Anyone recommend a good waterproof compact camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by troubleonline, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. troubleonline, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2014

    troubleonline macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    My waterproof camera (Olympus mJu720SW) died on holiday earlier this year which was gutting as the snorkelling was amazing and it died just as I started taking pics of some amazing fish! That said the camera was well out of date and the iPhone takes MUCH better pics and video so am not that devastated.

    Will be snorkelling again on holiday this winter so looking for recommendations on a decent waterproof compact. Been reading lots of amazon reviews but they all seem so mixed or good reviews haven't tried the waterproof aspect!

    I don't want to spend a fortune as already have 2 decent cameras (a Nikon DSLR and an Olympus Pen E-PL3) and take lots on my 5s too but I am a stickler for decent quality photos and resolution so prepared to spend around £200 or so.

  2. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    Is zoom important? What about a GoPro?
    I have a Sony Cybershot that's pretty good. It only works till about 10 ft though.
    For what I wanted. A camera at the pool/beach/waterpark and a P&S so I don't have to take my DSLR its great.

    I have the older version of this one:

    Unlike most waterproof cameras this one is really thin.

    I hear good things about the nikon AW series too. But at the time it was too expensive for me and I didn't like the size. With the Sony it's so much slimmer.
  3. AppleDeviceUser macrumors 6502


    Jan 7, 2012
    You said you had an iPhone 5S, I'd recommend getting the LifeProof case for it. It's waterproof, drop proof, dirt proof, and snow proof. It's about $80 bucks but it's worth it for sure.
  4. JDDavis macrumors 65816


    Jan 16, 2009
    The only one I have experience with is the GoPro. The new models are pretty good and you can obviously do more with them then just shoot stills. If you really want something with a larger quality LCD "live display" then you should probably go with something more akin to a full on camera.
  5. bankshot macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2003
    Southern California
    If you already have a small point and shoot, you might try something like this:

    Cheap, and worked well for me when I used one a few years ago for a couple of mud runs. Don't know if I'd trust it with more expensive gear, but it kept my old P&S bone dry through several submersions in water and mud.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Check out; they just did a group comparison of 2014 point and shoot weatherproof/waterproof cameras.

    People complain about these a lot; the reliability, especially long term, seems to be an issue with a lot of them. If you're careful about making sure seals are cleaned, and wash salt off, etc, they can be fairly reliable.

    I've got a Panasonic TS5 and love it. The LCD is quite visible underwater, and controls work fairly well. A big issue. It is wifi (although that doesn't work underwater ;) ), and the ability to use your iPhone to control the shutter and view what the camera is seeing is pretty fun. I've used it to get close to wildlife when a telephoto wouldn't do. The menus are pretty big and easy to see. And IQ is fine for a camera of this type. For some reason some of the underwater macros were better than on land when I took them in tidepools. It also does 60fps video, which is really nice for high quality slomo.

    Something like a GoPro is fine too, but although the vid cameras can take stills they don't offer the controls and viewfinders or LCDs of the P&Ss. And if you can do without wifi there are some last generation versions out there fairly cheap for most all the ones mentioned in the dpreview article.
  7. thaifood macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2011
    I should look into a GoPro by the looks of it. I've killed 3 Olympus Toughs over the years. I've sworn off waterproof gear as I always manage to find a way to break it hehe :p
  8. troubleonline thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Thanks guys for this advice

    I had looked at the Sony and it is probably high up on my list so good to know you like. I like the design and 10ft is ample. Zoom not necessary as really just for photographing fish at close proximity and ourselves. I have a great twin less kit for my PEN so have that capacity out the water and underwater the visibility will probably render zoom fairly useless (I would imagine).

    I had kind of discounted a waterproof case for the iPhone as I tend to drain the battery using Hipstamatic on snorkelling trips anyway (although I do have a mobile charging purse for recharging. Also I don't have an inexpensive point and shoot the waterproof Olympus was it really. Wouldn't be keen to put my PEN in a waterproof case and besides is has large interchangeable lens that would prob be a faff! Not paying for this!

    Wifi is nice but not really that important as I have the camera connection kit for the iPad (and the lightning adaptor!) and pretty happy with that. Would consider it a bonus but unusually for me prob would pay extra in this instance.

    I'll check out the Go Pro further as that looks good fun but I guess in reality I probably want great stills over video............then again..........
  9. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    I have the Nikon Coolpix AW100 and have been pretty happy with it. (Note: I also shoot with a D800 underwater.) The most recent version is the AW120 but I haven't used it myself. It also has built in GPS and WIFI.

    A step up from there is the Nikon 1 AW1. This is a mirrorless system with interchangeable lenses. A bit more spendy but an interesting platform. It has GPS but no built in WIFI.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    First off, with under water shots you REALLY need to be close. Water is never clear and yu need to minimize the amount of water between the subject and the camera. Ideally you'd always be less then a couple feet fro the subject and use a wade angle lens.

