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Shoot and Swim with Rugged Waterproof Cameras

Now that summer is in full swing, chances are you’re spending time near a beach, in a pool or at a cottage – so why shouldn’t your digital camera or camcorder go wherever you go?

“Waterproof” is the buzzword this year — and for good reason — as there are plenty of options available for those who want either a compact point-and-shoot digicam or high-definition video camera (or both in one device).

But before you pick up a waterproof model, be sure to read how deep you can go in a pool, lake or ocean. Most can handle about 10 feet, while other models can go as deep as 33 feet (some waterproof cases for existing cameras can go as deep as 130 feet). In other words, waterproof cameras are more ideal for snorkeling than scuba diving; they’re also great for swimming, boating, fishing and waterskiing.

And yes, these cameras take great “dry” shots on land, too. In fact, if you accidentally get sand on these cameras, simply wash them off in a sink.

On a vacation and find yourself caught in a sun shower on the way back to the hotel? Now you can capture the moment instead of protecting the camera from the rain. You get the picture.

Whether it’s for your first or next camera or camcorder, the following if a snapshot of a few wet n’ wild models to consider.

Size matters

The Fuji XP10 camera ($199.99) is billed as the world’s smallest and lightest waterproof digital camera. And it doesn’t skimp on features, either, as it boasts a 12-megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, image stabilization (to avoid blurry shots) and face-detection (by focusing and lighting each person’s face).

Aside from the fact it’s fully waterproof up to 10 feet deep — including the option to shoot movies, too (and even edit out parts you don’t want) — the XP10 has impressive auto-scene detection that will automatically adjust settings best suited to your environment outside of the water. For instance, the camera will detect and select one of six appropriate scene settings: Night, Portrait, Landscape, Macro (close-up), Night Portrait and Backlit Portrait.

Available in multiple colors, the XP10 is also drop-proof and freeze-proof.

On a related note, Sony has just launched its first “adventure-proof” digital camera, the Sony Cyber-shot TX5 ($329.99), a thin, 10.2-megapixel model with 10-feet deep water submersion, HD video recording (at 30 frames per second) and a sweep panorama mode.

Make a splash

“Pocket cams” are portable and affordable gadgets that look more like a cell phone than a camcorder. Integrated software lets you edit and upload videos to your favourite online site once it’s plugged into a PC.

Perfect for summer vacations or cottage excursions, the Kodak PlaySport ($149.95) can be submerged in water as deep as 10 feet yet it can shoot Full HD video (1080p-quality) and snap 5-megapixel still photos onto postage stamp-sized memory cards (not included).

Two cables are in the box: a USB 2.0 cord to connect the cam to the PC (for archiving or sharing) and a HDMI cable for your high-definition television to view photos and videos on the big-screen.

If you want a camcorder with better zoom, however, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9 Waterproof Camera ($269.99) is a 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) high-def video camera with a 5x optical zoom lens, image stabilization and the ability to shoot 9-megapixel still photos.

Deeper and deeper

Those serious about water sports, however, might consider the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 ($359.99), the latest in the company’s rugged line of point-and-shoot metal-body cameras. Specifically, this 14-megapixel model is waterproof (up to an amazing 33 feet), klutz-proof (yes, you can drop it) and freeze-proof (as cold as -10 degrees Celcius). It also shoots in HD.

Available in silver or black, the 8010 features a 5x wide-angle optical zoom lens, optional Beauty Mode (which smoothes out wrinkles and blemishes and adds “sparkle” to a subject’s eyes) and includes a number of integrated art filters to help unleash your creativity.

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