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Thread: Waterproof Cameras

  1. #1

    Waterproof Cameras

    Hey all,

    Wanted to get people's thoughts on cameras. Figured people might have used some of the ones on the market. For waterproof ones, there are really only four current ones (that I know of.)

    Olympus 770
    Pros: compact, waterproof 33ft, freezeproof, crushproof
    Cons: Not great macro, not great night shooting, expensive card,
    expensive battery, xD picture card, 15fps movie max

    Olympus 790
    Pros: compact, 640x480/30fps movie, waterproof 10ft, freezeproof
    Cons: Not great macro, not great night shooting, expensive card,
    expensive battery, xD picture card

    Pentax W30
    Pros: compact, inexpensive memory (SD), inexpensive battery, good
    macro, decent zoom, 640x480/30fps
    Cons: Not great night shooting, quicktime movies; maybe doesn't
    do 640x480/30fps (specs are hard to read)

    Sanyo Xacti VPC-E1 waterproof camcorder
    Pros: 640x480/30fps with sound, inexpensive memory (SD), takes
    6mp still shots as well
    Con: Water damage not covered under warranty, a little larger than
    cameras, reviews say buttons are hard to use
    Don't know if pro or con: mpeg-4 format, don't know quality of
    still shots.

    So, I'm looking at upgrading my camera, and would love to get something that does both still shots as well as quality video. Am looking at doing an upcoming video project, and feel the video is very important. Has anyone used any of these cameras/camcorders? If so, thoughts? Picture quality? Low light performance? Video quality? Sound quality with video? Issues/good stories with warranties? Can you zoom in/out while shooting video?

    Thanks for any info!
    A.J.

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  3. #2
    The only one I know anything about is the old version of the Pentax - I had the Pentax Optio W10 (til I left it on the airplane when I disembarked in LAS - *$&#^@!!! And by the way, people suck. Why would someone keep someone else's stuff?!?)

    I was very happy with the photos, but less so with the video.

    You could zoom in and out while shooting, but it made a lot of noise on the audio track (which, by the way, sounded pretty poor, unsurprisingly).

    The video didn't adapt smoothly to changing lighting conditions. In other words, when panning from sun to shade, the exposure jumped in distinct steps - that may be common to P&S cameras taking video, I don't know.

    I liked being able to take lots of video on big cheap SD cards, but the Quicktime format was a drag - unless you're an arty Mac dude, I guess. I'm a pole-up-the-hoop uptight PC guy, though. Except I don't wear a tie.

  4. #3
    I have the Pentax W30 and am not very impressed with the photos.
    Afraid of death? I am more afraid of going through life without ever really living...

  5. #4
    I have W10, been using it for ever. It does the job for me. Quicktime sucks, but I live with it. When I was buying it, Olympus only had 15fps for the video and that wasn't acceptable for me. If 790 has 30fps, I'd definitely look at that camera.

  6. #5

    Re: Waterproof Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ
    Am looking at doing an upcoming video project, and feel the video is very important. Has anyone used any of these cameras/camcorders?
    I've used the two Olympus cameras. Great idea, poor execution, in my opinion. First problem, the lens is the equivalent of a 40mm lens on a 35mm camera. NOT WIDE ENOUGH. I need at least a 28mm lens. 2nd, noise levels are terrible. And third, it is nearly impossible to keep the water on the lens from smudging the pictures.

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ
    If so, thoughts? Picture quality? Decent in the olympus cameras, but nothing to write home aboutLow light performance? Terrible noise issues in any situation above ISO 200Video quality? Depends on final delivery medium. For web stuff, yeah, it's okay. For DVD or television, you'd be better off buying a cheap video camera Sound quality with video? Sufficient but not awesome Issues/good stories with warranties? Can you zoom in/out while shooting video? I know of very very few cameras that will let you zoom during video. These compact lenses just can't pull it off...

  7. #6
    I've got the pentax w10 and really like it. I'm not that informed on what makes a good camera, so I'm easy to please. But I'm very happy with having a decent waterproof camera.

