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Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

Chicago
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Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

I am considering purchasing the Pentax Opto WPi underwater digital camera for my first trip to Maui. I already have a great Canon SD400 camera but I am worried that I can't take it with me to the beaches or to road in Hana. I don't want to leave it on the beach while swimming or in the car while hiking to waterfalls. I heard disposable cameras are not that great in quality. As this is my first trip, I plan to take LOTS of pictures so I figure it will be a good investment to get a nice digital underwater camera. I also considered getting an underwater case for my Canon but that cost almost as much as a new camera! So my question is....what do you guys do with your digital cameras while swimming/snorkeling? Do you just use disposables for everything? I don't feel like bringing two cameras with me everywhere....

Central Jersey
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1. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

I was considering the same thing last summer. I ended up just getting a housing for my camera. I really enjoy having the housing because I know the camera already and know its little tricks, and the tricks are no different underwater. For me, the housing was about 100-150 dollars less than a new underwater camera, so that helped me to decide. It was so fun to take your camera underwater, a little scary at first, but fun non the less. I guess for you is all a matter of how many cameras you'd like to bring. Granted the housing will be no smaller than another camera, but at least you can walk around with it pretty much anywhere. Just a hint though, if you do get the housing don't take it off between dives. i did that last year in the caribbean and the lens got fogged up on the second dive. I wish I could be more help, but I can't. I don't know much about the actual underwater cameras, but I do know that the disposable ones are OK, but if you like control over your pictures and even viewing them after you take a picture you might be better off with a digital. I suggest going to Dpreview forum or any other camera forums (even the forum made specifically for your brand camera) and asking around there. Good luck!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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2. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

I'd thought about getting a digital underwater camera for a while last year...I asked around in the camera shops and was mostly told that the cameras were low end cheapies and what you are paying for is the water housing. It is more cost effective, in the long run, to get a good water housing for your existing camera. I still haven't--too pricey for my Canon Rebel. Got a better lens instead!

We've used the disposable while snorkeling---as long as the water is clear, and you don't go too deep making it darker, they come out pretty good. When you have them developed you can have them put on a disk so you can edit or do what you want. Only drawback is not being able to review and delete bad pics.

Do your research and don't just buy an underwater digital on a whim...especially if you may not every use it again.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

I also bought an underwater housing for my digital camera for my recent trip to Maui. It took really good pictures. It was well worth it.

Chicago
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4. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

An underwater case costs about $150-$170 for my Canon SD400. I can get the Pentax Optio WPi for $230 or so. In terms of value, it's probably better to buy the Pentax Optio rather than the underwater case, right?

Omaha, NE
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5. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

Not sure about your latest question, but thought I'd add a comment about housing in general.

I ended up buying the housing, and got it at a decent discount by using one of the online stores affiliated w/ Amazon.

Definitely worth it in the sense that you have a digital and can take hundreds of pictures and pick the best. W/ disposable you're picky, and end up w/ a lot of blank shots. (It's not as easy as you'd think to track a fish and get a picture underwater.)

One other comment about the housing is that I've been told to be very careful about keeping the gasket in perfect condition.

Read lots of horror stories on Amazon of people ruining their digital due to a few grains of sand or a dry rotted gasket leaking.

Wernersville, PA
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6. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

Has anyone ever tried an AquaPac? A lot less expensive... but I've no idea how effective.

I recall seeing prior discussions in this forum about using them.

http://www.aquapac.net/

Las Vegas, Nevada
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7. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

I wouldn't spend another 230 on an underwater camera when you can get a housing for the camera you have for less. The sd400 is a Powershot camera right? Then it is approx the same size and specs as the Pentax. I looked up the Pentax specs. It says "The OptioWP may be submerged and operated up to five feet underwater for up to 30 minutes." So, you can only shoot from the surface, and not for very long.

If you are set on underwater photography, I'd buy a housing for the camera you have. The other poster is correct about the gaskets. I've spoken w/many surf photogs and this is always a concern. You have to be diligent in caring for your equipment.

Montana
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8. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

Our first big trip to the Caribbean, we thought we needed a fancy shmansy underwater camera. We bought a Minolta underwater camera. It took fairly decent photos. The next big trip we took it on (2 years later), it quit working!!! So, we opted for the cheapie disposable underwater cameras. I have to tell you, they actually looked as good or better than my expensive camera. I think unless you are a real pro, or if you're like me and think you have to have an underwater camera, go for the disposable. I think they actually have disposable underwater digital now too, which I'm going to look for before I head out!

Oregon
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9. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

I was in a similar situation. I got a housing for my camera. If you get a new camera you have to learn how to use it. Most likely you'll just be getting the hang of it at the end of your vacation.

The disposable are a good (cheap)option too. The problem with them is that you can't review your shots until the film is developed, and it's hard to get many good shots.

The first time I went to Maui I had a disposable, and got about 10 good shots out of two rolls of film. This time with my digital with housing, I got about 50 good shots. Many of those were very good pics, and to be honest, the snorkeling wasn't nearly as good the second trip.

Chicago
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10. Re: Digital Underwater Camera worth it?

I went and got the aquapac camera bag and the keymaster for $40 shipped. Hopefully it will turn out good. I am a bit worried about the quality of the pictures though.