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  1. #1

    Default Camera for Diving

    We are making our 2nd trip back home to CSS the end of April. Hubby got certified last year and loved diving. He plans to do lots of it this time around.

    We brought an 'underwater' disposable camera with us the 1st time around. Hubby took it down and snapped off one pic... then the button jammed. The pressure from the water would not release the button until he surfaced.

    As a photographer, I have a few backup cameras, and I know I can get underwater housings for them, but am concerned on the pressure it creates the deeper down he goes. Suggestions on decent underwater cameras that won't fail?

    Stacey & Pete
    CSS April '10
    **CSS April '11**

  2. #2


    I've yet to see a decent "underwater camera". Most of the notable underwater shot's I've seen were taken via SLR (or quality P&S ala Canon or Nikon)in a proper housing.

  3. #3


    Great question, and one that we would like to know, too. My wife is really interested in taking underwater pictures and is currently reading the underwater photography chapter of her advanced diving certification book. It would be great to know what other divers are using.

  4. #4


    I am not aware of any cameras that you can taking diving without a housing. The disposbales are not meant for depth, and even the top of the line Olympus Tough cameras are only rated to 33 feet. Do not dive with these. You will destroy it. They are meant for snorkeling.
    So the answer is to use a camera with a housing. Housings are typically rated to at least 120 feet or much more, so it doesn't matter what camera you use. It is safe as long as the O ring is free of particles and it does not flood. Pressure will not be an issue.
    The biggest problem with cameras for diving is that not all models have an available housing. Plus, since camera models become discontinued very quickly it can be very difficult to find a housing for it later on down the road. They are absolutely model specific. The best solution is to buy the camera and hosuing at the same time.
    Canon has housings for many of its models. We've used Sonys for years without a problem. Of course they don't take as nice of photos as an SLR, but those with a housing is a very expensive setup. Another alternative is Sealife or Sea and Sea. They are geared specifically for underwater use so they have underwater modes. I think we will go that route next.
    However, if you have a good camera now that you would like to dive with, but can't find the matching housing, you may be able to find one through a generic housing such as those made by Ikelite.
    Good luck with it! Taking photos underwater is a challenge (due to lighting and fast moving sea life), but it's lot of fun.

  5. #5


    Depends on how much $$ you want to spend. My wife bought me a "Sealife DC 1200" underwater digital camera for Christmas. It seems to have some very nice features but I will actually be testing it for the first time at CSS in March. I have a Nikon D200 but I wouldn't consider risking water damage, plus the UW housing is bulky and very expensive. Disposable UW cameras really are only marginally good for snorkeling and worthless for diving (my opinion). The Sealife camera does have flash and also takes video images but not in HD. Stills are at 1200 pixels.

  6. #6


    Anything by sealife.

  7. #7


    The underwater disposables are not made to go down that deep so they are better for snorkeling. I'm a photographer too and was considering getting a housing for one of my backups but they are really expensive and very bulky. I wanted something smaller so I went with a descent point and shoot and a separate housing for it. We have used it on three vacations so far and still love it. I will post what I posted in another thread just the other day. The first part was about a specific camera that is "waterproof" and does not require separate housing. It only goes to 33 ft which is not going to be deep enough either. The one I got can go to 120 ft which is deeper than you are going to be going at CSS. If you get one for a camera you already have check the size of the case. They make plenty of cases for DSLRs but they are seriously huge. If you have a point and shoot that you like you can check to see if they make a case for it. I am leery of the generic cases that are just flexible plastic and prefer one made specifically for a certain model. You also might want to check price. It was cheaper for me to get the new point and shoot and a case than it was to get a case for one of my existing cameras.

