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Good point-and-shoot ducks are hard to find

May 18, 2015


My neat go-anywhere Ricoh/Pentax WG-3, is rated waterproof to about 13.7 metres so I wasn’t worried about holding it in last night’s warm spring deluge. I might as well have been holding a duck as a camera.

And actually, now that I think of it, the WG-3 is a lot like a duck, both water-wise and optically.

Everyone knows about ducks and water but ducks are also known for their excellent day vision and colour perception and it’s during the day that the WG-3 is at its best. On the other hand, ducks also have pretty fowl eyesight after dark but I have trouble believing that they could have poorer night vision than my WG-3. In low-light situations, without the flash, it shoots everything yellow and suffers from real indecision about what to focus on.


The flash is good in snow but worse than useless in heavy rain.

Unfortunately, in my experience, firing the flash in heavy rain usually just results in a foreground full of amoeba-like shapes — fun, the first time you see it but it gets old fast.

A question I have is just how much light could you expect to find 13,7 metres underwater?

The American National Ocean Service (NOAA) has a simple graphic showing how the ocean is divided into three strata or zones of sunlight penetration: euphotic, dysphotic and aphotic. However, the Water Encyclopedia entry on light transmission in the ocean is more specific:

“Most of the visible light spectrum is absorbed within 10 meters (33 feet) of the water’s surface, and almost none penetrates below 150 meters (490 feet) of water depth, even when the water is very clear”.

Thanks to its tough shell, the WG-3 might be watertight to 13.7 metres but given the proven low-light weakness of its CMOS image sensor I’m not convinced it would take good photographs at anywhere near that depth, unless the flash is massively more effective when the camera is fully immersed in water — and chicken that I am, in the year-and-a-half that I’ve owned the camera, I’ve never submerged it more that halfway. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Cameras, Fairview

One Comment
  1. Sandra permalink

    I can certainly understand your frustration and why it would get old fast, but being as this is the 1st. time I have seen raindrops like this, I love the shot!


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