We take a Nikon D800 for a quick dip

James Pater­son ex­plains how to keep your costly cam­era and lens safe at the sea­side with a sim­ple, in­ex­pen­sive un­der­wa­ter hous­ing

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Wa­ter and cam­eras don’t usu­ally mix. How­ever, there are a wealth of op­tions avail­able to help you take pic­tures un­der­wa­ter with­out wreck­ing your Nikon.

At the top end, you can get hard cases that are built to fit your spe­cific Nikon D-SLR. These can cost up­wards of a thou­sand pounds/dol­lars, so for most of us a more re­al­is­tic choice is to use a soft case like the Aqua­pac (£80/$105) or Di­ca­pac (£55/$60) op­tions we tried here. These have a cylin­dri­cal space for your lens, fronted by a hard, clear plate. Your D-SLR sits in the bag, and you can press but­tons and ac­cess con­trols through the soft ma­te­rial. It’s sur­pris­ing how much you can do through the bag; you can twist the lens bar­rel, fo­cus, re­view shots and more. While not ex­actly easy, con­trol­ling the cam­era is not as tricky as you might ex­pect.

These bags are pretty tough. In fact, Aqua­pac claims that a cam­era lost over the side of a boat at sea was found a week later, still in work­ing or­der. But when it comes to your cam­era gear you don’t want to take any chances, so test it be­fore­hand.

With these bags you can get close to the ac­tion with­out wor­ry­ing at all about your cam­era… You can get shots from an­gles you might never have even at­tempted be­fore

We took our un­der­wa­ter cases to the beach – a no­to­ri­ously haz­ardous place for D-SLRs and lenses! It’s not just the de­struc­tive ef­fects of wa­ter from which they pro­vide pro­tec­tion. There’s also all that das­tardly sand that is for­ever try­ing to get into your lens and mess up the mech­a­nisms.

With these bags you can get close to the ac­tion with­out wor­ry­ing at all about your cam­era. There’s some­thing thrilling about tak­ing your D-SLR into the wa­ter. You can get shots from an­gles you might never have even at­tempted be­fore, and if you drop the cam­era, the air in the bag will keep it afloat. How­ever, it can be a chal­lenge to com­pose and fo­cus while the waves are knock­ing you around, so here are a few point­ers to get you started…

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