I've had the Lumix DMC-TS3 for a few months now. Will try to remember to upload some above and below ground pics at some point this weekend.
The #1 thing I like about caving with this camera? I don't have to worry about it. After having a normal camera with me on all of my cave trips over the past couple of years, this is a great thing for me. No more taking off my pack to pop open my waterproof box to get out a regular camera. No more worrying about muddy gloves or dirty hands. And if it does get dusty or dirty, no worries. Walking through a river cave? No worries. No more super detailed post-cave camera cleanup either. So far I've just had to rinse it and wipe it dry.
Above ground, it acts like every other point and shoot camera I've had. It simple, easy to use, and has really nice picture quality.
Below ground, it takes great photos at short to medium range. At longer range, it does tend to capture a lot of orbs. But I guess that's just the way it goes with compact cameras. From wikipedia-
The artifacts are especially common with compact or ultra-compact cameras, where the short distance between the lens and the built-in flash decreases the angle of light reflection to the lens, directly illuminating the aspect of the particles facing the lens and increasing the camera's ability to capture the light reflected off normally sub-visible particles.
This isn't that big of a deal. It's not like I'm wasting film like in the old days. So if I'm trying to get a long range shot of a large passage, I'll just keep shooting until I get a good one.
I've had the Lumix on one trip to a river cave, and another trip to a normal cave in Minnesota. When my son turned four, I took it to the pool and tried it out in and under the water. Thumbs up from me.
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.