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Old 12-04-2008, 10:36   #1
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Question Digital Cameras

One of my hobbies is photography. Over the years I've taken thousands of photos of ships. Having spent 11 yrs on Coast Guard ships provided plenty of opportunities. In the olden days (before digital cameras) I always used Nikon 35mm cameras. A wide array of lenses allowed me to get some good shots some of which were good enough to be published. Today we saw one of the Coast Guard ships, the Griffon, I worked on in the late 70's and early 80's.

I've sold off all my old 35mm cameras and we rely pretty much on Knottygirlz's Canon sureshot, which took this picture. I have a Nikon D90 digital at work but don't normally bring it home. I'm thinking I may need to invest in a good Nikon digital when I retire. The Canon took a pretty decent photo at max zoom and required just a little retouching to bring out some of the detail

What kind of digital photo gear are you guys using? How does it hold up to the rigors of the marine environment?


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Old 12-04-2008, 11:19   #2
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Canon makes a wide range of nice digital cameras, and also makes waterproof cases for most of them, good for use to over 100 ft or in other wet or dusty environments. I just got a new A650 IS and waterproof case, but have not used it enough to want to comment on it.

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Old 12-04-2008, 11:26   #3
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While I know most of us aren't in quite as severe conditions, I was watching a "behind the scenes" episode of "The Deadliest Catch". They said among the 2 or 3 people they send on each boat each has several cameras to use over the 90-120 day season, and very few if any come back working. Even the "Waterproof" mounted cameras they use outside 24/7 end up having to have their cases drained every day.

Mind you, these are muti-thousand-dollar professional video cameras...

Outside of the Bering Sea though, you'll probably have better luck. Just something to keep in mind... don't spend more money on one than your prepared to waste unless you think you'll be able to break even by using it for profit somehow.

That said, my mom uses a Canon Digital Rebel XTi for her school yearbooks, she likes it. My dad uses a Nikon D90 for his job, he likes it. I've tried both, both are very good cameras. I think the Digital Rebel XTi is about to have a price drop soon as well, since there is a newer model coming out soon.

Neither has been used in marine conditions, but Both were bought we several good references.

My personal camera is a Fujifilm S5100. It's now pretty much obsolete, however, I've enjoyed it. I only paid 200 dollars for it a couple of years ago and while I wish it was a real DSLR instead of a fake(uses a tiny LCD screen in the eyepiece instead of letting me see through the lens), I've been able to use it for some decent shots.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:30   #4
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I use a Sony cybershot 5.1 MP. One interesting use that I discovered recently while boat shopping is how I can do a cursory check of the masthead rigging from the ground. The camera has a 12x optical zoom and then by zooming on the image once it's on the computer, you can see some pretty amazing detail without ever having to climb.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:30   #5
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I would say it depends on what your going to do with the photo's. If you just store them in your computer, post them to the forum or make 5x7 prints, just about anything will do. The photo you posted looks great.The problem with buying digital is there's something new every 6 months and I don't think any of it's going to hold up to a marine environment for the long haul. My major was photography 38 years ago at The Maryland Institute College of Art. I use a compact 6 megapixel Canon digital .I still shoot film and use a Leica MP , a 35,50 and 90mm lens and scan the negatives or slides. You can spend as much as you want or have but for basic personal photography the smaller point and shoot cameras with a medium zoom will handle most needs at a price that won't break the bank should (when) they stop working.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:42   #6

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I also use a Canon Digital Rebel and love the camera. I keep a 30-200mm zoom mounted on the body and it's a nice sized package with enough zoom when you need it.
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Old 12-04-2008, 13:04   #7
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I'm using an Olympus C-750. 4.0 megpix and 40x Zoom. I have found for general picture taking, 4 meg is quite addiquit. As a pick up and shoot, it takes awesome shots. Only major issue is the delay between hitting the button to it actually taking the snap. No good for fast response shots. I suppose there maybe ways of changing that if you go into the set up and manually set things up, but there is the catch. Manually setting up the thing is complex. Maybe to someone like Knottybouyz that has a lot of photography experiance, set up would be a breeze. But not for me. So selecting the little Icon for the type of photo you want to take is the best for me.

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Old 12-04-2008, 15:28   #8
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Digital SLR lens quality...

