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151 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2009
Just got this camera, and so far find it to be a fantastic value. I was drawn to this camera by it's price and megapixel size (of up to 8.1). This price I got it for is very competitive with similar cameras of lower 3-6 megapixel ranges (I snagged it for about ninety dollars).

But please do keep an eye on the prices because I've seen the price on this change very frequently (in a matter of minutes) and vary about $15, since I started writing this review.

Why else did I get it? I'm going on a trip to the Bahamas in August and don't want to take 35mm underwater disposable cameras with me. Airport X-ray machines can ruin the film if it's in your carry on (since most of those cameras use ISO 800 film) and that's the only luggage I plan on bringing. So I wanted to take a digital camera since I'll be snorkeling while I'm down there, as well as have it not get ruined if it fell off a kayak or it started to rain. I'm too terrified to try one of those underwater pouches for my primary camera (a Samsung S700) due to lack of reviews on the pouch-type it would require and fear that if it got ruined I'd be out my favorite camera so I've opted for this camera and so far I am SO glad I did! Vivitar seems to have fit a lot of nice features into this point & shoot camera.

But if you're looking for a professional camera, let me stop you right now and tell you to look elsewhere as this probably won't be anywhere near your expectations. This is by no means considered a professional camera. However, if you're looking for a better option than a 35mm underwater disposable... then it CERTAINLY provides better results than a 35mm film underwater point and shoot camera. I say this with experience from using those 35mm film underwater disaster cameras but from also working in a photo lab where I've seen the vast majority of what those cameras produce at water parks and the Caribbean... and the Vivitar Vivicam 8400 camera is by far so much better.

I tested it in my friends pool yesterday and it had no leaks around the gasket/closing mechanism and the pictures were surprisingly clear! I will add some sample photos to the product gallery as soon as I get some I'm willing to share with the public at-large. Overall, I give it a 4 out of 5 and that's because I'm nitpicking.

- Water resistant up to 30 feet!
- Supports an external SD memory card in up to 8GBs in size! This was great for me as I already have plenty of this type of card from my other camera. And this type card is generally inexpensive compared to other size cards. Just to give you an idea of storage capacity I put a 4gb SD card in the camera and it said I could store 1596 pictures at the highest 8.1mp setting OR 1 hour 37 minutes and 15 seconds of video! Obviously, you can do a combination of each if you switch between the modes.
- Uses AA size batteries. I've been using energizer rechargeables in this and got a decent amount of life from them from STEADY non-stop use. My suggestion would be to use the photo lithium or the rechargeables as I'm sure that just like all other digital cameras on the market, that they would probably suck the life out of the cheaper basic alkalines.
- Reasonably large LCD screen on the camera at 2.4 inches.
- Can record photos AND video.
- Comes with an adjustable wrist strap so it's easy to secure to your wrist--however, should it come off your wrist the bright yellow color of this camera makes it easy to spot to retrieve unlike the blue model.
- Sinks somewhat, so you won't have to deal with too much resistance to keep it staying underwater.
- Has the screw hole on the camera's base for mounting to a tripod.
- When powering off the camera it clearly displays "Bye-Bye" on the LCD screen.
- Easy 1 touch "Mode" button to switch between capturing still photos or video.
- Lightning bolt button easily lets you change from auto-flash, flash (for all photos), or no-flash.
- Can take photos with Super Fine, Fine, or Normal settings.
- Although the camera is 8.1MP, you have the choice of shooting photos in the following resolutions (8M, 5M, 3M, 2M, 0.3M)-This can be great if you're limited on how much space is on your memory card.
- You can adjust the white balance in Still Photo mode OR in Video mode. It defaults to "AWB" (auto white balance) but if you know how you're lighting will affect your photos you can change it between Auto, Day Light, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Cloudy.
- There are 3 Color Effect options to shoot photos in: Color, Sepia and Monochrome.
- There's the option of changing the exposure setting from (-2.0 to +2.0): -2.0, -1.5, -1.0, -0.5, Auto, +0.5, +1.0, +1.5, +2.0
- It offers a Self Timer of either 10 seconds or 20 seconds.
- Date stamp is optional.
- A "Burst Snapshot" feature allows you to set up the camera to take 3 continuous images as you move the camera.
- Video's are recorded in *.AVI format which are compatible with most Windows type movie-maker programs (ex: Windows Movie Maker, Corel VideoStudio, and many others)
- You can change the resolution of the video recording from 640x480 or 320x240. AND change how many frames per second it records (15fps or 30fps)
- You can "lock" the pictures you've taken to prevent them from being accidentally deleted.
- A Rotate option allows you to rotate photos taken at a 5M resolution or lower, on the camera.
- English not your primary language? No problem. There are 7 language options to choose from on the submenu: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
- You can set the light frequency from 50Hz to 60Hz.
- The beep/buzzer sound on the camera isn't annoying loud, but you can disable it if you'd like.
- Comes with a USB/TV-out cable so that you can play back your photos on the TV or even take photos or video's while hooked up to the TV! Just use the USB cable provided, plug the small end into the camera and then the yellow jack to your yellow jack on your TV, and then turn on the camera! (I've never had this feature before and I think this is awesome!)

