I was watching category5.tv on Miro and they mentioned a really cool device. I bought a digital camera that's waterproof up to 6 feet so I could snorkel in Thailand. Six feet doesn't get you too far but it would be fine for snorkeling near the surface. The one problem I'd have with it is I may be busy doing other things with my hands and not want to hold it (fighting off sharks perhaps!). The device that category5 reviewed is the LEI Underwater Digital Camera Mask which comes in 3mp and 5mp versions.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h25f0eAjSg 350 283] I realize this is a special purpose device and that you're not going to wear it to your kids choir concert but still it's pretty cool. Expecting it to be expensive for the same reason I went googled it and found it selling for about $100. So what about this device? This is from the LEI website.

Technical Specifications:

  • Image Resolution: 5.0 MP CMOS Sensor
  • Internal Memory: 16 MB NAND Flash Memory
  • Memory Card Expansion: MicroSD, up to 2 GB
  • Video Mode: 12-25 FPS, VGA
  • Status Display: LCD
  • Interface: USB
  • Power: 2 AAA 1.5 V Batteries (Alkaline, Lithium or NiMH), included
  • Photographic Distance: .5m to infinity
  • Auto-Off System Time: 120 seconds

Resolution / Storage Capacity:

  • Image: 5.0 MP (2560x1920), 29 Pictures on Internal Memory, Add MicroSD card for more (1 GB = ~2100 Images)
  • Video: VGA (640x480), 53 Seconds on Internal Memory, Add MicroSD card for more (1 GB = ~52 minutes)

Additional Information:

  • Depth Rating: 5m
  • Included software compatible with Windows 2000/ME/XP/Vista, Mac 9.x or 10.x
  • Hardware compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

The video is about what you'd expect - VGA quality, it runs on AAA batteries which will make some happy and it takes 5mp stills. You're limited to using a 2GB MicroSD card but according to the specs you'd get an hour and a half of video on that. I don't know about quality but there are some videos on Youtube (like the one linked above) that show the output. Chances are the video is much better coming out of the camera than it would be on youtube.

The main difference between this and my Sanyo E1 is that the Sanyo hasĀ  better lens, can be used anywhere (Operas, museums etc..) that the Underwater Camera Mask can't (or shouldn't!). The advantage of the mask is that you can go down as far as 15 ft, it leaves your hands free and only costs $100.