I am filing this under a new Category ~ Equipment….

I took a bicycle trip in Ireland in 2004 from the Cliffs of Moher north along the coast to Galway Bay. In preparation for the bike trip, I began a search for a small, waterproof/resistant, digital camera. I got into 35mm SLR photography in the ’70s, including building my own darkroom in the basement of my parents’ home (I suppose they tolerated the chemical smells coming from the basement because my Dad was a pharmacist and educated as a chemist…).  I had considered taking my Minolta SLR on the bike for about 30 seconds, but between the size of the camera, the extra lenses, AND the film I decided I wanted to get into this “NEW” digital photography craze. And I hoped it would be a better bet than some of my previous investments in technology – Video Disks (Visc) (a sylus readable video system predating laser disks or dvd or blue ray…); Beta tapes; 8-track tapes; Linear under-seat steering recumbent bike, a Mazda RX4 Wankel powered sedan…

I settled on an Olympus Stylus 410 Digital. Olympus describes this camera as “all-weather, splash-proof”.  It is  4.0 mega-pixel with a 3x optical zoom and 12x digital zoom. The lens is protected by a sliding cover when the camera is off. Opening the cover turns the camera on. The battery/memory card/cable plugin compartment door has a rubber gasket to make it water-resistant. The battery compartment is similarly gasket protected. It has an optical view finder as well as a small 1″x2.5″ video display screen. There are 10 “selectable shooting modes”.  Image transfer is either via USB or by unplugging the xD card and plugging it into the computer. In the 11 years I have owned and used this camera I have bought one extra Lithium Ion battery (last year since the 2 original 10 year old batteries were starting to lose capacity) and two extra 128 mb xD cards. I have had this camera with me on a bike trip in Ireland, a bike trip on Mackinac Island, a bike trip in Germany and Austria, a bike trip in Scotland, and numerous hiking, camping, kayaking, and boating excursions.  It has worked flawlessly and was easy to carry and use while on the go.

So, when The Mrs and I began planning for a walking holiday in Wales and Ireland, we started our list of “required items” My list included my Olympus Stylus. The Mrs felt the Oly lacked sufficient mega-pix to do justice to the scenery we are anticipating (she compared photos from the Oly with photos taken with her PHONE! Not fair, I say…. that’s 10 years of technological progress there!) She gently suggested I consider buying a NEW camera… I dutifully dug-in my Troglodyte heels and said, “My Olympus works just fine, is water proof…. errrrrr, splash proof, and the pictures seem good enough for me.”  Shortly thereafter, The Mrs presented me with an early “going on holidays” gift.  A FujiFilm FinePix  XP70. In what I like to call Neon Dreamsicle Orange.

The XP70 is slightly larger than the 410, but thinner. 16 megapix. It has no optical view finder. The video screen is a 2.7″ lcd. It is water-PROOF down to 10 meters, and can be used for taking pictures underwater!  It is claimed to be drop-proof from 5 feet. I hope not to test this claim. 5x optical zoom. It has what they call Intelligent Digital mode, but not sure what power it is… There are 22 shooting modes available. Image transfer is via USB, WiFi, or unplugging the SD card and plugging it into the computer.  I have been taking this camera on our hikes as of late, and so far it has worked perfectly, and the image quality is great.  The pictures below are from this morning, the one on the left is the Olympus 410 and the one on the right is the Fuji XP70.

Fuji XP70 Beach mode
Fuji XP70 Beach mode
Olympus 410 Beach Mode
Olympus 410 Beach Mode

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