What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

Started May 3, 2006 | Discussions
madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

My son is going on a month long kayak trip in Alaska and I want to get him a small point and shoot digital camera that takes good pictures. There will be no opportunity to charge batteries so we are hoping to get by with a few extra batteries so good battery life is pretty important. I want a durable camera that has good battery life. A waterproof camera might be a good choice.

Any advice???

echelon2004 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,128
tricky one...

batteries respond poorly to being cold, especially rechargable batteries, and a month is a looooong time=/

You sure you wanna go digital on this?
--
Anders

http://www.teamexcalibur.se
http://teamexcalibur.se/US/usindex.html
http://www.teamexcalibur.se/excalibursida4a.html

event photography and photo journalism

OP madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: tricky one...

Well, I have thought about that.

Here is what we have. We have two SLRs but they are too big and heavy. We have two film PS cameras but the photo quality out of those cameras is poor. We have 2 newer digital PS cameras, one Sony one Canon and a Sony DSC H1. The Sony's use rechargeable AAs which I know won't work. The Canon uses a proprietary Lithium battery but it needs recharging after about 150 photos under normal working conditions (relatively warm) so even with an extra battery or two will probably only last about two weeks.

So.......

echelon2004 wrote:

batteries respond poorly to being cold, especially rechargable
batteries, and a month is a looooong time=/

You sure you wanna go digital on this?
--
Anders

http://www.teamexcalibur.se
http://teamexcalibur.se/US/usindex.html
http://www.teamexcalibur.se/excalibursida4a.html

event photography and photo journalism

echelon2004 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,128
what's your budget?

and what sort of shots do you think he'll prefer?
--
Anders

http://www.teamexcalibur.se
http://teamexcalibur.se/US/usindex.html
http://www.teamexcalibur.se/excalibursida4a.html

event photography and photo journalism

OP madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: what's your budget?

Another tricky question. I am a photo junkie, he is a newbie but likes the idea of photography. He has a Canon Rebel film SLR and he's taken a photography class. I'm fiddling with photos all the time and he likes the output but hasn't caught the bug yet of fiddling with his own photos. So who is this camera for.....me or him.....tough question?

I'm leaning toward trying the Olympus 720SW if I can find extra batteries (at least 2) which is turning out to be tough nut to crack. I like the idea of the camera being waterproof, shockproof (important for a teenager), and has some form of IS. However, we have a small Canon sd400 and could also buy the next upgrade (Canon sd600) that uses the same batteries and send all the batteries from both cameras fully charged with him on the trip and hope for the best. The Canon though is a bit fragile and takes about 120 photos before you need to recharge the battery.

I thought about a solar charger but the trip organizer said that requires sun and sun is pretty iffy on this trip. Shows you what I know!

echelon2004 wrote:

and what sort of shots do you think he'll prefer?
--
Anders

http://www.teamexcalibur.se
http://teamexcalibur.se/US/usindex.html
http://www.teamexcalibur.se/excalibursida4a.html

event photography and photo journalism

swiftseven Regular Member • Posts: 225
Re: What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

Have you thought about the Stylus Epic film camera? A classic with an excellent 35/2.8 lens, weatherproof and easily found for under $50. (maybe this could be his back up to a digital?)

Or for digital, the Stylus 500 is weatherproof, very useable screen in bright light, or the Stylus 800, more MP and also an aperture and shutter priority option for more control. The specs say up to 300 shots on 1 battery and they are reasonably priced.

I am testing out both the 500 and 800 right now specifically for having in my PFD pocket when I go kayaking. I like the simplicity and feel of the 500, but am leaning toward the 800 for options of more control and more image information on the screen when reviewing shots.(I carry the Stylus Epic film camera for backup)

The 500 can be found new for under $200 and I got one through Olympus auctions on ebay for $150. So it is not a huge investment.

I have read some not so great reviews about the image quality of the 710 and 720, so steered away from them
Good Luck, lots out there to look at, but suprisingly few weaterproof ones.

 swiftseven's gear list:swiftseven's gear list
Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 +4 more
swiftseven Regular Member • Posts: 225
Re: What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1008&message=18254406

Above is an interesting user commentary on the 720.

 swiftseven's gear list:swiftseven's gear list
Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 +4 more
setaside2
setaside2 Contributing Member • Posts: 760
Re: What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

I'm going to tell you, and this is from personal experience...

the Stylus 720SW by Oly is going to serve nearly all your needs.

It's nearly bulletproof, it IS waterproof, designed to be completely abused and yet it still takes phenomenal images for a point n shoot in it's class.

Small, all metal, shockproofed to a 5' drop to concrete... waterproof to 10' (we've tested it to 20, though your warranty doesn't cover that)... it's the perfect camera for the outdoor enthusiast.

Our demo camera went through a certain amount of devastation. We kept hash marks on the times it was thrown.... we did the balcony drop, we did the asphalt test, the linoleum, the tile, the drop to carpet... hot sulfur springs in Glenwood, CO... hot tubs, swimming pools... the camera went through 98 throws plus all the images (close to 1000) before we got the screen to white out. Funny thing was: the camera still took great photos, we just couldn't see what we were taking.

