Watch those cannonballs: Keep your camera dry

Consumer Reports News: June 02, 2009 02:57 PM

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On Sunday, June 21, most folks will be celebrating for two reasons: It’s both Father’s Day and the first day of summer. And, if you’re at a pool or beach, it’s also a prime opportunity to soak and ruin your camera. (I know that my best jumps soak the entire perimeter of almost any pool area.)

There’s good reason to avoid soaking a digital camera: According to online subscribers we recently surveyed, 71 percent of point-and-shoots that became waterlogged stopped working; 36 percent quit after mere spills. Here’s how to help your point-and-shoot avoid a similar fate:

Bag it. When the forecast is rain, take along a plastic bag. If it rains, wrap most of your camera in the bag, cutting a small hole for the lens if you need to shoot.

Accessorize. If you often shoot in damp conditions, check online or in your local camera store for accessories specifically designed for shooting in wet weather.

Go waterproof. For the most protection, use a water-resistant or waterproof camera. Several manufacturers make them, and four such models are included in our digital camera Ratings (available to subscribers): the Olympus Stylus Tough-8000, $400, and Stylus Tough-6000, $300; Pentax Optio W60, $250; and Olympus Stylus 1050SW, $280. Before shooting underwater, check the camera’s specs to see how deep it can go. Limits can range from several feet to 30 or more.

Also, before jumping into water with even a waterproof camera, check the instructions. Some models might malfunction under the force generated by a plunge. —Terry Sullivan

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