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Old 07-30-2008   #11
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 43
I've had several pentax waterproof cameras over the years and have been pretty happy with them. To solve the problem of water droplets on the lens I use a small cut out from a synthetic chamois (like you would dry a car with). That way you just eddy out, bust the camera out of your pocket, wipe, and shoot with pretty good results. Wiping the lens off with your finger will actually leave skin oils on the lens which can trap drops of water leaving you with distorted pics so I wouldn't recommended that.

Also, to keep from losing your $300 piece of glass & plastic to the river, ditch the included strap and put a longer one on it. Then use one of those keychain carabiners to attach it somewhere secure on your pfd while still giving you room to stash it in your pocket.

Basically, these cameras are good for on the go photography, good if your paddling buddies don't like being inconvenienced after every drop by waiting on you to get out of your boat and get your equipment. In the right hands (and if you know how to work with the delay) any of these cameras can take basically just as good of a shot as an SLR, IMO.

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Old 07-31-2008   #12
latenightjoneser's Avatar
steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 418
I have the Olympus Stylus 850

I can keep it on my drytop, no fogging issues.

It has a rapid shot feature so that you don't miss whitewater action. This is a must for action sports photography.

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Old 07-31-2008   #13
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Well, I'll agree to disagree with thatguy and others. I too used the small cloth to wipe water with variable results. Sitting in a turbulent eddy holding onto a rock with one hand and trying to wipe of a lens as your buddy is dropping in doesn't always produce great results. It also doesn't prevent the fogging issue that I dealt with a lot. I thought it would be easy to take pictures from the cockpit of the boat. but in my experience, dealing the water droplets, usually one handed in an eddy, was as much a pain in the ass if not more than getting out of your boat and finding a good vantage point to take a pic. I also found that many times the eddy available wasn't always the best vantage point, and I'd want to get out of the boat to get a good pic anyway.

Also the delay can be anticipated, but if by far inferior to the instant shutter mechanism of a SLR. I've used both types of cameras and SLRs are far superior.

And no, the pentax waterproof does not take as good of a picture as a decent SLR, thats obvious.

The one place where the optio did shine was snorkeling and underwater pics. I got some really nice snorkeling shots in Hawaii with it.

If you want a small camera for random boating stuff and you are willing to put up with some inconsistencies, then the waterproof could be a decent camera for you. I rarely take mine with me anymore as I think its more of a pain in the ass than its worth.
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Old 07-31-2008   #14
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
kev, go to my picture site:
jenniferpelaez's photos and albums on webshots

The Yampa and Dolores pics are taken with an Olympus Stylus 850. Some pics are a little blurry, but I didn't understand the autofocus feature. You push the button half way, it focuses very quickly, and then all the way to take pic. I just pushed without giving it a chance to focus. I also have a Pentax Optio w30, which seems to take comparable pics and have similar features, but is a little cheaper. Both fit my my lifevest pocket. The Olympus has a lens protector that closes with it is off, and I really like that; the Pentax doesn't, so I'm worried my lens may get scratched. If you want to go boating the weekend on some lame class IV stuff with me, I'll bring both for you to play with.
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Old 07-31-2008   #15
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 272
i've had a couple of Optios and love them. the problem with the new ones though is they don't take regular batteries which can be a pain in the ass if you run out of juice on a road trip you can't just buy batteies. video and using the zoom chews up batteries quickly so that sucks on a trip like the grand. not sure if that's the case for the Olympus but something to consider when making your purchase. -t
"I would drag my balls across broken glass just to hear her fart into a walkie talkie" -Jay Drury
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Old 07-31-2008   #16
Front Range, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 19
To solve the issue of "getting the shot", simply hold down the photo button to pre-focus the lens. Then, all you have to do is push the rest of the way down for the shot. I have down this at Rockies games and got 100mph fastballs perfectly shot. And, it works in sports or any mode so you can get a great shot of your buddies running the gnar.
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Old 07-31-2008   #17
boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 32
try dabbing a little rain x on your lens for fogging and spot problems. works like a charm!
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Old 08-01-2008   #18
Beardance42's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 238
I have the W30 - the last gen 7mp Pentax.

I got a package deal through eBay for the camera, an extra battery, a mini tripod, a skin and a handful of other things for what the camera would cost at a brick 'n mortar. Two batteries is a must.

Image quality is okay - I keep the camera carabined under my jacket, usually shirt-wipe the lens before shooting.

I toggle between Green (straight auto) mode and Program mode, and in Pgm mode I set Contract/Sharpness/Saturation to high and leave speed at 200. Seems to work best.

I've had my eye on the new one, but until I start losing pixels (which I did on my last Optio WR) I'll stick with this.
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Old 08-01-2008   #19
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Right on everybody. Thanks for all the feedback and photos - very helpful.
Jen, by class IV you mean Gore, right?
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Old 08-02-2008   #20
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
Just bought a Stylus 1030 for a grand trip. Any options for charging LI-50 batteries on the river or just buy 3 or 4 knock-off batteries?

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