So, I'm set to spend a month in an Indochina Loop adventure. I'll be going to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Obviously, many, many opportunities abound for great shots (which I hope I get). I currently own a Nikon D300S and a Nikon D80, both of which are going with me. But, with the schedule of what we are doing and where we are going, I'm looking for either one or two extre cameras, depending on your recommendations.....
1. Can anyone recommend a tough/waterproof camera models that they are happy with? RAW capture preferred, if it's possible.
2.If you were to buy a compact camera, what would it be? Again, must have RAW. Sony NEX-5? Canon G12? Fuji? Panasonic Lumix?
I would really appreciate some advice because I need to purchase these in the next two weeks. Thanks!
Quoted Message: So, I`m set to spend a month in an Indochina Loop adventure. I`ll be going to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Obviously, many, many opportunities abound for great shots (which I hope I get). I currently own a Nikon D300S and a Nikon D80, both of which are going with me. But, with the schedule of what we are doing and where we are going, I`m looking for either one or two extre cameras, depending on your recommendations.....1. Can anyone recommend a tough/waterproof camera models that they are happy with? RAW capture preferred, if it`s possible.2.If you were to buy a compact camera, what would it be? Again, must have RAW. Sony NEX-5? Canon G12? Fuji? Panasonic Lumix? I would really appreciate some advice because I need to purchase these in the next two weeks. Thanks!
Um... the models you listed in question #2 are not shockproof or waterproof. There are only a handful of shockproof/waterproof compacts made, and they don't include anything in the "high-end" (high end as far as point-and-shoots go).
Olympus has the toughest Tough cameras (that's the name of the series, is Tough), and has been making them the longest out of anybody (over 12 generations, I believe). They come in three tiers of "toughness" levels, mostly defined by waterproof depth. The base model is 10' waterproof, middle is 16', and toughest is 33' (requires a double-lock for deep water pressure). They are all shockproof (5'-7', depending on model), crush proof (up to 250 lbs), and freezeproof (can be frozen in a block of ice then broken out and shot with).
The other contender whom I would take seriously is Sony, but I wouldn't take them as serious for the toughness part of it. They just started making one model of tough camera, and theirs is significantly slimmer and a little more stylish than the Olympus models. This might be an important factor, as the Sony becomes more pocketable. However, for the price point they cost as much as the toughest Olympus but only have the build quality of the cheapest, least tough Olympus (which is half the cost). The Sony image quality is somewhat better than the Olympus Tough cameras. Of course, if you're looking for a "tough" camera, then IQ needs to be put on the shelf to some degree, as none of these cameras offer any IQ which I would consider "decent". The Olympus Tough IQ is questionable at best, and that's coming from someone who uses the professional Olympus system for its superior optical quality, sharpness, and color. I would lean towards the Sony more for its slim size.
If you want something on the high-end of a compact point-and-shoot which will still offer you pretty good image quality (something truly pocketable, unlike the Mirrorless Compact System Cameras), then the Olympus XZ-1 would be my top choice by far. It has an f/1.8 fixed zoom lens (widest aperture in a point-and-shoot), the first piece of glass on a point-and-shoot to bear the prestigious Zuiko name. This camera includes an aperture ring on the lens. It uses the same hotshoe and accessory port from the Olympus PEN series, allowing external flash, electronic viewfinder, and external microphone. It also has a Remote Flash Commander for triggering wireless Olympus flashes with TTL. It uses the same Trupic V image processor as the PEN series as well. You can't get a more full-featured, high-quality compact point-and-shoot. It's also half the size of the Canon G12 (which is NOT a pocketable camera - whereas the XZ-1 is).
Now, if you want compact but don't need pocketable compact, it is well worth upgrading to a Compact System Camera with interchangeable lenses and a DSLR-sized sensor. For this I would definitely go with one of the cameras in the Micro Four-Thirds system. This is by far the broadest, largest compact camera system available, and with all the contributors (it is an open system) and adaptable lenses (including full compatibility with Four-Thirds, another open system) the system becomes more expandable than any DSLR system around. All the cameras (as of this date - the rumored Panasonic GF-3 might change this) have real hotshoes and can trigger all kinds of professional studio lighting and external flash guns... unlike the Sony NEX which has NO lighting support except a tiny little accessory flash that should be a pop-up. The Olympus PEN cameras also have external microphone jacks to use any kind of 3.5mm stereo audio mics for video. The Sony NEX only has one little accessory mic which attaches right to the camera and has no standard mic jack. All the Micro Four-Thirds cameras except the original E-P1 PEN (which was more of a prototype camera) also have high-resolution Electronic Viewfinders, and Manual Focus Assist (they zoom in for fine manual focus). The Sony NEX has no option for EVF at all.
