'Bag' Style Snorkel Camera Housings

by Z

Do you have any experience with 'bag' style snorkel camera housings? My wife and I will be snorkeling for the first time in a few weeks. I have a Samsung NX200 that we'll be using for the rest of the trip, but they don't make an underwater housing for it. I have found the non-model-specific 'bags' by Ewa-Marine and others that would fit our camera. Is this a good option? Or would we be better off getting a dedicated underwater camera like the Olympus TG-1? Thanks.

Comments for 'Bag' Style Snorkel Camera Housings

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Jan 29, 2013
I have the Olympus TG-1
by: Cary Bennett

I have the Olympus Tough TG-1 waterproof camera. It is a pretty good little camera. It does have some nice and easy to use settings for special situations and does allow you to create some custom settings of your own.

Be aware that you are not going to get the focal length and distance that you will get with your Samsung with the different zoom lenses. I find this a frustrating aspect of our snorkeling trips. But, unless you are willing/able to sink a goodly sum of money into a higher end camera with a good housing, you have to settle with the frustration of coming home and knowing that what you experienced out there just won't be fully captured by these smaller cameras.

Oh, and we just got the little zoom lens that is made to fit this camera and I am using it for the first time this week while we are up here in Vancouver for a couple of weeks. It does help pull in better distance shots with really good color and clarity. One down side of this lens is that it does "vignette" unless you are zoomed all the way out with it.

There is an issue with this camera overall that you should be aware of, and that is the TG-1 has a habit of locking up suddenly, and I mean, it won't function, won't focus and you can't even power it off, and the only way to remedy the situation is to open the camera up and pop the battery out and then back into place.

Needless to say, if it occurs (and it has happened to me) while out in the water, you are just out of luck until you can get out of the water, rinse the salt off the camera, assure that it is totally dry, then open it up and pop the battery. Yeah...royal pain in the patoot. I am not the only one who has experienced this issue with the camera.

So, be aware of these factors before you make a decision.

Jan 30, 2013
Bag Style Housings & Olympus TG-1, TG-2
by: Galen & Nicole

Z, I generally don't recommend the bag style underwater housings, because they have poor handling characteristics, and their waterproof seals have a high failure rate. So I would be reluctant to put an expensive camera in one, although many people do.

But the benefits of using your existing camera that has great image quality is well worth considering. Since you are snorkeling, and not diving, you could probably go for it. Just keep an eye on the bag. You will notice it start to fog up at first if it leaks, and you may also be able to see water drops in the bottom of the bag before it ruins your camera. As always, the key to reducing seal failure is to keep the seals very clean, and fresh water rinse after every snorkel.

Waterproof cameras also tend to have a high failure rate compared to a separate dedicated hard housings, so moving to the TG-1 may not be a huge improvement, although the TG-1 has better seals than most all of these styles of cameras.

Note that there has been a TG-2 announced that should be available in about a month, so look into that as an option.

Cary, I did a little research and it appears the TG-1 has a firmware update, version 1.1 that may fix the problem of your camera freezing up. You may want to research that a little.

So Z, let us know what you decide to do, and if you get a soft bag make sure and leave a review of your experience here.

Nov 10, 2014
Ewa Marine bags
by: Steve Davis

I have used Ewa Marine bags around two different video cameras (Canon and Panasonic) with no problems with leakage. The bag was not designed for the Panasonic but it does work.

I do have a problem with my eyes being long sighted. I can't see the LCD screen on the camera, which is on the side when it's in the bag, without extra lenses. But I can't see much further than the end of my nose with them either. The lenses are small and attached to the inside of my mask. Even with the lenses usually it's point and pray although thankfully it normally works.

Unfortunately, following a snorkel which included a barracuda smiling at me, I found on surfacing and checking the camera the thing had switched itself off.

All in all I find the bags very good for occasional snorkeling and it's light weight is very useful with airline restrictions.

Happy days.

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