I’ve been researching waterproof cameras and can’t seem to find one with anything but an LCD, no viewfinders anywhere. My guess is that viewfinders cannot be made waterproof. Anyone out there know of a decent WP camera with viewfinder? Thanks.
I’m not aware of any
but others may know better. Personally, I find it easier just to point and shoot with the LCD anyway. With a big memory card you can take lots of pictures. Just keep the ones you like.
Yeah, it’s frustrating
The issue isn’t making the viewfinder waterproof, as that’s easy. It’s the extra cost and the space it requires, with the trend being toward lower priced, smaller cameras.
I haven’t found one yet. But if you do find one, please post it here
you must be talking digital
I have a minolta weathermatic 35mm point and shoot, watertight film camera with viewfinder. You can find them used on EBay for $35-50. You get decent photos but there is no telephoto option.
I do not …
… know of any waterproof models with peephole viewfinders. As BNystrom says, cost and space are the primary factors there. It’s difficult for manufacturers to cram the necessary optics into today’s shrinking cameras, and they used the cost of those sacrificed optics to help pay for increasingly larger and brighter LCD viewfinders.
After 30 years of amateur-enthusiast photography, my Pentax Optio is my first camera WITHOUT a peephole viewfinder, but I adapted quite quickly. In fact, I’m not sure I’d WANT to go back to such a viewfinder for use in a bobbing kayak or canoe, as it requires one to close one eye and hold the camera up to one’s face.
By contrast, the LCD-equipped cameras allow a paddler to maintain his peripheral vision and balance while shooting, and I have personally not found the LCD to be too dim for daylight use.
Here’s a small selection of my own paddling shots, all taken with the Pentax Optio W20:
Can’t Find Them Anymore…
…but Pentax used to have viewfinders on their Optio digitals - the 33wr and the 43wr both had 'em, if I’m not mistaken. The newer series - we have a Optio WPi - has just the LCD screen, which I find near useless in bright light conditions(gives the term ‘point and shoot’ a whole new meaning). I’d gladly pay the extra cost and put up with the additional bulk for a decent viewfinder…
As someone else pointed out, waterproof 35mm cameras can still be found with viewfinders - we have a Pentax Espio 95wr that takes some of the best pix I’ve ever seen come out of a point-and-shoot. If you can live with the expense and delay of 35mm film, that’s a very real option.
Also, when non-WP cameras like my
Canon Elph, which HAS a viewfinder, are put in a plastic waterproof case, the viewfinder is the one feature that CANNOT be accessed in the waterproof case. LCD only.
I’m getting better at “shooting from the hip,” taking shots without even looking at the LCD… but it’s made easier by my Elph’s 28mm lens. I got a great macro shot from underneath a luna moth by just holding the Elph under and letting the autofocus do its job.
Depressing isn’t it?
I agree, I am not aware of a waterproof digital camera with a viewfinder. However, I am not as sanguine as Delphinus about this deficiency. My eyeballs are older models; they were new about 60 years ago, but they are not as effective as they used to be. When I use an LCD screen I have to fish out my specs. This increases my time for deploying a camera when a Kodak moment occurs.
My other problem with the LCD is that it draws a lot of power. On a one or two week trip this becomes a significant factor. If cameras were configured to use AA or AAA, or even CR123 batteries one could use disposable batteries on remote trips, but the proprietary batteries for these cameras are very expensive. I have tried third party manufactured batteries for my Olympus Stylus 410 and, for the ones I bought, they did not hold up very long.
All of that said, I am giving up waiting for the electronics companies to come up with a camera that fulfills my expectations, so I am going to take the plunge on one without a viewfinder. I am leaning toward the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW because it comes in green. Is there any other factor I should be considering?
I made some assumptions that probably should have been included in the original post. First, I’m talking digital not film. Second, my now defunct Fujifilm Fine Pix 3800 had both LCD and direct viewfinder and I much preffered the viewfinder for better composition, but also battery conservation. It made a big difference. Third I want at least 5 MP with 10x optical zoom. Fourth, built in flash. Fifth video with sound. Sixth, a waterproof camera not a camera with WP case. Seventh, compactness. Wow!, I want it all.
