Joy in the Water

Having a camera that can shoot underwater adds all sorts of photo possibilities. Last summer we took an Olympus u725SW with us on holiday.
Beaches are not a particularly friendly place for you dSLR. Blowing sand and spray on ocean beaches are not too compatible with delicate cameras and immersion in water is never a good idea. There have always been underwater camera options, from the fantastic Nikonos to all sorts of housings to protect your normal gear. But recently a new breed of underwater compact cameras have been appearing that avoid all the hassles and provide enough capability in the water to satisfy everyone except the dedicated diver. The first of these was the Olympus u725SW and we spent last summer with one.

Olympus u725 SW digital camera

Olympus u725 SW digital camera

A waterproof camera means that you can shoot happily in very bad weather without having to worry about the camera and allowing you to get shots you would not otherwise capture.

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

At the water’s edge there are rock pools, which are now accessible to you. With practice with the camera you can do well just reaching into the pool, pointing and shooting. One thing that takes some getting used to is the AF range in macro underwater and learning to visualize the field of view of the camera. A couple of hours of practice and you will pick it up. These cameras have large, bright LCD screens, which make viewing your photos afterwards easy, greatly speeding the learning process.

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

In the water you can now shoot out of the water without fear of dropping the camera, under the water or even a mix of the two, where the lens is partly underwater and partly not.

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

I my case since I wear glasses, shooting underwater was a hit and miss affair, but something I got progressively better at with practice. At some point I have to get prescription swimming goggles so I can see the camera screen. But if you don’t have these you should still give it a try. It is surprising to photographers used to framing carefully with a precision SLR viewfinder to have to frame by guesstimate, but you can get quite good.

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

You can get housings for your existing cameras. This is an option. But there is also a great convenience in a small, compact, wash off dedicated digital that also makes a great carry around camera. Put in a large memory card and you can shoot away all day.

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

So I recommend that you consider buying a camera like this. It opens up so many options, from bad weather to underwater, rock pools, blowing sand, even fish tanks and bowls of water for all sorts of special effects, like shooting oil in water, colored dyes and more. If you put together image composites, as I do, it opens up a great new range of subject matter and textures that you can combine. An underwater camera might be just what you need to loosen up that stuck creativity.

The Olympus SW waterproof series are available from B & H Photo.

Other waterproof digital cameras and waterproof housings are also available from B & H Photo.

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

Underwater photograph with Olympus u725SW camera

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