If you are looking to buy a camera without having to deal with the hassle of underwater camera covers then there are quite a few options available to you. A lot of digital cameras now days are made to be used underwater as well as having a lot of other protective features to make them more durable for the more adventurous photographers out there.
If you are looking to buy a water proof digital camera than there are several things you should look for before making your final decision. Digital cameras are not cheap so you need to make sure to get the best one you can.
1. Sealing. The fundamental aspect of any underwater camera is the sealing used. After all, an underwater camera would be pretty worthless if water got inside of it. When looking at your potential picks make sure to pay close attention to any gaps such as USB ports or the lenses if they can be removed and swapped out. These are often weak points in underwater camera sealing and can spell doom for your picture taking if they fail.
2. Picture quality. When it comes to modern digital cameras they all have a fairly standard photo resolution of around five megapixels. Odds are this will be plenty for your photography needs. You may be inclined to get a lower resolution model to save yourself a few dollars but in the long run the amount of money saved really is not worth it. Conversely, getting a higher resolution will probably not be worth the extra cost unless you are looking to take professional photographs.
3. Size and appearance. For conventional cameras the size and appearance are entirely for aesthetics, but when it comes to underwater cameras that do not use underwater camera covers, they can play a larger role. You need to make sure the camera’s size and shape conform with your swimming or diving style so that you can hold onto it easily when underwater. Also, a lot of underwater photographers tend to get brightly colored cameras so they are more easily spotted in the dark.
4. Check it’s rating. Not all underwater cameras are the same and some will be more tolerant than others. For example, an underwater camera may have a rating of 8 which will make it good to use in shallow water. However for deeper dives you will want a higher rated camera. This is simply because the camera with a lower rating will not be as tolerant of the water pressure and would break if it went too deep.
5. Max depth. Going off that, all underwater cameras (even those with underwater camera covers) have a maximum depth at which the water pressure will be too great and cause them to break. Make sure you check your camera to know just how far down it can safely go.
6. Beware of chemicals. There are a fair few chemicals out there that can damage your cameras waterproofing such as chlorine and petrol. Make sure to keep it away from harmful chemicals and only use it in fresh or saltwater bodies of water. If you want a camera to use in the pool, try a waterproof disposable camera instead.