I have not yet found such a camera. I am about to conclude such does not exist.
The GoPro Hero has a view finder, but no LCD screen. More waterproof than the others (can be used to 30 feet, and can survive to 100 feet without pushing any buttons). But it is only a 3 megapixel camera, and the video is slightly lower resolution than cameras like a Optio W series (though still better than the resolution used on Youtube).
Here’s a review I wrote:
I use an olympus Stylus. It does pretty good, and is waterproof without a case. I took some interesting video going down a waterslide with it held in hand (and got some interesting stares as I did so, people thought I just drawned my camera. LOL), and it has audio & flash. However, you are not going to find a consumer digital camera on the market with a zoow lens. The telescoping lens that must zoom out from the body cannot be made waterproof. You do have some optical zoom, but not 10x without the protruding lens body. Also, forget digital zooms, they are a marketing gimick with lose of quality, go by optical only.
is waterproof? (which model number?)
I use the Olympus 770SW and have been very happy with it so far – of course, no viewfinder.
This one serves me well. It’s about the size of a film-type rangefinder camera.
Optio Wpi - just shoot a lot of shots
Mine frustrates me because sometimes you think you have taken a picture but then it isn’t there later. Some nice people tried to take pictures of me with it last summer in my kayak, but it didn’t. I’m finding this camera is getting crankier about this than it was when I got it two years ago.
Maybe they will come up with something better in a few … hopefully.
They Already Have…
…if you believe Pentax and the reviews.
Since the WPi, there’s been the W10, W20 and W30, all of which claim to have an improved LCD screen as one of the major advances over the previous model. That tells me the LCDs are a major problem with this class of camera, which makes the non-availability of a viewfinder all that much more frustrating.
I suspect that waterproof cameras are such a small segment of the digital market that Pentax and the other manufacturers simply don’t think it’s worth the effort and cost to improve focusing functionality, especially as it would push the already high price-feature point even higher in a class of cameras with a very limited market.
The WPi is what it is; a point-and-shoot with reasonably decent optics and sensor(tho it can’t hold a candle to my wife’s 4mp Canon G2), and one key feature - it’s waterproof. So far, ours has been reliable - it did require an EV adjustment under warranty, during which I found Pentax Canada’s service to be excellent.
While it can take some very nice shots, I find it doesn’t handle tricky lighting situations at all well without considerable fiddling with the menus and settings, and the colours all too often don’t begin to compare with the Canon’s rendition. It feels a little small for my hands, is unuseable with paddling gloves on, and the all-metal case is slick as an eel in a bucket of oil when it’s wet - and, of course, naturally, since it’s waterproof, it doesn’t float.
Can’t complain too much, tho - got it ‘new’ when a mail-order house cleared out their demos last fall. Reckon it more than paid for itself with the first 20 rolls of 35mm we didn’t have to buy and process. But we still carry the Espio 95wr for those times when a digital point-and-shoot just can’t capture the detail you need for that really great photo.
I don’t know how it would work or how well it would hold up when getting wet, but I saw a little pop up sun shield for digital cameras in the store yesterday. It has a sticky back and attaches around the screen. When you push down on the button the shield which lays flat pops up along with two side shields. When it was folded it was really thin. I almost got it.
Alas, no more.
There is no question that other things being equal you can take better pictures with a viewfinder than without. I don’t care if there is compensation for camera shake (just set the camera on “sport”) or brightness enhancement (still can’t see as well or frame as well). It is all market response as the camera makers understand it. The good drives out the bad because the vast majority of users care less about quality pictures than ease of use. You are stuck with adapting as best you can to the situation.
Doc, You’re right
There is no question viewfinders yield better composition and yes, I am having trouble finding a digicam that has one. It’s discouraging as Arledge pointed out earlier. I disdain taking 20 shots with an LCD and picking out the best one later. It’s a drain on battery life and even the best one is sometime not that hot.
I’d love to find a WP digicam with an optical zoom of 28 to 200 mm equivalent, with non-proprietary batteries, built-in flash, and viewfinder, but hold out little hope.
Thanks for the comments.