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Why I Love My Liquid Image Scuba Camera Mask

Updated on December 26, 2013

The idea of embedding a tiny camera inside a scuba mask is genius. Sheer genius. And the good folks at Liquid Image are my heroes for making that brilliant invention a reality in the Liquid Image XSC 318 scuba camera mask.


I got interested in both photography and scuba diving while I was in high school. Back in those days, people still used an "ancient" technique called film (you youngsters will have to go look it up in the dictionary), and underwater photography was only for people with a big wallet and a willingness to surface after every 36 images to install a new roll of film. In other words, taking pictures under the ocean wasn't possible for everyone.


I temporarily lost my passion for scuba diving after freezing my tail too many times in the 57-degree (14 C) waters of Monterey Bay. But I never lost my passion for photography. So when I recently decided to get re-certified to dive, one of my first goals was to get an underwater camera for scuba diving. Well, if truth be told, I already HAD an underwater camera, but it was only waterproof to 40 feet. That made it great for our swimming pool, snorkeling or the local water park, but it couldn't help me when diving to the 60 foot (18m) limit of a new PADI-certified Open Water Diver.

Then I discovered the Liquid Image wide angle scuba mask. What immediately attracted me to this mask was its price (much more affordable than an underwater housing!) and its functionality - it's something you wear. After I don a wetsuit and a BCD with hoses and straps everywhere and a big steel tank attached to my back, I feel like a clunky robot. Carrying an extra object isn't something I look forward to. The nice thing about the Liquid Image scuba camera mask is that it's not an extra piece of equipment; it's an essential piece of equipment. That means you won't have the usual fears of dropping it on the ocean bottom or forgetting it in the boat. It's right on your face when you go in the water!


I got my mask in the spring and finally got a chance to use it in Cozumel a few months later. From the time we jumped in the ocean until we ended our dives several hours later, I was happily snapping pictures and shooting video underwater. The mask is incredibly easy to use. It basically has just one lever to control all the camera functions. When you press it one way, it serves as the on/off switch or the toggle between video and still photo mode. A red or blue light indicates when you've switched modes. Press the lever the other way and it's the shutter.


With this one simple lever, you can shoot 12 MP still images or 720p HD video. The camera's 136-degree wide angle lens captures an amazingly wide field of view in front of you, so there's no need to focus, zoom or play with any controls. You pretty much get what you see in front of you. You simply reach up, click the lever and the camera does the rest.

The camera comes with a 4 GB micro SD card that can hold 2 hours of video or about 2800 photos, so if you're not sure you got the shot the first time, you can just take another. Of course, as with any underwater camera, you're going to need external lighting if you want to get the best color underwater. (Check out the sample video and photos below from our trip to Cozumel to see what type of images you can expect without additional lighting.)

I'm extremely happy with the results. This camera helped me capture photos and videos of my 12-year-old son's first dive since he got his certification, and I was able to do it without spending a fortune or having to carry extra equipment. To me, that makes this camera an essential part of my dive gear from now on.


Highlights of the Liquid Image Wide Angle Scuba Mask

  1. Waterproof to 130 feet (40m)
  2. Records 720p HD video at 30 fps
  3. Shoots 12 MP interpolated still images
  4. Includes a 4 GB micro SDHC card and lithium batteries

Liquid Image also offers accessories to go along with the mask, including filters that can improve the color when you're shooting underwater without lights.

