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Protect your camera from a summer soaking Many point-and-shoot cameras that become waterlogged stop working. Here's how to help your camera avoid a similar fate.
Kids floating on a raft in a pool
Jupiter Images

Beaches, pools, and cloudbursts can soak and ruin your camera. According to online subscribers we recently surveyed, 71 percent of point-and-shoots that became waterlogged stopped working; 36 percent quit after mere spills. Here's how to help your camera avoid a similar fate:

Bag it

When the forecast is rain, take along a plastic bag. If it rains, wrap most of your camera in the bag, cutting a small hole for the lens if you need to shoot.

Accessorize

If you often shoot in damp conditions, check online or in your local camera store for accessories specifically designed for shooting in wet weather.

Go waterproof

For the most protection, use a water-resistant or waterproof camera. Several manufacturers make them, and four such cameras are included in our Ratings (available to subscribers): the Olympus Stylus Tough-8000, $400, and Stylus Tough-6000, $300; Pentax Optio W60, $250; and Olympus Stylus 1050SW, $280. Before shooting underwater, check the camera's specs to see how deep it can go. Limits can range from several feet to 30 or more.

Before jumping into water with even a waterproof camera, check the instructions. Some models might malfunction under the force generated by a plunge.

If you use an SLR, follow these tips:

Bag everything

If you do lots of shooting in very wet terrain and you're hauling an SLR, lenses, and maybe a laptop, consider a waterproof backpack or sack, which can be pricey but is invaluable in such conditions.

Get a pouch

For kayaking and rafting, look for a neoprene waterproof camera pouch that floats. It usually runs about $10 to $15.

Change lenses cautiously

Moisture can easily get into an SLR body when you change lenses. When doing so in wet conditions, shield the camera's lens mount with something that resists water and minimize the time the lens isn't attached to the body.

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