Apr

23

I am going scuba diving next month and want to buy an underwater digital camera. Any suggestions? I have no experience with taking underwater photos so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

A couple of things to consider here.
1/ Do you just need it for holiday pics and that’s it?

If so, there are many cheap digitals on the market. Wal Mart even had a 5 MP that was rated to 60 feet a few months back. A Vivitar if I recall and they had it on sale for 70 bucks.

2/ Do you already own a digital camera?

If so, the company that makes the camera may also make a housing for it. These camera company housings generally aren’t great, in that not all camera functions are at your disposal, but you get what you pay for.
If your budget allows, Ike Lite may make a housing for your camera ( http://www.ikelite.com/ ) but be prepared, they can be twice what you paid for the camera. The flip side is that they’re the best housings and you can access just about all your camera functions as well as add strobe(s) to eliminate the camera flash ( the flash will produce some back scatter, a strobe eliminates it). As an example, I own a Canon powershot A720 IS. A relatively cheap digital point and shoot at $230 . The Ike Lite housing cost me another $450. But I now have an 8MP camera that can be taken to 200 feet and the video it produces is awesome too ( I use a 4 gig card). Setting up the camera in the housing takes about 30 seconds and the same to get the camera out, to take on surface tours or shots in the Pub. One good cheap camera + expensive housing= vesatile rig that does a good job for all my purposes. I could have bout Canon’s own housing for this camera for half the price of the Ike Lite, but then I would also have gotten a housing that was half as good and didn’t have the depth rating I needed. Theirs are only rated to 130 feet. I’m often deeper.
This is the route to go if you own a camera you really like, want it safe and are serious about getting good underwater images or video and still want the option of using that camera on the surface with ease.

3/ Underwater camera bags? Forget them. They don’t keep your camera at around one atmoshere. Mechanical linkages or buttons may not work as they will deform with the pressure increase on the camera case as you dive. Sucks not to be able to press that jammed shutter button when you want to take that shot of a whale shark cruising past you. Also you’re also now trying to take a picture through a piece of plastic that’s not optical grade nor is the port glass. Your images suffer because the incoming light gets refracted by the differing densities of the materials ( camera lens- glass, bag port- plastic) and your auto focus also goes out the window somewhat. This type of housing for a camera is really only suited to keep the camera dry, not producing decent images. Great for a day at the beach is all but some people still get suckered into buying them for dive shots because they’re dirt cheap. You get what you pay for again.

4/ What’s called an amphibious camera. These cameras are like a mixed breed. Generally they come in a housing that you cannot remove the camera from. Some will have options for adding a strobe tray, some won’t. You will also have a lot fewer options when it comes to shooting modes than you would with a cheap to mid price point and shoot. This type of camera usually sells for between $250 -$500. Performance wise they’re middle of the road. The shoot ok above water and ok below. Not spectacularly good at either nor really bad at either. If you’re taking a camera along only a couple times per year or shoot out in the rain a lot, they’ll do if you’re not picky about fine tuning your shots. Both Sea & Sea as well as Bonica are popular manufacturers of this type of camera. My first camera was a Sea&Sea Mk5 film camera, an amphib.

Powered by WP Robot