Bigger IS Better!

By Vladimir Brezina

As with my kayaks

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My Feathercraft folding kayaks. Left to right: K-Light (1990s), K1 (2000s), Heron (2012). Increasing in overall length from 12′ 10″ (K-Light) to 17′ 7″ (Heron).

so with my cameras

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My Pentax Optio waterproof cameras. Left to right: W90 (2010), WG-2 (2012), WG-3 (2013). Increasing in weight from  5.7 oz (W90, with battery and memory card) to 7.4 oz (WG-3).

I’ve noticed a progressive hypertrophy ;-)

23 responses to “Bigger IS Better!

  1. Johna Till Johnson

    Hey! Are you dissing Baby Vulcan!?!

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    • I would never do—or dare—do that! :-)

      Baby Vulcan is the little K-Light, on the left in the picture. Years before it became Baby Vulcan, I paddled it. In fact, it was my first boat. Now Johna paddles it, and has a wonderful time—

      Compared to Johna’s hardshell boats, Baby Vulcan has certain advantages. For one thing, it folds! So Johna can take it on a plane and be paddling in Florida in a few hours…

      But it is a bit slower than the longer Feathercrafts. It has much less storage volume for camping gear. And for me, it was a bit small to fit into, and when I was in it, a bit top-heavy, as I could see immediately once I upgraded to my first K1…

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  2. Looks like you’ve got it all figured out. ;)

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  3. I’ve always said that size DOES matter :) that’s some serious kit you’ve got there! Unfortunately I know nothing about Pentaxes so what’s the upgrade like feature-wise?

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    • I buy new cameras not so much to upgrade the features, but to have enough cameras when, paddling in some exotic location that it may have cost thousands of dollars to get to, a camera will suddenly decide to die. It doesn’t happen often with these cameras but it has happened. Then an investment of a couple of hundred dollars in a spare camera is well worth it. And, of course, if I buy a spare camera, I might as well get the latest model in the series…

      These Pentax cameras are packed with features, most of which I’ve never used. (For a review of the features of the WG-3, for instance, see here.) And the basic features haven’t changed all that much from the W90 to the WG-3, as far as I can see, except no doubt many of them have been enhanced and improved. I suspect there have been considerable improvements in the video capabilities, which however I haven’t seriously used.

      The one improvement that I do appreciate is the increased number of pixels, going from 12 megapixels in the W90 to 16 megapixels in the WG-2 and WG-3. You can’t have too many pixels in kayak photography, at least my style of it, because there often isn’t enough time to frame the shot compactly, so I tend to shoot a bigger frame and then crop afterwards. Many pixels are lost, so you’ve got to start with as many as possible.

      The other essential feature of these cameras is of course that they are completely waterproof—and all of them, going all the way back to the W30, have been very satisfactory in that respect.

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  4. But it’s the paddler or photographer that makes the difference – despite what the salesperson says. ;)

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  5. How interesting, is the bigger kayak easier to paddle? And a new camera almost yearly, lucky you :-) I always wondered what camera you used, as I’m never brave enough to take one out with me when I go kayaking…..but I often think of you guys and your great photos when I’m out on the water. I did a wonderful paddle around Loch Carron yesterday evening…..millpond water, and the sun doesn’t set till 11pm….it was magical :-)

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    • Is a bigger kayak easier to paddle? “Easier” isn’t really a precise enough term. A longer kayak will generally be faster, and have more volume to carry camping supplies, but probably will be harder to turn…

      As far as cameras go, these are all waterproof… removes the fear completely! :-)

      And your Loch Carron paddle sounds wonderful. I remember how light it was long into the evening in Scotland in the summer…

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  6. :D Great toys you have to play with, Vlad.

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  7. Lol! chuckle-chuckle…
    ;-)

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  8. For someone like me, bigger would give me more float!!

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  9. A question for you Vladimir… I am looking at buying a waterproof camera with video capabilities. Are you still satisfied with your Pentax WG3 and have you ever explored the video feature yet. I see in your article that you had not at that time. I am primarily interested in the video feature and the ability to use a zoom lens… How does this camera stack up?

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    • Unfortunately, I can’t really answer your question. I haven’t used the video on any of these cameras. Indeed, I haven’t really used the WG-3 much at all yet—I am still using mostly the WG-2, which I am very happy with. But I’ll be taking the WG-3 to the Everglades Challenge in March…

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      • Hey thanks for your input… I enjoyed your photos and whatever you are using, seems to capture some really nice shots… And, I realize its not just the camera. Someone got operate that thing and you seem to have a knack for it.. Everglades Challenge… mmmm I will have to stay tuned… Sounds like hardwork AND Fun!

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        • Both, we hope!

          More on video: If I start with video—which I am constantly intending to ;-) —it will probably be with a GoPro (I have one of the older models) mounted on the boat or on my head. Many people are doing that, with some really amazing results. Although I like static photos, I think video does really work much better than static photos when there is something dynamic going on, such as on a paddle through interesting conditions… I haven’t done much with the GoPro because we don’t have interesting conditions around here all that often. But maybe in the Everglades Challenge… :-)

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        • WildBlueCoast

          May Interesting Find You down there…. I was trying to find a one size fits all device… Right now I am strapping on my Iphone in a lifeproof case suctioned on my deck… I know its not optimal, but i’m using what I got.. The touchscreen doesn’t function when wet.. Ha! I have other cameras for land use. Thanks again for your thoughts.. Keep things Interesting!

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  10. Pingback: In Memoriam: Vladimir Brezina | Wind Against Current

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