waterproof cameras and gopros (again!)

I’m trying to choose a waterproof camera that I can carry on deck. sometimes I’d like to mount it to the deck, sometimes to my helmet, and other times handheld. I’d like video but 750 HD is good enough. I’d like to be able to take pictures I can print decent copies of at 8"x10".

I notice that some of the waterproofs have formed a “tough” class; shockproof and temperature extreme -resistant. Given this, should I be considering a gopro, or a “tough” point and shoot with video capability?

Any recommendations?

Might want to get the new
GoPro. I haven’t used one yet but they are have solved some of the issues the others had (shooting in low light). I also think the new ones are higher res photos. I’ve personally never had any issues with having them slammed around (in whitewater, lots). Fogging does sometimes occur in cold water, warm air temps but it can be overcome.

To be fair I haven’t tried many of the point and shoot cameras out there but that’s because I’m pretty darn happy with the GoPro.

Dan Caldwell

Rapid Media TV Guy

Would be glad to have more choices,
because I don’t trust any product marketed as “Hero” and “GoPro.” What were they thinking? The real heroes and pros can count on someone else to film them.

point and shoot
I’d recommend a point and shoot, like the Pentax Optio W-series or Olympus Tough series. Haven’t compared a P&S to the new GoPro yet, but compared to the old, P&S are much better picture cameras, and easily meet your 720p requirement for videos. I suspect the new GoPro will have the same wide angle issues, even though its stated picture resolution has gotten to be almost as good as a P&S.

California Kayaker Magazine did a comparison review of a Pentax versus Olympus in issue #6, Summer 2011, which can be read online for free from http://www.calkayakermag.com/magazine.html.

Pentax Optio Wpi series

– Last Updated: Dec-14-11 12:57 PM EST –

I beat the snot out of camera and it just keeps going.
The Pentax Optio waterproof cameras are Great
for point and shoot capabilities.

Highly recommend Image Stabilization for paddlesports.
Even sitting very still in a kayak involves camera shake.

I use the StickPod approach for HandsFree video.

When in Youtube - search "Shiawassee River"
You'll see my work under WilliH2O
All shot with a Pentax Optio Wpi camera

if only one, not Go Pro
I have a Gopro and like it but I also have a waterproof point and shoot (Lumix in my case). If I could only have one camera it would be the point and shoot since I can always mount it using something like a suction cup or other mount with a standard camera mount threading. The point in shoot is more versatile and I think can take better pics (flash, zoom, special exposure settings). But having both is best if one can afford it.

btw, one thing I really like about gopro is that their accessories are pretty reasonably priced. You have to figure you’re going to break a mount at some time and they aren’t too bad to replace. I did a surf roll with a helmet cam but forgot I was only in a foot of water so the camera broke off. But the camera and enclosure were fine even though the mount broke.

kind of along my line of thinking
I only want to carry one. I want usable video AND quality photos.

I hear you about the components, but OTOH point-and-shoot prices (even waterproofs) keep plummeting, while the gopro stays steady.

Nikon AW100
might be my next camera, waterproof/shockproof/freezeproof and seems well suited for both uses.

Second the Pentax Optio
I’ve had a bunch of them over the years. Currently I have the WG-1. Outdoors on a bright sunny day the pictures are fine. I have mixed results in low light/lousy weather. I find the video to be excellent - even the audio sounds good.

Gus, do compare to the Panny

– Last Updated: Dec-15-11 1:21 PM EST –

Compare before you buy. Most people seem to prefer the Panasonic's image quality over the new Nikon. This does not mean the AW100 isn't the right camera for your needs - IQ is not too bad and it may have features that may sway your decision that way.

EDIT: I could not compare the latest Panny to the Nikon AW100, but after looking at imaging-resource for the AW100 against some other cameras, I should say that its image quality holds water (no pun intended) very well against even non-waterproof compacts. I compared it to the Sony TX10 that came-up second in that review on DPReview after the Panny and I can say the Nikon beats the Sony handily in terms of IQ in the comparison shots at imaging-resource...

Lesson learned - do not repeat what others say on the Internet without checking first -;) From reading a lot of complaints of users and would-be-buyers against the AW100 about image quality, I am not sure what to think - the sample images from the 2 review sites suggest otherwise...

Anyway, the friend who was unhappy with his current cam bought the AW100 to replace it and we will soon have a "shootout" with my Sony TX5 as we are both going to the same place to put the cams to the test in water and off-water as part of a family vacation -;)

If you have not seen this …

– Last Updated: Dec-15-11 9:06 AM EST –

... do check the latest installment of waterproof camera comparisons at DPReview.com here:


Unfortunately, no comparison with the latest Nikon AW100. For that and for some more side by side comparos, go to Imaging-Resource.com and use their "comparometer" tool: http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

You'd be surprised by the differences in IQ between some cameras, which become plainly apparent when you look at the samples at full size side by side. Make sure you click "All" vs. "Current" if you do not see a particular model.

A friend bought a cheap Pentax recently, which lacks image stabilization and his videos are so jittery that they are painful to watch. Make sure whatever you get has *real* image stabilization, such as sensor shift or lens-shift, since the electronic-only version is not anywhere nearly as good...

As for the question on GoPro-type vs. a point and shoot type camera, the trade-off is simple: rugged vs. functional. The video from both will be pretty good, but the GoPro has such a wide angle that it is not the "right" tool for everything. The new version claims several view angles, but I have not yet looked at that so not sure what the "catch" is, because the thing does not have optical zoom as far as I know. Maybe there is no catch, maybe there is...

If you paddle mainly flat water with the occasional splash or roll, I think a point and shoot kind of camera might serve you better - it is not going to get thrashed nearly as much as it would in surf and white water and will have other uses as well, where the GoPro is much more limited in its purpose (where it excells, by the way).

Olympus Stylus SW1030
Waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof, shockproof, “lifeproof”. I’ve had the camera for two years and used it quite a bit. For a camera always at the ready, that doesn’t need to be pampered, it’s hard to beat. I’ve been very happy with it. The only real downside for me has been the absence of a viewfinder. Everything is forematted on the LCD screen, and in bright sunlight it can be hard to see. Good battery life, 10+ megs. Overall, I’ve been very happy with it.

remote shutter release
The Pentax Optio WG-1 has this cool little remote control available as an accessory. When my old camera is mounted on a suction pod I can’t reach it to trigger the shutter release so I have to trigger it at the dock (for short videos of rolling) and let it fill up the card. I think my next camera may be the WG-1 for specifically this accessory. Wish the Panasonic had one.



Pentax W Series…
…is a good bet for the money. I had a WPi for years, just had it ripped off from my car - and managed to find a WP, the one before the WPi, used - great little cameras. Not sure where the W series is now - about six generations ahead of my WP - but it’s long been recognized as a good, tough waterproof…I sure like the picture quality better than my Fuji Finepix S2000…

Lumix TS3

I’ve had my Lumix TS3 for 7 or 8 months not and it is very solid. Great photos and outstanding HD video wiht image stabilization. Very waterproof as well – survived a lot of playboating and a decent swim on the Middle Ocoee.

It may be the best combo for photos and video – but it’s nice to see Canon and Nikon trying to get in this market.


take some low-light shots with each?
that’s been my main issue with other pocket cameras.

doesn’t that have a Leica lens?

Viewfinder or LED
I would just love to see a viewfinder waterproof.

I went on line and couldn’t find a back shot of it or if it has a viewfinder.

Don’t think you will find any…
with a view finder.

Image stabilization issues with Pentax??
I’ve never had any image stabilization issues with the waterproof Optio cameras. Video is great whether it’s handheld or mounted on the boat.