For vacation this year my family and I went to Florida, and I brought along a one-time use underwater camera to supplement my Canon FD gear. Well, guess what? I had a lot of fun with this camera, and would like to look into getting an inexpensive 35mm underwater camera. I'm not looking at diving to deep depths, but think 30 feet down should be plenty. Since this will be basically a vacation/boating/pool camera I'm looking for a small, point and shoot type camera.
Thanks in advance for any information!
I have a Nikon ActionTouch (no longer made) but it's only good to 10 or 15ft, which from my reading the majority of these style P&S's are. To be safe at 30ft you need a more specific camera built for the task, like Sea & Sea, or a Nikonos (I think I've seen another brand advertised but can't think of it). The other alternative is a housing or waterproof bag, but they don't really fit in with how your intending to use it. We love our ActionTouch and use it for the purposes you cite, beach, pool, snow, etc. Up until recently and they may still do, Canon made a waterproof P&S... the model escapes me but it was white and red. Someone (maybe Ricoh or Samsung) makes a digi version.
I do UW photography professionally as well as teach it. I use Nikonos V's. Currently I have access to about 20 never used, new in the box Nikonos V's for $700CAD + GST if in Canada. Shipping extra. Since this camera is no longer manufactured this is quite a find.
I bought a "reusable disposable" from my local drug store (Rite-Aid) that came with a kids snorkel kit. Slightly higher quality than a throw-away and reloadable. Otherwise for cheap (and even D**) check out SeaLife stuff.
The Nikonos V is a darned nice toy. The 35mm lens is great. It is a viewfinder camera--no TTL focus, no rangefinder. Put 400 speed film in it, stop down, guess distances (there is a depth of field indication that is pretty useful) and it is pretty much a point-and-shoot.
There are only 2 lenses that work above water for the Nikonos--the 35mm and the 80 (or is it 85mm?). I have only seen the 80mm on store shelves.
Alternatives--the Hanimex Amphibian is one. Plastic. Point-and-shoot. Good down to 100' or more. I have pictures somewhere of my brother with a Hanimex diving the wrecks of Chuuk (Truk Lagoon). These go for ~$30 on eBay.
Now--what to look out for. Underwater cameras flood. Keep the O-rings clean and lightly greased. Use the correct grease (VOE--voice of experience).
Others--Sea and Sea, Minolta...good toys.
Below is a NikV shot as a P&S. I believe Kodak Portra, 35mm lens, f22, 1/200s, lab processed (if I recall). Your humble servant and his oldest boy, taken last summer.
Warranteed against leaks Nikonos V w/ 35mm lens for $300 (Buy it now).
I'd be interested to hear which way you go with this. I was just in Hawaii a few weeks ago and used the Fuji disposables with decent results & wish I had a better camera now.