You can shoot both still photos and videos with the Liquid Image camera mask. Here are some samples from our trip to Cozumel.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This was my son's first open water dive since getting his PADI certification.The water in Cozumel is incredibly clear, but to get the best color in any underwater photo, you really need external lights (which I didn't have).Here's my son and our dive master enjoying the coral reefs of Cozumel.Another shot of my son (above) and our dive master (below) in Cozumel.If you haven't been diving in Cozumel, it's definitely worth the trip! The sea life there is abundant.Above the water, the Liquid Image mask also takes great photos.The 136-degree wide angle lens creates a cool distorted effect.I took some photos while walking through Playa del Carmen on our way to the taxi. People were probably wondering why I was pointing a scuba mask!The quality and color of photos above the water is amazingly good.Here I am wearing the Liquid Image mask. You can see it looks a little different than my son's mask, but it's not obnoxiously big or ugly.
This was my son's first open water dive since getting his PADI certification.
This was my son's first open water dive since getting his PADI certification.
The water in Cozumel is incredibly clear, but to get the best color in any underwater photo, you really need external lights (which I didn't have).
The water in Cozumel is incredibly clear, but to get the best color in any underwater photo, you really need external lights (which I didn't have).
Here's my son and our dive master enjoying the coral reefs of Cozumel.
Here's my son and our dive master enjoying the coral reefs of Cozumel.
Another shot of my son (above) and our dive master (below) in Cozumel.
Another shot of my son (above) and our dive master (below) in Cozumel.
If you haven't been diving in Cozumel, it's definitely worth the trip! The sea life there is abundant.
If you haven't been diving in Cozumel, it's definitely worth the trip! The sea life there is abundant.
Above the water, the Liquid Image mask also takes great photos.
Above the water, the Liquid Image mask also takes great photos.
The 136-degree wide angle lens creates a cool distorted effect.
The 136-degree wide angle lens creates a cool distorted effect.
I took some photos while walking through Playa del Carmen on our way to the taxi. People were probably wondering why I was pointing a scuba mask!
I took some photos while walking through Playa del Carmen on our way to the taxi. People were probably wondering why I was pointing a scuba mask!
The quality and color of photos above the water is amazingly good.
The quality and color of photos above the water is amazingly good.
Here I am wearing the Liquid Image mask. You can see it looks a little different than my son's mask, but it's not obnoxiously big or ugly.
Here I am wearing the Liquid Image mask. You can see it looks a little different than my son's mask, but it's not obnoxiously big or ugly.

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    • LisaDH profile image
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      LisaDH 3 years ago

      @ColettaTeske: A professional photographer will probably never part with all that gear in favor of this camera, but it is a handy back-up device.

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 3 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: You can have them all except for the kid - I'm keeping him. :-) LOL

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 3 years ago

      @Pat Goltz: Pat, that's too bad. I'm sure there's a mask out there for you somewhere! The best way to find the right one is not to try it on in water, however. The best way is to hold the mask up to your face, breathe in very gently and see if it stays in place. If it falls off, it won't seal well in water. If it stays on with no straps and just a tiny bit of suction from breathing in gently, it should seal very well in water.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 3 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Wow. Wow. And Wow! Great review. I grew up on the island of Guam in the Western Pacific -- and I used to go snorkeling almost every weekend. I later was working on getting my MS degree in Marine Biology at the University of Guam -- I wish I had had one of these for those underwater adventures. Congrats on a Squidoo masterpiece!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 3 years ago

      Oh my, that has to be the coolest thing. I would love to see what is going on underwater and actually capture it on camera. I love this review. Your excitement shows through. Great job.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I know nothing about the technical aspect of photographing underwater, but even with that lack of knowledge, I can tell you really know what you're talking about. Your enthusiasm for this product shines brightly in this review. Kudos to you on your first Product Review, it's a winner!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'll have to share your lens with a few people that I know who scuba dive. I think this is a great idea!

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 3 years ago

      Looks intriguing. I would have to actually try it on my face in water, though. I have yet to find any mask that fits my face and doesn't leak.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 3 years ago

      That's totally cool - something else I didn't know I wanted 'til I read a lens!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I want it all... the camera mask, the diving certification, and an awesome dive trip. I'd take a fabulous kid like that, too. :-)

    • profile image

      ColettaTeske 3 years ago

      This scuba mask camera is too cool. I used to act a safety for a few scuba diving friends, one was a pro photographer. The amount of gear was astounding. This would make it so much easier to enjoy the dive. Great review!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      News to me. Technology is moving fast. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 3 years ago

      How wonderful to have a hands-free camera under water! I really enjoyed your videos of your trip to Cozumel as well as the photos.