Aquapac Waterproof Camera Case
If you've followed along with Our Blogs for the past few months, then you know what happened to us in Baja with our camera gear. To be 100% honest with you, I cant believe it hadn't happened earlier than that.
With as much paddling as we do, it's inevitable that sooner or later, the cameras are going to go in the water. It's sort of stupid to not have the gear in some sort of waterproof enclosure to keep it safe in the first place, I just never knew I could afford an enclosure.
Now I'm sure not too many people have priced out these enclosures, as almost everyone we've talked to has told us how idiotic we are for even bringing our gear into the kayaks unprotected. 90% of the time while kayaking, we're the only ones who have our cameras with us, so I know most people just play it safe and leave their gear at home.
Well if you could find an enclosure that was affordable enough to allow you to bring the gear along, wouldn't you go through the effort to do it? I know I would and that is what I did.
I never knew these bags existed or I would have had one on both of our cameras the entire time we were in Baja. I guess it takes having your equipment ruined to make you go looking for the next best thing.
Once we got back in the United States, one of the first things I did was find a spot where I could order one of these cases so I wouldn't have to go through this hassle again. They're actually pretty easy to find, and most full service Outdoor Stores or Camera Shops will have one of the bags. If they carry any of the line, then they can usually order one to specifically fit your piece of equipment.
If for some reason you cant find any of them locally, then Adorama and Calumet has the full line, and we all know how much we love these top notch camera suppliers. Or you can order them directly from Aquapac themselves
In steps Aquapac
After searching out a few different companies that make underwater housings, I thought to myself "Why spend the cost of the camera on a housing that I'm only going to use a few times per month?"
If my wife and I were majorly into underwater photography, then I'd be buying a dedicated housing for each camera body like an Ikelight or a Sea&Sea type housing. But these beautiful housings are usually more than the cost of the camera itself, and way out of our price range.
Aquapac makes affordable housings for just about any piece of equipment you're going to bring with you, from cell phones, to point & shoot cameras, iPods, video cameras, UHF radios, to full size DSLR's like we use and most of you are using on this forum.
I ordered the most inexpensive enclosure they made that would fit our cameras thinking that I'd try one out first to see if it held up to our abuse. Cindy and I are known to use items to their limits and I didn't want to spend too much money if the item wasn't going to hold up to the type of thrashing we'd give it.
For just over $100, we ordered the Aquapac Waterproof Enclosure 455.
Here is what Aquapac's website claims the 455 Enclosure will accomplish
* You can take great photographs right through the hard lens tube (see below). Even underwater.
* PLEASE NOTE: The hard lens is permanently attached to the case and cannot be removed.
* The SLR Camera Case (code 455) is compatible with most SLR type cameras.
* It'll float with your camera in it.
* It's guaranteed submersible to 15 feet (5 metres).
* The UV-stabilized TPU material won't be broken down or discolored by sunlight.
* It keeps out dust and sand too. They're a particular problem for cameras (just ask the repairman at your local camera store).
* And all that for only $120.00. Bargain!
* It comes with an adjustable and detachable shoulder strap so you can hang it round your neck or shoulder.
* It comes with a packet of 5 re-usable, re-indicating desiccant sachets. These will help absorb any condensation in the air inside the case. If you know you're going to be taking it somewhere particularly humid like Jacksonville Florida or the jungle, you'd be well advised to buy a few extra packets.
* It comes with our 3-year global warranty (see 'Buy with confidence' below).
Trying out the Enclosure
Once we got the Aquapac Waterproof Case, I was worried that it looked a little light weight for the camera, but to their defense, most of the edges had extra pieces of reinforcement to guard against a tear.
My only fear is the camera Hot Shoe rubbing against the top of the bag. That's metal on rubber, and we all know who is going to win on that argument every time. I'll have to keep you updated on the long term wear and tear of the enclosure and the hot shoe.
I'm thinking if I'm going to go out for a day paddling with the camera in the enclosure, I might put some Gaffer's tape over the metal on the hot shoe to act as a buffer.
