Keeping camera dry and ready

Hello, new to kayaking and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on keeping my new digital camera dry as I paddle. I plan on taking pictures on fairly calm waters, but with paddle splash I still wind up with wet hands. I would like to figure out a way to keep it stashed but ready for very quick access so I don’t miss a good shot. It’s a new Canon s2… Thanks

Canon probably makes a waterproof case
for your camera. Another possibility. Buy a welding rod case at Home Depot. This is a waterproof semi-tubular case with a gasketed screw top. Glue some foam in the inside of the cap and fake out a way to securely and rigidly mount the right side of your camera to the foam and cap. When you want to take a picture, you screw off the cap, hold the camera by the cap, and sneak a wet finger in to operate the shutter.

By the way, the reason we buy these welding cases is to securely hold our poop when on western BLM rivers.

Otter or Pelican Case
You didn’t say what camera.

I’ve used an otter for my Cannon S20 for several years and it floats right along with me when I’ve dumped. No leaks. THe Pelican hasn’t had as much “experience” but I can keep the lens out in it. I just hang the caser on a strap or tie it to the thwart.

I just picked up another camera that came with a waterproof case. Why, so I didn’t have to wait for the camera to come on.

I just use a fry bag fro mine and take
it out when I need it

Mmmm, fries ! And greasy camera.
Dry bags are too slow on the draw for river photography. I once used a heavy-duty Tupperware to hold my camera inside my C-1, and I assure you, I could get the skirt off, the Tupperware open, and the camera out before anyone could get a drybag open.

I do have a Watershed bag which can be opened much quicker than rolltops, but I would rather have a camera in a hard case with a fast-opening lid.

Camera warnings…
I just read this warning in my Nikon Coolpix 885 instruction manual…

“When using the viewfinder, care should be taken not to put your finger in your eye accidentally.”

I’m glad they told me that. I wondered why my eye hurt.

And to answer your question…I use a small, padded Otter box. It has protected my camera during a few (more than I want to tell anyone) swims. In one case, my boat was pinned on a rock, my Otter box was binered to the seat and was subjected to tremendous water pressure against it for several minutes before I could get it out. My camera was the ONLY thing that stayed dry that day. A few months later, one of the latches broke on the Otter box. I sent the box to Otter for replacement under their lifetime guarantee. Not only did they send me a replacement Otter box, but they sent me an additonal box of a different size. Well done, Otter. Not only does the product work under harsh conditions, but Otter stands behind their product. I’m a fan.

River Goddess

Dry Bag
All my cameras are stored in Pelican Cases but I’ll use a dry bag when I want to use it on water kayaking. Take the Pelican Case alone but have the dry bag handy to hold the camera while closing the case. If the foam in the case gets wet you have a real problem. Rarely do I use a camera on water while paddling. I use my power boat for that. Have way too much money invested in camera equipment to take too big a risk.

Otter box and washcloth
I’ve had good luck with the otter box…I learned quickly that it was nice to keep a wash cloth tucked in the top to dry fingers before handling the camera. I use a digital Olympus that is “weatherproof”, but being able to dry my hands a bit is nice. No leaks, but sometimes a bit hard to open in a hurry with tired hands.

I have been using a pelican box for
5 years. I have never really owned an exspensive camera but have used $200-400 3-5 meg digital point and shoot cameras for the past 5 years. One camera was spent after the first three years on constant and regular wet usage. It died after too much saltwater exsposure. Dropped another 5 meg camera in the Okenfenokee swamp. I didn’t go swimming after it. Too many gators watching me. Still have the third one. Three camera seems a bit excessive for six years but I managed to take a lot of pictures with those cameras and mostly from the seat of a kayak. If I know I want to be taking a lot of pictures I keep the otter box either between my feet in the canoe or on top of my sprayskirt on the kayak. It takes a good sized wave to move the box around and unless I am in rapids, surf, or windy conditions I rarely stow the box or even lash it in. It takes like two seconds to open the box, and another couple of seconds to power up the camera and zoom in on a subject.

I know accidents happen sometimes. I guess I am willing to risk the chance of getting the camera wet in exchange for taking some water bourne pictures.

Some pictures from the past six years…

all shot from the same $29.00 pelican box albeit through three different cameras. I have replaced the rubber o-ring twice. I have learned to store the box open when not in use and haven’t had to replace a ring in long while. I checked the box by holding it under water in the kitchen sink and looking for bubbles. If there are bubbles coming out there is water going in.

ps. what I meant to say was
the camera is always mostly ready and with the help of a small dishtowel it remains almost dry enough to last a long time unless I drop it in the water or handle it with wet hands on saltwater trips. :slight_smile:

cheapo waterproof disposable
In addition to keeping your good camera in a pelican case or dry bag, consider carrying along one of those waterproof disposable cameras. They’re about 7 to 12 bucks, and you can keep them right out on the deck. Lots of great shots won’t wait for you to get your camera out of any bag, and those disposable cameras take surprisingly decent shots.

Pelican box or similar, on deck
I have used a 1300 box to keep an SLR in, with the box in front of my feet in the cockpit. The box is fine; the access is too slow for my tastes (have to pop the skirt and pull out a rather large box and balance it on my lap without dripping the skirt onto it or the camera).

But a smaller box for a smaller (point-and-shoot) camera works great. I’ve been keeping a Pelican 1020 box right in front of me on top of the deck, with a Pentax Optio 43WR inside it. Very quick access. I merely wipe my hands off before touching the camera. These boxes cost less than $20 and can be used for keeping other things besides cameras.

Minolta Weathermatic 35 and film
scanner. Still works for me.

people will call me stupid…
but I took my canon 20d and 400 f5.6L lens out in a hefty bag. I simply folded the top over and unfolded it very quickly to pull the camera out. I only did this in a calm lake and wouldn’t recommend it where there is any chance of a wet exit. I will start using a dry bag, pelican case seems way to cumbersome. I also kept a hand towel in the bag to dry my hands.

photography from a kayak is tuff, make sure you keep the shutter speed high.

20D with a 400 5.6 would be tough. Unless of course you are bringing your iso up to 800 or so, then in normal light, you should be able to keep a pretty high shutter speed.

I take a Panasonic Fz10 out with me and am terrified of dropping it in the water. 12x zoom, f2.8 throughout, and I am really happy with it. there is no aquapac or any other type of waterproof case available for it yet unfortunately.

I have movie mode and would love to go out to some swells and just hang it around my neck and shoot away as well as in group outings to record the moments.

Just got back from a 9 day trip at Isle Royale and I was kinda nervous about my camera as well. I ended up securing a small pelican case to my deck…even though I like to keep the decks clutter free. It worked out very nice. It was very accessible and very waterproof. I reluctantly rolled it a few times to make sure the case was waterproof and not a drop entered.