5 Top Waterproof Cameras

Pentax WG-3

The 16-megapixel Pentax WG-3 is available with or without a built-in GPS module. Both models are built to be tough, with drops of up to 6.6 feet and a depth rating of 45 feet. They also offer a backlit CMOS sensor for heightened light sensitivity and reduced noise, triple shake reduction with sensor shift (digital shake compensation often crops the image) and a Digital Microscope mode with six LED lights for macrophotography of subjects at only one centimeter from the lens. The 4x zoom range is equivalent to 25-100mm with a fast variable ƒ/2.0-4.9 aperture. The WG-3 GPS offers geotagging of images with a dual display that shows compass direction, elevation and depth. Like many Pentax models, the WG-3 is available in several color schemes. List Price: $349 (WG-3 Digital Camera with GPS Kit); $299 (WG-3).

UNDERWATER HOUSINGS

When you want to capture deep underwater dives or images in difficult locations, waterproof housings are available for safeguarding your expensive cameras and lenses from danger. Underwater housings provide access to camera controls, or at the very least, essential buttons for operation and external dials. There are numerous companies that produce underwater housings designed to meet the specific dimensions of a particular camera model or lens combination while others provide one-size-fits-all bags and housings.

Many camera manufacturers make underwater housings for some of their camera models, but if that doesn’t apply to your camera, here are a number of options to consider.

Higher-end systems from manufacturers like Ikelite provide mechanical controls that are tailored to perfectly fit specific camera bodies with popular lens combinations. Many of Ikelite’s underwater housings, available for DSLRs, as well as several popular compact models, will also allow you to add underwater strobes and zooming gears for using zoom lenses while underwater.

With models available for Canon, JVC, Nikon, Sony and now Blackmagic, Equinox is another company that provides high-priced, but quality-driven underwater housings for DSLRs and even pro cameras like the RED systems. There are also underwater lights and even a few different submersible monitors for previewing photos and footage. Top-shelf products from Equinox are rated for depths of 250 to 330 feet.

Nauticam makes housings for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, mirrorless ILC models and a few popular compacts, as well as the medium-format Hasselblad H4D/H3D cameras and the Phase One 645 DF with P+ or IQ digital backs. They also produce external housing viewfinders that are compatible with several other systems.

Aquatica’s tough military-grade pro housings for Canon and Nikon DSLRs (and the Sony NEX-5N) are rated at depths of 300 feet with access to photo and video functions, as well as strobe connectors for using TTL flashes with the metering system of your camera. The bayonet system allows rapid lens changes while the camera is still in the housing.

For depths to 33 feet, AquaTech offers fully featured Sport underwater housings alongside the more basic Surf housings. Both are compatible with an optional removable pistol grip and an interchangeable port system for swapping out lenses. Compatible with Canon and Nikon DSLRs, AquaTech also offers molded flash housings for the Nikon SB-910 and the Canon 600EX-RT flashes, as well as Nikon- and Canon-compatible underwater flashes.

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