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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Buzzards. Looking for some recommendations on a small-medium compact camera that takes good pictures and video. I've done a search on MB, and the threads I've found are discussing DSLR cameras with interchangeable lens. I'm looking for something simpler. Doesn't have to be water proof. I keep my Pelican case strapped right next to me on my raft frame.

Last year I did a ton of research & reading, and decided on a Panasonic DMC ZS20. It had outstanding reviews. Not too small, felt good in my hand, took good videos. Picture quality was terrible. Very fuzzy. I tried different settings and auto setting. All my pictures were way soft. These were all outdoor, daylight photos. I was super bummed when I got back home from my river trip and saw how bad the pictures were.

For years I've used my trusty Fuji S5000. Not a compact, but fits my hand like a glove and takes awesome pictures. But it's 10 years old, and doesn't take HD video. I also have a Kodak Playsport waterproof video camera that I mount on my raft for "boat cam" video. The Playsport takes good video as long as you don't zoom in too much, and pictures are mediocre at best. Not looking for a helmet cam.

So..... I'm still looking for that one camera that does it all. It doesn't have to be a small pocket cam, or waterproof. I'm ok with a medium sized camera with a decent grip, since that's what I'm used to with my Fuji. All advice much appreciated. Also advice on whether I'm doing something wrong with the Panasonic that can be remedied. I'd love to stay under $300-$350 if possible. I'm not a pro photographer, don't want GPS or lots of manual control features. Just want decent clear pics & video.

Thanks
 

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I have a Canon G10 that I use mostly for dive photography. It's a great camera- nearly the same results as a DSLR, but in a much more compact size- and with a nice handgrip. Body is magnesium, so it's light and tough. Not waterproof- but I think the G series is a good place for you to start your search. I've had the best luck with Canon and Panasonic compacts- others seem to suffer from slow shutters or processing speeds. I like to have the option to shoot in RAW mode, so my photo edit software has more to work with. The G series offers that. Latest version is the G16 They went away from the flip down screen- which I view as a plus. Less things to break. My G10 has the fixed screen, and I was disappointed that they went away from that for a while... but they probably go sick of fixing broken screens?!

Here's an example from my G10




 

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I have Nikon's competitor to the Canon G series called P7700. It's great and pretty compact with a larger sensor than standard point and shoots so better quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have a Canon G10 that I use mostly for dive photography. It's a great camera- nearly the same results as a DSLR, but in a much more compact size- and with a nice handgrip. Body is magnesium, so it's light and tough. Not waterproof- but I think the G series is a good place for you to start your search. I've had the best luck with Canon and Panasonic compacts- others seem to suffer from slow shutters or processing speeds. I like to have the option to shoot in RAW mode, so my photo edit software has more to work with. The G series offers that. Latest version is the G16 They went away from the flip down screen- which I view as a plus. Less things to break. My G10 has the fixed screen, and I was disappointed that they went away from that for a while... but they probably go sick of fixing broken screens?!

Here's an example from my G10




Thanks. I've not tried a Canon before. Looks like the G10 is hard to find or really expensive. The new model G16 is $499 on Amazon. The Canon S120 @$399 might also be a good option? Do you know anything about that camera?
 

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yeah- the G10 is quite dated at this point.... so for guys like me with a substantial investment in UW gear, replacing it is gonna mean dipping into the used market and getting hosed.

The S series take nearly the same quality images- really outstanding stuff for such a small camera- BUT.... you specifically stated ease of handling. The S series is really compact and without a whole lot of texture. There is (I believe) an aftermarket "bump" for your fingers that you can add on- The one handed security of the G series shape is a big plus for me on a boat. It just "fits" in your hand without having to really hold it. The S series is gonna require more focus to keep it in hand- not a big benefit when you're in an open boat.

The best forum I know for camera review is DPReview.com They haven't done a full review of the G16 yet.... but they've got a TON of info for you to surf thru


First Impressions Review: Using the Canon PowerShot G16: Digital Photography Review


They have a full review of the G15... and links to some great pricing on that unit right now. I wouldn't shy away from a previous model- the whole series has been outstanding. I'd check with B&H photo in NYC. I do all my photo buying from them-- they've been outstanding to deal with for many many years.
 

