View Full Version : Cameras on the boat

07-18-2010, 06:35 PM
So I've noticed several of you take lovely pictures from your kayaks. I had a great little point-and-shoot Coolpix but several months back the lens stopped opening. I have my D70, but I worry about taking my nice camera on the boat. I was looking at some deck bags, but I don't know if I want to put out that kind of money yet. And then I was looking at waterproof bags, but I have doubts about how waterproof they are. Paddling in the harbor today, waves were sloshing over the boat, so I definitely want water protection. I could keep something under the spray skirt, but it would be annoying to keep reaching in every time I want to snap a picture. So what are you using and how/where are you storing it? I want to start taking something other than cell phone pictures of my travels, especially when I go to Canada next month!

07-18-2010, 07:00 PM
I use a Pelican case but when I'm shooting the camera has no protection :o
When I'm not shooting, the box stays in the cockpit with me. No spray skirt and it's a small box for the P&S

07-18-2010, 08:15 PM
Alright - basically, if you are in salt water - get a waterproof camera. Ziplock baggies do not work.

And whatever you do - TETHER your camera.

I've got a waterproof kodak playsport video camera that takes HD video & takes 5 megapixel pics. It has no optical zoom but does a good job. If you want more info on it, tell me & I'll post a link to my review (it's on cpakayaker.com 's forums) and sample pics & video. You can get it for about $130 - or $110.

Otherwise - waterproof cameras - I use the pentax optio w60 - the new one is the w90 - some reviews & pics over at goingprepared.com, I have my review of the w60 over there and there's a comparison of the different waterproof cameras. I would avoid the olympus because it uses proproietary cards. The panassonic & canon get the best reviews - the canon is a funky shape. The fuji is probably the cheapest and it's not bad, I can link to some pics my friend took with it if you're interested.

I keep my waterproof camera tethered to the shoulder strap of my PFD, I tuck the camera in my pfd when not in use. I keep a carabiner on the shoulder strap of the pfd, so I can just hook the camera on, my nose plugs and things like that.

I use a fat gecko mount (tripod mount that's a huge suction cup) on my kodak playsport - but again, the mount is tethered and so is the camera.

When I want to take my good camera with me - that's my dslr, I have a pelican case on it. I drilled two holes through the back flanges of the pelican case, I have cord that goes through it, and I have cord that goes around and through the handle - the pelican case is tied down to my front or back decklines... So if I roll the boat, the camera is attached. The problem with just putting things inside your cockpit with you is that if the boat flips, you may very well lose it. and I will take the camera out when it's calm on the water or when I get to whereever I am going, because it doesn't take much salt water to fry electronics.

As for deck bags - I've been through a couple of them and I would not trust a camera to them... Whereever the waterproof zip ends,there is usually a little gap that lets in water - if that's salt water, your camera is toast.

As for waterproof electronics - virtually all waterproof electronics eventually end up not being waterproof. My waterproof gps is kept in a drybag - we have two of them, and both of them let in some water one of the first times it went out on the kayak. To their credit, they kept working after getting wet... But now they have their own little drybags. As does almost everything else. My waterproof camera has let in water once (luckily it was fresh water) - little grains of sand get stuck in the doors to the batteries and stuff and can interfere with the seal - so clean those often, and I use vacuum grease on all the gaskets on all my electronics periodically to help maintain the waterproofness.

Again - tether. My cell phone has its own drybag (I really like the drypak cases), which is tethered to deck lines, as does the gps, as does the VHF radio. If my boat rolls, everything stays attached. Nylon cords stretch when wet, polypropylene rope doesn't stretch and is cheaper. Best knot to know is the prussik, because it's a tension knot that you can tighten- also the best knot for cartopping kayaks.

07-18-2010, 08:17 PM
oh yeah - my spray skirt has a zippered pocket for it.

Oh, and as someone who just lost a 2nd pair of prescription sunglasses to the water - you really should get in the habit of wearing croakies or something on your glasses.

07-18-2010, 09:28 PM
my little box has a 'biner and is tethered.

I have been eying that Fuji.

07-18-2010, 11:24 PM
K. Locking biners work a bit better, 'cause some of the others can spontaneously open and lose things (keep one on your keychain and see how often you lose keys)

They do make plastic bags/housings that go over cameras - and they mostly work, the plastic does tend to turn color with age, and you don't get as good of results shooting through plastic - not to mention it's hard to use the buttons. And if you're in salt water, you get salt deposits all over the bag.

