Hanging out at the pool or on the beach is a rite of summer. It’s also a perfect time for expanding your photographic creativity as long as you have the right kind of gear for protecting your camera. The deeper your relationship is with the water, the more specialized your needs become.
There are many options to consider, ranging from a point-and-shoot protected by a simple plastic case to a DSLR outfitted with a more advanced (and pricier) heavy-duty aluminum housing for full-on scuba diving. Whether you’re shooting from the sand or diving deep, having the right accessories will lead to more dynamic images and a better overall shooting experience.
When you’re hanging out on the beach or at the pool, a simple waterproof case is probably all you need to protect your camera as you snap away. The Aquapac SLR Camera Case is a soft, waterproof bag that lets you operate all of the controls through the material. A rigid tube made of optical-quality plastic surrounds the lens, and the case is rated for use at depths of 15 feet for at least 30 minutes. It fits medium-sized DSLRs best. Aquapac also makes cases for compact cameras of varying sizes. List Price: $140 (SLR Camera Case).
Another easy solution for using your camera in and around the water comes from ewa-marine. The company’s PVC housings work for compact, DSLR, mirrorless and video camera systems with speedlights attached. You have full access to the camera controls through the PVC or using finger slots built into the housing. For shooting on the shore or in shallow water, the U-BF100 is large enough to handle pro DSLRs and works in depths down to 30 feet. A left-hand glove lets you hold the camera and lens the way you would if the camera wasn’t in a housing, as well as manually zoom the lens. List Price: $399 (U-BF100).
JUST BELOW THE SURFACE
If you’re getting in the water to snorkel or swim, a rugged compact shooter likely delivers all that you need for taking great pictures. The latest models from Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax are built for use in challenging environments, including those that are wet. They all have wide-angle zooms, can withstand being dropped, shocked and crushed, and offer some unique shooting features.
The Olympus TG-820 is waterproof down to 33 feet, has 34 shooting modes and is equipped with image-stabilization technology that works for still and video capture. The three-inch LCD features impressive 1,030,000-dot resolution for delivering clear previews under bright sunlight, and it also has a scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coating. A backlit HDR mode ensures that images taken in strong sunlight aren’t washed out. List Price: $299.