If you enjoy taking pictures in the water and seeing what’s under it, then a waterproof camera might be perfect for you. But with above-ground cameras getting better and better, are underwater cameras too expensive? Are they worth it?
I bought my first waterproof camera the summer of 2011, in preparation for lots of beach days and a trip to the Caribbean. I pictured being able to swim with it, snap away while snorkeling, and most of all, not worry about breaking it if a drop of water touched it.
If you’re considering underwater vs. above ground cameras, first determine what features you’re hoping for.
The Advantages – These include being able to get the camera wet whether it’s rain, snow, pool, beach, or any body of water. You can swim with it and take pictures underwater. You don’t have to worry about spilling anything on it – what a relief that is! It also becomes a great gadget to play with and in socializing.
The Details and Features- When choosing a waterproof camera, look at the mega pixels and the optical zoom, as you would when buying a digital camera. Check if the camera is also shock proof and freeze proof, as these are common features. Make sure you can take videos if that is necessary to have. Check to see how deep ( in feet or meters) the underwater camera can safely go. Some cameras go only 10 feet while others go over 100 feet. If you know how to free dive or scuba dive, you will want to make sure your camera can go deep and not flood.
Go Shopping – Explore options online and in stores at the different models that are offered. Some come in different colors and some are on sale. Research through different vendors such as BestBuy, amazon, electronic stores in the area, and brand names such as Nikon, Canon or the new GoPro camera. Reading consumer reviews helps to know any negative features from previous owners and comments on how well the picture and video comes out.
I have a few waterproof cameras acquired through the years that I bought for different sport uses and for trying out different models.
The first underwater camera I bought in 2011 was the Fujifilm FinePix XP 20. It came with 5x Optical Zoom and 12 megapixals. It was waterproof for up to 5 meters/16 feet. It was also freezeproof up to 14 degrees Farenheit, shockproof up to a fall of 5 feet and dustproof, so you can fall in sand and not break. I upgraded to the newer version quickly to the Fujifilm FinePix XP 60, which was similar, but came with 16 mexapixels, and waterproof up to 6 meters/20 feet. The pictures came out more clear on the newest model and for free diving, I could go deeper.
I purchased the Sealife Reefmaster after I became certified to scuba dive. This camera can go to a depth of 200 feet/60 meters! I don’t even dive that deep but I liked knowing it would sustain the water pressure if I do in the future. It also comes with a wide angle lens, shock proof up to 6 feet, 9 megapixels, and a 2.4 inch LCD screen for viewing pictures.
Most recently, I bought the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. It is an expense but it is known for sustaining skiing, surfing, underwater activites, and purchasing different mounts. The wide angle lens is the best part. I can take a picture of someone standing close to me and still obtain the entire background as through my own eyes. It is waterproof up to depths of 197 feet and has 12 megapixels. It comes with built in Wifi so you can upload staight to the Internet. You can also download a free application to control the camera through your cell phone.
It seems to me that the deeper an underwater camera can go, the more secure I feel about it that it won’t break. It’s an anxiety I have because we’re taught to think that electronics and water don’t mix. After using it for a few days, it became easier to jump in and snap away.
In the end, if you’re dreaming of taking your camera around any type of water, try it out and see if you like it. Only you can tell if you prefer a waterproof or a non waterproof digital camera.