Same with the waterproof housings that canon makes for their camera - absolutely awesome if you're snorkeling or diving - but bulky and almost always covered with salt in a kayak. (expensive as well)

I put a little bag of dessicant salts in my drybags for electronics, 'cause you get condensation of moisture inside the bag - and that's killed my cell phone a few times.

07-19-2010, 03:27 AM
I have the Fuji Z33 WP. I got it for cycling, actually, so I could have a camera that I could access quickly and wouldn't have to fumble in and out of my ziploc bag.

It's pretty useless for low light situations, but fine as a daylight P&S. It's been through a couple of downpours, besides just living in a sweat bath.

I was nervous about the lack of a lens cap, so I keep it in one of those microfiber drawstring bags. That's nice because not only does it protect the camera from scratches, but I can use it to wipe the lens or my sunglasses if needed.

I'm not much of a photographer, but the camera does have some basic adjustments.

07-19-2010, 05:38 AM
Lots of good info. I just got the Harmony cell phone case and kept it inside my dry sack on yesterday's paddle. My friend had a Pelican case yesterday with his iphone and wallet in it, and it stunk to high heaven. I wasn't too impressed. But I like the idea of separate dry bags/cases for various things for both the organization and protection factors.

I played with the w90 and wasn't impressed with the photo quality. Indoor, well-lit shots came out a little soft and grainy. The new Olympus cameras have ditched the xD format and you can now use SD cards! My friend got the 6010 and said he wished he'd gotten the 8010 but was still very happy with it. Naturally, he didn't bring it yesterday so I could check it out.:mad: I remember reading about the Canon being a funky shape, but haven't seen one up close. Then I wasn't sure if I'd be better off just getting a regular P&S and just putting it in a dry bag. They're faster and tend to have better image quality, and are cheaper than the all-weather cameras. When it comes to my good camera, yeah, that wouldn't come out in anything other than perfect conditions, but I wasn't sure what to put it in. Maybe a dry bag inside of a deck bag would work.

07-19-2010, 07:12 AM
His pelican case stunk? I tend to leave my kayaking gear out on the deck to dry after using it. If I'm in stinky water, I wash it off - otherwise I let sunlight naturally deoderize it a bit. IF you leave stuff in a dark place and it doesn't dry out rapidly, it does end up starting to smell.

None of my pelican cases stink. OR any of my drybags.

Here's the drypak cases:

Yes. Basically all of the waterproof cameras are more expensive for shittier cameras because they are waterproof. They make compromises with small lenses that don't extend out. That being said, I can make my optio w60 take a gorgeous picture. I haven't played with the w90, but I know the w60 & the w80 have a tendency to overexpose the highlights, so if you shift the metering in the camera to take a picture at -.7, it takes a much better picture than what it does at what the camera considers a normal exposure. Probably most of the pics I've posted on here are from the w60 while kayaking and I can link to my picasa albums if you want.

I have a couple friends with the older olympuses waterproof cameras ( a year or two old models) and their cameras suck from what I've seen. Maybe it's the photographer and not the actual camera. But the olympuses typically score behind the pentaxes in the photography site camera reviews. The fujis are usually behind the olympuses. And the canon and the panasonic tie for better than the pentaxes - but the canon has its stupid shape and not a very wide angle lens. I tend not to zoom much while kayaking, so having a wide angle lens on the camera is great. If you want to take pics of cool birds that you see, it's an exercise in frustration. When I have my dslr with me, I keep my 70-320 mm lens with it for that purpose.

I have actually killed a camera with salt water while kayaking - so it's basically something I don't risk at all anymore. I will curse my w60 when it's not as good of a camera as my dslr when I'm out on the water - but it can take a nice picture and I absolutely do not have to worry about it. I put it in my bento box while cyling (I've had it bounce out and skitter across the road when I hit a pothole and it works fine after that impact)... and I take it with me skiing. And doing all of that without having to worry about my camera is priceless :)

It's always tempting when you start kayaking to just buy a big 40 liter drybag or two - but if you ever start camping with your kayak, it's a heck of a lot easier to have a bunch of smaller drybags. I use a lot of 5, 10, 15, and 20 liter drybags - smaller bags pack easier into the compartments. A half filled 40 liter drybag still takes up a lot of space 'cause of all that extra plastics.

07-19-2010, 10:40 AM
w90 sample pics:

07-20-2010, 02:30 PM
Couple other suggestions - if any of your electronics get wet and it's not salt water, take out the batteries without turning it on (turning it on can short the electronics) and let it dry out - toaster oven on low heat, dessication chamber if you work in a lab, or front dashboard of your car on a sunny day.