Keep in mind that this thing went through ten years of major abuse in 3 weeks... and while the screen quit working, the rest of it still stood up to the task.

I highly recommend this camera to any outdoor enthusiast, with no reservations whatsoever.

Hope that helps.
--
there are no better companies, only better images.

 setaside2's gear list:setaside2's gear list
Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Di VC USD Macro Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 G2
setaside2
setaside2 Contributing Member • Posts: 760
Oly 720 Image quality...

Personally, I've been using the 720 for nearly 3 weeks now. Took it to Glenwood Springs, to the caves, the sulfur springs pool... took it to inventor's day at my son's school, mini golf, you name it.

The camera, for me, took excellent photos. I have an image of my son showing off his invention, shot in SHQ at ISO 250 with flash... blown up to 12x18 and it looks excellent. All the 8x10s from macro to underwater were great.

I've not had a single issue with poor image quality from this point and shoot. I thought that, below 400, the noise was well controlled and that the skin tones were excellent as well as flash control.

The camera has sold me on itself and I anticipate buying it within the next two weeks.

Be good, y'all.

M in Colorado
--
there are no better companies, only better images.

 setaside2's gear list:setaside2's gear list
Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Di VC USD Macro Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 G2
Jay Reeves Contributing Member • Posts: 743
I would like to volunteer...

my services as a battery porter Sounds like the trip of lifetime!

If your son thinks that having a porter is to bourgeois then -

I concur that a small waterproof p&s is best. The problem with anything else is it requires so much protective stuff that it is not going to be available when you want it, i.e. out on the water. I take a 8080 paddling (canoe) but it is bundled up when paddling. I also have a Canon S50 (small p&s) that is kept in a small waterproof case that is hooked to a thwart so it is quickly available. If I stopped to unpack and use the 8080 very often paddling companions would get frustrated and we would never reach our next destination in a timely manner.

i would ask the pros about the solar charger. I understand the Alaska sun can be iffy, but it is iffy for what? 15 - 17 hours?

contributing editor/coumnist for Outdoor Photographer, Bill Hatcher, has done considerable exploring in Alaska. his web site is http://www.billhatcher.com Haven't checked it out, but it might have usefull info for you.

Since I have 4 batteries for a once a year trip, and only would need 2 batteries otherwise, I have considered offering to "rent" batteries from other OTF'ers by sending $ = to cost of battery + rent - use the battery and return to the OTF'er for a refund? I don't know how that would be accepted. the advantage would be I could buy another memory card or for sure have enough battery to get through the trip I am on. Could also buy extra batteries and sell them after the trip.

Most importantly, and I suspect you have considered this, have a plan for the use of the camera. It sounds like your son has photography experience so it should be easy. What I am thinking is review the itinerary to estimate how many shots per day. Will the most scenic part be at the end of the trip? Talk about how to photograph other people in the party - campsite photos are OK, but it is much more dramatic to have photos of your friends in daily paddling activity against a scenic backdrop. Will the camera be for taking pictures or reviewing the days activities in the tent at night ;-)? Encourage him to plan his photo and take one photo of a subject, instead of three, just because it is digital.

After you have bought all the batteries you think he will need, buy one more.

The more I think about it, the better the idea of the small waterproof P&S the better it sounds.

Just my thoughts, hope it helps, and hope your son has great trip!

Kindest Regards,
jay

SMBooth Veteran Member • Posts: 3,813
An OM1 or OM2

Small and light.
--
Shane
http://australianbushwalking.fotopic.net
Adjust your monitor

Henry Falkner
Henry Falkner Forum Pro • Posts: 14,254
Re: What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

I have the Stylus 800, which uses Li-ion rechargeable batteries supplied by third parties. I have no idea how these Li-ions will behave in the cold. But this camera, under normal conditions, has easily the longest life per charge of any digital Olympus camera I have ever owned. On May 1st I went through 1.5 Gig worth of movies without having to charge the battery.

Image quality? In my view, firmware upgrade 1.2 available on the Olympus Europe site has addressed the oversharpening/overcompression issue, though the blurb does not say so. I am told it is not on offer on Olympus USA, why I do not know.

I use SHQ anyway, so I can do large prints.

I would take the Stylus 800 with four fully charged Li-ions, and a 35mm P&S for when the batteries in the digital camera run low. Bad quality pictures in that situation are better than no pictures. The subject matter will save them.

Henry

-- hide signature --

Henry Falkner - C-40, C-750UZ, Stylus 800 http://www.pbase.com/hfalkner

 Henry Falkner's gear list:Henry Falkner's gear list
Olympus SP-570 UZ Olympus SH-50 Olympus Stylus SH-1
Timskis6 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,562
Re: What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

I have the 720SW also and am impressed with the image quality regardless of what others have said. You can't compare it to an SLR, but comparing it to other weather/waterproof that small, it surely stands out. Plus, its waterproof, not just splash proof. Just make sure you buy some type of flotation device incase he drops it in the water, since it does sink. I use a "floaty" that screws in the 1/4" tripod socket.

