Need advice - waterproof digital camera

I’m taking a grand canyon rafting trip in June, and want to take a camera with me. For obvious reasons, it has to be waterproof, and I’d rather it be digital and able to transfer images (somehow) to my smartphone or tablet once the trip is complete (I don’t plan to take either the smartphone or tablet with me on the river).

Beyond that, I have no idea what to look for or what would be a reasonable choice. Help!

(This thread is just about my camera options. I’ll probably have other questions about this trip that don’t involve cameras - I’m 68 years old and this is my first whitewater rafting trip ever - but I’ll ask them at another time…)

Instead of looking for a waterproof camera, get a waterproof case/sleeve to put your camera in with the ability to take pictures within the bag. The added benefit of that is that it should float if it happens to fall into the river.

^^Just saw these at Target and was going t suggest something like that assuming the OPs phone has a decent enough camera.

Rafting is pretty active so you might want to think about whether you need a fully waterproof camera that you will try and use while you’re supposed to be padding, or whether you just need a dry place to store a camera until you need to access it?

There are waterproof cases available for some point/shoot type digital cameras if you have one you wanted to bring, but when I looked several years ago for one that would fit mine they were pretty expensive. There are also waterproof digital cameras you can buy, just search on Amazon and you’ll see several models. Or you could buy a cheap 35mm disposable camera that’s waterproof and I know that Walgreens still develops film and will provide digital images on a CD in addition to your prints.

Omar, that’s an excellent suggestion. Particularly because contemplating it brings up an item that I totally forgot to mention in my OP, which is…

This is a seven-day whitewater rafting trip, so whatever I bring has to have enough power to last seven full days without recharging (or uses, say, replaceable batteries). (I don’t believe that solar recharging would work, simply because on this particular trip I’ll (hopefully) be busy doing better things with a camera during the daylight hours than recharging it.)

I don’t think that a waterproof case for my smartphone would work, simply because my smartphone would run out of power in a day or two. (I have a buddy who took his smartphone along on a week-long riding-horseback-in-the-wilds-of-Montana trip only to have it run out of power on the third day.) However, I do have a very old Canon S210 Coolpix camera that your second option (or more precisely, its WP-110 cousin, also sold on Amazon) would work with. I think the Canon can hold a charge for a week - and that’s easily testable way before I take the rafting trip.

But that camera is pretty old, and I might want to consider retiring it and purchasing something newer that has a waterproof option.

Which brings up another item that I should have mentioned in the OP. While I’m told that this river experience will be quite active (I had to read directions on what to do if/when I fall out of the raft, what to do if/when another passenger falls out of the raft, what to do if/when the boatman falls out of the raft, what to do if/when the raft tips over), as far as actively paddling and/or steering goes, that’s someone else’s job. I’m basically baggage. So I should have plenty of opportunity to take pictures/videos while I’m on the raft - and (see above), I think I really want a waterproof camera.

I am a fairly active whitewater paddler. I have an Olympus 1030 SW. I have used it for several years and had hundreds of great pictures that I took while paddling over that time. Lost all of them when an external hard drive failed while I had all of them on one drive to sort through them before backing them up. Lesson learned! Back on topic, the Olympus has been a great camera for me and is my only digital camera other than my ipad. A quick Google shows these to be the current models.

I keep mine in the chest pocket of my PFD, tethered with a nylon cord. One drawback is that they are small, slippery and do not float. Make sure it’s attached.

Thanks, River hippie. While that seems a bit more high end than I’d originally anticipated, this river trip*** is ***a “bucket list” item for me, and I’m not doing it to save money, :slight_smile: I may well go for one of these.

See BH photo for all things photo.

What you are looking for is somewhere between “waterproof” and “water resistant”. At most, you’d be looking for a camera rated for water 10’ deep. Real waterproof is usually at least 150’.

(I have a glorious Ikelite SLR case if you happen to have a 35mm SLR you’d like to take along)

I’m envious, I’ve never paddled the Grand Canyon but I know people that have and they assure me that it is spectacular. Based on my experience with my older model camera, if you have two new and fully charged batteries you should be able to shoot plenty of pictures. I don’t recall how many pictures mine can hold, I may have bought a “bigger” storage card but I’m not sure. How many days will you be on the river? I always end up shooting a lot of pictures off the river too. Does your trip include hiking trips? I would say get the camera well in advance of the trip and get a feel for how it works before you leave. Put the manual in a waterproof bag and take it along.

