A camera is a handy part of any forum-prowling yak fisherman's gear.
Kayak fishing is pretty harsh on gear, and cameras are no exception. There are a few waterproof options available that might be worth considering:
Olympus MJU 725SW/770SW Edit
- Small, compact. Easy to shove into a vest pocket, or a seat pocket.
- Waterproof to 5m (725) or 10m (770)!
- Shockproof. Seems to survive rolling around in the bottom of the yak for a while, with no significant problems.
- Large screen for framing photos.
- Generally, pretty simple to use.
- Good colour quality - quite vibrant in soft lighting conditions. Could use a touch more saturation in heavy brightness, but pretty good nonetheless.
- Pretty good video capability. Records in AVI format.
- The 'shooting styles' (eg: underwater mode, landscape mode, movie mode, etc) are not easy to get to - you have to cycle through the shake compensation menu in order to get to it. I'd prefer it to have a button of it's own (eg: Swap the rarely-used 'macro mode' button).
- Doesn't float.
- No viewfinder. If the screen gives out, you'll be shooting blind. Hopefully the LCD is pretty tough.
- If your lens-cover gums up with salt, then the camera will not turn on. Try to make sure it gets a good soak after each trip, and open/close the lens cover under water several times as part of the clean.
- Olympus service is EXTREMELY SLOW. I'm looking at 5 weeks to fix/replace my camera at the moment (Red).
- Recommend attaching a float to the wrist strap. Alternatively, work out a way to tie it on to your yak somewhere.
Pentax Optio W10/W20 Edit
Doug has this to say about the W10:
The W10 is a very nice camera with plenty of great features. The image quality is excellent and it even does a pretty good job with video (I think that most of the video clips that Holy Mackerel has posted were shot with his W10). I've been using mine for a couple of months now and I'm very happy with it. If you are going to be using the W10 or W20 on the water you should get the silicone skin. The W10 is very smooth and does not provide much of a gripping surface. The silicone skin should make it easier to hang on to. I just put a layer of Goop silicone adhesive on mine. It works, but looks ugly. Other than the grip, the only problem I have with it is the lack of a lens cap. I keep my camera in the pocket of my PFD, so it is always close at hand when I need to take a picture. If you have any water on the lens the pictures will come out with some very interesting distortions. Worse yet; if salt water dries you will have salt crystals stuck to the lens. I try to keep some fresh water on hand to rinse off the camera if needed. Now I keep the camera in a zip-lock bag inside my PFD pocket. The leash on the camera keeps the bag from sealing, but it still does a good job of protecting the camera from splashes. I'd go with the Pentax. For my money, there isn't a better waterproof camera on the market.
Pixtreme 3mp Edit
Deano picked one of these up recently, for under the $200 mark
- PRICE!!! Very cheap waterproof camera!
- Waterproof to almost 40m
- It floats
- Takes very good photos for normal sized prints (it is a 3mp camera)
- Very slim camera once taken out of the waterproof housing
- Easy to use underwater – even with diving gloves on
- It says it can take up to 512mb of additional memory, but I am using a 1gb card with no problems
- LCD is big enough/bright enough to be viewable underwater
- No optical zoom (4x digital zoom only)
- Chews threw the 2xAAA batteries very quickly when using video recording mode (rechargeables are a good investment)
- Has a split second delay between pressing the button and taking the photo which can be pretty annoying (especially when a fish is moving and you had a perfect shot)
Overall, I recommend this camera as a good 'cheapie' to have in the kayak.
Vivitar 6200 Edit
Waterproof to 30 foot, 4x digital zoom, 6 megapixels. Under $100 from Ebay.
PROS: cheap, comes with a long strap and carabiner to secure safely to pfd/yak. picture quality in 2816x2112 size and "fine" (3*) mode is high quality enough for trophy pics - files are 3mb+ and good detail and print onto 6x4" photo paper well. 1* mode is perfect for sharing on web. has 9 picture modes portrait, underwater, sunset, fireworks, indoor etc. red eye reduction works well. Also has a macro mode for close-ups which could create some nice fish shots. CONS: heavy (250g) and quite large for digital camera, takes 2xAA not the internal rechargable, zoom is fairly basic and pictures come out grainy with max setting. Small LCD (2 inch) All in all very good value for money as a fishing only snapper.
Sanyo Xacti VPC-E1 Video Camera Edit
Kraley recently picked up one of these new, Mpeg4, compleley waterproof and 100% solid state video / still cameras.
- Completely waterproof (submersible to 1.5 metres).
- Stores all video on SD, or SDHC memory cards. No hard drives to break down or tapes to put up with
- Utilises very good AVC/H 264 video codec (great quality)
- Can store up to 5 hours of good quality PAL or NTSC video on single 4 gig memory card
- Good, simple controls.
- Up to 1.5 hours of recording per battery use.
- Has a standard 1/4" camera mount
- Can take photo's while shooting video
Not-so Good Things:
- User must make sure to 'lock in' battery and memory card to seal for watertightness
- No external DC supply possibility - must use batteries with limited life
- Still photo quality isn't up to par
I also was able to modify a Scotty GPS mount with a new, 1/4" bolt to make a decent mount for the bow of my kayak.