Submitted: 08-27-2008 by radar1
I wanted to be able to take digital photos while on kayak trips knowing that whatever I got would be subjected to both splashing and immersion in water sometimes. It seems the choices are to use a non-waterproof camera and risk ruining it when it gets wet; use a non-waterproof camera and use either a waterproof bag or box to protect it; or use a waterproof camera.
I have a great non-waterproof camera and use a waterproof box to protect it, but that still entails risk taking it out of the box while still on the water, and a delay if I see something I want to take a photo of right now. I thought about the waterproof bag, but my camera requires a large bag due to it's size and I wanted to be able to work all the controls without any interference from the bag. Waterproof cameras are expensive!
What I finally decided on was to keep my good camera in the dry box, but supplement it with the Vivitar Vivicam 6200W waterproof camera. This camera cost $120 on-line at Target.com and I was impressed with the results. Having this camera allowed me to have the camera ready for those quick shots without worrying about whether it gets wet.
The camera is a 6.0 MP camera, and the pictures I took on my first trip turned out nearly as good as my more expensive camera, although I missed the 10X optical zoom feature of my more expensive camera. This camera only has digital zoom, which I knew when I purchased it, and don't use. Digital zoom is not much different than using the crop feature on your computer, and is not nearly as good as optical zoom, but waterproof cameras with optical zoom cost more than twice as much as the Vivitar.
The camera is yellow for good visibility. Controls are easy to use and should work even with gloved hands. The two AA batteries lasted for the entire paddling trip (about 4 hours) but would not have lasted much longer. I took 140 photos on this trip with the original set. These were the batteries that came with the camera, I expect to use high capacity rechargeables in the future. The camera supports up to a 2GB SD card, and has software included for editing your photos. I haven't tried that yet because my computer recognized the camera when I plugged it in and I used Picasa to edit my photos since I use that to share the photos with the kayak group.
PROS: Easy to see yellow color.
Rugged rubberized case.
Positive double locking door on batteries and SD card prevents accidental opening.
Very good photo resolution.
Low price compared to more expensive digital cameras or cumulative cost of using throwaway film cameras/developing.
Comes with a zippered case you can secure with belt loop or PFD loop, has a cord that you can hang around your neck, and has a spare gasket.
No need to focus, just point and shoot (although it does have a close-up switch setting).
Waterproof down to 30 ft.
CONS: No optical zoom.
About 2 seconds elapse from the time you press the shutter until you get a confirmation the picture was taken.
Bottom line: I'm happy with my purchase and this camera exceeded my expectations. If you want a knockabout waterproof camera you don't have to worry about while kayaking/canoeing (or even in the rain) that will give great digital point-and-shoot snapshots, then this is a great choice.