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12-12-2011, 02:11 AM   #1
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Waterproof point and shoot capabilities

I recently needed to choose a point and shoot, Once again like my recent DSLR purchase I wanted a Pentax, but had to go to another make. This time I went with an Olympus XZ-1 with a PT-050 housing. The PQ from the Olympus in RAW mode is staggering.

However I have always wondered why - and this applies to all waterproof 'tough' cameras available now - they always have the crappiest picture quality and lack of options? Pentax make some of the coolest looking tough cameras, but like other makes they lack PQ and control. Given that these cameras will be used in some of the worst conditions, and possibly some of the trickiest lighting, I can never work out why not one single one of them allows RAW shooting. There is never any control over the noise reduction, and manual controls are always lacking too along with any sort of fast lens.

Yet given the conditions that such cameras may be used in (white water kayaking for example) those are precisely the functions that they desperately need!

Just wondering if Ricoh might listen to requests in that regard? If Pentax made a waterproof, shock proof camera with RAW capability, a sensor of a similar size to the XZ-1 with a similar f/1.8-2.5 capability I'm sure they would completely take hold of that market. With a good video capability users would have a camera that takes really good stills and could also be a good substitute for a GoPro at the same time!

12-12-2011, 02:29 AM   #2
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For true waterproof camera you need a periscope lens embedded inside the body. Extending your lens under water is impossible unless you have a hard case (your case). I had some hopes the Nikon AW100 coud be good as it uses BSI CMOS. But even with this camera the pictures were extremely bad.
I think the lens is the problem, not sensor.
12-12-2011, 05:28 AM   #3
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I have been reading reviews on a number of compact cameras that can shoot RAW images. They were not all-weather/rugged/waterproof models but I guess the same problems would apply.
In every case with the cameras reviewed, the problem with RAW was the very long time delay in saving the image. In several cases up to 10 seconds when the equivalent cameras could save a JPG image in under a second. When you have a camera that can shoot maybe at 4 frames a second but the buffer is only large enough to then hold 6 frames and the camera takes a minute to commit them to SD card, RAW becomes impossible to live with.
12-12-2011, 02:53 PM   #4
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I am very happy with my Lumix TS3, which I reviewed here - you can find plenty of sample shots by following the links in the review. I was thinking about getting the Q, but the Lumix is pretty much fulfilling all my needs for a portable camera, so I gave up on the idea.

A couple of samples:





What more can you wish for from a compact waterproof camera?

12-18-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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Yes, I would recommend the Panasonic TS series as well... image quality ranks consistently at the top of the rugged/waterproof class of cameras - by a variety of reviewers. I had a TS1 myself and got excellent results My daughter has the camera now.

I used to think the problem with these cameras was the folded optics, which are necessary for waterproofness. But Panasonic has apparently cracked the code. I've had high hopes for Olympus's cameras in this class - which are pretty attractive with the exception of the deal-killer of image quality.
12-20-2011, 10:02 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by SimonMW Quote
I recently needed to choose a point and shoot, Once again like my recent DSLR purchase I wanted a Pentax, but had to go to another make. This time I went with an Olympus XZ-1 with a PT-050 housing. The PQ from the Olympus in RAW mode is staggering.

...
Simon, how do you rate the XZ-1? "Feel", menus, use in the housing, that sort of thing... I have a bonus sitting in my bank account that is just about right for a package at one of our local dive photo shops (the ZX-1, PT-050, grip, and a Sea&Sea flash rig). While I'd love a NEX-5n or an E-PL3 for above-water use, I can't afford it when you toss in the cost of a housing... The ZX-1 looks like a good compromise.

Jim
12-24-2011, 11:37 PM   #7
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Ts3 seems to consistently get the best reviews on the waterproof point & shoot test groups... I have been avoiding them because a lot of kayakers have commented that the previous models of panasonic waterproof cameras - fogged internally quite often and quite often had the aluminum casing corrode around the bolts on the back (galvanic corrosion upon exposure to salt water - which panasonic does not cover or warranty because their instructions say to soak the camera in fresh water for an hour within 30 mins of exposure to salt water)...

I spend a lot of time kayaking in salt water & a camera I have to soak in fresh water instantly makes no sense to me.
12-25-2011, 09:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RoxnDox Quote
Simon, how do you rate the XZ-1? "Feel", menus, use in the housing, that sort of thing... I have a bonus sitting in my bank account that is just about right for a package at one of our local dive photo shops (the ZX-1, PT-050, grip, and a Sea&Sea flash rig). While I'd love a NEX-5n or an E-PL3 for above-water use, I can't afford it when you toss in the cost of a housing... The ZX-1 looks like a good compromise.

Jim
Jim, you might look into this if you are contemplating the Nex5

40M Waterproof Underwater Camera Housing Case For Sony NEX-5 W/ 16mm F2.8 Lens | eBay

12-26-2011, 12:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Immunogirl Quote
Ts3 seems to consistently get the best reviews on the waterproof point & shoot test groups... I have been avoiding them because a lot of kayakers have commented that the previous models of panasonic waterproof cameras - fogged internally quite often and quite often had the aluminum casing corrode around the bolts on the back (galvanic corrosion upon exposure to salt water - which panasonic does not cover or warranty because their instructions say to soak the camera in fresh water for an hour within 30 mins of exposure to salt water)...

I spend a lot of time kayaking in salt water & a camera I have to soak in fresh water instantly makes no sense to me.
The only time I got some fogging was when I used the camera within waves and it got hit by them over a 15min period of so - these were breaking waves at the shore. The fogging went away after 10min of exposure to the sun. I didn't see any corrosion so far and I always washed the camera in fresh water - I didn't soak it in water, I just washed it under a faucet or a shower head and sometimes I also used soap. I used the camera underwater for more than 1 hour at a time with no problems of any kind. YMMV.
12-28-2011, 11:45 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ivoire Quote
Jim, you might look into this if you are contemplating the Nex5

40M Waterproof Underwater Camera Housing Case For Sony NEX-5 W/ 16mm F2.8 Lens | eBay
Yeah, a very nice rig. As it worked out, I went to a local underwater camera store (yes, we have enough divers in the Seattle area to support a real brick&mortar store with a couple of very knowledgeable owners), and ended with a package deal that included the Oly XZ-1, Oly's housing, and a tray/grip/strobe/focus light rig. I have not taken it under yet, but I took the camera along on an overnite trip to Victoria BC and I'm thoroughly impressed with it. Diving New Years day will be it's first test. And we'll see if I can manage one or two decent shots as I learn how to juggle one *more* thing underwater!

Jim
02-05-2012, 11:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
The only time I got some fogging was when I used the camera within waves and it got hit by them over a 15min period of so - these were breaking waves at the shore. The fogging went away after 10min of exposure to the sun. I didn't see any corrosion so far and I always washed the camera in fresh water - I didn't soak it in water, I just washed it under a faucet or a shower head and sometimes I also used soap. I used the camera underwater for more than 1 hour at a time with no problems of any kind. YMMV.
I'm quite often kayaking in breaking waves - my pentax never has fogging issues from that. I've never rinsed my pentaxes in fresh water after salt exposure... But then, I go on 7-8 day salt water trips where the only fresh water I'm going to encouter is what I'm carrying with in my kayak... fresh water to rinse a camera off is a luxury.
02-12-2012, 03:36 PM   #12
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I just posted some more samples from my TS3 over at camera-enthusiast. Night shots this time.
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