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Every so often - ie when I break the last one - I ask the same question - are there any good waterproof cameras available ?

Last time the best I could come up with was a used Nikon AW 1 which has been ok for a couple of years but has now packed in.

There doesn't seem to be any of these on the s/h market at the moment and I can only see the usual selection of compacts with

fairly small sensors.

I'm always surprised that nobody thinks there would be a market for a decent quality tough camera - especially since the boom in

everything connected to adventure sports.

 

Has anyone got any suggestions ?

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Waterproof housings?

 

Allan

 

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A GoPro Hero 9 might be another option. It has a 20MP sensor so there is a lot of room for downsizing. With care in post-processing raws, one could submit images that should easily pass Alamy QC. 

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6 hours ago, MDM said:

A GoPro Hero 9 might be another option. It has a 20MP sensor so there is a lot of room for downsizing. With care in post-processing raws, one could submit images that should easily pass Alamy QC. 

 

Alamy was not accepting GoPros in the past. Has this changed?

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1 hour ago, gvallee said:

 

Alamy was not accepting GoPros in the past. Has this changed?

 

54 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

GoPro Hero 9 sensor is only 1/2.3" so seems unlikely to meet with QC approval?

 

Mark 


I was basing my comment solely on actual image quality. I haven’t tried submitting a still from a Hero 9 but I can’t see any reason why a carefully processed raw would fail on the basis of image quality alone. Do Alamy even have a suitable camera list any mote? I will take a few pics at some point and upload them to Dropbox to demonstrate. 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, MDM said:

 


I was basing my comment solely on actual image quality. I haven’t tried submitting a still from a Hero 9 but I can’t see any reason why a carefully processed raw would fail on the basis of image quality alone. Do Alamy even have a suitable camera list any mote? I will take a few pics at some point and upload them to Dropbox to demonstrate. 

 

 

 

Not disputing image quality but Alamy specifically said in the past no GoPro. 

They seem to read the camera model in the Exif file but perhaps only for first submissions?

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4 minutes ago, MDM said:

 


I was basing my comment solely on actual image quality. I haven’t tried submitting a still from a Hero 9 but I can’t see any reason why a carefully processed raw would fail on the basis of image quality alone. Do Alamy even have a suitable camera list any mote? I will take a few pics at some point and upload them to Dropbox to demonstrate. 

 

 

 

Not disputing image quality but Alamy specifically said in the past no GoPro. 

They seem to read the camera model in the Exif file but perhaps only for first submissions?

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1 minute ago, gvallee said:

 

Not disputing image quality but Alamy specifically said in the past no GoPro. 

They seem to read the camera model in the Exif file but perhaps only for first submissions?

There is no requirement to include metadata after the first submission. I don’t know but I get the feeling they are less concerned about the camera used nowadays- maybe I am wrong. I haven’t tried it as I have no reason to do so but I would if I had an image that I really wanted to upload.

 

 I notice that the Olympus Tough-6 has the same size sensor but max image size is 12MP. 

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Looking at the guidelines, they say to refer to a blog post which is over 3 years old - a long time in the world of digital photography. So I guess the official line has not changed on cameras with tiny sensors although perhaps it needs updating given the quality that is achievable now when shooting raw with a tiny-sensor camera. I suspect the requirement to use a DSLR or equivalent (that phrase needs updating given the rise of mirrorless cameras in the last few years) is to try and maintain a certain standard of contributor (enthusiast photographer baseline at least) but things are changing and the image quality from modern smartphones as well as cameras like the GoPro is often well above the minimum required.

 

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I would not be surprised if they did not have an automatic rejection program on upload of images to reject cameras they do not want images from.

 

Allan

 

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1 hour ago, Allan Bell said:

I would not be surprised if they did not have an automatic rejection program on upload of images to reject cameras they do not want images from.

That seems to be true for first submissions but if someone uploads without EXIF data they would have no way of knowing, hence the suspicion that many small sensor (phone?) images can get through. However for standard low ISO scenes I expect the quality, given a good lens, may be there, especially if downsized. MDM's experiment with the GoPro will be interesting

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I had the Nikon AW120 and Fuji XP70 some years ago, both were very good.  I had decided to have a go at snorkelling, I wasn't very good😁  However a few pics from the Nikon got through QC although it was quite unintentional as I had uploaded by mistake...

 

Carol

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I've had an Olympus Tough and it is probably the best of the compacts as I think it's the only one with RAW. Changed to the Nikon AW 1 to step up the quality.

 

I'm now thinking of a cheap, older, s/h large sensor compact ( RX100 or a Canon G something) combined with drybags as it's mainly for sea-kayak photos rather than

actual submersion -  ie will produce decent pictures and hopefully will survive a while but I won't be devastated if I kill it.

 

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8 minutes ago, geoff s said:

I've had an Olympus Tough and it is probably the best of the compacts as I think it's the only one with RAW. Changed to the Nikon AW 1 to step up the quality.

