Outdoor And Waterproof Digital Cameras

Buying Guides Featured Photography Tips Point and Shoot Underwater

Rugged Digital Cameras For Backpacking, Cycling, Boating And The Worksite

Welcome to our 2013 outdoor and waterproof camera guide! I update this article at regular intervals, as new cameras are announced – and there are a bunch of new cameras this year. I’m a mountain biker, skier and outdoor photographer and I’ve been using waterproof point-and-shoot digital cameras since they were first introduced. I’m outside in all kinds of conditions and having a pocket camera I don’t have to worry about wrecking in the dirt, snow or rain means I can take pictures all the time, regardless of weather or other conditions. In this guide I’ll share what I’ve learned over the past few years while reviewing (abusing) various waterproof cameras in the hot tub, on the mountain bike, in the snow and in the surf. I’ll also cover the latest waterproof camera features and give you my own personal outdoor point-and-shoot camera recommendations.

2013 Outdoor & Waterproof Digital Cameras

Almost every camera company introduced one or two new rugged waterproof cameras in 2013 so I’ve updated all my camera recommendations. The most important outdoor / waterproof camera developments this year are built-in Wi-Fi, increased speed (still photo burst rate and video frame rate), and better budget camera options. There are also a couple of cameras with fast aperture lenses now, making them a lot better for low light and action photos.

Take me straight to Photo-John’s top outdoor & waterproof camera picks >>
Take me straight to the best value outdoor & waterproof cameras >>

If you spend a lot of time outdoors or in a wet or humid environment, you should have a waterproof camera. Fisherman, river guides, mountain bikers, skiers, and hikers will all appreciate having a digital camera that can handle getting splashed and dunked. Contractors, mechanics, chefs, law enforcement, solders and other professionals will also benefit from a pocket camera you don’t have to worry about dropping, drowning, or getting sandy or dusty. Waterproof, shockproof cameras are also kid-proof. Even a two-year-old won’t be able to destroy one. Drop it in the toilet, spill dinner on it or let them take it in the bathtub and it will keep on trucking. The bottom line is, an easy to carry camera you don’t have to worry about breaking means more photos.

Check out the demo videos below to see a couple of waterproof, shockproof cameras in action. Then go to the next page to learn about the latest waterproof camera features and specs as well as some tips and insights I’ve picked up over the years.

Note: These videos are a few years old and don’t represent the video quality from current waterproof point-and-shoots. They do show the kind of fun stuff you can do with them, though.

Olympus TG-610 Intro Video

Sony Cybershot TX5 Mazatlan Video:

next pageWaterproof Camera Tips >>

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of PhotographyREVIEW.com and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • SamK says:

    I just discovered that only the SW Olympus cameras can withstand the elements. They are no longer making the splashproof type which explains why their website no longer makes no mention of splashproof cameras. So the non-SW stylus cameras are NOT splashproof !

  • Photo-John says:

    I recently learned that, too – and unfortunately, not from Olympus. They sort of glossed over that detail the last time I met with them. Thanks for posting that here and reminding me that I need to follow up with them and get the complete story. Obviously, from what I wrote, “Stylus,” meant weatherproof to me. It has since the original Olympus Stylus 35mm point-and-shoot camera. I think they have some veru strong branding there and it’s a big mistake to let it go. Plus, not everyone needs an actual waterproof camera. For many, many people, weatherproof is an excellent option. Most of the time, it’s more than enough for me.

    • Mark Wynn says:

      Even high-end dive watches aren’t “waterproof” — they are “water resistant.” Even more so
      with cameras — not weatherproof, rather, weather-resistant. Suggest some users’ bad experiences might be from not reading the user’s manual and precautions, and not assuring all doors are sealed correctly before using. Also, a thin coating of dialectric grease can make o-rings more “water-resistant.”

  • SamK says:

    I guess the next most obvious question is when did Olympus stop making the all-weather models and can you still get them ? I saw that a Stylus 780 definiteky is all-weather and possibly an 800. It states it on the body. But the worst part is that most dealers are still advertising the newer non-SW stylus cameras as being weather proof. Its possible they are not aware. Seems Olympus should have made certain they did not advertise them that way.


    • Mark Wynn says:

      Think “Tough.” The Olympus TG-2 is an amazing camera the size of a pack of cigs. Picture quality is excellent … and I’m a lifetime pro SLR user, retired pro photographer, and got the TG-2 last spring. It does everything the Olympus hype sez it does. I have no idea where some of these commenters are coming from.

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  • JIMBO says:

    I bought an olympus “waterproof and shockproof” camera last summer to take on a rafting trip. Fist dunk in the water ruined it completely. The Olympus warranty does not cover damage “from liquid” or from “impact”. So much for the representation that these cameras are waterproof and shock proof. Maybe they are to an extent, but Oly doesn’t stand behind them with a guarantee.

    Too bad. I’ve owned 3 Olympus compacts. I don’t think I’ll be buying another now that I’ve dealt with the customer servoce (or lack thereof) on this warranty issue.

  • Photo-John says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your camera. Please post a review for it in our user reviews section. That’s the best place to share your experience since you can attach a rating and it gets saved with other reviews for the same camera.

    Read & Write Reviews >>

    Thanks for commenting and thanks in advance for your reviews.

  • derek says:

    Good timing. The Samsung NV10 I was carrying around finally quit on me by not being able to fully extend the lens when powered on. The repair guy says the camera was dropped too much. I don’t remember dropping it, but the little black image capture device did experience a lot of shock and bouncing when I took on my bicycle rides (both road and mtn).

    My next mini-camera is going to be shock and weather resistant. Otherwise, I’ll just ruin another camera.

  • Marek says:

    I am paddling and racing with Pentax Optio “W” cameras starting from the original WP, then upgrading to W10, and W30. They are all still working despite of use and abuse during ultramarathon paddle races.

    You a re welcome to check my blog “Paddling with a Camera” with waterproof camera comparison and shopping guide, photo tips for paddlers, pictures, movies and animations from paddling workouts, trips, and racing.

  • Margie says:

    Hi, I’m desperatelly looking for a good waterproof camera! I’ve been checking out the Olympus 1030SW but I’ve read a lot of mixed comments, many of them saying that “it leaks”. What can you recommend me? I live in Puerto Rico and we own a boat plus two kids jaja!!!

  • Photo-John says:

    It’s hard to know how to read the reports of leaking Olympus Stylus SW cameras. People who have bad experiences are more likely to post user reviews. And if Olympus is selling a lot of them, that will increase the reports of problems. The Olympus Stylus 1030 SW we’ve been testing has been snorkling in Hawaii, in a swimming pool and a hot tub, and it’s doing just fine. The Pentax Optio W waterproof cameras are an alternative and we have a review for the Pentax Optio W30. But there’s still nothing that compares to the Olympus when it comes to all-around ruggedness and versatility. Here are links to what we’ve posted on the Olympus and Pentax, so far. I’m working on finishing up or Olympus 1030 SW review right now.

    Pentax Optio WP Pro Review >>
    Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Preview >>

    Another option is to buy whatever camera suits you best and then get a waterproof housing for it. That’s not as convenient. But the housings are more reliable and can usually go as deep as 100 feet. Personally, I still like the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW. I understand you being a bit nervous because of the reports of it leaking, though. I am, too. But like I said, so far ours has held up just fine.

  • Dannyo says:

    Do not expect a warranty from olympus. Their repair staff took three months to look at the camera. After many call s they finally told me the camera lense was cracked and there was salt corrossion voiding the warranty. I got camera back I removed the \crack\ with lense cleaning cloth. The salt corrosion was a drop of spilled latte. I sent the camera back again with the above information. finally after a down time of 7 months I recieve the camera back in pieces with a certificate to get a new olympus camera .. Of couse the models offered were not the ones that got bad reviews and I had to pay a $200 handling fee. I am repair person myself for a large educational institution. We will never buy olympus products again.

  • Dennis says:

    I purchased an Olympus 1030 SW on May 13, 2008. First photo taken 6/28/08, and only 75 photos have been taken with it. Went snorkeling with it on Aug 28, 2008, taking two photos to test it underwater, and another out of the water after snorkeling. They looked good. I had not attempted to take another photo until 9/5/08, when I discovered that the camera turns on, beeps four times, and shuts off. The lens cover remains open and the LCD shows a blurred image before it shuts off. I can only assume the camera has leaked. Never been dropped, never otherwise exposed to any water at all. Battery is fully charged. Then I read the Olyumpus warrantee and was shocked! Shipping to repair center is at customer’s expense. The determination of who is at fault is solely up to Olympus. What is NOT covered is \defects or damage in the Products resulting from wear, tear, misuse, abuse, negligence, sand, liquids, impact,…\ So a shockproof, crushproof, waterproof camera’s warrantee excludes any leak, shock, or those things that the camera supposedly is built to withstand? In checking the blogs for the Olympus 770SW, it appears that the repairs done by Olympus seldom solve the problem, and once out of warrantee, too bad. I don’t like the sound of that. Luckily, I purchased it with a credit card, and am taking it back for full refund at Best Buy or I will contest the CC Charge.

  • Photo-John says:

    It sounds like your camera may need to be cleaned. I had the same experience with the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW I tested (see review here). Turns out it just had some dried salt water on the lens and a little rinse fixed the problem. The manual actually says to rinse the camera after using it underwater. After I cleaned the lens cover it worked fine. The camera we had for testing has been in the water, including snorkeling, a bunch of times and it’s still working fine.

    As far as warranties go, a friend who had a 1030 SW fail in salt water had the camera replaced, no questions asked. That’s not to say that people aren’t having trouble with warranty situations. But that’s the only direct knowledge I have of the Olympus warranty department and failed Olympus Stylus SW cameras.

  • PeterL says:

    I recently purchased an Olympus MJU 1030SW from eBay after owning a MJU 720SW for the past 2 or so years. I never had an issue with using the 720SW underwater until about the 1 1/2 year mark… then it started leaking a bit, which I figured was due to deteriorated seals. I figured the cost of having the camera serviced and the seals replaced was not worth it compared to buying the latest model… the 1030SW!!!

    I purchased the Olympus MJU 1030SW particularly for a two week holiday I was going on. The camera lasted me for the first day of holidays, as I decided to take a few photo’s while swimming in the hostel 1 1/2 metre deep swimming pool. After I finished swimming and dried myself off, I switched my camera back on to take a few more photos and to preview one’s I had taken… only to find that the inside of the lens had major condensation, as I couldn’t wipe the moisture from the lens. I opened up the battery/card compartment only to find it water inside the battery compartment. Later that evening, I removed the battery and card and left it to dry overnight.
    Needless to say, I packed the Olympus MJU 1030 away for the rest of the holiday. Luckily, I had taken my trusty Kodak DX6490 as a back-up camera, which came in really handy (not for underwater shots though).

    Upon returning home, I immediately sent the Olympus MJU 1030SW back for warranty… only to receive an email saying it couldn’t be repaired under warranty as there was corrosion (after 2 weeks!!) and that I had misused it. I was also informed the camera had no problems with its seals.

    BUYER BEWARE!!! Of the Olympus MJU 1030SW!!

  • Terry Roberts says:

    Loved the Olympus 1030SW but it does leak :( I think salt water could be the culprit. I’ve used it in the pool a couple of weeks before my trip and every thing worked perfectly. Took it to the caribbean and after about three dives during our first week, it failed to turn on. I removed the battery and found moisture in the battery compartment. Sent it back to Olympus, waiting for a verdict :(

  • Paula says:

    Please I would like to know wich one is better. Either the Olympus Stylus 1030SW or the 1050SW?
    I need one urgently for my trip to Aruba next week.

    Last year I got a Pentax Optio W30 and water went inside the camera the second day of snorkeling. The warranty and customer service were great though, but I dont want to risk not having the camera working for this vacations.

    Thanks for your prompt help on my question,
    Have a great day.

  • Photo-John says:

    The Olympus Stylus 1030 SW is a more rugged camera and rated for more depth than the 1050 SW. Be very careful to read the manual, though. There are reports of leakage with all of these cameras and I suspect at least some are people not paying close attention to the gaskets on the battery and connector compartments.

  • andy says:

    Hi, bought a Olympus 1050SW a few weeks ago for trip to Vanuatu. Used it 6 times no deeper than 1m and was extra careful to soak it in fresh water and then dry it and checked all compartments. On the last day went to use it and found significant condensation inside the LCD screen and minor inside the lens and in battery compartment. Left all waterproof doors open for 12 hours to try to dry it out but LCD screen went “stripey” and controls only work intermittently. Have returned it to shop so will be interesting to see what happens.



