camera help

I have a point and shoot waterproof camera that I carry on board and a Canon Rebel camera that stays at home for fear of getting it wet.

I miss a lot of good photo ops for not having my Rebel. What do others use? Is there a good waterproof step up from my point and shoot camera that has better optics for zoomed shots or with changable lenzes? Any other suggestions?


Hard to say without knowing the quality
of your point-and-shoot, and what deficiencies could be remedied if you used your Rebel. I use a Canon SD800 IS in a waterproof case. It has wide angle, but telephoto is weak. It has f2.8 but a dark cloudy day can pose problems. When it’s in the waterproof case, I can’t use the viewfinder, so composing shots in the LCD can be difficult, especially in bright light.

Still, as has been the case for my older cameras, if the light conditions are good, I get great results.

I’m thinking of buying a Rebel, but I can’t imagine having it out and using it while I’m running whitewater.

my new point and shoot
has a weak telephoto as well but the LCD is much better than the one it replaced. I do a lot of delta slough paddling and right now the migratory bird photo ops are awesome. My rebel with its 70/210, 2.8f zoom lense would be great for catching those shots.

I’m not too camera savy so if someone could clue me in on a good, reasonably price waterproof camera with more optical capabilities I’d consider it.

I have the Nikon Coolpix AW100. It replaced a Pentax Optio.

Not sure what you are currently using
Here’s a review of several waterproof point and shoot cameras.

I have the Panasonic TS3 and like it alot. It’s obviously not as good as my rebel, but it’s quite good for a point and shoot. It has 4.6x zoom and image stabilization.

There are waterproof cases for the rebel, but I can’t say if they are worth the cost. It also seems like a rebel in a case would be a little bulky to carry around.

Well, My Good Camera Rests…
…in it’s Pelican box. Waterproof and shockproof. I fasten it in front of me on a thwart or yoke so it’s handy and safe.

I would not take my Rebel (older)
on moving water but have taken it out of its Pelican box with care on flat. I have a 250-400 lens for it, among others.

The issue is that by the time I unsnap that Pelican case the wildlife is spooked and gone.

So I use the Rebel around camp or on side hikes mostly.

Wanting something I could wear on my PFD in 2010 I went for a tiny camera a Fuji WPz33. Its taken some great pix that otherwise might have escaped. The optics and range are not nearly as good as an SLR of course and sometimes in sunlight I have to guess at where the object is as it does not show up on the screen.

Fuji has of course upgraded to later and greater models.

At under $200 I would not be afraid of losing it. It does not float alone. I have mine in a neoprene case. Saltwater does not seem to affect it.

My solution
I typically take two camera’s when I paddle, with the exception of my surf ski, then the point and shoot (Pentax WP80) only. My DSLR is usually fitted with my 75-300 mm ISM lens.

Pelican box in the canoe, waterproof deckbag in my kayak.

I got tired of taking photo’s of eagles that could have passed for pigeons. That’s why I take my DSLR.


I take two cameras as well…
My Olympus or Fuji water proof camera and in many cases, I take my DSLR Fuji S5 or Nikon D300 and even my Leica V-Lux1 which is a superb mid size camera inside a Ewa-Marine. I trust my soft housing. I simply test it by closing it and sticking it under water to look for bubbles. If no bubbles come up, the soft housing is safe. If I drop it with the camera, it even floats! I am very happy with it.

waterproof bags

These may work for you.

There aren’t any waterproof cameras with
interchangeable lenses, though a few compact digicams (not waterproof) with such lenses have come on the market. Probably difficult to make the interface between lens and body waterproof.

I use a Pentax Optio W90 for casual shots. If I want better quality, I use a (film) SLR. If I wanted both on the same outing, I’d put the SLR in a Pelican case. That’s what I did before getting a waterproof point-and-shoot. It’s a choice between high quality but awkward and risky to use around water versus so-so quality but easy and waterproof. So far, there doesn’t exist a system that incorporates all the good parts without any of the bad.

camera help
I shoot professionally and just revised a NW kayaking guidebook. That said, I use my normal camera, a Canon 5d Mark 2 and put it in a Outdoor Research double drybag between my legs in the cockpit. This way, i have a full camera for the best shots, yet can it dry whilst underway.

I use the following to keep it dry and/or accessible…

  • put a cotton or similar lens cleaning cloth in a zip lock in the camera bag.
  • consider another rag or the one above to also keep your hands dry before using the camera.
  • my camera body and lens are in a small shoulder bag - in the drybag, thus padded and with the top open, easy to access.
  • i put the telephoto without a case in the drybag, kinda free on it’s own.
  • a good idea to find a way to secure a drybag to you cockpit so you can wet exit if needed, but not lose the drybag if you need to bail.
  • friends put longer telephotos in pvc tubes below their deck (above knees). simply remove the end cap to access.

robcasey’s response

– Last Updated: Feb-10-12 11:02 AM EST –


What do you think of the Ewa-Marine solution? I called B&H and they sell a U-AZ bag for about $250. It will fit my Rebel XT with my 75-300mm Canon lens...My wife would never let me take our white lens out paddling.

I'd like to read your guidebook.

AquaPac also
AquaPac has one similar to this also, and looks a bit cheaper:

That said, I had one for a little while and found it challenging to use the controls on the camera or adjust the zoom through the case. Was more challenging than I liked, so never gave it a real test for how well it worked taking photos. Just seemed too troublesome on first blush.

Peter is right about handling the camera
The Aqua-Pack, just like the Ewa-Marine are hard to control your camera. I am also a full time industrial photographer and I have used the Ewa-Marine on two photo assignments in a pool session and it was challenging to zoom in and out. Now I am used to it and I made a foam ring that I use on the lens that allows me to zoom in and out (from 24-85) with ease. If you provide me with your e-mail, I can show you pictures of how I deal with it. I have used my Nikon D3s only once with the Ewa-Marine with no issues. However, the best cameras for this system are the Canon Rebels and Nikon D300 or D3000 systems. They are smaller, lighter and easier to get used to with the housing.

What do you paddle?
If your boat is stable enough, you should be able to use the Rebel with very little risk of it taking a dunk. Likewise, if your boat is easy to enter and exit, you can hop out on shore, pull it out of the dry bag/box and use it on land. Canoes and SOTs are ideal for photography, whitewater kayaks and sea kayaks are often less so.

Another option is to buy a mid-range digital that has a good zoom or a super-zoom. For $500 or less, you could probably get something that would be longer than the P&S, but would be a little easier to lose should it go for a swim. I used a mid range digital Nikon for 2 or 3 years before it finally went for a swim on a Class II rapid. When I lost it, it only cost $150 or so to replace.

Then it’s just a matter of keeping it in a box or bag until you feel comfortable getting it out.

I use a DiCAPac that I bought from B&H and wrote a review on it here.

I don’t think I wrote in the review I have rolled my boat with the camera on the deck and it hasn’t come off. It is tied to the boat just in case.

Though I am looking at a Go Pro or Nikon AW100 for those on the go shoots and for a cleaner deck.

I have a Nikon D7000
Here it is in a rainstorm:

I paddle a Capella 173 or a Merlin II
In the canoe I would feel pretty safe keeping the rebel in a waterproof container and just taking it out to shoot but in my kayak I’d worry about paddle drips and even wet hands damaging something.

wow…i want that Nikon!

nikon pics for you
I use a NIKON d5000 here is a sample of pics I’ve taken with it…some paddling pics too. Great. Camera