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Help moving to the next level


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#1 Behold

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 03:16 AM

Hi there

My name is Antony and I have been diving for about 6 years on and off and have covered about 40 dives. I dive only a few times a year at the moment but want to change that.

I use my G9 as a portable camera when I'm not wanting to lug my canon 50d around on land and after hearing good things about it underwater has become my weapon of choice up till now.
In the last 3 years I have started photography underwater with a G9 and canon case. I take photos on dives and snorkling and have had some good results recently now I have gotten to grips with lighting and composition underwater.

I have been looking into strobes for a few month for next year when I hope to do a holiday more focused on diving than sunning like the wife usually wants.

I have been toying with upgrading in a year or two for a better camera and a better case that allows direct cabling of the strobe for better control but that plan has now been moved forward after a quad bike accident damaged my G9. It is repairable but I'm using it as an excuse to just start over.

So I'm now needing some guidance on what to replace with. I like the canon platform but am willing to move. The question is should I stay compact or go mirrorless. I'm after a better case. The canon cases are great as a starter case but its not that ergonomic. I'm really at a loss. I have read many reviews but not really got me to a decision. I want to start som macro shooting too so that's important. I'm not fused about uing the camera above land anymore as a primary role. Finally is the strobes. I'm looking at strobes too. Probably a single for now. I think I have narrowed it to the ys-110a or the D2000. Any comments on those would also be nice.

Link to some of my most recent photos I took underwater can be found here. All with a G9 some diving some snorkelling.

My Pics

Comments and constructive critisim welcome. I'm here to learn.

Antony

Edited by Behold, 30 September 2012 - 03:24 AM.


#2 Steve Williams

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:14 PM

Hi Anthony,
In looking at your pictures I'm in complete agreement with you that it's time to move up. I think you're doing a great job with composition and I like your eye. I'd also agree that a strobe would really make a big difference in your images.

Which new camera to get is a tougher call. There are so many great ones available now. So much depends on what you what to do with your images and how much money you have to spend. Whatever you decide think about your new gear as a system and go to a reputable store to try your options on for ergonomic function. Make sure it fits your hand and the controls make sense to you. I'm guessing your in Australia and would ask our friends from there to recommend a good outfit.

The new mirrorless options demand a close look. I Iike aluminum housings like the Nauticam and Aquatica options. If I was looking today I'd also be thinking about a used system if I wanted to save a bunch of money. Now is a great time to be looking at used Canons like the 7D and 5D MkII because the new cameras are either out or on their way.

I really like my 110's and the new S&S YS D1 is an update that uses the same battery closure which I can recommend. What ever you decide have fun with it, and once you get your new system spend a bunch of time in the pool with it to really learn what it can do.

I look forward to seeing your new images here. Posted Image

Cheers,
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#3 tdpriest

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:18 PM

Steve is usually spot on, but it's worth starting with diving technique: getting in position without spooking the wildlife (or the silt) is the first skill of the underwater photographer.

Are you diving enough to justify moving up? It's not cheap, and most would say that 40 dives a year was more the kind of diving history that makes it worthwhile ...

#4 Lwang

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:55 PM

A better equipment will not make the pictures come out better. When I started taking pictures with my first digital camera, it was mostly passing shots, then I later on, I played around with ISO, shutter speed (all to minimize ambient light), manual WB, the started doing closer and closer shots, all with the same camera when the skills required for photography got better (this is over many years). After adding a wide angle wet lens and external strobe (they finally invented TTL for compact cameras), my pictures didn't magically get better, in fact, it was much harder to operate the whole thing, where it use to be just composing the pix while trying to stay still, now there is strobe adjustment, lens consideration (taking it on/off, or just keeping it on, but having to go twice as close to the subject).

The main point, is more camera gear = much more task loading. And unless you outgrew the P&S and all its capabilities (the G9 seems to be light years ahead of my camera, which I still use (recently supplemented it with a P&S, which flooded after changing the batteries the first time), you don't necessarily have to go the next level. Your next level could be your diving technique, getting more out of a std camera, etc.