  • Carl says:

    Does anyone have experience in usung the 1030 SW in movie mode? I heard that it can only take short movies regardless of the card size. I also heard that the audio is lousy on the camera’s movie playback mode.

  • Yvonne says:

    I need some advice in choosing a good waterproof camera for my husband for Christmas. He is a keen amatuer photographer, however he cannot combine this with his kayaking using his Canon 40D SLR! I like the spec on the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW however, I am concerned about some of the reviews, especially the reports of leaks. As most of his kayaking takes place off the west coast of Ireland, I need something that will be robust enough to deal with the Atlantic!
    I also like the spec on the Pentax Optio W60 – it has this ‘digital image stabiliser (?)’ that I’ve seen mentioned as being absent from the Olympus. However, I really don’t know anything about cameras, so I really would appreciate advice from an expert.
    Thank you.

  • Photo-John says:

    I am also concerned about the posts here reporting cameras that have leaked. However, I have been using a 1030 SW since the spring and I’ve had zero problems with it. I also talked to a local pro dealer and asked them about Olympus Stylus SW returns. They told me they’ve only seen one come in for repair and they thought it looked like it had been seriously abused. I can’t confirm or refute any of the posts here. All I can say is my camera has worked fine, as has my girlfriend’s Stylus 850 SW. I have one friend who had his 1030 SW leak while he was snorkeling and Olympus replaced his camera under warranty. Nothing is perfect and a few people are going to get bad cameras. But my impression is that we’re just hearing from the people who’ve had problems – often they’re the most motivated to post.

    I like the Olympus Stylus SW cameras because of their shockproof build. And I have tested it. Not on purpose of course. But they’re burly cameras. The Pentax Optio W cameras are nice, but don’t have the same build as the Olympus Stylus SW’s. As for the “digital image stabiliser,” the Olympus has a similar feature. I actually don’t recommend it in any camera. It essentially increases the camera sensitivity so it can use a faster shutter speed. This almost always results in compromised image quality. What you want is “optical” or “mechnical” image stabilization. Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a waterproof camera that has real, mechanical image stabilization. But if you want the digital image stabilization, the Olympus has it, too.

    If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at my Olympus Stylus 1030 SW pro review. We don’t have a pro review for the pentax Optio W60, but we do have one for the previous model, the Pentax Optio W30. I hope that helps. If you have more questions, try posting them on our digital cameras forum. You’ll probably get a quicker answer there and maybe get more opinions.

  • robert allen says:

    I love everything about the Olympus stylus except the custom battery . A waterproof camera should be able to use AA and AA rechargable batterys I have been too many timesa on extended camping honting or fishing trips with no way to charge the battery.

  • Photo-John says:

    Please post a review for your camera. We really need more reviews for the Olympus Stylus SW cameras.

    These very compact cameras wouldn’t be possible with AA or AAA batteries. Your best bet is to buy a second battery and take it on your camping and fishing trips.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • swild says:

    Heya! I picked up a refurbished Stylus 790 SW a long time ago- and beat the crap out of it.
    It survived abuse by the swim team at 10+ feet, and freezing temperatures and drops on mountaineering trips.
    I bought a second battery, and between two batteries I never had to worry about recharging it while away.
    I’d definitely recommend it for value and construction, although it’s a little outdated.
    Unfortunately it wasn’t crevasse proof…

  • Jason says:

    Hi Yvonne,

    Just a suggestion, Ikelite makes polycarbonate underwater housings for pretty much all Canon DSLRs, they’re rated to 200Ft and allow access to all camera controls. The Ikelite housing also allows the use of most of Canon’s shorter lenses.

    The downside of course is it costs a bit more than your hubby would have paid for his 40D

    Alternatively Sony offers underwater housings rated to 40 meters (about 120ft) for all of their Cybershots. As an example the Sony shops here in South Africa offer the T77 Cybershot bundled with it’s underwater housing for R5999 – US$480~US$500 I’m guesstimating.

    Don’t buy the T700, it’s a T77 with 4GB built in, it is cheaper (over here anyway) and safer (since flash type memory has a limited lifespan) to buy a T77 + 2x 4GB Sony memory sticks (8GB total)

  • Dan says:

    So, I recieved the Optio wpi for Christmas 2005 and I can honestly say I put that thing through hell!!!
    I live in Colorado, so I definately had that camera hiking, biking, snowboarding, and even tubing the river (taking video the whole way!!).
    Having it for so long, it has been on MANY road trips… Washington DC, Dallas, California, and even Cabo San Lucas (rolling around with the waves in the salty ocean).
    That camera has even been to more clubs, raves, and concerts than I could ever think to name without looking through my MANY disc of misc. pictures and videos… And trust me, there are a TON!!!
    Me and my boyfriend (who gave me the camera) are even getting ready to purchase the newer W60 for my dad, who will get a lot of use out of it, putting it through just about as much torment as I have (I’m sure).
    I am sad to inform you that I won’t be able to tell you the end of the life of that trusty friend though… At my most recent concert/show, it disappeared! I’m pretty sure that it was pick-pocketed off of me… I have always been VERY careful to not leave it accesable to take by having it either zipped in the pouch or tethered by the strap.
    I obviously plan on replacing it, but had some thoughts of trying my luck with a Stylus 30 or 50. I’ll still check some things out before deciding, but after reading their reviews, I may just HAVE to trust my instinct and faith in the Optios!

  • seraphina says:

    Does anyone have any comments about the Olympus Stylus Tough-8000?

  • Corie says:

    I am also wondering about the tough- 8000?
    I previously owned a SW 1030 for just over 3 months.
    II bought the 1030 SW specifically for underwater use for a holiday in Mexico. It was under the water about 10 seconds twice, and then an error code – the doors aren’t closed etc ..came on and stayed. I carefully wiped it off and dryed it off -opened it up and there was water inside. I let it air dry and kept trying it for the next 9 days.
    Sorry Photo-john I was very careful. One thing I did not do was soak it infresh water because the error code continued even after the doors were closed – but I felt that I could be harming the camera more. The gaskets obviously were not sealing…
    I have a theory- I wonder how many really work underwater? How many of the customers really put it under water and test that feature!
    I would not have put it underwater if I had not been on this trip. My best friend also bought the same camera and hers worked 5 times- then the blue screen showed up-it died. Again hers was less than a year old. This just happened 2 weeks ago. Mine died 4 weeks ago. After my horror story she tested hers in the tub. It worked at home in the tub, but not for long…..
    You comment on that we had more to write about because of the negative experieince- your right, but I wonder how many don’t write about it? Actually the only reason I am wriing about it is because of your comment and I am still interested in the tough 8000
    On the up side I also own a SP 510 olympus which I love- and never leave home without it.
    Olympus in the end promised me a new camera and I asked them if the camera really worked underwater……….I wasn’t looking for an exchange nor a new camera. The retailer that I bought it from let me return the camera.
    So you may think I am a fool but I would like to give Olympus a chance and wonder if they made adjustments and improvements to their original product the SW 1030 so that the new tough 8000 not only works underwater the first time but everytime!

  • Nic says:

    I am also looking to buy a new waterproof camera for snorkeling, etc. Seen a lot of negative reviews on the Stylus 1030 SW, but am hoping to hear some reviews soon of the Stylus Tough 8000. I want a camera that will NOT have a chance of leaking. Will the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 be that camera??? Please post comments regarding underwater usage, thanks!

  • Ted says:

    Wow, this mini camera so lovely, it can help when we go to vacation, especially on the outdoor, shockproof feature is cool.. :-)

  • KeithC says:

    I’ve had three 1030 cameras now, and they all leaked in water less than a meter deep. I followed the manual instructions on waterproofing every time. Olympus replaced the first two, and now say they are replacing the last one with a new 8000. Just looking at the 8000 though, the battery compartment door seems to be identical to the 1030, so my guess is that it will leak too. One advantage the 8000 does have though, is that you can recharge the battery via the USB port, so it’s possible that you don’t need to open the battery door at all, and can keep the seal intact. You still have to worry about leaking from the USB port cover though, but its smaller and the seal looks a bit more robust.

    Frankly, I am now too afraid to put this type of camera in the water. I’ve had too many disappointments and now accept that they are not really waterproof. I would advise anyone who wants to use this camera underwater to get the optional housing. At least if the housing leaks, you can see it before it wrecks the camera. If you’re going down that path however, you may as well just get a regular camera such as a Canon, and get the housing for that. Any bog standard Canon will take much better photos than the Olympus.

  • scotty says:

    i am very perplexed to hear about the 1030′s leaking. I had a 770sw for a couple of years & used it a lot.. i took underwater shots & videos in hawaii (snorkeling only, but down to 10′ or so underwater). I took a lot of pics on motorcycle trail rides in all kinds of weather. I thought the quality of the pictures weren’t as good as my canon sd700, but they were still ok, & the ruggedness & waterproof more than made up for it.

    I’d still have the olympus, but it was stolen in Hawaii this Jan.. :(. I got a panasonic lumix to replace it, but really miss the waterproof feature. So i’ve been wanting to get the new 1030. But now canon has come out with a waterproof, as well as panasonic. They have no history so far, so i’ve decided on the pentax optio w60, because of reviews, the hd video (15fps, too slow for action), & the waterproof feature, but mostly the price.. new on ebay for $210.

    I put silicone grease on the seals, & make sure everything is tightly closed.. but i’m sure the other users of the faulty 1030′s did too. Too bad to hear of some bad ones.. If i got a new one, i’d test it out right away, that way if it doesn’t seal right, you can return it immediately.

  • Tad says:

    I’ve owned the Stylus 850 SW for about a year and it was working all the way up to the point that I lost it. That being said I’ve taken mine Mountain biking, swimming about 3 day a week, and to a water park at least one day a week all last summer with no issues. I have a string tied to it and looped around my neck and away I go. I’ve been down water slides both plastic and concrete and I’m busy holding on to my kids or my life to worry about my camera so it has taken some pretty good whacks with no issues besides the scratched up LCD screen. Hell I’ve even used it as a dive toy for my kids a time or two at the pool 9ft. The underwater pictures are awesome and you can’t get a better expression on someone as you can while underwater. As with everything you buy there are going to be those that have their issues. If you read all reviews and concentrated on what went wrong with a product before you bought it you would save a hell of a lot of money, because you wouldn’t ever buy anything. For me the camera is awesome and I’ve had no issues the underwater pictures are great. One thing I can’t comment on is that it has never been in salt water.

  • Kip says:

    Olympus camera 770 SW owner here and disappointed. Camera worked fine at first but stopped working after a day of use at the beach. The camera failed to turn on and there was condensation visible in the screen. Sent the camera in for repair, paid the repair fee, the second time it went into water after repair, it stopped again. Olympus customer service not very helpful either. Look elsewhere. I know I will.

  • Blair says:

    I Bought MY Olympus 1030 SW Just over a year ago.. meaning my warranty expired about 10 days ago :( … i was at the river about 2 days ago camera has never has ANY problems with leaking and i have beat the crap out of this camera it was a hot day out about 30 degrees Celsius and i aqquired some Condensation inside the camera lens
    camera powers up no problem all features and functions work but you can’t take a picture because the lens is all foggy the lens cap also came unglues and fell off anybody have any idea of how to get the condensation out???

  • Jovan says:

    Do these things float. If for instance it slips out of your hand in the river, will it bob back up, or it is going to the bottom?

  • Blair says:

    they sink i reccomend a good strap and/or some sort of float

  • Nicola says:

    Has anyone tried the new fuji waterproof cameras out at the moment? Priced around £149 from Boots.

  • Timo Piepers says:

    i recently bought a Olympus Tough Camera, it took great pictures but when a took it 1 meter underwater it broke.
    it is the worst camera ever!

  • Ty says:

    Any body try the canons,

  • chris says:

    I have an older version the 720SW, I surf and windsurf a lot and wanted something that I could carry with me while I was out on the water so I could catch the action you can’t see from the beach.

    I have to say i’ve been really impressed with the camera, quality and function wise. I’ve been in some pretty extreme surf and have had some severe drillings while trying to get ‘the shot’, and the camera has come out better than I did.

    One of the best features that the 720sw has is the burst function… while not a high megapixel it is perfect for web … http://www.sessionlogs.com/chris-slog-263/about-frickin-time-at-Plimmerton

    I think this function may have been dropped from the latest models which if true, is a real shame.