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yeah- the G10 is quite dated at this point.... so for guys like me with a substantial investment in UW gear, replacing it is gonna mean dipping into the used market and getting hosed.

The S series take nearly the same quality images- really outstanding stuff for such a small camera- BUT.... you specifically stated ease of handling. The S series is really compact and without a whole lot of texture. There is (I believe) an aftermarket "bump" for your fingers that you can add on- The one handed security of the G series shape is a big plus for me on a boat. It just "fits" in your hand without having to really hold it. The S series is gonna require more focus to keep it in hand- not a big benefit when you're in an open boat.

The best forum I know for camera review is DPReview.com They haven't done a full review of the G16 yet.... but they've got a TON of info for you to surf thru


First Impressions Review: Using the Canon PowerShot G16: Digital Photography Review


They have a full review of the G15... and links to some great pricing on that unit right now. I wouldn't shy away from a previous model- the whole series has been outstanding. I'd check with B&H photo in NYC. I do all my photo buying from them-- they've been outstanding to deal with for many many years.
Thanks. I'll do some reading. I know what you mean able the "feel" of the camera. In 10 years of grabbing the Fuji out of my Pelican case on the fly, I've never felt like it was "going swimming." Can't really tuck it in a PFD pocket for a hike or to scout a rapid, but I guess that's where the Kodak Playsport comes in handy. I'll look at B&H to compare prices.
 

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Charge through USP port?

I just picked up a Fuji XP but haven't really used it enough to have a recommendation.

Supposedly it's water proof, shock proof, and all that but I haven't even had it long enough to drop it on pavement.

One thing that occurred to me is whether there are any cameras that will recharge the battery through the USB connection. Seems like this would be a great feature for a camera made for going places.

f anyone knows of one I'd like to know.

Thanks,

-AH
 

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I just picked up a Fuji XP but haven't really used it enough to have a recommendation.

Supposedly it's water proof, shock proof, and all that but I haven't even had it long enough to drop it on pavement.

One thing that occurred to me is whether there are any cameras that will recharge the battery through the USB connection. Seems like this would be a great feature for a camera made for going places.

f anyone knows of one I'd like to know.

Thanks,

-AH
Good point Andy. Looks like some of them use the LI batteries that you can't charge through USB. I know my Playsport has a USB port, and I think the Panasonic I bought last year does. Definitely a plus if you can charge that way. Otherwise it looks like you have to buy & carry extra batteries. I carry a New Trent power pack with me for camera & Nook recharges.
 

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After thread searching on here and other web research, I got a good deal on a Nikon Coolpix AW110, waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof. Ive been using and testing it out a lot. Its waterproof and freezeproof and takes very good pics and video both underwater and on land. Also a built in GPS, nothing to navigate off of but its cool for tracking where youve been and how far youve traveled between photos.
Heres a couple links that may help waterproof is nice for boating camera.

2013 Waterproof Camera Roundup: Digital Photography Review

Which waterproof camera should I buy? Six waterproof cameras reviewed - Opinion - Trusted Reviews
 

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Re camera

I would stick with the Playsport.Its a reliable easy to use, easy to mount anywhere with a foam block type of camera. It just does not have the bells and whistles that you really don't need. I have had mine for 3 yrs and after reading specs and reviews of all the others always go back to it.The only 2 drawbacks I have seen are: its not good in low light, and it does not give depth to rapids and other features.
Recently the one other cam that sort of interested me was the JVC adixxion vid camera. Its quite bit more expensive, depending on where you buy from, and 1 reviewer said that the video button jammed in the on position within a few mths of use.
I would stick with the Playsport till it dies.
 

