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U/W point & shoot


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#1 Fleabag

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 12:23 PM

After some fun with a cheap film camera with underwater housing, I decided to "take the plunge" into the realms of digital underwater photography. I'm a Fine Art/Photo graduate, so have some serious dry land equipment, but finances (and fear of dunking expensive equipment) led me to the cheaper end of the market to have a bit of fun and aim at some good action shots, even if the resolution wasn't particularly high (i'm a purist anyway and have only succumbed to digital over the superior quality of film because of convenience and cost).

I originally opted for the first version of the yellow Vivitar 5mp Rugged camera, which looked like it could cope with a bit of rough & tumble and the decent size/weight & bright colour seemed an advantage when messing about in the waves (if dropped it would likely be retrievable).

This camera and I started out getting along famously. The images were pretty good quality. Film was basic, but perfectly acceptable for its fun value, though film above water tended to bleach out. It had reasonable sound. The unit was very rugged and I felt confident about its waterproofing.

However, early in its use, it started to power off when I pressed the shutter. New batteries would be inserted and the camera would seem OK, only to power down after just a few shots. I originally put this down to poor batteries, but struggled to find decent ones abroad, so next holiday I went armed with better ones. Same problem. Next holiday I took the best lithium batteries I could find (advertised as powering up to 600 shots)... I got about 15 photos before the problem recurred. After drawn out discussions with Vivitar, they suggested rechargeables or to approach the vendor. Rechargeables wouldn't even power the camera up. The camera was now about 2.5 years old, but I did finally secure a refund from Amazon after a few reminders of the consumer act and laws around "fit for purpose".

having got my money back, I set about see,king a replacement. Noting that others had experienced the same problem as I with the Vivitar (including its 8.1mp successor), I finally settled on the Kodak Playsport, which I bought a couple of weeks before a recent holiday.

I tested it out of the water before leaving and it seemed fine. Used it in the pool and sea on the first day, then downloaded the results that evening (thankfully).

2nd day we went on a boat trip, I jumped into the water with the camera. On getting out, I found the battery compartment had let in water, which had worked its way into the camera. I did my best to dry it out, and visibly it seemed OK after a couple of days, but the camera was dead and has not revived since.

If only I could have a hybrid of the 2 failed cameras, I'd be set... rugged and watertight like the Vivitar..... ability to get power, rechargeability and higher specs of the Playsport.

I want an instant digital, ideally with SD, with 5mp or better, stills and video (with audio), rechargeable battery, rugged and able to withstand some rough waves and waterpark slides etc, I'd be willing to spend up to 150 for this... even 200 if I could be really confident that it could deliver and not let me down. Everything I find that looks possible has a vital requirement missing. Up to now, I've reluctantly accepted fixed focus... but would prefer auto focus

At this rate, I'll be working my way through every low-medium priced underwater camera on the market

#2 diver dave1

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:02 AM

Are you set on a requirement of a dedicated u/w camera?
Both Nikon and Canon have some pretty nice camera's with small housings available. Fantasea provides the Nikon housings and Canon provides housings for many of its cameras. On the Canon website, you can look up the accessories offered and see if an u/w housing is on the list. For Nikon, you can check the Fantasea site for the listing of camera's that match the housing then look up the camera. I think Oly has some good offerings as well but I am not familiar with their product line. Others here should be able to offer thoughts. I suspect you would get results as good (or better) as the other cameras you list with any of the current offerings from any of those companies. You might post your question on the Point and Shoot section as well for additional ideas. Not trying to steer you away from dedicated u/w camera's...just sharing what I know of the other offerings.

If keeping the cost down is important, which sounds to be the case, you can try Ebay, this site's sales section or similar for finding good used equipment. Many people upgrade with nothing wrong with the older model.

A separate comment, there has been debate on this site regarding water entry with a camera. 'Jumping in' with a camera can put higher stress on O-rings and could aid in leaking. Some have others hand them their camera after they are in the water to avoid this. Others enter by holding the camera in the water and rolling off the boat. Some claim to jump in with no problems or issues. Not trying to start up that debate here other than to provide you with some ideas for searching that topic on this site. Just trying to help you find out what entry method works for you and your diving conditions in addition to the camera question.