    As with all metal objects in the ocean, they MUST be rinsed after use. I’ve forgotten a few times and corrosion has set in around the battery door.

    But so far, no leaks after a lot of surf and snorkel use.

  • photojay says:

    Wish there was a really good solution for working in an equipment-destroying environment.
    I’m a profesional that specializes in boating, hence I work around water nearly all the time and salt for most of it.
    First, none of the cameras mentioned here would come remotely close to the quality I need for my clients. Perhaps I’ve become spoiled by what Canon’s 1DS delivers. Plus, I need to use long lenses (300mm and up is pretty common) and relatively fast apertures and hand-hold all this to boot, so the use of protective housings is pretty much ruled out. And, nearly all your rain jackets are too much trouble in the inevitable breeze, slow down the process of replacing memory cards and make one question the idea of changing lenses.

  • David says:

    I wish I could find verification that most of these waterproof compact cameras are made by Panasonic, and rebadged for other companies’ needs. The Polaroid T833 has much in common with Panasonic’s new underwater camera, as well as some of the Olympus Tough models, at least in appearance and design.

    But what I can’t fathom is why anyone would drop hundreds on a dubious Olympus Tough-style camera for the occasional dip in the water. Do you really take hundreds of underwater photos? If you’re an occasional paddler or diver, there’s a raft of Sea and Sea film cameras that do very nicely. Along with the very underrated Canon Sureshot A1 film camera, these can be found for a fraction of their original price at the Big Auction Site. For many of us, it’s all the underwater camera we’ll ever actually need.

  • Steve says:

    bought the Olympus 1030SW a month or two after it came out for my wife as we went snorkelling with Whale Sharks in Ningaloo (Western Australia), and a few months later took it skiiing.

    EASY to use, with loads of pre-sets (ie: night-time, canlde-light, 1m of water, 5m of water, etc) that make point-and-shoot a doddle. Pics from both holidays are clear and colours excellent. Have a 1.5m high canvas shot of a 10m Whale Shark on our wall from the trip, which justifies the purchse alone.

    More pros:
    My wife keeps this in her handbag as a day-to-day camera. If it can take less than zero tempaeratures, falls from ‘great’ heights and the worst of teh weather, it can ALSO take the poundings of the inner-santum of a handbag. Now, THAT’S tough.

    Slide-across cover for the lense. Can’t believe this still isn’t a standard thing for all cameras.

    Poor lighting always a struggle unless you are willing to spend on a DSLR (Canon D50 MrkII my recommendation).

    Highly recommend this (and the current Tough generation). Go for the one that can go deeper underwater as you’ll find reasons to use it outside of the norm.

  • Mr. Reeee says:

    I’ve had an Olympus 1030SW since January and taken it on 2 extensive snorkeling trips (swimming 3 to 4 hours per day). I can dive to the bottom A LOT and can get to about 25 feet. I’ve shot about 1500 underwater photos on those trips alone and used it for mountain biking, hiking and shooting construction site shots (I’m an architect), for which the wide angle is very nice!

    Before using it in the water, I was VERY careful to check the seals, then carefully and thoroughly rinse it in fresh water after every trip. I even give it a quick flush after getting out of the water. I’ve managed not to drop it.

    I’m not too happy with photos at 10MP setting (extremely soft and noisy even in full sunlight), but at 5MP they are FAR better. This camera would be brilliant if it were 6MP! 10MP is way too much for the size of the sensor and the small lens. The flash is too hot, so I usually shut it off underwater. With a few days practice, I was able to get some excellent underwater results. On land this camera is quite weak, except under “ideal” conditions.

    I bought it over an underwater film camera the size and for instant digital photo feedback (I travel with my MacBook Pro). With the cost of film developing over digital, it quickly paid for itself.

  • Justintoicated says:

    I have 1030 SW and it can stream Movies until he card is full. but you have to have a particular version of the XD card and the largest card of that version is 2GB.

    My recently started having problems about a month ago. The Orange LED focus assist light has completely stopped working. I am going to attempt an RMA but it’s likely the camera will just go in the trash if I can’t find the receipt. Bummer too because I hardly even used it. Maybe a couple hundred photos total. I was never happy with the photos but it was ok for portraits and close ups and it was easy to carry unlike my SLR. It’s just that it took terrible landscape photos. No matter what mode the camera was in it would always use the lowest aperture hence the lack of a depth of field for landscapes.

  • rappyroo says:

    Do not buy the Olympus waterproof camera. It freezes up when you want to snap a picture and the only way for the camera to unfreeze is to take the battery out. I bought this camera two separate times thinking it was bad luck. NO way this camera is garbage. I bought it at walmart both times and they honored their return policy.

  • hster says:

    Does anyone know if the waterproof failure rate is higher for the Olympus Tough/1030 than the older 790/850 models? I don’t know if I should buy an older model (i.e. Olympus 850 SW) which appears to have less leakage complaints or believe the newer models are better.

    Any input would be appreciated.

  • Photo-John says:

    Because my experience has been very positive, I tried to get some failure numbers from Olympus. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so. The camera I used the most was the 1030 SW and it performed just fine for me. It’s been to a water park, it went snorkeling in Hawaii, and it’s been in a snow and rain a ton. The only problem I had was salt from the ocean on the lens cover made it stick. Rinsing it in tap water fixed that and that problem is actually mentioned in the manual. I have been suspicious that we’re only getting the angry people who have had cameras fail and the happy customers aren’t posting. That’s one of the potential problems with user reviews and the Internet in general. Maybe I will ask Olympus again and see if I can get some failure rate data.

  • Aaron says:

    I have had the Olympus SW 1030 for about a year and a half now and I must be lucky compared to most people because it’s worked like a champ. I’ve taken pictures under huge waterfalls, numerous snorkeling trips (both fresh and saltwater) and snowboarding. I agree that the picture quality is not great unless the conditions are near perfect, but I’ll try using the 5MP over the 10MP option that Mr. Reeee suggested. Also, I heard that you can get better seals that allow the camera to go up to 100 feet under water. I have yet to investigate this claim further, but it’s got me excited to check it out. Overall, it’s compact and very durable, but the image quality is not super impressive.

  • Greg says:


    I bought an Olympus u6010 for a recent holiday, used for snorkling, pool and hot tub had no problems at all. Also the kids (12-16 yo) also used the camera for snorkling and in the pool so it probably got a few drops and jumping into the water, etc.

    Just remember to follow the instruction manual and soak in fresh water for 10 minutes after being used in salt water to make sure all the salt is gone, then dry and open the compartments and leave to dry (with compartments open.

    Only point of concern (and I haven’t experienced personally) a friend has the Olympus u8000 and has had it replaced twice because of charging issues because you need to charge the battery in the camera with the charger plugging into the USB port. But both times he had no issues with Olympus camera replaced for new one straight away both times. The earlier models had an external battery charger.


  • jay greene says:

    I bought the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 at Costco and after an hour of surfing it leaked. It is supposed to be good to 10 feet. It could’t handle 3 feet in the safety of my pocket.

  • Molly says:

    I’ve been a happy Stylus owner since they first came out. One camera lasted me more than 2 years of snorkling, kayaking, hiking, pools, and adventures… until it was stolen. So now I’m on the market for a new camera. I was tempted to just go for the new model stylus, but am wondering whether Canon offers better image quality? Is it worth the switch?

  • Photo-John says:

    We have a review for the Cano D10 in the works. We actually got the camera right after it was announced but it’s not complete yet. We do have full-res studio sample photos posted, though: http://gallery.photographyreview.com/showgallery.php?mcats=518&si=&what=allfields&name=&when=0&whenterm=&condition=and&crproducts=439372%3ACanon+PowerShot+D10|

    The D10 image quality may be better than the Olympus cameras. But if it is, it’s only negligibly so. The D10 is also a much larger camera and I prefer the compact size of the Olympus Stylus Tough cameras. It’s also nice to stick with a camera menu and controls that you know. So my recommendation would be to get a new Olympus. Nothing against the Canon, except maybe the size. It’s mostly an issue of sticking with a camera that you know so that there’s no new learning curve.

  • Rick says:

    Hi, I bought an Olympus Stylus 770 SW a few years back. I am a whitewater raft guide and have used it on at least 100 trips. I have abused the heck out of it. It has been dropped many times I lost it in a river once and found it later, the sun was shining and reflecting off the silver body. I has performed very well, I think it takes great photos while not as good of quality as my digital slr it is still very good. I took it on a grand canyon rafting trip and was able to make it leak a bit while duct taped to the front of the raft going through a huge rapid where it really got hit hard, it still worked but fogged up a bit. After it dried out it still works well. I am very impressed with this little camera.

  • Steve says:

    I have an Olympus Stylus 850 SW that is about one year old. I bought it from Best Buy and got a four year replacement plan cause I intended to be very rough with the camera. I have used it on multiple occasions in the ocean, swimming pools, river rafting, and Disney rides. I have never had a problem with functionality. Although it is harder to get a clear and sharp picture with this camera than with others, it is still possible. But this camera provides many action-shots that would be unlikely with my other cameras. It is very rugged and always ready, with quick “on” and “ready-to-shoot” features. While my friends are waiting for their camera to “boot up” and focus I have already taken half a dozen shots. I am about to purchase another camera like this to give to my daughter. She has already gone through four other point-and-shoots that have broken from drops or were just plain “worn-out.” I highly recommend this camera for active people doing active photography.

  • Bob says:

    I bought the FUJI FinePix Z33 waterproof camera at walmart for $160 and used it IN and UNDER the waves at Seaside Heights, NJ as well as in the heavily chlorinated pool at the hotel – everythings worked great and the underwater photos and MOVIES are razor sharp, perfectly exposed and simply AMAZING ! Even the SOUND UNDEWATER was as clear & as understandable as could be expected !! AFTER a week of extensive daily use and nightly charging, the camera FAILED TO CHARGE and was EASILY exchanged for a FREE replacement at Walmart with the receipt. THE 2nd CAMERA has worked flawlessly, I BODY SURFED all day in the ocean while filming myself diving & surfing IN and UNDER the fairly rough surf and waves of HIGH TIDE !! EVERY SINGLE photo and MOVIE WITH SOUND was AMAZING !! I have taken it mountain biking, kayaking and used it in the rain with EXCELLENT RESULTS ! I mostly use it as a POCKET SIZED CAMCORDER ! VERY PLEASED – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ! NO I do not work for FUJI – I am just a gadget guy, outdoor enthusiast ! I have owned atleast 6 digital cameras and used many more ! I will update if any problems or leaks occur.

  • chris says:

    I got a Panasonic FT-1 a few months back and it has been pretty reasonable for a point and shoot camera. Its small, slips in a pocket and has a good wide angle and reasonable zoom.
    I have more complaints about it than praise, but I think I was probably expecting a little too mcuh of it vs a DSLR.

    Cons -
    battery life is good for photos, but video and playback kills it.
    Flash is way too strong, and no way of doing a flash compensation
    No aperture priority mode, which annoys me. Great camera, but no way of telling it what to do.
    Shutter lag is reasonable, but not great in IA mode.

    Its small, metallic and bright orange.
    Good screen size and resolution
    Controls are easy to figure out and play with
    Video quality is awesome, but AVCHD format is not mac friendly
    My 4 year old takes it round for photos which is fun, and I know she isn’t likely to break it. Its good for a 1.5m fall, and she is only 1m tall.
    Standard SD cards, unlike the olympus cameras

  • Ginger says:

    HI, I’m headed to Costa Rica in Nov, 2009. I’d like a pocket point-and-shoot with zoom for wildlife in trees and waterproofing for the heavy rains. Is this possible? Could something like this be shown at the trade show this month?

  • anna says:

    Just wanted to ad my bits. I am a Nanny who loves to hike and camp and fish (ice fish mostly) on my time off. I wanted a camera that would stand up to rough conditions ie, snow, water, sand and the kids. And I found it in the Olympus Stylus 850 SW. I love it! I was worried at first with leaking but have never had an issue with it after numerous trips. The lens fogs up a bit but I expected that. Just give it a rub or another dunk in the water and it’s good to go! I’ve also had it at the beach where the kids have burried it in the sand and it’s come clean. The shock proof feature is nice too-it’s seen it’s share of the ground ;)
    I’ve had it for a little over a year now and all in all it’s a great camera.

    so hster, that’s one vote from me. the older models seem to be better as far as leakage.

