Which Waterproof Camera?

Finding the perfect camera can be a nightmare, but I’ve now come to the conclusion that there isn’t one camera that suits all circumstances. Which, of course, means that it is time to buy another camera! Well, you can’t have too many gadgets can you!

I know it wasn’t that long ago that I bought a new digital SLR (Canon EOS 450D). I haven’t used it as much as I would like, but it is just right for me when I feel like going on a photo walk or being a little artistic. However, it isn’t really practical for most of the things I do. I certainly wouldn’t want to take it mountain-biking with me as it is just to big to carry, and taking it to the beach or out on the water is just asking for trouble. So what I really need is a nice small, rugged and preferably waterproof compact AS WELL as the larger SLR.

In fact if you read my blog post about buying an SLR I said just that at the time:

So, what I want is a nice little, rugged waterproof, small compact that I can shove in my pocket or rucksack when I’m out cycling etc and a proper digital SLR so that I can get back into some proper photography

So, time to put the plan into action. I have the SLR, time to buy a compact. So far on my wish list is either a Pentax Optio W60 or an Olympus Mju Tough 8000.

Both look pretty good on paper and the reviews are good too. The Olympus is quite a bit more expensive at £263 and althuogh it has 12MP rather than the 10MP of the Pentax, I’m not at all worried by that. As far as I am concerned the resolution is nowhere near as important as the lens or the light sensitivity. The Pentax wins as far as the zoom is concerned, 5 – 25mm f / 3.5 – 5.5 (28 – 140mm in 35mm film format) compared to the 5.0 – 18.2mm (28 – 102mm equiv. 35mm) of the Olympus. It also wins on light sensitivity (ISO 50 – 6,400 compared to a maximum of  1,600 on the Olympus).

The Olympus does have a slighter larger LCD Screen at 2.7 inches vs 2.5 inches of the Pentax and it’s ruggedness is more impressive which could make it a likely contender. The Olymups is

Shock-proof from heights of up to 2m
Waterproof up to a water pressure equivalent to 10m depth
Crushproof up to 100kg
and Freezeproof up to -10°C

Perfect for life in Wales and for me to carry around (almost) wherever I go.

The Pentax on the other hand is waterproof to a depth of 3 meters, dustproof and coldproof to -10 degrees celcius . Not quite so impressive, but realistically that should be OK for most things I throw at it if I’m fairly careful

The other thing that may clinch it in favour of the Pentax (as well as the price) is the fact that the Pentax takes SDHC cards the same as my SLR (and Anna’s Compact) whereas the Olympus takes xD or MicroSD cards. The Pentax is also slighter lighter, which may matter on those long MTB climbs!

I feel a purchase coming on soon. Has anyone owned any of these cameras? How do you like them? Does anyone have any other recommendations?

5 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Well, I made a decision and actually made a purchase as well… Very good for me as it usually tkaes me weeks of research and planning before actually spending any money!

    I went for the Pentax Optio W60 in the end as it had a better feature set (for what I wanted) and was quite a bit cheaper than the Olympus. I did shop around but in the end couldn;t find it significantly cheaper than at Amazon. I could have saved £1 here and there but in the end bought it from Amazon as at least I know they are usually pretty good with delivery times and warranty back up etc.

    Hopefully I’ll be playing with it by the weekend.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Alan,

    I am debating which waterproof camera to go for and am leaning towards the Pentax W60, my only concern is that many people have said they have had problems with indoor photos with flash/low light envirnoments.

    I would be interested to see what you think.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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