Posted on July 25th, 2012 No comments
Taking your DSLR for a swim – waterproof cases for your large cameras
While there are many pocketable waterproof cameras, if you want large fast lenses and extensive manual controls, you’ll probably prefer shooting with your DSLR. So how many ways are there to protect your camera when taking it swimming or playing in the surf?
If you are a die-hard diver and plan to spend untold hours in the water, or if you plan to dive deeper than 10m, you need to look into the dedicated underwater housings for your specific DSLR similar to Ikelite, but be prepared to spend £400-1200. If your needs are more modest, read on for a number of other solutions.
DiCAPac offers waterproof cases for just about everything electronic. Two specific models are aimed at DSLR owners. The WP-S5 waterproof DSLR case has a port for lenses 50mm (2.0”) to 95mm (3.7”) long. UV coating polycarbonate on the lens insures picture quality.
The DiCAPac case is hard plastic in front of the lens to insure against distortion, while the remainder of the enclosure is a soft, yet durable, pliable plastic so that all your controls should be accessible and useable through the case. All DiCAPac cases protect your cameras from water, dust, fog, snow and sand. They are waterproof to 5m (16 feet).
The WP-S10 is almost identical, but intended for larger lenses. The lens port on this model will extend from 50mm (2.0”) to 150mm (6.0”) long. MSRP is about £95, but street price may be half that.
Another manufacturer makes a similar soft case for underwater shooting with DSLR’s – Opteka. Their UC-SLR underwater case is rated for depths up to 9.14m (30 feet). The accordion style lens port will accommodate any lens up to 80mm (3.15”) in diameter and 127mm (5”) long. The housing is double coated PVC vinyl with a UV coated lens cover. The case locks closed with a secure thumb screw clamp closure system, whereas the DiCAPac uses a double system of Velcro strips to keep their cases closed. MSRP is £114.33 but it’s on sale as of this writing for £51.06.
Be aware of other manufacturers with similar looking cases, but ones without hard plastic in front of your lens. Soft vinyl fronts will not stay flat underwater and are liable to introduce all sorts of distortion to your photos.
If you don’t actually plan to get your camera IN the water, but just need protection from splashing or rain, consider the ultimately less-expensive solution of a plastic rainsleeve for your camera and lens. Op/Tech offers an 18” DSLR Rainsleeve that slides over camera body and lens, with a drawstring closure that goes around the lens hood. Your arm will reach up inside the sleeve and operate the camera while keeping it protected from water falling or splashing from above. Get a 2-pack for under £6. It folds up so compactly, I keep one in my camera bag at all times.
Lastly, if you only need to protect your camera before or after shooting, you can’t do better than a Pelican case. They’ve been safeguarding everything from medical instruments to military explosives for years. The Pelican 1514 case is one that I’ve used for years, when carrying my DSLR and HD video gear on every conceivable conveyance, including strapping it to a whitewater raft. The watertight seal is also dust proof and crushproof. I’ve often used mine for a step stool on location. Their newest models 1510SC and 1560SC also offer protection for a laptop inside the lid.