Does everything camera.

-- Last Updated: Nov-28-09 6:58 PM EST --

Updated to delete erroneous/irrelevant comments about LCD size, and erroneous comment about lack of sound quality on one model.

I've been looking for awhile for a camera that will do everything, and had been waiting for the Powershot D10 to come out.

- Everyday pictures plus kayaking including surf conditions.
- Instructional kayaking videos. Indoor, on the water, and under the water. I posted about this second use before, and hadn't bought anything until now.

Here's my experience and thinking so far. Discussion and thoughts are very welcomed.

I bought a PowerShot D10. I think I'm gonna return it.

Likes: 30ft water rating, optical stabilization, excellent pictures so far in auto mode (to my amateur eye.)


1. I can't get around the idea that I'd still want to put it in some kind of protective case if in surf. I don't trust that the doors over the battery housing and electronic I/O would withstand the surf hydraulics. Also the display would probably get beat up. I've read here that clear plastic protectors are an option, if water doesn't get under them. (Where can I buy those, and what are they called?)

2. There's a lot of noise in the audio recording. I hadn't thought of the effect of the waterproof case on the sound. Duh! I also don't see any secondary mic input (probably not usually on the (point-and-shoots), so the only option would be to record separately and synchronize with the video later. I don't want that hassle if I can avoid it.

3. The camera's pretty big and heavy for everyday land use. I knew that, in theory, but now that I handle it, I _really_ know it. Everyday land use will be at least 95% of the time. This might sound weird, but I'm more ok with some camera bulkiness for kayaking than on land. I'm only planning to shoot the occasional picture or video on the water, and I've already got essential bulky stuff to deal with like paddle, PFD, VHF radio, Camelbak, so one more item is ok.

I'm now going back to my original line of thinking:

* Canon PowerShot SD940IS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-inch LCD (Black) $260.

Likes: 4x wide angle, optical zoom. Reviews indicate good quality sound recording. It is mono audio, but hopefully that's ok for instructional voice.

* Canon WP-DC33 Underwater Housing for Canon PowerShot SD940IS Digital Camera. 187$.

Likes: Totally water tight, as long as seals are kept properly treated with silicon grease.

Dislikes: Bulky, but acceptable I think. I'll keep it tethered to my PFD and tuck it into the chest of my PFD, or maybe find a way to clip it to somewhere else. Sometimes I'll put it away in a compartment, or behind my seat.

Cautionary notes: I probably won't get sound recording through the waterproof case. Hopefully pictures will be pretty good through the case. I'm thinking so.

Also looking at either side of the SD940IS in price/performance

*Canon PowerShot SD780IS12.1 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD (Black) $199

Has an optical view finder but said to be very small. Probably wouldn't work inside the waterproof case. 3x optical zoom versus 4x wide angle. Other than that, same as the SD940IS, I think. Question is whether the optical view finder is worth enough to offset the downsides relative to the SD940IS. I'm thinking not. It would be nicest on the water where I probably cant' use it anyway.

* Canon PowerShot SD960IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch LCD (Silver) $250

Slightly larger, and maybe higher quality optics. Reviews indicate it would perform pretty well as a camcorder, which is my highest priority, for instructional videos. Not sure that the performance is that much different than the SD940IS, and it's a little bigger and heavier. Price is similar. I need to read more on this one.

Again, discussion and thoughts are very welcomed.


I gave up
I too was thinking it would be nice to have a nice “do it all” camera. Problem is there really isn’t such an animal. Right now I use a cheap Canon powershot on the water (forget the model, but it’s cheap) and a Nikon D40 on the land. At some point I’ll invest in a moderate price waterprof camera for the boat, but keep the Nikon. The waterproof cameras are too limiting for all around use. For me anyway.

Bill H.

