LiquidImage Explorer snorkeling mask with 5mp Camera Review
So you want to go snorkeling or diving and you want to take a camera underwater with you but don’t want a loose camera flinging around or maybe you just want to have your hands free for fending off shark attacks swimming…what are you going to do? The LiquidMask may just be the thing you are looking for.
The LiquidMask is a face mask designed for snorkeling or light diving that has a 5 megapixel camera built into it for easy use. While able to shoot stills, it can also shoot standard definition video at 20 frames per second, good enough for home movies or online video sharing.
The LiquidMask is just like any regular snorkeling mask in terms of getting it ready for use. I recommend hitting up your local sporting goods store for some lens cleaner and anti-fog. You should use the lens cleaner before your first use and after any usage when the mask may be put away for a while. A good anti-fog solution is essential to having a good time underwater, spit has just really never done the trick for me.
To get the LiquidMask ready to shoot you will need to install the batteries and a micro SD card if you want additional storage ability. I dropped a 2gb card in mine which set me back around $6.00. Make sure all the caps are screwed back on well and you are good to go.
The LiquidMask doesn’t rank high on features because a) there aren’t very many and b) the one it does have aren’t very spectacular. It does feature a 5mp camera which is pretty good since most images will need some cropping. The video is decent although at 20fps you will see some pixelization, but it’s not horrible. Fortunately it actually is a decent snorkeling mask and during our entire eight day trip it was the only mask I used even though I had access to many and even had my own mask with me. The convenience of knowing I always had a camera with me was nice when a simple swim would often turn up an unexpected surprise worth shooting.
- Image Sensor: 1/3″ 3.1 Mega Pixels CMOS sensor
- Pixels: Still Image 3.1MP***
- Image Resolution: Still Images (2048×1536) + Video (640×480-VGA)
- Digital Video Recording Rate: Up to 20fps@VGA
- Internal NAND Flash Memory: 16MB
- Storage Medium: Micro SD (up to 2GB)
- Lens: 1G3P Fix lens
- Lens Aperture: F/2.8 Feet=8.5mm
- Lens Focus: 1.5m to Infinity*
- Shutter Speed: Stills (1/15 to 1/1000 seconds)
- Sensitivity: Automatic (ISO 100) + White Balance: Automatic
- Status LCD Panel Display
- 2GB Storage Capacity: 2100 Still Images at 2048×1536 (.jpeg format) + 72 minutes of video (m-jpeg)
- Supports: Windows XP/Vista and Max 9.x or x.x. (no software requirement to retrieve files) + full USB 2.0
I found myself a little torn on how to rate the LiquidMask for it’s usage ranking. On one hand, I don’t see myself ever snorkeling again without one for the reason mentioned above, but on the other hand the camera leaves something to be desired. The camera doesn’t appear to do any auto white balancing, daytime above water shots look great but change the lighting by going underwater and you HAVE to do post production white balance to correct them. While not a show stopper the less processing I have to do with jpeg files the better I can retain their image quality. Secondly, the refresh time on the camera is slow, you can only take one image every few seconds. The last issue I have is the indicator LED. if you are out snorkeling on the surface during the day, give up all hope of seeing the indicator light, only by pressing the shutter and listening very carefully for the click sound will you know the camera is on.
While it may seem like I am really bagging on the LiquidMask, the fact remains that it IS a highly convenient camera system seemlessly integrated into a nice snorkeling mask. I felt compelled to rate it high because I wouldn’t stop using it but also felt compelled to ding it a little due to some of it’s shortcomings.
The important thing to keep in mind when swimming with the LiquidImage mask is to move slowly and try not to bring your hands in front of your face when filming video. If you take your time you can get some good images. If you have time to practice in a pool before going on an important trip, it will go a long way towards helping you get the best shots and video.
LiquidImage Website: http://liquidimageco.com/