I exclusively use disposable camera's, but.....

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......it's time to move on.

Thank you for your help on the optics. Monocular should be here Wednesday.

I hate cameras. I tried to get into them, even bought a 35mm 30 years ago. Still sits in my closet. If I could Uri Geller pictures into my albums I would. I don't want to take my phone - might accidently do something work related. I do not have any comprehension of anything relating to photography, which is why the disposables worked so well for me. Problem is, they are getting harder to find, the price keeps going up, and the cost of film development has gotten silly. (I guess they figure if you are using a disposable camera you have no options, so they charge what they want.) I don't care to change lenses, want something pretty small to fit in a pocket. Many photos would be fairly close, i.e. taking pictures of fish lying at my feet or the length of a 17' canoe. Some distance stuff I suppose but these are opposite ends of the spectrum.

I am assuming some type of a waterproof point and shoot would be in order, but I don't understand the terminology and the benefits of many of the features, and this is fine with me. Price points vary so wildly. I don't take many pictures - usually use 2 disposables a year, but at $10/camera and $10 to develop each one, I'm into $40.00/year - and Wal mart can lose your photo's.

So once again I ask the experts. For a complete photography noob that has no desire to learn anything about photography but wants to keep a camera at the ready, what should I do? I have no idea of what a camera like this should cost. I am sure there are features available that I have no concept of, so feel free to educate.

Thank you very much!
 
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Canon Powershot or Nikon Coolpix is going to be your cheapest and decent entry level digital camera- $100-$200. You may have to get a card reader for your computer if it doesn’t have one or the camera may plug in and be recognized as a device or hard drive. B & H photo is a good source with great customer service. They will be happy to talk to you about your options. Not sure of your computer savvy, but if all you want is printed photos you may want to stick with what you are doing.

Bob
 
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Here's a very simple panasonic point and shoot waterproof digital camera. It comes with a memory card and a small case $127. Four different colors to choose from, so that's the only decision you have to make. I have an older model that lives in the pocket of my pfd, no case. Takes great pictures. No real settings to worry about if you don't want to. Canon, Olympus and Nikon make something similar if the name matters to you.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1133393-REG
 
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Too bad you don't want to take your phone. Phones are great cameras these days. You could have a gps, a bird ID app, all sorts of field guides and so on. You know you can just put it in airplane mode and it isn't a "phone", right? :)

These days digital is definitely the way to go. So nice to have immediate access to pictures and ability to email or post right away. Editing also a plus.

I really like the some of the 4:3 digital models. I have a couple Olympus Pen e bodies and a few lenses. I like that they can be used like a point and shoot and all the features don't get in the way, but they are feature rich if you want to get into all of that stuff. This line is probably more camera than you want to get into though

Something like that Lumix mentioned above might be a good bet if in the budget. If you want to go much cheaper a used coolpix or powershot from a few years back might be a decent choice.

Another possible option might be to get a used phone that is a little out of date. Don't get it activated with phone service, but use it with Wi-Fi only. Then you can use it for lots of stuff including as a camera with no temptation to do any work. You can probably find a family member or friend who has one laying around. The older ones won't be water proof though.
 
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I continued to bring my old SLR Nikon 35mm for years into the digital age. I am a lousy photographer, and the couple decent photographs I have ever taken were accidental. But I knew every F-stop, shutter speed, focal length etc function on that old Nikon, and could even push the film speed.

But it was big and, not being waterproof, needed to be carried in a WP case, both of which were less than ideal. And then there was film and film developing and not wanting to “waste” film taking multiple photos of the same thing at different setting or angles.

I broke down and bought a relatively simply waterproof, shockproof digital. An Olympus Stylus Tough.

https://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Stylu.../dp/B001P06Q5C

I’m told that modern I-phones take better quality photos, and even that simply pocket-sized digital has more settings and functions than I will every use. Or know how to use. For my snapshot quality photographer’s eye I set it on auto and never looked back

On the plus side it fits in a PFD pocket, has proven completely waterproof and I have twice dropped it from waist level onto asphalt or concrete; it bounced and kept working fine. It has been on hundreds of trips since 2006, carried in a PFD pocket, soaked, dropped, otherwise abused and still works like new.

