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8/18/2015 6:41 am  #1

Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I've always paddled with a conventional camera. Early waterprrof cameras didn't give very good images. But I understand they've improved considerably over the past few years.

Anyone had good results using a waterproof camera while paddling? Any particular brand/model to recommend? Any sample photos?


8/18/2015 6:57 am  #2

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

Great topic Barry . . .

I've relegated my first "pocket" digital, to canoe trip duty for years because I figure its a matter of when, not if that it takes a swim.  (I keep it on my belt at all times, which of course is right beside the gunnel when paddling)

I'm hoping next year to get a waterproof camera, add a floater strap, and upgrade my trip photos considerably. (Not to mention capturing some cool under water shots I've seen posted here from time to time)

Would love real feedback on some tried and true models for AP . . .


8/18/2015 7:01 am  #3

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I have an Olympus Tough TG 620 waterproof & shockproof camera.  I use it everywhere - while paddling it usually sits by my feet, and I know this is unrelated but it's excellent for snorkelling.  It's been bruised battered and dropped many times (we don't have a casing for it) but works perfect. Totally lives up to its name


8/18/2015 8:16 am  #4

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I have the Fujifilm xp. Very similar to the Olympus. Takes great shots but you lose on the zoom being a pocket camera.   No complaints from me though


8/18/2015 8:17 am  #5

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

Not exactly what you asked about but, we use our iphones as camera (always on airplane mode to conserve battery and to preserve the peacefullness of a trip) and we have a sealline soft sided case for them. They can take a dump in the case and still be fine. You can technically take pictures through the case; the touchscreen still works and the case is clear so the camera will take the picture. But, you do get a better picture when you take it out of the case.

I've contemplated a proper waterproof camera for awhile but when your phone takes such great pictures it's hard to justify the expense. 


8/18/2015 8:28 am  #6

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I was lucky enough to have been gifted a GoPro by my wife almost a year ago and love it's versatility and of course the ability to use it under water. Although I wouldn't recommend it for photography as it doesn’t have a zoom function.

I am taking it for my one nighter to Pinetree Lake and will be sure to post my edited video!


8/18/2015 9:21 am  #7

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

Something about waterproof cameras, if a drop of water lands on the lens while it is in the canoe, the image may be distorted. A plastic bag helps avoid that and keeps dust off at the same time.

OK, 2nd post complete, time to try some links.


8/18/2015 9:28 am  #8

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I have a Canon D30 now. Ok, I left it with Scott and he's had it for most of the summer. even on his first trip with the D30 he was getting moose pictures that he wouldn't have got with the non-waterproof but much bettter lens camera that was safely packed away.

The D30 isn't rated the best quality pictures but it is decent and has a 5X optical zoom which is enough to make it useful. 


8/18/2015 9:31 am  #9

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

"Early waterproof cameras didn't give very good images. But I understand they've improved considerably over the past few years."

Well, it seems at the moment they won't match DSLR quality but they will be good enough for viewing online and maybe small prints. I like PC Mag's camera reviews since they test all their reviews the same way, with Imatest technology and many waterproofs score image sharpness over 1800... Imatest definition of a sharp lens.

I also went with Olympus since they seem to have been at the waterproof, shockproof camera business the longest and maybe more refinements have been worked in. PC Mag has been reviewing some being "excellent"... for waterproof cameras. Can't complain with the TG-820 bought in 2012, good enough for my monitor... compact no-fuss pocket size and operation. The image processor works in a variety of modes and provides reasonably good color, although maybe brighter colors and bluer-toned than other brands.

PC Mag's TG-820 sharpness test came in at 2019 and the lens seems to be adequately sharp. Here's a little sharpness test... first photo below is a wide-angle photo with plenty of detail in it,  showing the entire frame. The second is the outlined section from the first photo blown up on computer (not a different telephoto shot). The duck blind in the distance shows up in the blow-up showing there's more detail in the first photo than can be resolved.

Last edited by frozentripper (8/18/2015 9:34 am)


8/18/2015 9:35 am  #10

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?


8/18/2015 9:40 am  #11

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I have the Olympus Tough TG-4. Which is currently the best option in the market. Marketed as an enthusiast’s waterproof camera. Has an F2.0 lens. 25-100mm optical zoom. Aperture Priority. More controls than most cameras in the category. You will certainly get more pics as this camera can stay in your PFD pocket all day.

It's a quantity over quality thing though. It has a very small sensor. If you are anything like me you will be disappointed by the picture quality. Huge loss of detail and dynamic range compared to DSLR and good interchangeable lens cameras.


8/18/2015 2:44 pm  #12

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

Another vote for the Olympus Tough series. I dont' take a lot of pictures when I'm out there, but you can't beat waterproof and shockproof. I can stand on my camera and it won't hurt it at all.

That being said, not a photo-buff so no idea on technicals of photography.


8/19/2015 4:36 pm  #13

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

Nice image FT.  I have had my eye on Olympus for awhile.  Just a matter of time before my DSLR goes for a swim. 


8/20/2015 6:29 am  #14

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-T55 for 3/4 years now. It advertised as waterproof, dirtproof ans shockproof. It lives in my PFD pocket, for quick access. I don't take many pictures and I'm not a good photograph, but I take 100% more than I used to with my SLR tightly and securely packed away!


8/20/2015 7:47 am  #15

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

Thanks CF... yeah, Look Up, quick and easy access helps. Photo below, didn't have to unpack the waterproof pack, change to telephoto lens and then paddle into position hoping for a good shot. Just reach into a pocket and fire away.

PS... the woods around Bancroft are crawling with these critters so not very unusual but still nice to see one from the canoe swimming...

Last edited by frozentripper (8/20/2015 7:50 am)


8/20/2015 8:36 am  #16

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

I was going to go with the TG-4, but after taking sample shots with it I decided to go with the Sony RX100. It's not waterproof, but it's really compact and the pictures are stunning. I keep it in a Ziploc bag (the ones with the zipper-like slider) while in the canoe. Still very accessible, and hopefully won't die completely if we ever dunk. But the picture are amazing, and I have full manual control. Also lets me do night-time shots.

This may be sacrilegious, but the pics below are from last week's trip to Wolf Lake in Temagami. 

Night-time (15 sec exposure with ISO1600, f1.8). 

Last edited by Marko_Mrko (8/25/2015 7:45 pm)


8/20/2015 9:44 am  #17

Re: Waterproof cameras for paddling?

This spring I started glancing at waterproof cameras, but got sidetracked by the old Sony HX50 (forerunner of the Sony RX100) coming on sale for under $250. At the time I figured that even if I dunked with it, it wouldn't be an outrageous loss.

So I got it and became so appreciative of its features that I ended-up protecting it like my regular camera .. totally loosing the intended advantage of treating it as a 'splashable' camera.

I must give it credit for being able to produce some great shots .. like this full image 30x tele shot of canoeists on the Barron River taken from on top of the cliff ...

And this handheld 3-shot bracketed HDR at Cork Lake ...

But it did remain protected inside a plastic bag for the most part. So, I missed a number of spontaneous shots which I wouldn't have if I'd had a small waterproof camera in my PFD pouch or dangling around my neck during a downpour on a portage!

That waterproof bag simply gets in the way of spontaneous shots. Thus, my original inquiry about waterproof cameras. I'm still interested!

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