My Low-Budget Underwater Digital Camera


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I can’t wait to try this out. A waterproof housing for my DSLR was waaaay out of my price range, so I looked around and found this cheap underwater case on Amazon for $25 or so. After spending a couple of months lurking on eBay, I managed to snag a used Canon Powershot SD870 for only $35. It was sold cheap because the lens cover was broken, but for my purposes it works perfectly.

The case is rated to 30 ft depth, which should be plenty for my needs. My dad commented “But it can’t go to 200ft or so, can it?”. No, it can’t. But then, neither can I. And for a total investment of $60, I’m not going to cry like a baby if it fails.

The plastic is pliable enough that I can access all the camera controls. It seals up much like a dry bag: a thick ‘ziplock’ seal is then rolled over, locked in with velcro, rolled again and sealed with velcro once more.

One more reason I wanted a cheap Powershot: you can hack them. I haven’t had time to tinker yet, but this firmware add-on allows you to shoot in RAW, use motion-detection to trigger the shutter (great for lightning shots or getting candid wildlife shots), and with a little tinkering, shoot timelapse video. Looking forward to posting some cool images and video.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

wes December 5, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Anyone have experience with these? If I’d paid full price for the camera, I might be apprehensive….


julie comfort December 7, 2009 at 5:33 am

We have one of these for a DSLR and Joe uses it in the water for surf photography with a Nikon D80. It’s a pain in the ass with manual zoom and no lcd live view (both issues you won’t have to worry about with a point-and-shoot), but it’s never leaked and we’ve gotten a lot of use out of it. Probably won’t have much access to anything beyond the shutter button (the plastic is pretty thick), but worthwhile and reliable. Plus, since the camera can move around in there, count on getting some of that black ring in your shots. Oh, and leave a little air in the bag so if you drop it underwater it will float.


wes December 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

thanks for the tips, Julie! :)


Aaron Schubert December 16, 2009 at 10:30 am

Well done mate! I have an olympus shock proof/water/cold proof one, but I paid considerably more for it than you did. Seriously, a camera has to be the best investment ever!

.-= Aaron Schubert´s last blog ..WA Fishing =-.


LeslieTravel January 2, 2011 at 12:39 am

I’ve seen these cases on Amazon and wasn’t sure if they worked well. Now I know! Thanks for the tip.


thia January 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

we actually bought the exact same waterproof pouch for our canon power shot as well this december for our trip to Cancun.

we snorkeled quite a bit and this little pouch allowed us to take pretty good pictures with no leaks whatsoever. My husband is the one who took the pictures and we didn’t see/get any pictures with the black ring.

All in all, we were very satisfied with this budget purchase.