The enclosure has 3 twist locks that unlock the dual sided plastic closure which keeps the water or debris out. It's as simple as can be to lock the housing once the camera is situated inside.
The packaging also came with some desiccant packets to absorb moisture incase you're using the enclosure outside in the sunlight where condensation might build up. Along with the desiccant packets, the package also came with a strap that clips onto the plastic ends of the enclosure so you can easily carry the camera while it's protected.
I was able to fit our Canon 30D in the enclosure with no problems. I first took off the strap and the grip, and just put the camera body in with only a lens attached. It's tight, but I'd rather have a good tight fit than a bunch of extra plastic hanging around to get in my way.
One thing you should keep in mind is the diameter of the lens tube. I was thinking that I would keep one of my short telephoto lenses on the camera, excited that I would even be able to have a telephoto lens on the camera in a housing (something that is rarely possible with the much more expensive underwater housings)
Probably the only lens you'll be able to use is a narrow standard lens, but the fact that you're able to use a camera while out on the water with no worries, let alone underwater is way worth it to me. Forget going with any of Canon's 'L' Lenses. They're just too wide and big for the narrow enclosure.
For these pictures, I have a Canon 28-105 lens on the camera.
Zooming in and out with the lens in the bag is a bit tedious, but like I said before, being able to zoom at all is a bonus. Most underwater photographers just carry a standard fixed lens in their housings, so this shouldn't be an issue. Having the ability to zoom and **** about it is just complaining.
With the camera in the enclosure, the controls are all still perfectly usable, and nothing on the camera is rendered unusable that I could find. This was a big bonus as I worried that I would have to set the camera to full auto and leave it that way the entire time.
It was surprisingly easy to change any of the dials or make any adjustments and I think once you've used it a few times, even underwater you'd have no problem changing settings on the camera.
The bag has a big clear section where the LCD Screen is, and around the top and back of the body to be able to see all the controls very easily. You can still see the images on the LCD screen through the bag very easily to know if you got the shot with the enclosure still around the camera.
One thing that will be useless will be the pop up flash. So true underwater photography is out of the question, but anything close to the surface on a bright sunny day still should come out nice. Much better than a $10 35mm instamatic where nothing turns out 99% of the time!
The bag is only rated at 15' below the surface, so it's more for people like me who are just going to be using it as protection while kayaking, or boating on the water. This housing is not for the true scuba divers but would be great for fooling around on that next canoe trip or in the back yard in the pool or for basic snorkeling.
The lens actually shoots through a piece of clear lexan, so you'll want to be conscious of this when ever you're taking pictures. Don't let the camera be sitting on the floor of the kayak or canoe and pick it up to get a picture without first wiping off the front of the lens.
I haven't had a chance to actually use this enclosure on or underwater yet, but I did put some napkins in it and run it under water for a few minutes to make sure there were no leaks.
I then filled up the sink and submerged the bag for a few minutes to see if the napkins inside would get wet at all. After a test run, I was happy with the enclosure and put it safely in my camera bag ready for our next kayak trip.
This enclosure would also be good for those who like to shoot at the beach, or those who might bring their camera with them out in the field and have to worry about dirt or the harsh environment ruining their expensive camera body. Or for when shooting when there is a chance of rain in the forcast.
I really could have used this enclosure when we were exploring the mines in Death Valley a few weeks back. This is where an enclosure like this would be perfect! I'm also excited to try this out in August when we go to Burning Man. So many photographers have warned us about the nasty dust storms that can leave a camera useless after one blows through. I'm hoping this might be my saving grace and I wont have to claim any more gear on our insurance policy.
If you're the type who likes to bring you equipment with you in an environment that might be harmful to the camera, a Aquapac Waterproof Enclosure might be just the answer to keep your investment safe.
For just over $100, I know I'm kicking myself for not having this sooner.
I'll also update this after I bring it out with us in the kayaks, and post a few pictures of what I got while shooting through the bag.