In search of the perfect underwater camera: Part 1 – Snapsights SS01

I am a water baby. Always have, always will be! My brother Rich used to take my sister and I swimming a LOT, until we were dark little kiddies in bright red and white striped swimsuits.

My Poopsie has also instilled a deep love for photography in me, when we started playing with his 1970s Nikon F2. We went through a lot of film to get things right, especially since the camera had no light meter and we were just using a 50mm lens (NOT a big disadvantage at all).

Shooting the shooter. Played around with Papa's almost antique Nikon F2.

Well it’s no surprise that technology now allows me to combine two of my great loves, water and photography! No longer I have to buy disposable waterproof film cameras from Kodak, now we have cheap digital cameras and underwater casings galooore! I’m just OBSESSED with finding the right camera to fit my needs.

Since I’m on a tight budget, my quick fix was to buy a SnapSights SSO2 camera. Bought for about P600.

Snapsights! SS01

The camera came pre-loaded with ASA800 film, which was already expired when we bought the cam so the shop gave us an extra ASA100 film to use. I was so excited when we took the camera to Boracay, taking all sorts of silly underwater shots, we even took it snorkeling. After returning to Manila and had the film developed, I was so disappointed to find out that ALL of our shots were underexposed and had 3 big stripes across them. We only had about 2 usable photos from the whole set so super bummer. Not wanting to give up, we took it back to the shop and after 2 months of waiting, they “fixed” it!

Round 2 – surfing in San Juan La Union. I was desperate about making this thing work so I insisted on buying the more expensive, higher ASA film. After we arrived in San Juan and took a dip in the wave-less waters of La Union, the 36 shots went by so “mysteriously” quickly,  so we bought another generic P99 ASA100 film. The result? Out of my 36 shots of the ASA 400 film, only 9 were properly exposed while the rest were as DARK as the night! Boo hoo. The ASA100 film? Tumpak! All 24 shots were perpekto!

Here are the reults:

Sunset shot taker - one of our ASA400 shots

Sunset shot! ASA400

Surfer Boy - ASA 100

Finally! This camera can produce a gem! - ASA 100

My expectations were not too high for this plastic toy thing, having sort-of started my photography career with a high quality Nikon film SLR. Although, I was so disappointed with my first two rolls used in Bora, I was so happy with pictures from our La Union trip (those that made it anyway). The pictures came out with a lomo effect, even the slight vignette noticeable on the corners, I kinda like eeet! I have another roll we used at Splash Island, where B and I risked life and limb to take action photos (yes while plummeting down a very high water slide). I HOPE I’m not disappointed, I’m still kind of scared to have it developed. I think the trick to this one is proper loading of the film, especially since the film sprockets are HARD to align with the holes in the roll. AGH. We’ll see when I get back from Bora next week, I’ll have the remaining film rolls developed then.

Next week I’ll post Part 2 since I’m hopefully taking a Pentax Optio W80, which I borrowed from a friend, to Boracay. Could it be The One?

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