How to buy an underwater camera (cheaply)


If you are going to the British Virgin Islands, you’ll want an underwater camera. There are some amazing pictures you can take of underwater coral and wildlife. And even if you don’t plan to spend much time underwater, you’ll want a waterproof camera so that you don’t have to worry about getting your camera wet. (I fell off the soapy back deck of our boat with our digital SLR – that was a $1000 repair bill.)

You have a couple of options:

  • Buy an underwater camera. You can buy a very capable digital camera that is waterproof for a reasonable price. We love our Olympus Stylus 770SW – we’ve been using it in water and snow for over 5 years now. Olympus now makes a cheaper – and even better rated Olympus Shock/Water/Freeze-Proof Camera.
  • Buy a case for your camera. You can get an extremely inexpensive (less than $10) underwater camera waterproof dry bag. You can also buy a custom case for your camera. These are usually more expensive but make it easier to access the controls.
  • Buy a case for your phone. If you are someone who usually takes pictures with your phone and wants to be able to immediately share them via txt or Facebook, you can try a case like the Optrix XD Case Kit for iPhone 4/4S or get a more generic cell phone waterproof pouch which will fit many phones and still let you operate a touch screen.

If you tend to drop things or if you plan to let your kids use your camera, I also strongly recommend a float for your camera. This attaches to your camera and if you drop it, your camera floats. Otherwise you might be trying to see who in your group can dive down to 30 feet to fetch the camera … while that might be fun for a while, you’ll think the $6 float was well worth it!