Even though I take the majority of my photos and video with my iPhone 5, I’ve realized that I’m missing out: I’m missing a lot of rugged outdoor adventure shots and video. Why? I’m afraid that I’ll drop my iPhone in a river or that my snowstorm video is going to let snow into my iPhone and fizzle it out, taking my cool new footage with it. Not to mention hundreds of dollars in smartphone replacement costs.
So I researched this year’s lineup of new ruggedized waterproof cameras.
Of course, the loss of a device that costs hundreds of dollars isn’t whole point: I could lose an important communication device while off the beaten path. Instead of a faster rescue, I could lose precious hours finding a phone or pavement in the event of an injury. There’s a downside to all-in-one devices, and most of the reason why I pack my iPhone with me on the trail is for those just-in-case emergencies.
And for the maps. Topo Maps as well as Apple’s built-in Maps app.
But with a dedicated waterproof camera, you not only get a bigger lens and sensor to capture light, you get a device that can take a serious beating. You can dive with it underwater, let it freeze down to 14 degrees, and take video in the pouring rain. The average price these days is around $250 . . . but you can get some excellent previous generation models like the Panasonic LUMIX TS25 for as low $129. That’s an insanely great price for something that will lock in (shareable) memories for years to come.
No Waterproof Camera, No Photos
Unfortunately, while rafting on the St. Joe River last summer with an Intex Mariner raft (which, by the way, is the best inexpensive raft I’ve seen yet), I didn’t take a single photo with my Canon DSLR, despite having it packed and nearly ready — inside a gallon zip bag, right next to my iPhone, which was inside a sandwich zip bag.
I regret not taking photos that day. Better still, if I would have had a waterproof camera, I would have gotten some truly fantastic photos . . . and underwater video while sliding over a colorful rock riverbed and into deep pools.
Every adventurer, it turns out, needs a waterproof camera. Besides, who trusts their fickle brain to remember everything?
Check out my roundup of the best waterproof cameras available in 2014 at ManMakesFire.com.