"cheap" caving camera?

Techniques and equipment.

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Re: "cheap" caving camera?

Postby NZcaver » Sep 23, 2010 6:31 pm

Sungura wrote:And actually, I've seen a few people with nikon coolpix. If I take the same shot as they do, theirs ALWAYS turns out better - less halos and stuff from dust and moisture even.

Make sure you keep your lens clean (carry something like a Lenspen), and get yourself an off-camera slave flash.
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Re: "cheap" caving camera?

Postby Lurah_GB » Sep 27, 2010 12:39 pm

I suggest using a pocket camera, with manual selection facility. I often use the Nikon COOLPIX P60 and a few additional tools such as flash, tripod, self units / hot shoe.
and most important is the way the camera packing as well as knowledge of the terrain in the cave.
so far I am comfortable using the camera even though I should be extra careful when taking pictures
moreover, to prepare a reliable team member when doing photography. cohesiveness during strowbiz or open flash
:cave softly: :kewl: :waving: :woohoo:
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Re: "cheap" caving camera?

Postby Phil Winkler » Sep 27, 2010 2:50 pm

Do any of these mentioned digital cameras have a Bulb setting? That has been one of the most useful settings for multi-flash pictures in caves. The HP 435 doesn't appear to from reading its specs.
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Re: "cheap" caving camera?

Postby self-deleted_user » Oct 13, 2010 5:01 pm

Well I ended up with the Nikon Coolpix SD570, on sale at Best Buy for $100. I also got the 1-yr if I break it they replace it plan for $20...I'm good at ruining cameras in caves (getting mud into the lens usually), so it'll be good, if that happens (or if I drop it, crush it, bang it on a rock, jam a button....etc etc) I get a new one no problem haha.

I think it did a nice job!
With flash, in an area there wasn't a fog issue
Image

Without flash in an area the stuff in the air was giving issues, just holding it steady with my arms "tripod" on my chest lit with my helmet light only
Image

Another simply holding it steady, my light and Pete's light as sources, no flash
Image

I was impressed with the anti-shake features - I'm good at tripoding my arms against me steadily but not *that* good, but apparently combined with the anti-shake on the camera was enough for clear photos without any flash!

I also had another idea....at a concert where there was smoke machines, I noticed all the photographers there had what looked like KimWipes (sorry, science person here! uh...white tissue like things) covering their flashes...I'm wondering, does this work by diffusing the light so you don't get so much particle glare? I'm tempted to snatch some KimWipes from work and tape them over the flash on my camera!
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Re: "cheap" caving camera?

Postby underdog » Oct 21, 2010 2:08 pm

I have a Pentax optio W10, bought in 2006. It has been to lots of places, taken pictures swimming in caves, running rapids in white water rivers, tops of mountains, salt water tidal pool underwater pictures, and elementary school recital videos. It has literally been coated in mud, and rinsed off to take a picture before ending up coated in mud again. It has swam with me in flood stage water on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon. It is small, and has really held up; the first camera I have had that survived more than two years of my abuse. It does suffer the same problems all point and shoot cameras suffer with taking pictures in the dark. If you want great photos, risk taking your good camera in a pelican case. If you want to take pictures everywhere you go, get a camera that is small, waterproof, and has very few external moving parts. Nothing sticks out of the optio w10 to catch dirt or dust - it is completly sealed. It is available on Amazon for $99.51. I am sure other companies make similar models.
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Re: "cheap" caving camera?

Postby JR-Orion » Oct 29, 2010 2:13 pm

Sungura- pics look good. :grin:

underdog- Thanks for the info on the Pentax Optio. Looks like maybe the W30 is the current version? 7MP, 3x optical zoom, $100 at Amazon. Waterproof and dustproof. Quite tempting.

I wound up buying this camera-

Kodak Z915. $100 (really?)
10mp
10x zoom (35mm - 350mm equivalent)
2.5" LCD
AAs

I got if for $100 in early October, though the price is now up to $125 on Amazon. I went with an extra "drops n spills" extended warranty for $10 more. Been on one cave trip so far- Coldwater in IA- where I kept it in a waterproof box when not in use. I am happy with the performance down there. No issues focusing in the dark and it comes back around quick after taking a flash pic. Maybe tonight I can finally hook the camera up to my PC to see how the pics turned out.
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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