PREVIEW: Kodak Waterproof Pocket Video Cameras – Zx3 and Zx5

It’s always fun recording your water and sports activities, right? With these two camcorders from Kodak I am introducing to you today this has never been easier before. Kodak PlaySport Zx3 and PlaySport Zx5 are waterproof Full HD pocket camcorders with a clear and vivid picture you will enjoy to share with your friends. They are sized like a mobile phone so they really fit in hand.

There are not a lot of differences between these two models, but anyway we find some of them pretty important. First of all, Zx5 is waterproof, dust-proof and freeze-proof, while Zx3 is just waterproof. That means Zx5 is more resistant and we can expect slightly better build quality. Anyway, both cameras are waterproof to the same depth – 10 ft / 3 m. That is fairly enough for playing arround in a swimming pool or in shallow water, but forget about diving with these two camcorders. They are simply not meant for it. If you want really good waterproof camera with sturdy case you should consider GoPRO HD Hero cameras. Another difference is that Zx5 has a macro mode, which allows you to get really close to your subject.

Even though both camcorders are primary meant for recording movies, you can also take 5 MP still shots in 16:9 ratio. For the sharpness of the image is responsible Electronic image stabilization, which is not as good as optical image stabilization, but still much better than nothing, right? Talking about software features, the camera has SmartFace tracking technology and when you connect it to your computer you can instantly upload your media to Facebook or YouTube.

Capturing and previewing movies is smooth and easy with vivid 2.0-inch LCD screen. There are three different playback modes for previewing in different circumstances.

There are four different video quality and resolutions available:

  • 1080p @ 30 fps – the Full HD for the best image quality and sharp picture
  • 720p @ 60 fps – HD resolution with 60 fps (frames per second) allows you to create slow motion videos
  • 720p @ 30 fps – standard HD
  • WVGA – when you are running out of space on memory card

Both cams are recording the data to SD/SDHC type of memory cards, which does not come with the camera. Zx5 has also 128 MB of internal memory, but that’s hardly enough for some minutes of recording, so another memory card is a must. It’s also very delightful that the cameras are using removable rechargeable batteries, which mean you can buy additional ones for any case. There is remote control available as well, but does not come with a camera.

PREVIEW: Nikon COOLPIX AW100

That is the camera many have been waiting for. Finally the Nikon released waterproof digital point-and-shoot camera and entered the market of small compact cameras that you can use in different environments, inappropriate for regular compact digital cameras. The hearth of COOLPIX AW100 is 16 Mega pixels CMOS sensor which records photos and videos (Full HD 1080 resolution) in superb quality. Seems to you like a tough camera which you can depend on anywhere? Read on …

Overview

Waterproof digital camera Nikon COOLPIX AW100 is “Born to be Extreme”. It is waterproof down to 33 ft / 10 m underwater, you can go skiing and take it with you since it is freeze-proof down to 14 °F. The rugged body is designed the way interior of the camera can easily survive drops from 5 feet. And finally, AW100 successfully deals with dirty and dusty places and still captures clean photos! 16 MP CMOS sensor is great for capturing low-light scenes and fast-action photos which the camera is build for.

There is no doubt that 5x Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens takes care for the perfect picture. Life on the road demands orientation, so this camera has build-in GPS and e-Compass. Therefore you can always check where you captured your images using build-in maps. 3-inch large and bright LCD adds some more fun and even easier handling to everything.

The innovative feature of this camera is Action Control. It allows you to control the camera just with shaking it. This way you can change some camera’s settings when you are wearing a gloves or if you need to shoot immediately.

If you want to record someone in action – just go and do it. Or if you would like to record yourself, there are many possibilities of attaching the camera to your gear – bike, snowboard, backpack … Options are endless! The camera will be prepared anytime to capture the scene in Full HD 1080p resolution.

The camera will be available shortly, the MSRP is $379.95, but you can pre-order it on Amazon and get the best price this way.

Technical details

  • Sensor: 16 MP CMOS
  • Lens: 5x optical NIKKOR ED
  • Lens f/number: f/3.9-4.8
  • Image stabilization: yes, lens-shift VR
  • LCD size: 3-inch
  • LCD resolution: 460,000 dots
  • Storage media: SD, SDXC, SDHC
  • Internal memory: 83 MB
  • Sensitivity settings: ISO 125-3200

More about the camera you can find on official Nikon website.

REVIEW: A Diver’s Guide to the Art of Underwater Photography

Recently I read the book A Diver’s Guide to the Art of Underwater Photography, which is written by Andrea & Antonella Ferrari and published by Nautilus Publishing. I would like to share some thoughts about it with you. First of all, I need to be honest; I haven’t read dozens of books like this, but I have flipped through many of them and read a lot on the Internet.

