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Waterproof cameras

I looking at getting a waterproof point & shoot digital camera. Does anybody on here have any recommendations? Thanks.


  • From my experience with them....
    they are only good if you are snorkling or scuba diving.
    If you are in your canoe or kayak and you see a good underwater subject, You hold the camera over the side, but then cannot see the view finder or screen, and have to guess where you are aiming it. Nine times out of ten, your subject gets cut off
    Then you have to hold it with one hand, and try to push the button with the same hand, unless you are some sort of contortionist.
    I had a decent camera, but gave up and just imprint the good subjects in my mind.
    Some one needs to invent a camera with the view
    finder on the top.

    Jack L
  • Lumix/Panasonic
    We have owned a few waterproof point and shoot cameras and I read a lot of reviews before buying our most recent camera about two years ago. The Lumix takes much better pictures than our previous Sony and Pentax cameras.

    Whatever camera you buy add a float to the strap because although they are waterproof they don't float.
  • Gopro Hero HD
    Yes, it's a video cam, but also takes high quality stills. To use it with a viewfinder at all you have to add the LCD back, but you can do that. The Gopro Hero isn't waterproof by itself, BTW; it's got a super waterproof housing that truly works. There are diving quality housings too, so you can go really deep if you want that.

    The new ones, version 3, are smaller and lighter than ever and also have wifi capability built in to link with some cellphones, so at least on land your phone can act as the viewfinder. You still need the LCD screen to see under water, however, as wifi is stopped by H2O.

    If you get a Gopro you have all kinds of fun capabilities, more mounting potentials than you can shake a stick at (including on a stick!)

    Gopro Hero HD 3 costs $3-400, depending on the model, which is not bad for a camera at all. If you want to go cheaper, a used HD 1080 original (not the 960) goes on ebay usually for under $100. So a Gopro is in the range of many other waterproof digital still cams.

  • Panasonic Luminix TS
    I have this one:

    I only paid $250 for it from Amazon. At the time it was the best reviewed rugged, waterproof camera and overall it is a good but not perfect camera. Still I would recommened this line and would probably buy another one if needed.

    There is a new model out now, the TS-4 and it still seems to be one of the top reviewed cams.

    So far mine is about 1.5 years and has survived a trip to Disney, many kids parties, sandy beaches and many kayaking trips. Still looks like new and working great.

    I read the first few reviews on Amazon and I think the Good Camera But... review captures some of the bad points and like him I would still buy and recommend this camera.

    I will add the GPS functionality is nice for geo tagging photos but it takes a while for it catch your current position if you are turning it on and off. At the start of my last river trip, when you are taking pics of people getting ready to kayak (which takes a while...) it was tagging the photos for about 15 mins at the last place I used it 80 miles away. You can manually force it to update but it can be slow and if you really need a correctly tagged photo you probably need to check against a handheld GPS first.
  • Second the Lumix no problems 2 yrs
    Very good pics. Splashed a lot but have not drowned it at depth yet. Bit bulky though. R
  • Medium quality stills. Don't get their
    hopes up. I'll bet even my 5 year old Canon Elph in its waterproof case can outdo Hero stills, and my new Canon G15 will pound Heroes into the ground.
  • Cheaper Gopro
    Monoprice is coming out with a cheaper version of the Gopro next month -- only $100.


    I will be interested to see how it reviews with Monoprice tech crowd.
  • Nikon Coolpix AW100
    I bought this at Costco before Christmas. It seems to be about $120 now. It is waterproof to 40 ft, freezeproof, and shock resistant. I rigged up a mount on the front of my kayak to take some video just after Christmas. The bonus feature is a built in GPS.
  • Where is it $120
    When I read your post I felt cheated because I paid over $200 for it.

    Quick Google search has it at $220 or threabouts. Its highly subject to lens flare. Using the backlight feature helps a lot when you are pointed toward the sun.
  • A friend bought his wife a Go Pro, ....
    and for under water, they are not worth the money.
    They constantly fog up, and have absolutely no zoom.
    After watching her exasperation with it, I wouldn't get one

    Jack L
  • California Kayaker Magazine review
    California Kayaker Magzine ran a set of reviews on a few cameras (Pentax, Olympus, GoPro, and Oregon Scientific). The reviews are getting a little dated now, as most of these brands have newer versions of the cameras. But I think they are worth reading for the comparison of the pros and cons of POV versus handheld cameras.