Con's (and most of these are me nit-picking):
- There is a very apparent shutter-lag. The image you THINK you took will freeze on the screen after hitting the shutter for a couple seconds but in actuality it captures your picture about 1-2 seconds later and the actual captured image will flash on the screen for about a 1/2 second.
- It does not capture photos well at night or in dark areas.
- The locking/closing mechanism on the camera for the area where the SD card and battery compartment is feels a little cheap to me. I think a better material could have been used than plastic clamp/lock. So I would advise closing and opening it with care. You have to push a small black arrow right first to release the long plastic lever, pull that lever all the way down, and then the hinge will release to open the compartment for the batteries, SD card slot, and USB connection.
- Buttons on the camera seem a little stiff to press down on, this is probably due to the type of engineering required for this type of cameras purpose.
- The Vivitar 8400 is a little larger and heavier than my Samsung S700.
- There's no lens cap to protect it when not in use.
- No separate "delete" button function. If you want to delete a picture on the camera during playback mode you have to hit the "OK/Menu" button and navigate to the delete option.
- After taking a picture, there is very little delay and it disappears very shortly off the LCD screen so there's no time to check it. You have to use the playback mode.
- No sound on Video recordings which I think is a bummer given that the lower grade model-though priced higher (seen here: Vivitar VIVICAM-6200W 6.0 MegaPixel Underwater Camera with 4x Digital Zoom 2.0" LCD) had the sound in its video recording option.
- No regular viewfinder like on standard cameras so that you don't use up battery power with the live-view LCD screen. And the screen can be somewhat difficult to see underwater.
- When switching from auto-flash, flash (for all photos), or no-flash mode using the lightning bolt sometimes it "hangs up" and gets caught switching and the screen will go blank and a blue light beside the screen will flash.
- The Rotate option does not allows you to rotate photos taken at the highest 8M resolution, on the camera.
- The 61 page user manual is on the CD that comes with the PhoTags software. I realize this is a greener alternative but I would've liked to have had it already pre-printed.
- The Photags Express software is not compatible on Macintosh computers.
- Does not come with batteries.

***UPDATED*** 09/07/2009

I just wanted to update you all on my experience with this camera in the Bahamas... and quite frankly, I think it worked out great during all 6 days of snorkeling and swimming! And would still give it 4 stars! NO LEAKS--Even after opening it every night to access the hub in the camera so I could play the pictures and video back on the TV using the video cable that comes with the camera and re-closing it! I used Energizer Lithium AA batteries in it and did not have to change them at all the whole trip. I've added a few pictures from when I went snorkeling to the customer gallery... and one of the great reasons why I still think this was better than a 35mm underwater disposable... I took some great video as well! (I'll add a compilation of video clips I shot to through a "video review" as soon as I figure out how to). However I did want to make some tips/notes for potential buyers or current users...


DEFINITELY preset the white balance before entering the water or taking ANY pictures! It makes a big difference as to how your pictures and video will turn out. Do not trust the "AWB" aka "Auto White Balance" feature. I found that on sunny days that should be shot under the "daylight" white balance setting would appear blue-ish if you used the AWB setting.

YES the screen can be difficult to see underwater, HOWEVER I was able to see the screen enough on a bright sunny day where the water was pretty clear and easily switch between video and picture mode. The cloudier the water is, the harder it was to see in general and of course distinguish what was on the screen--not to mention, when the water is cloudy, you can't expect pristine pictures--that's just silly to expect that.

Do not attempt to take pictures of anything less than 3ft in front of you as you are guaranteed to get a blurry/out-of-focus picture. The fixed focus on this camera is just not designed for pictures that close. Take your picture 3ft away for a clear shot and then crop it later. The camera has digital zoom-not optical zoom so you're not going to gain any quality advantage to zooming when taking your picture vs. cropping it later. At least if you don't zoom in, if something moves you have a greater chance of still capturing it.

How to play back VIDEO in the playback mode: Once you've found your video clip on the playback screen press the shutter button like you would if you were taking a picture. This will get the video to start playing back on the screen for you. You can hit the shutter button again to stop it.

In VIDEO mode: Be sure to hold the camera steady and move it SLOWLY underwater when you're in video mode. Otherwise the video will probably make you feel sick when you play it back later as it will seem like it jumps all over the place.