  • Renee says:

    i have had my SW 1030 for under a year, I took it to bali, i take it out with me, and when i went to use it the other day i turned it on, took a couple of photos and when i picked it back up again it started beeping and the screen shows a blurry image of what ever the lens is pointed at… i have tried everything to fix it but no luck… i was wondering if any one else has had the same problem?

  • Dave Van says:

    I have been using an 850SW all last summer. It has been submerged more than 100 times and been taken on many mountain bike adventures. This Camera can take some great panorama pictures and video underwater. With burst mode selected you just pull out the camera and shoot 3 to 10 frames in a row very quickly. A great function if you are on skis, bike or board, taking photos without looking through the camera display. Press the “on ” button and ready to use a split second away.

  • Nicole says:

    I LOVE my Olympus 850SW. I’ve had it for just over a year and it still works perfectly despite massive abuse. It’s been helicopter skiing (got a big dent in the front and still works fine), snorkelling, boating, wakeboarding (view from the rider), kite boarding, and camping. I tend to accidentally drop things often, so this is a perfect camera for me. Works immediately with great modes – even cool fireworks shots. I just wish my cell phone was this rugged.

  • karen says:

    I have been happily surprised with my sytlus camera and I am used to an slr digital. I never had an problem until I went in the ocean in Hawaii It got water in side. I sent my camera in and they repaired it and sent it back and it works great. I am upgrading to the newer one. I love it for the pool and the beach and events where I don’t want my Rebel. It is fun to use the video in the pool with the kids. I would recommend it.

  • Leah says:

    What camera would you recommend for a user who is huge into water recreation? I am enrolled in a study abroad this summer where I will be scuba diving, sea kayaking, black water rafting, as well as plenty of time hiking. I need something that can handle the water and I’m guessing a little bit of a beating.


  • Gringo says:

    I live in the Caribbean and do a lot of snorkelling. When the underwater housing for my little Sony broke, I bought an Olympus Stylus SW 770. I liked the packaging, and the specs. I took it snorkelling maybe a dozen times, never deeper than 20 ft. I rinsed it in fresh water and dried it after every time it got wet. It started with the open hatch error messages, then the USB output stopped working. I dried it out in an oven ( all opened up, 180 deg.) and it started working again. I carefully inspected the two hatch gaskets, and I know a few things about underwater housings. 40 year career in underwater instumentation. Well, I could not find any obvious sign of gasket damage. no nicks, no scratches.
    Decided it was good to go, took it in the water off my boat, and it didn’t even make it a foot underwater. It totally stopped working.

    So, I bought an Olympus Stylus SW 1030, and this time bought the silicon skin to help protect it. I think I might have taken it underwater a dozen times. Two weeks ago, on a sailing vacation in the BVI, on my first snorkel down to about 15 ft, the display went totally blank. Still is blank. The camera tries to take photos, but without the LCD it’s difficult to know where you are in the menu.

    On top of that, I use these cameras to take photos for a blog I write, that a few thousand people read. I have tried every trick I know to get a decent zoom photo from them. Out of thousands of exposures, I have never yet gotten ONE usable zoom shot from either camera. Most of the photos of the last two years, and the camera issues, are on this site http://2gringos.blogspot.com/

    The 770 lasted a year. The 1030 lasted 14 months. I will never buy another Olympus product.

    I like the new Canon, but it is too bulky for what I want. I am going to try the Pentax Optio after the holidays.

  • Gringo says:

    I should mention, I don’t think the Stylus are leaking at the hatches. I suspect the water is getting in somewhere else. A good design would have all the ports under one hatch, and it would screw down tight onto an O-ring. Anything else is displaying an ignorance about waterproof housings.

  • Gord says:

    In 2006 I purchased a Pentax optio wpi waterproof camera for a trip to peru. At the time I didn’t even know there were waterproof digital cameras on the market and I was ecstatic to find one that would be able to endure the harsh environments I would trekking through. After surviving a month in the amazon and the andes I have used the camera snorkelling in Hawaii, swimming in the dead sea(very salty water) white water rafting in the canadian rockies and so many little weekend getaways fishing, swimming, hiking, watersliding you name it. This camera has lasted through all of it. Unfortunately for me somebody else is now enjoying my camera as it went missing at a friends wedding recently. I have been looking at all the new models on the market today but am probably gonna stick with what worked well the first time and opt for the Pentax optio w80.

  • Upset Olympus Owner says:

    I purchased an Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 on December 1, 2009. I’m now in the last week of my vacation and took the camera snorkeling for the first time yesterday, December 26, 2009. I followed the instructions and made sure the doors were closed, after a few minutes the camera became unresponsive and finally shut down. I have not been able to turn it on again since. I leave in a few days, so I’m not as angry as I’d be if I had to buy another camera – but I am very disappointed. The camera operated smoothly up to now.

    I wish I’d known so many people were having problems with the camera, I wouldn’t have brought it in the water!

  • I had the same problem described above with my Olympus Stylus. Took it diving about 5 times before the camera became unresponsive. I’m thinking a small amount of water must have entered the unit and caused the circuit board to short. When contacting the company warranty service was completely lacking and I had to toss the camera.

    After doing some research for other underwater cameras I stumbled upon an Intova SP8 which came with an underwater housing and the camera itself is waterproof. Haven’t had any issues and would recommend it to anyone over the Olympus.

  • Paul Korchok says:

    I owned a Olympus stylus 720SW as my first ‘decent’ digital camera. I definately wanted a camera that was going to be useful in all of my recreational pursuits. As it was my first camera i wasn’t worried about the reported lack or picture quality in similarly priced non-water proof cameras cause it was my first camera anyway – anything would be a step up from Zero.

    I took it into every situation i wanted to without fear (i hadn’t read any reviews about damaged cameras). Snorkeling, waterfalls, streams, surf (stupid in hind sight) ocean at sunset pools. I tried my best to rinse in fresh water after every use, keep the hatch seals clean, and enure it was dry before opening hatches.

    Eventually the camera started occasionally shutting down. After drying out though it would usually come back to life. One day, two and a bit years after i bought it, it died completely. I opened the thing up out of interest and found sand and water within the housing. Some of the screws that go through the whole of the camer – penetrating both shell and internal house had corroded quite badly – as salt water would do i imagine. At first i was upset but in hind sight i’d do it again. The pics from this camera are incredble to look at- not necessarily for quality, but for the locations, the angles, and amount of use it got.

    I’m thinking of going the latest Olympus 8000 – I’d go another Olympus because i reckon that they’d be ahead of the game by now haing done it for so long.

    One thing to remember that the Maximum depth rating is just that. MAXIMUM. Dont go near the maximum depth rating if you want to keep it in good health. And remember that surface pressure on the camera increases with movement. The faster the movement of the camera under water the MORE the pressure. So if you take a 3m rated camera to two metres and start waving it around or take it through 1 metre wall of water in the form of a wave you are probably taking it beyond its pressure depth. Expect it to leak.

    Yes my Olympus 720Sw leaked and stopped working after 2 years but i’m buying another!

    Hope this helps,

    I got some incredbile shots that still make me go “wow”! and video to boot.

  • Brain Gibbs says:

    I just bought the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 and love it so much I wrote a blog comparing it to the other waterproof cameras: http://waterproofcamerareview.blogspot.com.

  • typax says:

    does anyone have a comment for GE G3wp?

  • Emily says:

    Hiya, thanks for sharing a nice information. A very informative post. Keep posting such nice post.

  • 2olives says:

    Thought I’d share my two-bits regarding Olympus. The underwater camera was a blast to use! Notice the word WAS! It worked wonderful for one year in the Mayan, then the whilst on vacation this year in Mexico – just at the time when the snorkling was perfect and the fish were entertaining the issues began. Sadness !! When I got back to Canada and spoke to a camera dude he looked at it and said there was a leakage as it was quite evident by the corrosion. So it appears some have great luck and others don’t …. now I am in the market for another u/w camera and was told canon and panasonic were the top runners. Any feedback on those are appreciated.

  • Susie says:

    I bought an Olympus Digital Camera Stylus 725 SW 2 years ago. Used it underwater maybe 5-6 times. All seemed fine until I used it this January 2010 on the beach. Was still able to take a few shots underwater and then it shut down. I tried turning it on and off but the lens cover remains open and the LCD showed no picture. Battery is fully charged, I have never dropped it and seldom do I use it underwater. When I cleaned the camera and let it dry, I opened it and battery and xd card were wet. Obviously it leaked. I went to the Olympus Service Center and they were charging me so high, its like buying a new camera. The cost of having the camera serviced and the seals replaced was not worth it at all. I complained… They told me to read the manual, and when I read the manual it says… “In order to preserve the water resistant feature, as with any underwater housing, it is recommended that the waterproof packing (and seals) are replaced annually.” …It is RECOMMENDED meaning you don’t have to. They should have written, YOU SHOULD CHANGE WATERPROOF PACKING EVERY YEAR… I will never buy an Oympus camera ever again.

  • Confused says:

    The new Pentax W90 mentions anti-shake protection..Is this similar to image stabilization?

  • Brina says:

    I had hoped to be able to give a happy review, as I have on other sites, but I can’t. I’m quite upset because my Olympus Touh 6010 just stopped working. Survived a few underwater trips – swimming pool and once the sea – and seemed to be fine. I followed the instructions for preserving water resistance (rinsing in clear water after etc) meticulously. In about it’s 4th trip it just died when I took it in an ocean bay, as soon as I got in. Told me the battery compartment is open – which it wasn’t, and it clicks into place so there’s no way it can be partially open. Looked inside and it looked wet. Dried it out and it turned on again but the screen won’t show anything and it won’t take pictures. I’m going to take it back and they’d better deal with it under the warranty otherwise I will be one very unhappy consumer.

  • Matthew says:

    I brought an Olympus 8000 Tough and it is working out well. I am a bit sad that the new version (8010) has 5x zoom. If anyone has questions feel free to ask my email is therussianwon@gmail.com.

  • John O says:

    I am only writing this because I saw all the negative reviews.

    I just picked up an Olympus Tough 6000 and took it on a trip to greenland. Not only did i freeze the camera but at one point i picked up the camera after I let it sit for a bit and my skin stuck to it because it was so cold. At that temperature the camera would only last a short time before it died but thats -10 degree weather for you. If you take the battery out and hold it for a while you can then fire off a few more shorts. I then took it to iceland and had it in one of the hot springs for a while. The blue lagoon to be specific. I kept it in my back pocket for most of the time while i was in the water. I would say it was underwater for about 2.5 hours. The camera still works fine but since I had it underwater it doesn’t seem to play sound like it used to but then again I didn’t let it soak and get all the muck out of it yet. All in all I put this camera to the test and it has held up really well.

    - j

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for adding your comment, John. There’s no way for me to know, but I have been suspicious that people who have cameras that leak are more motivated than happy owners to write reviews. If that’s the case, it would definitely skew the reviews. I’ve used a bunch of waterproof cameras and so far only one has leaked on me. To better serve our readers, please write a review for your camera in the user reviews section. Here’s a link to the Olympus Tough 6000 review page: http://www.photographyreview.com/mfr/olympus/8-10-megapixel/PRD_436087_6446crx.aspx

    Thanks again for your comment and thanks in advance for your review!

  • Greg says:

    Hi there,

    I’m not sure if you still check this, but do you have an opinion on the Casio EX-G1? I had an older casio exilim that I loved, but my wife laundered it. Any word?

    Thanks a lot for the great article!


  • Photo-John says:

    Yeah, Greg – I’ve got a Casio G1 test camera right now. I need to get this article updated so it deals with the current batch of cameras. In the meantime, here’s a link to the Casio Exilim G1 intro article I wrote when it was announced: http://www.photographyreview.com/reviews/blog/casio-exilim-ex-g1-g-shock-camera/

    And here’s a link to a gallery of the Casio G1 photos I’ve posted so far: http://gallery.photographyreview.com/showgallery.php?mcats=all&si=&what=allfields&name=photo-john&when=0&whenterm=&condition=and&crproducts=448592%3ACasio+Exilim+EX-G1%7C

    If you’re ever looking for something specific, make sure to use the search at the top of the page or the category links in the right-hand column on this page. The Casio category or the underwater category both would have dug up my Casio article for you. Stay tuned for more on that camera, too. It’s high on the list of cameras to write about next.