    The best way to go is to buy a housing from a "point and shoot" that is intended for SCUBA diving. These housing are very robust and if you buy one for an last generation camera then yu can always replace the camera if the housing floods with a cheap $40 used camera. But you will find that a housing rated for 130 or 200 feet is VERY robust and will take abuse and not leak, certainly not at the depths a casual snorkeler would go (maybe 15 or 20 feet at most?)

    Thery have been making these scuba housing fro a long time. You can buy one that fits a recently discontinued camera and then the camera is cheap enough that you can buy two and have a spare. These housing are custom fit to just ONE make and model camera, just be sure to keep sand out of the O-rings and it will last for many years. I typically wash the housing down in fresh water under a tape, maybe even clean it with a tooth brush BEFORE I open the housing.

    Never let salt water dry on the camera or the housing, do a quick rinse or just dunk in a bucket of fresh water within minutes of use in salt water, It is hard to remove dry salt from a camera or housing. Most dive boats now have a big fresh water tank where people can store their cameras when not in use.

    If you don't store the camera in a bucket f crash water then a million fine grains of crystalized salt will form near the seals and then when you open the seal salt dust gets inside and will damage the seal (dry salt dust is very abrasive)

    So keep the new camera i a bucket when not in use, clean it with a brush under the tap before you open it and it will last for years. I live near the beach so under water photography is something I can do every week and with care the camera seals last for years. On the other hand people who only shoot in salt water once a year on vacton don't know how to take care of the equipment and are lucky to have the gear last even a week.

    Bottom line is salt water id horrible, corrosive and abrasive and requires yo to be paranoid, or rich enough to replace your camera every week.

    A small point and shoot that is one generation old will cost under $100 out perform an iPhone camera. Buy one housing and two cameras and a tooth brush and a bucket.
  11. LongSticks, Jun 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014

    LongSticks macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2012
    Kent, UK
    Absolutely concur! I use a panasonic TZ20 with the panasonic housing for both snorkelling and now diving. Never condensates....which the bags do. And so easy to find & use the full button range. Had it down to 26m with no problem at all!

    Don't by a waterproof. Get a camera and a housing and don't look back!

    Attached Files:

  12. Melizard macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2011
    I have the Olympus TG-2 Tough waterproof point&shoot, and I love it because it can be put in aperture priority and you can buy attachable fisheye and telephoto lenses. I've taken it scuba diving and snorkelling a dozen times this year with no problems. It's waterproof without an expensive housing to 50'... and if you REALLY want to go deeper, you can buy a housing for it.

    Here is a photo that I took with it:
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Or you could go with a $50 Walmart special:

    I bought one basically for the mounts, but it takes fine video for such a cheap camera. And you can put it into all kinds of crazy places since it's not the end of the world if you lose it. We have yet to wreck ours. Rather fisheyed video close up, and issues with low light, but did I mention $50 and about four mounts?
  14. richwoodrocket macrumors 68020


    Apr 7, 2014
    Hamburg, NY
    Go pro hd hero 3
    @ChrisA never knew that. That's very interesting, and I never would've even thought of it
  15. -hh macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    And clear tropical waters help with this quite a bit...but even 'crystal clear' stuff will have spectrum absorption .. reds are 99% gone by 10m depth, for example. If this wasn't snorkeling, I'd be recommending a strobe (which gets expensive, fast).

    This is all spot-on. I've been doing UW photography (on scuba) for the past 25 years and the general rule of thumb on camera floods is "Not if, but WHEN".

    What I'll add to the above is that when you put a camera into an UW housing, you become the person responsible for maintaining the O-rings and their water-tight seal - - this doesn't take that much skill (or time), but it does call for discipline.

    Yes, its those salt water crystals that are tiny daggers cutting away at your O-rings - - literally. The important part is to get a prompt freshwater rinse of your gear after it has touched saltwater, to dilute the salt that got down into the nooks&crannies (ie, your O-rings).

    And as ChrisA says to leave the camera wet, we do eventually have to go home from Holiday, so the cameras will get dried out - - you can usually minimize your wet-dry-wet-dry cycles by being aware of the issue, plus tricks such as throwing a damp beach towel over the camera to limit how much it dries out.

    There's aftermarket companies that make good stuff (such as Ikelite) as well as some scuba-rated and snorel-rated clear plastic housings that are sold by Canon/etc. Feel free to pick something that looks promising and ask for opinions.

  16. Iphonedai macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2014
    I am using the sony waterproof one. Super slim and can take a beating. I took it to my honeymoon trip to fiji and use it on multiple snorkeling trips. Slim and easy to carry.

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