Cameras for Kayakers

06 Jan

Almost a good camera

Almost a good camera

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.

Cheap underwater solution. But is it worth it?

Cheap underwater solution. But is it worth it?

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.


Posted by on January 6, 2009 in Uncategorized


4 responses to “Cameras for Kayakers

  1. Tom

    January 6, 2009 at 9:20 am


    Tricky subject isn’t it? I’ve been using a Canon A640 Powershot with waterproof housing for quite a while – works great, the only downside being the relative bulk of the system. However it is tuly waterproof, and can be used snorkelling / diving etc. I’ve not seen a better set up for what I need, just a shame it doesn’t slip into a pocket like the mju does!



  2. squid71

    January 11, 2009 at 5:20 am

    Mate it sounds like your camera may have packed it in soon. What kind of abuse did you subject your camera to? I am in need of a reliable camera for on the water and the lack of choice is underwhelming!

  3. rjimlad

    January 11, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I’m the camera scion for Domayne and have been involved with digital cameras since the mitochondrial eve of cameras. I have seen them all and used most and to be quite honest I’ve yet to see an impressive digital camera. They are nowhere near film in quality. The current choice for cameras for kayakers is painfully thin. The very best choice would be a Canon, say a G9, in a waterproof case. Douglas from Seakayakphoto uses a canon 5D SLR in a case. Very heavy.

  4. Rob

    March 25, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I used a Canon Powershot with waterproof case for my Whitsundays trip a few years ago. Even tho it was only 4 MP I was really impressed with the photo qulaity. I know have a G9 as my standard camera and have just got the underwater housing for it this week. It will get its first use at this weeknd’s RnR at Umina. Yes, the case is a bit bulky but I think the results will be worth it.
    I was looking at the new Olympus camera rated to 10m but found a knowledgeable person at the store who asked what I already used then advised me to steer clear of the Olympus. She also gave me a heads-up on new waterproof models due out soon by Panasonic and Canon but in the end it was still cheaper to get the underwater housing for my Canon G9.


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