#5 Behold

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:38 AM

Thanks all for your constructive comments.

Steve thanks its taken some time above ground to learn how to take a photo before it translated.

TDPriest/lwang I appreciate I'm not diving a lot but when I do I want to take photos. It adds to the enjoyment. I'm also looking at some dedicated diving holidays next year and from then on so hope to use it a bit more. I appreciate its not going to be used as regular as some but no harm in having the kit for when do want it. I also snorkel a fair bit and next year I'm looking at trying to practice some free diving. I already drop 2-3m when snorkelling and sometimes manage to hold position with no weight belt so hoping to better that with one. Some of my favourite shots are snorkelling.

I get a better camera will not make a better shot in the right hands(or wrong) Had it not been for breaking the G9 I probably would not be thinking so hard about it. I was all ready to buy a strobe and tray after my last holiday. The Canon G9 housing is not great with the inbuilt flash. You get a dark quarter from the port.

I'm not a fan on the canon housing as its difficult to add attachments to with out modification. I'm not wanting to go SLR. It would be a sensible route as I already own many lenses and a body. But the costs add up. The biggest issue with the G9 is resolution and shutter lag. I'm unable to blow up some photos of mine as they go grainy to soon. Part due to ISO noise and part lack of MPX.

With mirrorless now available it was looking at if its a sensible way to go, or to stay P&S and just get a better camera. I do want manual functions as I do use them underwater to adapt to the environment. I want to start on learning macro underwater too for added variety in my shots.

Hope that makes sense of why I'm doing this. My budget is not super high but it's not bottom of the barrel either. Im open to second hand not just new. Reviews only go so far. Real life use and pet hates are invaluable.

Again thanks all for your comments so far.

#6 johnjvv

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:04 PM

Take the plunge and upgrade your camera!

I am sure if you were to pick one of the new p&s cameras/housings being talked about at the moment, that you would be happy as they sound great...I could highly recommend aquatica housings as the ports I am using now will not be redundant if I decided to upgrade my camera body....

I my opinion a better camera will give you better images. Enjoy doing your research which I think is one of the most exciting parts of getting something new. Also look at Fiber optic vs Electric strobe sync cables, as well as ttl vs manual before selecting your gear...as it is something I did not do and sometimes regret....

Enjoy! :)

#7 Lwang

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:43 PM

If you are going to upgrade, you should look for a camera/lens with internal zooming. This will allow the port of the housing to sit flush with the front of the lens, thus obscuring the internal flash much less. Most of those cameras whose lens extends when zooming will have those oddly shaped lens port where you can't attach a wet lens w/o some contraption. Even many with circular ports on their housing sort of gave up on the ability to use the internal flash, which means you will have to use an external strobe, which you might not want to have initially, or use when snorkeling.

My P&S that I used,mainly for video, had a light tube for the internal flash to a diffuser in the the same plan as the lens, thus minimizing uneven lighting (never tried macro with it, flooded soon after deployment).

Edited by Lwang, 01 October 2012 - 12:47 PM.


#8 njcfm

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:18 PM

there is no real reason to upgrade, the g9 is quite capable for a vacation shooter. You will benefit greatly from a strobe.

Invest in a strobe now, use it with the g9 and whenever you are ready to move to another point and shoot or even mirror less you should be able to use the strobe you purchased. This spreads the cost out over a greater amount of time and will improve your results dramatically. You will see more difference the deeper you go, the strobe will bring back the colours you lose.
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#9 Behold

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:54 AM

there is no real reason to upgrade, the g9 is quite capable for a vacation shooter. You will benefit greatly from a strobe.

Invest in a strobe now, use it with the g9 and whenever you are ready to move to another point and shoot or even mirror less you should be able to use the strobe you purchased. This spreads the cost out over a greater amount of time and will improve your results dramatically. You will see more difference the deeper you go, the strobe will bring back the colours you lose.