If it's salt water, you probably don't have a chance of saving it.

And another reason to keep your cell phone in a bag on your front deck - you can use it if you need to call for help. I can still use my cell phone in the drypak bags and it's strapped to my deck (arguably, you can strap it to the pfd or keep it in your pfd pocket)... if you've got your cell phone stashed in a drybag or a deckbag with a bunch of other stuff and you're out of the boat or there's some emergency, you don't have a waterproof way of getting it out and using it.

VHF radios are great (for those - remember that they need to be tethered, because a lot of them do not float and will sink like a log even if they're waterproof) - but they work via line of sight. if you're in the water or just barely above the water, you're possibly not high enough up to get a signal without having an extendable antenna for it. In a lot of places, cell phones are a better bet for getting help.

As for signal flares, I've seen a couple flare demonstrations where people grab the flares they've been carrying around in their kayaks for just in case and then start trying to shoot them off... usually roughly about 20% of those actually work because of the age, water damage, whatever... stashing those flares individually in condoms seems to be very effective at keeping them working though.

07-21-2010, 06:45 PM
Olympus has a line of digital point-and-shoot cameras that are waterproof, shock resistant, and cold tolerant. I have the Stylus 850SW. I used it last year on our tubing trip, it got soaked, but worked great.

eta: now they are calling them the Stylus "Tough" series (http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_digital.asp?section=stylustough)

07-22-2010, 07:08 AM
I think I'm leaning towards the Stylus Tough 8010, although the Sony TX5 looked interesting, too. Based on my hands-on testing with the Pentax W90, I'm ruling that one out. I really hate the look of the Canon but it does seem to get good reviews for image quality. I have three weeks until my trip to Canada, so I'd better make a decision soon!

07-22-2010, 07:58 AM
I like that Canon. It looks nautical.

07-22-2010, 09:54 AM

I think you made the right choice.

07-22-2010, 10:05 AM
That's one of the many reviews I've read. If everyone else can make super-slim cameras, why can't Canon? And you know the day I buy it, they'll announce that new, slim version will be released.:rolleyes:

07-22-2010, 02:40 PM
If I didn't already have a waterproof camera that refuses to die or get lost on me - I 'd get the panasonic.

I'll post more of my optio w60 photos over in my kayak thread.

But whatever camera you get - make sure to take it out and practice with it, and use the different camera modes (either take notes or whatever) and then look at them on the computer to see what's working best in what light - because nothing sucks more than taking a new camera on a trip and missing good shots because you don't know how your camera responds to what lighting. It took me a while to realize that the optio was best at -0.7.

Actually, what does suck more is when there were 2 bears like less than 50 feet from me last week and I didn't have an sd card in my camera, but thought I did.

07-22-2010, 05:40 PM
I'm waiting for the housing for my camera (http://www.amazon.com/Underwater-Housing-Camera-Panasonic-Lumix/dp/B001B66BXW) to become available

07-22-2010, 06:37 PM
I'm waiting for the housing for my camera (http://www.amazon.com/Underwater-Housing-Camera-Panasonic-Lumix/dp/B001B66BXW) to become available


07-22-2010, 06:43 PM
how about that.

07-28-2010, 04:49 AM
After last night's paddle I'm more ready than ever to get my camera. Phone out of the bag, snap a picture, phone back in the bag, repeat while rocking on the waves.:rolleyes: It was such a lovely night, and weeknight paddling was vastly different from weekend paddling, so quiet and very few boats to deal with. I checked out a new area (to me), my first real trip in Long Island Sound as opposed to the rivers and marshes I've been doing. My technique is improving, although I was getting a little dizzy as the waves were pushing me from behind. Guess I need to get my sea legs.

And the Hullavator scored another win! Pulled in to launch and as usual the guys just stood around. As I lowered my boat, a woman came over and exclaimed "Whoa! I really like your set up there!" When I explained the hydraulics and how it lifts the boat, she said "So you don't even need to rely on anyone. That's the way to go!" To which her husband responded with a hurt-sounding "Hey!":p

07-28-2010, 06:29 AM
If there's anyone around, when I'm coming back to the car with my boat, I usually see them top to watch how exactly I'm going to do that.

There's the waterproof fuji for $80, if that's in your budget.

I was half debating starting a thread where we could just dump in pics of our kayaking if anyone's interested in seeing that.

