´t even has a scratch so far!
How Nikon Coolpix underwater camera stands out from other waterproof cameras
There are other brands offering similar waterproof camera models, like the Nikon Coolpix underwater camera. I know, for example, that Olympus and Fujifilm have similar ones. This post, however, is focused on the Nikon Coolpix as a dive camera. And I have one big reason for this: I don´t need an underwater house with the Nikon Coolpix W300!! This is where Nikon really stands out for me because the Olympus Tough camera go to 15 meters, or about 50 feet, and the Fujifilm Finepix to 25 meters, or about 80 feet, without the need for a waterproof house. Click here to buy the Coolpix on Amazon (ad).
Check the depth limit of other waterproof underwater cameras for scuba diving
Check the link below to find the Nikon Coolpix W300 on Amazon (#ad). If you decide to buy another waterproof underwater camera, please check the specifics and have a look to which depth you can take the camera without an underwater house. I’m only known with the W300 model. The Nikon Coolpix W300 can be taken to a depth of 30 meters or 100 feet.
Underwater cameras: Nikon Coolpix vs GoPro for dive photography and underwater pictures
There are a few reasons why I prefer the Nikon Coolpix over the GoPro as an underwater camera for dive photography. I’m not talking about underwater video recording, because I believe that for filming you might be better off with the GoPro. The reasons I prefer the Nikon Coolpix W300 for underwater photography have to do with the features this Nikon waterproof camera has. Those include:
- Nikon Coolpix W300 has a built-in camera flash and LED light, versus the GoPro needs an external light
- Nikon Coolpix W300 has a 5x optical zoom function, versus GoPro only has a digital zoom effect
- Nikon Coolpix W300 has a macro mode which can be used for underwater mode, versus GoPro needs an external lens
Please note that GoPro keeps updating their models, but this is what I’m aware of.
The Nikon Coolpix W300 has a built-in camera flash and LED light vs the GoPro doesn´t have built-in lightning
First of all, the Nikon Coolpix has a built-in camera flash and LED light. Although you can get a separate flash or light for the GoPro, with the Nikon Coolpix you don´t need to buy anything else since it´s already built-in. As far as I´m aware, the GoPro doesn´t have any built-in flash or lighting. But I might be wrong, since they keep coming up with newer models.
The Nikon Coolpix has a 5x optical zoom function vs GoPro can only digital zoom
The nikon Coolpix W300 has a 5x optical zoom, with vibration reduction, which works pretty good. The GoPro doesn´t have a physical zoom, it only offers a digital zoom function which is not as great as an optical zoom. An optical zoom means that it’s physically magnifying the image. The resolution will be much better than the quality of a digital zoom because it edits the image electronically. Once again, I’m not sure about newer GoPro models still to come.
The waterproof Nikon Coolpix has a macro mode which can be used in underwater mode
The Nikon Coolpix has two different underwater mode options: the usual underwater photography mode and underwater time lapse video. On top of that, you can use a macro option whilst using the underwater photography mode. This is great for underwater photos of macro life like a nudibranch or other small ocean life (see some underwater pictures below). Honestly, I’m not sure what is going on with the macro mode of the GoPro. I believe that for some models you need a separate lens for that, it might vary per model.
Nikon Coolpix underwater image example: flash light vs no lightning used
Underwater video filming: Nikon Coolpix underwater camera vs the waterproof GoPro
That said about the Nikon Coolpix as an underwater camera for scuba diving photos, I believe for underwater filming you´re better off with a GoPro. Currently, I use both the Nikon Coolpix and an action camera, like a GoPro (I lost my GoPro during the drama in Peru). So I wasn´t able to compare the video quality of the GoPro with the Nikon Coolpix for underwater filming.
The waterproof GoPro camera has very good underwater filming video quality
Especially the newer GoPro models have very good video quality. Check the link below for the latest GoPro on Amazon. At the time I’m updating this post, it’s the GoPro Hero 12. Find the newest GoPro on Amazon below.
Underwater cameras: Nikon Coolpix W300 video filming review
Back to the Nikon Coolpix, this waterproof camera also makes nice underwater videos and filming. It comes with a 4K ultra HD video mode, including time-lapse and stereo sound. I include a few underwater videos here whilst I was scuba diving. They were all filmed with the Nikon Coolpix W300.
Underwater filming videos with the waterproof Nikon Coolpix W300:
Splashpacker YouTube channel for more underwater filming experience with the Nikon Coolpix
This post is specifically related to the Nikon Coolpix as a camera for underwater photography during diving. But if you like to check out more underwater diving videos, you can check out Splashpacker YouTube channel here. Or see this link to directly go to the playlist with underwater videos. Please subscribe to the channel too, if you like it 🙂
The Nikon Coolpix W300 is also a great action camera for other adventures during traveling
The Nikon Coolpix is not only great as a scuba dive camera, but it also has great features to be used for your adventures or action sports. Some features of this camera include image stabilization, a built-in bright LED light, it is shockproof to 2,4 meters, freezeproof till -10 degrees Celcius / +14 Fahrenheit, and dustproof. The tough camera also comes with built-in WiFi, BlueTooth, GPS, depth gauge, barometer, altitude meter, and E-compass!
The compact digital camera is great for all kinds of travel
Next to the fact that it does not take up much space, it also doesn´t weigh much. So instead of being worried about an expensive camera with an underwater house on my travels, I just put the compact Nikon Coolpix somewhere in my hand luggage. The small camera only weighs about 230 grams and the size is only about 111 x 66 x 29 (in cm) or 4,4 x 2,6 x 1,2 (in inch). And with the EN-EL12 Li-ion battery, you can take about 280 photos with a full battery and it takes only a couple of hours to fully recharge it.
Conclusion of the Nikon Coolpix W300 for underwater photography and as a dive travel camera
So, for me, this camera is one of the best things I ever bought for my splashpacker adventures. To conclude this post I put the advantages of the Nikon Coolpix as a dive camera in a short overview:
- no underwater house is needed for a depth to 30 metres or 100 feet with Nikon Coolpix W300
- the waterproof camera comes with a built-in camera flash and a built-in LED light
- the Nikon camera has the option for macro photography, also in the underwater mode
- Nikon Coolpix W300 has a 5x optical zoom option
- For filming, the Coolpix W300 has a 4K ultra HD video mode, time-lapse, and stereo sound
- It’s a light-weighted, compact, and tough underwater camera: perfect for scuba dive travel
The Nikon Coolpix is a perfect dive camera for someone who travels a lot
As a scuba diver who travels a lot and sometimes goes to the most remote places, it´s one of the things unmissable in my backpack! I can take nice fishlife and ocean life photos during scuba diving (see all underwater dive pics in this post) without having to worry about an expensive, vulnerable camera with separate housing. Click here to buy on Amazon. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases). If you liked this post, and doing more adventure travel, watersports and activities in the outdoors, you might also like my review about the Blackview rugged, waterproof Android phone.
Splashpacker: dive travel, sustainable tourism and solo female travel
Splashpacker is created by an ex scuba dive instructor, on the road since 2006. The website and YouTube channel are focussed on environmentally friendly and sustainable, dive destinations and solo female travel. Are you interested in more blog posts with information about things to pack for your scuba diving holiday? Click here for a link to my packing lists. You can also follow me by clicking on the social media buttons below or subscribe to my mailing list.
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases