Waterproof (digital) camera?

My cheapie camera has endured being splashed and dripped on fine. But I finally managed to kill it by jumping into the water (to retrieve a paddle), forgeting I have the camera in my pocket!

In the “good old days” of film camera, there’s the Olympus Twin that one can go swimming with (but not diving). The camera has a rubber o-ring type of seal to keep out water even when submerged. I’ve submerged the camera in water just to test it when it was new. It worked. Is there digital equivalent of that?

I know Olympus has a couple of those “Splashproof” models around. I’m curious as to their “wet performance”. Or any other “water resistant” models that actually live up to their claim?

Sony DSC-60U

– Last Updated: Jun-29-04 8:26 PM EST –

I have had the Sony DSC-60U Digital Camera for a year now, and it has lived in my PFD pocket the whole time. It is waterproof to 5 feet, compact, easy to use one handed operation. I think it's the perfect camera for kayaking. Cost...about $250. Here is a link to some recent pics i've taken http://www.kayakpics.com/gallery/micko062304

But it’ll cost around $ 600 to get a 3.1 MP UW digicam in a nice bright yellow waterproof housing.

OTOH, you can put your current cam in a waterproof bag and shoot away, too. AquaPac, Ewa, and others are available for between $45 and $200. Or you can use a fixed-focus UW dispo cam for snapshots in and UNDER (up to 45 feet or so) the water as well.

Just wish I could recall the mfr and model of the 3.1 MP UW model… Sorry!

But go the cheapo dispo route -at $8 or so at Wal- or K-Mart, it’s tough to make a mistake as you have fun on the water and take some pics as you

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

Electronics & Water…

– Last Updated: Jun-29-04 8:27 PM EST –

...do not mix. At all. Most traditional film cameras are almost completely mechanical, so water isn't as big an issue. These tiny little digitals, though, are packed to the gills with electronics. It would be impossible to make one waterproof. "Splashproof" might be okay for taking pictures of Shamu, but if your digital camera goes for a swim, it'll die, plain and simple. If you want a nice point-and-shoot digital, Canon makes some very nice waterproof housings for their cameras. They're pricey, but cheaper than replacing a "splashproof" camera.

I have to add, I like Frank's advice the best. I love the waterproof disposables.

The Sony DSC-60U is Waterproof
I’ve had mine in my PFD Pocket for a year now, It has survived many rescue sessions, rolling practice, and everything else, and i’ve had no problems with it.

KISS principle
Trying to keep it simple.

Housings are always bulky. Besides, what about using it in the rain while NOT kayaking? Do I want to bother with taking along the heavy housing on my hike/bike too? Nah, I want a “waterproof” one that can slip easily into my PFD pocket. And one that takes decent picture as well. So “Wal-mart specials” are out.

Yep, the Sony mentioned above looks like what I have in mind. Now, if only it comes with zooms…

Megapixels aren’t all that important. I’m not sending these pics for publication in Kayaker magazine anyway. So 2-3 MP should suffice, just to keep a lid on the $$$.

No Zoom
I agree, I wish my Sony had a zoom. As far as I know the only option you have if you really want zoom is to go with a camera with the waterproof housing…expensive and bulky.

So was the old Olympus Twin (film camera but very much electronic). Once they seal the outside of the camera body with O-ring, it will survive a thorough dunking, at least for quite a while.

I can see adding zoom to “waterproof-ness” being less straight forward. Anything that moves can present a problem for proper seal. Plus, the zoom lens tend to add bulk.

Still looking…

Pentax Optio 43WR

– Last Updated: Jun-29-04 9:17 PM EST –

Just purchased this camera for my up comming trip. It is water resistant to JIS 7 standard, upto 1m(3ft) for 30 min. It is a 4 mega pixel and the 4x6's I had printed are as good if not better than my minolta SLR. Apparently it will do a great job of 8x10's to. Optical zoom equivalent of 34mm-104mm internal, plus digital zoom on top of that. The camera is only about 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" and 3/4" deep. I just drop it into my PFD pocket when I go. It comes with a long strap so it can be tied to a d-ring in the pocket. Another good feature is that is uses AA size batteries, I bought the lithium batteries for cameras and haven't had to replace then yet, about 300 shots with the LCD screen on. Great for a long trip. Check out Pentax's site, the camera is pretty new, so it may be hard to find. I bought mine in Canada and paid $400 if that helps. They used to have a 3mp version probably pretty cheap if you can find one.

