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
FleabagMember Since 31 Jul 2010
Offline Last Active Jul 31 2010 12:23 PM
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- Member Title Sea Wasp
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Camera Model & Brand
Vivitar Rugged, Kodak Playsport