I know little to nothing about cameras, so I'm hoping someone here can provide a little insight into a few camera's that I have been looking at. I didn't want to pick one up so soon, but dropped my camera into the stream this afternoon taking a picture of a trout, and well... I'm fairly certain it won't come back to life. So, here are my requirements:
1. Waterproof, and preferably freezeproof
2. Something that can take relatively high quality pictures in both regular, and macro mode.
3. Something somewhat small
4. Under $350 preferably
The cameras I'm looking at, but am not completely limited to are:
Olympus TG-610 - I don't really see the need to go with the newer, more expensive TG-810 here, as I couldn't see any added features that would be very beneficial to me.
Panasonic Lumix TS3
Nikon Coolpix AW100
Anyone have any experience with these? What are some pros and cons that you have noticed with these models?
Hey Ted, I have no experience with any of those models but you won't go wrong with any of those brands. If haven't already, go to straight to Amazon and look up each one. Not only will you find the best price anywhere, even if I am not going to buy something from Amazon the user reviews are priceless.
Taking a quick look at the three - if video is at all an interest the Lumix would be out, though the "rugged" case might be nice when it's in you vest pocket and you throw the vest in the back of you rig and backpack on top of that...if you don't plan to use the video, I would go with this one.
The Nikon is most expensive and I wouldn't pay for the difference between 16 and 12 megapixels...it's a lot either way. How often do you really print out something bigger than 11x14? But it does shoot 1080p HD video, that is impressive and what you are paying for.
The Olympus is 14MP and shoot 720p HD video and is the cheapest! Too good to be true? Maybe, mixed reviews - lots of praise, lots of lemons...maybe a crapshoot.
I just got a Pentax Optio WG-1 this year for my bday. Love it! I got it on fleabay from beachcamera. 219 and it came with all kinds of accessories. Look under my screen name on here. I have posted a few pics with it.
I've had an Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 for a few years. 5.0 optical zoom, 5.0-25.0mm, shockproof to 2m, and waterproof to 10m (33 feet!).
Mine has been soaking wet, and still works great. I bought mine after my son and his buddy both bought the same camera. His buddy dropped his in a deep hole while kayaking. Went two days later with fins, mask, & snorkel and located and retrieved it. Brought it to the surface and snapped a picture.
Picked-up an identical camera for my wife for Christmas this year. Got a package that included the camera, batttery & charger, cables, case, cleaning kit, and a mini-tripod for $225 with shipping.
BTW - Takes great pics!
Wife kayaking on AuSable River, downstream of Ausable Forks, Clinton County, NY:
I have had an Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 (paid $130 on Ebay) for about a year now, and taken a couple hundred pics with it. Overall I am impressed with the picture quality, especially when taking underwater pics, though it's tough taking pics when you can't see the screen.
I picked the tough after doing about a month of research on various cameras. This was my second choice. My first was the Pentax Optio w90. It retails at about $250-$300, which was a big factor for me, and it's chassis is made from polycarbonate, while the Tough is made from aluminum. According to CNET, the aluminum chassis was more shock-proof than any of the polycarbonate shells of other cameras.
CNET testers also found the Pentax takes a higher quality pic and takes less time to queue up (time between pushing the "ON" button and being ready to take a pic). The Tough takes about 1.5 secs, the Optio about half that.
If I were in the market for another camera, I'd check out CNET's reviews on the other cameras you are interested in and compare the strengths and weaknesses between them, vs. cost. As I said before, cost was a major factor for me, about 50% in fact. Durability was probably at least 30%, as I tend to be hard on all my equipment.
P.S. One other thing I really like about the Tough is that it has enough charge in the rechargeable batt to handle a 4 or 5 day trip (about 300-400 pics). Also, replacement batteries are under $20 (I think I paid $14). So I just charge up both batts before a trip and then I know that I've got enough charge for at least a week. It may be that this is about average for an underwater camera in this price range, but for myself, I was pleasantly surprised.
P.P.S. A good friend of mine has the TG-610, which is slighter smaller, and takes better quality pics than my 6020. Hope some of this helps.
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark
I ended up picking up a demo model of the Olympus TG610. Can't really comment on it as far as picture quality, but the thing seems to be built like an absolute tank. With my habit of dropping things and slipping, this is most definitely a good thing.
Hopefully I'll be able to get out for a few hours this weekend and see what kind of quality I can expect.