I don't disaggree the camera is not good but it bent up and is not 100% working. Relying on this underwater would not be good. I could buy another G9 and use my housing but I might as well start over. Im not a fan of the housing anyway. Its not a great layout and so if both are being replaced then i might as well look at something better.

As i stated the Resolution is just not enough to print out large. I have a big office at work and a few places at home i would like to do large printouts for but the quality is not great zoomed in for mainly resolution. Noise is not great but its not terrible.

I appriciate you all saving me a few pennies. But the camera WILL change so the question is what to.

#10 Lwang

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:24 PM

So do you do extensive cropping before you make those giant prints? If so, you have to get close to the subject and get the image of such subject close up instead of doing aggressive cropping.

Also, many of those tiny lenses on P&S are not able to resolve to the full resolution of its sensor. You would something with a larger sensor..but main thing is to fill the frame instead of cropping.

#11 johnjvv

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 02:25 AM

I don't disaggree the camera is not good but it bent up and is not 100% working. Relying on this underwater would not be good. I could buy another G9 and use my housing but I might as well start over. Im not a fan of the housing anyway. Its not a great layout and so if both are being replaced then i might as well look at something better.

As i stated the Resolution is just not enough to print out large. I have a big office at work and a few places at home i would like to do large printouts for but the quality is not great zoomed in for mainly resolution. Noise is not great but its not terrible.

I appriciate you all saving me a few pennies. But the camera WILL change so the question is what to.


Get something that exceeds your photography skills so that you can grow into it....I dont think many people will tell you what to buy because I suppose it will start a debate but if you want a deal, keep your eyes on the classifieds section. You might be able to pick a camera up that will satisfy your requirements but a bit out of date for its previous user...there are good deals out there, I sometimes wish I did it!!

Pick your housing before picking your camera and I would go for Aluminium again if I had to buy now. Get an understanding of the weight of what you want to buy....See what ports you want to use and whether they will fit to the housing you want...

RE strobes (Inon or Sea and Sea) The thing I like about Inon is that they use AA batteries and have built in torches....before you decide see if TTL works between your selected camera and the strobe, if you want TTL. In some cases it will work on Fiber Optic and not electronic, so make sure the housing has a FO connection if required.

Find a dealer that you like dealing that has patience to share their knowledge and explain the same thing the millionth time!! Get an understanding of how much you want to spend and get ready to spend twice as much on things you never thought you would ever need!

Take your time and enjoy shopping for it and try to dive more!! :)

#12 diver dave1

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 04:47 AM

You suggest you are searching for an answer. I suggest searching for Questions first.
How big of an investment in time/space/money are you interested in?
What does it take for you to be satisfied with the results?

A full frame FX format SLR, such as the D800 will give you all the top end capacity one can get to date. It requires a substantial commitment and not just money. Lenses, housing, shipping containment and shipping weight all come at a substantial price. It also comes with high end capacity for those that know how to use it and feel the need or desire to use it.

A DX size camera has a smaller investment with some lower 'capacity'. It can take great photos but cannot match the FX units in all ranges of resolution and detail. Housings are generally lower priced than FX units. Overall the equipment is lighter/smaller. Chances of picking up some nice used equipment is better as some people move from DX to FX.

A 4/3 or mirrorless format camera leads to still smaller units with less resolution than the above... but with greater resolution than the G9 and less shutter lag. (I hated the shutter lag of my G9) The investment is far less in terms of size/weight/price.

So before anyone can answer "what camera should you buy", you might consider investigating further into to asking better questions of yourself.
Willing to spend $10K? Only $6K? More like $3K?
Travelling abroad for these photo's? How much weight and size are you willing to cover?

From my limited view of the world, when searching for most of the answers to life...the main goal needs to be...
Asking the correct questions.

Edited by diver dave1, 03 October 2012 - 04:48 AM.

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#13 Behold

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 06:22 AM

So do you do extensive cropping before you make those giant prints? If so, you have to get close to the subject and get the image of such subject close up instead of doing aggressive cropping.