    From the other thread-
    I do not have that camera but two friends got one and both of them lasted one snorkeling trip and that was it. The picture quality was not too good to begin with but then they both took on water. They didn't come from a bad batch or anything since there was quite a time difference between the purchases and they live in different parts of the country. The warranty does not cover water damage either so they were just out the money. I have only been to CSA but we dove past 60 ft on at least one dive and to 40-50 on the others. I would really suggest getting a regular point and shoot and then getting a case for it. The picture quality will be better and you can test the case before each use. They also go a lot deeper. I am a photographer so I tend to be really picky about photo quality and certain camera features and capabilities. I choose the best point and shoot for me, made sure there was a good case for it and then ordered them both. I got mine a year ago so there might be something better by now. The things I was concerned with were good low light performance, quick startup time, very short shutter lag, low noise and good photo quality, manual settings and a short delay between photos. I ended up getting a FujiFilm Finepix F200EXR and the case that they make to go with it. I really like it so far. I keep it in my purse most of the time now because it's nice and small so it travels easily. If you want some example photos I can post some. Let me know.

  8. #8


    Personally I use a SeaLife Reefmaster Mini with a strobe. I like it a lot. Relatively inexpensive and dependable. You can actually take videos with it too. Just my thoughts. Ive had mine for 4 years now and its still good.

  9. #9

    Default camera for diving.

    i have a cannon A720 power shot, ikon housing with ikon external flash. Relatively cheep for diving cameras and has not failed me on over 50 dives.

    I have made a couple dives over 100 feet with no issues and it takes a rally nice picture.

    takes a pretty nice video as well.


  10. #10

    Default As a fellow professional

    I took mine strictly for snorkeling this time since I had a broken ankle. I took a Canon G11 with the underwater housing. Since you're not going to be diving through 50 feet of water, it will be more than adequate. The underwater housing for that camera can go well below 100 feet. All the buttons are available on the camera, the camera has a dedicated underwater mode, and it has a nice shortcut button you can set to adjust the white balance after going down during your dive.

    The housing does come with a light diffuser for the flash. I'll attach an image taken with it.

    Safe travels and good luck!

  11. #11


    SeaLife makes a fairly inexpensive underwater camera. Costs about what a good housing costs.

  12. #12


    My dive buddy has this mask camera. She is still getting used to it, but is getting better each time we dive. The video is HD and with the optional torches, it does a great job for the price. She is letting me borrow it for our trip to CSS 3/6 - 3/12 and I can't wait.

    Here's the link:

    Hope this helps!

  13. #13


    I use a sony cybershot DSC-W80 and sony housing. Great little setup. You should be able to get a good deal on the camera and housing on ebay. I linked 2 videos I shot at couples negril diving shot with this setup at 80 ft.

  14. #14


    Quote Originally Posted by chefcg1 View Post
    I use a sony cybershot DSC-W80 and sony housing. Great little setup. You should be able to get a good deal on the camera and housing on ebay. I linked 2 videos I shot at couples negril diving shot with this setup at 80 ft.
    Hey, this is exactly what we use!

  15. #15

    Default Sealife DC1200

    Recently returned from Mexico and used our new Sealife DC1200 Elite. Has strobe and wide angle lens. Video doesn't have strobe capabilities but videos came out really good 60 feet down. Recommend this camera although it is not HD. Big keys are easier to use than most underwater camera housings.

  16. #16


    I have looked into getting a housing for one of my backup SLRs but I just can't justify spending that kind of money on something I will only use once or twice a year. I decided instead to buy one for my Canon SD1400 I just got. It takes nice pictures and as a fellow professional I can be quite picky. The housing for it was only $169 from B&H where as the cheapest underwater housing for my Mark II was $1100!!!

  17. #17

    Default Housings...

    Stacey -- what you might want to do is check on amazon or ikelite to see what housings are available for your backup cameras (if these are P&S cameras only). For best results, suggest using a camera with the ability to custom w/b and/or has an underwater setting. (I shoot RAW or JPG) I have a Nikon DSLR, but I don't want to take that on a trip. Housings are way too expensive, it becomes too much gear to haul and then you have to decide what lens to shoot, etc etc.