As for the solar charger issue, I probably would stay away from it for a while. Solar charging technology is on the rise, but isn't perfected yet. To fully charge the LI-42B you'd need some extended time in the sun. A quick search revealed a $100 solar charger charges at only 350mA, which suggests you'd need a few hours in FULL sunlight to fully charge the LI-42B. Anything less than direct/full sunlight and you extend the charging time significantly. Secondly, the size and cost of the solar charger greatly decreases its desirability, as buying 6 spare batteries @ $16ea (reputable company) is less than both the cost and size of the solar charger itself.

My two cents is just buy some extra batteries and save the hassle of trying to solar charge the batteries. What if its an overcast day? What if it rains? You never know...
--
-Tim

OP madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. What is a "floaty"???

Can you take a picture and post it here?

Timskis6 wrote:

I have the 720SW also and am impressed with the image quality
regardless of what others have said. You can't compare it to an
SLR, but comparing it to other weather/waterproof that small, it
surely stands out. Plus, its waterproof, not just splash proof.
Just make sure you buy some type of flotation device incase he
drops it in the water, since it does sink. I use a "floaty" that
screws in the 1/4" tripod socket.

mnstoryteller Veteran Member • Posts: 5,674
Floaty

I can't find any by Googling, but I can imagine it: a chunk of foam that attaches to the base of the camera with a tripod screw. It would have to be the right size to cause the camera to float.
--
Steve

OP madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: Floaty

I know that at a marine store you can buy a "floaty" key chain for a few dollars that hook nicely into the camera strap ring on the camera. You could also buy a tripod screw and attach it to that as well. Still I'm curious about what the previous poster meant by "floaty". We'll see if he jumps in this thread again.

OP madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: What Camera for a Month Long Kayak Trip???

I think I'm going to buy the 720SW and give it a whirl. If the image quality is accetable then I'll keep it and buy three extra batteries and a "floaty" and see what my son brings back from Alaska and report back to this forum.

Timskis6 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,562
Re: Floaty

Hey - the "floaty" I mentioned wasn't anything special, but I could also imagine screwing something to the tripod mount that would make it float. I personally just use the marine key chain floats you can buy for a buck that floats your keys. One of them works fine to keep the camera afloat, but you can only see the foam floaty on top of the water, as the camera still tends to sink. That's why I suggested looking for something you could screw into the bottom.

The camera weighs approximately 175 grams with the battery and media card in it (slight overestimate), or about 3/8 pound. It would only take a small piece of foam (slightly dense, to keep it from falling apart), drill a hole through it, and attach it to the camera using a 1/4"x1.25" hex bolt and 1/4" washer. If you put some time into it it could look fairly presentable. I tried running through the physics equations for buoyancy, but apparently I'm more rusty on them then when I took the MCATs last summer! Oh well...

But, a keychain floaty can be found effortlessly and looks more "normal." LOL You can get a couple sizes to see see which one works best. A bright color is most desirable to see it in the water.

A second thought, maybe more practical, is what I use with my underwater housing with my c-8080. I use a 1/4" bolt, teflon tape, washer and lockwasher, to attach a wrist strap securely from the bottom of my housing to my wrist. I've been through some nice waves photographing my roommates and it seems to be more than sturdy. I got the idea from Dave, a fellow oly forum member. If the kayaking isn't too extreme, where he will need the paddles all the time, the wrist strap may work nice too, especially since its pretty secure.

I gotta go meet my innertube waterpolo team, but I'll be back later. I haven't figured out how to post pictures yet here, otherwise I would!
--
-Tim

OP madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
Posting Pictures of "Floaty"

Go to http://www.flickr.com and click on "upload photos" link and follow the instructions. If you decide to do that and get to the point where you are cutting and pasting the link to your photos, choose the "medium" size option and your photo will fit nicely into the message frame.

I'd love to see your version of a "floaty".

By the way, the kayaking adventure is a sea kayaking adventure so I assume the conditions will be calm to choppy and water flows influenced by tidal conditions. My son will be using his paddles a lot so something on his wrist would probably be annoying I would guess.

Thanks for your ideas!

OP madeline schnapp Regular Member • Posts: 243
Questions re: your 720SW

Sounds like you have experience with the 720SW and I am now leaning in that direction. However, I have a few questions.

I went to a store yesterday that carried the 720SW and while I am used to small P&S cameras was having trouble handling this one because of the position of the lens (finger kept getting in the way of the lens) and thinness of the camera and the position and size of the shutter release button. Camera shake was definitely a bigger problem than with my Canon sd400 or my old Pentax option S. I didn't have a lot of time to fiddle with the digital IS feature but my understanding is that feature simply boosts the ISO and you trade off noise.

What has been your experience? I am a small person and my son is 6'4" tall with big hands so I am a little concerned about the size of his hands and the smallness of the buttons and controls.

Also, how long does a battery charge last?

Thanks!

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads