Help me pick out a waterproof digital camera
April 6, 2012 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Waterproof point & shoot camera - any personal recommendations?

Hi all

I've vacationed on the beach many times, and usually I buy a waterproof disposable. I'd like to finally get a decent point & shoot waterproof digital camera.

Can anyone give me personal recommendations, taking into account image quality and durability/ruggedness?

In my limited internet searching, the issue is that the current lower end models all seem to be panned by users, or else their image quality looks poor. (I mean I know I'm not necessarily getting a $10,000 SLR here, but still... Realistically how much am I going to have to spend here for a decent model?)

If anyone can give advice based on their own direct experiences that would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey to Technology (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry to start off with a negative review, but the Kodak Easyshare Sport C123 is terrible. I got better pictures with my circa-2005 Razr. Good luck finding something better! I'll be watching this thread with interest.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:43 AM on April 6, 2012

Sorry to start off with a negative review, but the Kodak Easyshare Sport C123 is terrible.

On the contrary, if people are telling me what didn't work, then that is useful information.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 5:51 AM on April 6, 2012

I've never owned one personally, but the Panasonic Lumix Tough series seem to work well for people I know.
posted by ssg at 6:01 AM on April 6, 2012

I bought a Nikon AW-100 in November and have been impressed with its ruggedness and picture quality.
posted by eaglehound at 6:22 AM on April 6, 2012

I got by for a couple of years with the Sony Cybershot. Compact and pretty rugged and did the job whether up a mountain or floating over a reef. Also pretty foolproof which is always helpful to someone like myself. As point and click cameras go I was more than happy.
posted by adamvasco at 6:23 AM on April 6, 2012

After dropping and breaking a few cameras, I got a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX10 and have been very happy with it.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:48 AM on April 6, 2012

I got a Pentax Optio W90 a couple of years ago, mostly because I wanted a rugged point and shoot to take places I didn't want to bring the SLR (biking, skiing, rock climbing) and I thought the underwater option would be fun. I've been very happy with the camera and brought the same one after I wrecked the first one (hey, it's not waterproof if you forget to close one of the hatches all the way).

I've been happy with the shots both underwater and above. Here are two examples of underwater, and one above.

They are on to newer models now, but they look to be similar in design.
posted by mikepop at 6:49 AM on April 6, 2012

If this is going to be used mostly in regular conditions and only occasionally on the beach, why not get a waterproof case, such as this? Or if you want something more serious and are willing to pay more, find a good camera for which you can buy a custom case, like the very popular Canon S95 and this case.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:09 AM on April 6, 2012

I've been happy with my Canon SD600 and waterproof case for a variety of kayaking/canyoneering/snorkeling activites. This setup is a few years old, but I'm pretty sure you can get similar cases for the newer Canon point-and-shoots as well.
posted by doctord at 7:22 AM on April 6, 2012

I actually just started doing some research on this myself. DPReview's latest underwater camera report had some good information and samples from each camera tested. They liked the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 a lot, and Panasonic released the TS4 earlier this year.
posted by FreezBoy at 7:58 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing the Panasonic Lumix (this is the one I got after doing some pretty extensive research--concluded it was the best bang for my buck). It really is one tought little camera--water-, freeze-, sand-, and shock-proof...still easy to use and the picture quality is great. The waterproof part is great but I've been more impressed with the shock-proof part--have dropped it several times and never had a problem (whereas the last digital camera I had I dropped from a height of about 10 inches on to a table top and it was permanently busted). Anyway, I've had several friends play around with mine and they liked it so much they got their own. I have been very, very happy with it and highly recommend. The only thing about the underwater shots is they come out pretty blue, but if you have the capabilities to adjust that later (like in Photoshop) it's fine. Still worth it I think.
posted by lovableiago at 8:04 AM on April 6, 2012

I have a Pentax W60 for snorkeling and it has been great. It is waterproof and shock resistant. I've taken it snorkeling a number of times and it has held up with no problem. I've abused it quite a lot and it is fine. I really like having a camera that I can use in any crazy way I want. How about a picture of what we look like from inside this here gin and tonic? dunk, click.

Whatever you get, go for waterproof and rugged.
posted by bdc34 at 9:07 AM on April 6, 2012

FreezeBoy's DPReview is on the money in regards to the FujiFilm XP30. My wife and I got one last year at CostCo for our trip to Hawaii and it performed beautifully as far as our expectations. We bought it specifically for taking pictures while snorkeling, and we ended up with quite a few good pics (not all underwater). The panorama function was a pretty cool extra, too.

The only thing I hated about it was the motor noise on the video if you zoom in or out while recording, though the reviews did mention this - I just didn't think it would be as loud. This is easily mitigated by using a fixed zoom level.

It short, this is a pretty good camera for the sub-$200 price range. You could do better, but you'd likely have to spend a little more.
posted by mysterpigg at 9:33 AM on April 6, 2012

My favorite point and shoot camera was a weatherproof Olympus Stylus 710. It's retired now, only because my thoughtlessness led to a broken battery door. I'd take a look at the Olympus Tough series - shockproof, waterproof to 10 ft. My Stylus took great pictures, and the image stabilization feature was a lifesaver!
posted by ThisKindNepenthe at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2012

The Nikon AW100 is the best shockproof (5' drop) and snorkel-depth waterproof (to 10m!) point and shoot. I'm not as happy with the picture quality as with my Canon Powershot S90, which I also use an enclosure to dive with, but it's definitely better for all conditions. Also has GPS and auto-panorama.
posted by kcm at 12:07 PM on April 6, 2012

Thanks everyone for your information.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 2:29 PM on April 6, 2012

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