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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 1:20 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, ON
Well I finally managed to kill a camera on a canoe trip. Not sure if I just let it get too wet or if it was the cold. I'm thinking there is a good chance it was the combination. Either way, I'm still kicking myself.

I had been set on getting a DSLR for my next camera but now I'm in a bit of a quandary. The camera I killed was a Canon SX30IS which gave me 720p video and a 35X optical zoom. I still have my Canon SX10IS which gives me a 24X optical zoom but no HD video. Still picture quality is as important as the video.

Reasons I had been planning on the DSLR included:

1) Much larger sensor with all the image quality benefits that provides
2) Much better autofocus - specifically looking at Canon T4i/T5i or Nikon D5200 - which should be a big improvement in wildlife shots.
3) Much smaller minimum aperture - The SX30 had a minimum aperture of f8 as opposed to f22 on most DSLR lenses. The smaller aperture would allow for slower shutter speeds for great waterfall pictures and greater depth of field which goes back to focus particularly for wildlife.
4) Support for an external mic for improved video sound quality

The DSLR is still an option, but would leave me without the zoom range for good wildlife videos. The Canon has the edge on video, the Nikon has the edge on image quality although both would be a huge jump up from superzoom point and shoots.

So the next option is to replace the SX30 with an SX50HS *and* pick up a waterproof camera like the Canon D20 or Pentax WG-3 as the one to keep out in all kinds of weather.

Benefits of the SX50 over the SX10 that I still have are:
1) Huge 50X zoom range (24 - 1200mm equivalent)
2) CMOS sensor gives better low light sensitivity than the SX30 had
3) RAW file support - which would improve editing options
4) HD video

Benefits of the waterproof options like the D20 or WG-3 are:
1) Still have 5X optical zoom - not bad for just about everything short of wildlife
2) HD video
3) D20 has GPS tagging integrated which would be a really nice addition for trip reports
4) Waterproof to 33' which means they can sit in the bottom of a canoe in pouring rain for days and would open up some cool new options that I've never had before.

So, while I had my working SX30 I was settled on the DSLR being the next camera and was waffling between the Nikon and Canon based on price (which can be greatly biased by what is available with Air Miles) but biased toward Canon as a general preference. I could also fall back on the zoom of the SX30 while waiting to get longer DSLR lenses, which would take a fairly long time.

Now that I've killed the SX30 I'm having a harder time reconciling myself to the limited range of a DSLR despite the quality benefits *and* having killed one camera in the rain I'm thinking that having a waterproof camera is that much more valuable to me. I think my trip reports would suffer a lot if I have to start keeping the camera wrapped up in bad weather. (and no, I can't afford to replace cameras every couple of years, not even with Air Miles).

So, what would other folks pick?

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 2:18 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
I love my DSLR but for pictures on canoe trips I find myself using my Nikon AW100 more. Its right on my PFD.

The downside of it is its small size. Low light pictures are difficult and camera shake is evident there. Pictures just aren't tack sharp. Yes I have failed to take my tripod..it does have a bushing for one. The same..when I zoom out more than the optical zoom (digital) its hard to get a clear picture.. It does have Image Stabilization.

One thing I find a great deal of fun is bracketing exposures. It's easy to do on a DSLR but my waterproof camera does have an HDR function.. I do like some of the pictures I have been able to compose with that.

Other issues with a bang around camera are keeping the lens clean. If you have a wet camera and take land pictures, you will have blurry pix..so carry a microfiber cloth. And its not a good idea to bang it around on the bottom of the canoe. The screen will become so scratched you won't be able to see what you are trying to photo. There are clear screen saver films for protection.


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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 2:34 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Port Coquitlam, BC
Was in this same spot after killing another camera last spring only 3 shots into the trip. I too have been using Canons with extended optical zooms and several G series cameras - all have succumbed to my rather cavalier use of them, but if they're not handy I found I wasn't using them. I was close to pulling the pin on on a dslr as well but finally decided that I actually wanted to use the camera for pics for trip reports etc and that I should get a tough one - so I got a Olympus Tough TG-820. 5x optical is useful (don't bother with digital zoom much), image stabilizer and has one of the sharper lenses available but no GPS, which wasn't really important for me anyway. Carried in my life jacket pocket or shirt pocket, it also has one of the quicker start ups for the snap photo opportunities and so far it has been Sid proof :wink: It does just what I wanted - be tough, take a decent photo and be available so that I actually take pics!

