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Old 08-10-2019, 16:00   #16
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

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Originally Posted by Capt.Don View Post
Hi everyone,
My wife and I are soon returning to our boat, currently in the Sea of Cortez, for another season of cruising. Last season, we mostly used our iPhones for photos and often thought about an all-purpose digital camera. We would like to take pictures while snorkeling, paddle boarding, sailing....Any suggestions for a moderately priced waterproof (underwater?) camera, waterproof to 35', decent wide-angle - zoom optical lens, decent quality?

Thanks
Don
I don't think you need to have a single camera to do everything.

I'd consider a GoPro for the underwater and action shots and a good phone or point and shoot for the "out of the water" stuff.

I have a great new Xaiomi phone with 48mp camera, and two lenses, (cost $210!) and use it whenever I am away from the boat. The images are really nice.

I have a beat up Nikon D3 DLSR and some good glass which is my "pro" camera and I still love that beast but it is a lot to lug around. It has however survived 15 years of very hard usage in a lot of wet or dusty locations, a lot of saltwater has splashed on that machine and a lot exif has been accumulated. It still runs flawlessly.

But now I am looking at a GoPro for some underwater shooting.
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Old 08-10-2019, 16:05   #17
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

I have had my Nikon Coolpix for 4 years now. I love it. It has gone diving many times in both salt and fresh water. It is rated for down to 33 feet, I’ve probably had it to 25-30. It costs about $125, it zooms, stills and video, sound, special effects, time delay shutter, variable flash settings, environmental settings (underwater, backbite, fireworks, etc.), and more. It accepts an SD card so it can hold 1,000’s of pictures, yes, really. That’s all for me. Oh, too, it is small enough to fit in my pocket. So long for now ... ...
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Old 08-10-2019, 16:57   #18
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

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Olympus Tough TG 6.
Small, compact very fast, performs well in all lighting conditions.
Also look at the TG870.

Olympus Tough TG6, not cheap, but produces the results, submersible for underwater photography, and will stand up to reasonably rough handling
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Old 08-10-2019, 17:16   #19
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

I teach underwater photography for 3 scuba shops here in South Florida. There are lots of recommendations I can make, but if you are looking for a high quality point and shoot camera primarily for PHOTOS, that is waterproof, has good ability to upgrade, shoots both wide angle and macro, excels above and below the water, and is fairly "bulletproof", you can't do better than the Olympus TG-6.

I do not own this camera, nor do we sell them in our shop. Check Adorama and B&H photo for typical best prices and highly reputable stores. The Olympus will allow you to shoot RAW photos, which permits editing, including significant color correction for your underwater photos. Paired with an underwater strobe is even better! The microscope mode on this camera is top in class and will allow you to shoot extremely small critters (small shrimp, nudibranchs, coral polyps, etc).

You also get 4k video at 30FPS and 1080P at 60FPS. Video is considered quite good for a point and shoot.

Your initial total investment is about $450 + a high quality SD card. You can add an underwater housing if you plan to take it diving below 50 feet, as well as trays/strobes/video lights, etc.

There are MANY other options. We teach GoPro classes and own multiple GoPros. Very small sensor size makes this action cam an outlier for photography as primary. GoPros do amazing things with very colorful video. We primarily shoot Nikon DSLRs and Sony Mirrorless cameras in Nauticam housings. With strobes, video lights, bodies, lenses, housings, ports, arms, etc. you quickly reach $10k+ per setup. And often, what's mounted on top of these large rigs??? A GoPro!

If you don't think the TG-6 is your camera after doing a Google search and looking at specs/images, post what is most important to you (ie. a price point, wider wide angle, ??) and I'll give you some other options.

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Old 08-10-2019, 17:26   #20
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

We've gone through a number of underwater cameras over the years fultime cruising. The waterproof carry around ones don't seem to last that long on a cruising boat. We have settled on the Olympus TG with the extra external case. This ups the cost a bit, but the combo has out lasted all we had before and is still going strong after about 4 years. If you do a lot of snorkeling from the dinghy, underwater cameras take a beating.

Picture of the external case


A couple of underwater shots taken a few weeks ago in Indonesia

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Old 08-10-2019, 17:40   #21
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

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We've gone through a number of underwater cameras over the years fultime cruising. The waterproof carry around ones don't seem to last that long on a cruising boat. We have settled on the Olympus TG with the extra external case. This ups the cost a bit, but the combo has out lasted all we had before and is still going strong after about 4 years. If you do a lot of snorkeling from the dinghy, underwater cameras take a beating.

Picture of the external case


A couple of underwater shots taken a few weeks ago in Indonesia

Nice pictures!!!
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Old 08-10-2019, 17:50   #22
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

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...you can't do better than the Olympus TG-6....
Jason - thanks for this. I visited our local camera store and looked at the Olympus TG-6 and the Nikon W300. Your review is spot on. Additionally, the TG-6 has a more traditional set of controls: dial for mode, zoom, and takes lens attachments. The TG-6 is $60 more than the Nikon. Frankly, I didn't like the layout of the Nikon.

