Yet another camera for watersports, this will probably last me for a while.
My Canon A540 and Bonica Snapper Suit was sort of okay, but I still wanted something better for my kayak photos. I considered the Fujifilm F31fd with its reputation for low noise, however I was concerned about its reputation for high contrast. I photograph a lot of people whose faces are shaded by hats in the bright sun.
I bought the Canon A630 plus the WP-DC8 underwater housing. The A630 seems to be the last of the Canons to use a 1/1.8" sensor at 8 MP. The A640 and G7 use that size at 10 MP. The rest are downsizing to 1/2.5". Sensor size matters. The image quality is noticeably better than my A540. It's still pretty grainy at ISO 400 and especially at 800, but these are useable. In the custom color mode I can turn down the contrast and sharpness and get good results in sunny scenes. With the underwater housing it's heavier than my Canon A540 or Sony W70 with their light duty housings, but it's lighter than my old Olympus C5050 with its underwater housing. The extra mass gives me less camera shake than the lighter cameras. The WP-DC8 has three attachment loops, allowing me to use a neoprene neckstrap--a marked improvement in carrying comfort from clipping only a single wriststrap to my lifevest.
The autofocus default setting is intelligent autofocus, but that can be changed to Center or Flexizone. I set it to Flexizone. By default it is the same as Center, but the zone can be manually shifted. When the camera is turned off and turned back on the Flexizone will reset to the center position.
There is no remote for this camera, although the custom self-timer of up to 30 seconds solves most problems that would otherwise be helped by a remote.
No major problems so far.
With no clips within the battery compartment to hold the AA batteries in place, it would probably have been a nicer design to have a separate location for the SD card. Even with my reading glasses, it's not easy to see the markings for battery position (positive or negative end up).
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