Underwater Housings?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by HerHusband, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. HerHusband

    HerHusband Guest

    I'm curious if anyone here uses an underwater housing for their digital
    camera, and what your experiences are.

    We have been buying disposable waterproof cameras for snorkeling on our
    vacations, but they have a number of problems:

    1. They need to be "hand checked" at airport security, coming and going.

    2. They need to be developed when we get back home

    3. The printed pictures need to be scanned back into my computer to have
    digital versions (or pay extra money for the picture CD).

    4. It's difficult to look through the little "view finder" when you're
    underwater wearing a snorkel mask, meaning you often miss the shot you're
    trying to get (usually a moving fish).

    5. The picture quality isn't always the greatest.

    I have a Fuji F10 digital camera, and can get the underwater housing on
    Amazon for about $123. That's expensive, but we just paid a bit over $50
    for three disposable cameras and the developing costs. It would only take
    a couple of trips to pay for the housing.

    My biggest worry is water leaking in and damaging my camera. I have some
    other "waterproof" bags and whatnot, and on a couple of occasions they
    have leaked. Thankfully, I had the contents double-bagged and they
    weren't that sensitive to moisture anyway.

    So before I spring $123 on a waterproof housing, I'd like to know how
    finicky and/or reliable the water seal is. Especially after it has been
    opened and closed a few times.

    Does your digital camera take good pictures under water?

    Any problems with "fogging" inside the case?

    Is it difficult or time consuming to take the camera in and out of the
    case?

    Thanks,

    Anthony
     
    HerHusband, Apr 17, 2007
    #1
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  2. HerHusband

    Zen Diver Guest

    $123 for an underwater housing is not expensive! Like you said it will
    only take a few trips for the housing to pay for itself. Try housing an
    slr or video camera and then things start to get expensive, about $700
    at the cheapest. My latest housing retails at over $3000. Now that is
    expensive.
    That is always going to be the biggest worry when taking a camera
    underwater. Fortunately these little housings are quite good at keeping
    the water out, but it is a good idea to have insurance of somekind to
    cover the eventuality that you will have a flooded camera at some point
    in the future. It is not a matter of 'if' but 'when'. It may be
    possible to add a rider to your home owners insurance to cover this.
    The seals on these consumer housings are almost idiot proof. It is a
    very rare occasion that they fail and when they do it is almost always
    user error. All you have to do is make sure that you prepare and close
    the seal carefully every time. The polycarbonate housings have the
    advantage that you can see the sealing surfaces through it and check it
    visually that way. To be careful you should do a bubble test when the
    housing has been sealed. Simply submerse the housing in a tub of water
    and look for bubbles, though be careful not to mistake bubbles coming
    from air trapped in the external features of the housing.
    Mine does and so can yours, have a look at
    http://www.digideep.com/english/digital/photo/camera/FujiFilm/FinePix-F10-Zoom/12/2026
    there are some sample shots from your model of camera.
    This can be an issue and you can help eliminate it to a degree by
    preparing your camera and housing in a low humidity environment.
    Usually in your airconditioned hotel room. Dessicant packs can help but
    I think that they need to be sealed in at least a few hours before you
    plan to shoot to let them hoover up any stray humidity.
    Not difficut or particularly time consuming. You just need to be
    careful when sealing it up.


    HTH

    jon
     
    Zen Diver, Apr 17, 2007
    #2
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  3. HerHusband

    Addenuff Guest

    http://www.camerasunderwater.co.uk/
    Bought mine here
    Excellent service, wise advice.
    I intended to get a housing for my 20D (!) but they suggested a small "bag"
    for my Fuji550. Excellent advice and I've had some great results with it,
    by my standards! After all I only use it on holidays and only go
    snorkelling but it works. Just forget using a viewfinder sensibly and don't
    even think of reviewing pictures underwater. Wide angle, flash on, get as
    close as possible, point in the general direction of .... and hope! It may
    not be the most elegant of solutions or the most "professional" modus
    operandi but it's a lot of fun, it was cheap and my 20D remains safe.
    Never had a fogging issue, and I leave it in the bag for most of the day
    unless I have to change memory cards or batteries.
    Hope this helps
    DP
     
    Addenuff, Apr 17, 2007
    #3
  4. HerHusband

    Guest Guest

    Personally, if you're only doing snorkling depths, I'd look at one of
    the new waterproof compact digital cameras. e.g. Olympus 770SW is rated
    to 33 feet. It's a bit over $300 new. But that's still only six trips
    at $50/trip, and the rest of the time you'd have a camera that doesn't
    mind rainy days.
     
    Guest, Apr 18, 2007
    #4
  5. HerHusband

    HerHusband Guest

    Josh,
    Hmm... That's something to keep in mind. Digital pics without worrying
    about an "accident" with our main digital camera.

    We probably won't be snorkeling again anytime soon, so I have plenty of
    time to look into it. Thanks for the tip!

    Anthony
     
    HerHusband, Apr 19, 2007
    #5
  6. HerHusband

    Guest Guest

    Good for more than snorkling, too -- I took my wife's Pentax Optio body
    surfing in California, great to be able to take pictures of the kids
    without worrying about the camera getting wet.
     
    Guest, Apr 20, 2007
    #6
  7. HerHusband

    HerHusband Guest

    Josh,
    Yeah, I've used the disposable waterproof cameras for the same thing. I can
    go out in the water and get pictures of the family without worrying about
    the camera. But, that's when I discovered how poor the quality of the
    disposables was. They seemed nice for snorkeling, but the "above water"
    pics were terrible. So it made me wonder how much better the under water
    pics could be with a digital.
    I saw the Pentax Optio waterproofs on Amazon yesterday, but the "30
    minute" limit for underwater use seemed kind of restrictive. We certainly
    spend more than 30 minutes snorkeling. What experiences have you had with
    it?

    Anthony
     
    HerHusband, Apr 20, 2007
    #7
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