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I would stick with the Playsport.Its a reliable easy to use, easy to mount anywhere with a foam block type of camera. It just does not have the bells and whistles that you really don't need. I have had mine for 3 yrs and after reading specs and reviews of all the others always go back to it.The only 2 drawbacks I have seen are: its not good in low light, and it does not give depth to rapids and other features.
Recently the one other cam that sort of interested me was the JVC adixxion vid camera. Its quite bit more expensive, depending on where you buy from, and 1 reviewer said that the video button jammed in the on position within a few mths of use.
I would stick with the Playsport till it dies.
I'm not looking to replace the Playsport. It does work great as a waterproof boat/helmet cam. I did find that when I zoom in with it, it gets very grainy, and still photos are definitely not it's strong suit. What I'm looking for is an all around photo & video camera for everyday use & river trip use.
 

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After thread searching on here and other web research, I got a good deal on a Nikon Coolpix AW110, waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof. Ive been using and testing it out a lot. Its waterproof and freezeproof and takes very good pics and video both underwater and on land. Also a built in GPS, nothing to navigate off of but its cool for tracking where youve been and how far youve traveled between photos.
Heres a couple links that may help waterproof is nice for boating camera.

2013 Waterproof Camera Roundup: Digital Photography Review

Which waterproof camera should I buy? Six waterproof cameras reviewed - Opinion - Trusted Reviews
Thanks for the links. Are you happy with the photo & video quality of the AW110? I'm not looking for pro quality pictures, but I'd like a decent, clear photo, and good video. What I normally do after a river trip is use iMovie to create a DVD with pictures, video, captions, and music to share with my friends. If my old Fuji took HD video, I'd be in hog heaven.
 

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I have a Sony TX30 (older model) and have been very impressed with its picture and video. Can attest to it being freeze/shock/waterproof as it has been beaten up and still works great. My only complaint is brought up earlier, no way to charge over USB, but with two batteries and a Goal Zero power was a non issue on the grand.
 

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I have a Sony TX30 (older model) and have been very impressed with its picture and video. Can attest to it being freeze/shock/waterproof as it has been beaten up and still works great. My only complaint is brought up earlier, no way to charge over USB, but with two batteries and a Goal Zero power was a non issue on the grand.
How did you use the Goal Zero to charge it?
 

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One other camera that's caught my eye is the Fuji S8200. Looks a lot like my old Fuji. Has HD 1080 X 60, and uses AA batteries which is one thing I've loved about my old Fuji. So many choices, it makes my head swim :confused:
 

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I just picked up a barely used canon s95 on ebay for $145. Has a fast lens and takes great photos, does RAW, and you can control most settings manually. It's small but it has a rough surface texture and you can get the add-on grip for it.

Also just purchased a olympus tg-620 waterproof as a x-mas gift. Can't speak to the image quality but it seems great and its easier to control than the panasonic lumix it's replacing. It charges through the usb port.
 

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Fuji XP too

I also have a Fuji XP, and it is pretty good. Third in the series of digital cameras I've had. It might be a little small for my hand, but that might be a problem with the hand. Best feature is that it boots up fast, ready to shoot in a couple seconds. It has taken a few splashes, and when rafting I usually have it clipped in the soft neoprene case to something within reach. Battery is small, lasts well, and they can be had for a couple bucks apiece. I bought 2 batteries with a combo car/USB charger for less than $10. I figured 3 batteries would last me for a 3 week GC trip, if I ever get back there.
 

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Thanks for the links. Are you happy with the photo & video quality of the AW110? I'm not looking for pro quality pictures, but I'd like a decent, clear photo, and good video. What I normally do after a river trip is use iMovie to create a DVD with pictures, video, captions, and music to share with my friends. If my old Fuji took HD video, I'd be in hog heaven.
Yes the photo and video quality are both very good. The camera has lots of options to adjust how the photo and video look on land and underwater, like black and white, dusk/dawn, snow, sunset, etc... Turns on fast not much wait time between photos one or two seconds.
 

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I have a Canon S120 that I am happy with so far. I also shoot with a Panasonic DMC-TS3 (older model). The Canon fits well in my hand and has a nice thumb holder on the back, but the front does lack a "bump" or other positive grip. In the boat I use the water proof camera. If I was using the S120 the wrist strap would be deployed.
 
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