18th Oct 2005

Waterproof Digital Camera

Do you want a waterproof digital camera or a water resistant one? Waterproof and water resistant are two terms that are easily confused. While you won’t ever get into trouble treating a waterproof camera as if it were a water resistant one, making the opposite mistake will usually fry your camera instantly.

Water resistant means that the camera has the ability to resist mild exposure to water such as getting caught in a rainstorm and not being able to get your camera under cover immediately, or surviving an unexpected splash from someone doing a cannonball into the pool near you, or the spray from a wave catching you unprepared.

Waterproof means that the camera is impervious to water and will function flawlessly underwater up to what ever depth it is certified to operate at.

Obviously water resistant is a nice feature if you ever expect to take outdoor photos in any environment other than the moon where there is no chance of exposure to water, while waterproof is absolutely necessary if you’re going diving, boating, or snorkeling and want to take you camera along for underwater fun.

There are two ways to achieve waterproofing. The first is to buy an already waterproof camera. These cameras are manufactured with special seals around any of the camera’s opening and buttons or controls, that blocks the entrance of water into the camera. They are also made of rust and corrosion proof materials that will not be affected by salt or fresh water contact.

The other way is to buy a waterproof housing for your existing camera. As far as I know, there are no one-size-fits-all waterproof cases that really live up to their claims. You will need to find one that specifically matches your camera. Not all cameras have a waterproof case available. All of the current cases on the market, at the time of this writing, are manufactured by just two companies: Ewa-Marine and Aquapac. You can visit their web sites and easily determine if they have a case that supports your camera brand and model.

No matter which type of waterproofing you end up with, keep in mind that protection is only guaranteed to a certain depth. This depth varies by camera and case, and you’re on your own if you decide to venture to a lower depth. Many waterproof configurations are rated for up to 100 feet which is usually more than enough for the average sports diver.

Waterproof digital cameras or water resistant? Your camera usage will decide which one you need. Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of money, over the cost of a standard digital camera, for the protection of waterproofing.

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