Underwater Housing - yes
For the past 5 years or so, I’ve been using an old Olympus C-750 superzoom with the matched dive housing. The combination works really well, but you are stuck with handing a big lump of a camera. Now I’m looking for the perfect replacement - here are a few thoughts:

  • Most of the housings seem to lack a lens cap these days. I use the nice fitted Olympus cap all the time to keep drops off the lens window. I’ve seen one kayaker who carved a cap from minicell foam, but I don’t know how well it works.

  • I want really good image quality (not in the cards for the small waterproof cameras, as far as I’ve seen). The new Canon G11 with it’s housing is a leading candidate, but…

  • I would really miss the long zoom for wildlife shots. I have not found a current superzoom that has a dive housing made for it, but I have more looking to do. B&H Photo seems to have the most complete selection of housings.

    Cheers, Alan

I have the G9 . . .
. . . with Canon underwater housing. Works well but very bulky.

Thanks for the comments so far, everyone
Always very valuable.

Photo and video samples
I’m now starting to look at video samples on Vimeo. I will also look at photo samples on Flicker.

One thing I’ve noticed already; there’s a lot more video samples for the SD960IS than for the SD940IS, at least when searching for those respective text strings.

The SD960 videos look pretty nice. Check this one out. I’d like to get some examples of native sound without music overlay. More searching :).


There is no "Do it all boat"
What makes you think there is a “do it all camera”?

This would be my choice…

This one is probably my next one unless they come out with something better.

I myself have a lesser model but enjoy it very much. Having a camera I can kayak with and not worry about dunking every once and a while and the ability to take pictures of shallow shipwrecks is great. Mines only waterproof to ten feet. It works well though. I figure if I drop it in water deeper than ten feet I probably won’t be able to get it anyways either that or it’s attached to me and I’ve drown or something. At that point I guess it doesn’t matter.

There certainly is.

– Last Updated: Nov-29-09 2:32 AM EST –

a does it all camera, as long as I don't extend the meaning to "does it all _optimally_ well."

Where I'm probably optimizing in my proposal above is for:

1. Bomb proof on and under the water photos and video.
2. Everyday pictures on land.
3. Decent enough indoor video (I hope.)

Where I'm compromising is:

4. Portability on the water.
5. Very high quality photography.
6. Very high quality video and audio.

To optimize each of 4,5,6 of course would require a separate camera for each. I understand that. (Possibly 5 and 6 could be combined, I don't know.)

I appreciate the comment, though. It encouraged me write down where I think I'm optimized and what I think I'm giving up. I'm happy with this position in the space, as long as 3 is "good enough."

P.S. I would agree more on the statement regarding boats. Creeking and Sea are just different.

Thanks, dude. I’ll take a look. *nm

Sound isn’t so bad.
I did another test video with the D10 today. During the first recording a few days ago, I kept my voice pretty low. That resulted in more noise to signal. Today I raised my voice some and it was a lot better. Just wanted to mention it.

I’m still gonna go with the SD960IS and waterproof case. Ordering tonight.


Made a similar choice, Canon
Elph with wide angle and a waterproof case. Have been fairly well satisfied with the camera (SD800 IS) as an everyday camera and for river photos.

Just remember that you will be “married” to a particular camera and case, and if after 2 years of use, you drop the camera, you are stuck with a case that works with NO OTHER camera. What I did was order a spare “refurbished” SD800 so that if one “went down,” I could still use the other with the case.

I didn’t even try for a do-it-all camera
Just a waterproof point-and-shoot with good image quality for kayaking use. I assumed I would still prefer the nonwaterproof but much better (but bulkier and heavier) SLRs for land use. So my wants are more restricted. Yet I’ve temporarily given up, too.

So far, I am still waiting for the first item to be made. There are lots of megapixels and gee-whiz functions (including ones that I don’t want) available, but not a durable, truly waterproof, high-image-quality model.

Last year I bought an Olympus Stylus SW1030. This year I sold it, disappointed in the image quality. Still waiting…

Yeah, hoping I could sell the case used
if I ever switch or lose the camera.