Underwater Photo: SLR vs Point & Shoot

June 6th, 2007 · 4 Comments · Tools and Tech


We’re researching cameras for underwater photography for our next project in Greece. Three options are contending:

The Expensive Route
The Canon 5D is our current dream camera. It’s the camera we rented to document Channelbone. It delivers high quality 12.8 megapixel (mp) images, however costs $2700 + $400 for an underwater housing. The problem: comically expensive.

The Inefficient Route
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 is the rave of the current Consumer Reports comparison. Its $400 price for a 10 mps + $250 for an underwater housing is tempting. The problem: spending $650 for a point and shoot camera (with a hard to use “point and shoot” interface) does not make sense—that’s the price of a 10mp Canon SLR (which doesn’t go underwater—but there you are).

The Underpowered Route
The Olympus 770SW is a 7mp camera that is designed to be submersible to 33’ for a cool $350. The problem: 7mp is on the low side for what we need and the lens is so small that “breaking the surface” images would be 30% distorted.

The Red Herring
Any of the above could be used with a partially submerged aquarium and potential risk depending on wave size.

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