 

I'm now thinking of a cheap, older, s/h large sensor compact ( RX100 or a Canon G something) combined with drybags as it's mainly for sea-kayak photos rather than

actual submersion -  ie will produce decent pictures and hopefully will survive a while but I won't be devastated if I kill it.

 

 

The RX100-n controls are fiddly enough in the hand never mind in a bag. I doubt that the weatherproofing is too great either if it did get wet. Best of luck with that. 

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22 hours ago, MDM said:

I was basing my comment solely on actual image quality. I haven’t tried submitting a still from a Hero 9 but I can’t see any reason why a carefully processed raw would fail on the basis of image quality alone. Do Alamy even have a suitable camera list any mote? I will take a few pics at some point and upload them to Dropbox to demonstrate.

 

Just running through a very simplistic analysis I have to agree. It's well known hereabouts that the Sony RX100 can pass Alamy QC without downsizing. Its pixels are 2.4 x 2.4 microns.

 

If the Hero 9 images are downsized to 17MB (approx 6MP) from its 1/2.3" sensor, the effective pixel area is 3.1 x 3.1 microns. So there's potentially a 70% larger area of silicon involved in the production of each pixel in a 6MP downsized image from a Hero 9 than there is per pixel in a non-downsized image from an RX100. Obviously there are other factors involved (back-side vs front side illuminated, micro-lens array performance, signal processing noise, lens quality, aperture, fixed focus accuracy) but a 1/2.3" sensor isn't fundamentally too small to meet Alamy QC providing images are downsized and the performance of the other items I mentioned above approach those of the Sony RX100. 

 

Mark

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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Not had time to take any proper pics outdoors with the GoPro but it seems that it will only shoot raw in what they call wide lens mode, which gives a fisheye effect, so is rather limited for stills as it produces serious distortion. I don’t know how good the JPEGs are in terms of noise which would probably be the main factor in determining whether they would downsize well and be sufficiently noise-free to pass Alamy When I get a chance I will take some outdoor shots to check out its capabilities. I got it for action video as the quality of the stabilisation is amazing. 

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7 hours ago, MDM said:

will only shoot raw in what they call wide lens mode

Mmm... that suggests that the non-wide lens mode is actually a hard crop (i.e. a digital zoom rather than an actual change in focal length). So in non-wide lens mode the area of silicon used is smaller, the number of pixels will be reduced and the scope for downsizing also reduced. So noise will go up methinks?

 

I wonder if the stabilisation is also purely digital (i.e. no mechanical movement of lens elements or sensor). 

 

If so, the fixed focal length combined with a non-mechanical IS would make the camera more shock-proof. Only leaves the aperture adjustment. Maybe that's fixed too, and the camera just varies the ISO gain to deal with varying light levels?

 

Mark

 

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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Some of this discussion carries over into small sensor drone cameras as well I would think, I'm wondering if the uniqueness of the picture (underwater, storm-chasing, aerial etc.) might tip the scales in favour of the image in spite of the camera taking it whereas using such a camera for 'everyday' subjects wouldn't be successful long term.

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12 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

whereas using such a camera for 'everyday' subjects wouldn't be successful long term.

+1

GoPro is fixed focus which would be quite limiting. The depth of field is pretty good, but looking at some shots online it looks like optimum focus is set at just a few metres with anything at infinity looking a touch soft.  Ideal for outdoor action/street photo/video and maybe underwater too, but no good for landscape photography? Here's one example https://www.reddit.com/r/gopro/comments/ivfgxg/the_gopro_9_takes_some_amazing_stills/ which can be viewed at 3341 x 4176. Also looks pretty noisy but probably wasn't processed from RAW? Look forward to seeing what Michael's (MDM) excellent RAW processing skills can produce.

 

Mark

 

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25 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

+1

GoPro is fixed focus which would be quite limiting. The depth of field is pretty good, but looking at some shots online it looks like optimum focus is set at just a few metres with anything at infinity looking a touch soft.  Ideal for outdoor action/street photo/video and maybe underwater too, but no good for landscape photography? Here's one example https://www.reddit.com/r/gopro/comments/ivfgxg/the_gopro_9_takes_some_amazing_stills/ which can be viewed at 3341 x 4176. Also looks pretty noisy but probably wasn't processed from RAW? Look forward to seeing what Michael's (MDM) excellent RAW processing skills can produce.

 

Mark

 

 

Don't hold your breath just yet Mark. Time is not on my side at the moment. 

 

The fisheye effect makes it pretty limiting for raws. When I mentioned it, I didn't realise it was only possible to shoot raws in wide (fisheye) mode although I think it could work as a cheap camera for underwater stills photography. I wouldn't dream of shooting landscape or using it for general purpose photography. I got it for action or fast motion video and it produces decent if quite noisy results. As I said the stabilisation is incredible. Really it is a camera designed for the adventure sports enthusiast I guess and primarily for video or time lapse. 

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