Kayaking and photography/camera gear in 2019...

Hi PhotoMax
I use an older version of the olympus tough and have had good luck with it taking very nice, colorful pics SOOC and some decent short videos. i would suggest you get the flotation wrist strap for lakes/still water but do not use it on faster moving water. mine has withstood dunking in a 3 ft deep stream with no ill effects.
good luck!

Pretty nice form factor…

A lot of it depends on how comfortable of a kayaker you are and what kind of storage you have. When sightseeing I use a Canon T3i with an EFS lens for stuff like this.

If fishing or during inclement times I use a Kyocera Dura-Pro phone that is waterproof and shock resistant. Polarized glasses make using a phone a guess. A true viewfinder is a must.

Wow, looks like a nice camera (the Tough)! Reminds me of my beloved Pentax WG-1 (the Tough has slightly less mpxls but some nice upgrades and advantages). Definitely one I would consider for a replacement since they don’t make the WG-1 anymore, the model line is now Ricoh and not as nice. And I have a compulsive weakness for red gear.

I often clip the Pentax (same sort of webbing loop) to the shoulder strap of my PFD with a carabiner and keep it tucked inside the vest – easy to grab and shoot. Or it rides on the deck clipped to the lines. It has been submerged with me many times with no ill effects. And since I use a GP it is almost constantly wet. Have dropped it many times – tough as a hockey puck – the Tough has even more impressive durability specs. It’s really nice to not have to worry about your camera when paddling, though I do have to remember to wipe the lens off before shooting. Forgot when I was in Maine (oops, see shot below).

The TG-6 has a semi wide to portrait zoom. Not really a birding lens though. The waterproof camera bag (scroll up for image) I purchased does not work with any real telephoto lens so I am going to “McGiver” it and cut off the lens cover and replace it with some kind of longer tube to work with the Canon EF 70-200/2.8 L and EF 400/5.6 L lenses. Probably use an older Canon 60D crop body sensor that I don’t really use much any more…

I use a Canon SX70HS for wildlife shots from the boat. It does a good job at capturing birds in flight and under most lighting conditions. Not waterproof but while on crossings it lives in a Pelican box. It has enough zoom ( goes to 65 optical but from a bobbing boat that really doesn’t work …I use about 30 x.)

@PhotoMax said:
After doing some digging I am interested in the “Tough” cameras that Olympus has: https://www.getolympus.com/us/en/tough

I have that model. I was disappointed in it. It had such promise but really didn’t live up to the hype. I found it difficult to read the screen outside. The pictures are way oversaturated, plus there’s a definite blue cast to them. Long gone are the days that I’d happily sit for hours processing photos. These days I want to do minimal adjustments and be done. FYI: the battery life stinks. You’d think that for casual picture taking and small amounts of video that 3 batteries would be enough. It is not (they’re OEM batteries not cheap knockoffs). Generally it sits off to the side acting more like a red paper weight than the camera it’s supposed to be. In other words it’s last on my “use it” list.

If you’re worried about your phone there are lots of options to waterproof it, float it and otherwise protect it when you’re in your boat. The biggest thing is keeping it close to you so that if it falls it falls into the boat and not over the side. If you’re worried about photo loss if you lose the phone make sure you have some sort of automatic cloud backup going on.

As to the GoPro? I just got the Hero 7 for my birthday (thank you hubby!). You can set it to a linear lense to avoid that swoopy look that wide/fisheye gives you. You can also rotate the unit/lens up or down to either take advantage of the curve or minimize it. I took a bunch of shots this past weekend when we were at Umbagog Wildlife Refuge. I’m still getting used to the camera but overall I’m a lot happier with the GoPro than I am with my Olympus. These are images from the GoPro. It has a very slight fish eye to it but under the circumstances it’s not objectionable (at least to me) as shores are irregular and trees have shape and lean. In this case the Birch trees really were leaning that far over.

From our campsite. Not a bad view to wake up to or have dinner by.

On Bear Brook

@PhotoMax said:
The TG-6 has a semi wide to portrait zoom. Not really a birding lens though. The waterproof camera bag (scroll up for image) I purchased does not work with any real telephoto lens so I am going to “McGiver” it and cut off the lens cover and replace it with some kind of longer tube to work with the Canon EF 70-200/2.8 L and EF 400/5.6 L lenses. Probably use an older Canon 60D crop body sensor that I don’t really use much any more…

The best way to get a birding lens is to go the way you mentioned. . I’ve got the 70-200 2.8 and use a 1.4X multiplier with it on a 7D. The combination of all three things gives me halfway decent reach. I’d hate to lose that 70-200 though…

I have not really spent enough time or shot enough images to have any strong opinion on the TG-6 yet.

The sensor on this camera is small, about the same size as my iPhone. I find my iPhone X images to be really good so long as the light is good. The highlights just suffer under bright contrasty conditions. As online reviews and owners reports state the Olympus menu system is a challenge. Some basic options seem hidden. But it takes time to get comfortable. I use Canon, Sony, Fuji and now Olympus systems; all have menu and settings frustrations.

The TG-6 does give you the option for shooting in RAW mode. The camera produces propriety ORF RAW files. These do not produce thumbnails on my Mac system? I now have the camera recording both RAW and super fine JPEGs at the same time. The JPEGs show as thumbnails which allows me to open the RAW version in Adobe Camera RAW, which is my usual workflow. This gives powerful editing options over contrast, color, highlights, etc. Takes seconds.

The camera can send images to my iPhone and iPad which is handy for instant posting.

Overall I am expecting better performance and options over using my iPhone in a plastic bag. The TG-6 is designed to be used in and out of water, which should be fun while kayaking…

@PhotoMax said:
As online reviews and owners reports state the Olympus menu system is a challenge. Some basic options seem hidden. But it takes time to get comfortable.
The TG-6 does give you the option for shooting in RAW mode. The camera produces propriety ORF RAW files. These do not produce thumbnails on my Mac system? I now have the camera recording both RAW and super fine JPEGs at the same time. The JPEGs show as thumbnails which allows me to open the RAW version in Adobe Camera RAW, which is my usual workflow. This gives powerful editing options over contrast, color, highlights, etc. Takes seconds.

You mentioned something I forgot: the menu system is frustrating as heck.