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Waterproofing cameras for potential swims
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Locale: Greater Gila
Waterproofing cameras for potential swims on 05/19/2011 13:29:39 MDT Print View

Title says it all. What are people's systems here for keeping cameras accessible, yet waterproofed against potential swims? I just got back from a week on the San Juan River (class I/II), and just stored my LX5 in an Aloksak in a PFD pocket. When it was time to run the lone class III rapid, I put that inside of the large dry bag inside of my pack. This would be a PITA on trips with more Class III, so I'd like another solution. Double bagging? Micro Pelican case inside of a larger aloksak??

Chris S
(ChrisvonS) - F

Locale: UK mostly
waterproof cam or lunchbox on 05/25/2011 08:41:19 MDT Print View

After fiddling about with Micro Peli boxes to house TZ Lumixes over the years, and still worrying about splashing, in the end I decided a waterproof camera was the way to go. You can just hang it round the neck, forget about the water and concentrate on the pix. I got a Lumix FT2 and a mate's used the similar but more bulky Canon D10 for over a year. Having said that, I was never convinced the Peli would have stood a long submersion, but it would be easy to improve the seal. And it’s a lot more accessible than an Aquapac (like an Aloksak AFAICT) which I feel you seal once for a trip, rather than expect to open regularly on the water.

I also have an LX5 which is a much better camera than the above two. I’d use that on a trip where getting really good shots was part of the goal. Unfortunately I’ve made my LX5 less compact by adding the screw-on protective lens housing tube (more against dust drawn in by zooming than water). On the water I’d settle for the inconvenience of an inexpensive sealed, clip-top lunchbox (tupperware) and hope for the best, while relying on the FT2 in splashier conditions.

In my opinion, above all a camera must be accessible, but paddling a deckless packraft or a solo kayak on a fast river has certain limitations.


Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
ortlieb on 04/29/2015 03:23:31 MDT Print View

One word for keeping camera gear dry on a river: Ortlieb. Great gear.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Waterproofing cameras for potential swims on 04/29/2015 12:06:32 MDT Print View

I used to kill a lot of cell phones while on the salt water. Just a little salt water is really bad for non-marine electronics and zip-lock bags AREN'T enough.

I haven't had any issues since I've be rigorous about keeping phones in off-the-Walmart-shelf mini dry boxes. Then, when I want to use it as a phone or camera, I get somewhere safe and dry on the boat, use it, and put it back in the dry box.

But for a camera on a longer trip? I'd get a compact P&S that was fully waterproof. My 7-year-old Canon has more features than I can use, is good to 3 meters depth, and has a good shock-rating.

I also stitch extra pockets on my PFD to be exactly where and the size I want, mostly for survival gear, VHF and an PLB. One such pocket could hold a camera and maybe be velcro-closured so as to allow one-handed access.

Morgan Rucks
(rucksmtr) - F
.. on 05/19/2015 22:23:32 MDT Print View

I really like my nikon waterproof camera, it has been bullet proof, dove down to 45 feet, swum rapids, I even lost it rafting and later found it in the river, still good. does it take as nice of pictures that a regular camera. no. but it gets used a lot more.

Mathew MacDonald
(kaymat) - F - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Go pro? on 05/23/2015 20:40:11 MDT Print View

Im going through the same thing right now. The Sony Alpha 5000 stays in a dry bag strapped to the backpack but it is annoying taking it in and out. I'm thinking of getting a go pro when in splashy water and then on slow moving water pulling the Sony out of the dry bag every now and then.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Waterproofing cameras for potential swims on 05/24/2015 12:30:59 MDT Print View

Fully waterproof cases are made for lots of cameras, from really expensive deep-diving cases to moderately priced lexan dive boxes to flexible plastic sacks with a glass section to shoot through.

For kayaking I purchased a lexan case for maybe $125 for a $175 Canon point-and-shoot. It is waterproof to 40m (uses an o-ring) and all camera functions are available. I now take a hundred times more photos kayaking than I did in the past, as previously I was reluctant to take my camera out of the dry bag except on shore. I've even experimented with underwater shots, with little luck.

The cases are not too heavy, maybe 8-12 oz depending on the camera. But having one makes all the difference in wet conditions. I'm currently looking at one for my Sony RX100. Meikon makes one for $120 (web price).

Owen McMurrey
(OwenM) - F

Locale: SE US
Re: Waterproofing cameras for potential swims on 05/25/2015 08:26:35 MDT Print View

When kayaking, I use a Pelican 1010 that fits both my Nikon P310, and the front pockets of my PFD perfectly.
You have to make sure the rubber surround that acts as a gasket is in place and has no wrinkles or bends if you choose to use a micro Pelican case, or be ready for a rude awakening after it's been submerged. Very quick and easy to use compared to a drybag or glorified Ziploc, but I became aware of that "failure point" by having my larger Pelican 1060 fill with water when I went for a swim after leaving it clipped to a small drybag instead of putting it inside-with my wallet, cell phone, and car keys inside :(

My Pentax WP lasted about as long as my regular point and shoots(I've killed a lot of cameras-think I'm on P310 #3 right now), and died on a beach trip when <3 weeks past its warranty. Apparently the instructions to send them in for yearly servicing of the seals is no joke. It was really convenient while it lasted, though.