A water resistant camera is a camera which has been made with water resistant construction. True waterproofing is not possible, but it is possible to include design modifications which will make it harder for water to penetrate a camera. This type of camera tends to be costly, because of the special design considerations, but it can be an extremely useful tool for people who work in wet environments, or people who like to photograph outdoors.
The alternative to a water resistant camera is a camera case which can be used to fully enclose the camera when it is used in wet environments. Such cases can be difficult to use, and they can obscure images taken with the camera if the material in the casing interferes with the lens. It is also possible for water to get trapped inside the case, causing condensation and fog which can ruin images in addition to endangering the camera.
With a water resistant camera, the camera itself is designed to repel water. This requires careful consideration, as possible areas of incursion include the lens, areas where film or memory cards are inserted, and areas around the camera controls. Some water resistant cameras use layers of materials to isolate different areas of the camera so that in the event the camera is exposed to water, the most vulnerable areas will be protected.
Depending on the quality of the design, water resistant cameras can be used for shooting in the rain, for shooting in humid environments, and even for things like underwater photography, although a protective case may be used just in case with an expensive camera. Such cameras are extremely useful for professional photographers who work in wet environments, from sports photographers who shoot events in the rain to wildlife photographers who cannot let bad weather get between them and a good shot. Hobbyists such as hikers and kayakers who like to take photos may also appreciate the extra security of a water resistant camera.
It is a good idea to peruse reviews before buying a water resistant camera. Reviews can give people an idea of the kind of settings where the camera is being used and how well the camera is performing. People may want to take special note of complaints, and if the complainers also describe the company's response, this can be useful to know about as well. A company which backs its cameras with strong warranties which is willing to replace a camera injured in the line of duty may produce cameras of higher quality; generous warranties tend to be written for products which rarely need replacement.