    Reviews were in issues 6 and 7. All issues can be read online for free at http://www.calkayakermag.com/magazine.html
  • Own both Nikon and Lumix
    The Lumix takes quality pictures given that you understand it's limitations. The Nikon is a better bet if you are snorkeling and taking pictures underwater. For taking pictures from your boat it is a toss-up. Understand that number of megapixels for current cameras does not matter. Buy the cheaper one.
  • Pentax Optio WG-1
    I have had a bunch of waterproof camera over the years (they may be waterproof, but they don't float), and they have all been versions of the Pentax Optio. Pictures are good as along as the conditions aren't too bad - rainy days, shadows and snow are all problems, but you can usually fix things on the computer after. It takes surprisingly good video. For paddling, you really can't go wrong with this camera.
  • Options
    I haven't looked at any of the newer generation of the Olympus Stylus cameras, but the one i got 4 or 5 years ago still takes great pictures, just remember to get a floating wrist band so you don't lose the camera
  • Lumix gets my vote but
    remember, it may be waterproof but it DOES NOT FLOAT. I use a lanyard from my pfd
  • I have a year old one that is ..
    useless underwater.
    Please tell me how you take underwater pictures from your boat ???
    See my post above

    Jack L
  • Got iPhone?
    In case you do, add a Lifeproof case to it and there's your point n shoot plus all the other iPhone-y things. It's also a real case to use terrestrially.

    DryCase would be another option but only for aquatic activities.

    See you on the water,
    The River Connection, Inc.
    Hyde Park, NY
  • Not so sure of that
    -- Last Updated: Feb-17-13 4:25 PM EST --

    Gopro 3 has 12 MP in resolution. The lens and software combo does favor single width, wide angle to very wide angle, which some won't like, I realize. Fogging is cured with cheap anti=fog devices. The housing is very rugged, goes down deep and the dive housings go deeper. The basic units all come with the waterproof housing as part of the package, so you don't pay extra unless you want one specifically for diving deep.

    Your G15 is a $500 camera requiring another $300 underwater housing and has a 12.5 MP resolution. So at twice the price you can have a great zoom, but it's bigger and won't work as well for video nor for places where you need small light camera.

    If you understand the Gopro's intended major use - video - and its secondary use - stills - you have a very versatile camera system to work with. If you want a zooming, truly waterproof still camera that might shoot short videos, then you don't go the Gopro route, something like the Canon will do better.

    Just depends upon the intented use, really.

  • Its called not point and shoot
    but point, guess and shoot. I have lots of underwater pictures of nothing.

    Unless I counterbalance and get on the floor of the boat with my head in the water..which is risky on the ocean.
  • Options
    -- Last Updated: Feb-17-13 4:56 PM EST --

    Still running my Pentax Optio Wpi 6 megapixel
    and it's seen a lot of use in Michigan.
    Got it the first year it came out, still works today.

    The only I miss is Image Stabilization that my
    buddy has on his newer model.
    Kayaks wiggle a bit and it helps, a lot

    Underwater shots
    - use a StickyPod on bottom of kayak, with a tether.
    Got awesome video of wrecks by paddling over them
    near Tobermory,Ontario Canada aka Georgian Bay.
    Scuba buddies were jealous.

    EDITING is always the biggest pain, prepare ahead.

  • Pentax Optio W90
    My wife used a Pentax Optio 43wr for years, and despite being the oldest model - just 4mp - it took the best pix - used 2 AA batteries and had a viewfinder! It finally died, and was replaced by a WPi that worked well, but was ripped off from my car. I now have a Pentax Optio W90, which is a decent point and shoot. As someone else noted, it doesn't do well in auto mode in tricky lighting situations - and I really, really wish it had a screen grid to help keep horizons straight - apart from that, it's been a trooper...

    BTW - the next manufacturer to bring out an AA battery-using waterproof with a viewfinder will have one guaranteed sale...
  • Thanks ! You got that right and....
    no one seems to understand it.

    Jack L
  • Check out the G15 lens specs.
    f1.8 to 2.8 over the 28-140 mm equivalent range of the lens.

    Zoom and focus that function while the 1080p video is running. How much video depends on the size of the chip.

    Small would be nice, but I can't accept the concept of mounting a camera even that "small" on top of your head.

    G15 has the best LCD screen I've seen.

    Cost is important, but I can afford what the package actually costs.

