Waterproof Digital Cameras for Paddling
It’s a magical day on the water. Mountains sparkle as sunlight dances. Rain clouds promise both spectacular views and sudden drenchings. You wipe your glasses. There’s a constant drizzle as rain mixes with salt spray.
Suddenly a pod of orcas appears, blowing their damp breath into the cool air. It’s the chance of a lifetime; too bad your camera is buried in an inaccessible waterproof container in your boat. You’ll have no pictures to back up your bragging rights.
Today’s electronic marvels do not mix well with inclement weather—or do they? Like mushrooms after a rain, a multitude of water- and weather-resistant digital cameras offer paddlers new photo-taking possibilities to capture precious on-water memories.
These digital marvels offer features for novice shooters as well as aspiring pro photographers. Most have large LCD monitors for viewing the pictures, built-in flash, and rechargeable batteries.
Here are some of the digital options for the memory seeking boater. All are either waterproof or weatherproof, or have an optional waterproof housing.
- CANON POWERSHOT S60
- GO PRO DIGITAL HERO
- SEALIFE DC500
- SEA & SEA DX-750G
- SEA & SEA DX-8000G
- PENTAX OPTIO W10 (AND THE NEW W20)
- OLYMPUS STYLUS 720SW
- OLYMPUS STYLUS 500
- OLYMPUS STYLUS 1000
DIGITAL CAMERA FAQs – Digital technology introduces a photographer to a whole new world of jargon. Some are similar to film photography and some are whole new animals….just what is shutter lag? Here are some of the common terms explained.
Waterproofing vs. Weatherproofing
Waterproof cameras can be totally submerged in water. Usually this is limited to a certain depth. Weatherproof cameras can be splashed or rained on, but not dunked underwater.
This is a concept that is unfamiliar to film photographers and is by far the most annoying feature of point-and-shoot digital cameras. It is the time between when you push the shutter button and when the picture is taken. It can be up to three seconds with some older cameras. Newer versions mostly keep it under control, and it is less noticeable. Cheaper cameras still have a long delay.
This refers to the size of the image-capturing sensor in cameras. Larger is better (and more expensive). Not everyone needs 8 megapixels. Generally, 2 mp is enough for Web use and small snapshots. Three or 4 is fine for shots up to 8-by-10 inches, and 5 or more for 11-by-14 and larger prints. Match your needs to the sensor size and you should be fine.
Digital cameras record files. There are several common file types. Jpg files (JPEG) are the most common. They compress the picture files so you can fit many pictures on your camera’s storage device, but they may be of slightly lower quality. TIFF files make better-quality pictures but are much larger files. Raw files are the equivalent of a digital negative, and a few cameras offer them. This is desirable if you are going to post-process your files (play with them on the computer—this is a major source of marital contention worldwide).
Many models now offer only an LCD monitor on the back of the camera. Usually that is fine, but LCDs are sometimes difficult to see in bright sunlight; they also use up precious battery power, which is a problem if you are on a long trip.
The digital files are stored on one of several types of storage cards—little cards that slip into a camera. Other than size, there is not much difference between the types.
This is similar to ASA for film. It refers to the capability of the camera to capture images in low-light situations (dusk/dawn, when the light is the best). Like higher ASA film, higher ISOs tend to have a grainy appearance.
All digital cameras have this. It is the camera’s ability to filter light colors to make a photo look as if it was shot in daylight. Remember when you would shoot inside with film and get yellow photos? Digital cameras can adjust to the type of light and get rid of that color to make your photos appear as you see them. Filters that we used on film cameras are no longer necessary.