Dave

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#3 derway

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 05:58 PM

If you just want snorkeling depth, than one of the better submersible cameras would do the trick. No housings needed.

I have the pany TS2, which is fun to play around with, and is good at least to 10 meters.

The pentax w-90 is probably the next best, and quite a bit cheaper, but a slightly lesser depth rating.

Canon's d10 is good to 10 meters also, but the camera is not as good -starting at 35mm wide angle, and slower shutter lag.
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#4 Riquez

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 11:59 PM

I'm in the same position searching for a reliable, decent underwater point & shoot.

I've previously owned a Pentax Optio W60, which was a pretty good starter. Easy to carry around & keep in pocket, not too difficult to get decent quality shots while snorkelling. It lasted about a year & then broke, but I used it a lot in the water, so I got my use out of it.

I then bought a Pentax W90 & I cant recommend that camera at all. In comparison to the W60 the pictures are undersaturated, it was difficult to capture anything in focus & it broke twice. In fact I only managed 1 session in the water before it broke, both times.
The first time, new camera, about 1 hour in the water it broke. The replacement managed about 3 hours of use before the same problem killed it. I was fuming since i saw several turtles that day & didnt manage to get as many pics as I would have liked.
Just thought to mention, i didnt dive with the W90 just snorkelling & diving under a bit, maybe 2 meters max.

So I have ordered a Canon D10 with the hope of it being more durable. Not sure if i have made the best choice, but it doesnt seem like there is a lot of choice for these type of cameras anyway.

A friend recommended the Olympus STYLUS TOUGH-8010, but I was unable to find it locally.

#5 Paul79UF

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 11:45 AM

Thanks for all the recommendations.

I'm currently looking for a replacement to my Canon SD700 with Canon U/W case. The SD700 is old and needs to be cycled through display modes to get the sensor/screen to turn on sometimes.

I'd rather just have a "normal" looking camera that can go from the beach to snorkeling without a big bulky case.

#6 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 12:33 PM

The answere is quite simple: cameras and water are like cats and dogs...
Some waterproof cameras stay dry for a certain period, but this is usually rather short and
without housing the war is lost from the beginning....
The only one i have seen and used is the HERO GoPRO but you have to get used her fisheye lense.
This camera produces fun and surprisingly nice pictures and films and has a very nice housing, but she's still the half of a size of a cigarettes box.http://www.goprocame...hero-camera.php

Going one step up the solution would be a Intova housed camera as they are still small in size or
going more "pro" and get a housed G11/12/S90/S95.
Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 02 December 2010 - 12:34 PM.

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#7 ardijump

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:26 AM

sorry, I sell canon s90 in recsea housing

http://www.forobuceo.......42&t=100565

750

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=45993

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=46051

Gallery with this camera.

king regards

#8 Roger Botting

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:36 PM

Managed to flood and cripple my Panny TS-2. Hint, don't rinse under a tap. The camera still works but drains the battery in a few days, but it works great for day trips. Have just bought a Panny TS-4 with an Ikelite housing. Hasn't seen water yet, but I assume its good for a dip or 2.
The cameras work great for kayaking and snorkling. Diving is what I bought the housing for.

#9 Deep6

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:37 PM

Managed to flood and cripple my Panny TS-2. Hint, don't rinse under a tap. The camera still works but drains the battery in a few days, but it works great for day trips. Have just bought a Panny TS-4 with an Ikelite housing. Hasn't seen water yet, but I assume its good for a dip or 2.
The cameras work great for kayaking and snorkling. Diving is what I bought the housing for.

I am researching a waterproof P&S for climbing, crayoning, rafting and other foolish pursuits. The Pany TS4 seems to be the best available today, but check out the new Oly TG-1.

dpreview Olympus TG-1

Bob

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#10 derway

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:35 AM

Yeah, I noticed that new oly with 40 feet depth rating! Hopefully one of major sites will do another test, or big waterproof camera comparison.

The auto focus is the one of the crucial features...
Don Erway
http://picasaweb.google.com/onederway/
http://www.pbase.com/derway

nikon n90s/ikelite housing/twin SS-200 canon G2/ikelite/DS-50/optical TTL slave
sony V3/ikelite/DS-51/Heinrich DA2 slave