It is not a choice for a serious photographer. I am not a serious photographer, and for my snapshot paddling purposes something pocket-sized, waterproof and shockproof was the answer.

Would buy again, or something very similar.

Edit: I just looked and what I have is the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010; an older (still available) model.
 
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Lot of great cameras out there, I have a Lumix, it's bullet proof, more options then I need, shoots underwater, removable batt...
 
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Waterproof and pocket sized are both good features for a paddling snapshot camera. I wouldn’t overlook “shock proof” and “crush resistant” ruggedness.

The Stylus Tough (and others) claim:

Waterproof (33ft.) A revolutionary system of waterproof seals and gaskets keeps water out so you can take pictures as deep as 33 feet underwater.
Shockproof (6.6ft.) Life can be tough, this camera is tougher. Rugged metal body and innovative shock-absorbing construction are designed to withstand a 6.6-foot drop, bump, or other mishap.
Freezeproof (14°F/-10°C) Boldly enter that winter wonderland without worrying about your camera. The Stylus Tough-3000 is winterized to perform at below-freezing temperatures.
Crushproof (220LBF.) With a rugged body and reinforced LCD, the Stylus Tough-8000 withstands up to 220 pounds of pressure so your camera and images are protected.
HD Video 720p A simple, one-touch button allows you to record movies with amazing clarity in high-definition, right from your camera.


We briefly had a previous digital camera, not waterproof and definitely not shockproof; my wife accidentally pushed it off an auditorium bench onto the floor at one sons graduation. We have no photos from his graduation.

For unexpected tripping abuses shockproof is a worthwhile feature.

The HD video capability isn’t something I need, although I have shot two videos during trips when I inadvertently pressed whichever one-touch button starts the video feature, capturing my feet shuffling through the bush while I mumbled something inaudible.
 
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A while back, I decided to concentrate my paddling electronics in my iPhone. I ditched my Garmin GPS (good riddance to that torturous Garmin user interface) and added a GPS app to the iPhone. That was a good move. And I gave up the Lumix camera in favor of the iPhone camera. I was never satisfied with the Lumix anyway because the photos often looked washed out, and from a photo-quality perspective, it was a good move. But, in practice, it was a bit of a PIA to unlock the phone, put it into photo mode, and take a picture. So, I went back to a point and shoot, but this time, an Olympus Tough. The photo quality between the iPhone and the Tough are about equal. But it is much faster and more convenient to pull the Tough out of my PFD and snap a photo than it was to use the iPhone. Also, the iPhone is harder to aim and click with one hand. So, IMO, a dedicated camera has its place in your PFD.

I talked to another Lumix user who also complained about the photo quality. I suggest avoiding that camera. Have had nothing but good experience with the Tough.

You will love digital photography. It costs nothing to take a photo, so you will take more. You can instantly see the resulting photo, and delete / retake if you aren't pleased. No more waiting for the film to come back to discover that you didn't really capture that image the way you wanted.

It used to be a requirement for my digital camera to be powered by AA batteries, because they are so ubiquitous, and I knew I could always easily find replacement batteries. There is hardly a camera left that is powered by AA batteries. The Tough has it's own rechargeable battery, and instead of carrying spares, I carry a "juice pack," with which to recharge it (and phone). Juice packs are inexpensive and widely available, so you don't need to worry about extra batteries.
 
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The photo quality between the iPhone and the Tough are about equal. But it is much faster and more convenient to pull the Tough out of my PFD and snap a photo than it was to use the iPhone. Also, the iPhone is harder to aim and click with one hand. So, IMO, a dedicated camera has its place in your PFD.

Have had nothing but good experience with the Tough.

