Looking for my first tough digital camera

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Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby JR-Orion » Dec 12, 2011 4:02 pm

Tough meaning waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and freezeproof. For caving, but also for general family and nature use above ground. Budget is $300 max, but under that would be great. I have a nice collection of Eneloops, so AA power would be nice, but isn't a deal breaker. Being able to shoot videos is a good thing, though I don't need HD for quick Facebook videos.

First up, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3
$250
12MP
35mm equivalent zoom: 28-128mm
2.7" screen
Waterproof to 40', shockproof to 6.6', freezeproof and dustproof
Custom battery and charger
Hi-Speed CCD sensor (not sure if this would help with cave shots?)
"The built-in LED light greatly supports shooting in dark situations."

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS10
$140
14MP
35mm equivalent zoom: 35-140mm
2.7" screen
Waterproof to 10', shockproof to 5', freezeproof and dustproof
Custom battery and charger

Pentax Optio WG-1
$200 for purple, $230 for black
14MP
35mm equivalent zoom: 28-140mm
2.7" screen
Waterproof to 33', shockproof to 5', freezeproof, dustproof, even crushproof
Custom battery and charger

Still looking at Amazon, there's also the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 at $260, the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 at $240, and the Casio Exilim EX-G1 at $260.

None of those have external moving lenses, which I hear helps out underground (no moving zoom mechanism to get dirty and bind up).

I also thought about buying a $150 normal digital camera, and putting it in a waterproof dive housing. Those housings start at around $100.

Help.

edit- As for the waterproof factor, I don't intend to go diving with this camera, but caves are wet and splashy so that seems like a nice bit of extra protection.
Last edited by JR-Orion on Dec 12, 2011 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 12, 2011 4:17 pm

I have the Sony and am quite pleased with it. It has a CMOS chip, which is supposed to better with low light. It has a touch screen, which eliminates even more moving parts. My only complaint is that the videos don't automatically download into iPhoto. I have to bring them into iMovie.
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby JR-Orion » Dec 12, 2011 4:22 pm

Thanks. Will read up on the Sony. How do you like using the touchscreen?
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 12, 2011 4:35 pm

It's pretty good. It's not perfect, but it works fine. I sacrificed a little bit on the user interface to not have to worry about buttons getting clogged with mud. It comes with a handy little stylus that attaches to the lanyard. I put a piece of packing tape over the screen which helps protect it.

Here's some video I've taken with it.



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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby riverrat68 » Dec 12, 2011 5:05 pm

Great post! Thanks for the information.
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby MUD » Dec 12, 2011 7:48 pm

So whats in the blowing lead Scott? :big grin:
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 13, 2011 12:33 am

You left out the Olympus stylus tough. It's indestructable.
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Leclused » Dec 13, 2011 5:39 am

I use a canon powershot D10 and I am very happy with it. Some pictures taken with it can be seen here

http://scavalon.blogspot.com/2011/09/tdc-klassiek.html

Next week-end I'm going to try to shoot some video with it in very wet conditions :-)

http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/prod ... ershot_d10

BR

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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Extremeophile » Dec 13, 2011 12:47 pm

The Olympus might be rugged, but it takes terrible photos, as has been discussed at length elsewhere.

I have the Lumix TS3 and like it very much. From the reviews I've read I believe it's the best of the small waterproof cameras available now. I'd like more manual exposure control, and RAW capture, but then this is a shortcoming of virtually all of the small P&S cameras.
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 13, 2011 2:18 pm

Terrible photos? I disagree. ITs a point and shoot. IT doesnt have a telescopic lense, so any point and shoot like that is limited on what it can do, but if river caves are your thing, you are VERY limited on what you can use. I think it does a damn good job.

Anti-Gravity Pools, Rimstone River Cave System, Perry County, Missouri.

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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby JR-Orion » Dec 13, 2011 2:26 pm

For anyone else in the same boat, check this out-

DP Review takes on six waterproof cameras
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q311wat ... grouptest/

Looks helpful. I'm still reading...
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby JR-Orion » Dec 13, 2011 2:44 pm

Thanks for posting all the sample pics and video. Those are quite helpful.
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 13, 2011 2:59 pm

fyi, im sure there are better quality pics from similar cameras out there than the stylus, its simply indestructable which is what im looking for. IF i want better cave photos I would spend $$$ on a dslr but i have no desire to have that kind of camera ;)
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby NZcaver » Dec 13, 2011 3:24 pm

JR-Orion wrote:For anyone else in the same boat, check this out-

DP Review takes on six waterproof cameras
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q311wat ... grouptest/

Looks helpful. I'm still reading...

Interesting reviews, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 seems to score rather well. A friend showed me his one yesterday and it looked pretty impressive (but he hasn't taken it caving). Interesting too that the Fuji scored the lowest. About 5 years ago, I returned a new Fuji point and shoot because of poor image quality and inconsistent results. It seems they have not improved.
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Re: Looking for my first tough digital camera

Postby Extremeophile » Dec 13, 2011 7:53 pm

Chads93GT wrote:Terrible photos? I disagree. ITs a point and shoot. IT doesnt have a telescopic lense, so any point and shoot like that is limited on what it can do, but if river caves are your thing, you are VERY limited on what you can use. I think it does a damn good job.

I wasn't comparing it to a DSLR. It takes poor photos by any standard. Most photos are out of focus, exposure is off, color rendering isn't true, images are grainy, ... It is rugged, but not indestructible. At first I thought the focus and exposure problems were probably a result of not dealing with the darkness in caves, but it often has the same problems above ground.
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