A Cheap Scuba Diving Camera: Intova CP9
Looking for a cheap scuba diving camera? New scuba divers are often dismayed to learn the high price of underwater cameras and housings, especially for digital SLRs. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive options if you’re just getting started in underwater photography or are planning to get certified on vacation and want a camera to record your adventures.
One of the cheapest options for a digital diving camera is the Intova CP9.
The suggested retail price on this waterproof camera is $139.95, but you can get it for about half that price on Amazon. You won’t find any other waterproof digital camera that can go to 130 feet for anywhere near this price. But despite its cheap price tag, The CP9 has a lot of features. It can shoot 9 megapixel still images (which can be increased up to 12 MP resolution with hardware interpolation) and can record 640×480 VGA resolution video at 20 frames per second. It has a 4x digital zoom and comes with a variety of scene modes, including Portrait, Landscape, Backlight, Sports and Night, as well as Program AE. And you can capture all of your undersea adventures on the 32 MB of internal memory or on an optional SDHC card, which can be used to save up to 16 GB of data.
Intova doesn’t offer an optional off-camera strobe unit specifically for the CP9, but you can you pick up an inexpensive underwater dive light to illuminate your photos. For color correction, the Intova CP9 can also be fitted with an optional red filter.
This isn’t a camera that can compete with the photo quality of a DSLR in an underwater housing, but you’d pay at least $1200 or more for a setup like that. It’s also not going to compete with the rugged, shockproof construction and special shooting features of other waterproof cameras such as the Panasonic TS4 or Nikon AW100. However, those cameras are only good for snorkeling or shallow scuba diving, as the Panasonic is only waterproof to 40 feet and the Nikon is only waterproof to 33 feet. If you need an inexpensive digital camera that can go to the Open Water diving limit, you won’t find a better cheap scuba diving camera than the Intova CP9.
Sample Videos from the Intova CP9