Not only can you take your iPhone 4, 4s, and iPhone 5 out in the rain when you have it in a LifeProof Fre waterproof case, you can also take your iPhone swimming, surfing, kayaking, and jet-skiing with you. It’s just a short step to realize that, using a LifeProof Fre case, you can turn your iPhone into an underwater digital camera, both for shooting stills and video.
In my review of the LifeProof Fre cases for iPhone 4/4s and 5, I pointed out that one of the capabilities the LifeProof case gives you is listening to music while you swim. Well, if you’re one of those who enjoy using the complete range of photographic capabilities of your iPhone, you can also take underwater photos with your iPhone when it’s inside the LifeProof Fre waterproof case.
The case is guaranteed to keep out water down to a depth of 2 meters — a little over 6 feet. Which means that you can shoot photos in a pool, submerge your iPhone in a creek, or take video while snorkeling (see below). The capability for underwater photography within that 6-foot depth is limited only by your imagination (or swimming ability).
Of course, there are many high-tech choices when it comes to dedicated underwater cameras, just as there are many choices of cameras for above-water digital photography, which means that the iPhone is not the best underwater camera you can possibly use, but as a general -purpose photographic device for documenting your life and activities — along with some artistic capabilities when you learn to use its full potential — the iPhone is pretty impressive. And by simply adding the LifeProof Fre case, you can greatly expand its range of photographic capacity.
Single-purpose underwater camera housings generally allow you to use your camera at depths greater than 6 feet, but they are much more elaborate and specialized devices than the LifeProof Fre cases. The LifeProof Free functions not only as an iPhone underwater camera case, it functions as protection from shock, dust, and snow, too, allowing you to continue using your iPhone 4/4s and iPhone 5 in a variety of hostile environments — situations that might otherwise wreak havoc with its delicate electronics.
As an example of what’s possible when it comes to underwater iPhone photography, here is a video shot by a guy using his iPhone 4 inside a LifeProof Fre case, effectively turning it into an underwater video camera. This video was taken while snorkeling in Key West, Florida. He is not, by the way, an employee of LifeProof.
As you can see, the quality of the video is not bad. Of course, you can also take still photos underwater using your iPhone inside a LifeProof case, too.
Add the LifeProof LifeJacket
If you’re going to use your iPhone for underwater photography anywhere outside a 6-foot-deep swimming pool — such as when surfing or snorkeling, where the depth of the water can easily exceed 20 feet or more — I recommend also getting the LifeProof LifeJacket (pictured below). This “life jacket” for your iPhone fits over the LifeProof Fre case and will keep your phone afloat if you happen to let go of it. (Otherwise, if sinks quite efficiently to the bottom, exceeding the capabilities of the LifeProof Fre case to protect it.) The LifeProof LifeJacket is available to use with LifeProof cases for the iPhone 4/4s and iPhone 5. It is made of soft, buoyant foam and will not only keep your iPhone afloat (and easily spotted due to its bright orange color), it will additionally protect your phone against drops and shocks when you’re out in the field. The LifeJacket easily slips over the LifeProof Fre case. It allows full access to the iPhone’s buttons, controls, speakers, and microphone. And it has a lanyard and wrist strap to help you retain possession of your phone.
But hey, many things can happen when you’re, for example, surfing inside the barrel of a wave while shooting video.
LifeProof highly condones using your iPhone as an underwater digital camera when it’s inside one of their cases. Read this post on their blog, where they talk about touchscreen limitations when the iPhone is underwater and how you can still shoot stills and video.
Each LifeProof case comes with the option of their “Total Water Protection Program,” which I described in my previous review of the case, and which is explained in detail on their site.
In addition to adding the LifeProof LifeJacket, if you want to explore the depth of potential of using the LifeProof Fre as an underwater photography iPhone case, I recommend that you first practice taking photos and video in a swimming pool before going out in the ocean or a lake. It also helps to wear a diving mask or swim goggles while doing underwater photography so you can more easily aim the camera.
You know what’s fun? Shooting photos of your sexy girlfriend underwater. Or your dog swimming. There’s something that’s Instagram-worthy.
Beware of counterfeit LifeProof cases
One last thing to note: be aware that there are counterfeit versions of LifeProof cases out on the market. To be confident you’re getting the real deal when you make your purchase, be sure to get the guaranteed LifeProof case directly from the LifeProof site. There is always free shipping from LifeProof.
By the way, LifeProof is having a sale right now…