  • Snorkel John says:

    I had a Minolta waterproof film camera years ago
    Used only on vacations and snorkeling in Maui
    It was usable for years and held up well, never water problems , finally burnt out a few years ago autowinding too
    Pictures were as good as almost all underwater photos I have seen except professional. Means they were sometime acceptable other times iffy

  • melody valencia says:

    OLYMPUS MJU 550… need your opinions please response asap thanks

  • Tanesha says:

    Has anyone tested or used the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5?

  • Snorkel Alan says:

    I have used my Olympus 770 SW for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking for about 2-3 years. I swim with it often in the summer, and take it snorkeling ( at least 50 times) and free diving, usually never more than 5-15 feet deep, on winter vacations south. I have enjoyed taking underwater still photos as well as movies. It is small and often is on my belt in a pouch. It leaked last year and they fixed it for $110, but just leaked again, so I am wondering what is the best replacement. Problems- difficult to see the screen underwater in bright sun and aim, and late sunset photos (not early) have exaggerated color under any setting. I really enjoyed this camera, but am disappointed that the last fix did not last long.

  • Mal dives says:

    My experience is very similar to an earlier reviewer. I too bought an Olympus Digital Camera Stylus 725 SW 3 years ago. Used it underwater maybe 5-6 times. All seemed fine until I used it this March 2010 at a waterhole. Was still able to take a few shots underwater and then it shut down. I tried turning it on and off but the lens cover remains open and the LCD showed no picture. Battery is fully charged,BE WARNED Olympus services department referred me to the manual. I “In order to preserve the water resistant feature, as with any underwater housing, it is recommended that the waterproof packing (and seals) are replaced annually.” …It is RECOMMENDED meaning you don’t have to. They should have written clearly on the box, YOU SHOULD CHANGE WATERPROOF PACKING EVERY YEAR AT A COST OF $$$$ OR CONSIDER THIS A DISPOSABLE CAMERA ONLY GOOD FOR 12 MONTHS.

  • paola says:

    I had an Olympus Stylus 1030sw lasted for a year and a half. I took it to Bahamas and pools but last saturday broke when I was on a river taking pictures. It was working fine suddenly the lcd stop working, then the whole thing, then I saw condensation in the lcd and the lens.. it leaked :(
    I’m so disappointed, I expected it to be a good camera that would had last for a long time. After reading all these comments and Olympus customer service, not sure if that will be my next bet.
    Is it a Cannon a better outdoor camera? I definitely have an under water camera, shock proof as well. I thought the wide angel was great and can’t complain about the quality of the pictures. But I don’t want to be buying a new camera every year.

  • Amanda says:

    Help! My Olumpus Stylus (which i have been very pleased with for 4 years, no probs) has just been stolen so I need to replace it. I am very confused though – don’t know whether to go for the 1) Olympus MJU Tough 8000 or 2) Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 / Panasonic DMC FT1 (whichever I can get for under £160).
    I have heard that the Panasonic takes better pictures – is this true?
    They both have shake reduction and face recognition, both are shockproof and waterproof… these are the main points for me. I need a camera for travelling (backpacker) – both coast/sea, mountains, snow, beach and inland so scenic shots as well as water; and nights out with my friends when camera are dropped and drinks spilled. Panasonic or Olympus?? Much appreciated

  • KoiMaxx says:

    I had broken my old Olympus FE-180 early last year (my elbow hit the display while the camera was strapped to my wrist) so I decided I didn’t want that to happen again so I got the SW850 as a replacement. It’s not the most impressive camera with regards to function or picture quality (and I was a bit disappointed with its battery life, and I prefer using AAs), but I have already used several times in and around pools and dropped it on occasion and so far it works great for what I intended to buy it for.

  • nadine says:

    I am looking for a shock proof, water resistant camera for my boyfriend, he does a lot of sport and wants one to use initially for a road bike tour.
    As far as waterproofing goes I have quite a lot of information from above comments and other but what about shock proofing…is there any better than others?
    Also, is the Panasonic t-2 the only one with HD video?


  • akajj1234 says:

    I sincerely tell you guys reading this that pls refrain from buying Olympus Cameras. I bought one of their first mju720sw in HongKong during our HolyWeek Vacation but after a couple of months the “NightMode” was not working good anymore because it is so laggy when shooting at streets at night and so on and so forth. Then when I called their authorized dealer in my country they sadly says that my camera is not covered by their warranty because it was bought outside of my country. What a shame for Olympus, the world is getting smaller everyday and Philippines is not that too far from HongKong! What is the matter with these guys?.

    “There is Definitely something Wrong with the Quality of Their Cameras and Their Service, So I promise not to buy again any Olympus Brand and I also promise to tell all my friends to do the same”

  • JD says:

    Had an Olympus 770. Took it snorkelling all aroudn the world. Dropped it out a van windows at 60Kph – still worked but was a little deformed and not waterproff any more. Still use it as a back up camera though. Bought a 1030 and carried on Snorkelling in salt and fresh water, battered the hell out of it. Taken it kayaking, dropped in a tidal river in cornwmall and retreived it 5 hours later, still working. The only proper “fault” I’ve found is that now after all that abuse using the zoom prevents the camera from focussing so I can’t zoom in on anything any more. Still, the pictures we got from the activites were more than worth the cost of the camera. I cannot recommend the Olypmus’s enough and i’ll be buying a new one as soon as possible.

    Replace the supplied strap with a tougher one, though… that’s how mine ended up on a river bed :)

  • Paul A says:

    Using my Olympus Stylus Tough 12 megapixel camera for almost 2 years now as of May 2010 with much satisfaction. It has paid for itself fourfold as it has outlasted the previously established track record of my pocket cameras breaking in 6 months. Great pictures and videos. I have literally had zero performance problems with it. I did get a spare battery, because I often have it “on” while standing by waiting for the right photo opportunity.
    Durability is great as it has been dropped, slammed, squished and frozen and still going strong. It has never seen salt water. I have dropped it in snow and mud repeatedly and in heavy rain and in my regular shirt pocket in the soaking rain. I don’t see any hint of any seals giving way as other reviews have stated. Very happy with this camera.

  • Christina says:

    Olympus Stylux 1030SW – had for exactly one year – lightly banged on side of pool while swimming and gonzo – nothing – won’t even turn on. Looking for a new brand.

  • Fiona says:

    Hi everyone, I hope someone can help – I’m looking for a “holidayproof” camera… I’ve always had Casio Exilim’s for their easy use and quality, however i’ve ruined several of them due to sand in the zoom or accidental drops. I don’t want to compromise on indoor quality to have a waterproof / adventureproof camera, however i’m struggling to find something that fits the description. I’ve been looking at the Pentax W series so far but after reading reviews i’m sceptical.

  • Randy says:

    I bought a Pentax W60 in the early spring of 2009 and I absolutely loved it. I used it underwater on several occasions including salt water beaches, swimming pools and jungle rivers. I also used it at work in a harsh environment and loved all of the features including the Macro, Landscape and 720 HD Movies. I went on a vacation in March of 2010 and on its first use in a pool, the camera filled up with water and no longer works. Yes, the warranty was over by a matter of weeks. I had put 100% silicon on the battery seal several times during the year and I believe that the seal was in excellent shape. After further insvestigation, I noticed that the plastic battery door was slightly warped which allowed for water to enter. I have tried to clean the camera out using several electronic tricks such as soaking it in pure alcohol which displaces the water and allowing the alcohol to evaporate. I don’t recomend that because it did not work, but I had nothing to lose. Anyhow, I am now in the market for another water proof camera. The W80 camera basically looks the same as the W60, only some rubber bumpers added onto the frame and the MP went up from 10 to 12. I believe that the battery door is the same. The W90 has a different frame, but since it is not sold in stores it is difficult for me to judge it. I have not been impressed with other brands that I have looked at and am probably going to buy another Pentax. Does anyone have a description of the new W90 model? Of course the price on the W80 is much more affordable which may influence my decision also.

  • Emily says:

    Owned the Olympus SW850 for 2 years (before it got stolen last week) so I’m on here trying to figure out what to get next. LOVED IT and can’t live without the thing.

    I work as a raft guide so I had the camera in the water hundreds of times. Never got water inside- it made life so much fun. I was hesitant to take it in salt water at first, but did that too and didn’t have any problems. Word to the wise though- wash it off in fresh water before you open the battery compartment, salt will kill the battery and rubber gasket before anything else will.

    awesome little camera- picture quality was alright, good most of the time. THe sports mode very useful, macro settings were awesome, underwater movies are pretty much the coolest thing ever.

    GET ONE, I’m poor and its worth the extra 100 bucks to be able to take it everywhere.

  • bob allen says:

    I can not recommend a oly 1030 sw. Mine is a paper weight now. It is less than 2 yrs old and has not been abused. I have taken it on a few whitewater raft trips but it really never has gotten very wet (never submerged). I started acting erratically a few months ago and now will not switch on to take pictures. I can view what is in it but it no longer works as a camera. From reading other reviews I suspect that there are quality control issues here.

  • Waterproof Camera lover says:

    I think one of the reasons why people reported the cameras “leaking” is because they opened it while it was wet or their hand was wet and it had gotten leaked through. I have had this camera and there was no problems with it! I love the quality, I love how it can take crystal clear underwater pictures its perfect for me! I’ve took it swimming wit my lil baby cousins and nothing went wrong! of course some cameras are messed up but for the majority its fabulous!

  • Happy, happy, joy, joy says:

    Olympus 1030SW owner here and a reserved happy owner since December 2008 and it’s still ticking

    Had subjected it to wet use in a shallow depth pool and ocean use, but in all cases, not used for more than a minute or so underwater. Takes good pictures but mostly if there aren’t any bubbles in the shot that you’re taking or murky, cloudy waters. Only thing I haven’t tried is in colder temps or dropping the camera (on carpet only if I have to)

    My advise to folks is to follow instructions after every pool or sea water use. Soak it in tap water for 30 minutes and pat it dry and when you do open it, make sure hands are dry and open the camera when it’s right side up so no water leaks in the compartment (should there be any) when you open it.

    Once I tried it waterproof, I can’t go back to regular P/S digital cameras.

    Now if they just make a waterproof (splashproof?) DSLR then that would be great!

    Actually, in the market to get a 2nd weatherproof camera… should I get another 1030SW? I need to be in some of my pictures. A two-weatherproof-camera household is better than one!

    I currently have a day old FujiPix XP10 and thinking of returning it. Not happy with the lame flash/beep sound operation. An operator should have the option set them independently, not one and the same setting.

  • Minabey says:

    The 1030sw is awesome. It has it’s own drawbacks like any other camera but personally I’ve had a great time with it for one and a half years… before it died out on me. This was my first waterproof camera and I followed the manual’s instructions on how to properly care for it. I don’t have an exact idea where a leak had sprung.

    Am living in the middle east at present and maybe because of the heat, somehow the rubber seals must have lost some elasticity and has become brittle or something. Maybe. Who knows.

    Anyway, I’m reading user reviews on other underwater cameras and its shocking to find out how many people have had leaks with their 1030s. I was considering another olympus model so that I can still use the xd card, battery and charger but now that I’ve read the reviews here and on other sites as well, I think I’ll take my time deciding.

    I’ve always been a canon fan because of the quality of the pictures and am considering the D10 as a replacement.. only issue I have with it, is the size. Sigh.

    My opinion about the 1030 picture quality, its best in daylight without flash… if used indoors or any other situation, you have to tweak the exposure a bit. And I also liked the 1030 macro modes. It has one macro mode using led as flash.

    If anyone is planning to get this underwater camera, good luck… learn about the warranty available in your store/area. enjoy it while it lasts… I did! =)

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for the comment, Minabey. I agree that there are a lot of negative reports for underwater cameras. However, withouth actual numbers on how many are sold and how many fail, you can’t fairly judge the failure rate. I’ve met plenty of people who own underwater cameras that haven’t failed. I’ve used/tested a bunch and so far only one has failed for me. I used the 1030 SW underwater a fair bit and it never let me down. I think one issue with reviews on these cameras is that people who have their cameras fail are reallly pissed – and understandably so. The problem is, they’re highly motivated to write reviews, resulting in negatively skewed review ratings. I don’t have any way to prove this. But I do run this site and I’ve been watching the user reviews for over 10 years now. And the negative reviews for waterproof cameras just seem way out of synch compared to user reviews for other camera gear.

  • salix says:

    what you said is good!

