May 26, 2009
WARNING FOR all OLYMPUS "Tough" Camera's
Olympus only does warranty for 12 months following purchase of camera. Even if
after that time issues arise which are related to manufacturer defect. "waterproof",
"tough" and "shockproof" should be taken in context of use for 12 months.
I received an estimate of $135 + $25 shipping (from manufacturer) to repair water
leaking into the frame of a 18 month old $400 camera. It is noted on my repair
form that this camera is not scratched, dented or shown any signs of misuse, other
than water damage to the LCD screen, fogged flash, and water inside camera. My
lesson on this is unfortunately not to purchase perceived quality and instead buy
cheap and re-purchase often.
I think if you read the 'fine print' in the instruction manual, Olympus recommends sending the camera in every 12 months to insure the seals retain their 'waterproof' quality. I have an 18 month old 720 SW that I haven't sent in yet, but I don't take it underwater, I just bang it around everyday and subject it to sweaty shirt and/or pants pockets on hikes, hmmm, maybe time to send it in for a tune up...
I agree with your assessment though I have a tough time accepting that over the life of the camera it needs a $100 repair bill each year to ensure that it is waterproof. My $400 original investment + $100 each year quickly indicates this is a money pit.
Olympus sells these as waterproof and shockproof cameras (and even had a display of one sitting in a container of water) but they caveat it by the fine print. I'm just trying to make a few people aware of this before they make the mistake and buy an Olympus camera.
Thanks for the warning. As someone who is considering a Tough, I'll have to think about this a bit more. It certainly is an issue that dissuades me from picking one up.
Olympus only does warranty for 12 months following purchase of
camera. Even if
after that time issues arise which are related to manufacturer
what defect? you dont know what the cause of the problem was, and since you had it for 18 months the chances of it being the manufactures fault is very slim.
"tough" and "shockproof" should be taken in context of use for 12
1 year warranty is on pretty much ALL the point and shot cameras. what are you expecting? them so give a lifetime warranty on a digital camera?
leaking into the frame of a 18 month old $400 camera. It is noted on
form that this camera is not scratched, dented or shown any signs of
does not mean you didnt accidentally open the door or have hair/sand/ect causing a leak from last time you charged the batter or opened the card door.
like the other posters mentioned any underwater device that has rubber o-rings needs replacement sooner or later... its the same for the underwater housings, they dont last forever. if you don't feel that's enough get the extended warranty next time, it sucks the camera broke but don't play the blame game and have unrealistic expectations.
I'm sure these have a depth limit too. Nothing lasts forever and water tight seals are no exception. That's why Olympus asks you to send the camera in for service every 12 months.
I have owned quite a few underwater housings and currently have two. I clean and service the O-rings every time I take them in the water - every day on a multi day trip.
For a good, economical waterproof camera you can use for years, get any one of the Olympus or Canon cameras that offer a clear plastic housing for the camera. Get that housing while it's still available as an accessory and keep the O-rings greased and clean. Once a year replace the O-rings with new ones, or whenever they show wear or nicks. A piece of hair, fabric or dirt on an O-ring can cause these Tough cameras or any underwater housing to leak.
Here's a shot of a friend of mine with his C-5060 in an Olympus housing. He's got it mounted on a handle bracket with a red Inon strobe and a yellow UW focus light. Taken with my C-8080.
I have the Olympus C-8080 in an Ikelite housing. I've had it for about 4 years now. I just took it on a dive trip and had it down to 60 feet 2 or 3 times a day all week. I replaced the O-rings for the 2nd time this year. I keep the seals dirt-free. I inspect the O-rings and seal surfaces with a magnifying glass because my eyes are a bit older now. It's been a great value and the C-8080 takes excellent UW photos.
Here's a shot of my C-8080 in an Ikelite housing with the WA dome port and WCON 08D lens. The strobes are just out of the picture on those arms. Taken with the C-5060 in an Olympus housing.
I am doing some backup research on the WP Olympus I bought on a lark. I really should have done my research first, but relative to my regular camera it was very low cost to me and does two things my $8000 camera doesn't. The Olympus fits in my pocket and supposedly I can throw it in the pool. Best part was I was in Fallon, NV at the time and the casino paid for the camera because I got lucky.
In the meantime, it is good to know that I should consider it as only being good for about a year or so before the seals will go enough that I can expect failure.
A housing for my expensive camera would cost enough to buy about 30+ olympus P&S cameras over time, so I decided to go with the small P&S given how rarely I want to shoot in an environment I wouldn't want to put my expensive camera.
Save the Model, Save the Camera, The photographer can be repaired.
Do you think that a 12-month warranty is unfair? If so, why?
'I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.'
The OP does make a good point in his cost versus usability analysis. He paid $400 for an "underwater" camera that he has to spend $100 per year to maintain. Due to the planned obselescenece of all electronics, after about two years the camera is only worth $150 to $200, if that. With an annual cost of $100 it's not a good value for a camera you might want to take snorkelling on a regular basis. And it has limited P&S capabilities. That's why I suggested the camera and housing in my post above. For regular use it's a much better value. The sytem can be maintained for a fraction of the cost by regular cleaning and replacing of cheap O-rings that you can do yourself.
On our trip to Curacao last week a friend brought along a new Canon G-10 and the accessory UW housing. As a new photog, it worked great for her. Two friends have the Olympus C-5060 in Olympus housings that work great. My wife gets decent shots with her Canon A-610 in a $160 plastic housing ($400 total cost new). Another friend has the Oly C-7070 in an Ikelite housing. You've been diving with me and seen me use my C-8080 in an Ikelite housing. With a good UW strobe, all of these systems work great UW for a reasonable cost.
