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underwater cameras

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Feb 11, 2001
I was wondering if anyone could tell me the best/most reliable/affordable underwater camera company. We've started looking, but aren't sure of reputations of companies. Any input would be great!!
Cameras come in all shapes & prices, FROM £75 TO THOUSANDS. I have used a SEA & SEA MX5, PRICE £125 for the last year.
This is small enough to carry in a stab jacket pocket, & has been taken with me on every dive.
The only problem I have has been back scatter from small particles in the water, the UK water is never as clear as you would like.
The most important thing to remember with any underwater camera, is after care washing with fresh water, & checking to O ring.
SEA & SEA's web site is http://www.seaandsea.com/
I have two U/W cameras both are point&shoot type because I really have no idea how to fiddle with the shutter speed or f appetiture.

In my opinion both models are excellent and they could fit two different budgets. I would recommend these two models based on several considerations:
1. After an average on each of 30 dives, none of them has flooded.
2. Picture quality is considered above acceptable. I have remarked each camera with a P? rating and that 1 being dismal and 5 being very good. Later on I may drop another link here so you can click to see some of the pictures (I need to scan a few pictures taken with the Epoque).
3. Both cameras are cheap in considering their ability and in comparison with the more professional SLF with housing models.
4. I have taken them to the max 30m (100ft).
5. Very easy to maintain so long you stick to the rule to use silicon on the o-rings.

Candidates for recommendation:
1. To start with the basic my first UW camera was a Japanese-made 100 Epoque Plus, the quality of pictures taken with it is comparable to S&S. I took it to max 100ft in Thai and it turned out great pictures that were taken within approx 10 feet of the subject. There is a really good scuba diving magazine that I subscribe called 'Scuba Diving'. Inside you should be able to find many shops has stocked this model. I think it cost around US$200 in the US. (Picture quality: 3.5)

2. I upgraded myself last year by buying a Olympus DC C-2020Z and an underwater housing PT-00?. The benefits are i) excellent picture quality; ii) great micro shots; iii) housing is cheap because it is officially made by Olympus - only around US$200; iv) take low pixel quicktime movie clip (no sound with 2020 but with sound with model 3000 or above); v) rechargeable batteries last over 100 pictures; vi) as expected, as many as 200 pictures with 128Mb of smartmedia. 2020 should be around US$550 in the US.

My friend uses a Sony DSC-PC1. It features a 3M CCD and sound to accompany the movies. The UW housing is approx also around US$200. It has higher resolution than my Olympus but having lowered the resolutation to 2M pixels, both cameras' picture quality is very similar. Let me give a fair judgement to both camera. Sony is no match UW to the micro len feature of my Olympus. However, when it comes to movie mode I will sideline Olympus straight away. I took some really beautiful pictures of nudibrads (sea snail) and cute little cuttle fish but my friend only got a blurrrrrrrr. My friend took some movies of us playing the scooter and it's quicktime can be played full-screen with sound (don't even imagine doing this with Olympus.

Camera is really a good choice for scuba divers. It brings back so much memories and will keep you occupied when diving.
Underwater Camera

If you really want to go the inexpensive route, you can get a reuseable LeClic Tuff camera from Ritzcamera.com for $19.95 plus shipping. Goes to depths of 70' and is fully automatic. I just got mine several weeks ago and have not yet had the film developed but it functioned perfectly at 60'.

Note: Prior to this posting, I visited the Ritz site and they no longer carry this model. I'm assuming it is available elsewhere on the web (I've seen it on e-bay for $35).


Update 7/31/01 - After using the camera this past weekend at 60', it broke. Fortunately, I can return it to Ritz for a full refund. I guess there is no such thing as free lunch.

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