  8. #7
    Just get a regular camcorder with waterproof housing. Housings are generally much cheaper for video cameras than still. Dan was just showing me the Sony housing for $150. A cheap Sony camcorder and housing would be less than $500. Work your mojo on eBay and you could get them both for cheaper. Optics on still and video cameras are quite different. Video camera lenses take crappy still shots and still camera lenses take crappy video. I don't know of a still camera on the market that takes video anywhere near that of a decent camcorder.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by shaggy125
    Just get a regular camcorder with waterproof housing. Housings are generally much cheaper for video cameras than still. Dan was just showing me the Sony housing for $150. A cheap Sony camcorder and housing would be less than $500. Work your mojo on eBay and you could get them both for cheaper. Optics on still and video cameras are quite different. Video camera lenses take crappy still shots and still camera lenses take crappy video. I don't know of a still camera on the market that takes video anywhere near that of a decent camcorder.
    Gotta agree with shaggy125 and CarpeyBiggs. I guess it really depends on what the video project is for, but if it's the video that's important, go for the specialized equipment.

    And Eric? Get outta my mom's pants! They don't fit you! Sheesh, some people...

  10. #9
    I don't have any experience with the usual camera suspects, but I have been using the EcoShot Camera since August and have been totally pleased with the picture quality. 6mp camera that is waterproof up to 75ft. and also shock proof up to 6ft, which was nice since I dropped it out of an open pack on one trip, and occasionally bump the canyon walls.

    I can't comment on the video quality of the camera because for video I use a Canon Digital Camcorder. As has been mentioned the quality is far better than you will get with any point and shoot camera. If you would like to check out the picture quality of the EcoShot camera check out some of the links for courses on this page:

    http://www.northwashoutfitters.com/miscellaneous.htm

    Look at the Technical Courses for 2007 September and October, Advanced Courses for 2007 September, and the Ladies Courses for 2007 August all were taken with the EcoShot Camera.

    Also on this page you can view videos that have been done with my Canon Digital Camcorder. The quality has been reduced for upload, but the original versions are crystal clear.

    Camera specs click here.
    Jared Hillhouse
    North Wash Outfitters LLP.
    Twitter: @North_Wash
    N.W.O. on Facebook
    "Great Adventure Buddies Make It Happen"

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex
    I have W10, been using it for ever. It does the job for me. Quicktime sucks, but I live with it.
    Hey Alex, was this the W10 that shot this footage, or a newer model? I know it wasn't your camera, and I can't remember the model either, but it was a Pentax W-something....

    [youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=4MRcWpJYFyU[/youtube]


    Pictures here:

    http://www.uutah.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8345

    But anyways, I was pretty happy with it, even though it was Quicktime format. There are free converters out there to help you join the rest of society.

  12. #11
    I believe it was W10, I have seen a couple of W30 and I believe W10 produced better pictures/videos.

  13. #12
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys! Please keep them coming.

    Thanks for the new camera lead Canyonbug. Looked at the specs and that one is great for ruggedness, but it doesn't have a great shutter range, no zoom at all, lens is equiv to 42mm (no wide angle), etc. I'm thinking it would be a good basic and very rugged camera though. (Not trying to dis your camera though - sorry - and I do appreciate you bringing it to my attention.)

    As I'm sure many would, I'd love to have the best of both worlds of quality still and digital video in the same camera. It may end up being a combination of two; as several people have suggested. (That's kind of what I was leaning towards. Using Sanyo Xacti for vid; and my old camera or possibly upgrading to a newer model for pics.)

    I was hoping someone might have used the Xacti and could comment...

    Shaggy, do you use a camcorder and housing? My concern with that is the sound quality. (I've used several cameras and dive housings for both canyons as well as scuba; and the sound is pretty much gone. That's why I was looking at the Sanyo Xacti-E1. Waterproof, and still does sound... (I'll need sound for my video, so that's why I'm asking... Maybe they have made advances, and now have a way to better allow the sound through the casings...)

    Thanks again everyone!

  14. #13
    I haven't tried the Xacti yet, because they are hard to locate in stores around these parts... Here is a discussion forum of it on DVinfo though. People seem to like it for what it is, it looks like.

    http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=115

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by AJ
    Thanks for the new camera lead Canyonbug. Looked at the specs and that one is great for ruggedness, but it doesn't have a great shutter range, no zoom at all, lens is equiv to 42mm (no wide angle), etc. I'm thinking it would be a good basic and very rugged camera though.
    I forgot about mentioning the zoom when I posted earlier. It doesn't have the optical zoom which I miss. It does have a 4x digital zoom. I'm not one for wide angle so that hasn't been an issue with me. I was amazed the first time I used it because the 6mp was a whole lot crisper than the older 3.1mp camera I had been using before. It is definitely more rugged than other camera's I have used in the past.