Make sure you rinse the camera well with salt-free tap water after bringing it in the ocean. The salt can crystallize in parts of the camera later making it difficult to close the camera's memory card/battery hatch without risking breaking the hinge. If you close your camera gently and visually inspect the closing latch on the side to make sure it is completely down and the "#1" arrow latch is to the left, so that everything is lined up where it's supposed to be... I don't see why you'd end up with leaks.

The pinch clip on the wrist strap to tighten it around your wrist has shown some signs of rusting internally. However, it still works well at tightening.

With all that said, if you're looking for a more thorough technical review, I'm sorry--just not an area of my expertise. However the "Technical Specifications" information below is straight out of the user manual and may be of use to you.

Image Sensor:
5 Mega Pixel CMOS Sensor

Image Resolution:
8M, 5M, 3M, 2M, 0.3M

Video Resolution:
VGA 640x480 ,QVGA 320X240 at 30fps or 15fps

Monitor Display:
2.4'' TFT LCD

Single, Continuous shot

Internal Memory:
64MB Flash

External Memory:
SD card up to 8 GB


f=7.4mm, F=2.8

Shutter Speed:
Electronic shutter'1/20 ~ 1/6000 sec

White Balance:
Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy

Exposure control:
-2EV to +2EV in 0.5 step

Photo effect:

Auto, On, Off

Digital Zoom:


File Format:

TV out:

USB 1.1

PC Camera resolution:
640 x 480

System Requirements:
Windows XP, VISTA or MAC OS9 in Mass Storage mode

2*AA Alkaline batteries

OSD Language:

Auto power off:
Disable, 1 min, 3 min, 5 min

Working Temperature:
0 to 40° C

Storage Temperature:
-20 to 60° C
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2009
Was a little hesitant to purchase after reading some poor reviews but thought I'd give it a shot; I just wanted an inexpensive digital camera I could take to the pool. I took about 30 photos first time out and was able to achieve results good enough to post on my blog. The reason so many reviewers get blurry shots, and the trick to taking good photos with this camera is simple (though a little annoying). There is a very long shutter lag time from when you push the button to when it takes the actual shot. However, and this is the annoying part, there is NO lag time from when you push the shutter button and when the screen freezes the image. So when you push the button the screen freezes immediately although it has yet to take the picture and you must wait for the screen to go back to live motion to know that the picture has been taken. The first couple of pictures I took I would begin to lower the camera just after the screen froze and that would be when it would actually take the picture thus making it blurry shot from my quick hand movement. So when you use this camera and want good results, push the shutter button, the screen will freeze and THEN the shot will be taken and the screen will go back to live motion. Enjoy, it's a good one, just have to get used to the long shutter lag.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2009
Given that the camera leaked water and died on my second day of snorkeling, I consider my 3-star rating to be extra generous. I've returned the camera for repair/replacement under the terms of the warranty.

The photos that I recovered from the 1st day were pretty good...certainly better/more convenient than using a disposable camera. The video quality is also decent, though there is no sound recording, which is fine for most underwater videography. Considering the camera's low (tempting) price, the photo & video quality were just about what I expected, if not a little better. A negative is that it is somewhat difficult to use underwater: the view screen is hard to see, and the image of the photo you just took remains on the view screen for barely a second. On land, I found some of the functions non-intuitive (such as reviewing and deleting images), and the camera sometimes "froze," requiring me to turn it off and on again to reset.

Overall, I find the ViviCam 8400 serves as a relatively inexpensive, moderate upgrade to disposable cameras. If it hadn't leaked water and died on me, I might have even give it 4 stars given the low price. I'll be interested to see if other reviewers experience issues with water leakage.

UPDATE (March 2011): My rating has steadily dropped. It was a huge hassle to get a replacement camera from Vivitar. First, they sent me an incredibly cheap NON-waterproof camera (total junk). After much pestering, I finally received a replacement. Looking past the fact that the camera leaked water, I'm surprised I was so kind in my original review of photo quality. Don't be fooled by the 8 MP specs; photos look more like they are taken with an old-school 1 MP camera and are often blurry. And that's on land! I thought I might have bought a lemon originally, but the replacement has the same problems, often freezing up...very frustrating and annoying. My new recommendation: if you want a toy for your kids, this might suffice. But if you're hoping to take nice vacation photos, look elsewhere and be willing to spend a little more. I'm looking into Intova products, which seem to combine quality at a good price.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2010
Ok so I read alot of review and I bought this camera and there are basically 3 important things you need to know.

