At the end of 2009 I took a trip to Maui with my family. As I was just getting into photography I wanted to experiment as much as I could while I was there. This was not my first trip to Hawaii and each time I go I try to take a snorkel cruise. While snorkeling on the beach can be fine for most, taking a cruise gets you to remote reefs and away from the crowds. I wanted to be able to take underwater pictures but didn’t want to have to fork out the cash to buy a decent underwater camera. After doing extensive research I came across the WP-S10 by DiCAPac and decided it would be worth giving a shot. I wrote this post because I wish someone would have done so when I was looking for information a couple years ago.
First I want to acknowledge Maui Adventure Cruises. I found them through the concierge at the hotel I was staying at. I took the Lanai Landing Dolphin Adventure and it will become a must for every future trip to Maui. It was, by far, the best excursion I have taken in my life. Although this post is not about my trip, I do suggest anyone looking to do photography in Hawaii to look into taking an adventure with Maui Adventure Cruises.
When deciding to go with the DiCAPac WP-S10 I considered several other alternatives. One option was to buy a specialized case that was made specifically for my camera to work underwater. From the reviews online many people had mentioned that this option had limited button functionality and the price to do this was over $1000. Another major turnoff to this option was that it was difficult to remove the camera from the specialized housing. This means I would more than likely have to choose to leave the camera in the case my whole trip or end up not wanting to deal with it at all and waste my money purchasing it. A second option would be to purchase an inexpensive digital camera that was made to work underwater. I reviewed many different models but one with adequate resolution and picture quality was at least $200. I could not see myself spending this much money to only take a limited number of pictures. Finally I decided an underwater camera bag would be the most economical and convenient solution for my trip. A camera bag would work with any camera I decide to upgrade to in the future and be easy to slip my camera in and out of.
The WP-S10 had several competitors for slightly cheaper. After reading the details of all the similar DSLR camera bags I decided the WP-S10 was the best option. I ordered it from Amazon.com and the price after shipping came to roughly $90. This was significantly cheaper than the specialized case and half the price of buying a “cheap” underwater camera. I also purchased some Desiccant Sachets by Aquapac to help absorb moisture in the bag.
At first I was mortified by the thought of submerging my camera underwater. I found one article online where someone suggested to test the bag in a swimming pool and check for leaks before using it with your camera. Because I was on vacation I felt using a camera underwater in the hotel pool wasn’t the best idea. I instead tested it in the bath tub in my room and made sure there were no leaks in the bag before I used it with my camera. In my videos below you can see that it was very hard to keep the camera movement smooth. This was partly because there was a lot of air trapped in the bag and it was difficult to keep the camera submerged. I suggest making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before you seal in your camera.
One great feature of the WP-S10 was that it has a special finger pocket on the back so you can access all the buttons on the back of your camera. Also the area above the lens housing is clear, which allows you to use a flash while taking pictures. When I used the bag I used a 35mm lens and did not need to use the telescoping lens housing. I found that this telescoping feature was a good option though to accommodate other fixed focal length lenses. However what I like about the WP-S10 the most is that there is extra space in the bag which allowed me to use my SB-400 flash and GP-1 GPS unit. You can see some of the detail in this quick shot of a turtle below.
I really enjoyed this product and feel it was a great addition to my photography gear. It can also be used in other circumstances where you camera needs protection from moisture besides underwater photography. I have read online of people using it to help protect their camera from sand, snow, and rain. I have been trying to plan another outing to utilize this case, and while I haven’t had time to do so lately, it is nice that I have the option to use my DSLR underwater. I suggest anyone looking to do any underwater, snow, or photography in the rain, add a bag from DiCAPac to their gear.
In my Maui Album there are several unedited photos taken with my camera while in the WP-S10 bag. Feel free to check them out and see how flawless the pictures are. Because of the UV lens you cannot tell my camera was in a bag at all. The image at the top of this post was edited to correct the color. In my opinion I got a little carried away and need to go back and reprocess the raw. Maybe some day I’ll get around to that.
Below are some Videos that I took with my Nikon D5000 while using the WP-S10. Please make sure you select the 720p video resolution to get the full detail. The color, like the images, is very green due to the overcast sky and early morning recording. It shows how important lighting is in order capture a true image. I am sure the video quality and settings on my camera help contributed to the green tint as well.