Derrick has posted about the pitfalls of waterproof photography for kayakers. Read his post here. This is pretty timely as there has been recent discussion on the club forum and I just ditched my Olympus Mju850. The Olympus was as tough as nails. It copped all the abuse I could hurl at it and it looked as good as the day I bought it. I bummed around Bali with it, took it to Rock ‘n’ Roll, many trips and it never let me down. However, it didn’t survice my son Conor whose response to and XD card not going in backwards was to shove it harder in until it wouldn’t come out. When I eventually extrated it, all the pins were bent and twisted in the slot so I realised that it was game over the the Mju. With nothing to lose, I decided to pull it apart but to my surprise the tiny screws holding it together were corroded in their holes. When it did come apart, the interior was corroded and the lens blind was rusted. Copper corrosion was underway around various circuits and I just knew that even without Conor’s intervention, the camera was on borrowed time. Pretty disappointing since it was only less than a year old.
Compared to the Pentax, and many kayakers have already claimed to have had repeat failures with them, the Olympus’ image quality is very ordinary. This is characteristic of all Olympus compacts and to a lesser extent their SLRs. Clipped highlights, poor dynamic range and average metering are all constant failings of Olympus compacts.
I recently bought a Fujifilm J15 which comes with a waterproof case. This camera is superbasic with pretty poor handling even without the case. I bought it for my daughter Maddie but also a bit for me too. We have had it at the beach already and it is impossible to see the LCD in the Australian sun and the shutter lag is appalling but I think it has the best chance of survival. I think I will give it a year or so and if the case works out, I’ll buy a decent Canon with a real underwater housing and start getting good photos.