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  • Doug says:

    I bought an Olympus Stylus 770 SW (supposedly waterproof up to 32 feet) for my wife about 2 years ago. It stopped working the first time it got wet in about 3 feet of water. I called Olympus to see what could be done and they were the most unprofessional and rude company I have ever dealt with. They were going to charge me $150+ for a repair… saying there was nothing else they could do because it was out of warranty. They also said it was supposed to have the waterproof seal replaced after one year (however, their warranty is only for one year… and yes, it does state this in the manual, but not until PAGE 63!!). My sister-in-law has had a waterproof Pentax for FIVE years, and has had NO problems. It has gotten submerged multiple times, and has NOT had to replace any parts or have it serviced. Olympus just lost another customer.

  • Don says:

    In April 2010 I researched all the available water/shock resistent cameras available including housings for DSLRs (the good ones have crazy prices and a point and shoot is a much better deal). I tried them all for dry land photo/video quality because most of the photos/videos are still taken on dry land. Based on research and trial, I bought the Canon D10. After a week in Jamaica and two weeks in Florida I give this camera a strong 4.5 out of 5. In Florida, there were three similar cameras; mine, an almost new Olympus and a new Pentax. The Canon is faster and takes better videos and photos. Underwater, the difference is even greater and I have some great shots/videos of fish, coral reefs and people. Again, response time when taking shots of moving children was better with the Canon both in the water and above the water as they dived and played. Clean up after salt water is a breeze and involves leaving the camera in tap water for a while. Lens openings get salt build up quickly and the Canon glass can be scrubbed robustly to remove it and keep shooting whether wet or dry. I have scratched the housing (dropping the camera onto the rocks and bashing it about on some of the better DisneyWorld rides will do that) and it just keeps going. Battery life is unbelievable. I will be using it (as well as my pro DSL gear) in Egypt and Jordan later this year and then will try it at minus 30 this winter (no comments here as I have not tried it through a winter yet).

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for the comment, Don. Please write a review for your D10 in our user review section:

    Canon PowerShot D10 User Reviews >>

    I agree with your evaluation of the D10 and it was recommended in this guide in 2009. It definitely has the best image quality of all the waterproof cameras I’ve used. I never made any videos with it and in 2010 there are a bunch of new cameras that have 720p HD video. My biggest gripe with the D10 is the size – it’s much too big for most pockets.

    A note about cold weather and “freezeproof” cameras… I mentioned this in the article – expect to have problems wit the battery. It may not hurt the camera to have it in sub-freezing temps or even get snow and ice on it. However, the batteries will still be sapped by the cold. If you try to keep the camera warm to protect the battery charge, the lens and LCD will fog up as soon as you take it out into the cold. The camera may be “freezeproof,” but that doesn’t mean it will work great in the cold.

    Thanks again for the comment and thanks in advance for your review!

  • Simo says:

    so what should I buy then?

    Though – 3000 / 6000 / 8010 or Canon d10 or something else?

    I was growing a hope for a water+hit proof camera that could do full HD video and fit in my pocket.. but I keep reading that olympus has worse quality photos and flickering video and cameras that break down but that Canon does not have HD video… What should I do then? Im going to the jungle with rains and stuff for months on end..

  • Trish says:

    I had an Olympus D-40 Z that I brutalized for years. It was not supposed to be shock or water proof, but it lived for years attached to a little bag on my purse. It only took video for 15 seconds at a time but it took great shots and video. I loved that thing and it was dropped, bumped and once it even bobbed in the bottom of a canoe. I am sorry to hear that their waterproof camera isn’t built to the same ruggedness.

    At my local camera shop I was advised that Panasonic TS2 is the way to go for water proof to 33ft, shock proof, and good quality HD video in a point and shoot camera. That is the Panasonic Lumix DMC TS2. After having a panasonic videocamera that only saves video as TS files with the extension .vob, I don’t want to discover that I can’t edit it with standard programs after buying it. I want to have the ability to edit and if this camera saves video in that .vob format I do not want it. Does anyone know if this camera is everything they said it was? Does anyone know the format it saves video as?

  • Maria Machado says:

    Hi there!

    I was wanting to buy a waterproof camera, but really don’t know which one suits me better. I just need it for taking pictures in the swimming pool, the beach, and then maybe mountain biking, all the rest would be in the street normal pictures.
    Could you advice me on one?
    Thanks in advance

  • Willoughbys says:

    There’s a lot of good underwater digital cameras available and they will all be good catch. Having these technologies nowadays really made me happy because capturing moments while underwater is one of the great experiences people would want to treasure much.

  • Bandar says:

    For mountaineering, I have taken a canon G10 on Vinson and Denali where they have been left outside in -25 degrees. It has repeatedly frozen overnight and thawed out the next morning and performed perfectly. I generally have the best non-dslr photos of everyone.

  • Dan T says:

    We have had (until lost recently) in our family the Canon D10 and never had a problem. It was our daughters camera and she bought it with her own $$ in early 2009 ish. Not as many choices then. She being a “careful 16 year old” did not treat it as gently as I might have and it took some punches over the year when I looked at the body closely last month. I am pretty sure she did NOT test the four foot drop rating, it would be fun to try it a few times wouldn’t it-? Wooden floor, kitchen linoleum, pool-side concrete, boat deck, a 15′ jump into the water ….. Ha ha. Being her only camera she used it a lot, perhaps 80% H2O and 20% land. It was used quite a bit for a week in hot humid summer Jamaica and many pools until two weeks ago when it became separated from her sadly.

    It took good to excellent pic’s on land for the 12 mega-pixel chip size which is plenty enough. (It’s a small chip compared to a DSLR.) In the water it’s a wee bit more tricky but the “scene dial” setting helped immensely. Framing Under Water is easy to learn by trial and error and just get closer to the subject or zoom in. Practice UW if possible before the vacation with the beautiful reefs and multi colored fish and during the vacation check the image often for your perfection :-) (Read a little about U/W photography it will be worth it. I can’t remember if Canon’s manual was a help or not?) Sorry about my little lesson, I’m no expert especially when wet. Just my opinions and what she/we learned when wet.
    I never took video but I saw it on various web sites she had up-loaded to and it looked & sounded very good. (It’s that simple to use “scene dial” on top again.

    This leads me to a question/response Trish asked on July 9th:

    After having a panasonic video-camera that only saves video as TS files with the extension .vob, I don’t want to discover that I can’t edit it with standard programs after buying it. I want to have the ability to edit and if this camera saves video in that .vob format I do not want it. Does anyone know if this camera is everything they said it was? Does anyone know the format it saves video as?

    I don’t know much about video and would love to know the answer especially being a Macintosh user. Is it a Mac vs non-Mac issue maybe ? Trish, would you say video shot on a Sony “handy-cam and pictures/video shot on the D10 might cut together-? I bet you need to know the file type first. I guess I’m trying to ask a question when I really don’t know enough to ask the question, how’s that ?? Ha ha

  • John Johnston says:

    I bought an intova sport 8 about a year to two years ago. It is the best camera for the price. The pictures aren’t the best quality(8 megapixels), but if you want a compact camera that is waterproof and rugged, I would recommend this one. It is waterproof to 30ft without casing, and with the casing it goes down to 130ft.. The controls are really easy, and the modes are easy and quick to navigate. I take it kayaking and fishing all the time. I live in Florida, so non-waterproof wasn’t really an option for me. The only thing I was disappointed with was the quality of video and pictures. HD would’ve been better. Overall, a great camera.

  • spicynoodleboy says:

    just thought Id add my 2 cents to this thread. Ive had 2 olympus 1030sw. Somehow both of them got water inside the battery compartment, and each time it was during a vacation trip, so I was to say the least, disappointed. I should mention that I am a surfer and I take these cameras out into the salty surf, splashing and diving through waves, etc. I wouldnt exactly say I was careful about handling them. However, Ive also had an optio W60 which I used almost every time I go surfing, and seemed to withstand the abuse I put it through. However during vacation I went to tropical Bali and I noticed the LCD screen and lens started having condensation, but this happened when I was sight seeing and away from water. I wonder if waterproof = moisture proof too? Because it was quite humid there. I kept using it even though the lens would fog up, and the pictures didnt turn out that well. It finally died when I came back to the states. I sent it for repair to optio, and they actually sent me back the newer model, the optio w80 no questions asked, very painless. So now I have a w80 that Ive been taking with me (frequently) to go surfing, and it has given me no problems whatsoever. BUT, I wonder if itll hold up once I take it to the tropics again, which I am planning to do soon…

  • kate says:

    I respectfully disagree with you assessment of the Panasonic camera. I have had nothing but problems with it, all within the first year of ownership. After first or second time swimming with it, it would no longer download pictures to my computer. I returned it and was given a refurbished unit with only a 90 day warranty, which also proceeded to break down after being exposed to rain. The Panasonic people basically took my first broken camera and traded me with one that broke down, but didn’t have a warranty. Not a fair trade. I do not recommend this camera.

  • Ryan says:

    I had the same problem as spicynoodleboy. I’ve had 2 Olympus waterproof cameras the past 2 years that always end up leaking water and always when on vacation when i need it the most. Time to start looking at another brand.

  • Jerry says:

    I had an Olympus 1030sw for several years. It was fantastic. I used it many times underwater in hot springs in Costa Rica, Montana and Colorado. I took it skiing and swimming, to the beach and kayaking. It never leaked. It took great movies underwater and in thunderstorms and Blizzards. Unfortuanately, it didn’t float and ended up at the bottom of the Yellowstone river. I would buy another one just like it if I could find one. I think I’ll end up buying an 8010

  • Peter says:

    Our Olympus uTouch 8000 was a real joy, until it leaked after about 1 year, and the small-print seemed to mention the waterproof quality was not guaranteed. Mmmm, I can see where someone opening the battery compartment underwater could be excused from getting a fix, but under normal use…. In any case, in the end we did get a full refund from the store. I would aks about this part of the warranty before a new purchase. Apart from that I much agree with the review and comments : the cameras are not as good as their dry-air siblings but the (relative) ease of mind makes up for that. Out to buy an 8010 with the refund just now, hope it will survive a bit longer than just 1 year.

  • Theresa says:

    I had the Olympus 790 stylus , have used it for 2 years . Bought due to have a baby and wanted something shock and waterproof. THe 2nd time I took it in the water , it quit working , there was no water in the camera so have no clue what happened!!!! Of course just after warranty was up!! Olympus customer service SUCKED, Be very AWARE they are not willing to help, ALSO you have to send in every year to have them make sure seals are oayk or it will not be covered under warranty ( $29.99) !!! THey said I could send in and get like a 5% discount on a list of Cameras they offer, what a JOKE. I would not recommend Olympus at all!!!

  • chan says:

    I had an Olympus 1050 and i was so impressed with the quality of the pictures and the colour quality, was also impressed with the shockproof feature, i took it to new zealand travelling and it lasted after a couple of wary shots in a river, i then took it to fiji, one dunk in the sea and i had the same problems as most the other olympus buyers on here, hasnt turned on properly since.
    My boyfriend then bought me the olympus tough 6010 and so far iv managed to take either bright white pictures, blue pictures, red pictures or really dark pictures, the quality is shocking, my sister also had the same problem with hers. not had the guts to try it in water yet after all the bad comments!!
    So now im looking for a REAL waterproof camera..if they exist!

  • walter says:

    i have a olympus 850 sw worked fine for a year , went to cancun this week had it in pool no problem.. went to beach took some pics in water.. when i wanted to look at pictures camera woudlnt turn back on..
    not\w it just beeps 4 times and nothing..
    and store i bought it from is no longer in business..nice! and olympus hasnt returned my email yet

  • olympus 1030SW says:

    I want to thanks the people who runs this website for giving the opportunity to express my anger with olympus underwater camera. I also had the same bad experience with my olympus underwater camera. I bought my 103osw thinking that I really hit it this time and that was going to have a great digital camera for years to come. booy! I use it tree times underwater and this is what I got: “check your battery/usb compartment for foreing object-don’t operate underwater”. What a disappointment. Man, I am still making payments on in it (400 bucks gone down the drain). Is like buying a car on credit and crashed it without insurance. I only had it for a year and 3 months. Any way, I contacted olympus and they kept asking for a sale receipt. I informed them that I bought it through the AAFES (army and airforce exchange store) online store catalog and that I asked them for a sale receipt and that all they could supply me was with a letter and a record on my order. AAFES told me that my order record is my sale receipt. The answer I got from Ollympus (nicole/linda) was was that anyone could have written that letter. I believe onlympus has a serious problem with online shopping. For instant, Dell keeps record of order online for warranty purpose. Anyway, after 4 or 5 letters, sending copis of credit card, online account statements , they finally told me to send the camera in for evaluation, but that it looks as it is out warraty and I will have to pay for the repair. I do not know how much this will cost me , and it looks as I just mind as well buy a new one , but not from olympus. I sure expected something better from olympus. Looks as if they know what the problem is and do not want to comment on it. As a matter of fact , I was shocked to learn that they had two 1030SW for repair. And they told me, ‘Hey! we had two of them here and we are giving them back to the customers. We can’t fix them..this camera are not really for underwater use like olympus claims. They brake down after several use under water”. I believe that the best olympus can do is recall the 1030sw for water seal replacement that way we knwo we should not sumerge them. Another problem is the paint on this camera. These camera loose the originan paint after sumerge in salt water.

