Digital When Wet
By Wilson Rothman

(MONEY Magazine) – Instead of leaving them poolside, bring your favorite gadgets underwater. Slip your digital camera into a plastic case (this page), do the same with your MP3 player (facing page, far right) or buy toys that are waterproof as is (facing page, bottom). We tested them all. Our verdict? Come on in, the water's fine.

Camera Cases

Traditional, nondigital underwater photography is more trouble than it's worth--you have to hold the viewfinder awkwardly against your snorkel mask, and too many pictures end up being costly throw-aways. Now you can pop your digital camera into a high-grade plastic case (available for many big-brand cameras) like these, which let you see the screen. The higher the price, the deeper you can go: The Olympus on the right, designed for scuba divers, lets you bring your lens skills to the depths.

Sony SPK-THA Sport Jacket for Cyber-shot DSC-T7 camera $100 MAX. DEPTH 10FT.

Canon AW-DC30 All-Weather Case for PowerShot SD200, SD300 and SD400 $150 MAX. DEPTH 10FT.

Olympus PT-022 Underwater Housing for C-765 and C-770 Ultra Zoom cameras $390 MAX. DEPTH 131FT.

Waterproof Digital Camera

No case required here. If you're considering buying a digital camera anyway, go for this five-megapixel point-and-shoot with a two-inch LCD screen and 3X optical zoom. It looks like a regular camera, but it's submersible (for 30 minutes) as is. Snap closeups of the kids playing in the waves or shoot a Cousteau-style mini-movie.

Pentax OptioWP $350 MAX. DEPTH 5FT.

Waterproof MP3 Player

With rubber edges and easy controls, this player can hold up to four hours of music and has an FM radio. Just don't go out too far--it's waterproof for only 30 minutes down to three feet.

Oregon Scientific MP120 $90 for 128MB MAX. DEPTH 3FT.

H O Audio SV Series for iRiver iFP-700 series MP3 players $100 MAX. DEPTH 10FT.

MP3 Player Cases

The only thing better than lolling in a pool is lolling in a pool with your favorite music in your ears. To that end, H O Audio has devised a rather ingenious waterproof iPod case (left). Thanks to a neat engineering trick, the case mimics iPod's signature round touchpad controller, and the headset lets you hear underwater. The company also makes a watertight casing (above left) for iRiver's popular pocket-size flash-memory player, the iFP-700. The iFP-700 is already more durable than an iPod, and it gains extra impact resistance inside the clear waterproof shell.

H O Audio SV Series for iPods and iPod minis $150 MAX. DEPTH 10FT.