Regarding extra batteries, 3rd party batteries (e.g. Wasabi Power) can be a lot cheaper than those sold under the camera maker’s brand name, and have always worked just as well for me.

Does it need to be waterproof, or would weather-sealed be enough? If so, a Pentax K-S2 or a K-50, K-3, or K-3 II (with Flu card for wi-fi) would work well. For some crazy demonstrations of Pentax weather-sealing, see this and this. Personally, I’ve taken my K-3 out in some pretty heavy rain and snow and it’s been fine. One of my friends reports leaving his out in the rain for days, and taking it directly under a waterfall, and it’s been fine.

I can get at least two days of taking 500+ photos a day out of a single battery charge for my K-3, so if you were willing to buy an extra battery and weren’t as crazy as me, you’d probably be set.

I totally love my K-3 and would be happy to answer any questions you might have about it/lenses/etc.

We are taking a seven-day, whole canyon, motorized-boat trip (**), which will supposedly include lots of daily hikes. There will be lots of opportunity for pictures/videos.

(**) Partially because all of the half-canyon trips would have involved a ten-mile, 4400-vertical-foot hike either into or out of the canyon which would have been a bit much for we three geezers - at 68, I’m the young guy- and partially because that was the trip that opened up when another group cancelled out of it late. Our merry group has spent three years talking about a trip like this, and when the late cancellation happened it was time to sh*t or get off the pot :D.

If you buy a few spare batteries, don’t review your photos much, and be a little conservative, you shouldn’t have a problem making it through 7 days. The Olympus mentioned above is quite good, Nikon also makes a fine model. I think the waterproof cameras are well worth it over a waterproof case if you’re going to be on the water like this. I’d go with the case if you were in less demanding conditions, but a whitewater rafting trip deserves the real thing.

Just in case you win the lottery, arguably one of the best camera maker in the world, Leica, has just announced it’s first underwater camera for $3,000

We’re on our second Olympus Tough TG series. Had the TG-1 for a few years, and just upgraded to the TG-4. It’s about $350, but per CamelCamelCamelit drops down to $300 every once in a while.
We got the TG-1 a few years back for a Florida trip—the first time the Devilling was seeing the ocean, and I wanted something better than a cameraphone but not as bulky as our DLSR (plus waterproof case). It takes fantastic pictures for its size, is water, shock, dust, etc. proof, and the TG-4 wirelessly connects to our cell/tablet with zero effort. In comparing there are compact cameras that do slightly better picture-wise, but none in the waterproof category (at least in the general price range) were reviewed as well.

It’s now our go-to pocket camera. We take the little man to five or six music festivals per year (some have water parks or lakes) and Mrs. Devil and I are at a concert or so per month. Great to throw in a pocket and forget.
A huge plus for us over the other waterproof cameras we looked at was that it takes a lens cap. Small sounding detail, but it lets me put it in my pocket without worrying about keys, coins, sand, etc. that might scratch a lens. Another benefit is its adapter ring—you can put a larger zoom lens or filters if you want.

Sevenwood, for on the water, get a GoPro and a helmet mount. Cheap as beans but waterproof and durable.

Ditto. Can’t kill the thing, and it doesn’t get in the way. Sevenwood, you should consider putting a bolt through the top of your helmet to mount it there for shooting vids while you are paddling.

A used Nikon S30 runs on AAs

But then you have to buy several sets of rechargeable batteries. Regular AAs will burn out real quick.

AAs on a trip means no need for recharching, see?

As usual, on SDMB, ymmv

There are lots of “rugged” cameras, good for pool, whitewater rafting, etc. (but not the depths of scuba diving) that would be perfect for what you’re going for. Seach B&H for “waterproof camera”. I have an older Fuji one & it’s great for it’s purpose & goes places I won’t take the DSLR.

Second (3rd, 4th?) for spare batteries. Also, if you have a solar charger & an external battery charger, you could probably recharge the first battery while the second one is in the camera.

Finally I highly recommend one of these. Can be used with any of the cameras, will keep it around your wrist if you drop it, & will float the camera if it all goes to shit & it ends up coming off of your wrist.