  • Daniel says:

    All the cameras reviewed seem to have their strengths and weaknesses but non of the reviews really touch on my application so I am looking for some suggestions. I spend much of my free time out doors, either hunting or getting ready for hunting season. My wife is getting tired of me carrying our family camera due to possibility of damaging it and her needing it while I am in the woods. What I need is a rugged camera with good low light performance and a decent zoom. Most of my best wildlife spotting is during early morning and early evening hours when the sun is about gone and flash is out of the question. Easy to pack and moisture resistant also required features. Water proof would definitely be nice for my occasional fishing trip and family outings in the lake or pool but I would rate low light and zoom performance above that.

  • Robert says:

    Be carefull using underwater compact cameras!

    I bought a new camera in August. Although I stricktly followed all the precautions in the manual guide water leaked into my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2 camera after several dives. I opened the battery compartment only twice (dry hands,…). Panasonic refuses to repair it, saying I shouln’t be using the camera while swimming (actually it’s also stated in the manual – in other words…). Does that make any sense to you?
    I’ve read lots of comments on this issue… and the verdict is always the same: The camera is waterproof so you must have been doing something wrong.

    I can’t be sure what actually happened, but folks be extra careful! Bout 5-10% of cameras eventualy get flooded!

  • haven says:

    so iv been searchin for a durable waterproof camera for my boyfriend for his bday soon. since im not very camera savey, its been over-welming. he does motorcross, frequent surf trips and just overall rough sports.would like to find something compact but good quality plus quik and easy. been looking at the pentex, and the gopro hero. do u have any info on these?

  • Chris Lund says:


    Can any of these 2010 outdoor cameras be programmed to shoot one photo per day or one photo per week?

    I see that the Pentax W90 can do interval shooting, but the interval can only be set between 10s and 99 minutes. I’m looking for a longer interval. Any suggestions?


  • Frank says:

    Bought an Olympus 725 several years ago. The screen went black as did the photos. Olympus wanted $130 to repair. Used on the boat only, no dunk in the water. Wont be buying another Olympus product in the future.

  • popeyez7 says:

    ~~~ HAVEN~~~~~ Get the GoPro,,,,,, I have 6 of them, very rugged, H2Oproof…… ETC ETC

  • Phillip F says:

    Have owned 2 Olympus 1030 SW. I am an idiot to buy the 2nd one. Both have leaked, bent sent back for service, and never been reliable. My last Olympus product for sure.

  • Hi John. says:

    I need a camera for my business. I really need an outdoor camera. I ski as well and it would be nice to have a durable camera during those trips. I am really interested in the Pentax w90 but I enjoy my little old Kodak that I just plug into my usb on my computer and when it is not uploading, it is charging. Looks like the Pw90 needs to pull the battery out to charge. Quite a change from my comfortable routine.
    So it all comes down to this-After watching all your great web movies and reading your comments, should I buy this camera over a Stylus Tough-8010 just for that one comfort I enjoy? I must tell you there is nothing worse than being in Timbuktu without a battery. I have a cell phone back up for pics, but would really like your call on this one. You can email me directly if you would like to offer your opinion privately if that suits you. I hope you receive this soon. I have to make a purchase very, very soon.

  • Erin says:

    I purchased my Olympus MJ Tough 6000 in Australia. After about 6 months it started making a beeping noise, would shut down and wouldnt allow me to take photos. I could only access the view photos function. I got to the point where I was going to throw it out, but after reading this I took your advice and gave the lense a really good rinse and it now works!! Thank you!

  • Lawson says:

    Hi – I am in the market for a compact, waterproof digital camera – mainly to be used on sailboats. I’ve really appreciated all the information provided here and personal experiences with the various models. Has anyone had any experience with the Samsung Aq100 just launched in Feb 10?


  • Lawson says:

    I am in the market for a compact, waterproof digital camera to be used on boats. I’d really like to have the HD video feature as well. The reviews and experiences here have been hugely helpful. Has anyone had any experience with the Samsung AQ100 just launched in Feb ’10. Thanks!

  • Nicole says:

    I find it amazing that technology has moved forward as much for the average person to be able to take pictures under water but unfortunatly there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out.

  • Say says:

    SW? not submerge, but splash proof? OK. Watch your pay for… 300, 400 bucks water proof?…

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  • JackZ says:

    I bought the Pentax W90 just before my recent trip to Caribbean. I did about 50 hours of snorkelling in all types of water conditions on that trip. I went crazy and recorded about 6 hours of HD video, 2 GB 12.1 MP photos, and etc all the time. No issues.. No leakages and no troubles.

    I am also a professional photographer. Although underwater photography is not my profession, I’d bet that many people who posted comments here about the Pentax w90 misused and/or did not maintain (eg. rinse off & take care of) their Pentax W90 camera properly. To all of you, it’s very easy to not close all compartments the correct way, and once you go below say 1-2m in depth, the pressure can easily leak into your camera (of any model and kind) if all watertight hatches are not closed right…

  • orlo says:

    I have had a Vivitar 6200W.
    The camera itself is a rubish. the quality of the pics are as bad as if made with a cheap mobile phone. But I have used if for 4 years in scuba diving. I have taken it to 40 meters a lot of times, however under 20 m buttons tends to block, At 30 m usually started to fail working due to the buttons. The result was that after taking a series of pics or vids, the camera has stopped working and all the pics from the SD card were compromised. So spending a lot of time to make pictures which will be lost all the time is not a nice way of making pictures.
    I must say here that this camera never leaked. And it was misused a lot of time, with lots of drops and scratches on the rubberised tough case. Unfortunately I have lost during my last dive on the Red Sea. Yeah, it did not float. Now I am looking for an alternative. Rather a weatherproof camera with a good underwater case than a pseudo-waterproof which can leak. If you are on a diving safari for a week and the camera crashes on the first dive your whole holiday will be compromised.

  • orlo says:

    forgot to say that the Vivitar was designed to max 10m depths..
    The secret of protection against leakage is to clean gently the rubber sealing rings and use silicon grease to maintain the quality of the rubber and assure a perfect seal. Simply opening the battery or card door and than closing back while sand can remain on the edge of the sealing can harm the camera.
    Besides a sudden sinking in deep water can provide a certain pressure on the door and therefore the sealing is more tight. If playing on the surface of the water, where there is no such a pressure, water can enter alongside the sealing.

  • Spike Speigel says:

    I see a lot of negative reviews of the Olympus 1030sw so I have to weigh in. I have one and my son has one. Mine has been on kayaking trips, motorcycle trips, biking trips, a surfing trip, in 0 degree weather, etc, etc. It may be the best camera I have ever owned and that includes my Nikon F1 and all the others. I have a friend who uses a D5000 and our pics cannot be told apart. My son is a Marine uses his in Afghanistan and the only problem he has is the battery, so I sent him two extras, which I have as well. He has taken his on training missions and extended forays which are tougher on the product than anything you or I will ever experience. One thing I will say is that having had multiple waterproof cameras I know enough to use a gasket/o-ring lubricant before I ever take the camera out to shoot. I use a product called shinitzu grease (can be purchased at Honda Parts locations in their car dealerships) but Nikon sells their own and it has worked very well on my Nikonos. You may have had problems with yours, but mine has been fantastic. I would buy one again. Unfortunately, being a customer service rep myself, if I got bad customer service from corporate, I’d bail on the product myself.

  • Surfershot says:

    I’m not to fond of the Olympus waterproof cameras as they are the biggest and bulkies waterproof cameras on the market (besides the Cannon). I review waterproof cameras while surfing and have found that the Sony tx5 is way above the rest. I take it out on my surfboard using the Surf Camera case for easy convenience. The tx5 will take 10 shots per second and each one will be at a full 10mp’s. As far as your grease seal trick, just use plain old Vaseline. It’s an approved method to use on aircraft seals too (I’m an aircraft mechanic by trade).

  • Deb says:

    I wonder why you don’t mention Casio at all. I first saw their waterproof last year at CES and it’s on their website. It is the EX-G1BK

  • Deb says:

    Never mind. Those silly underlined links threw me off.

  • Barry Condon says:

    I was and still am the owner of one of the first; Olympus u725sw compacts. I use it mainly for treking in the hills of Ireland where there tends to be awful weather over winter. Its been one of my best buys. I know we’ve got so tight of this and that being not up to scratch or it could be faster and doesn’t shoot so well under water, but I don’t use it for that. I have it nearly 4 years and will keep it until it stops working. It’s given me many excellent photos over many years.

  • Barry Condon says:

    I was and still am the owner of one of the first; Olympus u725sw compacts. I use it mainly for treking in the hills of Ireland where there tends to be awful weather over winter. Its been one of my best buys. I know we’ve got so tight of this and that being not up to scratch or it could be faster and doesn’t shoot so well under water, but I don’t use it for that. I have it nearly 4 years and will keep it until it stops working. It’s given me many excellent photos over many years.

  • Dilsiri Welikala says:

    Saved a lot of money and got a Olympus tough 8000 shipped to my home and after a few weeks the problems started. Sent it by DHL to hong kong twice and when the problems occured a third time I insisted that they repair it in Sri Lanka – where I live. The camera is the crappiest manufacturing job ever. I lost faith in ALL OLYMPUS products. Dont ever buy OLMYPUS. You will only become dissapointed.

  • r jones says:

    any thoughts or experiences with anyof the new cameras
    olympus T810? panasonic TS3? or pentax wg models

  • Photo-John says:

    r jones-
    This article is due for an update, I know. If you look through the Underwater Cameras News & Articles category you’ll find articles about all the new “rugged” cameras. I haven’t used any of the new ones yet, but I’m definitely planning to. Right now the new waterproof I’m most interested in is the Panasonic TS3. Until I try some of the new stuff, the Sony TX5 remains my favorite waterproof camera. My Sony TX5 pro review: http://www.photographyreview.com/reviews/blog/sony-cybershot-tx5-waterproof-camera-review/

    Keep your eyes open for an update on this article. I’ll probably do it in about a month when we get a little closer to the summer vacation season.

  • r jones says:

    thanks and i have seen the ts3 already, last week at Henrys camera store here in sudbury ON. canada, nice camera!!

  • Kevin says:

    Been n the shoptwice and both times just barely out of warrenty. Olympus offered me their next best and the reviews are not so good….
    It’s a shame Olympus does not own up to the fact that the camera should be recalled or the specs corrected to shockproof only and splashproof only.
    Now my camera is at their repair facility waiting for me to pay or get nothing in return. Really sad.

  • CraigH in BC says:

    Hi Photo-John:

    With all the new rugged/waterproof cameras that have recently come out, any plans to update this article for 2011?

    I have a couple of mountain biking friends asking about camera recommendations.

    Since you have the ability to test & use a lot more cameras than I do….



  • Photo-John says:

    Yeah, Craig – an update it is definitely in the plans and it will be soon since summer is right around the corner. So far the only new camera I’ve actually used is the Olympus Tough TG-610 and you can read a short hands-on report for that here: http://www.photographyreview.com/reviews/hands-on-olympus-tough-tg-610-waterproof-camera

    The next camera I’m anxious to try is the new Panasonic Lumix TS3. I haven’t had my hands on it but I do have an article about it here: http://www.photographyreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-ts3-rugged-waterproof-camera-full-hd-gps

    in the meantime, I’m sticking with my top pick from last year, the Sony TX5. It was my favorite camera last year and it will remain a great camera this year, even if there are new cameras with new features and different specs. Here’s a my Sony TX5 review, if you haven’t read it yet: http://www.photographyreview.com/reviews/blog/sony-cybershot-tx5-waterproof-camera-review/

    Check back soon. I should have this article updated in the next few weeks!

