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Monday, June 30, 2008

Get Wet

Cameras and housings perfect for poolside

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Whether you're content to shoot from shoreline or want to dive in to snorkeling or scuba, with the right accessories, your camera also can come along, without fear of damage. Underwater housings protect your gear from the elements—even the salty seaside air can wreak havoc, and sand is no friend either. So before you hit the beach, get your photo gear a swimsuit, too.

Spending time on the sandy beach or playing in the waves calls for a compact solution. Ewa-Marine has been supplying flexible bag-like solutions for keeping equipment dry for many years. A popular case is the D-SW, which houses compact digital cameras such as the Canon PowerShot SD800/900 series cameras. The housings are made of flexible, double- laminated PVC, feature a glass port for the lens and can be used to a depth of 33 feet. Access to all camera controls makes these flexible housings a great, lightweight solution for both in and around the sand and water. Estimated Street Price: $160.

A simple solution for taking your point-and-shoot camera to the beach and into shallow water is the Aquapac, a waterproof and PVC-free case with a hard, clear window for the lens. The Aquapac takes most point-and-shoot cameras with no modification, and it's guaranteed to a depth of 15 feet. The flexible material gives you access to all camera controls. Estimated Street Price: $45.

Olympus introduced a line of rugged, waterproof cameras designed to withstand water, shock and freezing cold. Now, water and shock I understand, but I don't think too many folks are going to combine freezing conditions with water, but who am I to say! Olympus' most recent compact wonder is the Stylus 1030 SW. This unique camera is shockproof to 6.6 feet, freezeproof to 14 degrees F and waterproof to 33 feet. It features a 3.6x optical zoom, a handy 28-102mm zoom range (35mm equivalent) and 10.1 megapixels. In addition to its rugged design, perhaps the Stylus 1030 SW's most notable feature is its underwater scene mode. Add up all of these features, and you have the perfect camera for both beach shooting and snorkeling. Add the optional Olympus PT-041 housing, and the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW can be used for scuba diving to a depth of 110 feet! Estimated Street Price: $349 (Olympus Stylus 1030 SW); $209 (Olympus PT-041 housing).

Pentax Optio W60 
The Pentax Optio W60 is a waterproof compact designed to withstand water, sand and, yes, freezing conditions. This 10-megapixel camera features a 5x optical zoom with a 35mm-equivalent range of 28-140mm. A notable feature is the fact that the zoom lens never protrudes from the camera body, keeping it safe from damage. The Optio W60 is waterproof to 13 feet (for two hours); it features an HD-resolution movie mode and a Digital Wide function that improves the wide-angle capability to 21mm (35mm equivalent), making it possible to get close to your subjects and maintain full-frame images, an important feature for in-water photography. These features, plus many others, make the Optio W60 a good choice for snorkeling and beach-going. Estimated Street Price: $329.


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