Talking about physical appearance, this book has a pretty odd, ultra-wide format, mainly because of large colorful prints inside. It has 360 pages, which makes it pretty thick, but as soon as you open it you notice that the main content is pictures, not text. I could say the pictures-vs.-text ratio is about 5:1 or even more. Anyone who wants to learn about taking great underwater shots should be very happy about this since an image tells more than 1000 words. If you take a brief overview through the pages, the thematics of the images seems to be put inside randomly, but as soon as you start reading and studying the book more carefully, you notice that every picture is placed there for a purpose and the authors are constantly referring to the case studies in the text. Because of this the reading turns out very interesting; the text is very understandable in its tone.

The book is divided into eight chapters, every one of them leading you to become a better underwater photographer. After a very inspiring introduction, the authors share their knowledge about the equipment, diving, seeking for photographic opportunities, maintaining underwater photography gear, and giving good advice about underwater photography. The book really covers all types of underwater photography, from ultra-wide shots with fish-eye lenses to macro shots.

Two special things I really liked about the book The Art of Underwater Photography are guest photos from guest photographers and a special chapter on point-and-shoot pocket cameras. Every single photo from guest photographers has a detailed description of the subject in the photo, who took it, and technical details (camera, lens, underwater housing, strobes).

The chapter about point-and-shoot waterproof digital cameras explains to the amateur user the basics about the digital camera and its importance when shooting underwater – Megapixels, ISO sensitivity, JPEG or RAW, White balance … And provides seven easy steps on how to take good shots underwater with compacts. This chapter is written by Leon Joubert & Claudia Pellarini-Joubert, two famous underwater photographers.

I have some criticism of the book nevertheless; sometimes it is hard to read since there are images through two or four or even five pages between the text. But when you realize that, it’s not a problem anymore. And the second thing, the paperback seems to be weak.

Overall, I learned a lot of new things and really enjoyed reading The Art of Underwater Photography. It is an excellent book guide because there are lots of examples inside, combined with the necessary theory about underwater imaging. Even if you are not an underwater photographer or you don’t intend to become one, you can still enjoy flipping through the book because the images inside are really fabulous!

On Amazon the book is priced around $60. Take a look also at many great reviews from other readers who bought this book: A Diver’s Guide to The Art of Underwater Photography!

I have some criticism of the book nevertheless; sometimes it is hard to read since there are images through two or four or even five pages between the text. But when you realize that, it’s not a problem anymore. And the second thing, the paperback seems to be weak.

Overall, I learned a lot of new things and really enjoyed reading The Art of Underwater Photography. It is an excellent book guide because there are lots of examples inside, combined with the necessary theory about underwater imaging. Even if you are not an underwater photographer or you don’t intend to become one, you can still enjoy flipping through the book because the images inside are really fabulous!

On Amazon the book is priced around $60. Take a look also at many great reviews from other readers who bought this book:

Fujifilm FinePix XP30 Waterproof Digital Camera Preview

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

It’s a nice rugged waterproof digital compact camera. Is the follower of fujifilm’s first outdoor rugged camera the XP10. The body is made from plastic and a bit of metal.The case feels solid and quite heavy for it’s size. The grip is a bit poor and the camera can easily sleep away while underwater. The position of the lens doesn’t help either. It is mounted in the top corner of the camera and the index finger easily sleeps on the lens leaving fingerprints. The lens is really a fingerprint magnet. The way you have to hold the camera is quite uncomfortable. The body comes in 5 colors, blue, green orange, silver, and black.The zoom is very fast and the zoom switch is very good. The motor makes quite a lot of noise bit it’s not such a problem. It can be an annoyance while recording video since it is amplified by the microphone.

The feature Fujifilm is advertising the most is it’s integrated GPS unit. It attaches latitude and longitude coordinates to a picture. In playback you can see the coordinates of the picture and how far from you location it has been taken. The GPS receiving strength is pretty poor. It takes some minutes to acquire a signal on a nice day. It also chews a lot of battery life. Fujifilm also makes the XP20 which is a GPS-less variant of the XP30. The price difference is about 50€ which compared to the price of the XP30 model is not a lot but bare in mind that GPS does not work underwater so it is useless for your underwater pictures.

With waterproofing to a depth of 5 meters the camera can be easily used to take photos during your snorkeling. In the menu we find three underwater shooting modes. There is the standard underwater shooting mode; a wide angle shooting mode which compensates for the distortion that happens with taking pictures under water and a macro mode. Fujifilm recommend a good cleaning and rinsing in fresh water after use in sea water and recommends replacing the camera’s rubber seals annually.

The picture quality fails the camera a bit it does not compare to the non rugged compact cameras. The noise and the  chromatic aberrations can be a pain. But with the conditions underwater it is barely noticeable.

Sample image taken with the camera

The price is very kind and overall is a nice little camera.

The camera features:

  • 14 Mpixel resolution
  • Waterproof up to 5m
  • GPS geotag
  • Image stabilization with sensor shift
  • 5x magnification (28mm-104mm, F3,9-4F,8
  • Shockproof to 1,5m
  • Freezproof to -10°C
  • Dustproof and sandproof
  • Motion panorama
  • 2,7 in LCS with 230,000 pixels
  • HD(720p) movie clips
  • SD memory slot