I’ve been looking around the internet over the past few days for information about waterproof cameras. I found this useful video on a group test by What Digital Camera.
Of the cameras tested, the Olympus TG2 and the Panansonic Lumix FT-5 come out as the best. More detailed reviews on dpreview.com are complimentary about the TG2 and the FT-5 within the context of underwater/rugged cameras. Of the two, I think I prefer the TG2 and the image quality seems to be the best. So far so good.
However, looking on Amazon, the TG2 gets a bit of flak for not being as waterproof as advertised. Elsewhere there were some comments about the lens ring coming off. The FT-5 also gathers some less than ecstatic reviews both on Amazon and the Panasonic website.
Admittedly, there may be some bias as people are more likely to be motivated to write a bad review if something has gone wrong. While I don’t intend to do a lot of underwater shooting (even on the Challenge!), a waterproof camera that isn’t fully waterproof is not very impressive. If I’m spending £260-£300 on a camera, I don’t expect it to fail in its major selling point.
It was also suggested that I look at the Panasonic HX-WA30 video camcorder, since I might want to take video footage. On paper, it looks very good, but turn to the reviews on the Panasonic website and it doesn’t look so rosy.
At this point, I’m beginning to lose the will to live. I feel I’ve gone round and round in circles and not ended in any firm conclusion. The Sony WX100 that I have takes great pictures. I do have an old Olympus Mju 770SW camera, which is waterproof, but the pictures are of variable quality and has poor video.
I could take photos with my iPhone in its Lifeproof Fre case in bad weather. Unfortunately my iPhone is only 16gb with about 2gb free, so I have to be a bit careful. I also don’t want to use too much battery as it doubles as a GPS.
I suspect I won’t bother with a waterproof camera until I can find one that definitively fits my needs and gets some unqualified good reviews. Until then a combination of the WX100 and iPhone will probably have to suffice.