Out of all the Micro Four-Thirds cameras, my favorite of the current lineup is the Olympus E-PL2, which has the same imaging technology and super-weak AA filter as the Olympus E-5 pro-grade DSLR. All PEN cameras also have In-Body Image Stabilization, which gives them a slight edge over the Panasonic bodies. Panasonic bodies previously had faster AF and higher-resolution back LCD screens, but the Olympus E-PL2 matches Panasonic on those levels, now giving you the best of both Olympus and Panasonic worlds (IBIS, fastest AF, highest resolution LCD and EVF, external mic jack). The Panasonic GH2 is also a top-grade Micro Four-Thirds system camera with integrated EVF, 16MP multi-aspect digital sensor (not a conventional analog sensor with seperate A/D converter), and full HD video, but it is a lot larger and designed more like a DSLR. Probably not what you're looking for. ;) The two Micro Four-Thirds bodies which provide the highest image quality are the Olympus E-PL2 and the Panasonic GH2, but the Oly is the most compact.
Because of the inconsistency of your two questions (shockproof/waterproof vs. best compact), I can't give you a direct recommendation, but these would be my top picks for the four main categories of small cameras (shockproof/waterproof, high-end point-and-shoot, Compact System Camera, and fixed-lens large sensor compacts)...
For shockproof/waterproof I would go for the Olympus TG-810 for the toughest of the bunch, or the Sony (I forget the model name) for its small size, style, and relative image quality.
For high-end, truly compact point-and-shoots at the moment, there is no question that the Olympus XZ-1 is the best out at the moment, offering more professional compatibility than any other point-and-shoot has done before with a quality f/1.8 aperture lens.
For a Compact System Camera my top pick is the Olympus E-PL2, which offers all the best advantages of both Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four-Thirds systems (fast AF, high res LCD and EVF, In-body IS, external mic, best Image Quality). The other systems by Sony and Samsung are rather pathetic in their support for lenses and accessories. ;)
There are also fixed lens compacts with DSLR-sized sensors as well, such as the Leica X1, Sigma DP2, and Fuji X100. The Fuji X100 seems to be the best out of these, also offering a hybrid EVF/OVF, but it is a large enough beast that you may as well be getting a Compact System Camera instead, with interchangeable lenses. It's not for me, but if you're interested in this type of camera, the Fuji X100 seems to offer the same kind of image quality as the Leica X1 (which is quite a competitor to match!), but is cheaper and has a viewfinder.
PS, if you want something close to shockproof and waterproof in a full-sized DSLR with pro features and build, Olympus and Pentax systems both offer you the most rugged weather-sealed DSLR systems in the world. You can stand on an Olympus E-5 frame, and you can shoot in torrential downpours, blizzards, or the like. You can even drop the camera in a lake and fish it out again. They're not technically "waterproof", meaning they weren't meant to be submerged. A quick submersion is fine, as long as it's not prolonged. They're not technically drop proof, but I drop my Olympus E-3 on a regular basis and never had a problem. They are built like tanks.
Thank you so much for that comprehensive analysis. I admit, I did not word my original post well. I'm really looking for TWO cameras. One being a shockproof/waterproof camera and the other being a compact or compact system camera.
Your recommendations are wonderful and just what I was hoping to see when I asked for help. It sounds like the Sony might be a better bet for the shockproof/waterproof camera.
As for the compact, both the Olympus XZ-1 and the Olympus E-PL-2 sound good. I don't know that I want to fool with interchangeable lenses, though!
GoPro is an HD video camera with a wide-angle lens, which comes in an underwater housing with a helmet mount. Not sure how it has any real relevance to the topic though, since you never even mentioned video. ;)
Calyx22--So much equipment...do you plan to make it fit in one carry-on? How many lens? Do you take back-up devices? An extra charger? Just curious. Packing my camera gear is always a challenge. FYI, I have a Panasonic Lumix. Nice for what it is, but I wouldn't recommend it for microstock. Lots of noise. I just take my D300 and add a 50mm prime when I want a smaller camera profile.
Currently my primary cameras are a Fuji X-Pro2 and a Fuji X-T2.
Why don't you buy an underwater case for one of your slr's? The canon g12 also needs an underwater case, but you can also have an small compact camera for underwater photography. I have a Casio EX-G1 underwater, antishock, dustproof, freezeproof compact camera... not so good for shooting stock though.
