Last Christmas, I ordered my daughter a last-minute Christmas gift, paying for “guaranteed” delivery by Christmas. It was a waterproof cover for her Flip HD camera – and the timing was important because we were headed to Hurghada, Egypt, for a week of sun and snorkeling – on Christmas day. Thirty bucks for the cover, and a $160 camera, make for probably one of the least expensive ways to get high-definition underwater video – certainly much less than many of the rigs you can buy out there. And I was hoping she’d let me give it a try as well 🙂
Needless to say, it didn’t arrive on time. Then the on-board catalog offered a waterproof digital video camera, which I bought instead, but that turned out to be a non-functioning piece of cr@p (I know, I should have known but I was desperate at this point). By the way, if you ever buy something like this aboard Jet Air, don’t expect to get a refund. They tell you to write the airline and the company, and in this case, neither responded.
DON’T BUY THIS CAMERA!!
Anyway, we had to make do with the standard underwater “single use” still cameras you get at beach resorts. We tried out a couple of different ones and found the best results from this model, which is not a single-use camera like the others, but is instead an inexpensive camera that loads standard 35mm film. If you find yourself looking for an inexpensive way to capture underwater scenes, look for one of these, and buy the fastest speed film you can – 400 or 800 – and make sure it has flash capability. In general, underwater photos seem to always look dingier than than they looked in real life, and the flash makes a big difference. Try and get as close as you can to your subject, and I suggest using the flash for every shot. Even with this camera, I found myself doing a lot of adjusting afterward (increasing the contrast and saturation, and filtering out some of the blue) but I think, given what we spent, still managed to get decent results.
THIS KESTON UNDERWATER CAMERA WITH FLASH PERFORMED BEST!
I strung together our best photos in a video slideshow, which you can check out below. For fun, I added a parallax effect on a few of them (more about that in a previous post)
We hope to try out the Flip and its waterproof cover in a couple of weeks when we head to Crete – stay tuned!