Importance of Knowing Depth Ratings of Your Underwater Camera

An underwater camera is not something you can flat out buy. These cameras are ordinary digital SLRs that have been modified for underwater use thanks to third party waterproof housing units. These waterproof housings are made out of acrylic or aluminum and are custom fitted to work with specific camera models. This allows a photographer to bring his camera underwater and take pictures without worrying about the electronics getting fried from contact with the water. One important thing to keep in mind when buying these waterproof housings is their depth ratings.

How Water Depth Affects Equipment

Why are depth ratings so important? Well, in water, the deeper you go, the more water is weighing down on you. This is called water pressure and you can feel it squeezing on your head when you're diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. The waterproof housings can only withstand a certain amount of pressure before they malfunction. The definition of malfunction can range from buttons not working to a worst case scenario where the housing fractures due to the pressure, thus ruining your camera.

What Depth Rating is Good for You?

So what depth rating should you get? Well that's really dependent on what you're going to shoot. If you're just planning to go shooting when you're snorkeling in shallow water then a depth rating of 33 feet should be enough to get the job done right. If you're planning to go deeper then consider a housing who has a depth rating between 200 to 300 feet. They're not that hard to find and that extreme rating gives your a safety margin when shooting because you will more than likely ever go that deep.

What Else You Should Look for

Depth ratings should have the largest influence in your decision making process for buying an underwater housing unit. But what other things should you look for in your new equipment? Your waterproof housing should allow you easy access to your buttons so that you can make any necessary adjustments without having to get out of the water. The housing should also be able to contain the camera's flash as well. Because of the nature of sunlight in water we need to use out flashes to fill out frame with light so that all the colors are vibrant. You also want a housing unit that allows you to mount a wide lens. The golden rule of underwater shooting is to minimize the water between the lens and subject. You need to get very close to the subject in order to get the shot.

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