Here are three quick and easy ways to make a cheap underwater housing for a digital camera. Please note that I am not legally liable for any damage to your camera, and I certainly don’t recommend this method if you have a $3,000 camera that you will take scuba diving. It’s probably worth $200 to buy a commercial camera housing.
On the other hand, if you have a $200 digital camera, it doesn’t make sense to spend another $200 for a housing you use once a year. This guide is for you, so you can take your camera snorkeling, take pictures in the pool or recreate Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album cover.
The safe sex method
Again, this only works with a small and inexpensive camera. It’s a safe underwater camera housing that will cost about a dollar. You basically wrap the camera in a condom (or two).
1. Cut a cardboard tube (the inside of a paper towel roll should work) slightly longer than your camera lens at full zoom. This will protect the lens and make sure the plastic cover is taut.
2. Get an non-lubricated condom (no point protecting the camera from water while covering it in goop). Carefully unwrap it over the camera.
3. Put in a desiccant packet. Look in an old shoebox for the little silica gel packet that says “Do Not Eat.”
4. Tie a knot in the end and put a dab of glue inside the end of the knot.
5. Repeat steps 1 and 3, if desired, as an extra precaution.
The sandwich method
This is even easier. Say you want to take a photo of the mosaic at the bottom of your resort pool. Just one photo, from just barely inside the water. The easy, painless solution: a zippered storage bag (you may know them by the trademarked word that rhymes with liplock). Put your camera in the bag and suck out the air (did you know you’re supposed to do this with your food in these bags, too?). Take your shot and get it the heck out of there before the zipper leaks. You might even want to test the bag with a piece of cloth or something first.
The submarine method
Finally, this is not really an underwater housing for a camera as much as a way to avoid any risk of damage to your camera (unless you’re really clumsy). It won’t even go in the water.
Pick up two short plumbing pipes and a threaded “elbow” at a hardware store. Tape a small mirror into the elbow and screw a pipe onto each end. Superglue some thick plastic on one end. Point your camera through the other end. Voila. You have a reverse periscope. It’s not very flexible or practical, but you won’t get your camera wet.