Waterproof Cameras - hints and suggestions

Discussion in 'Temptation Cancun Forum' started by RobnStew, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. RobnStew

    RobnStew Addict Registered Member

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    Hi everyone:

    There seems to be a theme running here with a lot of trip reports that people have bought waterproof cameras only to have them fail half-way through the trip and leave them "SOL" (shit outta luck) for pictures of their vacations.

    We bought a Pentax Optio W30 before our trip, and we're happy to report that it survived everything we put it through just fine. That said, I had gone online before our trip and had read quite a bit about waterproof cameras and got some helpful hints, which I followed religiously.

    From what I'm reading, I'm guessing what is happening is that people are either sticking the cameras in their pockets like they would with a regular camera on dry land, and then going into the pool as usual - that combo of friction rubbing on the door seals, pressure of being under water and time is causing water to infiltrate the camera. And, I'm also guessing that most folks aren't making sure to dry the camera and open up its waterproof doors and dry those every day as well. So, read on below - these are all hints from camera experts that I found online, modified with some local Temptations knowledge.

    Thought I'd share:

    1) Depth: Rating and Practice: Check the actual waterproof rating on the camera in terms of time and pressure ratings. Most of them are good to "3 meters', some are good to less. That said, the online info I read basically said that all the "waterproof" point-and-shoots shouldn't be trusted to more than 2 feet below the water's surface. Do the math - putting it in your pocket and sitting in chin-deep water on the steps in the sexy pool might be exceeding that 2 to 3 foot limit recommended by the experts.

    2) Time: Rating and Practice: Most of the cameras with a depth rating don't have a time rating as well, some do however. The issue is that once a droplet of water squeezes past the seals - the seal is compromised until that door can be opened and dried out and resealed. Therefore, the more time, plus depth (pressure equals water getting past the seals) equals dead camera. Again, I think where people are failing is sticking it in their pocket and sitting for hours in the sexy pool. When we went, if we had the camera in the pool, I held it above the water unless I was specifically taking an underwater shot (boobs float!).

    3) DRY IT OUT every night!: This was the best hint I saw. Every day or night after you've finished in the pool/playing etc., take the camera up to the room and open every door on it, and wipe the seals with a dry q-tip to dry them out, then leave the seals open for at least an hour or more to air dry. If you have it still, then place the camera in a ziplock bag with one or two of those "Do not eat" dessicant packets (also, good camera stores sell them for like 10 for a dollar) to draw out any moisture you can't see. Another trick if you don't have the dessicant packets is after the camera air dries, place it in a zip lock bag that has a fabric bag full of dry white rice (like "uncle bens") - that also acts as a water absorber. The name of the game is that you want to start every day with those seals and the inside of the camera completely clean, completely dry and ready to go.

    4) Salt Water: They all say the camera is OK in salt water, but if you DO take it into salt water, then you must perform the above diligence like it was your job. Also, take some rubbing alcohol (just bring a little 1 oz bottle of it with you - good for removing water from your ears too) on a q-tip and clean the seals of all salt - the water will displace into the alcohol and the alcohol with evaporate very quickly. When we went snorkeling, I didn't allow the camera to get more than about a foot or so under water at any point. Then, I cleaned it like religion.

    5) READ THE F'ing MANUAL: I work in the technology business and we have "customer support" ticket codes and one in which the customer hasn't read any documentation and has problems as a result is called an RTFM code. But seriously, read the manual for underwater operation, follow their instructions religiously, and then also perform the above steps religiously and you shouldn't have any issues.

    Best,

    Stew
     
  2. twinimini

    twinimini I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Thanks for the tips Stew. I also use a waterproof case for my Canon Elph and that has worked out very well. It is clunky to pack in a carry on but it does work out very well and the depth rating is something like 100 feet. I don't scuba dive so the depth is not an issue.
     
  3. lambert13

    lambert13 Guest

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    Very good advice. I have found that the most important thing is opening up the camera doors and cleaning the seals daily. Especially in a beach environment where sand is in the mix. Tiny pieces of sand can cause a leak.
     
  4. JanetteNAl

    JanetteNAl Enthusiast Registered Member

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    We got an Olympus waterproof/shockproof/freezeproof camera. It takes a great picture, both dry and wet. It also takes pretty good video, but the video option seems to drain the battery life. Other than that, no complaints. We have taken it in the ocean, waterparks, pools, and it has been the best investment we've made in a while.

    It seems to be in the Outlet of Circuit City already.
    http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Olym...sem/rpsm/oid/204930/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do
     
  5. Bart/Annette

    Bart/Annette Life begins at 40!!! Registered Member

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    Disposable!
     
  6. ffto

    ffto Guest

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    Thanks Stew, I bought an Olympus after seeing many in May at the pool. Noone had problems that I know of. I read some posts here and was really worried that I wasted 400.00. :?: :shock: Your post is puts me in a better mind now and it makes sense. :)

    Don
     
  7. RobnStew

    RobnStew Addict Registered Member

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    Cool, no worries. Happy to help out. It was one of those "well heck, this is common sense" when I read it, but knowing how most folks are (and I'm just as bad as everyone else), the tendency is to pluck it from the package and go - so, hopefully this helps a few folks enjoy their vacations without the stress of a dying camera.
     
  8. TexasTrouble

    TexasTrouble Guru Registered Member

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    We bought a W30 last October for our first trip to Temptations and honestly I have never air dried the thing and it is going back with us for the 3rd trip very soon. It has been one good $220 investment.
     
  9. RobnStew

    RobnStew Addict Registered Member

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    Glad it's working for you! I can't give you corroborating evidence though - I always dry mine and never trust it that it won't leak!
     
  10. Bill&Chris

    Bill&Chris Regular Registered Member

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    We have used our Olympus Stylus 770SW for two years and experienced a flawless performance. I have taken pictures at greater than 20 feet down without problems. This is not a great camera for long distance night pictures, but a great durable, general/multipurpose camera. :D
     
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