-The First is that this is a camera that goes under water. you have to take care of the seal. I work on multi million dollar sub for a living and the one thing that is always true with anything that goes under water it's that it needs a greased seal. No matter how good your O-Ring you need to keep it from being Dry. This camera has 2 major seals that you have to take out and grease up. I recommend Dow 111 Silicon gel it's available for $16 and comes in a tube that will last for about 1-5 years of use. compared with the cost of a new camera thats dirt cheap. Alternatively you can use Vaseline or most any marine grease.

So you will want to open up the the data port on the side and remove the seal in there and set it aside. You will want to remove the the door that held the seal to get at the other seal. Simply push the hinge pin up and out of the door and set the pin and door aside. This can be done with a jewlers screw driver or a metal coat hanger. Now remove the 8 screws on the back of the camera and lift the back off of the camera. Now just remove the seal you find in this cover.

With the 2 seals out all you need to do is smear a thin film onto the seals and reassemble. you want a wet look but no clumping. You will want to repeat this with the small in the data door before ever dive, but the lager seal won't need clean and re-greased more them once every 6 months or so.

With that don't you should be leak free as long as you own the camera.

--Second you have to let it air our. This one is simple but you won't think of it on you own. When you put the camera away after a dive leave the camera open.

---Third and this one is my only complaint. This camera has a fixed focal length. That means that you have to be about 4 feet away from what ever you want to take a picture of, or it will be out of focus.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2010
Please note that this is the same as the yellow Vivitar 8400, and see that the one-star reviews dominate. I saw the bad reviews, but I gambled and bought this horrible camera. What a joke. We never even got to use it, because after turning it on the screen would go grey after only a few minutes and it would freeze up - couldn't even turn it off. This camera wasn't a lot of money, but we wound up on our tropical vacation with no underwater camera! Please be smarter than me, and notice that the most common ratings for this camera are for only one star. Sure a few people got one that seemed to work, but most people did not, so odds are you won't either! Don't waste your time and money, and don't risk the frustration of not getting what you need for your vacation.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2009
I can't comment on the quality of the pictures from this camera as I don't have any yet, and may never if the SD chip was ruined..

On the camera's third trip into the water I noticed water in the view screen area. Then I noticed that the battery/SD card compartment door was not properly seated. I have diagnosed the underlying problem as poor design with respect to the battery compartment door locking mechanism. There is a single release button which stands proud of the surrounding surface. If it is bumped or brushes up against your wrist it can easily release the locking lever on the battery compartment door. The locking lever is spring-loaded to pop up into a position where it is easy to manipulate to complete opening the battery compartment door. But it appears that, even with the locking lever only partially raised, the watertight seal will have been broken allowing water to enter the camera.

A good solution might be to have two relase buttons rather than one and for both to be recessed so that they are not easy to release accidently. The locking lever should also be redesigned so that it does not automatically pop up into a semi-opened condition.

If you already have one of these cameras and have not flooded it, I suggest that you try electrical tape over the release button and the locking lever as a way to prevent accidental opening. If Vivitar replaces mine (it goes in the mail tomorrow), that is what I am going to try.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2009
Very unhappy with this camera. Went snorkling with this camera on Oahu North Shore. It leaked within 10 minutes of entering the water. Bottom line we were snorkling, it leaked at a depth of about 2 feet. Batteries reacted with water and destroyed the sd card. I returned to the beach and a couple from Texas asked if the camera leaked--I said yes and they said they had the same problem--Their camera leaked within 10 minutes of entering the water.

Do not waste your money. Only useful as a traditional digital camera--DO NOT GO SWIMMING WITH IT.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2009
We were looking for a digital answer to the expensive underwater disposables and this looked to be the answer. It is not. We purchased this camera after seeing good reviews and understood that your $100 only gets you so much. The camera was ordered 2 weeks before a two week vacation in the Bahamas. First dive ... approx 100 nice quality pictures and even good video quality. Noticed some dampness on USB hook-up to the laptop but nothing severe. Second dive ... 15 pictures and the camera is dead. Pulled the card to save the picures and the LCD screen and camera/memory card compartment is soaking wet. ... Dead camera. Returned from vacation just as the 30 day product return policy kicked. Final evaluation: About 100 nice pictures for $100. Don't buy it. Spend the money and get something better.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2011
I got this camera for shallow water scuba diving (max 30 feet) and at first I thought I had found a great buy. BOY was I WRONG! I've taken this camera out only 5 times, and yesterday, water leaked into the camera and destroyed it. Not to mention, when it DID work, it had such a long delay that I could never get a shot of anything moving! I only gave it 1 star because I wasnt able to give it ZERO!

Vivitar, you should be ashamed of your horrible product.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2010
This camera worked on one dive, taking fair pictures as long as the zoom was not used. On the second dive, snorkeling on the surface, it filled with water and was ruined. I can not recommend this camera.
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