Perfect camera for caving???

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Perfect camera for caving???

Postby basjr » Oct 12, 2009 8:12 am

Just got to use an olympus tough 8000. This is one bad mamba-jamba. Shockproof up to 10 feet, and waterproof up to i believe 33 feet, wow. I tested both, the shock part for sure, but only a couple feet of water. Excellent features and 12 megapixels. This can all be yours for about $500, well worth it.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 12, 2009 9:19 am

unless you like buying more cameras, i suggest treating it like its not water/shock proof. you will trash it if you cave with it in your pocket. you need a hard case, ie pelican/otter box
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 12, 2009 9:27 am

I recently looked hard at buying this camera. I haven't completely ruled it out, but was discouraged by many reviews that seem to agree with what Chad said.

Chad, do you have any experience with this camera or are you speculating?

btw, this camera can be had for around $250, not $500.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby basjr » Oct 12, 2009 9:49 am

btw, if you can find a new one for $250 you da bomb and must have connections us sheep do not. Amazon and best buy list it for $379 as of this post, used for $298. Add the extended warranty for around $69 and the governments part(tax) you end up with approx. $500. Basically treat it like it is not the afore mentioned and you do have a great camera for less than ideal conditions.Re: Perfect camera for caving??? notice the question marks, phrased like that to attract attention!
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 12, 2009 12:03 pm

My experience is with the 3 guys I cave with every weekend who have them. one of them used to just carry it in his pocket. Water/shock proof right? We're doing a river cave survey so screw it, no case! Mud crawls, no problem, its shock proof! Lol long story short, the camera got TRASHED from the repeated abuse. The guy's who take better care of theirs are still on their first one.

My point is, get a hard case, and it will last longer. I have no doubt it is 100% water proof, but not sea water proof, that will ruin it in seconds, and shock proof. but that's not why they use hard cases. They use them to keep the camera in good shape. granted if you are in a dry cave with no crawling you wont need a hard case, but the abuse we put our gear through will ruin that camera over time.

I like the ruggedness of the camera, but I don't like the picture quality.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby Lava » Oct 19, 2009 6:20 pm

I took an Olympus 1030W, supposedly water and shock proof, on a Great Expectations through trip recently. I had it in a tiny Pelican case. It was getting bumped around a lot, and was almost constantly submerged. About halfway through the trip I opened the case to find it full of water. But that little sucker kept on taking pictures without a hiccup for another 8 hours or so. Afterward I let it dry out properly before opening it, and it still works great. Olympus makes great stuff.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby liketotallyrandom » Oct 20, 2009 7:32 am

I just found two Canon WP-1 35mm film cameras at a thrift store for $2.

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=218&modelid=8165#ModelFeaturesAct

They have a 32mm f3.5 lens, with a macro mode (17 inches) and timer mode. I mention this because I decided that the perfect caving snap-shot camera (as opposed to staged-shot camera) is one cheap enough that I'll use it without anxiety. These are cheap enough that I can just keep it under my shirt(s) for protection. If I lose it, no big deal because it was two dollars, and I'll eventually find another waterproof/resistant camera at the thrift store. True, film is not free, but if you just write "process only" and scan the negatives instead of getting prints, it's real cheap. Just get a 3 or 4 pack of Kodak 800 at a big box store. It even has a 2 second max shutter speed, which means I have enough time to actually use manually triggered flashes if I want to do that. Plus, my "Amish" cave photo technique makes for easy conversation during the trips :-)

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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby YuccaPatrol » Oct 21, 2009 8:40 am

Underwater SCUBA housings for many Canon and Olympus compact digitial cameras are available from the manufacturers for a reasonable price. I currently use an old Olympus Camedia 5000 as my beater camera and a Canon G7 for my "good" camera in caves. With only a lens cover, I will often just toss the camera into my bag.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 21, 2009 10:07 am

Do they make these cases for the sony cybershot???
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby MUD » Oct 21, 2009 10:44 am

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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby YuccaPatrol » Oct 21, 2009 11:17 am

I hadn't thought about using those flexible plastic cases because they are not ideal for scuba, but they would be great for caving as long as you keep the seal clean.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby pub » Oct 22, 2009 12:45 am

I'm sure the answers to the original question (Prefect camera for caving???) will vary as much as individuals’ opinions… but the consensus is they (cameras) need to be protected from the elements. You can choose to trust the manufacturers’ claims or take extra precautions.

However, no matter how waterproof manufacturers make their products, the integrity of the seals is dependant on the care taken by the end user. A grain of sand, a strand of hair, a small leaf can and have allowed water to get into these waterproof products whether it is a camera, pelican, otter, etc.

Dave Bunnell wrote:pelican and otter cases that fit the slr will be pretty bulky. I carry mine in one of the small plastic kegs that every European caver uses. White with a big red lid, big O-ring, lightweight and reliably waterproof as I've found again and again. Re: Digital SLR

We are also using these “kegs” (or “tubs” as we call them) here because of their volume; they can carry a lot of stuff and are good as a floatation aid. And they’re cheaper too! Unfortunately, I have seen water enter even these because not enough care was taken to ensure a proper seal.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby YuccaPatrol » Oct 28, 2009 4:20 pm

How to get a cheap cave-proof camera if you just want to take some photos to document your caving trips and are not expecting professional results:

If you are willing to be patient with ebay, Olympus sells their discontinued overstock for shockingly cheap prices in their ebay store. Often, you can get a waterproof scuba housing for their compact cameras for $10 or less (I just bought one for $5). Find one that houses a decent compact camera that got good reviews a couple years ago. One that has a good manual mode and a long exposure time is ideal, but for documenting your trip, most any compact camera will do.

Then, keep your eyes out for a used camera that matches the housing. I'm currently bidding on a used 6 megapixel camera that has a broken battery door that must be taped shut. I am guessing that I will end up winning it for $10 or so since most folks don't want a broken camera. It is a run of the mill compact camera, but it will be my beater camera that I can just toss in my bag and not worry about.
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Re: Perfect camera for caving???

Postby NZcaver » Oct 28, 2009 5:20 pm

Excellent advice from YuccaPatrol (says me who owns several underwater camera housings, including eBay specials). :big grin:

Also consider what you're trying to achieve with your cave photography. Some people are quite happy with quick and dirty shots, even if it means images dominated by water drops, dust, fog, overexposed/underexposed images, etc. Others go all the way and drag expensive DSLR cameras into caves in huge waterproof cases with multiple lenses, flashguns and a tripod. But most caver photo-takers seem to fall somewhere inbetween (like me).

The idea of a small bombproof digital camera (and/or housing) coupled with a small but rugged off-camera slave flash might be a good place to start. And like YuccaPatrol said, your gear doesn't need to be the latest and greatest to work well. My 'best' caving camera is a vintage 2003 5MP Olympus C5050... with perfect f1.8 glass. I've also shot a bunch of reasonable cave action photos and videos with a Canon A540 point and shoot in an underwater housing. That's a 2006 model with a tiny crappy lens, but it works.
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