Underwater Digital Cameras 101 For Landlubbers

By Bob Miles

First came the camera. Then there was the underwater camera. After that came the digital camera and now we have underwater digital cameras. Underwater digital cameras are ideal for capturing the beauty of the undersea world (or the bottom of your swimming pool if you have that special artistic eye!). They are used by both scientists and scuba divers. Digital cameras come in many well-known brands including Kodak, Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Olympus. Surprisingly enough, the cheapest brands cost less than $200, although prices rise quite steeply for the highest quality cameras.

Some of the advantages of underwater digital cameras include:

- You can plug them into a TV.

- They are smaller and lighter than film cameras

- Bad shots can be easily deleted

- They can change resolution, which is useful for wide-angle photography in low lighting conditions underwater

- They produce better high-resolution shots

- They never run out of film (because they don't use film!)

- They have better depth of field (up to 4 times that of film cameras)

- They feature strobe shutter speeds as fast as 1/800th of a second, much faster than even the best film cameras

- Applications include sea mode, land mode, and external flash mode

Here are some examples of the best underwater digital cameras:

1. The Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000

It has a 2. 8 inch LCD screen and 10 megapixels. Housing is required. Up to 3,2000 ISO. 3x optical zoom lens, and it even includes an anti-shake feature.

2. The Pentax Optio

It has a 2.5 inch LCD screen and 7 megapixels. It requires no additional housing. Usable for up to half an hour in depths of up to 5 feet. It can even be used for shooting underwater videos. Up to 1,600 ISO.

3. Fuji Film FinePix A400

Complete with waterproof housing, 4.2 megapixels. What's more, it's CHEAP - under $200 at the time of this writing).

4. SeaLife DC500

Includes both Land and sea flash modes. 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom. Features an anti-shake function that compensates for movement by either the photographer or the subject.

The foregoing is only a small smaple of the total range of brands, cameras, and features available for photographers of almost any budget and any level of sophistication.

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