  • rob says:

    hey John had a chance yet on the TS3 or TG-810, have read both articals so far, but eagarly waiting your personal testing and take on both of these. Planning the yearly may long weekend fishing trip with the guys and when i fall down and “spill my beer”, it would be nice to know which camera will not get ruined and capture that perfect fish shot!!!

  • kkon says:

    I’ve bought two of the olympus 1030SW’s. They have been in salt water, fresh water, rain water and have never leaked. I have taken them down to about fifteen feet in salt water with no problem. However, I did always rinse them thoroughly. I hope I haven’t just been lucky because I am about to purchaes another one. I give the used ones to my staff for their use(which is not as rugged as my use), and they have never had a problem. I have had a problem with freeze up on the battery. In severe cold you MUST keep the camera warm take a couple of shots, battery says its dead, rewarm the camera take a couple of shot, rewarm. . . . . . you get what I mean. After bringing the camera out of the cold it works fine, with no further charge. I have noticed though that my original battery has died, but I do beat these cameras up pretty well. Hope this helps.

  • CraigH in BC says:

    Thanks for the update for 2011 PJ!

  • Macred5 says:

    BEWARE OF SONY DSC-TX5. SONY WILL NOT HONOR THE WARRANTY. I had and loved the camera for 6 months, using underwater (according to instructions) about 3 times. One morning (unrelated to underwater use) it just wouldn’t turn on. I returned it to Sony Service in Laredo. They informed me that they were voiding my warranty because there was “corrosion damage”. They refused to accept that the failure was not related to use underwater. They said they have the final say on the matter and despite significant effort (more than an hour on hold and talking to “supervisors” in customer relations) they say I am responsible to pay $391 for repair (BTW a new TX5 is currently $259).

  • Stephen says:

    770 SW diving.. had this camera since 2007, take it diving often, had it down to 105 ft taking pictures.. never leaked yet.. word of warning tho.. at that depth it tends to compress the display turning it a bit dark for a few days after.. but it eventually comes back.. :) anyway.. no issues with the stylus 770 SW… specs say 33ft underwater.. like I said, I take it down to 60+ feet with no case.. and 105 feet in hawaii (pacific ocean) with no case.. just recommend you wash it after salt water.. I usually take it to the pool for a while.. turning it on and off several times to get the salt out of the moving lens cover..

  • Jim Jones says:

    I had an Olympus stylus 770sw. In 3 years it stopped 3 times underwater (I did use it alot). The first 2 times it was replaced in warranty. The last unfortunately I was out of warranty, but at least customer services are efficient. the third time they advised me not to send it in as the repairt cost would be greater than buying the equivalent current model. Still a pain, but kudos for the sincerity.

  • Jim Jones says:

    forgot to mention…desperately wondering if I can expect any of the current cameras to genuinely last 2-3 years. I live by the sea and want to use my waterproof camera underwater upto 8 months a year (strange huh?). I’m sure if I buy one of the 10m ones with a 40m case I’ll be safe, but that also doubles the purchase price…

  • gracie (◕‿◕ ✿) says:





    GRACIE (◕‿◕ ✿)

  • edgecrusher says:

    Currently own 4 year old Stylus 1030SW and it’s been thru it all. Not just mtn. biking, but over-the-bars crashes that landed me on my Camelback where this camera was stored. Taking pics at 10 degrees, dropped into 2 feet of fresh snow, hard landings and crashes while in my snowboarding back pack. Also see it’s share of salt, although I’ve never taken a true underwater pic. I keep it leashed in a vhf radio pocket on my pfd while sea kayaking year round, and have taken many “don’t see many of these” type shots.
    I personally love mine, 10.3 megapixels, bought for $230 back in 2008, still going strong. Does it take the crispest, cleanest, gallery type shot? No, but that camera stays home on most adventures the 1030 goes on.

  • TONY says:


  • Kim Coffee says:

    Have you reviewed the Fujifilm Finepix XP20? Looking for a multi-function camera for kayaking. How would you rate this camera? Thank you for your help.
    Sincerely, Kim

  • elizabeth says:

    l am searching for a new water proof camera.
    l had the panasonic 3m water proof camera for only a year, lent it to my brother for his holiday and he drowned it.
    so now l need to replace it.
    would prefer a waterproof camera that can go to 10meters and is very durable.
    must admit was not a fan of the panasonic didnt like it functions or the way it took pictures.
    general l prefer buying canon as most of my cameras are canon l like the way they take pictures and there function.
    l have in the past years gone thru so many canan ixus from the days of just being 2mega pixels to 10mgp.
    l have also the slr but l find l need a camera that l can take good quality pictures of the kids in all terrian and not have to worry about the weather as my other two canon cameras when the weather is no good they stay in the camera bag and l use the water proof one.
    so really what l am asking can you recommand a good waterproof all terian camera with good zoom and can handle being carried around in the handbag all the time…..
    as l love taking pictures…..
    would prefer a canon as they have been a favourite of mine….

    dont like olympus as l had a bad experience with 1 l bought many years ago, but will consider if l have no other option.
    looking forward to your recomdation.
    thank you

  • Photo-John says:

    I think the answers to all your questions are in the guide. If you haven’t read it, please do. My favorite waterproof camera right now is the Sony Cybershot TX10. Canon does have a waterproof camera, the PowerShot D10, and the image quality is great. However, becauuse its kind of bulky and its a couple of years old now, it’s not one of my top recommendations. That said, it might be perfect for you. Read the guide and you’ll find out more about it and there’s also a link to a more detailed article on the camera.

  • I love my Pentax W90, it takes a beating and keeps on ticking.

  • HeGu says:

    Its the second time… My Olympus soaked with water…kinda frustrated…. First the Stylus 1030 SW also ‘gone’ while snorkeling (luckily got replaced to a new one – Tough 8000 ) and yesterday for the second time… Olympus Tough 8000 is no longer tough… as water pouring inside while picturing friends swimming … So NO MORE OLYMPUS … any suggeston…?

  • Larry Mims says:

    My Olympus 770 SW was never in water, but I wanted a waterproof camera because I live on a boat. Camera started overexposing pictures after sitting in a drawer. Sent it in for service (after warranty) to Olympus. They said totally corroded throughout and $111 to fix. I’m buying another waterproof camera but it will NEVER AGAIN BE AN OLYMPUS!

  • David says:

    Don’t see any Nikon waterproof digital camera reviews. The Nikon AW100 looks like a very nice camera, but I don’t see many reviews of it. Maybe it’s too new?

  • Photo-John says:

    The Nikon is a bit new but I do have one for review right now. I also have the most recent Pentax, the WG-1 GPS. So this guide is definitely up for an update soon. So far I am pretty happy with the Nikon AW100, although the image quality still isn’t awesome I do think it’s better than average for a waterproof camera. I’ve already posted studio samples for the Nikon, if you want to take a look: http://www.photographyreview.com/reviews/nikon-coolpix-aw100-studio-sample-photos

  • riffat says:

    i need camers if any one facter have stock continour

  • Photo-John says:

    Sorry, riffat. Your comment doesn’t make any sense to me. If you have a legitimate request, try to get a better translation and maybe someone here can help you.

  • MasterDiver says:

    You may want to consider the new Nikon AW 100 which is an amazing camera.The video HD function is just perfect and I’m really thrilled about that.For photos though I still think in the family of waterproof cameras,Olympus rulz.

  • Photo-John says:

    MasterDiver –
    Thanks for mentioning the Nikon AW100. If you scroll up a few comments you’ll see I’ve mentioned it here. I have one for review right now but haven’t been able to finish the review yet. As soon as I finish that review I’ll update this guide, too. I have used the Nikon enough now that I think it’s probably going to come out on top of the other waterproof cameras :-)

  • Debby says:

    I read your reviews about waterproof camera and found the information helpful. I was just wondering why you didn’t review the Nikon coolpix aw100 waterproof camera or the GoPro2. Both of these have been recommended to me by friend who are divers and use them in the water a lot. What is your opinion on them?

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for the comment, Debby. Glad you found the article useful. I am actually working on a review of the Nikon Coolpix AW100 right now. To date, I think it’s the best waterproof camera I’ve used. There have actually been a whole bunch of rugged waterproof camera announcements in the past few weeks and I’ve been waiting for everything to settle and then I am going to update this guide so it includes all the latest cameras.

    The reason the GoPro2 isn’t in this article is it’s a point-of-view video camera (POV). This article is about traditional cameras. The lines are becoming very blurred these days with point-and-shoot cameras being capable of excellent quality video. I think POV cameras like the GoPros have their place – I’ve got one for skiing and mountain bike video. But for most people and purposes, I think a waterproof point-and-shoot camera with a real zoom lens and great still quality is a much better investment than a dedicated POV video camera.

    My review for the AW100 isn’t done yet but I have written about it and we have studio sample photos posted. If you want to read those articles and announcement articles on all the latest waterproof cameras, here’s a link to all of our waterproof camera articles and reviews: http://www.photographyreview.com/reviews/category/underwater-photography

  • Photo-John says:

    For everyone following my Outdoor & Waterproof Cameras Guide, it’s all updated for summer 2012, with all the current waterproof point-and-shoot cameras and new camera recommendations.

  • Camer price buster says:


    The waterproof camera is really very awesome i like it too much. It is very helpful when we are going to the adventure rafting or if we are going to capture the view of the rainy season.Thanks for the reviews it is very helpful to me visit you soon for the another useful reviews.


    Kerry C Cannon

  • Dinorah says:


    I’m interested in buying a waterproof camera mostly for diving (not very deep <40ft) and doing fieldwork in boats. I've been trying to look at different reviews of cameras but I'm still not sure which one should I buy. The most I want to spend is $400. I've been looking at the Panasonic Lumix TS3, Nikon COOLPIX AW100 and Canon PowerShot D20. Any recommendations? or reviews about which one will be better?

    Thank you

  • Photo-John says:

    I haven’t personally used the TS3 or the new Canon yet, Dinorah, but there is a full review for the Nikon AW100 on the site. I am hoping to have the Canon D20 for review soon. Until then, all I can say is the D10 had the excellent image quality and that’s what I am hoping from the D20. For now, my top pick is the Olympus TG-1. It has the best image quality of all the waterproofs I’ve used so far and it is waterproof to 40 feet. However, 40 feet is the limit with the best of these cameras. If diving is your main purpose, you may want to play it safe and get a non-waterproof camera and a waterproof housing. That’s a more reliable strategy although it is more expensive and you’ll be dealing with a bulkier camera in the water.

  • Amy Taniguchi says:

    Bought an Olympus Tough TG-610 last July in Guam for $400, because I carelessly flooded my underwater housing for my Canon. Used the Olympus then, and again today (July 9), just snorkeling in shallow water, and it leaked today. Never liked the camera because it took so long to switch on, and the lag time was too long for me. I’m going back to Canon.

  • janna says:

    I purchased an olympus X-560WP waterproof camera over a year ago, it was a horrible decision. I took my camera snorkling in May of 2013 in Mexico. After taking three pirctures under the water the camera filled with water and died. I was able to save the memory card with pictures on it but lost the ability to have a camera the rest of the vacation. I called and spoke to a representative at Olympus and he said that they have many problems with these cameras. Word to the wise.. don’t buy this camera!!!

  • Boatmike says:

    One word—————GoPro. Works anywhere.

    • Photo-John says:

      Thanks for the comment, Boatmike. I really need to write an article on POV cameras vs P&S cameras. It’s true, the GoPro *is* an option. But it’s not at all the same as a point-and-shoot camera, and much more limited in my opinion. The most important differences are the optical zoom on the point-and-shoot cameras, and the larger, better sensors. Even if you mostly want video, I still think you should have a good P&S camera. They allow you to shoot angles and get optical effects (from the zoom) that you just can’t get from a GoPro. So while you’re right, you can use a GoPro anywhere, it’s really not the same thing at all.

  • Dale Burton says:

    I have a Panasonic Lumix TS4 (now TS5). I had the Nikon WP camera but after exchanging it twice I forked out the extra cash and got the TS4. Its been to Mexico twice and been submerged for HOURS at a time in the sea and operates flawlessly. The camera has lots of toys and gizmo’s that are great for the pro’s. The video is 1080p and is excellent as is the picture quality. The battery last for ages. I did find it a bit difficult to operate under water due to being long sighted, although in auto mode it works great. Three different camera shops recommended this camera over the competition when I bought it in May 2012.

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