    I hope you find what you're looking for and hope you share some of your pictures when you get them.
    Jared Hillhouse
    North Wash Outfitters LLP.
    Twitter: @North_Wash
    N.W.O. on Facebook
    "Great Adventure Buddies Make It Happen"

  16. #15
    Now I'm actually thinking about the Olympus 790. It's FREEZEPROOF!!! That'll make for some good snowboarding/snowmobiling video.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Sombeech
    Now I'm actually thinking about the Olympus 790. It's FREEZEPROOF!!! That'll make for some good snowboarding/snowmobiling video.
    The 790 would be a great camera if... I just want a wideangle lens. 40mm is way too narrow field of view for helmet cam type stuff, because it amplifies all the movement and camera shake, and you can't tell where you are going.

    Why can't someone just make a weather proof wideangle camera? Ugh...

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeyBiggs
    I haven't tried the Xacti yet, because they are hard to locate in stores around these parts... Here is a discussion forum of it on DVinfo though. People seem to like it for what it is, it looks like.

    http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=115
    Thanks Dan,

    However, those are the HD Xacti's. You will want to search for the Xacti E1's, which are the waterproof ones. I did do the research, and most of the users liked them; some had issues with the controls. Saw some test vids, and they looked decent to me. However, a canyoneer is a bit different than a normal user. Usually much less light, etc. Was hoping someone had tried it out. Doesn't sound like it though; so I might be the Guinea pig...


    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeyBiggs
    Why can't someone just make a weather proof wideangle camera? Ugh...
    Why can't someone make a weather proof camera; that does 640x480/30fps high quality avi movies, saves to SD picture cards, with an effective/equivalent optical zoom of 28mm - 115mm, shockproof, freezeproof, good in low light, macro mode under 2", responsive focus on changing conditions in movie mode, with good quality still shots, and able to adjust your shutter speeds and aperature settings for low light conditions up to 5 minute shutter speeds? (While we are dreaming, might as well go big! )

    Add at low cost with good battery life if we want to get greedy...

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by AJ
    Shaggy, do you use a camcorder and housing? My concern with that is the sound quality. (I've used several cameras and dive housings for both canyons as well as scuba; and the sound is pretty much gone. That's why I was looking at the Sanyo Xacti-E1. Waterproof, and still does sound... (I'll need sound for my video, so that's why I'm asking... Maybe they have made advances, and now have a way to better allow the sound through the casings...)

    Thanks again everyone!
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...603692723510&q

    This video was shot with the Sony housing, no issues with sound. If you watch long enough you will hear sound clips from the camera (even when we are not in the canyon, ALL filming was done with the camera in the case). I have the raw footage on my computer, if you want I can upload some of that so you can get an idea how it sounds without background music. There is a plug on the side of the camera that hooks to an external mic on the front of the case, so sound quality is not diminished. (keep in mind that Google downgrades the bitrate on their online videos so the actual footage on my computer sounds better). Sand kills camcorders almost as fast as water so the case is pretty much essential even when not in wet canyons.

  20. #19
    I used to have a camera and case just like Shaggy's and it works awesome. The only hang up I had with it is the size. The housing is roughly the size of a small football, and when you are packing it through a canyon, it can get cumbersome.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeyBiggs
    The 790 would be a great camera if... I just want a wideangle lens. 40mm is way too narrow field of view for helmet cam type stuff, because it amplifies all the movement and camera shake, and you can't tell where you are going.

    Why can't someone just make a weather proof wideangle camera? Ugh...
    The wide angle is something I'll have to adjust for, and there's probably no way to upgrade the lens on these type of cameras either.

    They do have some type of image stabilization feature, but it's probably something that shrinks the angle even more to compensate.

    Now, a question about XD cards, do they fit in the SD slot? Will everybody just quit coming out with new format shit and let us catch up on our possessions for a bit? hell.

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