If you fish in kayak tournaments, Catch, Photo and Release (CPR) is not a new concept. It’s also not such an easy task. The taking of the picture can often be the hardest part of the day. Choosing the right camera can help ease that burden.
Some tournaments allow cell phone pictures but you have to provide a cable, have to have battery left over after eight hours on the water (who gets that?) and it has to be high enough quality. When $1,000 or more is on the line, I don’t want to risk it.
The things I like in a camera are simple but often not thought about. Look them over and see what you might be missing.
Night Portrait Mode
Probably the most often overlooked, night portrait mode is made for shooting close shots when it’s dark. Have you ever caught a fish before first light or during a night tournament only to have the picture be whited out or too dark to qualify? Night Portrait mode will fix that. Giving just enough light to show the fish and the board, it controls the light emitted from the flash and gets the picture you need.
I like a two inch or bigger screen on the back of the camera. This allows me to see the pictures well and quickly without a ton of zooming so I can verify if the shot is good or I need a retake. It also serves as a big viewfinder for lining up the shot.
A wider lens means an easier time getting the whole fish in the frame and less having to raise the camera way above your head and get a shot. Look for something in the 20-22mm lens rather than the traditional 28mm.
Fish move. You need a good picture. A fast shutter and capturing 6 pictures per second will help get a clear shot of a moving target.
Most computers are equipped to take an SD card. Find a camera that is too. Worst case scenario you can get a MicroSD card and an adapter. The last thing you want to do is carry a bunch of cables and disks around with you so you can weigh in. Ease your mind and get a camera that uses SD.
This one is often overlooked and can work either way but needs to be planned for. Cameras that take AA or AAA batteries will burn through them fairly quickly, especially if you are using the LCD screen. Carry spare batteries with you at all times.
The other option is a camera that uses Lithium Ion batteries. These will run a lot longer than AA but often spares are very expensive. If you make a pre-tourney checklist and charge your camera the night before, you’ll be good. Just make sure you charge it. You will almost always catch that kicker fish right after the battery runs out.
Waterproof, Resistant or Dry Pack
You can buy cameras that can get a little wet or even some that you can submerge but you will pay more. A more price friendly option is to put your camera in a clear dry pack. If you do this option, make sure to take a few test photos to check quality before tourney day.
Pro Tip: Add Flotation
Add some form of flotation to the camera. Fish flop, cameras drop. Don’t lose your win because of it.
I don’t sell cameras but have owned quite a few. These are some cameras that have performed well for me or someone I know spread across some different price ranges. Also, don’t forget to check clearance aisles, EBAY, and pawn shops for even better pricing.
Camera Under $100
Sony – DSC-W800
Manufacturer’s Statement: This incredibly easy-to-use camera slips right in your pocket, ready to capture a memory at a moment’s notice. Get close to faraway subjects with 5x optical zoom, then snap gorgeous 20.1MP photos or record beautifully detailed HD video. Your pictures will come out crisp and clear thanks to the professional-grade Sony lens with Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization. For even more fun, enhance your stills and video with built-in creative effects like Toy Camera and Pop Color. Or try Beauty Effects to adjust skin tones, remove blemishes and even whiten teeth-it’s perfect for portraits.
Camera Under $150
Canon PowerShot ELPH150 IS
Manufacturer’s Statement: Some events are just too important to trust to the image quality of a smartphone camera. For those times, slip the ultra-slim, brilliantly stylish PowerShot ELPH 150 IS camera in your pocket. With the 10x Optical Zoom, you can reach right into the action to frame a shot just the way you want it, without blur or loss of resolution. The camera’s 20.0 Megapixel sensor captures even the smallest details with superb clarity, naturally vivid color and beautiful luminosity. When you enlarge and print frame-worthy moments from weddings, important celebrations, vacations and more, the result is truly impressive: images that not only preserve your memories, but render them with all the lifelike, emotive nuance of great photography. For all its sophisticated imaging capabilities, the PowerShot ELPH 150 IS camera is extremely easy to use. Smart AUTO ensures you’ll always get the best shot by automatically selecting the perfect camera settings for 32 shooting situations, so you can focus on capturing the moment. And Intelligent IS keeps photos and videos clear and steady, controlling camera shake even at the long end of the zoom.
Camera Under $200
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 16.0 MP Digital camera – Silver
Manufacturer’s Statement: Outdoor adventures spice up the lives, and the TG-850 is the perfect camera for preserving the memories. A super-wide lens takes in more of the beauty. A sophisticated sensor/image processor combo ensures vivid image quality. And features like a 180 degree flip LCD, time interval shooting and pro-quality video make the TG-850 as refined as it is rugged. Whether you’re heading to the ends of the earth or just the end of the hiking trail, the TG-850 is up for the journey. Water doesn’t affect it. Falling out of your pocket won’t faze it. Cold? No problem. You know how sometimes you can’t decide whether to bring your camera? With the TG-850, you don’t have to think twice.