I'm a little concerned about Bob's comment regarding the seals and annual service. This makes sense, though. I will check this out.

It doesn't sound like the GoPro is ideal for still photos. The Hero 8 looks like a good action video camera.

Right now I'm leaning toward the Olympus TG-6. Will do more research.

Thanks everyone!!
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Old 08-10-2019, 18:09   #23
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

Don,

Keep your seals free of dust/dirt AND ALWAYS ALWAYS give a good fresh water soak after immersing in salt water and then dry with a lint free towel. While it's immersed in fresh water bucket, press all buttons and turn all knobs several times to get all salt water out.

Don't leave your camera in rinse buckets on dive boats. #1 place for flooding is cameras getting banged around. Also always make sure that there's no hair on your seals - human, dog, cat, or fibers from towels.

If you religiously keep the camera clean and free of salt, you'll likely "never" need to replace seals or do any type of recommended "annual service".

Good luck,

Jason
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Old 08-10-2019, 18:14   #24
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

Don,

Also, about 300 miles north of you in Monterey, is one of the two best UW Camera stores in the country. The other being down here in Ft Lauderdale. If you head up that way, Backscatter Photo has expert staff and all the camera options and housings on display.

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Old 08-10-2019, 18:20   #25
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

Iíve had two GoProís in the past five years and now both of them are bust. With the latest, a GoPro 6, the little door that is supposed to seal access to the usb ports became loose and eventually failed so it cannot seal.
My wife bought an Olympus waterproof camera about 8 years ago and itís still working just fine. Now, Iíve bought an Olympus.
The GoPro has nice features but I think the quality is just not there.
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Old 08-10-2019, 18:26   #26
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

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Originally Posted by JasonS View Post
Don,

Keep your seals free of dust/dirt AND ALWAYS ALWAYS give a good fresh water soak after immersing in salt water and then dry with a lint free towel. While it's immersed in fresh water bucket, press all buttons and turn all knobs several times to get all salt water out.

Don't leave your camera in rinse buckets on dive boats. #1 place for flooding is cameras getting banged around. Also always make sure that there's no hair on your seals - human, dog, cat, or fibers from towels.

If you religiously keep the camera clean and free of salt, you'll likely "never" need to replace seals or do any type of recommended "annual service".

Good luck,

Jason
Unforunately, on a full time cruising boat this religous care and gentle handling rarely works out. I'm sure that's part of the reason we went through so many underwater cameras. Having switched to the Olymous TG with the extra housing is giving us long life. We use this cameta almost exclusively for snorkeling, so the housing just keeps it dry and safe. Definately worth the extra expense, as replacing a dead camera is impractical while off in most cruising destinations that you'd need an underwater camera.
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Old 08-10-2019, 18:44   #27
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

Here are two things to avoid when choosing a camera. I don't know anything about the other types but we have used a Nikon Coolpix and a GoPro Hero extensively for underwater and above water. They are both useable but there are features I hated on each of them.

The GoPro is good for action shots and when you can work close up, or want to take in a big land/seascape. Because it has no telephoto-like zoom at all. You only get to select 4 different field of view angles. The narrowest angle is still what I would call a rather wide field compared to a normal camera. We used it on a short stick extension underwater, and it takes really great shots, since you have to be very close to stuff underwater to get a good shot anyway. So the wide angle is just fine there. Never had a problem with that little door over the battery compartment that so many have complained about.

But the GoPro is often frustratingly useless out of the water as a general purpose camera. Imagine a camera with no zoom, and how often you want to adjust the field of view easily before you take a shot. GoPro no can do, it has no zoom.

Nikon Coolpix is an amazingly good value for the money. It takes great shots above and below water. There is just one little problem. Underwater, I simply cannot see much if anything in the digital screen. Only if I am looking straight into it can I see a very dark image. And underwater you often want to stuff the camera up close to some little fish so you can't get your head down at that angle to look directly into the display. So I have hours of video where that pretty little fish is just occasionally in the view.

Adjusting anything in the menu system while in the water is also very difficult with the Coolpix since the screen is so hard to see. Somehow, out of the water it is OK but not in the water. I guess it's something about the lighting.
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Old 08-10-2019, 19:10   #28
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

Just got a OneX 360 with a waterproof case. Best guess is I have a dozen other underwater cameras; but 360 is a game changer. This was the first test dive in the pool but once you get the software down it changes how you capture images. The camera captures video in 360 degrees and then you choose the view you want and don't have to worry about missing a shot. As an example if a shark comes up behind you and bites off your foot you will have it in the vid, even if you were photographing the clown fish in the coral ahead of you.

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Old 08-10-2019, 19:16   #29
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

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Just got a OneX 360 with a waterproof case.

SNIP
I got mine from Amazon but here is the https://www.insta360.com/product/insta360-onex.

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Old 08-10-2019, 19:19   #30
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Re: All purpose waterproof digital camera

GoPro is the cheapest and the best value for the money--and then to go better you get into the really expensive stuff when you need to go for deep water pressurised housings and remote controls to use the zoom lenses.
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