Also, many of those tiny lenses on P&S are not able to resolve to the full resolution of its sensor. You would something with a larger sensor..but main thing is to fill the frame instead of cropping.


No in some cases NO cropping is required but its still not got enought DPI to blow up over A3. And at A3 its relying on good quality photo paper to help the blend.

#14 Behold

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 06:30 AM

Get something that exceeds your photography skills so that you can grow into it....I dont think many people will tell you what to buy because I suppose it will start a debate but if you want a deal, keep your eyes on the classifieds section. You might be able to pick a camera up that will satisfy your requirements but a bit out of date for its previous user...there are good deals out there, I sometimes wish I did it!!

Pick your housing before picking your camera and I would go for Aluminium again if I had to buy now. Get an understanding of the weight of what you want to buy....See what ports you want to use and whether they will fit to the housing you want...

RE strobes (Inon or Sea and Sea) The thing I like about Inon is that they use AA batteries and have built in torches....before you decide see if TTL works between your selected camera and the strobe, if you want TTL. In some cases it will work on Fiber Optic and not electronic, so make sure the housing has a FO connection if required.

Find a dealer that you like dealing that has patience to share their knowledge and explain the same thing the millionth time!! Get an understanding of how much you want to spend and get ready to spend twice as much on things you never thought you would ever need!

Take your time and enjoy shopping for it and try to dive more!! Posted Image


Ahhhhh someone on my wave length! thats exactly it. Im not a bad land photographer (No competition winner but better than average!) so control of the flash, Aperture, shutter, RAW shooting is a minimum. This allows me to apply my knowledge and adapt it under the water.

As you say second hand is definatly where im looking for strobes. One to cut cost a little but also to gain maybe an older model that is better than the lesser current models at a similar price.

#15 Behold

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:38 AM

You suggest you are searching for an answer. I suggest searching for Questions first.
How big of an investment in time/space/money are you interested in?
What does it take for you to be satisfied with the results?

A full frame FX format SLR, such as the D800 will give you all the top end capacity one can get to date. It requires a substantial commitment and not just money. Lenses, housing, shipping containment and shipping weight all come at a substantial price. It also comes with high end capacity for those that know how to use it and feel the need or desire to use it.

A DX size camera has a smaller investment with some lower 'capacity'. It can take great photos but cannot match the FX units in all ranges of resolution and detail. Housings are generally lower priced than FX units. Overall the equipment is lighter/smaller. Chances of picking up some nice used equipment is better as some people move from DX to FX.

A 4/3 or mirrorless format camera leads to still smaller units with less resolution than the above... but with greater resolution than the G9 and less shutter lag. (I hated the shutter lag of my G9) The investment is far less in terms of size/weight/price.

So before anyone can answer "what camera should you buy", you might consider investigating further into to asking better questions of yourself.
Willing to spend $10K? Only $6K? More like $3K?
Travelling abroad for these photo's? How much weight and size are you willing to cover?

From my limited view of the world, when searching for most of the answers to life...the main goal needs to be...
Asking the correct questions.


Valid questions. I do have a limit to what i want to spend in the start of it. I have about £1000 to spend right away and another £1500 due from a friend that is to go toward this. so £2500 is my budget for now. Im willing to not have a full setup with all the bells from day one and then build on to it with future budget over the years.

I have had my G9 as a camera since about a month after it came out so i keep things for a while. Im still wanting portability as I dive abroad not in the UK at the moment. So realisticly it is either P&S or 3/4 Mirrorless.

I want the option to build on the setup over the years if and when I need to or take a few extra steps. SLR of any sort is just too much cost after you add ports, cases, ETC £2500 will get me little more than a case and body. Im not trying to spend every penny but if it needs to be then it does.

I have been tempted with a G12 and case as a cheap route knowing its a good camera for quality but I hear the lag is no better just the macro and resolution. I have really only had Canon Camera's all my life so its all I know.

