Help Choosing A Camera

Postby WayneG on Mon 1/Nov/10 10:14pm

I'm after a camera that will last me and has a case for diving. I'm looking at a waterproof/shockproof/dustproof point and shoots, as I all so want to use it for tramping, canoeing and Mt. biking. I have got it down to 3 cameras and want to know if anyone knows any good or bad points for them.
The cameras are:
Olympus Mju Tough 8010
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2
They are all about the same price, so it really comes down to specifications which I don't understand.
Thanks for your help Wayne.
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby kiwi_zg on Mon 1/Nov/10 10:58pm

If you don't mind spending $698 (at photo warehouse) for a canon G11, is a great buy, heaps better spec than the others, but it is bulkier. I guess it depends on how high quality images you wish to take. Also if you are shooting action, some camera have a very slow trigger to shutter response time, some thing quite important when shooting sports.

You can get water proof housings for this camera too for underwater, sandy or dusty conditions.
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby wolffman1 on Tue 2/Nov/10 9:25am

I've got the previous version of the Panasonic, and its the HD video works really well on it and it takes a good outdoor photo. I have taken it snorkelling and playing in the surf and down the beach, and its been ok for taking out riding as its so small. The 18 month old takes it around the house to play with, and the shutter delay time is fine as long as you aren't firing the flash. I've stuck the card straight into the back of a giant panasonic tele and the video quality blew everyone away.
Things I don't like about it are that the flash is ridiculously powerful in most cases. Trying to take a photo of anything within 2m of the camera is burnt leaving a hiroshima shadow on the ground behind it. You can use a 'Baby' mode which uses a softer flash and red eye, but the shutter delay is painful. It doesn't have shutter or aperture priority settings so you can't drive it in manual which is a little bit of a pain for me. 14 Mpix is way to much in my opinion, so I end up normally dialing down the resolution to about 8 megapix and it gives a 3Mb file size which is more usable.
Its leaked once after being rinsed out after a trip to the beach through the battery cover. They ended up replacing it on warrantee as I was following the instructions, and they have changed the cover seal designs.
I think the new version's flash is better, but I don't think it has manual modes yet. It also won't shoot in raw, which may or may not be a problem for you, so your only output is jpeg. Battery life is ok, but not stellar, and if you are going away for a 3 day camping trip, I would get a spare battery. I was a little worried about the permanently exposed glass cover over the lens, vs the Olympus which is covered when the camera is turned off, but its been fine. Quick wipe with a tshirt when you first take it off the kids and its been fine. No scratchs at all.
I chose it over the olympus because the olympus cards are specific and very expensive rather than the generic SD cards so I would have had to buy more cards rather than use the ones I already have. It also came in a very funky orange colour and has a leica lens. I don't think Sony had released their waterproof camera at the time I got mine.
I don't know whether If you can get a diving case for them, and even if you could I suspect it would struggle in the darker water under 8-10m. It won't be able to trigger external strobes so its great for snorkelling on sunny days with at least reasonable visability, but its not really for diving. I imagine that all the cameras on your short list will be the same. The on camera flashes are pants underwater, as the flash is too close to the lens and it just brightens anything floating in the water.
A better camera, like the canon G11 with a waterproof housing would get you better diving photos, but the trade off will be your canoeing and mt biking.
I would get mine again
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby WayneG on Tue 2/Nov/10 5:29pm

Thank's for that wolffman, it's helped answer a few questions I had. I can get a dive case for all 3 cameras and from what I understand a fiber optic strobe would be the go for diving in the darker waters and would put an end to the flash problem. So I'm just trying to find out what users of them think.
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby ThingOne on Tue 2/Nov/10 5:57pm

Dunno about that particualar Sony camera, but In general I dont like the photos Sony cameras take, kinda like a still snapped from a movie or something.
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby Atomic on Tue 2/Nov/10 7:17pm

I took the Lumix on a around-the-world trip and its an excellent camera, takes amazing photos, nice and compact and the dust and shock proof features were great when I was using it biking. Never tested the whole water proof thing though.
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby WayneG on Tue 2/Nov/10 8:36pm

My current camera is a Lumix and I like it that's why I'm leaning towards that brand again, but wanted to know what other people with other brands think of theirs.
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby disoriented on Tue 2/Nov/10 9:53pm

Good thread :thumbsup: Looking at similar cameras myself, also including the Pentax W90, as there are some missions in the tararuas I'm planning to do that invole getting very wet.
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby pedalingkiwi on Tue 2/Nov/10 10:05pm

I've been a lifelong Olympus fan but at my very recent 'upgrade' I perused the findings of and branched out into considering other brands. They had the Lumix (earlier model) equal top of their most recent 'waterproof' compact group test (Olympus tough 8010 was near bottom) When I found the FT2 at a pretty good price and it was hard to go past.

First trip was to Stewart Island seakayaking - the thing was stellar - got dropped in sea water by accident, took underwater shots, no problems. I had been warrned they tended to overexpose so fiddled about a bit with settings - haven't yet arrived at definative settings as image density comes across very differently on camera, PC & TV monitors. As Wolffman1 indicated the Lumix is pretty fuss free, and though the lens is uncovered it is recessed, so well protected from anything except a direct blow. I found the battery life to be pretty good, though will be negatively affected cold conditions & flash use in particular. I got 4 days easy out of my battery, moderate use.

Looked also at the Sony but wasn't sure that touchscreen controls would be that good under bright sunlight, and the slidey lens cover thing just one more thing to give trouble ?

Overall well satisfied with FT2 :thumbsup:
and I've broken my Olympus apron strings :)
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Re: Help Choosing A Camera

Postby Bigfoot on Wed 3/Nov/10 2:40am

It is a shame canon's d10 is aged now, and likely to be replaced in 6 months or so. I have a d10, and absolutely love it - and on dpreview it generally gets higher user reviews than the Panasonic. Saying that, I know people with panasonics, and love them.
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