Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Flooded With Waterproof Cameras

At this years PMA several companies have announced either new or updated waterproof cameras. Some are rather plain and boring while others look extremely interesting.

Last year when I was looking for a nice pocket size waterproof camera I found only a few reasonably priced options namely the Fuji Finepix Z33WP, Olympus 550-WP and Polaroid T-833. This year it seems like everyone has jumped on the boat and is now releasing a waterproof camera of their own.

Major manufactures like Samsung, Sony and Casio have all joined Olympus, FUJI, Pentax and Polaroid in their underwater ventures pushing out several new cameras at varying price points.

On the budget end is the newly introduced GE G5WP a successor to last year's G3WP. The G5WP offers a metal enclosure, 4x internal zoom and a 12.2 megapixel sensor. GE won;t have the G5WP on store shelves until late in Q2 but the camera will be fairly price at an MSRP of $179.99.

Adding to the success of their FinePix Z33WP Fuji has added the new FinePix XP10 / XP11. Available in late February 2010 and priced at $199.95 is Fujifilm’s first ‘Four-Proof’ digital camera, which is waterproof up to 10 feet, shockproof up to 3 feet, freezeproof up to 14°F, and dustproof. The camera will feature a 12 Megapixel CCD sensor, ISO up to 1600, a Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens with a reinforced protective lens barrier, and a 2.7-inch High-Contrast LCD display. The FujiFilm XP10 has feature Face Detection, Digital Image Stabilization, Movie Editing Mode and Blog mode, Scene Recognition Auto, and Facebook/YouTube Automatic Web Upload function.

Samsung enters the market with their budget minded AQ100 underwater camera which they introduced just ahead of the PMA show. The AQ100 is a 12-megapixel ultra-compact that much like most the rest of the camera mentioned here is waterproof down to about 10. It has an internal 5x zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD, digital image stabilization and can record video at resolutions up to 720p at 30fps. The 12MP Samsung AQ100 will start shipping this Spring and has an MSRP of $199.99.

On the higher end of the scale are the newly introduced cameras from Casio, Pentax and Sony. Just last week Sony introduced the new Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 which will be hitting store shelves this April and will retails for about $350.The DSC-TX5 will feature a 10.2 megapixel sensor, a 4x optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario Tessor lens and will be waterproof to 10ft, freeze proof down to -10°C (14°F) and shock-resistant for drops of up to 1.5 meters.

One of the recent additions that really caught our eye is the new Casio Ex-G1. Dubbed "the world's slimmest shock-resistant digital camera" this rugged 12 megapixel digital camera has looks to match it's toughness. Featuring IEC/JIS Protection Class 8 (IPX8) waterproofing at depth of 10ft and shock-resistance of drops at up to 7ft this camera might be one of the toughest in the bunch. Casio has already released the EX-G1 with an MSRP of $299.99. Learn more at the G1 Special Site

This years tough new camera that has caught our eye is the much rumored Pentax Optio W90 waterproof camera. Pentax has a long standing of making great waterproof, freezeproof cameras and the W90 is reportedly going to be the next in that great line-up.

The Pentax W90 features a 12.1 Megapixel image sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens covering focal lengths from 28 to 140 mm. Combining 12.1 megapixels with the Pentax-developed imaging engine and high-performance Pentax zoom lens, the Pentax Optio W90 should be able to deliver high quality pictures. The Pentax Optio W90 is also shockproof to 4 feet so it can withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Suggested retail is yet unknown however reports say we can expect it to be in the $400 range.

(update) Pentax has made the W90 official, announcing the release on 2/25

Not to be left behind Olympus has announced a few updates to both their "Tough" line-up as well as their WP line. The new Stylus Tough-8010 will be the new flagship of the "tough" line replacing the Tough-8000. This shockproof camera can withstand drops of 6.6 feet and is waterproof to depths of 33 feet. It caries a price tag of $399.99.

The 14 megapixel Stylus Tough-6020 will take over for the Tough-6000 and features shockproofing to drops of 5 feet and waterproof to depths of 16 feet. Both cameras are freezeproof to temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

For budget consumers Olympus has added the STYLUS TOUGH-3000, a little brother of the other tough line. The camera features similar specs to the Tough-6020 with a smaller price tag of only $229.99. Additionally they've add the X-560WP for $169.99. The X-560WP is predecessor to the Stylus 550-WP and features a 10mp sensor, 3x optical zoom and waterproofing to 10ft.

At the highest end of the spectrum is the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2/DMC-TS2 the predecessor to the Luminx DMC-FT1/DMC-TS1. These tough little cameras feature full HD Movie support in AVCHD Lite not to mention a 14.1-megapixel High-resolution CCD, 4.6x Optical Zoom, 6x Intelligent Zoom and 9.8x Extra Optical Zoom. MSRP is set at $399

All these newly announced waterproof rugged cameras have us drooling. Having been able to test the FinePix Z33WP last year I'll say that having a waterproof camera is a must for the outdoor enthusiast. Rafting trips, boating trips and fishing just aren't the same when you don't have a good camera along to take snap shots. So look for some reviews as I'm sure I'll get my hands on at least one or two of these new toys.

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