    I use a Canon OEM housing for my G10. My husband uses my old Canon A620, also with a Canon OEM housing. These housings are rated to 130ft. Ikelite makes excellent housings for digital p&s cameras, but they are a bit more expensive. I had a hard time justifying the cost of the ikelite housing. If I remember, it was almost as much for the G10 itself.

    The keys to making sure your housing doesn't fail are:

    1. Treat the housing o-ring with care. Examine it for any specks of dirt, hair, sand or nicks. LIGHTLY grease it with the approved housing lubricant. Overdoing it with the grease can cause the seal to fail. Make sure the groove for the o-ring is also clean (makeup sponges work great for this ).

    2. Test the housing. You can do this in several ways. We generally test in the tub before we leave and also in the pool at the resort, if we have time. You can also take the housing down on a dive without the camera. NOTE: This can be frustrating as the housing will be super bouyant or you will probably see something fabulous and won't have the camera in the housing. (been there, done that)

    3. RINSE the housing with fresh water after every dive to get the salt crystals out of the buttons and to keep the lens port clear of spots. You can even soak it in warm water fresh water in your tub. Keep the camera out of the coldest part of the room when stored. We wrap ours in microfiber towels and keep them locked in luggage or stored in the drawers.

    Another couple of tips -- watch out for the housing getting banged around on the dive boat.. and never leave the housing/camera sitting in the sun while on the way out to the dive site -- otherwise it will fog as soon as you hit the water. Also, make sure you have a really good tether for your camera. I use a coiled lanyard with a brass clip to attach to D-ring of BCD. I can clip the camera out of the way when not in use.

    We keep a kit consisting of a extra o-ring, magnifying glass, plastic toothpick to remove o-ring, lubricant, and those triangle makeup sponges (to clean the o-ring groove on housing). Instead of buying those dessicant packs from the dive stores, just save the little packs that come in vitamin bottles or shoe boxes. We've never had a problem with leaks.

    Sorry this is kind of random & disorganized.. I haven't had my coffee yet... Hope this helps!

  18. #18


    Bought my Hubby a Canon G12 and the Canon underwater housing for Christmas. We just got back from CSA last night and looked at his dive pictures. Amazing! Colors wash out a little at 100 ft but the detail is beautiful. Excellent color in the snorkle shots. He's so happy with this camera that I think I'll have to look into a strobe for his birthday.

    Would highly recommend the G12. Both the G11 and the G12 have actual underwater settings too. Couldn't be happier with the camera and the housing.

    For the best prices I suggest you search online. I bought the camera and underwater housing from 2 different companies and saved significantly. Don't forget to buy the weights for the housing too. At 100 ft he needed 4 weights.


  19. #19


    Thanks everyone for the VERY helpful information!

  20. #20

    Default Camera's for Diving

    we have dived both at CSS and CTI using a compact camera, a Fuji F11 ( no longer available ) and a Fuji F47fd. Both inexpensive and with housings available made by Fuji (give complete control of the camera when diving), although I have found that an external strobe is a must. Try to get a camera with a same brand housing as the generic housings dont give access to all the camera settings.

    complete package cost about $550, but it's worth it!

    Take a look here

    Heather & David

  21. #21


    I used a Canon Powershot D10 waterproof camera on my trip to CSA in June '09. It's rated at a depth of 33 feet, but I regularly took it down much deeper than that (60-85ft) and it stood up to the test.

    My wife and I still use it to this day, it's great to use around the pool and with the kids who tend to drop things (it's shockproof as well).

    I plan on taking it diving at CSA again when we return over Thanksgiving later this year!

    Jonathan and Carrie

  22. #22


    Buy this, you wont be dissapointed

  23. #23



    have you decided on a camera yet. we bought a lumix dmc-zs7 plus dmw-mctz10 housing, good for 130'.
    just returned from 10 days diving at sans souci and results are brilliant.

    can send you some pics if you like

    stuart & sonja

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