I am an academic researcher in the market for a new camera for professional use. I just took a Sony DSC-717 out into the field and basically ruined it by exposing it to sand and dust. OK, so it was 5 years old and I know SONY isn't a serious camera, but it did have a very nice macro lens (which was the reason I bought it in the first place) and performed admirably given the way I abused it. This last trip was especially hard on the camera and I've sent it off for an estimate on cleaning, which I'm really not sure is worth it. Anyway, it's time to replace the camera. I've been looking at waterproof cameras (Pentax Optio W30 and W60, and Olympus SW850) and have read conflicting reviews on photo quality out of the water. I am interested in people's experience with waterproof cameras and their performance on land. My budget is in the $500 range. Some background: I will mostly take macro photos of plants. Desert plants. Underwater photography isn't an issue for me. My interest is in the dustproof/sandproof quality of the waterproof cameras. I need a very good macro function and am looking at 10 megapixels or thereabouts so that I can crop with excellent quality. I do a lot of hiking across beaches, dunes, and rocky terrain; the shockproof function IS attractive to me. I did have major problems with the Sony camera. First, it couldn't handle true red colors. It blew them out. Second, nearly all pictures had this heavy blue tinge that had to be fixed in photoshop. Third, it had a slow lag time between pics. Made capturing pictures of pollinators nearly impossible. Fourth, it was a behemoth. I want something smaller, if possible. This is not a camera I would be using for taking casual snapshots of family picnics. I need something that will produce a high quality image. Can anyone out there provide me with some informed advice? Many thanks to all who respond.