You have the Ikelite housing for the E-3. How is that working for you? I want to upgrade to that system.
Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
dave gaines wrote:
The OP does make a good point in his cost versus usability analysis.
He paid $400 for an "underwater" camera that he has to spend $100 per
year to maintain. Due to the planned obselescenece of all
electronics, after about two years the camera is only worth $150 to
$200, if that. With an annual cost of $100 it's not a good value for
a camera you might want to take snorkelling on a regular basis.
he had to pay 100+ because he did NOT do the yearly suggested maintenance and parts broke... its much cheaper if he does it the right way and replaces the parts before damage is causes.
What's the annual cost, plus shipping and loss of use during repair?
In reply to Tmaxx222, May 29, 2009
Good point. The OP doesn't say what the regular annual cost would be. But if you do the recommended maintenance and it fails after a year for any reason, is he still out of warranty and must pay the repair bill? It's amazing they could repair it at all.
So what is the annual cost for maintenance service? Add shipping costs. And the camera is not available for use during service. If it's over $50 it's too high for a camera that quickly looses value due to planned obsolescence and normal wear. It may only be worth $150 after 2 years, if that.
Tough as it may be, I think if you drop it and take it under water there's an increased risk of leaking.
I did a quick search for a Canon G-10 with an UW housing at B&H. Cost is about $500 for the camera plus $170 for the housing. $670 total. I had one in my hands last week and watched my friend shoot it UW all week. It's a much better value for UW photography and a far better topside camera than any Tough. Still, nothing in a P&S available today is nearly as good as the Olympus C-5060, C-7070 or C-8080 for topside photography or UW in an Olympus or Ikelite UW housing.
Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
dave gaines wrote:
I have owned quite a few underwater housings and currently have two.
I clean and service the O-rings every time I take them in the water -
every day on a multi day trip.
what is your procedure? which grease do you use?
Do you have an underwater camera housing? I see you're posting on the Nikon forum too.
I use silicone grease. It's about the consistency of petroleum jelly, only it's clear to white in color.
First I clean the O-ring and sealing surface with a soft cloth. I use alchohol if needed to clean the UW case surfaces and even the O-ring. Then I look for traces of cloth fiber, dirt or hair on the housing and O-rings. It really helps to work in a clean, dust-free area. I have 3 furry cats so I have to be really careful. I use a magnifying glass to help me see minute particles.
A piece of hair will make a housing leak at 30 to 60 feet deep, or less. Every ten meters deep is one more atmosphere of pressure, 14.7 psi or 101 kPa. That's above the ambient air pressure inside the housing.
The silicone grease is not necessary for sealing. It's only used to preserve the rubber O-ring over time. It protects it from rapid degradation in smoggy air. But we all slather it on thick just before we close the housing for a dive. We should also be greasing them before storage. I rub it on with my fingers and then check again for fibers, dirt and hair.
I also try to clean and seal up the housing with the camera inside while I'm still at home in a dry environment, before I go down to the boat or beach. Moisture or damp sea air inside the housing will form condensation on all of the interior surfaces, including the port in front of the lens as soon as you take it into to cool water. It doesn't harm the camera much but it fogs all of your images and you can't see the LCD screen or controls as well. The same thing will happen if you bring the camera in from very cold air and take it in to shoot around humid air such as in a damp kitchen. I did that this winter and got a dozen foggy images before the camera warmed up. I walked in from freezing snow to a big cafateria line with steam tables, and well, you can guess what happened.
I hope that helps you.
Underwater Photographer with C-8080 and E-3
dave gaines wrote:
Do you have an underwater camera housing? I see you're posting on the
Nikon forum too.
I haven't as yet, but after seeing your pics, I am thinking about getting one. Really appreciate the detailed response, it's a real help.
I use silicone grease. It's about the consistency of petroleum jelly,
only it's clear to white in color.
First I clean the O-ring and sealing surface with a soft cloth. I use
alchohol if needed to clean the UW case surfaces and even the O-ring.
I'm assuming you use isopropyl alcohol for this?
Re: What's the annual cost, plus shipping and loss of use during repair?
In reply to dave gaines, May 31, 2009
I'm thinking of getting a Oly Tough simply as I don't want to have an 'accident' on my boat that involves dropping my E510 over the side
A little Oly touch 8000 with a key chain float attached to it would survive such a dunking, my E510 and lens would most probably be a write off.
(My boating tends to be on salt water. Corrosive and electrically conductive, you don't want it in micro-electronics
Looking at one in a camera store, I see the USB port is under a o-ring sealed door. If the USB connector itself was water-proof there wouldn't be a need to break the seal very often at all.
Now if they did a camera with UWB and it had decent internal memory and some sort of wireless induction battery charging, you would never have to crack open the camera seal at all.
extended warranty is 50 for 2 years so thats 25 a year and covers things beyond just the seal leak and you dont have to pay for it until the original one expires. so at most 25 a year is what one needs to pay
besides that method one could order the replacement seal and do it themselves or if your lucky and live by one of the centers that would eliminate shipping charge.
extended warranty is 50 for 2 years so thats 25 a year and covers
things beyond just the seal leak and you dont have to pay for it
until the original one expires. so at most 25 a year is what one
needs to pay
besides that method one could order the replacement seal and do it
themselves or if your lucky and live by one of the centers that would
eliminate shipping charge.
Question is, does the extended warranty cover damage when you don't follow the maintenace recommendations? Olympus recommends seal replacement every 12 months. I agree with the OP, getting the seals serviced every year is a bit expensive. I plan to let mine go till they fail, then just buy a new one.