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Inexpensive underwater digital camera case
Old 05-28-2009, 09:08 AM   #1
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Inexpensive underwater digital camera case

I bought one of those disposable film based underwater cameras (~$15) when I was snorkeling in Hawaii last year, and was pretty disappointed by the picture quality as well as the limited number of photos (27), and the total cost when you consider developing as well.

For my recent trip to Puerto Rico, I looked at underwater cases for my Canon Powershot digital camera and most of the hard cases were over $100, which is more than I wanted to spend for something I would only use maybe once a year. Investing in a watertight digital camera was even more expensive. Then I found Dicapac - they make cheap waterproof cases that fit common sizes of point and shoot digital cameras. I bought one on amazon for $30 and it is basically an industrial ziploc bag with a lens port on the front. The bag is translucent and flexible so you can see the LCD screen on the back of your camera and operate the controls underwater. I thought it did a good job for swimming and snorkeling - the image quality was much better than the disposable film camera, and you could take a lot more shots. I don't think the bag is rated for scuba depths, but for a day at the beach or the rainforest or river rafting, it would do fine.

I have no connection to this company, but thought others might appreciate the tip for their next beach trip. A company called Ewa-marine has similiar products - they seemed to be more expensive but offer greater depth protection for serious divers.

http://www.dicapacusa.com/
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:01 PM   #2
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Just make sure you have a good strap on your camera. My Canon in a hard case I bought off ebay is in the bottom of the Carribean off St. John. I didn't bring a good strap and tried to make one out of a sunglass holder. If anyone finds a nice Canon with some good underwater pics and movies give me a call!

I should have done that trick where the first picture has my contact info. Oh well, I'll always have the memories from that trip.
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:58 PM   #3
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I should have done that trick where the first picture has my contact info.
That's a good trick, one that I have not come across before. The camera case I bought floats, so you can still lose it but at least it'll be on the surface and not the bottom.
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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I have a Fantasea case for a Nikon Coolpix (5500 or something circa 2003). It worked fine and has an effective strap Unfortunately the camera broke so now the case is useless. I am reluctant to buy another case for my new camera (a G9). If I ever do another dedicated dive trip I will probably buy a simple, cheap point and shoot and a case to match.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:27 PM   #5
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There are now some cameras that are by themselves waterproof, meaning no cases needed. Some are good to 10 ft, others to 30 ft, depending on the price ($200 to $400+). Are these depths good enough? I know that at least Pentax and Olympus got them.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:34 PM   #6
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There are now some cameras that are by themselves waterproof. Some are good to 10 ft, others to 30 ft, depending on the price ($200 to $400+). Are these depths good enough? I know that at least Pentax and Olympus got them.
I considered those as well - Sam's Club has an waterproof/shockproof Olympus for $160. However, the picture quality is reportedly not on par with Canon/Nikon P&S cameras, and some reviews on amazon led me to believe that the water resistance (rated for 10 feet) is not that reliable. Despite the fact that the camera is marketed as waterproof, the warranty doesn't cover damage from water. Since 99% of my photos are landlocked, I'll stick with my Powershot and use the Dicapac as needed.

Sam's Club - Olympus Stylus Waterproof 8MP Digital Camera Kit
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:52 PM   #7
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Despite the fact that the camera is marketed as waterproof, the warranty doesn't cover damage from water.
Does the FTC know about this misadvertising? Someone, call the cop.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:43 AM   #8
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There are now some cameras that are by themselves waterproof, meaning no cases needed. Some are good to 10 ft, others to 30 ft, depending on the price ($200 to $400+). Are these depths good enough? I know that at least Pentax and Olympus got them.
For that amount of money I think you could come up with a slightly older camera that took very good pictures and a dedicated housing that would be waterproof at all sport diving depths. Something rated for shallow depths might be good for snorkeling but not diving.

As an aside, from the cameras we are talking about it sounds like some posters are, like me, novice underwater photographers. Even with a cheap camera with no flash you can get surprisingly pleasing results. The raw photos will have a blue cast and look very dull. A simple auto correction in Photoshop (and some free programs) will correct for the blue and let the underlying colors pop out. Not quite the results you get with flash but much nicer than uncorrected shots.
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