One thing’s for certain, there are a few things in life that I haven’t done. Don’t worry the one I’m going to talk about here is underwater photography. Despite having worked professionally on-set, on-location, in the studio, at events and on the catwalk I’ve never been asked to do any work underwater.
That fact hasn’t bothered me too much because despite the obvious draw of the underwater world with its potential for wildlife and a whole different light-scape putting a camera in water can be a high-risk business. It can also be expensive as camera enclosures for underwater use can be horribly expensive … and not always reliable at keeping the water away from your kit.
One of the problems with traditional enclosures is their use of rigid materials in fabrication, that means a (theoretically) rugged case to protect your kit but has two obvious disadvantages:
- They tend to fit a small number of cameras, sometimes just one model.
- The otherwise impermeable case material has to have some way of operating the controls inside, and a way of getting your camera in there. This usually involves a lot of rubber seals and case that has a big removable cover in one end. Only one of which has to leak to damage your kit.
I was therefore delighted when Aquapac sent me their waterproof DSLR camera case for review because it fits a range of DSLR body/lens combinations and has only two seals:
- One at the lens end, a screw-on acrylic cover that protects your lens from (gentle) knocks.
- The other at the rear where you insert your DSLR into the Case.
The rigid plastic rear clamp acts as a fixing point for the supplied neck/shoulder strap.
That’s the overview, here are the details of what you get when you buy the Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Camera Case:
It’s not boxed, simply wire-tied to a header hard designed to hung on a slatwall display. So the packaging is totally recyclable.
The header card does contain some information about how you can use the waterproof DSLR case but does instruct you to go online to the Aquapac website (auquapac.net) for full instructions. That would be great but the URL provided has moved! There is some information about each product on the corresponding website page but not what I’d call a step-by-step manual for the product. OK, so the operation of the case is pretty straight forward and I’m sure that the next run of packaging will be updated to reflect the new website.
On to the testing. I used a Canon 600D SLR with a 10-28mm lens because being a relatively wide angle lens focusing isn’t so critical as it would be with longer focal lengths. The case I was sent will physically take longer lenses and a slightly bigger camera body but one constraint you will find is lenses with large front elements.
This case is limited to lenses with an external diameter of 80mm. Now that’s fine near the surface, in clear water and on sunny days but as you take the case to its maximum depth of 5 meters the light levels will drop. Obviously this will be even more of an issue in water that’s a little murky and the 80mm maximum lens diameter will prevent use of some of the larger optics out there. For most users who want to take their camera for a dip on holiday this will not be a problem at all but bear it in mind when selecting a product like this.
Operating the controls through the soft case is quite easy and the transparent window that runs over the top and around the back of the camera allows you to see what you’re doing and watch the camera’s rear screen. Directly underneath the camera body is a double-thickness layer of plastic, presumably to guard against penetration of the case when the camera is standing on abrasive surfaces.
A neck/shoulder strap is provided that is useful to stop the case and your camera being washed away. However, I’m not sure if I’d use it to carry the case with a camera in it as the weight might eventually pull at the case and cause it to tear. I say may because the soft case does seem very tough so this may be me being over-cautious.
When I first tested the Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Camera Case I had a minor heart attack as bubbles started to appear from around the front section of the case as I submerged it in the crystal clear water of one of our local brooks. I quickly realised this was just trapped air escaping from the screw thread around the window and in no way affected the performance of the case.
I made a number of trips out into the water both in the calm brook and at the foot of a local weir and at no time did I have any trouble using my DSLR to take video or encounter any water ingress. I really had a great deal of fun and have already started thinking of ways to use the Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Camera Case in other ways to add variety to my photography.
Tips for getting the best results from your Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Camera Case:
- Keep it clean by washing and drying it thoroughly on the outside after every use, never store it wet or dirty.
- Use the provided silica gel pouches in humid environments to stop condensation forming on the inside of the case when in use or in storage.
- Always test the case in a sink at home before using it outside with your very expensive camera in it.
- Make sure the case’s window is as close as possible to the front element of your lens to avoid reflections and distortions.
- Get as close to your subject as possible, even relatively clean water can severely reduce image quality because of suspended debris in just a few meters.
Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Camera Case Summary
This is a great product to protect your camera in wet and otherwise inhospitable environments. It kept my beloved Canon 600D perfectly dry and allowed me to operate the various controls on the camera quite easily. The transparent rear window allows you to view your work without removing your camera from the case, essential if you want to check you got the shot whilst still in a wet/sandy environment.
I’d certainly recommend this to anyone wanting to take their DSLR to new places to reduce the risk of an expensive accident. It’s going to keep sand and water out of your camera kit and is therefore great for holidays and many outdoor sports.
The Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Camera Case seems reasonably durable and the front window that covers the lens could be replaced if it becomes scratched or damaged, though I’m not sure if Aquapac offer this service.
Disclosure – This product was provided to us free of charge, Click here for more information about reviews