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The best SLR and mirrorless cameras for beginners

Our social media feeds are awash with images of bright beaches with stunningly perfect palm trees and deep blue waters. But going to the beach, even with the camera, can be risky - sand gets in in places you never thought possible - and most models won't survive a quick dip in the sea.

You may already own a waterproof camera. The latest top-end iPhones and Android phones are IP certified for brief immersion. And the rise of high-end smartphones has greatly reduced the number of dedicated point-and-shoots on the market. But even if you just want to take a dip and snap a selfie, there are reasons not to take your expensive phone into the water with you.

If you lose it, you have lost all data on it. It's particularly risky for travelers, as documents like boarding passes and hotel confirmations are often stored on your smartphone. And let's not forget how much a new phone costs.

So the answer is to get a waterproof camera. Something that doesn't cost that much - so if something goes wrong, it's not the end of the world. Many waterproof cameras are also rugged, so they can withstand falls.

Read on for our top recommendations. We've tested most of them, with a few exceptions. We decided to include a disposable 35mm film camera on the list just for fun, although you'll want to make sure you can develop film if you go down this route. Most drugstores have closed their color minlabs.

Underwater housings are also worth considering if you already own a high-end SLR or mirrorless camera. We haven't tested any, but brands like Aquatica, Ikelite, Nauticam, and Sea & Sea have built a solid reputation and sell housings for many popular cameras.

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