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Waterproof on budget?

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by jcm5, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. jcm5

    jcm5 Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    May 12, 2014
    USA
    Will be going on a trip that will require some underwater photography. I'm not looking for anything fancy as I'll be taking my EM10 + lenses for general photography. Can anyone recommend me a budget waterproof camera that takes decent pics? I know Olympus has the tough series but they seem a bit too much $ for this one time use type trip (I don't generally take underwater pics).

    Or, does anyone know of any sites where I can rent one? I checked borrowlenses.com but they didn't seem to carry the Olympus Tough.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Dec 24, 2011
    I don't know where you're going, but some resort dive shops rent underwater camera gear. You might want to check if that's an option at your destination.
     
  3. Jesse_S

    Jesse_S Mu-43 Regular

    73
    Jan 7, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Maybe look for a used, older version of one of the point and shoots or a GoPro? My wife has the Olympus Tough from 2 generations ago and it's not bad, it could probably be found for cheap. You're never going to get super great underwater shots without some serious kit, though and remember that most of the cheaper p&s cameras only go down to about 10 feet, You can easily snorkel deeper than that so you have to be careful. But if it's just for fun...
     
  4. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
  5. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    651
    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Mike
    I wouldn't risk your EM-10 in a cheap housing, unless you're after an excuse for an upgrade.
    One of our workshop members is a keen underwater photographer he tells me even very expensive housings can leak. Someone on one of his photographic dive holidays abroad lost his DSLR to a leak & spent the rest of his holiday unable to take photos. rather limiting on a small dive boat for several days.
    I was lucky enough to spot a end of line underwater compact (with housing) in the supermarket for £30 a couple of years ago. If the housing leaks I've only lost a little.
    You may be able to find a used camera on e-bay or similar. If so I'd recomend testing any housing without the camera first & appling a little silicone grease to any seals.

    If it's likely to be a one off requirement it might be worth considering a film based underwater disposable. I've got one left over at home from years ago, an have seen others in the Chemists recently. You'd loose the advantages of digital, but still be able to take some shots without risking killing your camera.
     
  6. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Dec 24, 2011
    I'd second the recommendation for buying a used camera and housing. UW photographers are also subject to GAS and you can sometimes get a good deal on an older underwater housing and camera. A few months ago we sold our EPL-2 c/w housing and ports for $600. Wetpixel.com and Scubaboard.com are two websites that have underwater photography buy & sell areas.
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I am in the same boat as the OP (pardon he pun), and the choices are really not that great. If space was not an issue, I could have picked up a refurbished Nikon 1 and a Nikon housing for $300 total, but it was quite a bit larger than I wanted to carry. I looked at a variety of "bag" options, and decided that none really made that much sense, as they were either risky (for leaks) or inconvenient to use. Most of the P/S cameras share the same type of 16MP BSI sensor, but none offer raw files or the ability to control sharpening or noise reduction. The TG-3 is supposed to be the best of the bunch, and while I was not really happy with its output, I bought it anyways. If your trip is in May or later, I might consider selling it to recover some costs, as I see limited use in the future.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  8. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    What depth? Diving, or just snorkeling/swimming? It makes a difference, because cameras that go deeper need to be able to handle the extra pressure. Either way, I agree with the "buy last year's model used" advice. You should be able to get a waterproof P&S, or a P&S with a housing, for not too much money. What's your budget?
     
  9. scottz

    scottz Mu-43 Regular

    135
    Jun 18, 2011
    Littleton, CO
    If you don't mind using film, there are some great deals on ebay for some Nikonos cameras. I just looked and there's a Nikonos V with strobe at $99 with no bids ending in 14 hours. I think a lot of dive shops can check the seals for you.
     
  10. jcm5

    jcm5 Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    May 12, 2014
    USA
    Just the regular snorkel/swimming, no deep diving. I was hoping for something around $100-200 (at most) but it seems like many of the good options are easily over that price point.

    Anyone know anything about Sony's AZ1VR-HD mini action-cam? I saw some used copies for around $125 and it's a bit different than a camera in the strict sense, since it's more of a GoPro like recording device, but maybe it could do the job...
     
  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I do not know about this specific model, but I looked at a Sony GoPro type camera as well as the basic GoPro as well. These come with waterproof housings, and the sensors are about the same size as the P/S compacts (and still images are usually around 5MP, but that might not be an issue depending on quality). But, the lenses are quite wide and the controls are quite limited, so you have to like that style of shooting. I know that Costco has been carrying the Fuji P/S for about $160 off and on. It has mixed reviews. And, there was a very basic Nikon P/S with almost no controls that was selling for around $100, but it had a very small sensor.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  12. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    The reconditioned Oly TG-850s are $159 at the Olympus outlet store, and if you can wait for a coupon, you can get one for 20% off. No, the quality won't be fabulous, but it should be decent. For UW stuff, unless you have some serious equipment, you're basically taking snapshots anyway. No TG-3s in the outlet store at the moment, but they have them sometimes.
     
  13. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I did just that. Picked up a reconditioned TG-850 with the 20% off coupon. A bargain. It's not bad and even does a decent job on video. The TG-3 may be better, but is more expensive.
     
  14. jcm5

    jcm5 Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    May 12, 2014
    USA
    Where did you get this coupon and how much is it with that? Thanks
     
  15. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    getolympus.com occasionally advertises it. The last one was for President's Day weekend. So, just keep your eyes open. You can put yourself on their mailing list and they'll let you know when they have specials.

    I think it was something like $127 with the coupon. Hard to beat that. And, it works fine.
     
  16. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    Also, people post here when Oly does the 20% off coupon. The really hot items (some of the lenses) sell out quickly, but the Tough cameras don't go fast.
     
  17. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    849
    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Chris
    I had the same issue. I am going on a cruise soon and wanted a camera. My options came down to two so I pass it along as two of many options to consider.

    1. Get a used E-PM1 body for around $100 or maybe less. Use my fixed 20mm lens ($0). Get a DiCaPac bag to fit ($50). After the trip, I was going to sell the E-PM1 for $80+ and keep the bag for a future outing.

    2. Get the refurbished Oly TG-850 from getolympus.

    I was on the fence and initially decided to lean towards the E-PM1 and DiCaPac bag. Then the presidents day 20% off sale showed up and it was the small change that helped me decide. I got the refurbished TG-850 (It was $135 with taxes and shipping included).

    So far it has been a nice little camera in good light. I used it on a ski trip and plan on using it for the upcoming cruise.
     
  18. jcm5

    jcm5 Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    May 12, 2014
    USA
    Thanks for all these responses. I'll be traveling in a couple months, I hope there's a 20% off sale before then.....
     
  19. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    They often happen on major US holiday weekends. And, the TG cameras do sometimes sell quite fast, especially the TG-3. Do note that if you plan on keeping the camera and want a warranty longer than 90 days, it can be as goofd of, if not better, pricing at B&H. They were selling new TG-850's for around $219, with no tax or shipping fees. Compare that with a refurbished model with the newly priced extended warranty, and the savings quickly disappears. And no waiting for stock to replenish.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  20. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I got the refurbished TG-850 when it was on sale, meaning my after-tax total was something ridiculous like ~$130.

    The ultrawide angle and flipping screen meant that it was our selfie + snorkelling camera in one. The image quality is definitely not going to blow you away, especially once you go a little bit under the surface due to the slow lens and small sensor...

    ...but it means that I have a number of pictures I would certainly not have got any other way, without the hassle and significant expense of an underwater housing. It was super cheap, and in decent light if you aren't pixel-peeping, you can capture some nice images and memories. I have a few shots swimming next to sea turtles that make me quite happy.