    And GoPro shot themselves in the mouth with "Hero" and "GoPro", two of the smarmiest names since Perception Proline. What an insult to users.
  • Anyone using these in salt water?
    I have an mid price range Olympus and it works terrible after a few outings in salt water. Always rinsed with fresh water after salt water use etc... Fresh water is a different story though. Trying to zoom in will leave you dissapointed with mid price range Olympus.IMHO. It's tough one, depends on what you want to use it for. I will also be in the market for one soon i think.
  • Options
    Coolpix aw 100
    I have one and have shot freshwater stills under about 8 ft of water with great success. I paid about 250 for mine.They work well above water too, I use a uv filter and it seems to help in bright light
  • Yes
    You have to be very careful to not get any salt water into the battery/card area. The terminals corrode and/or get coated. The terminals that contact the battery and the card are easily bent and cleaning them without breaking them is difficult. All this depends on maintaining the o-rings so nothing leaks in. So the real answer is both cameras work fine but if you use either in salt water you have to be super careful.
  • How will you use it?
    If you're shooting surface stuff in relatively controlled conditions, I'd go with a Canon Powershot SX200, or whatever the recent version is, with a waterproof deck box. It isn't a waterproof unit but is very compact and boasts a 12x zoom which is great for nailing wildlife shots.

    I have a Go Pro for whitewater and rough ocean action but seldom use it because the case muffles sound. I have been through a series of Optios, which were decent for either handheld or deck mount, and you could also take them under with you or just hold over the side to get shots of wrecks or whatever. None of them survived much more than a year of heavy use. I switched to a Nikon AW 100 for the latest round and photo/video quality has been better.

    However, in cold mountain whitewater situations, the Optios and the Nikon are subject to internal fogging, especially the Nikon. Still looking for the perfect solution.

    I always biner the strap - if deck mount, do a grab loop or security bar; if handheld, to the PFD.
  • OK, let's get real here
    -- Last Updated: Feb-18-13 9:40 AM EST --

    I was formerly a pro photographer, with a 40 year history using video as well, and part of my daily work is in computer graphics. So what you could post won't be new to me at any level.

    But what you're saying here is that you have a thing against Gopro and you want a zoom. So be it. It's your choice.

    All I said was that Gopro works (or Canon), depending upon your prefered mode of use. I didn't run down the Canon, while you do seem to run down the Gopro.

    And as for having a small camera on your head, I have the original Gopro, which is twice the size of the 3, and add the wifi back as well, and it mounts easily to a headstrap, which you forget you have on in a few minutes.

    BTW, when I travel and want a simple point and shoot zoomer that fits in my hand or pocket, I do take a Canon Digital Elph of a certain vintage. I also take along an older larger Canon videocam that fits in my shorts pocket. But having tried to outfit both, as well as other cameras, for work around water or in outdoor sports, I find the Gopro far superior for kayaking, hiking, biking, etc. The Gopro is elegant for its intended uses, though not perfect.

    I'll skip the opportunity to make a smarmy pun about Canon.

  • Re Salt Water
    All three of our Pentax Optios - the 43wr, the WPi, and now the W90 - have been used mostly on salt water. I load fresh batteries and a card before heading out - so there is no need to open the battery compartment while paddling. Back ashore, I rinse the body in fresh water, dry the exterior with a soft towel, then open the battery compartment and carefully dry off the seals. I then leave the compartment open for an hour or so. Have never had a hitch with water penetration...
  • AW 100 and salt water
    I admit to only rinsing it off with freshwater twice in an 11 day Everglades trip as fresh water is too precious.

    It is working just fine three weeks later.
  • Right tool for the job
    You won't get this shot from a hand-held. If it were a photo instead of a video screen shot the quality would be a lot better.

    I have a lot of semi-OK shots taken from a waterproof point-and-shoot that I'd never have with anything else, because I wouldn't have had a camera with me kayaking, if it weren't waterproof. I've decided I'd rather have the shot than not.
  • AA Bats & Optio WR
    I'm with VK on the old Optio WRs. I've just sent mine to the box of electronics waiting to go to the landfill. It never really did die, it just stopped taking good pictures, due to wear on the lens cover. I used to carry a piece of shammy cloth to wipe the lens with, since it was always exposed and would get drops of water on the lens cover. Over thousands of shots, I ruined the lens cover with tiny scratches.

    I thought those lens covers were replaceable, but I was never able to find a replacement. So, the honorable WR43 is headed for the trash. That camera made people with more expensive, better-reviewed cameras mad, because it took better pictures than they got off their newer cameras.

