Waterproof photography on a budget
Waterproof photography used to be a specialist area restricted to those willing to pay large sums for unwieldy housings. Vivitar’s latest offering is robust, waterproof to 30ft and affordable, but how does it fare both in and out of the water?
As expected with a camera aimed towards underwater photography, the ViviCam 6200w’s specification is dominated by its sub-aqua capabilities. The 6MP CCD sensor and 2in LCD are protected by a robust and somewhat ‘toy-camera’ feel rubber armour, providing a maximum depth of 30ft. The maximum ISO 200 is modest, as is the lack of optical zoom, with a 4x digital zoom being the only zoom option. Image capturing is handled through either Auto or eight scene modes.
The design of the ViviCam 6200w is unquestionably water-orientated, and while serving a purpose when used in the water, the result is a camera that has the feel of a toy model, which makes it clunky outside of the water. It is, however, relatively simple to use, with the large buttons making in-water image capture and review simple.
Images are generally acceptable from the Vivicam 6200w, considering the turbulent conditions that shooting in water presents. Exposures have a tendency to be unreliable and vary a lot from shot-to-shot. Evidence of excessive sharpening is present on most images and noise is evident throughout the range (even at ISO 50!). Images can appear soft towards the corners of the frame, with detail regularly manifesting itself as indistinct smudges and smears.
While the ViviCam 6200w provides acceptable results in use in the water at an affordable price, the overall feel of the camera is such that using it any place else is an unpleasant experience.