Bournemouth is well-known for its beautiful sandy beaches. Sandbanks, Chesil beach and Hengistbury Head are just a few around the area. Epic sand castles, fantastic seascapes and splashing about in the water is what it’s all about! You want to capture these special memories, HOWEVER sand and salt water are your cameras killer, so your electronic equipment stays safely hidden away.
However, all is not lost! There are quite a few underwater or weather resistant cameras that will allow you to capture those interesting unique shots without fear.
The Panasonic FT30 is a handy slim-line compact that can reach a depth of 8m, more than enough for snorkeling or splashing about in the shallows, you can leave it on the beach and its secure design means any dirt or sand stays outside! (Where it’s supposed to be!) The compromise for having a tough waterproof compact is the small amount of zoom it has, meaning there are limitations for any distance work. However, I think this is a fair compromise considering you can submerge the camera underwater. If you’re surrounded by fish, this can make for some fantastic shots that you would never be able to achieve with your £500 land camera! One great photo is better than no photo at all!
Underwater cameras have progressed quite a bit from their humble beginnings. From the Panasonic FT30 (as mentioned above) the Nikon W300, or the Leica X-U (to name a few!) They have all improved significantly and found that using them as a standard point and shoot does not compromise on quality. Surfing, paddle boarding or kayaking all become memories to capture without worrying about splash back or dropping your camera in the water, if that happens, you pick it up, wipe the lens and carry on!
As someone who has never owned an underwater compact before, I really put the camera through its paces for the first time on my honeymoon. It is a little bit daunting submerging (what looks like) a standard compact into the water, but I soon got used to it. Having discovered that the fish darting around in the shallows loved bread, I became surrounded by hundreds of fish and it was awesome! If I didn’t have an underwater compact I would not have captured these fun photos!
Action cameras are another great choice for the budding underwater photographer. They don’t have any zoom, but do have a superb wide-angle view. You can be sure to get the image you want if the animal you’re trying to capture is darting around all over the place. Or some fantastic landscape views.
What about those of us that enjoy the professionalism of a DSLR system I hear you say! Well, fear not my water-loving friend, there are options out there! I would guide you towards Pentax. Almost all the Pentax range come with the *WR symbol (*weather resistant) If you get caught in the rain, take your new camera out on a boat in choppy waters, or simply don’t want to worry about the crazy English weather, then Pentax may be for you. Don’t forget to purchase WR lenses which will complete the kit. I did hear a story about a customer who mistakenly though WR meant underwater and happily took his new Pentax camera for a swim! Luckily the camera coped with the big surprise and the customer was none the wiser! The images came out brilliantly! This is definitely something I would not advise, however it shows how Pentax are made incredibly well and if one camera can handle underwater shooting, then you can have full confidence that a little rain will be water off a ducks back (so to speak!)
For those of you who already have your perfect purchase then the op-tech rain sleeves are a good option for spring showers, the coming winter, or the standard good old English weather!
Embrace the rain and water. Take your camera wherever you go.
Here are two shameless animal selfies courtesy of myself (Alice) and Luke in Salisbury. Have you got a shameless underwater selfie you would like to share?