any real world first person waterproof camera recommendations

Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
An upcoming vacation has me looking for a camera to take underwater. I don't need the latest and greatest. In my brief foray into research, it seems every camera maker makes one and that every one of them gets bad reviews for failing after going underwater. I suppose there are failures in everything and underwater cameras that fail underwater will definitely get blasted in the reviews sections.

So I thought I'd ask you who own any of the "tough" category cameras for your opinions. Have you used them underwater and have they failed? I'm looking at some of the models from a few years back and most seem to still be available new in the $100-$150 range.
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
bart
Earlier this year I bought a Pentax PX at a discount (cost me 79 euros IIRC). I took it drowning myself, eh, I mean surfing (got sucked into the wave vortex quite thoroughly a couple of times) and used it in mild sandstorm-like conditions. I also had it bouncing around in a pocket with random other stuff throughout my backpacking trip. I did tape off the hatch covering the battery / memory card compartment with vinyl electrical tape as an additional security measure; not sure if it made any difference, but either way, the camera works perfectly. It still looks as good as new (apart from the screen which is covered in tiny scratches).

Jpegs are nothing to write home about but the fairly low standard contrast means there's some room for post processing. I quite like the tones and textures in this shot, edited with some mild curve adjustments.

Nameless fellow trainrider by bartjeej, on Flickr
 

pniev

Student for life
May 13, 2013
Personally I would not go underwater with a bag but with an underwater housing, even for snorkeling. I've used Fuji F200EXR, Olympus SP350, and Panasonic TZ5 underwater. Work perfectly and they do have underwater settings. If you want deep blue colors, use the cloud WB setting. ideally you shoot raw, not jpeg. You could check if you can rent an underwater housing. I rented camera + housing from my (former) diving school.
Flash would be useful when you go below 5m.
 
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
thanks for the tip Dean. I had thought about an RX100 with an underwater housing. But for how little I'll use it I think it's a bit overboard (pun intended). I am also without a general weathersealed rig so I'm looking for something I can use on rainy day photowalks, too. I love shooting in the rain and the snow.
 

yakky

Regular
Nov 30, 2013
My advice is to not worry so much about the underwater part. Good photography under water is exponentially more difficult than you may think. Lighting is difficult and visibility is generally poor, even in a clear swimming pool. A splash proof bag might get you the pictures you are after. If you want a camera you don't care about, Nikon AW1xx's go for around $120 for refurbs and work well enough.
 

demiro

Serious Compacts For Life
Dec 15, 2011
My advice is to not worry so much about the underwater part. Good photography under water is exponentially more difficult than you may think. Lighting is difficult and visibility is generally poor, even in a clear swimming pool. A splash proof bag might get you the pictures you are after. If you want a camera you don't care about, Nikon AW1xx's go for around $120 for refurbs and work well enough.
Where did you see the AW1 for that kind of price? Seems off.

I have confirmed that my refurb Olympus TG-850 is waterproof (so far). Time to get back to the pool.

PC140101 by Luke Lavin, on Flickr
Nice Luke, but you should enable blink detection...

Coincidentally, looks like you can get an underwater housing for Nikon J1/J2 for $99. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/888272-REG/Nikon_3689_WP_N1_Waterproof_Housing_for.htmlThose cameras are pretty cheap, so a seemingly decent set up for scuba diving can be had for <$300.
 

Chrisnmn

Veteran
Jul 8, 2012
Auckland, New Zealand
Chris Leskovsek
Funny, I´ve been searching for the same thing Luke, on my quest, Ive read quite a few good stuff form the Olympus TG2 and 3. and I really want one. maybe the 2 that is discounted as is the "old" model now. hope that helps.
 
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
oops didnt read the whole thread. I see you got an Olympus...great to see its working properly!
yup, and that screen that flips up 180 degrees is perfect for selfies. Camera underwater for distorto effects, but screen above water for framing. Of course the sun is pretty bright so my wife was shading her eyes to see the screen. It just makes it extra touristy. :biggrin:

PC140094 by Luke Lavin, on Flickr

I think I hear a Rum Runner calling my name.
 

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