submersible point and shoot recommendations

SheilaP

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Jun 6, 2007
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1,012
Location
Victoria, BC
I need a new camera. My second hand point and shoot lasted for quite a while but is no longer. I have been reading through the forums here, but noticed that things seem to change quickly.

What I would like? some zoom, under $300, toward the indestructable side of things...

Uh and I still don't really know what I need to know. :big_thumb :yikes:

What do you like and why?
 

KayDubbya

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Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
340
I have a Sony point and shoot (DSC T-5 I think ) and I'm not happy with it. Picture quality and features are great, but I feel it's not well made for a "ruggedized " camera. My first ocean trip the painted case started flaking off. It was replaced under warranty, but now that the warranty has expired the zoom button is working intermittently.

Overall I'd rate it only 5 out of 10.
 

Tatlow

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Aug 6, 2007
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145
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Nanoose Bay
Sheila, I am very satisfied with this one for the money. You have seen many of my shots on FBook so you get an idea of the quality.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12 Megs The previous model had 14 megs but they found it did not have the clarity so they went back to the 12 in this newer model. Like most of your yak gear, rinse after use is great practice.
 

SheilaP

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Jun 6, 2007
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Victoria, BC
Tatlow said:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12 Megs The previous model had 14 megs but they found it did not have the clarity so they went back to the 12 in this newer model. Like most of your yak gear, rinse after use is great practice.
Thanks Tatlow! I appreciate the advice.

I found this excellent review of many cameras and they come up with the same conclusion that you do.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q311wat ... tgrouptest
 

Tootsall

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Oct 1, 2008
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Southern Alberta
Sheila, I've used a Canon Powershot D10 for a couple of years now: it has been to Curacao twice and Belize once with no problems. It's been underwater for quite a few hours (photos at http://s1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj5 ... l/Curacao/ and http://s1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj5 ... ze%202011/ ... look for the ones that are obviously underwater or off a kayak). I'd guess I've had it down to about 15' depth while snorkeling.

I believe that the camera has been updated to a Powershot D20 but have no experience with that newer model.

As Tatlow suggested, you MUST rinse with fresh water (along with the rest of your gear) and let dry (or pat dry with a towel) before opening to replace battery or remove SD card. In the Caribbean I'd just dunk it in the same tub as the PFD and snorkel gear.

It is larger than most of the other "waterproof" cameras in this range but from experience I will say that it is relatively bullet-proof (dropped onto docks, etc) . The nice thing about it is that it doesn't have those "moving leaf" lens covers that can (and often do) jam up with fine grains of sand or crystalized salt. The larger size means that it is easier to grip and you can operate the different buttons while wearing paddling gloves.
 

Peter-CKM

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Dec 1, 2011
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San Francisco, CA
I switch between the Pentax Optio series and Olympus Tough series. I have multiple versions of the Optios (WG-1, W-80, and W20), but just the TG-610. Did a review of the latest two in the Summer 2011 issue of California Kayaker Magazine (can be read online for free at http://www.calkayakermag.com/magazine.html). I have been happy with all of them, but found the Pentax to be have less shutter lag and better video, where the Olympus took slightly better quality pictures.

Long term, I find I am using the Olympus more than the Pentaxes. The reason for this is convenience (or maybe you could call it laziness). The Olympus can be charged off of a US connected to my computer, where the Pentax I have to dig out the separate charger unit to recharge it.
 

WaterMark

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Nov 18, 2010
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Vancouver
Sheila,

I ended up buying a Canon Powershot Elph 100 HS with waterproof case. It was around $200 for the combo from Future Shop.

It has better quality images than any P&S waterproof camera I've seen, 4X zoom, when I don't need a waterproof camera I leave the case behind and have a compact light P&S.

The disadvantages to this system to a waterproof camera: it's bulkier with the waterproof case, it's not impact-resistant or freeze-resistant, some people say they get fogging inside to case (it's never happened to me yet), and it's a nuisance to take off the wrist-strap and switch it from the camera to the case and back.

The advantages is you get a better camera for less money, and it's more versatile.

The only thing I don't like about the camera is that it's too automatic, and I like to have more control taking pictures. Any pictures I've posted over the past year have been with this camera, so you can take a look and get a sense what it can/can't do.
 

Kasey

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Aug 20, 2005
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767
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Kelowna, BC
Me too Sheila! My daughter bought the Pentax Optio WG-2 for taking photos in her marine aquariums. It has a cool macro with six LEDLights. I haven't looked at the Panasonic Lumix yet but will since I was very happy with my Panasonic full-sized camera while it lived. Looking forward to seeing how my daughter's Optio turns out Hawaii photos when they return on Sunday. Looks like both the Pentax and Panasonic are $399
 

KathyD

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Oct 10, 2009
Messages
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I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 that I use for work (lots of in-water river work) and kayaking. I like it, it's small and takes fine photos for my purposes. I loop the strap around my pfd and slip in in a pocket on the pfd so it's handy. It has GPS which I use for work; just make sure you turn the GPS off if you're not using it because it's a real battery hog. With GPS off, battery life is great.
 

