TRAVEL ESSENTIALS | Underwater Camera

Friday, August 19, 2011

Canon D10 Review

I have, for the longest time, wanted a real underwater camera (not some flimsy plastic where you put in your camera and hope to heavens that it does not leak and destroy thousands of pesos of camera equipment), but due to time and monetary constraints, I had never gotten around to buying one.

That is until my Southern Luzon Roadtrip came, I knew I just couldn’t go without an underwater camera this time. I had already regretted the fact that I didn’t have one during last year’s trip to Coron, this time I’d be armed and ready.

Canon D10 Review

In buying new gear comes the tedious part of researching what to get. This is the part I really don’t like in buying things I’m unfamiliar with, but it is essential that we know what we are getting before handing out our hard-earned cash.

I have already eliminated getting the underwater packs where you zip your precious digicam (they even have one for DSLR’s) into a transparent plastic and dunk it underwater. I’ve heard a quite a few horror stories about those bags and I really don’t want to be part of the small statistics of drowned cameras.

Professional underwater casings are also out of the question since they are, most of the time, more expensive than camera bodies.

The only option left are underwater point & shoot cameras.

I thought to myself that since I also need (want) a camera that I can bring with me everyday, I’d be hitting two birds with one stone. With that in mind, it was time to choose between brands and models.

As far as I know, Pentax and Olympus are the two leading brands for underwater shooting. Panasonic, Sony, Kodak and Canon also have entered the market, but they’re relatively new into this kind of thing.

Canon D10 Review

It turns out there are quite a few things to check when buying a camera you’d be submerging under the water.

First is the depth you’d be using the camera in, not all underwater cams are built equally, and some can go deeper than others. The standard for most cameras in this category is at 8-10 feet, perfect for us regular snorkelers who doesn’t even reach 8 feet with our vests on, haha. But this would be frustrating to serious divers, good thing there are some models that can reach higher depths, Canon and Pentax have models (Olympus Tough TG810 and Canon Powershot D10) that can be used up to 33 feet deep.

Second, check if the camera has image stabilization. This is quite important as you’d be floating while shooting and you’d have nowhere to anchor yourself into. You’ll be needing in-camera stabilization for your shots to be sharp. Camera manufacturers have different tags for these (IS for Canon, VR for Nikon, SR for Pentax, etc.).

Third would be the camera’s zoom range or focal length. For divers, this may not be a problem since they can go as close to their subjects as they can, but for snorkelers zooming in is pretty high priority. Since you can’t really dive deep enough, you’d have to rely to your camera’s zooming capabilities. When I bought my camera, the standard zoom range was at 3.6x, it has now been upped to 5x for the current models.

And lastly, ask for the warranty inclusions. A certain camera store where I was inquiring told me that some brands don’t include water seepage as part of the warranty and this is definitely not acceptable to me. This is an underwater camera and dunking it underwater is, of course its primary use, I want a camera that I can submerge without worrying if it would be replaced by the manufacturer if ever its seals fail.

Canon D10 Review

After checking camera stores and reading multitude of reviews, I came down to getting the Canon D10. It was hailed as top dog in the underwater category back then, having the most depth allowance, the best picture quality in and out of the water, and most importantly, it has warranty over water seepage.

The D10 is far from perfect though; its zoom range is pretty standard at 3x, it is quite bulky in size (you’d have a hard time fitting it in your pocket), it doesn’t shoot in raw format (in fairness, there are very few cameras in this category that shoot in raw), and it is prone to lens error (since the camera is shock proof, a simple bang with the hand fixes it though).

Other than those, I’m pretty satisfied with the D10 especially with its image quality which knocks my older superzoom Canon Powershot S3is three times over.

Canon D10 Review

Waterproof cameras are definitely fun; you can shoot in the rain, on waterfalls, and below the sea (the fun triples once you have the gang with you).