07-28-2010, 06:56 AM
I was half debating starting a thread where we could just dump in pics of our kayaking if anyone's interested in seeing that.

I think that's an excellent idea! We all live in such different environments, it would be cool to see everyone's home base.

07-28-2010, 07:10 AM
There's the waterproof fuji for $80, if that's in your budget.

I just don't think that camera would be too good.

I got the baggie for mine and we'll find out this weekend how that goes.

07-28-2010, 08:08 AM
It depends on the photographer.

Here's some pics Julie took of me on her fuji when we were paddling in florida. Did I get better pics than her for the most part with my pentax? yeah. But I also use my camera constantly and take pics constantly. I could probably take very good pics with the fuji compared to other people taking pics with the fuji.

The fuji is definitely capable of taking pics that are very good, especially for $80:



07-28-2010, 09:10 AM
I'm honestly leaning towards the D10 despite it's ugliness. The Olympus 8010 is getting horrible reviews for speed and quality. The Panasonic had a lot of complaints on Amazon about leaking. The Sony didn't have enough user reviews for me to feel comfortable, so I think that leaves the Canon. "My name is Annette, and my camera has a bubble butt."

07-28-2010, 10:02 AM
I'm honestly leaning towards the D10 despite it's ugliness. The Olympus 8010 is getting horrible reviews for speed and quality. The Panasonic had a lot of complaints on Amazon about leaking. The Sony didn't have enough user reviews for me to feel comfortable, so I think that leaves the Canon. "My name is Annette, and my camera has a bubble butt."

Yeah, I would avoid the olympus - my first digital camera was an olympus and for a 1 megapixel digital , it took gorgeous pics - the optics were just incredible and I've managed to blow up those 1 megapixel pics to 16x20... However, I've hated every olympus that I've tried since then for photo quality. The waterproof cameras in general tend to get a lot of terrible reviews about leaking - the kodak playsport that i have has a ton of reviews saying that theirs leak. I put vacuum grease around the gaskets and that seems to work for me.

The thing about the canon is the shape for holding it in your hands - and that I shove my camera into the top of my pfd. If it's a small flat camera, I barely feel that and it doesn't interfere with my paddling. I don't think I could say the same about the canon with that shape.

07-30-2010, 04:54 AM
My vest only has one pocket, and it's barely big enough to fit my little rescue mirror, so there isn't a camera out there that would fit in it. I ordered the camera, it shipped, and somehow, magically, it's supposed to take a week for it to get to Connecticut from Jersey. I think they're going to fly it around the world or something first.:rolleyes:

07-30-2010, 05:56 AM
My vest only has one pocket, and it's barely big enough to fit my little rescue mirror, so there isn't a camera out there that would fit in it. I ordered the camera, it shipped, and somehow, magically, it's supposed to take a week for it to get to Connecticut from Jersey. I think they're going to fly it around the world or something first.:rolleyes:

Oh, I don't actually put the camera in the pocket. I use some rope to make probably about a 6 inch long loop on the camera. Then I attach a carabiner to the shoulder strap of my PFD. Then I hook the camera into that carabiner and just shove the camera in my pfd above my chest basically.

If I want to take a pic, there's enough line on the camera that I can still take one while it's attached to my pfd. I can drop it if I have to paddle quick, whatever.

I also keep my nose plugs and whistle attached that way.

I hope UPS surprises you and you get it quicker!

08-16-2010, 02:56 PM
NoNo, which camera did you end up with?

08-16-2010, 03:51 PM
The fat Canon :p

08-22-2010, 06:55 PM
Do not mock my chunky companion! I'm back from my trip and the camera performed like a champ! I really can't say enough about it. The whole waterproof thing is so cool, especially when in pristine waters where you can get fun pictures underwater. Also useful when you fall into the water while attempting a solo dismount onto a dock:rolleyes: Pictures came out pretty crisp and the autofocus was usually what I wanted. These are straight out-of-camera and cover a wide range of conditions:







09-20-2010, 02:03 PM
Btw, whoeever was saying they doubted the fuji's ability to take a good picture, take a look at this guy's photos:


10-20-2010, 09:21 AM
This is good to hear. They produce plastic packaging bags / case, more than the camera to go - most of them work, and often the colour of the plastic with age, you do not take effect as of plastic, not to mention it through the difficult to use buttons. If you are in salt water, you get around the bags of salt deposits.

dear spammer, you're vaguely annoying, but I find your broken english and the way you did try to contribute to the threads you've bumped cute.