There are a number of reasons why you might want to buy an underwater camera. You might be planning a beach vacation, or perhaps you just want to be able to take family photos around the pool without worrying about the camera being damaged by a random splash of water. Regardless of the reason that you're wanting an underwater camera, you need to make sure that the camera that you buy will not only be able to withstand the water that it encounters but will also be able to take the pictures that you want to take. There are several things that you should keep in mind when looking at underwater cameras, so before you buy you need to stop and do the following:
- Decide whether you want to purchase a disposable camera or a permanent one. A disposable will cost much less (in most cases, under $20) and will be a film camera that you can get developed and will most likely not have a flash, whereas a permanent camera will cost more (up to $150 or more) but will be either a film or digital camera that may come equipped with a flash and can be used repeatedly. If you only want the camera to take a few pictures or are going to use it for a single vacation only, then you might consider the disposable camera. If you want to take water photographs on multiple occasions or on a number of trips, then you might end up spending less by purchasing a good waterproof camera instead of getting multiple disposables.
- Do some research online as to what options are available for different underwater cameras. Investigate the depths that different cameras can handle before they malfunction or leak, whether there are flash functions available on them, and how easy they are to use. If you're considering disposable cameras, look for indications on the package as to how deep the camera can go since different cameras are made to handle different depths. Make note of which ones require batteries, film, and digital media; you're going to want to make sure that the areas where these are inserted are secure so as to prevent leaks.
- Shop at stores that have display models of the waterproof cameras that they offer. In the case of disposables, you're going to want stores where the disposable cameras are easy to access so that you can inspect them through the packaging. Check carefully to make sure the cameras are well-sealed so that you know it won't begin leaking after the first few uses. Look for any cracks or loose areas along the seams, as well as any snap-together parts that don't seem to fit together correctly.
- Make note of the film and shutter speeds that the camera will be using. A higher number on the film will result in sharper, clearer pictures, while a faster shutter will help to prevent action blurring. You should also make note of how thick the protective covering over the lens is, and look to see if there's any chance that water might be able to get into the lens area between the actual lens and the lens cover which could cause it to fog up and interfere with the pictures.
- Once you've narrowed down your choices to the best cameras for your purposes, take the time to compare the prices of the different models at different stores (both physical and online). After all, you're taking the time to make sure that you're getting the quality that you want. There's no reason to pay more than you have to pay for it!