dvfrggr

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Apr 4, 2005
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Seattle,Wa
Sheila,
My Pentax wp served me very well for 6 years attached to my pfd at all times thru a lot of abuse and lack of care but last fall the LCD screen died on me so the search began for a new camera :)
I spent a lot of time comparing cameras and just when I was ready to hit the buy it button i would find a negative review, mostly corrosion failure. I sent gnarlydog(who has a lot of rough water camera use) a PM as I was off to Costco to purchase Nikons new wp offering and when I got home I read his response and decided to return the camera and took his advise which is the same as Watermarks, a Canon elf with a waterproof case.
I just opened the box and set the camera in the case, I'm hoping to get on the water this weekend but I am fairly confident that this system will give me the best on the water shots I've ever had. I did go with the elf 520 hs which is over your budget but Costco had the Canon elf 100 hs on sale for $100 last week and the case is about $58 from amazon.com
Good luck, there a lot of choices out there!
Dave R
 

neils

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May 5, 2008
Messages
31
A couple of quick things to add to the discussion:

-I use a Powershot D10...that I've had for several years, but with a twist. If you're computer saavy (or, in my case, are not, but have friends who are) their is a hack kit available for the D10. It allows you shoot RAW images with it. Needless to say, this will reduce the number of images a card can hold and will reduce firing speed, but provides greater image quality and postprocessing options. It's easy to switch between the hack mode and the regular mode, so you're really not giving up anything.

Generally I've fund it good for the active paddling environment: small, reasonably sharp, although makes some consumer-oriented compromises to image quality, can fit in a PFD pocket and can take a beating. Not as small as some, but small enough and the buttons are more easily used with one hand.

The new Nikon competition, which I haven't used, apparently has a bit more of a zoom range. I don't believe a hack is available for it.

Neil Schulman
Outdoor Writing & Photography
www.neilschulman.com/neilschulman2
 

WaterMark

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Nov 18, 2010
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Vancouver
Hi Sheila,

Just to follow up on my last post with a bit more detail. What I don't like about the photo quality of waterproof P&S cameras is the images usually look flat and dull. To my eye they lack depth and vividness. Someone explained to me why once - I forget the details but the gist was that because they have a solid shell the lens can't extend and retract so all the optics inside the camera need to be compressed.

The things that annoying me about my Canon: on P mode (not auto), it chooses what to focus on, which is often not what I want it to focus on. Oddly on Auto mode there is an option to control what the camera focuses on. This is a case of Canon trying to make the camera so user-friendly that it loses flexibility for taking more creative shots.

It has a number of pre-sets. Some are good, and some goofy (like toy camera effect and fishbowl effect). The sunset pre-set is very good, but as far as I can see it's only in Auto - so far I haven't found a way to manually put it in Sunset pre-set when it's in P mode.

Those quirks aside, some of the things I like about my camera: it has vivid colours, the macro is good, good depth and detail, fairly sharp, works in low light as good as can be expected from a hand help P&S.

Here's on on-the-water shots in different lighting conditions with the Canon:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5309
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5257
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5181

Here's a few pics showing what it can do with colours and macro:







And a landscape shot:



Sunset shot:



And a low light shot. The camera has low-light preset which takes 3 shots in rapid succession then makes a composite image out of them, sharper than a single shot could be.
 

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fishface12

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Jul 23, 2012
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I've been using a Pentax Option WG-2 and I'm pretty happy with it. Of course, it doesn't go super deep, only up to 40', but I didn't need it to. Takes decent quality pictures and the zoom does an adequate job. I believe I paid about $260 for mine.
 

KayDubbya

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Mar 22, 2008
Messages
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Just wanted to drop y'all a quick note to say thanks for all the advice. Just pulled the trigger on a new Pentax Optio WG-1. End of stock at London Drugs for $219.00. Seemed like a good deal, and I could get it locally.
 

Philip.AK

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Jun 30, 2012
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Kodiak, Alaska
Whatever you do, don't buy the new Nikon AW100. I tried one of those for a week and I was extremely disappointed by the image quality. Muddy and noisy shadows, serious fall-off of sharpness along the image edges, and a hideous red color cast in some situations like overcast snow scenes.

The GoPro 2 takes some really amazing stills though you have no viewfinder on the stock camera and you are limited to 90, 135, and 170 degree FOV (i.e. moderate to extreme wide angle). I love it for scenics and use mine all the time for stills as well as vid.

I would be tempted to try a Lumix TS4 since my other Panasonic cameras take such amazing stills and vid, but in the end I would rather put my non-waterproof Lumix P&S in mortal danger than settle for substandard images and give up serious zoom reach. I say that even after soaking my loyal and long suffering Lumix ZS3 in saltwater on the last day of my Kodiak to Homer trip. R.I.P. :cry:
 

neils

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One thing to keep in mind: there is an open-source hack kit for the Canon D10 (not sure if it's available for it's successor yet, the D20) that among other things, allows it to do RAW capture. It requires some skill at doing this sort thing (or in my case, a friend with the skill) but is pretty slick once you figure it out. It slows down operation but is easily turned on and off when you need speed. Google CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) if you have a D10.

Neil Schulman
neilschulman.com/neilschulman2
 

Tootsall

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Oct 1, 2008
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Still trying to figure out how to get that hack to work on my D10...I did download it and save it to the SD card but after that things "go south".
 
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