I booked a white water rafting trip, and wanted to take pictures and possibly video. On previous raft trips, I bought those plastic encased disposable film cameras. They worked, but tended to take crappy pictures. And with the cost of the camera and developing, they really aren’t that cheap. And then if I wanted to post the pictures on Facebook or something, I would have to scan the prints. Digital is much better!
I actually have an underwater case for my older Nikon Coolpix camera, but it is kind of bulky, and maybe overkill for a raft trip. I started researching, and found Dicapac underwater camera cases. They are soft plastic cases that you slide to camera into. I had a case like this years ago, and it wasn’t designed very well. I used it on a river tubing trip in Belize. The lens had to push the plastic out, and it caused the lens on my camera to get jammed. But the Dicapac was designed much better. It has a rigid part for the lens to expand into, so the lens won’t get jammed. There are different models of the Dicapac bags and I did some googling to figure out which model I needed. I planned to use my Samsung camera as it was older and if it got damaged, I wouldn’t be heart broken. I found that the model I needed was the Dicapac WP-410. I went ahead and ordered one. It came quickly. The concept is simple. It’s like a thick vinyl zip-lock bag with a thing for the lens to extend in. I unscrewed the lens cover, and opened the zip-lock part of the bag. I slid the camera inside, and lined the lens up with the lens opening. I turned the camera on, and it extended the lens. I saw it was going to be a bit long for the bag’s lens appendage. But it came with a little spacer ring. I removed the camera from the bag, inserted and positioned the spacer ring, and reinserted the camera. Perfect! I reinstalled the lens cover. The camera was a little difficult to operate through the bag, but was mostly doable. The knob on the top of the Samsung to change modes was nearly impossible to turn though. It would be fine if I only wanted to take pictures, or only wanted to take video. I decided to try my Casio Exilim camera in the bag. I found this bag was also to recommended bag for that camera as well. It slid in much easier than the Samsung as it is a smaller camera. But the buttons on the Exilim would be mush easier to use. I sealed the ziplock part of the bag, rolled it up, and fastened the Velcro. I snapped some test shots. They turned out pretty good. There as a little bit of lens cover part of the bag visible in some of the test shots. I didn’t do a full blown water proof test as I wasn’t going to be using it under water this trip. Or at least I didn’t plan to.
I took my Exilim in the bag on the raft trip. One problem I had was the camera sliding around inside the bag. So each time I wanted to take a shot, I had to slide it into position to line of the lens with the bag’s lens appendage. If I didn’t get it quite lined up, and the lens was obstructed from coming out, I would get an error. I just needed to turn the camera off, and try again. I think if I have used the big Samsung camera, it wouldn’t have slid around so much inside the bag. Other than that, camera was easy to use. The shots mostly came out great. There were some water drops visible in some of the pictures where they had splashed onto the lens cover. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I was filming under water. The corners of some of the pictures show the edges of the lens cover. But overall I am very happy with the Dicapac bag! It is way nicer than the cheap disposable underwater cameras. And I can reuse it in the future. The more I use it, the more economical it will be over the disposable cameras. And the quality is was better!