    So, this is a timely thread as I am currently in the market for a waterproof p&s camera. AA batteries are high on my criteria. I am not finding any cameras with AA bats, other than an inexpensive Kodak unit that has limited features. I take trips where I am away from electricity, so that basically means you have to buy and carry back ups of the camera's proprietary battery. I don't like it.

  • It wouldn't do the job for me. But
    if I buy one and screw it on my skull, will I be a Hero and a Pro?

    There were already dedicated waterproof cameras when I bought my Elph. I bought it and I put up with its additional bulk because it takes good pictures.

    The G15, at the $450 I paid for it, is about a light year ahead of the Elph (which cost the same 5 years ago), will take great stills, and pretty good videos. In the waterproof case, it is bulky, no argument. But it will allow me to get good results in conditions where even my Elph can't do the job.

    The GoPros have been a solution to one problem, how to run down serious whitewater while gathering continuous video. That was never my problem, though I sometimes enjoy seeing videos of streams where stopping for stills would be very difficult.
  • What I've done with the lens covers on
    my ancient Minolta Weathermatic 35, and on the waterproof case for my digital Canons, is to blow really hard on them and then give them a moment to dry. In bad circumstances, I clean them with the tip of my tongue, slosh the camera in the river, and then blow to clear off residual drops. I haven't had a problem with the lens covers wearing, not even the coated cover on the Canon waterproof case.

    It helps if the lens cover is large enough. A small cover can be hard to clear with any method.
  • Options
    Panasonic Lumix TS

    I've had a TS-3 about 2 years and used it in Class II and Class III whitewater with great success for HD movies and stills. It has taken a beating on rocks and survided some pretty turbulent Class III flips and swims.

    The advantage it has over the GoPro my buddies use it that I can be 20 feet away in the eddy and still get a full frame shot. If they aren't withing 5 to 15 feet with the GoPro, the wide angle really pushes the subject away. I've also watched a case break open on the Upper Nantahala, another camera lost on the Hiwassee, and a Lifecase get knocked off a mount in the last year. I tether mine to my PFD and hand hold to shoot -- or occasionally take a small tripod.

  • new Canon Coolpix AW 110
    -- Last Updated: Mar-01-13 3:34 PM EST --

    I am also shopping for one...I am considering the new version of the Nikon Coolpix AW100 just out, the AW 110. Looks good on paper and the reviews of the AW 100 were generally quite good.The AW110 is expensive ($350) for a point-and-shoot with a so-so sensor, but has GPS, Wifi-connectivity, and what looks like good general functionality. Specs for depth and drop resistance seem to be enhanced from the AW100. I'm not sure that the changes are worth an extra $120 or so from the AW100, though.
    Edit: Sorry, should have been Nikon, not Canon, in title.

  • as soon as you buy it it becomes

    Soon we will have no more dedicated cameras. The chief "gripe" I have with the AW 100 is the GPS eats the battery and the flare when the sun is in front of you even remotely.

    A 40.5 mm filter fixed the latter. The GPS feature is not something I use for trips. Often I have no recharge capability for one or two weeks.
  • Did Canon buy Nikon? -;)
    -- Last Updated: Mar-04-13 11:39 PM EST --

    Tha AW Coolpix is a Nikon (not Canon).

    That aside, my friend has one and, while it makes decent pictures and has a nice screen, his fogs-up way too much. He also has an older Pentax that flooded patially for no apparent reason. We went to all the same places and my Sony TX5 (a veeery old model by now) had no issues, knock on wood. That little camera I carry in my PFD pocket often and it has seen lots of snorkeling and rolling and white water and is still going good despite the scratched-up metal exterior...

    Most waterproof cameras, somewhere in the fine print, tell to replace the seals every year to maintain waterproofness. The replacement cost is about 1/2 the camera cost if not more. Something to keep in mind as one's camera ages beyond a year or two (mine is already at near 3 years of active use and I see no issues with the seals or anything else aging)...

  • Options
    Olympus all the way
    I've been using my underwater olympus camera thats shockproof, freezeproof and waterproof. It's gone under many an ocean on snorkling, scuba and kayaking trips. I've also had it for years and it's still going. Good luck!
  • What model?
  • Old school - film...,.
    -- Last Updated: Mar-01-13 10:46 AM EST --

    Still use me 35mm Nikonos V wit film (on occasion)! Built like a tank an' ah' kin go fer months on a battery.