Still have a G series Canon for RAW footage and more control etc and will still probably purchase another camera some day but for tripping and general outdoor hard knocks type of use I don't regret this choice.

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 2:44 pm 
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I was thinking of a DSLR but opted instead for a Canon SX20. I know it has limitations re sensor size and some options such as unlimited exposure time(for night sky shots), but it's relatively light weight and has most of the features that I want, esp the 20X zoom. That feature is very good for wildlife, of course, but after many loons shots I'm still looking for the perfect one.

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 3:51 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, ON
If you want to do some serious photography - I mean make it a fairly important part of your wilderness experience, and are willing to work on technique & composition, then there is no substitute for a DSLR. Period. That said, if convenience is key and photography is rather secondary to your other goals while tripping (fishing, covering large distances each day, etc.) then I'd go for a good quality P&S, many of which provide very good image quality, minus the creative control of a DSLR.

For low light performance P&S cameras simply can't compete with DSLRs. That said, certain DSLRs outperform others in this regard, and having a fast aperture lens (f2.8 or faster) is key if you want to do some creative photography in very low light.

As far as Nikon vs. Canon goes, image quality isn't a factor. The real comparison is between different cameras in the manufacturer's product line. Personally, I'm a Nikon shooter and really like the ergonomics of the higher-end nikon camera bodies, but you end up getting used to what you have.

If you're hoping to step-up the photography, resign yourself to tripping with a decent tripod if you don't already.

One thing you can't do with 95% of all P&S cameras is shoot in RAW. If you settle on a DSLR, always shoot RAW files. Forget about jpegs....FORGET ABOUT JPEGS!! And spend a few bucks for proper post-production photography software like Adobe Lightroom or Apple's Aperture.

Interested to know what you decided on.

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 4:46 pm 
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Photography is process flow driven - what you start out with dictates where you end up - the DSLR affords you a range of choices you will never get with a P&S BUT those choices require continued investment in technology and if you are new, a steep learning curve.

I hate Jpegs. And yet I bought a wg-3 for shooting in the canoe or underwater - and it still sits in the box because (in the back of my mind) I know even a great shot will be limited by the fact I cannot shoot in RAW.

My lesson: Buy what you will use - and use what you buy. If you never intend to develop your skill beyond basic P&S and JPEG post production - then buy something you will be happy with.


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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 7:10 pm 
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Location: Milton
What Canoeguitar said!
and if you want the video, I would go with a gopro.
The quality in the video from those is amazing.
Jeff
(besides that, a good dlsr would give you more reasons to go out :thumbup:

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 7:58 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
While I would never suggest a professional photographer would use inferior tools, the basis for a good shot is composition and a point of view.

I do love my DSLR and lenses for their ability to shoot great shots in low light (often just at dawn and at almost dark) which the Pand S cameras cant.

But I took a course from a pro and he really emphasized the importance of composition for great pictures...and start with a basic tool that you can afford.

Last winter I was staying at a motel owned by a photographer. I mentioned that I loved his framed photos..and what was the key..Timing. He said "Always have your camera ready and take it with you wherever you go".

I can't comfortably solo portage a DSLR and all the lenses... but I can carry a decent waterproof P and S and carry it on me all the time...even on the walk back for the second load.


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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 9:24 pm 
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Location: Sunny Wasaga Beach
littleredcanoe wrote:
He said "Always have your camera ready and take it with you wherever you go".
.


A few years back I was on a trip with a friend who's a much better photographer than I am. He had an expensive camera that was usually packed away. Mine was cheaper but much more accessible. It's not hard to guess who got the best shots on that trip.

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2013, 10:08 pm 
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Joined: November 6th, 2009, 9:37 am
Posts: 611
Location: Kingston, ON
I love taking and sharing pictures of my canoe trips. Seeing the images that Canoeguitar creates is incredible and inspiring. But it takes a whole lot of talent, passion and commitment to get those results. While I'm not in any position to take it to that level I have been inspired to turn it up a notch.

One caveat I have always had is that a camera has to be small, light and easily accessible. Preferably small enough to fit in my PFD pocket! There are some very good reasonably priced compact cameras on the market; Canon G series, Sony DSC-RX100, Panasonic LX-7. But, they have smaller sensors and lack the flexibility of an interchangeable lens.

I spent some time this winter looking into Micro Four Thirds (M43) cameras. They have much larger sensors than almost all compact cameras. They shoot raw. Have better low light capability than compacts (though not at DSLR levels). They accept new and legacy lenses (with converters). Because of the crop factor the lenses are considerably smaller and lighter than DSLR. They shoot HD video. They are cheap, small and light. They are a compromise that sits squarely between compacts and DSLR's. The quality level is very much comparable to entry level DSLR equipment. Perhaps where they suffer most is at high ISO levels and with slower focusing speeds.