The New G15 will be interesting to get a review on. Sony NEx seem to get similar Lag revews on the shutter. The Olympus range seems to get some good reviews for a cost perspective. Also i need to look at features on the mirrorless cameras. I believe some are only semi manual. Im gutted the new Canon is touch based.

Hope that gives some direction.

Thanks

#16 pooley

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 10:35 AM

Have a think about what subjects you want to shoot. If you're happy with macro and reefscapes then get a good compact such as the canon s100 or similar in a good housing like a fisheye or nauticam that can easily take add ons when the time is right.

However, if you intend to shoot moving subjects then I'd look at a mid range mirrorless as the lag and slow focussing of a compact is a right royal pain. You don't have to go mad, an Olympus epl model with kit lens , 9-18mm wide angle, zen port and 1 or 2 inon strobes could be had within total budget.

Lastly, don't overlook a used older slr setup. There's not a lot wrong with something like a canon 40d or nikon d80 and if you're up for lugging it around the focussing is streets ahead of the others

I've tried all the above and for you I'd go the mirrorless route

#17 johnjvv

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 06:33 PM

Sure you have seen this thread....

http://wetpixel.com/...946#entry317754

#18 Behold

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:55 AM

Have a think about what subjects you want to shoot. If you're happy with macro and reefscapes then get a good compact such as the canon s100 or similar in a good housing like a fisheye or nauticam that can easily take add ons when the time is right.

However, if you intend to shoot moving subjects then I'd look at a mid range mirrorless as the lag and slow focussing of a compact is a right royal pain. You don't have to go mad, an Olympus epl model with kit lens , 9-18mm wide angle, zen port and 1 or 2 inon strobes could be had within total budget.

Lastly, don't overlook a used older slr setup. There's not a lot wrong with something like a canon 40d or nikon d80 and if you're up for lugging it around the focussing is streets ahead of the others

I've tried all the above and for you I'd go the mirrorless route


I thought about a 30 or 40d as i have a range of lenses already. Would not want to use the 50d underwater as its my only aboveground body. But I do think its a bit bulky to carry on holiday. Im deffinatly looking P&S or mirrorless. It will double as a portable above ground camera for days a full dslr is to much to carry but any UW camera i get will do fine for that function.

I think i need to go and play with a few Mirrorless cameras and then look at the cases available. Thanks

Sure you have seen this thread....

http://wetpixel.com/...946#entry317754


Wow... Great shots from the camera. worth looking at. Thanks

#19 pooley

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:19 PM

Those shots from Alex certainly show whats possible with a complact now, so if you don't want an slr then the choice for me would be a compact for still or slow subjects, decent mirrorless for faster moving stuff.

Can you get to the NEC dive show in a few weeks? The photozone there will be a massive opportunity for you to handle different models

#20 Mario V

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:17 AM

Hi Antony.
For the last few years I've been shooting with a variety of cameras and currently I'm using 3 models in particular depending on what I want to use my photos.
Canon S100, Canon 60D and Olympus OMD-EM5
I have the advantage to work for one of the UK best underwater photography retailers and have the opportunity to test and play with a lot of kit.
When I choose a camera for underwater use, my first consideration is the optics available. If I can not get a proper wide angle and macro lenses, I would discard the camera straight away.
In my opinion, the Olympus OMD-EM5 is one of the most versatile cameras out there at the moment. it offer excellent optics both for land and underwater, it has on of the best image stabilization systems in the market and the image quality is outstanding of this keeping the size and weight small. So far the only area where I've found the OMD as well as all the micro 4/3 cameras can't perform as well as dSLR is split level shots. This is basically because the physical size of the domes.
Unfortunately the OMD is not a cheap camera and a good quality housing will cost you over £1000 plus ports.
If you want a system that is better than your G9 but of a similar quality, the Sony RX100 is a fantastic choice and you have a nice selection of housings. Nauticam and Patima offer very nice options. Ikelite has a housing as well but is huge heavy and the ergonomics are not very nice.
You can use wet lenses giving you great flexibility and the possibility to take from macro to fish-eye shots on the same dive.

Mario Vitalini

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