Extreme photography and underwater photos are great ... as long as your digital camera is useable underwater. If you aren't sure whether your camera is rated as waterproof, read the user manual or visit the manufacturer's Web site. Ignoring the user manual and testing the digital camera in a full bathtub to determine whether it is waterproof is not recommended.
If you'd like to take these types of photos, you'll either need an underwater digital camera, as specified by the manufacturer, or you'll need to purchase an underwater housing for your digital camera. Here are some of the best underwater digital cameras and accessories.
Canon offers many underwater housing units designed for its specific models and brands of digital cameras. In addition to being able to purchase the underwater housing units at the Canon Web site, you'll also find advice for using your model safely underwater.
Ewa-Marine is a German company that offers underwater housings for digital cameras from many different manufacturers. You can use the company's Web site to determine whether a waterproof housing exists for your model of digital camera.
For beginner photographers, the Fantasea Web site specializes in underwater housings for Nikon compact digital cameras. More experienced photographers will find several other products aimed at underwater photography, such as lights, lenses, and filters.
For the most basic underwater photography, try an inexpensive "tough" camera, such as the FinePix XP10 from Fujifilm. It can shoot in up to 9 feet of water depth, and it costs less than $150.
Ikelite carries underwater housings for cameras from several different manufacturers, including Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony. You also can see underwater photos that customers have uploaded to the Web site, giving you some ideas for your photos.
Olympus makes underwater housings for several of its digital cameras, and the company makes a few point and shoot digital cameras that can be used in harsh weather and in shallow water without waterproof housings. Finally, the Olympus Web site has some great tips for shooting underwater photos.
Look for a few point and shoot models that can work underwater from Panasonic, including the Panasonic Lumix TS10 and the Lumix TS2.
- Sea & Sea
Beginning and advanced digital photographers will find products for a variety of situations at the Sea & Sea Web site. Sea & Sea also has published an Underwater Photo Guide for Compact Digital Cameras (pictured above). It's a helpful guide with advice, instructions, and sample photos for those new to underwater photography.
Through the SeaLife Web site, you'll find digital cameras made specifically for underwater usage. SeaLife also offers lenses and flash units for its cameras, as well as a gallery of underwater photographs taken with its cameras.
With some Sony cameras, you can turn your point and shoot camera into a fully functioning underwater camera, with a Sony Marine Pack. The Marine Pack provides a watertight compartment for the camera, protecting it from the elements.