Which camera to choose for snorkeling photography

The better of the two - Canon S95 or Olympus XZ-1

Wasn't an easy choice but I have come to love the Olympus XZ-1

Firstly, what about newer models in their respective ranges, or even Micro 4/3's compact system cameras?

Both camera's and their respective housings are still available.   But, the Olympus XZ-1's housing is now not easy to obtain in the UK.

Many improvements in both ranges relate to land use.   Tilting, touch screens are great, but irrelevant underwater.   WIFI ashore appeals.

Nothing implies that the S110 versus XZ-2 comparison for underwater use is that different versus the older models.

As prices of micro 4/3 compact system cameras drop the decision is harder.
Spotted pufferfish

So, two good, value-for-money, established compacts

Canon Powershot S95
Where is it better than the Olympus?
- it is so popular - several camera buffs rave
about it.   It's clearly very good

- one button can be set to adjust white balance
underwater with a single push

The Olympus' white balance = "underwater" is
more convenient so why S95 snorkellers use
the button instead of this preset is strange
- Canon is smaller and very much lighter than the
Olympus

- it's tried and trusted

- the package of camera plus housing is cheaper.
Neither the S95 nor the XZ-1 are expensive as
there are more recent versions.

Where is the XZ-1 better than the Canon?
- white balance = "underwater' setting overcomes
the white balance problem and seems more convenient than the one-click, white balance correction button approach of the Canon S95.   Why snorkellers don't use the white balance = underwater preset on the S95 does confuse me.

- standard 67mm thread on housing port to attach
additional 'wet' lenses.
solid white balance filter attached or detached when in water (perhaps with adaptor the Canon can do this?) - effective 'white balance underwater' setting - makes this irrelevant).
- more attachments - lens etc. seem available

- wider aperture definately appeals for our
low-light conditions

- the apparent faster burst speed appealed
did - in practice, single shots seem better. More are in focus and are much better composed).

- housing LCD shade available
(too shallow - useless)The LCD loupe is a 'must have'.   Type 'loupe for underwater camera lcd' into Google.
Olympus XZ-1
- longer battery life a definite plus.

- hotshoe - might be useful as camera could be
converted for shallow scuba diving if required?

Was the Olympus the right decision?
Yes - the white balance - underwater' setting alone sounds so much easier than the Canon S90 and S95 one-click white balance button.

If you are likely to want to keep things simple, the Canon produces nice photos.

If you are like me and are likely to want to experiement with more and more additions - probably it's the Olympus.
After some use, with a 'deep' homemade LCD viewing shade, the screen and all the details can be seen, can see the fish, can see the focus.  Lovely.  (Even better with the LCD viewer/ loupe.)

The Olympus XZ-1 works very well indeed.   So well, I have bought another for my wife.   I saw no need for the later XZ-2.   The tilting, touch screen can't be used when in a housing and it is more expensive than the XZ-1.
Olympus XZ-1 and DIY shade
Hoods - small vs large

P10 of 11 - Next - A 'must have' item
An LCD Magnifier Finder, loupe or shade