I know the Nikon d300 is a tough camera, works fine in moderate rain - considering the lens is sealed (a friend of mine used it in Cambodia during the monsoon with no problems).
Quoted Message: GoPro is an HD video camera with a wide-angle lens, which comes in an underwater housing with a helmet mount. Not sure how it has any real relevance to the topic though, since you never even mentioned video. ;)
Ya i know but they take pictures to and they are the only thing i could think of that might work for what he wants.
Video is incredibly low resolution compared with a still photograph. I don't think a video camera would be appropriate for anybody looking for a photographic camera. These days system cameras can now take good HD video, but it doesn't work the other way. Just like you can downsize a photo as much as you like, but you can't upsize it again without messing it up.
Ok, thanks for all the responses! I'll try to answer them...
First, Thewildside, thank you for your recommendation. I don't currently shoot video, but I will keep this in mind. And, I am a she. :)
Second, Adeliepenguin, I know, right? Here's what I am planning on taking (not counting potential new compact/shock cameras IF I buy them). My Nikon D300s. I'm going to buy the 28-300 mm lens before I go so that it will be the only lens I'm taking. I need a zoom lens and I need a better range than my current list: 17-55mm /2.8, 70-300 4.5-5.6, etc. No macro lens either. I need a one stop shop and I think that lens will be the best fit. I've been following reviews and hope it will suit my purposes the way I think it will. An SB-900 speedlight. MAYBE my monopod as my tripods are too cumbersome. An external harddrive and my charger. Connector cord and cleaning supplies. That's super light for me. The lightest I have ever travelled.
We will be gone for 28 days and doing activities such as kayaking in Halong Bay, boat rides in the Mekong Delta and down the Perfume River, trekking up and down to caves and ruins and riding elephants to Angkor Wat. I can't have too much equipment. But I do want a compact for backup because I simply can't see lugging the beast of the D300s on some of these excursions (I would at least like to be prepared when I get there depending on the situation).
Costa007, I never thought about a waterproof housing. Aren't they terribly expensive? Not only that, but I feel like I would live in terror that it wouldn't work. Have you used one successfully? Were you nervous?
Oh, I don't know what to do now! So many decisions!! :)
Actually I am so jealous of all your decisions:) It sounds like a wonderful trip. If you buy the 28-300mm lens I would be most interested in your feedback.
One suggestion on waterproofing your camera. It sounds like you aren't swimming with it, but kayaking and riding boats? I have taken lots of pictures from zodiacs and small boats, low to the water, on sometimes very turbulent seas. (Many of my ice pictures by way of example.) I carry my gear in a waterproof kayak sack--putting the sack inside a backpack for ease of getting on and off the zodiacs and boats. I pull the camera out of the sack when I am ready to shoot, and then put it back in the sack. If my camera is in my lap for more than a few seconds or on my neck, I protect it with clothing, a plastic bag, a large shower cap, or whatever else I might have at hand.
My friends who shoot underwater have told me the housings are ridiculously expensive.
If you are not experienced in shooting while moving on the water, I do recommend practice:) VR lens do not help with water swells. Of course practice might be rather difficult in a desert:):)
Let us know what you end up buying!
Currently my primary cameras are a Fuji X-Pro2 and a Fuji X-T2.
Thanks Costa007! I'm still mulling things over. Due to stringent customs, I'm not sure I could get an underwater housing delivered here to me in time but I'm going to check it out anyway. You never know!
FYI, I just read a description of the SeaLife Mini II Dive and Sport Camera. It is described as waterproof and shockproof to a certain extent. The list price is around $259. It might be worth a "look-see".
Currently my primary cameras are a Fuji X-Pro2 and a Fuji X-T2.
well everyone, here's my update.... as usual, the way things work here in Saudi has thrown a kink into my plans.... the Nikon 28-300 mm lens is not available anywhere in Saudi Arabia or even Bahrain. augh! My plan is to now take my 17-55 mm lens and look for the 28-300 mm lens in Qatar or our first stop in Vietnam, Saigon. I know there are Nikon dealers there, I looked!
As far as compacts, more kinks to that too. Because of the Saudi peoples' intense need for privacy, cameras aren't as popular here as in other places. So none of the cameras that you listed for me are available. I'm taking my list though, so if I find one during my travels, I'm going to get it!
Overall, I'm pretty disappointed and frustrated. Sometimes it's really hard to get what you need here. I even tried Amazon UK, but they won't ship here. *sighs*. However, I'm not daunted! I will keep looking and I have my Old Reliable lens for now. I'm armed with 60 MB of cards and ready to shoot!