My experience with that camera as well. One son regularly tells me that “Modern I-phones take much better quality photos”. With Smart phone advances I believe that might be true, but also thought it would be less convenient and far less waterproof and shock proof rugged.

Amazon tells me I bought this one; in 2011 actually, not 2006; prior to that I was having double prints and a digital disk developed from 35mm film. Can you say “$$$”.

It is listed as an “old model” 8010, which has no doubt seen improvement. Although sometimes “improvements” are not.

https://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Stylu.../dp/B0031RGEV8

$130 = how many disposables and developing? And limiting the number of photos you take, and waiting to see how the photos actually turned out. I can’t imagine the image quality with a disposable is close to even an older model pocket digital.

It used to be a requirement for my digital camera to be powered by AA batteries, because they are so ubiquitous, and I knew I could always easily find replacement batteries. There is hardly a camera left that is powered by AA batteries. The Tough has it's own rechargeable battery, and instead of carrying spares, I carry a "juice pack," with which to recharge it (and phone). Juice packs are inexpensive and widely available, so you don't need to worry about extra batteries.

I have taken the Stylus Tough 8010 on a couple multi-week trips, taken hundreds of photos and not run low on battery life. And I’ve charged it on long multi-river road trips from the truck or the occasional State Park electric site along the way. My more electronica wife/sons and some friends bring a little power pack, but I’ve never needed to use it.

One more thing, from a dummy’s perspective of how to save, segregate or catalog photographs; that camera has both internal memory and takes an SD card. I know the SD cards hold thousands of photos, but they are inexpensive* enough that I’ve bought a new card every few years and put the old card back in the blister pack, marked (for example) 2013 – 2017. That example is a 16GB SHDC card and still has room left, but if I wanted to find some old photo on a card I’d rather not have to look through too many years and thousands of photos.

*Inexpensive enough that I carry an extra SD card in my Spares & Repairs bag. I doubt I’ll ever need it, but someone else might, and it’s the size of my pinkie nail.

You will love digital photography. It costs nothing to take a photo, so you will take more. You can instantly see the resulting photo, and delete / retake if you aren't pleased. No more waiting for the film to come back to discover that you didn't really capture that image the way you wanted.

Absolutely, on all counts. I regret the years I held out, and kept lugging my old Nikon on canoe trips, in a waterproof case, missing or not taking photos because it was too much of a PITA to uncase it, carrying rolls of film and limiting myself to X number of photos per trip. “Oh hell, only one roll left, gotta be more selective”.

I especially regret the (sadly plural) times I thought I had the 35mm film on the take up reel, shot 24. . .hey, 25. . . wow, 26. . . thought hummmm, ok, maybe I loaded a 36 exposure roll. 36. . . .37. . . .38. . . . Oh SHIT, not again. Days of untaken photos ‘cause I was too clumsy/hurried/frozen fingered to load the film properly or notice the take up reel not rotating as I advanced the film.

I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to electronica on trips, but damn I love the advantages of digital photography. Going from disposable to a pocket sized waterproof digital will be like going from a Model A to a self-driving Tesla.

In the Tesla comparison, if you are as technophobic as me, skip even trying to read the entire 150 page owners/user’s manual, just set the camera on auto and have at it.
 
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Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera, Red

On it's way.

I looked at each one of the camera's mentioned above. Thank you for all of your suggestions.

I had not planned on pending this much money, I did bring Chick into the process, and we looked at reviews on-line. She actually owns multiple cameras but is like me with regard to all of features and tech stuff. She has both a Sony and an Olympus she likes so we naturally gravitated there, and the Olympus Tough series referenced above was a starting point.

As we made comparisons she pointed out that this would probably be the last camera we would ever buy so why not round up? Plus, she digs red.

it is reassuring to get everyone's input. I always figured many of those reviews online where done by bot's or whatever, so when you can get objective feedback from people who you know (at least in the electronic sense) and trust it brings a sense of comfort.

Thanks again everyone. Have to circle back (sorry) to that whole inReach thing again and I'll have my kit pretty much wrapped.
 
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