Getting your hands on a waterproof disposable digital camera is not easy. However, for divers and beachgoers who don't want to risk damaging their expensive cameras under the sea, the chance to shoot with a waterproof camera you can throw away after using is hard to resist.
About Waterproof Disposable Digital Cameras
It's one thing to be able to shoot underwater with a traditional disposable camera, which records images on film, but it's quite another to be able to capture marine life with a disposable digital camera.
Digital camera technology is typically regarded as being of higher quality than traditional cameras. In addition to offering a host of automatic features, including focus and flash, digital cameras also provide users instantaneous results. Built-in LCD screens allow photographers to view shots immediately after they are snapped. A waterproof single-use digital camera combines advanced technology with the convenience of disposability. Unfortunately, this combination is not easy to come by. As of December 2009, the only mass marketed recyclable waterproof digital camera is sold exclusively in Japan.
ECO Digi Mode
Plaza Create Company, based in Japan, recently debuted the ECO Digi Mode camera. It is hailed as the world's first commercial waterproof disposable digital camera.
Some of the camera's noteworthy features include:
- Ability to take 3 megapixel shots
- 2.4-inch display
- Built-in flash
- Snaps up to 50 pictures
- Operates up to depth of 3 meters
- Date impression
- Fast recycle shooting--10 seconds between shots
The ECO Digi Mode camera doesn't accept Micro SD cards or USB cables. Rather, in keeping with the camera's "green" theme, consumers must return the ECO Digi Mode to the store where they purchased it, so that it can be recycled and the photos transferred to a CD. Once the camera is returned, the store handles the entire breakdown and recycling process. Some of the camera parts, such as the 2.4inch LCD display, are used to make cell phone screens. Meanwhile, other parts, including the flash unit, are removed and placed in other cameras.
Pros and Cons
One of the downsides of owning an ECO Digi Mode is that its design prevents users from accessing their photos. Instead, they are forced to return to the place where they bought the camera and wait for employees to transfer their images onto a CD. After all the images are transferred to a CD, the camera's data is erased before it is recycled. Other pros and cons of the ECO Digi Mode include:
- Cost of camera is less than 20 American dollars
- CD transfer fee is included in the camera's price
- Transfer is usually done within 24 hours
- Camera only measures 120 x 71 x 53mm
- Camera is currently only available in Japan
- Limited flash range
- Doesn't include all of the features found on a standard digital camera
Alternatives to Disposable Digital Cameras
Not everyone can travel to Japan to purchase an ECO Digi Mode. Fortunately, there are other inexpensive ways to capture shots in watery conditions. Disposable waterproof film cameras are popular alternatives to their digital counterparts. The most popular include:
- Kodak MAX Water & Sport Single Use Camera: The single-use camera is waterproof up to 50 feet. It also features a shockproof rubber shell, scratch-resistant lens and is stocked with Kodak MAX Versatility Plus 800 film. The camera is designed for outdoor activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
- Fujifilm Quick Snap Waterproof 35mm Single Use Camera: The all-weather camera is ideal for shooting outdoors in wet and snowy conditions. It can also operate up to 35 feet underwater. It comes pre-loaded with a roll of 800-speed color film, and has a larger-sized shutter release for easy operation.
Another way to snap high-quality photos underwater is to enclose your digital camera in a waterproof case. Most underwater photo gear is quite costly; however, if you plan to shoot at a depth of less than 15 feet underwater, you can find affordable waterproof camera cases that don't compromise picture quality. What's more, most are designed to float with your camera inside. This floating feature is not always found on waterproof disposable digital cameras.