I’ve always tried to shoot photos, both on the boat and while snorkeling, during the various charters and offshore passages I’ve been on. But the reality is, the non-waterproof cameras that I’ve carried have invariably succumbed to my abuse and the perils of salt and moisture-without even being submerged. I’ve never wanted to mess with fickle and expensive camera housings, and the various drugstore disposable waterproof cameras I’ve used have rarely yielded a decent photo. But after researching waterproof cameras to test on a recent charter in Antigua and Barbuda, it appears that my onboard, underway, and underwater photo dilemma has been solved.
The reality is that there’s a bunch of digital cameras that have all the features, functionality, and dimensions of a pocket-size point-and-shoot-auto focus, easy-to-see LCD screen, adjustable zoom-that are also waterproof to snorkel- and, in some cases, dive-friendly depths.
The stated criteria for this test were that each camera would be digital and capable of shooting both still photos and video, waterproof to at least 20 feet, have at least 10 megapixels of effective resolution, and retail for less than $500. Each camera I tested met and often exceeded these parameters. Most are also rated “shockproof” (able to withstand being dropped on a hard surface from a height of 4 to 6 feet), and one camera is designed to take pictures down to a depth of 200 feet.