Why can't anyone manufacture a decent waterproof camera?

Started Jan 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Rod McD
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Why can't anyone manufacture a decent waterproof camera?
Jan 22, 2013

I've read the releases and reviews of waterproof cameras with some reservation every year.  Remarkable as they are, there hasn't been one that has persuaded me to buy it since the Nikonos in the days of film.

  1. Why must every digital camera with any pretensions to being waterproof have a tiny sensor?  It's as if there is some assumption that adventurous types (hikers, yachties, canoeists, surfers, divers, cavers, etc) will be satisfied with lesser IQ than other photographers.  If anything I'd say that the majority  photograph their travels, landscapes, nature and perhaps their sport in action - and they would prefer better quality.
  2. Why must they all be small, often polished, flat cameras with folded light path optics?  Again it seems that there's an assumption that we prefer very small.  Sure it's handy for those seeking to minimise weight in a back pack, but they've taken it too far.  They're too small, have little grips, and can't be used effectively at all with gloves.
  3. The internet is littered with stories of them leaking.  It's got to the stage where my friends who have them won't take them surfing let alone diving, and they treat the waterproofing as  sort of water-resistance.  The reason for failure is obvious.  The hinged door hatches for the batteries and cards just aren't up to it.  The manufacturers have abandoned a hundred years of development that gave us the "o" ring seal for the convenience of a hinged door. Please we're not so thick and lazy that we can't operate a screw in plug with a real "o" ring.

The alternatives aren't attractive. DSLR waterproof cases that operate to diving depths are huge and may cost more than the camera they contain.  Canon deserve some credit for producing decent polycarbonate waterproof cases for their G series, but they cost almost as much as the camera too and they have some disadvantages (loss of some functions, cooking the camera above water, etc).  Another issue is that they are model-specific and digital cameras don't last that long -  the expense of the case isn't that attractive when you can't re-use it a couple of models along the line.

I'd like to see a purpose built WP camera with pressure resistance to say 40m, a sensor of 1.5" - APSC, with an direct path fixed zoom of 24-100mm (35mm equiv) say 2.8 - 4.5, decent macro, PASM, 16 mpx, RAW +jpeg, filter threads and a WP flash connection.  If someone made a camera with a large textured grip they could put a 1" (25mm) screw in hatch in the bottom that could take an SD card and a purpose made battery.

Any takers?

Cheers,  Rod

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