I am a photographer and have been struggling with photographing while kayaking, so I’m looking for suggestions from others. I have tried keeping my DSLR in a dry bag on my deck but pulling it out of the dry bag while I’m on the water and taking the chance of it going over board makes my heart stop. So I keep it and all my photo gear in dry bags in the hatches and just use it when I’m on land. Recently I bought a water proof pouch for my cell phone in hopes of testing it see how it does. Though on a recent trip I didn’t like the quality of photos I was getting and my phone has one of the best camera phones out there. A fellow photographer bought a waterproof point and shoot to take in his boat but returned it after he didn’t like the quality.

So I’d like to see what other DSLR shooters are using while in their boats. I thought of a dive housing but they are stupid expensive so not really practical for me.

waterproof case/enclosure
These are available for better DSLRs. Prices are, of course, eye opening

Aquapac also makes cheaper, less resilient cases.

B&H photo
The DICApac looks like a good option. I might go with that. Though it sucks to spend $85 on something then have to run a bunch of test to see if it works before relying on it on a trip. I guess there is eBay if it doesn’t work as well as I would like

My Hubby
just hangs his Canon 50D around his neck & off he goes. He does have it insured. If it goes in the drink he loses the photos he took that day. If he doesn’t take it for fear of getting it wet or losing it, he misses all the photos he could have taken.

Deck bag

– Last Updated: Apr-20-11 10:45 AM EST –

My husband just uses a waterproof deck bag as per your original set-up, but with his back-up body and lens, which I believe is a Canon 40D with a 100-400 zoom. Never has had an issue of dunking his gear, knock on wood, but his best stuff stays on dry land. His boat is a Necky Zoar Sport, 14 feet with a fairly wide 25 inch beam for stability.

I have a point and shoot, but the images just don't compare.

Waterproof deck bag
Been using one for years with my DSLR and an extra lens. If conditions are too dicey, the camera stays in the bag. I also take along a waterproof point and shoot that I keep in my PFD pocket.

bring DLSR and point and shoot
I’ve always heard this is the strategy of the best photographers because sometimes a great photo isn’t just about the camera quality but being at the right place at the right time. A good photo taken is better than a great photo not taken. You could have the point and shoot handy on the water and store the DSLR for use on land or very calm water with a friend helping to retrieve it. I think this could especially make sense compared to a cheapy DSLR enclosure than diminishes from the quality otherwise possible.

btw, one thing I do when using my point and shoot is to dunk it in the water just before taking a pic as that seems to avoid 90% of the water droplets that mar many photos.

Point and Shoot

– Last Updated: Apr-20-11 7:58 PM EST –

If all you want is a good point and shoot waterproof (submersible) camera, a good one is the Pentax W90 12.1 megapixel camera with HD movie capability. It's my go-to camera when on the water.

Dive Housing with Canon G
Two suggestions:

  • a Pelican box that’s just big enough for your SLR. I keep it between my knees under the spray skirt and take the camera out just when I’m using it. Put the strap around your neck and the camera will not go in the drink.

  • Lately, I use a Canon G-10 with the dedicated Canon dive housing. Image quality is terrific. It’s not a cheap option, but the quality makes it worth it to me. It goes in the day hatch when it’s not in my lap. The G camera gets used daily; my SLR’s are gathering dust.

    Cheers, Alan

I take pictures while paddling canoe
on whitewater rivers. I use a Canon SD 800 IS in a waterproof plastic case. The large, optically coated lens cover is easier to keep clean than the small lens covers on most “waterproof” cameras.

Regarding quality, the little Canon is providing much better pictures than my old Olympus SLR film camera, and the image stabilization saves me from old age tremor. I’m sure a full-out digital SLR would provide somewhat better pictures, at least in poor conditions, but I can’t see hefting a camera of that size when I’m in grab-and-shoot mode.

I’m about to buy a digital SLR, but only for hiking shots where the little Canon occasionally doesn’t grab focus properly on macro flower shots.

