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Old 07-30-2008   #1
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Waterproof Camera

I've been considering buying one of these waterproof cameras. Main choices seem to be Olympus or Pentax. My main concern is image quality. I know it will be a major compromise, even for a compact camera, but I'm wondering how much of a compromise. I've seen some images people put up which are just terrible. The image is only tolerable if you view it at less than 50% normal size. But maybe these are older generation cameras. I can find some sample photos of buildings and people, but I'm really wondering if they're able to do any justice to kayaking photography - lower light, fast motion. Not expecting SLR quality, but say compared to other subcompacts that have put priority on IQ, not weatherproofing. Anyone have any samples? Thanks.

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Old 07-30-2008   #2
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The Road, Colorado
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I just bought an Olympus 1030. Shoot me an email address and I'll send you a few pictures.


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Old 07-30-2008   #3
ann arbor, Michigan
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2008
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the olympus 10.1mp sw takes sweet pics unfortunatly i returned mine because i had bought the silver one,decided i would rateher have green, and havent gotten out to buy the green one yet but i spoke to others that had them before i bought mine and all had good things to say the only downfall is it is a 400 dollar camera
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Old 07-30-2008   #4
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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Posts: 961
The new Pentax Optio W60 should be released at anytime. It will be 10 MP with improvements over the W30 including deeper water for longer time. I'm getting one for my son before our Grand trip. I'll have reports later.
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Old 07-30-2008   #5
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Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 70
I've got the Olympus Stylus 770... good camera. Works well, takes pretty video and good pictures for the type of camera. Fits in the pocket of my pfd, so it is really handy to get pics on the river. Overall, I'm relatively happy with the camera. Here is a sample pic...

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Old 07-30-2008   #6
San Juan Islands, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 217
A friend just picked up a W60 and likes it, I'll find his review. I have an Olympus 850 and it's pretty nice for a point and shoot, I was going to go for the 1030 but went for the 850 instead because of the price, I keep this thing in my pfd, who knows when I may loose it. I have another camera I use on land, but this one works great for what it goes thru.
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Old 07-30-2008   #7
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 51
I have the Olympus Optio Wpi and it has been great. The picture quality is very good. The only problem to watch out for, regardless of what camera you get, is the little drops of water on the lense - I too often forget to clean off the lense and it makes for some interesting distortion in the photos.
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Old 07-30-2008   #8
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Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
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Posts: 195
Ditto props on the Olympus Stylus. I used friend's Stylus 850 on a recent trip to Cali and had lots of fun with it. Very easy to get good shots with minimal/no time to read manual or learn how to use. Here are photos from the trip: Picasa Web Albums - randyjackson - Cali Boating ...
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Old 07-30-2008   #9
Littleton, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
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My Olympus 725 SW has made it down the Grand twice - great photos and videos - only drawback - no viewfinder. It is very difficult to see the display when the sun is shining.
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Old 07-30-2008   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
The novelty of keeping a waterproof camera in your pfd vest is quickly lost when most of your picture taking opportunities are lost due to water droplets on the lens or fogging. I took 10 foggy pictures on an oregon trip and gave up. Bummer. If you are going to have to keep the camera dry to get good pics you might as well use a decent camera.

Another problem with the pentax optio that I have (3 years old) is that there is a shutter delay, which seems to be the case with many of the cameras. You have to get good at leading the timing of your boater subject to get that perfect boof photo and most of the time its luck.

You can put it on high speed continuous drive, but you go to lower resolution pics.

So the waterproof cameras are good for landscapes and point and shoots but for whitewater action they leave a lot to be desired. If you want quality shots, you should just bring out the SLR as its way better quality.

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