I recently killed my handly little digital point/shoot camera by getting it too wet on a wetWET backpacking trip. Figured it made sense to replace it with a waterproof one... By surfin' the net and looking in a couple of shops, I narrowed it down to the Olympus Stylus 1030SW or 850SW or the Pentax Optio w60 - all of which are rated as pretty tough. (There was a Ricoh, too, but it was double the price.) Some day I'd love to get back to a good sized SLR complete with lenses, but at the moment I need something small and simple so that photography can be an aside rather than a focus. Each of these cameras fit the bill - and at 10megapixels, I figure they should be better than the 7 megapix I had. The basic differences among them seemed to be how 'tough' they are. I chose the stylus 1030SW because it was the most bomb-proof:
A young friend took the sticker on the front to mean 'don't drop it', 'don't get it wet' and 'don't take it out in the snow'. She was suprised when I said that it means you can
drop it (from 2m), can
get it wet (to 10m) and can freze it (to -10C) and promptly showed her how by turning on the tap and taking something like this:
So far, this is the very best part of this camera: playing with underwater shots. I think my favorite photo from the summer is this one:
HOWEVER, I am generally not especially pleased with the camera - primarily because it does a poor job on basic landscape shots. (Not that I'd ever want to take any of those
This brings me around to the title of the message: 10 megapixel cameras. In my initial investigations, I read a number of reviews that basically said: The 1030sw is great if you want something tough, but you'll have to put up with shots being a little 'soft'. Well, I would certainly agree. Apparently the sensors have not really gotten any bigger/better, so having more pixels just means they are crammed together, which somehow leads to the 'soft' images... (If anybody knows more about this please feel free to chime in, I'd be happy to learn more...)
I'd gone back to the camera store to consider returning it, but the sales-guy took some shots and did a comparison with his favorite small camera (a Fuji). He figured it would be a bit better than the Olympus, but they actually were comparable - or the Olympus was even a bit better. So I decided that I'd keep it and see if I could learn how to work with its shortcomings.
One of the big advantages is that the camera does not have a retractable lens - and there seem to be few small cameras so-designed. I do a lot of coastal hiking and keep my camera in a hip-belt/pocket along with other essentials such as map, lighter, multi-tool, etc. Needless to say even a little bit of sand can be ruinous to a retractable lens.
I've used the 1030sw on a couple of shorter trips and have to say that its been hard to find good landscape shots among the many I've taken. As examples, see this TR (https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=28767
). In my opinion even some of the best photos are a little soft - and as you can guess I didn't post nearly as many as I took! Here are some other examples that demonstrate the 'softness'...
[Although I have to admit two things: 1) I have a propensity for using low-light conditions without flash and the internal-lenses on this type of camera are pretty small, so you can't really expect much of them. (I had this experience with my last one which also had an internal lens.) 2) I like doing macro shots and don't always remember to turn this off. These two factors suggest that sometimes the 'soft' photos are simply out of focus or fuzzy, so it may be my own fault that I have so few 'good' photos...! None of the ones posted are in these categories, but some of the many I've taken may be...]
So, I end with a couple of questions and recommendations:
Q: Anyone with a small 10mpx camera corroborate this experience?
Anyone with suggestions on how to work around the challenges I've spoken of?
R: If you are thinking of buying a new camera, I might recommend finding an old one (7 or 8 mpx) or waiting a bit because I'm sure they are working to improve the sensors... There should be newer better ones soon...
Or try one of the ones I didn't get and let me know if I should've bought one of them instead...!