Now we’re on to something! OK, so it zooms, it fits in the PFD, and you can swim with it. Even the spec look really good. And at US$350, the price is tolerable…

More questions:

I just look at some comsumer review of the older 33WR model. The chief complain being no lens cap (or call it shutter door in this case) so water got on the lens. Does the new one has a shutter cover?

Also, I at first didn’t understood all those strong (and universal) complain about lacking a camera case, until I realize the odd shape of the camera means I can’t just shove it into any old case. It won’t fit. Do you find that a problem?

We’ve got the Optio33WR
It’s not made to operate underwater, but simply survive a dunk. If you put a floating keychain on it, you don’t have to worry about how deep it’ll go before the seals leak; it just stays at the surface where you want it. Love it so far, but we haven’t intentionally tried to put it to its limits yet. A friend of mine said to do it before the warranty runs out just to be sure…I guess that makes sense. Here’s the skiny:


And here’s how they turn out:


For the light gathering, low light feature, be sure to have the camera stationary or everything comes out blurred as you will see. :wink:


Pelican case #1020
Fits perfetly with a little room left over for a float.

Olympus C-740 UZ

– Last Updated: Jun-30-04 8:51 AM EST –

With the PT-018 waterproof case rides with me every trip. 10x optical zoom and all the camera featuresare usable from the outside of the case good to 130 ft deep. Takes excellent pictures. I use this camera with the sleep mode set at 1 min. and I've never had to change the batteries while on the water (sometimes over 8 hrs.) Camera floats with the case.

Check out

– Last Updated: Jun-30-04 7:04 AM EST –

The Cannon web site and search for waterproof!!! They make some neat waterproof "HARDCases for their cameras. I am looking at getting the 5 meg elf with the waterproof case. I have a digital rebel but its to big and bulky for yacking. Oh yeah I have an aqua pack for my Rebel, its a PITA to access the buttens!! hard cases are the way to go!!

STeve’s Camera is a marvelous site for digicam data & info. Here’s the skinny on the Optio 43 WR:


It really does look like an attractive package -you can take pix, get a zoom, and not worry about you or the digicam getting wet as you

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

Waterproof Digitals
My final decision for a digital/waterproof camera came down to the Canon S400 (newly named the S410) and the companion Canon waterproof case.

The “pocket size” S400 is extremely small for all of its versatility and generates great images. Couple the camera with the case and you still have a compact and waterproof/underwater setup good down to 130’. Another plus for the Canon case is that you have complete adjustment access to each control button from outside the case.


i just bought the dsct1 by sony
this is the best camera I’ve ever owned. without the housing it is smaller than my wallet. with it on it will fit in most pockets. it is a 5mp with a huge screen. go to ebay for the best deals on the housing ($100) and the camera ($420) 5mp with a housing and a huge screen for 5-600$$$? can’t beat it!

I have the 33WR and am very happy with it as a paddling camera. The only problem is getting the viewport wet (same with all housings too) as water drops collect there.

It has no trouble with dunking and rolling.

I have taken it surf kayaking several times.

Really like the Canon Powershot SD110
Digital Elph, with waterproof hardcase. Compact,

durable,versatile, and combine it with an Olympus

P-10 digital photo printer for instant gratification!

shutter door and case
there is no door, probably because a door=moving parts which would be a point of water entry, I guess. I usually put in my PFD pocket, lens facing in to help keep water off the lens. The lens is internal and what you see on the outside is a protective cover and I was told that it can be replaced by Pentax if it gets scratched.

As far as a case goes, I found a LowePro digital point and shoot case that fits well. I can’t remember the model, but it is rectangular, black and silver/grey with a zippered top, water resistant, not perfect but it does the job.