Best camera for paddler? discuss

looking to get a decent point and shoot that is waterproof.

id like to stay $150 or cheaper, but would entertain suggestions up to $200.

I dont need a DLSR, but I dont want a camera I fell ill need to upgrade in a couple of seasons.

small size, decent sized screen, takes good pics and halfway user friendly are the things i look for, but I dont know shcnit about cameras.

suggestions on what you are using or what you would be purchasing if you were in my shoes.


What kind of paddling?
I was on a similar quest.

With Sea Kayaking I found that I often wanted to take photos of wildlife. This made me want a much longer lens than I could get on any of the waterproof cameras. At the same time I didn’t want to take my DSLR and potentially damage it.

I ended up buying a Canon S3. This is a P&S camera with a 12x zoom lens from 36mm to 430mm (equivelent). I don’t find that zoom range useful for other purposes, but it is great on the kayak.

It is not waterproof, but I keep it in a dry bag when conditions are rough. It cost $150 used. The new equivelent is the Canon SX10IS, but that is about $400. I felt much more comfortable potentially damaging a $150 camera than a $400 one.


Canon PowerShot A590
It’s not waterproof, but at $106, I won’t be too upset when it dies. It only has a 4X optical zoom, but the digital goes out to 16X, and out to 10X, it isn’t bad. 8.0 mega pixel, and it has a view finder. That is a must for me. K Mart, for $106.

Go Pro Hero
Go Pro Hero is waterproof and fits in your price range, but really is not comparable to the standard point and shoots out there. I did a comparison of it to a Pentax Option W20 and posted it at

Most people seem to run the Pentax (the newest version is the W60) or the Olympus equivalent. Great point and shoot cameras, but a bit over your stated price range.

Optio W30 is in your price range
Recently lost my old W20 (they’re waterproof, but they don’t float) and replaced it with a W30. Great pictures on bright sunny days. I’m not good at manual settings either, so my pictures in low light/bad weather often aren’t the best. It does take surprisingly good video. I paid $150 with free shipping at Abe’s of Maine. 4GB memory card (great for video) is another $15. Look around – maybe you can find it cheaper.

Olympus 1030w
If you can try to buy a waterproof camera and avoid the dry box or waterproof shoot through camera pouch. The pouch seems to always end up with dirt or water droplets that show up on your pictures. The dry box protects the camera but you will find you take fewer pictures because of the time needed to get the camera ready to shoot. A small waterproof camera within easy reach is the way to go.

Another thing that makes a camera paddler friendly is the camera’s “boot up time”. This is the delay from the time you turn the camera on until you can shoot a picture. On moving water you may miss your window of opportunity or need to make corrective strokes before you get to take the picture. Some cameras take up to 10seconds before you can shoot.

I found the Olympus 1030w to be a great camera for paddlers. It’s waterproof down to 30feet, shock proof, crush proof, boots up in 1 second and small enough to slide into your PFD. The list price is outside of your price range but you can find them on the net for a little over $200.

I have
the Olympus SW 1030 and am pleased with it, but another camera you may want to look at is the new Canon waterproof camera. It has true optical image stabalization, something that may come in handy for taking pictures from a kayak. You can see it at:

Olympus 1050SW
Got one at Christmas and really like it.


point and go
I just bought the hero point and go. I mounted it to my old ww helmet. they are about $160. Excellent camera you can set to shoot a pic every 5 seconds or steady video. On and off with a touch of button. Good enough for you tube style video. For much better quality, you could mount a non waterproof style video camera to a ww helmet.

I have a 5 year old 800 series
Olympus; 5mp and waterproof.Takes great photos with enough light and is tough.The newer ones are even better,I hear.

We have an Olympus 850 and love the durability, ease of use, small size, and quality of photos and videos for a little point and shoot camera. We definitely have put this camera through the measures with saltwater, underwater use, a couple of drops and it still works great. Most of the photos and all of the video on our website was taken with this camera. You can still find them for under $200 online.


Lot’s of new entries…
The best is going to be the (yet to be released) Panasonic Lumix TS1, but at $400 it’s pricey.

Canon is coming out with a WP camera which is a tad bulky, but knowing Canon, it will be bomb-proof.

I just bought a Fuji Z33. It’s cheap ($199) and tiny. Easily fits in a small pocket. Picture quality is just OK, not great…but probably better than most cameras in this form factor.

If you are looking for grab shots
then you need a WP model that can live in a PFD pocket. I have an old Olympus 720, and some of the models in between that and the newest 1050 can be had for your stated price.


New camera is terrific
I waited to pass up the new Cannon and Olympic tough cameras for the

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 12MP Digital Camera

It has been truly waterproof, good quality shots, and very good video.

Below are specs

12.1-megapixel resolution captures enough detail for poster-size prints

Waterproof to a depth of 10 feet, shockproof from falls up to 5 feet, and dustproof

Records AVCHD Lite HD video

4.6x MEGA image-stabilized optical zoom; 28mm wide-angle Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens

Capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)

You have one already?!?!?
How/Where did you get it?

Looks to be a great camera… and a nice wide-angle to boot!

Speaking of shots & vids

Worth a look. I was most impressed with ScottB’s GoPro Hero vids taken via his PVC “over the shoulder” mount.


Image quality is not so great for stills

But the video is ok and the basic unit is very inexpensive. It has been fun to experiment with. My wife got me one for Christmas thinking it would be neat to have.

If you are serious about image quality or if sound is going to be an issue I would spend more money and get something a bit more advanced.

Sample video from last night on a tiny class 1 stream close to home:

is coming out with a water proof, freeze proof, drop friendly to 3ft.Sometime in May, the Powershot D10. Seems ideal!!!


– Last Updated: Apr-10-09 10:38 AM EST –

In a growing offering of waterproof cameras, I am most excited about this new Canon. While one can spend time comparing megapixels, battery types, looks, lens range, size, viewfinders, the thing for me that sets the Canon apart is its proven and very color accurate Digic processor being used. Although mainly a DSLR user, I have found great results with the Canon P & S and hope this one will offer the same photo quality.

That vidoe quality looks good enough
to me.