We have an "old" Canon A40 and a Pentax istD SLR digital.

When we first got the Canon it was a revelation in image quality. I tied to scan some of my old 35mm negatives and was very disappointed with the results in comparison.

The other disappointment was the quality of the lenses that I got with the Pentax. The 18-50mm Sigma zoom produces acceptable results but the 75-300mm Tamron has never given me a good photo. If I buy another lens I will probably spring for a fixed focal length prime or one of the newer wide angle (12-24mm) zooms.

I had expected the Pentax (as a digital successor to the Spotmatic) to have outstanding exposure control but I have never been able to get it to work to my satisfaction. The image quality has been good otherwise though it doesn't quite have the skin tone quality of the "old" Canon.

The other item that I am considering is a nice powerful flash.
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Old 12-04-2008, 17:41   #9
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I have had the Nikon D100 for about 6 years on board Stargazer and never had a problem with the salt water environment.

Steves Digicams - Nikon D100 SLR User Review

I think they call them “prosumer” type cameras and it has features far beyond my capabilities, but once in a while I get lucky and have never had a bad shot.

As you know the lenses and filters are what make the difference and on a boat, telephoto and wide angle are used the most.

I also have a bunch of old Nikon lenses that I rarely use because of the features available when you use the new digitally compatible Nikon lenses with the D 100.
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Old 12-04-2008, 19:10   #10
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We have about 2500 pictures on our web site and most of them were shot with a Nikon D70 using the stock 18-70mm lens kit. We used it for half a circumnavigation, sailing from Singapore back to the USA via the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Med, Atlantic, and Caribbean. You can look at the pictures in our photo galleries and decide whether the quality is good enough to suit your purposes.

We haven't had any problem with the Nikon D70, and it shoots good pictures that work for us. Our biggest shooting challenges were carnival in Trinidad that required shooting both day and night shots without anything but the camera mounted flash and the stock lens.

I would go for a digital SLR that has at least 6 megapixels unless you plan to make very large prints. If you are shooting photos for print and publication, then a larger number of megapixels could be beneficial because you can crop shots and still have nice pictures for whatever purposes you want.

A six-megapixel camera is affordable, and if it gets stolen or dropped in the sea, you aren't out as much money. It's also smaller and less obtrusive in places where you have to be careful about shooting pictures because authorities might take your camera.

Our D70 filled all those requirements and it is still working.

Good luck on your search for a sea-going camera.
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Old 13-04-2008, 10:52   #11
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We are currently in the market for a digital camera and have found the Olympus Stylus 790 SW. According to there specs they are shock (drop) proof, waterproof (up to 10 ft depth for 1 hour) and freeze proof. This seems to be a ideal digital for a boat environment and the price is very reasonable (250-300).
Here is a link to a review on this camera Olympus Stylus 790 SW Review
Anyone who has any experience or information on this camera it would be interesting to hear it.
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Old 13-04-2008, 11:13   #12
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A friend of mine had a similar model olympus. The pictures taken were great. She hasn't tried it underwater yet, unfortunately. I couldn't play around with it much as it was a Chinese model and I couldn't understand any of the menus.
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Old 13-04-2008, 11:55   #13
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I have an Olympus Stylus 1030 SW. It is simply fantastic. Waterproof to 30 feet. shock proof and freeze proof. I can just keep it on my wrist when I go sail Kayaking.

I also have a Canon 20D for more "serious" photography, but nothing beats the convenience of the Olympus.

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Old 13-04-2008, 13:42   #14
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I have a Nikon coolpix950. I have had instances where it did not work because of moisture. This happened in Europe of all places. It is an old digital around 7 years of age. I quess I should get a new one based on the comments so far.

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Old 13-04-2008, 16:10   #15
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I have a Fuji S9000. All I can say about it is: Don't even think about it!
The only reason I haven't replaced it is that cost of replacing it. Their customer service was horrible on a factory defect when I bought it (took over 2 months to correct) and the picture quality leaves a lot to be desired.
As a plus, it has held up pretty well, but I have not had it on the boat while under way.
When it comes time to go out on the boat with it, it will not bother me one bit if it gets soaked - it will give me a good excuse to replace it with a good camera.
Just my two cents worth.
I have taken over 40,000 photos with various cameras. This one is the worst one I have had.


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