Cool cameras and other stuff

Aquapac DSLR marine case

Written by Gail Bjork

An Aquapac waterproof case is a relatively inexpensive way to protect a digital camera both in and out of the water.

aquapac slr caseAfter reading favorable comments about Aquapac waterproof cases, I got their SLR camera case with hard lens for my Canon XSi/450D. Living in a sub-tropic area, it’s not uncommon to find me at the beach, and sometimes in a boat, taking photos. My camera often needs protection from the elements.

100% waterproof and floats

It’s comforting to know that if my DSLR drops overboard, or if I get hit with a sudden splash of water, the camera is 100% waterproofed. Though the case won’t protect a camera from hard knocks and falls, it will stay afloat.

Handling the Aquapac case*

It takes practice to get the hang of accessing camera buttons through the flexible housing. The camera lens can not be attached to the optically clear “lensflex” hard lens. Depending on the physical length of the camera lens, it may have to be held in place.

Main settings, such as white balance and ISO, should be adjusted before placing the camera in the case. When light is low, focus manually.

Quality of photos taken outside

For all but the most demanding photographers, photos taken through the hard lens will be pleasing.

Outside shots are not as sharp as those taken without the case. Depending on lighting, images can appear a bit hazy and soft. However, as the example below shows, images respond well to basic editing: reducing in size, adjusting for brightness and contrast, and sharpening.

Photos taken with the XSi/450D & Aquapac SLR case

Photo 1 - taken with no case

Photo 1 - taken with no case

Photo 2 - taken using Aquapac case

Photo 2 - taken using Aquapac case

Photo 2 with minor editing

Photo 2 after minor editing including sharpening

What I like:

  • Costs significantly less than camera-specific hard case underwater housings.
  • Protects a camera from the elements such as sand, dust and water spray.
  • 100 percent waterproof to 15’/5 meters.
  • The case floats with the camera in it.
  • Lightweight and well-made.
  • The three “aquaclips” that seal the case are quick and easy to use.
  • Very good three-year warranty.

What I dislike:

  • Instructions for handling a DSLR in the case could be better.
  • Sometimes difficult to see the camera LCD.
  • Camera sometimes has difficulty autofocusing through the case.

Under the water

The Aquapac DSLR case works well and is relatively easy to manipulate. The lens tube can be pressed on the lens to avoid seeing it in pictures. The lens used in the sample photo on the right (below) was a pretty wide diameter (72 mm) but it went in snugly. Some zooming is possible. As you can see from the accompanying photos, it works well in ocean and lake waters. Images were reduced in size and slightly edited including sharpening.

aquapac

photo by Bernard Dery

Photo by Bernard Dery

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

3 Comments

  • Gail:

    Thanks for the info. It definately is helpful. What I was wondering is if you use the AF when the camera is inside the Aquapac, if there is a greater potential for damage to the camera AF Motor because the lens may not be able to expand or contract easily. However, being the novice that I am , maybe I just don’t understand how the AF works. Any additional info would be appreciated. By the way the camera I would be using is a Canon EOS Rebel XSI, if that’s of any help.

  • A lot depends on the lighting and the sensitivity of your camera’s autofocus. It’s best to experiment. If you have a manual focus ring, you should be able to adjust it through the flexible housing. If neither works well, I’d set the camera to infinity before inserting in the camera. Use a medium size aperture (the smallest you can) to get the most depth of field.

    Yes, you will have to hold the lens tube against the camera lens if it’s too short.

    I’d use all the bags of desiccant (silica gel) that come with the camera. However, when the packages start changing color regenerate them. They can be reused many times. More info about using silica gel

  • When using the Aquapac, with a DSLR with AF can you leave the auto focus on or do you need to switch to manual focus to prevent damage to the camera? Also, if your lens is shorter than the lens tube on the Aquapac, should you pull the lens tube up so it is tight against the camera lens? Do you need to use all of the Desiccant packs at one time or just one at a time? Thanks for your help>