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Old Mar 17, 2006, 4:35 PM   #11
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Wow! A person after my own heart!!

YES, carry a camera at all times!

I, too have been thinking of this problem.

When on trips, I carry my tiny camera in a shirt pocket with a neck lanyard to drop-proof it. Around home, I've started using a Ziploc bag. Too late.

MY Minlota Xi with folded, non-extending optics has developed dust problems: dust on the INSIDE of the viewfinder & lens cover glass, which can be seen, but I'm afraid to try take the camera apart & go after! Anybody know about this? It DOES degrade the image.

I get the impression that the sensors in folded-optic cameras are pretty well protected, but the cover glass sure isn't.

Cameras in which the lens pushes in & out are pumping air & dirt in - this was the reason the old 35mm Olympus XA was superior to, say, the Minox 35's. The problem was well-known, even back then.

I'm thinking about the Pentax WPi, since, being waterproof, it should also be dustproof + folded optics to keep from "pumping dirt". I bought one as a gift for my marathon running daughter, and I'm impressed!

I'm going to follow this discussion closely, It's "right up my alley" :-)
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:00 PM   #12
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Jim, I think the hostile environment has to be my pocket. I don't live or work in a particularly dusty environment. Unfortunately, the Fuji F10 is prone to turning on and extending the lens while it's in the pocket. So it's had numerous opportunities to... err... INHALE* pocket fluff into the optical assembly.

As you say, the G500 was much less likely to extend the lens in the pocket. So I'll simply credit my problems with it to bad luck and excessive abuse. (By the time dust on the sensor became a problem, its main switch -- in the sliding cover -- was also going bad.)

Ohlsonmh, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who insists on carrying a camera around in a pocket! I don't know that there's much more to be said here, though. Apart from the general tips that have been offered, I don't think there's much specific advice on the subject available. The product lifecycle of most digicams is so short, by the time one can be proven to perform well in dusty environments, it will be discontinued and unavailable!

I'm interested in the WPi, though. If it survives a few marathons, that should be a very good sign. I'm no marathoner, but I'm sure I shortened the life of my Minolta G500 by carrying it while speedwalking.

Other than that, I think our best bet is to come up with innovative ways to protect the camera with minimum impact on compactness and portability. Slipe's suggestion of a belt pouch is probably the best way to go, but I'm not willing to do that yet. I suppose the discussion should move to another forum, maybe Misc. accessories.

*note: inhale? Yeah, well, the Autocensor objected to the use of a word that means to draw into a cavity (such as the mouth) by a vacuum. Changed it to "oops", which made no sense. So this edit restores the original sense.
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 10:19 PM   #13
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To bring this thread up to date, in case anyone else is interested, there are at least two current cameras that are claimed to be "dustproof" as well as "waterproof". These are the Olympus Stylus (or mju) 720sw and the Pentax Optio W10. In both cases, the word "dustproof" is not displayed as prominently as "waterproof" and other buzz words, but a careful reading of promotional material will turn it up. (My thanks to a member of the Olympus forum who pointed this out to me after I stated, erroneously, that there was no claim of dustproof status for the 720sw.)

Of course, each has its advantages and disadvantages. After looking at specs and comparing sample shots (some in the respective forums here, some on dpr), I've come up with the following summary of the advantages of each:

Pentax W10:

Superior image quality, except maybe in low light.
Can function as an audio-only recorder.
Allows zoom in movie mode (but records the mechanical noise of the zoom).
Less expensive.

Olympus 720sw:

Perhaps better image quality in low light (although neither camera can be said to perform well in this situation).
Better waterproof rating.

I'm debating the relative merits of these distinctions, but would be interested in other comments or observations.
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Old Apr 4, 2006, 10:34 PM   #14
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One final note for now: I settled on the Pentax Optio W10. I haven't gotten to know it very well yet, but so far I am pleased with it. Photo quality is good in most situations. Auto white balance is sometimes questionable. ISO 800 is noisy, about the same as ISO 1600 on the Fuji F10, I think. No surprises there.

Audio recording is mono, 22 KHz sample rate, 8 bit. Probably adequate for most voice recording purposes, but just barely.

The real question is, how long will it survive in the hostile environment of a pocket? Only time will tell!
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