Don’t let shooting opportunities pass you by just because you can’t dip your camera under the water, the most affordable I’ve seen before was a Pentax that goes for just around Php10,000. Priced almost the same (or even cheaper) than regular digicams, it’s really a no-brainer which camera you’d be better off with.

For those wanting to get new underwater cameras for your snorkeling and diving needs, you may also check out these resources which has been the basis of my review:

    Top 10 FAQs In Buying A Waterproof or Underwater Digital Camera Answered! by David Lee Tong
    2011 Group test: Waterproof Compact Cameras by DPreview

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  1. One of the biggest regrets I've ever had: not having an underwater cam with me on my trip to Coron! Grr! Congrats on your new cam. =)

  2. planning to buy a Lumix underwater cam! (nakasira na kasi ako ng D10) hehe
    btw, meron bang underwater cam na hindi waterproof?

  3. Nuna
    Bili na! =)

    Ayan pinalitan ko na title haha
    Gano katagal tumagal yung D10 mo? Oks daw yung pinakabago ng Panasonic =)

  4. talagang Coron ang puno't dulo ng lahat e no. hahah! Couldn't agree more. Ganyan na ganyan din ang pinagsisihan ko nun kaya this time.. Babalik na kong meron. yihaaa! =)

  5. I've been wanting to buy underwater cam pero la pa akong budget. Sana before ako makapag Coron may underwater cam na ako! :)

  6. Nice camera! ^_^ Sulit talaga ang underwater camera no especially if pupunta sa mga magagandang places like Coron. Sa ngayon, hiram na lang muna ako sa ate ko ng cam pag pumunta siya dito, hehe. Olympus yung cam niya at ok din ang quality.

  7. isa ito sa priorities ko pagka-graduate..

  8. my officemate has the same camera and i saw her using it when we went swimming last summer. since we're not close i didn't get to check out her camera and her shots. good thing you made a review about it. i've been thinking of buying the same thing. based on your photos, this one will definitely do for me. thanks for the info.

  9. Yung Sony meron ding waterproof camera na pwede mong ibabad at least 60 minutes underwater... around 20k ata. Pero this one from Canon is good, they are known to have quality products as I used to be a Canon product fan.

  10. i dont have underwater camera, pero nung pumunta kami coron, bumili talaga kami ng disposable underwater camera, tipid tipid nga lang sa shots. hehe!

  11. Panasonic Lumix FT10 yung sakin.. i just bought it earlier this year, mga march ata and since then madami na kong nakuhang pictures underwater.. fun fun fun!!!

  12. Renevic, Batang Lakwatsero, Marjorie, Tina
    I think the new Panasonic underwater cam is the new king of the underwater camera world, try to check it out =)

    Malditang "Kura"cha, Karla, Michi
    Nakakahinayang talaga wala akong underwater cam sa Coron kahit yung disposable lang =(

    I think there are underwater cams under 10k, check ka sa malls, tas pag bibili ka na, sa Hidalgo ka bumili =)

    Parang ang mahal ata nung sa Sony, try mo check yung bago ng Panasonic, nasa 15k lang ata

    Congrats! Saya pag may underwater camera diba? Walang kaba-kaba pag nagshoot sa dagat at banka

  13. I'm green with envy here! congrats on your new underwater cam Christian, Ako hnaggang ngaun d ko pa din xa matanggal sa wishlist ko. LOL

  14. Gael
    Thanks! May mura naman na underwater cams, pero yung mga oks nasa 15k ang price tag. yakang yaka mo yun =)

  15. wow inggit ako! sakto to sa Bohol Trip nyo! maghanda ang mga isa ng Balicasag. hehee

  16. Happysole
    The best ang underwater sa Balicasag! :)

  17. the camera suffers from backscatter problems, well if this is just a once a year use, I see no problem buying it

  18. Anonymous
    Wait I have to google what backscatter means. :P

    Oh okay, when using flash you mean? Yeah, it does, but I really don't use the flash underwater that much.

    For those like me who don't know what backscatter is: