We recently spent two glorious weeks in the Spanish Canary Islands staying in an idyllic, family-friendly villa on the edge of Old Town Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote. Our large 5 bedroom holiday home (Villa del Vista @ www.lushvillas.com) was luxurious inside but also had a beautiful outside area complete with outdoor pool table, barbeque, hot tub & swimming pool... complete bliss! In fact, I can't recommend the villa enough, especially for families... the owners had thought of everything to make a stay with children perfect - they provided 2 travel cots, 2 highchairs, potties, a box of toys, kids' tableware and cups, kids' picnic table/chairs, goggles and pool floats, plus a full TV package including all the children's TV & movie channels. The kitchen was unbelievably well equipped allowing us to cater at 'home' easily... another bonus when travelling with children. All-in-all a fabulous venue made a brilliant backdrop to a wonderful (extended) family holiday!
As you would imagine, the swimming pool was frequently the focus of our activity over the fortnight we stayed there. Our boys, aged 7, 3 & 3 are never happier than when splashing about in water and I was keen to record some of this for posterity... both photos & video. However, being the proud owner of my first 'proper' camera - a Canon T3i EOS DSLR - I was reluctant to risk it getting wet! I investigated getting a waterproof housing for it but was put off by the $1000+ price tags... you'd have to be a serious diver to warrant getting one of those bad boys! So I looked into getting one for my old compact digital camera (a still serviceable, but not very pretty Canon Ixus 860 IS). Again, the price tag was prohibitive at $150! However, it was while investigating this that I stumbled upon the DiCAPac cases.
DiCAPac cases are flexible and made from super transparent vinyl. They have a polycarbonate lens with UV, water & scratch resistant coating. A Korean company, DiCAPac have been manufacturing flexible waterproof cases for electronic devices since 2005 and their patented designs have been awarded the highest rating from the rigorous Japanese Industrial Standards awards (JIS IPX8). They now do cases for cameras from compacts up to DSLRS, smartphones, and even MP3 players (complete with waterproof earphones!). They also do larger packs useful for storing all your gear (wallet, phone, keys etc...) whilst you participate in watersports!
With recommended retail prices starting from only $35 I was highly sceptical, and so did not take the plunge (excuse the pun) and buy one for my DSLR. However, I did buy one to use with my old digital camera (scruffy and beaten up with a cracked screen as it is ... I figured that if it didn't work, I wasn't really losing much!). And boy, was it worth the bet! The results were FANTASTIC! We had so much fun using the camera in the pool and in the sea and we were able to take fabulous quality photographs and even video clips!
- It's a lot of fun to use!
- Super cheap - we bought ours for a mere $23 from www.amazon.com it was over $100 cheaper than any other waterproof option.
- The instructions are clear and easy to follow. You are taken through how to check the case prior to use and how to use it carefully to prevent moisture getting inside.
- It really is very waterproof. Not a spec of moisture (not even steam) in my case despite frequent use. It has a series of ziplock and velcro closures that ensure the maximum level of waterproof-ness (if that's a word even?!!!). I also used a sachet of silicon in my case, just as an extra precaution, but it possibly wasn't necessary. This is due to the rigorous underwater testing these cases are put through.
- I was able to use all the functionality of my camera, including the zoom lens and video features. I was also able to change between modes/settings while the camera was still in the case! My camera, despite being a bit beaten up on the outside, still takes great quality pictures and video... so I had all the benefits of this, unlike if I had used a cheap underwater camera.
- The bag floated when you let go of it in water!
- It is rated for use in water up to 10 metres (33 feet) deep so we were able to confidently use it to photograph from the bottom of our pool and even when snorkelling/diving in the sea!
- The website has a very clear fitting guide enabling the selection of the correct case for your specific camera. I have the WP-ONE (this is the one that fits the majority of small compact cameras including those with external zooms).
- Did I mention it was a lot of fun?!
- Finally, one of the nicest things about it was being able to capture very special moments such as Shouty One's first swim without his floaty on... such a precious moment!
- The biggest disadvantage is that the case isn't form fitting like the underwater housings built for a specific camera... the camera can, and does move about slightly in the case. This doesn't pose much of a problem, except that occasionally the outer ring of the lens can be seen in photos (albeit, just in the corner)! However, this was such a small issue that I don't really see it as a problem... it's nothing a bit of cropping can't fix anyway!
- Also, despite having it work flawlessly for me this time, I'm not sure that I would trust my $800 DSLR to it. Not because I don't think that it's a fabulous design that is worthy of the JIS IXP8 rating it has earned during all the rigorous testing... it's just you can't rule out user error in these things! But I guess that would be the same with a $1000+ housing too! Maybe I'm just being overprotective of my new 'baby'!
Overall, a fabulous purchase that really made our watery adventures that extra bit special! Well done, DiCAPac for an awesome product!