    Now fer all dat new-fangled deecheatool daguerreotypes - ah' use an Olympus T-610 which be purty good, but iffin' ah's gonna shoot some decent video an' stills ah' use a Nikon P7100 (which has an actual oopticool viewfinder still) an' a Fantasea waterproof housing. A wee bit bulky but woyks great. Ah' wuzn't gonna spend $1600 on a dive housin' fer me Nikon D7000 or $4000 on a Gates fer me big JVC HD-100 camcorder.


  • Olympus Stylus 1030SW
    I've used this camera for roughly 5 years.

    The good is that it is Tommyproof. I am rough on gear and this camera has swum rapids, banged off of decks and rocks, and handled icy to hot weather all with minimal complaint.
    I do not coddle, rinse or otherwise fool with the seals. So far no leaks.
    I've never had any internal fogging issues even when I keep it inside my shirt while skiing. Take it out, shoot, put it back.
    Freshly charged, the batteries hold up for three to four days when I'm out tripping. Two will get me through a week. With a freshly charged battery at 12 degrees F I got low battery warnings when I left it outside of my shirt for half an hour. The battery seemed to recover once I warmed it up. But that was a day trip so I can not say how the cold would affect it long term.
    Color rendition is pretty good with decent light.

    The bad is that the CCD is too small to live up to the 10 megapixel images. My old 3 megapixel Cannon shot comparable images with regards to clarity.
    The 4x optical zoom is OK if the light is strong but suffers badly if not.
  • I also have an Olympus 1030SW and
    -- Last Updated: Mar-04-13 6:05 PM EST --

    it works for what I shoot.
    "VK1NF" is right on regarding the float strap. Mine is from Olympus.
    I have a friend who had lost 3 'waterproof' cameras and finally realized the truth that, it's only as retrievable as its PFD (foam strap). To which his boyfriend said, "I told you so!" Now to get him to remember, during cooler weather, not to wear his blue jeans for paddling especially when slinking under a low bridge in your kayak, which he usually dumps. Some younguns never learn. :)

  • saltwater
    I used a Sony tx-10 for three days in Florida bay. It worked flawlessly and still does. Not bad image quality. I wore it on my PDF and didn't wash it off until day 4. I'm getting a contour roam this week. It should be better at just turning it on and getting a picture every 5 seconds. IQ will probably be worse.
  • Can't say much about Olympus
    My 310 (I think) woke up dead a week before a trip. No good excuse - It had never been really wet or dropped. Maybe a little splash. Under time (& $ ) pressure I ended up with a base Fuji. Works pretty good if you understand that it isn't really built for low light & will blur if you don't pay attention. The snow mode worked ok on our Ausable trip a week ago. 20 deg weather didn't seem to bother the battery.
  • not for stills
    -- Last Updated: Mar-05-13 7:56 AM EST --

    Small aperture, no zoom, few to no settings. If you were a pro photographer you'd acknowledge this.

    There is no magic to setting up a decent waterproof point-and-shoot. It's simple, try it.

  • things to consider besides waterproofnes
    OPTICAL zoom range? 28 is the usual wide end. DIGITAL zoom is just cropping.
    Manual settings/picture style settings?
    Battery life
    Mp count/sensor size
  • Most important feature
    My experience after five years with a Pentax Optio W10 is that after waterproof the most important feature is a good image stabilization feature - especially when shooting from a canoe on moving water.

    I'm still waiting for that Pentax to die so I can replace it with a Panasonic. Maybe I'll accidentally forget to tether it to my PFD someday and let it drown.
  • Withdrawing endorsement of AW100
    Six months old and it leaked and fried first day of a five day kayak/snorkeling trip last week. Was salt water but was only snorkeling depth.
  • More things to consider. Fast startup.
    Short picture to picture delay. Wide angle lens.

    Fast lens. Try for at least 2.8 at the wide end of the zoom. My new Canon G15 has 1.8 to 2.8 over its 28-140 zoom range, better than some SLRs. When paddling, you *will* struggle with low light conditions, and many waterproofs seem designed only for sunny days.

    The number of pixels is less important. In fact,fewer pixels can mean faster shot-to-shot. My 5 year old Canons have "only" 7 megapixels, but that's plenty for even 8 by 10 prints, and allows cropping for closeups. New waterproof cameras usually have at least 12 megapixels, and that's plenty! Take more only if they come with other desirable features.

    A bright, detailed LCD screen.
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