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I am interested in purchasing a camera that will do underwater and of course function as a regular camera.
GoPro looks interesting but I can't tell if it has a display or not.
Can anyone recommend a decent camera under $300. Of course the lower the better.
I'd like to lower it over the side of my boat to inspect the bottom once in a while.:)
 

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Almost every camera company makes P&S cameras that are suitable for this. Go to a camera store and play with them to see which one you like.

I use a Panasonic Lumix TS3 (hasn't been made for a few years, but there are more modern versions). It works nicely and is very durable as my dented, scratched, and still perfectly functional copy will demonstrate. I've also taken it scuba diving and went at least 10' deeper than the maximum without issues. Overall I'd recommend it (or the modern equivalent, might be the TS5?)

The super wide angle lens of the Go-Pro is nice for underwater boat inspections.
 

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We got the Pentax WG-1 and I must say, it's the first Pentax product I would NOT recommend. When snorkeling it got water in it and wouldn't work or turn off and the battery got pretty hot. Sending it back to Pentax (it was still under warranty) from the Caribbean took months and the first time we used it in the water after repairs, it got water in the view screen. As an on deck waterproof camera (it is advertised as a shallow underwater camera) it takes great pics/movies without worrying about rain or spray, but we are disappointed about not being able to use it underwater.
 

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We had similar experience with a pentax 'waterproof'.. it was far too easy to accidentally pop the battery/card lid open through simple handling (happened on it's first trip).

In general terms (ignoring the waterproof requirement) we've gone back to a viewfinder camera, finding the 'display only' cameras near impossible to use effectively in bright sunlight. Happy so far with the Canon SL1, but it's not cheap... and not waterproof..
 

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I have an Olympus TG1. It's probably not what you want (it's fairly high-end), but it's a fantastic underwater camera. Color balance is good down to 30 feet or so, the screen is really easy to see underwater, the controls are great underwater, and the image quality is quite good for a compact camera. The case for going down the SCUBA depths is also very good.

On second thought, it might be what you want. With a go-pro, you'll have to download whatever you shoot onto a computer to see it, as opposed to just looking at the screen. And, you can pick up a TG-1 on eBay for under $200.
 

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GoPro is a real solid camera, you can adjust the angle of the lens, but it still is a fairly wide angle, you can add an lcd screen on the back, as for the price, it ranges depending on the image quality you want, the best one is the hero 3+ black edition at 400$ add the lcd at about 79$, but if you don't want the best quality, the white edition is still very good for a lot less
FRED
 

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So to answer your question about the GoPro: It does not have a display. And you are not limited to wide shots, you can record 720 in medium and narrow views. It does have an app and you can monitor what you see with the cameras own wi-fi, but like any wi-fi it will not work underwater. You can see what you record and shoot via the app, so you do not need to connect to the computer. Still, it is over your budget: a GoPro Hero 3 plus is $400. But you can use it for lots of other things besides bottom inspection.
 

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We have a Nikon COOLPIX AW100 that we're quite happy with. We've taken it snorkeling without any issues and it is quite robust. It takes very good pictures, although it is obviously not as nice as the higher end SLR cameras. It's now our go to camera for most occasions.
 

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Thing is that really video is quite different from still shots. They need different equipment to do it right. Digital SLRs are good with stills, but just about all of them are not very good with video. Gopro, I believe has a still function, but does not work well but is excellent for videos. The latest Gopro will let you use a smartphone with wifi to act as a display, and it seems to work well from the demos I have seen but the wifi signal does not go far under water. There are also a add on display for the gopro for an additional $80.

The other thing the "weatherized" cameras with built in water seals don't seem to me that they would work very long under water. Every one I have looked at just did not give me enough confidence that I would use it in anything more than a pool. I think the best all around is going to be to find a point and shoot with an underwater housing, or go pro with the back or use it with a phone.

One other option, though it does not do video, is to go old school and find an old Nikon Nikonos and use film. They are built like a tank and can be found on craigslist.
 

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Not sure a casio gzone will do ALL pics under water. I have had 3 versions. IIRC they are only rated to around 3' for 30-60 min or so.....

WIth this in mind. I have an Olympus and a pentax that is older. I've had a couple of pentax waterproof ones. One was an actual film one. Wish the computer had not gone haywire. luved that camera.

My current olympus is good to 10M or about 30' Some will handle forces to 200 in lbs or maybe foot lbs. Do not remember off the top of my head. It has been swimming, as have some of my Gzone phones too. Nothing beyond me falling in etc.

The olympus versions as I have do get good reviews from photagraphy rags, prices run from about $200-500. Depending upon options, how waterproof etc.

marty
 

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Here is what I would get.

The new Nikon AW1 ? The all weather 1 series body and lenses | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS

It's the nikon 1 series all weather. The first interchangeable lens all weather camera. It takes great pictures too. It's more expensive than you want but you get what you pay for.

Another idea is to get the nikon j3. Still a mirrorless, in the same series. They have some super sales on them right now. I think around 329. Then they have a weatherproof case good down to 130 feet. You could find a deal on that down the road.

I think if you get the nikon you won't be sorry. The pictures it takes are really great and it gives you a lot of options and control. It also has the fastest autofocus and takes the best 1080 videos of any camera in its price range. Real videos

Go pro are more for people that want to show their friends videos of them sailing on Facebook. Not to take high quality movies. The nikon 1 series has a video specific zoom lens that will get you 10 plus times closer than the go pro and auto focus while tracking the subject and zooming in and out. That lens is the 10-100 pd.

If you do get a point and shoot. Don't go by megapixels. As long as it has 6 or 7 it will have enough. They try to sell you on those sometimes. I think canon makes the best point and shoots. The 510 has a huge built in zoom, but doesn't look too good fully extended. But the close up pictures are good. It's 229-249. You would need a tripod if you get something with a lot of zoom.

Let me know if you have any specific questions.
 

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Oh. Here's why you want the fast autofocus.

Say you're out sailing or anchored or some thing and an eagle or cardinal or whatever flys overhead. It's moving fast. With the nikon 1 you can hit that thing regardless and it will be on perfect focus. With a lot of other cameras you wouldn't be able to get the shot.

For the sale they have it on now it's probably the best deal on a camera in a long time.
 

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I have recently purchased an Olympus tgi-2. It is waterproof to 18m. I also purchased the underwater housing ( which is good to 40m) which provides a belt and braces approach which is important, especially as I dive most days.

I have only tried it above water so far, but for a compact camera the results are good ( image quality is better than an older Pentax SLR with a kit lens although obviously well short of my new Nikon SLR with a prime lens). It has some great white balance options which is important underwater.

It is 50% dearer than a Go Pro with slightly less good video (still full HD at 30 fps), but better stills. The lack of extreme wide angle will be an issue in turbid waters, but lowlight performance is better as is manual control together with the option of zoom and extreme macro. They are in many ways very different cameras, but each is worth consideration. Depending on your requirements one, or the other may be better.

I will be using it mainly for anchor videos and stills. That hopefully will show some real world anchor performance.
 

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video quality and picture quality, GoPro is hard to beat for the price, I take mine diving, hiking, sailing and pretty much everywhere, it's compact and light, the only drawback I find is battery life, mind you I still use the hero 2, I've been told the hero 3+ has a better battery life
 

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+1 for Panasonic TS3 (or newer models). Waterproof, shockproof, fairly slim and takes decent pictures. dpreview.com has a fairly detailed write-up. Had mine for 3+ years. No problems whatsoever.
 
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