Underwater Point & Shoot

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Sandy Vongries, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Going to be going back to a place by the sea for a vacation sometime next year. In past days I did a fair bit of snorkeling and scuba diving. Thought I might try to take a few underwater photos while snorkeling. I am familiar with the Nikon AW cameras, used the 120 quite a bit, though not in the water. This will probably be a one off trip, and I have a good supply of other cameras, so don't care to spend a fortune. Is there any Point&Shoot that can deliver a decent result at a modest price?
  2. I'm in the same situation. I'm planning a trip where water activities are a major part. For me, I'm probably just going with a GoPro.

    But if you just want stills, the Oly Tough TG-5, Nikon AW and Canon Powershot D30 if you want to spend $400+. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS-30 and Fyji XP80 for about $150. There are others of course.

    I've used the OIy and Nikon AW and they're great for that specific use. I'm curious myself about the IQ from the $150 cameras.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I bought an AW for my son a couple of years ago which he has used for a variety of watery escapades - works well for him. They do seem to have gone up in price. I believe I got him a refurb for around $150. I looked at the Tough at that time. I'll revisit that as well, appreciate the reminder!
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

  5. I might have to look at one of those myself.
  6. I have an older Fuji Finepix XP-60, which makes quite decent underwater shots if the light is OK. It is not a deep diving sort of thing but it's fine for snorkeling down to six meters. The out of water image quality is not bad either, and it makes a nice all around pocket camera, very robust and weatherproof.

    One thing I miss in these is that they do not float. I had an old Minolta that floated, but you need a bouyant strap for this one.
  7. I honestly don't know.
    I recently got a Pentax Optio WG-2. Previous owners retired it shooting Samsung phones now. It makes a decent photographic boot knife for a frequently soaked motor biker in a not overly weatherproof jacket.
    Have you pondered stuffing some camera you have into the plastic bag kind of underwater housings?
    Could you find use for a GoPro ashore? - No clue about their IQ but they are claiming to do stills and come with underwater housings.
    I had been pondering Nikon 1 AW1 but wasn't convinced by it.
  8. This is the typical image quality from most of these types of small sensor cameras...

    Olympus TG-870 Review - Image Quality | PhotographyBLOG

    Note the high ISO rendering at 400 to 800 which is most likely what you'll have to be shooting at for underwater low light situations that need a fast shutter speed. You're at the mercy of their noise reduction algorithms shooting jpeg. It doesn't look much better than an iPhone or other small sensor camera.

    If you can find one that shoots Raw I'ld go with that if image quality is of concern.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    If you come right down to it, I could get any of the older Nikons with kit lens like my original D60 and do just that. I have a vague recollection of my Dad buying a flexible plastic housing. Pretty sure he didn't use the Leica, but can't remember if he got hold of a lesser camera or just never used it. The Go Pro just doesn't appeal -- haven't been on my Road Bikes in a couple of years, and the knees...another story. To me, having used the AW 1 at some length for work, the lack of a viewfinder was the weak point on land. The photos were quite good. Suspect the Fuji would be the same. Have some time yet to decide. I used to be an avid snorkeler / diver but that was years ago. I should probably take a short refresher course and determine my aquatic ability before I buy anything. At worst, there will be enormous photo opportunities on land.
  10. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    What is surprising in the Caribbean and to a lesser extent in the places I dove in Hawaii (though in fairness that was after a storm on one occasion) is just how clear the water can be. Literally gin clear, plenty to see in 6 to 10 feet - haven't metered it, but can't imagine more than 400 would be needed. Remains to be seen. Probably managing expectations is the key.
  11. Didn't consider the clarity of water and available overhead sunlight you're planning to photograph under.

    I was going by the lighting in my local spring river that has reasonable clarity (not like the Caribbean) when I'ld planned on buying one of these cameras. I was in luck when a local river advocacy field technician lent me his Panasonic Lumix to shoot river bottom conditions and struggled getting a good picture because the trees on the banks of the river were reducing available light considerably enough to trigger the camera's flash since I wasn't shooting manual and didn't spend enough time to become familiar with the camera.

    They're P&S's for crying out loud. I pointed and it wouldn't shoot! And when it did, I either got blurry, soft results or black frame from underexposure. I'ld assumed it was from a lack of light.

    I see all the GoPro YouTube video footage taken by teens of the same river and the picture is perfect but the stills off these cameras aren't all that great either.
  12. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    The silt is the thing - did rivers & lakes as well. The first time I went to the Caribbean (had been diving in Long Island Sound & else where in the NE for several years) . I was 16 or so and the boat Captain said I could jump off into shallows - stepped off 15 feet from shore holding my gear - 12 feet deep. You could have seen a quarter on the bottom. I'll find out if it is still like that -- if so, a bucket list thing!
  13. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  14. Thanks for the Dpr link, Norman.

    From the full size views of the JPEG vs Raw comparisons of the underwater shot not even a Raw will deliver good enough quality for a 12x16in. enlargement.

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