Are waterproof cameras any good?

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Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby kneighbour » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 9:21 am

I see that most posts (that I have read) in this forum cater to the more serious camera nuts. ie $1000 cameras and the like. I am currently using my cheap Chinese (although a good Xiaomi) phone as a camera, and it has been a mixed success. Some images are ok, but probably half are out of focus or have some other quality issue. I only send the images to Facebook generally, so they do not have to be outstanding.

I have been looking at the waterproof cameras - specifically the Olympus Tough TG-4, the Panasonic Lumix FT6 and the Nikon Coolpix AW130 (with perhaps a few even a bit cheaper). These are around $350-$400 or so and fit within my budget.

I don't really need a waterproof camera - just one that can handle a bit of drizzle for a second as I take a shot. I am also not into the technical stuff- I just want to point and shoot. I never/rarely use the zoom, so that is not an issue. But I do want good poor light images as a lot of shots are taken under the canopy or in forest areas. And as I am moving into overnight walks, will also need a few night shots, I guess.

I am in Queensland (so no snow), and would like a good enough camera that I can tie to the front of my backpack somehow and bring out when I see a waterfall or something.

Any suggestions?
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 9:43 am

Your last requirement 'I do want good poor light images' is at the crux of the problem. To achieve that, you'll need either big sensor or lenses with large aperture. Small phone cameras and other point and shoots just won't do as well under those conditions. So it comes down to compromises and shooting techniques. Getting a point and shoot will generally improve the image than a cheap phone camera. The other is to learn to brace your camera when shooting in poor light eg. Tree trunk, rock. Going back to the original question, all on your shortlist will improve the quality on your present.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby kneighbour » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 9:59 am

No problems. I am willing to compromise on that. My cheap phone does fairly well in that area - just not consistent. But I am certainly not up for spending more than $500 on the camera, so I am willing to be realistic.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 10:41 am

Then I suggest you should find solutions to optimise what you have. If blur is your present problem, then learn to brace or get a mini tripod like phone holder. If its image resolution under poor light, then you don't have much choice but to upgrade.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby kneighbour » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 10:59 am

Do you think that any of the (3) waterproof cameras I listed are up to the task? The Olympus Tough TG-4 seems have pretty good reviews. My current (good) camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 which takes images that to my eye are flawless. This is an out of date camera now, but if I can get images as good as that I will be thrilled. Since I like the Panasonic, I tend towards getting the Panasonic Lumix FT6.

And while I have been looking at waterproof cameras, I don't think I really need one. Perhaps I would get better image quality in a compact? ie Canon IXUS 170 (although that is probably a poor choice, but you know what I mean)
Last edited by kneighbour on Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:03 am

Absolutely! All reputable brands and for your non-obsessive requirement, I'd shop on price and features that you feel are important. Check out dpreview.com for comparisons of those cameras, a well respected site in the field.
Last edited by GPSGuided on Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby wayno » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:13 am

id got for an olympus or panasonic, i dont think cookpix rate that well. nikon are far more into their dslr's than anything compact.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby kneighbour » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:17 am

I agree re Olympus or Panasonic. I don't like that Olympus still has their own custom USB cable though, but I guess I can live with it.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby wayno » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:29 am

olympus is still stop quality, they have specialised in making compact cameras for a long time,, their usb cables are a lot more robust than the default ones.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby wayno » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:33 am

i've got the cheaper lumix ft, an older model. just as a backup in severe weather or for in water. i was surprised at the photo quality for a compact camera, even in bad weather still does reasonable shots.. one day i forgot to take my main camera and my next camera was flat and it rained most of the time, so i resorted to teh lumix and was pleasantly surprised by the images

http://www.panasonic.com/au/consumer/lu ... -ft30.html
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby kneighbour » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:40 am

wayno wrote:i've got the cheaper lumix ft, an older model. just as a backup in severe weather or for in water. i was surprised at the photo quality for a compact camera, even in bad weather still does reasonable shots..

That is very heartening to hear - and that is the older model, so the FT6 might be even better.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby BethJ » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:52 am

+1 for the Olympus. I have the TG-3 model and it's a great little camera. It goes everywhere and I never have to worry about it getting damaged.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby BethJ » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:54 am

Oh and FYI, you can get add on lenses for the Olympus. This is only a recent discovery for me and I haven't tried any yet, I just thought other people might be interested.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby kneighbour » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 11:55 am

good replies. I was starting to think that these cameras were a bit of overkill on the waterproof side, and not good enough on the image side. I too lean towards the Olympus TG-4, even though it is $100+ dearer. I had an Olympus (OM-01, I think, way back in the '70s).

