Tip #1. Be Patient and Wait until March
After Christmas, the best time to buy a waterproof camera is from March onwards. Never buy around January for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll be missing on the latest models because they are still in production. Secondly, the soon-to-be-outdated models are still quite expensive due to lack of stocks (remember that crazy Christmas sale?).
So, just wait until March or April. You’ll get more options and plenty of savings.
Tip #2. Look for Your Bargain Online
Most of your brick and mortar stores will not be able to stock every waterproof camera models available today. Even your biggest camera store will only keep 3 to 4 models of these cameras. This limits your options.
You could use the test units in your local stores to shoot some indoor pictures, feel if it’s suitable in your palms and get a few brochures to the compare the specifications later. But when it comes to buying, I personally find it better to read online reviews and look for the best bargain from a number of reputable online shops. Their competition usually gives me the best bang for my bucks.
Tip #3. Match Features to Adventures
Next, ask yourself why and when you need the camera. If you’re going to use it during your kayak trip, you’ll need a waterproof camera with a good mechanical stabilizer. This way you’ll always get razor sharp pictures to hang on your wall even when your shots are taken in an unsteady kayak.
For heavy underwater use, keep in mind that almost everything you want to snap underwater moves faster than ones on land and visibility is poor. So it’s wise to get a waterproof camera that could focus fast, has a high underwater depth rating, a bright LCD, and large buttons to make shooting easier.
If you’re a rock climber, a high underwater rating probably is not your top priority. Thus, I suggest you get a waterproof camera that is crushproof and equipped with a GPS or a compass. This way you could use it in the rain, cram it into your backpack and not worry like other climbers in your trip.
Tip #4. Keep the Brand Specialization In Mind
Right now their waterproof models are tailored for rough land use. The picture quality is not as good as a Panasonic or Canon but they are made to survive weight and water.
Having said that, just keep in mind that these are a general trend right now. It might not be like this in the future.
Tip #5. Test Immediately
After you bought your camera, read our tips and take it for a dip in your local lake or pool. Test the buttons and play with the underwater functions.
You need to do this long before your trip for two reasons. Firstly, if you bought a defective camera it’s easier to get your refund or a replacement because it is still within the warranty period. And secondly, if all turns out okay, you’ll have the time to practice your underwater photography skills and get to know your camera better. This way you won’t come back with blurry or boring vacation pictures.
Those are my tips to help you get the best waterproof camera for your outdoor adventures. I hope the camera will help you record your memories at the water parks, in the waves, in your local pool, in the rain, on your sailboats or surfboards.
70 % of earth is covered in water — there’s no reason to limit our memories only to the ground.
- A complete list of all 2011 waterproof cameras you can buy
- A complete list of all 2012 waterproof cameras you can buy
Picture credit: Darren Hester