Gear Review: Aquapac SLR Waterproof Case

Wednesday, 09 September 2009
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Aquapac SLE Waterproof CaseI recently upgraded my camera from a splash proof digital point-and-shoot camera to a mid-level DSLR. The advantage being that the quality of the photos go way up but sadly, SLR’s are absolutely not friendly with water.

There are a couple of different waterproof cases on the market for SLR cameras that are marketed towards divers. The acrylic cases are fantastic as they protect the camera and are able to withstand the pressures of SCUBA diving but the kicker is that they start at around $800 and quickly go up from there in price.

The things is; kayakers don’t need a hard case specifically designed for deep water pressure; we really just need a case designed to keep the camera dry yet will still protect the camera from the accidental dunking. That is why I got excited when Aquapac sent me their Waterproof SLR Case to test out.

The Aquapac Waterproof SLR Case is made from a rubber/plastic material that is pliable yet very strong. The bag is sealed with their patented Aquaclip which keeps water out with three simple clips. The advantage with the soft bag over diving hard cases is that I am still able to access all the buttons and features available on the camera. The disadvantage is that the bag only gives protection from the elements so I still need to be careful that the camera doesn’t get banged around when out paddling. So far this paddling season, it hasn’t been that big of a deal.

The WatersharkWhen I first got the Aquapac case, was nervous that the seal wouldn’t work so I filled up the kitchen sink and submerged it with some kitchen paper towel inside. It passed that test just fine and was confident that it would keep my camera dry. Like any other piece of gear, I periodically check over the case for nicks or tears in the material and I’m happy to report that after several months of use the rubber material is holding up just great.

The case comes with a shoulder strap which allows me to secure the camera around my body while still resting on the neoprene skirt on my kayak. This allows it to quickly accessible for that shot yet it is out of the way when paddling.

I often get asked by people how well the photos turn out. My answer is that they turn out pretty well. Of course not every photo is your award winning, National Geographic photo but hey, I’m able to take photos out in the worst conditions when I couldn’t before so I’m not really complaining. The two photos on this page are examples of photos taken this past summer. I'm happy with the results. The Aquapac Flickr photo pool has many, many examples of photos taken with their cases.

The bag has a hard plastic window that the camera lens shoots through which gets water drops on it when wet. To keep them to a minimum, treat the outside of the window with Rain-X. The water drops won’t build up and those that are there will quickly blow off. It made a big difference in the overall quality of the photos.

Kayak Rescue PractiseThe one thing that I did find difficult while the camera was in the case was using the zoom in the lens. The rubber case sticks to the sides of the lens making it difficult to rotate. It’s still possible to zoom in and out but certainly not at the same speed as if the camera was out of the case. To solve the zooming issue, I just set the lens at a mid level zoom which suits the majority of the shots I want just fine.

Finally, did I mention that my DSLR Camera floats when it’s inside the bag? Sure does!

Final verdict? I think that it is a great item to bring some piece of mind for those SLR weirdoes like myself who want to bring their camera on their next trip with them. I can shoot on the water, in the pouring rain or even underwater at the beach.

If you don’t have a waterproof camera, don’t worry. Aquapac also makes submersible cases in all different sizes for a wide variety of electronic gadgets including cameras, ipods and beach towels.

Pros
  • Allows you take your expensive camera out on the water.
  • It floats.
  • It’s a whole lot cheaper then dive cases and will work with a verity of different camera bodies and lenses.
  • It’s guaranteed submersible to 15 feet (5 meters).

Cons
  • Difficult to quickly zoom while on the fly
  • Case doesn’t allow long telephoto lenses

More info: Aquapac.net

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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