Thanks for your advice..much appreciated. Nothing seems to be on special at the moment, so might just duck into Harvey Normans and see what they will do for me.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby Aushiker » Fri 22 Jul, 2016 2:10 pm

This thread reminded me I have an Olympus FT4 which does not get used ... time to dig it out as a maybe leave in the glovebox camera.

eBay has a 20% off on cameras code at the moment. Might be something in the list worth considering. The code is CTEC20. Also I think JB Hi-Fi might be discounting some camera models at the moment going by the junk mail yesterday.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby kneighbour » Mon 25 Jul, 2016 5:11 pm

Took the plunge today and ordered the Olympus Tough Ft-4. The deciding factor was the f stop of 2.0 which was a lot better than any of the alternatives.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 25 Jul, 2016 6:08 pm

kneighbour wrote:Took the plunge today and ordered the Olympus Tough Ft-4. The deciding factor was the f stop of 2.0 which was a lot better than any of the alternatives.

You have mixed codes in the model. Olympus is Tough TG4. Panasonic has FT-4. TG4's 25-100mm zoom would come in handy.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby DaveNoble » Sat 10 Sep, 2016 11:24 pm

Looks like you can do just as well these days with the new iPhone 7. It seems to tick most of the boxes - shoots in raw, optically stabilised lens (the bigger model has two cameras with different lenses - wide angle and portrait), waterproof, lots of image processing ability, 4K video etc.

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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby wayno » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 5:41 am

iphone 7 sounds water resistant, not as waterproof at the galaxy 7 which i believe can be immersed in water
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Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 5:55 am

iPhone 7 satisfies IP67 spec, so can immerse to 1m go 30mins.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby farefam » Mon 19 Dec, 2016 4:50 pm

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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby farefam » Mon 19 Dec, 2016 4:56 pm

After much research I just bought a Lumix FT6 ($337)instead of the Olympus TG4 for an upcoming 10 day rafting trip. Although the TG4 has some nice features (such as RAW), at the end of the day I couldn't bring myself to spend $130 more for the TG4 given its high level of audible noise when taking video's. So far as the FT6 goes I haven't tested underwater performance yet, but test images in normal daylight (overcast or full sunshine) seem quite acceptable for a compact camera and the sunset mode gives better automatic exposure/colour results than my DSLR does (these images are straight out of the camera other than being downsized to 800 pixels wide to fit this website).
bw_090.JPG
sunset mode
bw_090.JPG (218.53 KiB) Viewed 234 times

I'm pretty impressed with the automatic panorama mode (works very well if the light across the field of view is fairly even).
bw_089.JPG
auto panorama
bw_089.JPG (217.83 KiB) Viewed 234 times

Auto white balance seems to give fairly good colours most of the time and I like that you can take photos in different aspect ratios (6:4 or 16:9) since I'm not particularly keen on the standard 4:3 format of compact cameras. I also like the ease with which you can quickly manually adjust the exposure or autobracket. Full HD video performance looks good. My only significant let down is that there is only a choice between two apertures if you want to shoot in fully manual mode (f3.3 or f10). F10 is quite acceptable for landscape shots though. The camera's LCD screen is very bright, making it quite usable in bright sunshine. However, as has been the experience with all of my digital cameras, the actual image may look a bit dimmer on your computer monitor than it does on the camera's LCD screen (even though my monitor is fairly bright). I found that images straight from the camera were acceptably sharp, but to my eyes they did sometimes benefit slightly from applying additional auto sharpening in Photoshop Elements. I will be able to report back in a couple of months how it fared on the river for casual snaps of the trip (I will still use a DSLR for the more important shots though). I bought two extra batteries for this 10 day trip, as I suspect it will chew through them pretty quickly (at least the second party batteries were pretty inexpensive compared to DSLR batteries). The FT6 will also accompany me in my shirt pocket on future bushwalks so that I don't have to put down the backpack and pull out the big camera if I just want a snapshot. As none of the waterproof cameras I've seen seem to have a lens cap (they usually appear to have the lens sealed safely away behind a piece of toughened glass) I also bought a small camera bag so that the front of the camera needs less cleaning between uses on a trip.
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Re: Are waterproof cameras any good?

Postby dunamis » Mon 19 Dec, 2016 8:07 pm

I have the original FT1. It travels either in my shorts pocket or shirt pocket and I also have a pouch on my pack shoulder strap. Perfect for just whipping out and capturing quick shots. I run in manual exposure usually and pull it down a couple of notches as it usually blows out the highlights. Other than that it's served me very well. Image
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