The SD 800 IS is no longer made. If someone can’t get the performance they want in a “waterproof,” they might check Canon’s later offerings. This may not apply to sea kayakers, but river paddlers should consider a wide angle camera.

How good does the picture have to be?
I use my Kodak Playsport for almost everything, but even my phone can take a better picture at times.

But the Kodak is always ready and very robust. Get the salt crud off the lens by swishing it in the water. Dry the lens and shoot.

Your other choices are very expensive or risky. The best water photographers I know are a little risky and they keep their DLSR in a pelican case in their lap in their rec boat. Two snaps and it is available. In rough water they use a cheaper point and shoot and they wear out a lot of gear. Even on shore the tripods and other camera gear are rarely salt water resistant.

With my old Weathermatic film camera
I got great pictures in great light conditions, using extra-quality film.

It cost me over $600 to get set up with my first Canon and its waterproof case, but not only do I get great shots in great conditions, I get great shots in many other conditions. Any time now, one of the “waterproof” camera makers will put out a waterproof that can match or exceed my Canon. Watching and waiting.

In my observation, people who settle for any old point-and-shoot snapshots have not yet discovered how to do consistently better. I see river, lake, and ocean photos on other websites that people took with phone cameras. Some are surprisingly good, but then people don’t use even basic photo editing to make them more presentable.

DSLR vs point and shoot
I carry both on the water. If I could only take one, it would be the DSLR. I’ve taken pictures of eagles with my point and shoot and they look like pigeons, put my 300 mm lens on the DSLR and voila, can’t confuse the eagle for a pigeon.

The ability to take photo’s in both jpg and raw format is a plus. Manipulating a photo in raw format allows far more adjustments and corrections.

waaa lol
man i have bad luck ill get kayak pointing in right direction have camera ready to go a cool bird in cameras sight no waves to bother me.hands dry since my camera is far from water proof i click shutter and battery dies

Both too
if its a shot whose subject is not apt to leave quickly I will take my Canon Rebel t2i out out of its Pelican case.

Sometimes that noise of unsnapping the box scares birds so I have a Fuji WP33 (tiny waterproof camera) in a neoprene case carabinered to my PFD for grab and go outdoor shots. Sure the quality of the second cameras pictures are not as good as the first but outdoors in sun they are pretty darn good. The absence of a true telephoto is always an issue with P and S as well as being able to change settings, but its my “grab the shot fast before it leaves” camera on the water.

I always have both unless portaging many times a day is going to happen and I am solo …then I leave the DSLR at home.

oh well…keep trying

I’m mainly interested in the river and
its surrounding topography. Having telephoto for eagles and desert sheep isn’t a priority. Things come up fast when I’m running rivers, so point-and-shoot is the necessary approach. Not detracting at all from those who have the patience.

High end point and shoot
I’m using a Canon SX30is. It’s a $400 14M camera, a bit smaller than an SLR, shoots HD video and has a 35x zoom. Not a perfect camera, but a great jack-of-all trades compromise for what I am doing. I’m doing art documentary work (both photo and video) shot from a canoe. I’m very happy to finally be getting good close-up wildlife video. Using the viewfinder, I get pretty incredible battery life.

For storage I use a Pelican Case, which does fit into a canoe a bit better than a kayak, of course. I have broken both latches on the case, but fashioned my own out of aluminum instead of using the lifetime guarantee (opening that box some 20 or 30 times a day isn’t what it was designed for and the factory latches will just keep breaking).

Aquapac makes a flexible waterproof DSLR bag that works great. It’s one way to use your DSLR on the water. I usually just my my Canon S95 which I keep in a small Otter box when paddling and pull out the real camera on shore. It’s easier that way.

Water proof bag
I use a water proof bag for my camera and if it s rough out it stays in the bag and I use a water proof Pentax Optio W20. I have on occasion had my wife hold my kayak so I could take pix when it is rough out.