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OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

Seattle
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OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

we need a good underwater camera...some say with flash and some say no flash, we are just snorkeling and doing the rays, not wanting to chance placing our brand new camera in a bag and possibly have it ruined at the begging of our trip....disposable seems like pic's are blue (in our research of peole's opinions online) so...have looked at these, SnapSights Sports Utility Camera w/ Flash and a few Vivitars although the Viv seem cheesy.

What speed film should we use if we go print? I appreciate any and all help.

Just want nice pictures...don't expect National Geographic. :-)

Grand Cayman
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for Grand Cayman
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1. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

You truly would be crazy to purchase an underwater camera for snorkeling in 15 ft of water. I have a digital Canon Elph which I bought the underwater housing for (it actually has an underwater setting so I have no worries). I have had it for years and it has been to Cayman at the 100 ft mark any number of times and still takes great pictures. I do not trust the underwater "bags" and any sort of depth so for me the housing was a great idea.

P.S. The first time I the housings was years ago when I was on a dive with a friend who works on the island as a dive master. If that was good enough for him on his day off, I figured it would work for me as well -- now all four divers in the family have their digital Canon's with the housings and never a problem! (We just chose Canon's -- I am sure other brands work as just as well -- the important part is getting the housing which is easily available on line) Hope this helps!

Trophy Club, Texas
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for Cayman Islands
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2. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

Definitely don't use a flash. Even though the water may seem crystal clear the little particles that are there (especially near the surface while snorkeling) can obscure your shots when hit with the light from the flash (learned the hard way). If you are simply snorkeling and it is a sunny day you won't need any additional lighting.

I tried going the bag route last month with an old "weather proof" Olympus 3MP I could risk losing. An underwater housing for my Canon costs almost as much as an inexpensive underwater camera so I opted against that. I met with limited success.

The camera is activated by sliding the lens cover back. Once open, the lens extends out, which is fine when first prepping the camera in the water-proof bag. But as soon as the camera enters sleep mode the lens retracts the trouble starts. Trying to slide the lens cover back and forth through the bag and making sure the lens extended into the bag's lens cavity all while snorkeling proved challenging, as well as frustrating. Forget about seeing your subjects on the LCD also. You end up just truly pointing and shooting. I did manage to get some decent shots, much better results from previous disposable film cameras. But the overall experience convinced me to get a proper underwater camera.

I have narrowed down my choices to a Pentax Optio W60 and the Fuji FinePix Z33 WP. The Pentax is a bit more, but since I plan on using it a lot, the optics and feature set really appeal to me. My wife will actually be checking out the prices in GC next week to see if either are worthwhile buying there rather than on-line here.

As for film vs digital. Judging from my experience, more of your shots will throw-aways than compared to above water pictures, so digital will increase the chances of you getting some "nice" pictures vs. lots of empty subject frames (where did that darn barracuda go?). Unfortunately, to get anywhere close to NatGeo quality you'll need real equipment and a strobe...

If ~$150 is a possibility than the Fuji may be just what you are looking for. It seems pretty sturdy and the image quality is not too bad. Olympus also a few underwater models but they tend to cost a little more than the others.

emeraldisle,nc
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3. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

Hey,

Cathy Church has equipment available to rent. If you are doing research on what you would like to purchase this is a good way to go. Try one out to see if it fits your needs.

Grand Cayman...
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for Cayman Islands
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4. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

The rental recommendation is a great idea, and the people at Cathy Church's Underwater Photo Center have a particularly great reputation as experts at giving advice on getting good underwater shots. You can read more at:

http://www.cathychurch.com/

And if you're considering buying an underwater camera you'd probably get a better deal buying it on the island because of "Duty Free" type pricing. There are other dive shops on the island that rent (and sell) underwater cameras too, so you do have choices.

Ohio
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for Cruz Bay
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5. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

Melanie,

After many years (before digital) of taking 100's of pictures each trip and ending up with only a 1/2 dozen or so of really good shots, I decided to go to Church's studio and buy her prints. I have them all over my house. It made diving and snorkeling more enjoyable because I wasn't concentrating on taking pictures. I realized that I was missing so many other things around me because I was busy with my camera.

Just my 2 cents.

Carol

Ohio
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6. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

That should have been Cathy Church's studio.

I wish we could edit these things.

Grand Cayman
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7. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

I've given up on disposable underwater cameras, but at The Sand Bar (waste deep with rays)/ Stingray City (Dive at 15') is when I DO use them...so shallow for fun photos.

If you want more photos on other dives, Cathy Church's on South Church St. does rentals and will meet your needs perfectly...yes, a flash important on dive photos (I say don't bother with photos unless have flash and user friendly camera when diving).

Enjoy!!

Syracuse, New York
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for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
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8. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

If you want to capture your experience, rather than buying nice shots from others, then you definitely won't need flash - plenty of light there unless you go down below 20 feet (which it sounds like you won't).

And definitely go digital, not film - you are going to be taking a LOT of photos and most probably aren't going to be good, so you want to take a LOT and sort through them when you are back in your room.

But you will come back with some great memories captured!

9. Re: OK snorkeling pro's...need some help

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