Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Waterproof Camera Tips And Advice

By Randy Rushmore

A waterproof camera? Are you an interested photography hobbyist or a seasoned pro? In both cases, your photography will benefit a lot from underwater picture-taking, but you need to be aware of the differences in needs and available equipment.

When selecting a waterproof camera, you need to be aware that there are two options: self-contained compact devices, sometimes also with basic video capabilities, and single-lens reflex cameras, which are the professional option but are not waterproof per se but need a special housing.

A compact waterproof camera will be more than enough for most users, Very similar to normal digital cameras, all the gaskets of these gadgets are specially built, so you can use the same camera every day and also when you go swimming, diving or boating.

But maybe you want more features, or you already have an SLR camera. In this case, it is better to waterproof your camera with an underwater housing, being able to take advantage of all the benefits of an SLR camera, such as interchangeable lenses, filters and extra capabilities.

There are huge differences in normal photography technique and underwater photography, mostly due to the qualities of light in water. Diffraction, for one, means that you should get an underwater camera with a wide lens to compensate this phenomenon. Also, most of the pictures that you will take will be close-ups so a good macro function is a great thing to have.

Flashlights, whether in-built or external, are usually a mainstay of waterproof camera use due to the reduce lighting conditions under water. External flashlights are best if you can bear the bulk, but remember that you either need a special one for underwater use, or an additional waterproof housing.

If you are not using a n external flash and are reliant on a small inbuilt flash, or on no flash at all, it is best to take underwater pictures when the sun it right over you, around midday. This way more light will get to your waterproof camera.

If you have powerful lighting equipment, you can also use your waterproof camera at night. You will be able to obtain some eerie shots and take pictures of fish not usually seen during the day.

The best places to take pictures of sea life with a waterproof camera is near shore, in shallow water and especially near steep rocky shores, coral reefs and atolls, and at the estuary of rivers. Sandy beaches, on the other hand, are watery deserts and harbor much less marine life.

Waterproof camera maintenance is important to prolong your equipment's life. Make sure that not sand gets in to the camera workings, and rinse it with freshwater after use. Dry salt is the waterproof camera's main enemy.

Don't use any chemicals to clean a waterproof camera or underwater camera housing, freshwater applied with a damp cloth is best and will ensure the long life of your equipment. - 16651

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