After some thought, I came to the conclusion that, for my current wants, the cameras features and specs were not as important as the lenses and overall camera size. I managed to pick up a clearance Panasonic GF3 at Future shop this winter. This thing is tiny. Certainly smaller than a Canon G Series camera. I have also acquired a variety of lenses for it including a 20mm (40mm Equiv) F1.7 prime pancake lens and a very old (late 60's early 70's) 50mm Super-Macro-Takumar F4 (100mm equiv). Both of these lenses are as sharp as anything you can buy today, without spending $$$$ on a lens. I also have two ho hum kit zooms which combined will go from 28mm-400mm equivalent but weigh in under 7 ounces each. For the most part I paddle with the camera and 20mm lens or camera and 14-42mm zoom lens in my PFD pocket, ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.

I know I have a lot to learn and my photography is nothing spectacular but here are a few pictures I have taken this spring which would not have been possible with a traditional compact camera. I think this is an alternative worth considering.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Cheers,
Martin


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 12:28 am 
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Joined: October 27th, 2003, 1:41 pm
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Location: Fairbanks AK
My pentax optio43wr is the only waterproof point and shoot size camera with a viewfinder. I keep it in my shirt pocket in a plastic bag {to keep dust off the lens). The batteries are AA rechargeable cells that are recharged with the same solar panel that I use to charge the gps, shortwave receiver and iridium phone. Perfection is the enemy of having a camera ready at any time in any weather.

I had about 20 seconds between noticing this party approaching and starting to take pictures. This was the last picture.

http://gallery.myccr.com/displayimage.p ... =21&pos=71

Douglas


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 9:03 am 
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Ditto to MartinG - camera has to be small, light and easily accessible. I'd love to have both DSL and P&S on my trips if I can afford portaging extra piece of gear, but if I have to choose between them it will be a waterproof P&S. For me pictures I make are memories, not work of art or love. One have to be a dedicated photographer to keep a DSL in a boat and to play with lenses and RAW post-processing. Seeing mediocre pictures made with state-of-the-art equipment makes me sad :). In my opinion unless you can take really good pictures RAW won't make important difference. It makes sense for photographers on par with canoeguitar, not for me (though it's tons of fun). As for P&S, major points in its favor: video capability, which is rear in DSL (I think); readily available wide lens (for canoeing 28mm is a must, 25mm even better) and panorama mode; waterproof and freeze-proof - rain or snow not an issue; availability - you can keep it in your PFD pocket while paddling or portaging. Of course P&S won't allow anything close to control available on DSL, even exposure modes is still a rarity in waterproof cameras. On the other hand, limitations and finding your way around them is what make you learn.
Sergey


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 9:45 am 
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After reading stories here several times about digital cameras breaking down after getting soaked on canoe trips, a waterproof and shockproof point-and-shoot seemed to make sense.

As always, there wasn't much time out here to make the drive to visit camera shops and instead time was spent gathering information with online reviews and tests ("best waterproof camera" etc). Olympus seemed to have been in the business of making durable waterproof cameras longer, and their "Tough" TG-820 produced test photos that seemed to produce good results, at least online.

The TG-820 works well so far and is compact enough to be kept in a pocket for quick access. Still... it is so small, for my clunky fingers, a full-sized camera is more comfortable to use. Keeping the thing attached to a small untelescoped tripod at times provides some grip and more secure handling. The sliding lens cover does keep water off the lens but isn't dustproof (it could jam if sand grains get into the slide) so a loose plastic bag keeps dust off when it's inside a pocket. It will sink if it falls overboard so some sort of float or line attachment may be needed (maybe).

Otherwise, worth keeping in a pocket to get the shot at the right place and moment, without worrying too much about weather and rough use.


(couldn't resist)

... if your camera falls into the drink, that's...

Image

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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 10:20 am 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
If your camera falls into the drink.. It needs a Camera Floatation Device. Waterproof means it will happily sink...

Reminds me that I have to retrofit some foam. I dumped on a whitewater run in Missouri and it was exhausting trying to get the camera back. I could see it (it was orange) but in current.. I don't care for the arm floaties that are sometimes sold.


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 10:37 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
LRC, thanks for a rec for retrieving lost cameras gone overboard... glad to hear yours survived AOK.

:D

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