A New Crop of Digital Underwater Camera and Camcorder Models make a Clean Sweep
Digital cameras that can uncomplainingly snap great pictures of your children frolicking in the surf, or under the surface of your pool but that are also affordable enough for anyone, are relatively new. It wasn't long ago that anything done under the water was exotic enough that you never thought anyone could do this outside of the movies or professional magazines. For a world in which parents absolutely must maintain a record of every single angle, every single minute of their children's fun-filled lives, the fact that cameras don't mix well with water has been a huge problem. There's never been much you could really do with a traditional digital camera at a water park, or on a trip water skiing. You could always get a waterproof camera, but when were they ever anywhere near as good as a regular one? The truth is, it's usually been a pretty expensive business encasing a device with moving parts in a waterproof enclosure without increasing weight, and compromising reliability. All you ever got out of heavy-duty waterproof cameras like these were washed out, glare-filled pictures that looked like they had been snapped on an early camera phone. But all of that is in the past now because affordable top notch digital underwater camera models are all over the place, all of a sudden.
A digital underwater camera today produces pictures that are completely indistinguishable from the product of a regular camera. The cameras are not heavier, and you don't sacrifice on any features - not one - not even in great cosmetic colors. What's more, it's pretty easy to find a camcorder that will completely work underwater as well. Are you one of those cynics who will ask what the big deal is - because there are other ways to get underwater pictures? They sell those heavy clear plastic enclosures for your camera of course for instance, but who want to carry one of those around? Well, there are no practical ways to achieve this, unless you work on a film crew.
Let me run down my experience with a digital underwater camera by Lumix, and an underwater camcorder by Panasonic. Let's get to the camera first. The Lumix is called the TS2, it does 14 megapixels, the zoom goes out almost to 5x, and it's an affordable $300. It is waterproof down to 30 feet under water and it's a pretty heavy satisfying thing to hold. It isn't just waterproof either - you can drop it, leave it out in a dust storm or anything - the extra strong glass, rubber and steel help it laugh at any brutalizing you are capable of putting its way. The underwater pictures are sharp (if not supersharp), and bright. As for its video abilities, they are beyond belief - you get a dedicated video recorder button and you get high definition video with zoom that's functional during the shoot. Now that's a first.
But let's move on to the Panasonic SDR-SW21 camcorder that if anything, is even more affordable at just $200. It's really difficult to bring yourself to dump a nice and shiny new camcorder into the ocean - but that's what it's made for, and if you do try it, you are rewarded with reasonable quality pictures, and rock solid performance. I love the way it is tiny and sleek to look at, and is still built like a tank. And in a thoughtful touch, this one floats when you let go of it - you'll never have to worry about having it slip out of your hands and sink to the ocean floor. The battery life on this model could do a little improvement though; it shuts down in less than an hour. This digital underwater camera recorder is tiny enough to function as your everyday camera too if you don't mind the absence of the high def. Technology is getting so that we could possibly begin to take certain things for granted in life. High picture quality at any and every possible situation happens to be one of them.