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Travel Tech: Digital Waterproof Cameras and Camcorders

As I’m preparing to embark on our next cruise adventure, this time to the Western Carribean, I’m recalling the lessons learned after our Key West/Bahamas cruise. Namely, what a pain it was trying to get disposable waterproof camera film developed. Not going through that hassle again. I’m on a quest to get my hands on a digital waterproof camera.  


It’s just been slightly over a year since our cruise to the Bahamas. When I researched digital waterproof cameras then I was finding they ran about $200-$500.

Prices have come down some since then. If I want to take my chances with something very cheap, I could pop for either the WP5300 Blue waterproof digital video recorder/camera ($59.99) or the Vivitar ViviCam 8400 waterproof digital camera ($69.96).

Trouble is the reviews aren’t great for either. They’re downright bad for the Vivitar, and so-so for the WP5300. I’m all for saving but I want something that works. I’d rather put the money towards something I stand a chance with.

One that’s still under $100 but that got better reviews is the SVP Acqua DC-1231R digital still camera with waterproof case. It’s $68.99 on Amazon. Except, check out the picture:

SVP Acqua DC-1231R

Yikes. That looks a little cumbersome and imposing. Not sure I want to fiddle with something so clunky.

Kodak’s also got one. The Kodak EasyShare Sport C123 12 MP waterproof digital camera. It’s only $79.95, is waterproof up to 10 feet, and has a one-button upload to email or a variety of social networking sites. (They call it the “world’s only camera with 3-step sharing.) But there are no reviews from anyone who’s bought it, so I don’t know how good (or bad) of a camera it is.

Getting into the $100 range, I can pick up a Fuji FinePix XP10 12 MP waterproof digital camera on Amazon for around $125, an Olympus Stylus Tough-6000 10 MP for about $180, or a Pentax Optio W90 12.1 MP for just under $200.  All got decent reviews, and all have video functions.

The bonus with the Pentax is its waterproof up to 20 feet. (I rarely even dive under three feet when I snorkel so a five foot range would be sufficient for me. However, it’d be nice to have the extra range just in case I get super adventurous.)

Although the Fuji FinePix has a movie editing and blog mode as well as Facebook/YouTube automatic web upload function. That’d be handy.

But the video…that intrigued me. And was an option I hadn’t considerd before.


I could use the video function on any of the above cameras that come with it if I choose one of them, but I’ve been wanting a seperate video camera. I’ve been holding off on buying one, but now I’ve found some affordable waterproof options. Bonus, all take still pictures too.

I’m considering the Vivitar DVR-850W 8.1 MP underwater digital video camcorder ($79.99 on Amazon), the  Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) waterproof pocket video camera ($110.38 on Amazon), the Sanyo VPC-WH1 high definition waterproof flash memory camcorder w/30x optical zoom ($129 on Amazon), or the Sanyo Xacti VCP-CA9 GX high-definition 720p waterproof camcorder ($219.99 on Amazon).

I like the look of the Sanyo Xacti.

Sanyo Xacti

Besides the price tag, the trouble with Xacti is it didn’t get super reviews. Also, there’s no mention in the product description of the depth capacity.

The Vivitar has a similar look to the Xacti, but it got better reviews.


Also, it specifies it’s range. Water resistant up to 10 feet.

The Sanyo VPC-WH1 is an interesting option. It’s got a 30x optical zoom. That would rock. (That’s one thing I wish I had better on my little point and shoot Canon. My Sony has a better zoom, but I have yet to master getting it to focus properly in video mode.)

However, the reviews on the Sanyo are sort of mixed. The four and five star ratings outnumber the one and two stars, but not by much. It’s clearly one of those products you either love or hate. Not sure I want to take my chances on that.

By far, the Kodak PlaySport got the best reviews. I like the look of it the least.

Kodak PlaySport

However, it does everything I’m looking for a video camera to do. And of the four camcorders and their reviews, people posted examples of video they’d taken with their PlaySports. I gotta say, not bad.

So I’m really leaning in that direction. But I also sort of like the idea of having a waterproof camera with video function.

But I think I’m going to end up getting the PlaySport. Price is right, functions are right, and it’s waterproof. If anything, it’ll be a fun toy for me to tinker with on vacay!

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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