Problem: Waterproof Rugged Cameras Are Too Easy to Lose!

Illustration for article titled Problem: Waterproof Rugged Cameras Are Too Easy to Lose!

Rugged and waterproof cameras are great, but they've got a lot of improving to do in general design before they'll be good in the outdoors. I mean, someone just keep me from losing these things.

The first waterproof camera I used was a Pentax W10 in 2006, one of the first simple cams that didn't need a case. It was only guaranteed to a depth of 5 feet, but it shot video, and that's all I needed for some snorkeling on a Kauai's north shore. I still have shorts of fish and turtles I took then. A year later, I used the same camera and lost it off some reef near a friend's house in Oahu. The current was strong and I was not, and when I swam to a safe spot the camera's lanyard had slipped off my wrist. The shiny little Pentax wasn't so shiny below the waves.

The second rugged, water resistant camera I used was a pistol gripped Sanyo E1. It was a lot more powerful of a camera, shooting DVD quality vids and 6 megapixel shots, but a lot bulkier than the Pentax. I called it in to use for the winter, during the snowboarding season. I couldn't use it but on the first day I used it, I noticed I couldn't toggle the buttons without removing my gloves, and mounting it on my strap as I rode wouldn't be a great idea anyhow. I lost it after not zipping a pocket after taking some shots and making a blistering run.


I'd chalk up these loses to my own user error to some extent, but if these cameras are waterproof and rugged enough to withstand the elements, shouldn't they also be fitted with accessories that assume the worst? Straps that can be fitted to gloves, neck lanyards, neoprene arm bands, or even orange buoys that can keep the cams from sinking during water adventures. I don't know. I just think that there has to be a better solution to keeping these cameras secured in the outdoors than the simple lanyards you find on your average point and shoot.

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I think the only real solution is getting that whole "rugged means tolerant to my carelessness" out of our heads. Big hulking straps will probably be annoying, and people will probably lose them once they unclip them anyway.