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Old Sep 26, 2005, 5:23 PM   #1
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I recently went on a trip to the Yucatan area of Mexico and really wanted to take some underwater photos with my Sony H1 camera. However I was really upset to learn that there were only 3 cases available for my camera, one being around $350 the other over $2,000. This was way too much money to spend so I decided to go with a $44 universal underwater camera bag made by Aquapac, http://www.aquapac.net/

I tried to do as much research on the Aquapac camera bag before I made my purchase. Unfortunately there was no review I could find outside of the company's site. when I posted my interest in this underwater bag on Steve's forums I got some terrible responses... many scoffed at the idea of putting my valuable camera inside a $44 bag and snapping photos at the beach. I was told the bag would rip, that the pressure under even a foot or two of water would be too much for the bag and make the controls completely impossible to use, and that the bag would most certainly leak.

so, how did the bag hold up??
Here is my review:

Price: 5 Stars
$44.00, can't beat that! As i am not a pro, and don't plan on taking underwater photos except for once or twice a year at the most this was the perfect bag for me and my camera.

Construction: 4 Stars
The bag is a thick clear flexible bag with a very secure lock system to keep water and dirt out. The front of the bag has a flexible lens type material that is clearer than the rest of the bag. This is where you put your camera lens. The bag itself is very durable and would be very difficult to rip or tear in my opinion, unless you were using scissors and or a knife to intentionally rip it. I would have preferred a glass lens on the bag, however the flexible plastic lens did really well.

Ease of Use: 3 Stars
I was actually surprised at how easy it was to use the camera controls through the bag, even underwater. I was able to switch between "Movie" and "Photo" mode, as well as review and delete photos and adjust the aperature, etc... for the manuel shots. It was a little tricky, but is do-able. The only other recommendation I'd make is to not use your zoom while the camera is in the bag, not sure if it's a problem, but I didn't want my zoom motor having extra resistance from the bag wall. (My Sony H1 has a plastic sleeve that fits over the zoom so this wasn't a problem for me, but just a recommendation for others). It was a bit tricky to use the camera controls through the bag so this only gets 3 stars. I Also recommend setting your camera to the desired settings before putting your camera in the bag.

Photo Quality: 4 Stars
I used the camera 4 seperate days during my trip for underwater shots. All shots were either above the water (at the beach) or at a max depth of about 5 feet. The bag is rated to about 10-15 feet. Of the 4 days shooting, only one day presented a challenge, but I don't believe it was the fault of the bag's design. One of the days was so humid that even out of the bag my camera lens kept fogging up... the humidity was incredible leaving my camera un-opperable both in and out of the bag. The other 3 days the bag perfomed well. Again a glass lens would have been ideal and probably given me clearer shots, but the plastic lens did well.

Conclusion:
For $44 this was a great purchase. It kept my camera dry and clean and I was able to take underwater photos. I had many people ask me where I purchased this bag... I swear I could have made some money had I bought about 50 of these and marked up the price!! Not sure that that is even legal, and wouldn't consider it seriously anyway. Would I want a $2,000 Ikelite case for my camera, of course, however at only $44 this was a great purchase one I'd recommend for anyone who doesn't plan on using an underwater case very often or is on a budget.

here are some sample photos I took, all using the Aquapac camera bag. The orinals were at 5 megapixel setting, however I've reduced to 640width for presenting here.






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Old Sep 26, 2005, 5:23 PM   #2
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 5:23 PM   #3
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 5:24 PM   #4
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 5:24 PM   #5
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 5:24 PM   #6
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Old Sep 27, 2005, 2:06 PM   #7
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I also took many videos which are very cool to view. I have no way of uploading videos to this site, so I've uploaded them on Grouper.com.
(Grouper is going to be posting user submitted videos in a flickr format very soon -according to their web site's info).
Look for them on Grouper.com in about a month or so....

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Old Sep 29, 2005, 5:47 AM   #8
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An interesting review and useful to anyone considering one of these flexible housings, thanks.
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Old Sep 29, 2005, 12:40 PM   #9
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yep, I hope it is useful to others.

As i stated in the review, the bag worked very well, however I would prefer a hard case for my camera.
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Old Dec 6, 2005, 6:23 AM   #10
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Seems they now have a plexiglass-tube version for SLRs as well. I wonder if it would fit the H1 even though they recommend the large copact pouch (anyone tried?)
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