|The Canon WP-DC43 housing plays in the surf near Kona.|
Last year I went to the beach on the Gulf Coast with my family, and bought a waterproof point-and-shoot to play with. While it was fun to use, I found its limitations more frustrating. For one, that camera only produced jpegs, and even at the largest setting I could still see a lot of compression artifacts. So this year, for a trip to Hawaii, I bought a Canon waterproof housing for the S100 that I've been using for several months. Using the housing, a WP-DC43, let me shoot everything in raw and gave me the most control over my images.
I should point out here that I'm not a diver, and I've only been snorkeling about four times in my life. So I wasn't expecting to come face-to-face with a giant squid or see any mermaids. And there are many aspects of underwater photography that are much different (and more difficult) than what can be shot on land, so this isn't going to be a tutorial about how to get great shots beneath the waves.
But of course, during my travels in paradise I wanted to be able to use my nice little camera for other shooting as well, and I quickly realized that the smartest thing for me to do was to leave it in the housing all the time. That way, I could get it wet any time I wanted to (or couldn't avoid it, like near the surf or in the rain, or by a waterfall) and it reduced the chance that I'd somehow risk water damage to the camera by taking it in and out of a dripping housing. Each night I did take the S100 out and rinse the housing (as per the instructions on Canon's website) and I then backed up my images as well.
|My S100 fits right in to the housing, with every function available from outside buttons.|
My main worry in using the housing, aside from the constant fear that I would come to the surface with a drenched hunk of metal, was that my pictures weren't going to be very sharp. After all, you are placing another element in front of the lens. But the material (glass? plastic?) on the Canon housing seems to be very clear and I didn't notice any particular loss of sharpness. As much as I like being able to slip the S100 in to my pocket and keep it out of sight, it wasn't really a hassle to carry around the camera in the housing. One part of that which really helped is that you can attach the strap to the sides of the camera housing, as shown in the top photo, which makes it hang better on the body and also makes it easier to handle underwater.
|A tourist photographs a lava flow that overtook the road on the south side of the island.|
|This is a photo I wouldn't have attempted without having some splash protection for the camera.|