I’m considering buying the Pentax Optio WPi, but the cold weather concerns that have been posted make me think again. I do most of my paddling trips on Superior in the summer–but have a possible trip to Iceland (non-paddling) coming up. I spend as much time in northern Michigan as I can, including winter, but live in a fairly mild climate. I’m also considering the Olympus Stylus 600–which I know is weather resistant, but not waterproof. My old film-using Stylus has been a faithful friend everywhere from the Appalachian Trail to North Superior, but it’s time to go digital. Are there any other cameras I should consider? Thanks for the help!
Cold weather difficulties
are not specific to the Optio WPi.
The Olympus has a larger battery as its a larger camera so performance would be improved a bit over the WPi but certainly not alleviated.
I do quite a bit of cold weather photography and the digitals are tough in this aspect. But then, film cameras require care to avoid static streaking when advancing the film in cold weather.
After reviewing various cameras extensively I ordered a WPi and will take delivery today. I’ll be running it through the paces hard over the next couple of weeks and will post my findings.
The Wyoming mountains are cold boogers so this should be a good test!
digital cameras in cold weather
So far, I haven’t found my Optio WP battery life any worse in cold weather than other digital cameras. In fact, it looks much better than in my older Canon PowerShot S40.
I would like to hear from other Pentax Optio WP/i owners about their experience with a battery life in cold weather and in general. If you read more carefully a previous thread on Optio in cold weather it was just one voice reporting the problem and we are not even sure if the battery was fully charged.
I’m charging the Optio battery as we speak.
I’ll let you know how my tests go since you were one of the primary factors that spurred me to purchase the funny lookin’ little box!
Another thing that helps with digital camera batteries is initial conditioning. I generally do the first charge and then blast a bunch of flash shots around my living room until the battery level starts to drop. Recharge and do it again. Three or four cycles of this get the new battery up to speed and ready for the rigors of the natural world.
Excuse me…that would be Marek! N/P
I am picking up a new camera tonight
One thing to look for if you are buying a camera with the capabilities of telephoto work. You want image stabilzation!! It makes a huge difference.
I am picking up the Lumix DMC-FZ30K. It’s an 8Mpixel camera with a 12x zoom range. It has some pixel image problems at higher ISO’s but anything below a full digital SLR will have that due to the smaller image chip size. I can’t justify the price difference to to the DSLR route. For the price, it’s a pretty good camera.
The only thing to worry about with the cold is the batteries. As long as you carry a spare pack and keep it warm(inside pocket) you shouldn’t have any problems. For moisture you can buy a camera shooting bag. They are kind of like a big ziplock bag with a clear glass plate for the lens to shoot through.
in general the wpi is fine
For what it’s worth I’m in Wisconsin and in all sorts of cold & wet conditions. I’ve seen very little negative issues with the WPI. Note the “WP(I)”. I keep two batteries on me for day trips. Cold weather also does a bit of a number on the preview screen too. It can white out going from cold to warm to cold (water or pocket to air). That clears up after a few seconds but can be irritating. Thing is none of the smaller cameras can touch a Digital SLR. The CMOS is too small even though they sport higher Megapixels. All in All the WPI seems to hold up well in most circumstances and with a bit of tweaking (which we’ve discussed on PNET recently), it produces some pretty nice shots.
Not too say you couldn’t get a lemon!!
Thanks for the advice–I will try the conditioning trick on the battery! Looks like I’ll be getting the WPI.
I always want more zoom. My current solution is an older Fuji Finepix 3500 in a dry box. That camera has 6x optical zoom. I still want more.
I have a Panasonic DMC-FZ5 for my main “land” camera. When I upgrade from it in the future it will then be my water camera. For the money, it is an awsome camera. 12x zoom and image stabilization.
Important note on NiMH and NiCd
NiMH and NiCD batteries that come with or that are installed in a new camera that needs charged do not reach there max holding power until after the 3rd to 5th charging cycle. This will be come very apparent on a very cold day with a new camera. You may even think the camera or batteries are defective when you find that the camera litteraly ate the batterise. It’s good to charge and then completly discharge the batteries before charging them again.
I find that NiMA batteries are very finicky in cold weather and keep fresh alkalines close by in freezing weather. It’s important to keep the camera warm and dry.
One other note
When buying a spare battery. If your camera has a specially designed battery pack. Use the number off the battery and do a google search to find a replacement. The OEM batteries are always marked way up.
I just bought a 2 spare battery packs for my Lumix DMC-30. Panasonic(OEM) wanted $69 per set. I purchased 2 sets for $13 each and the batteries have a bigger capacity, 900mah instead of 720mah.
for the $$, you cannot beat the panasonic lumix line. i have an fz-20 and love it - it has everything i need in one package. i think the fz-5 would be a great choice also - you can find them for around $300 new online - you get a huge 12x optical zoom, image stabilization, and a ton of other features, plus leica glass. i miss being able to change lenses, but the portability of the fz means i bring it everywhere. and from a kayak/canoe, you just have to have image stabilization. good luck!
Love my FZ5…
Awesome lens for a small camera and it fits in a small dry box. Love the burst mode…