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Canon G12 Canon 7D compact vs DSLR compact camera DSLR

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#1 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:45 PM

An age old question I suppose ...

I've been shooting successfully on a Canon G12 in a Recsea housing for around 7 years (here's a gallery of my latest marine life portrait images, only 7 of which were not shot on the G12: https://pinktankscub...images-gallery/)  I write for a monthly scuba magazine and have had 4 covers shots to date out of my G12. My greatest joy in life is getting shots others don't get because my single-strobe compact rig is so tiny and versatile I never have to swim away from a shot. My housing is so old it needs to be replaced (alas it's obsolete) and I am keen to upgrade to a larger sensor for improved image quality.

 

I recently scored a total bargain on a 2nd hand Canon 7D in Nautical housing, but even after replacing the insanely heavy Ikelite strobes with Sea and Sea YSD2, the rig is still impractically heavy (too much weight for travel, the fabulously functional housing is much larger than I am used to which prevents me from seeing my frequently small / macro subjects with my own eyes, etc.) After 7 years of versatility of shooting with great inbuilt telephoto, macro mode enhanced by flip diopters etc which are essential at the incredibly diverse dive sites I dive most days of the week (shooting nudis to smooth rays and everything in between on a single dive), I LOATHE choosing a lens pre-dive and want to go screaming back to compact. Ultimately in the all the trade-offs from trading up to the DSLR, I definitely feel I have lost more than I have gained. When the DSLR housing was recently away for servicing for 3 months, people who didn't know I'd gone back to the G12 kept telling me how much better my photos were now that I owned a DSLR (even though it wasn't responsible for the photos I was sharing online). Online and even in magazines, most people honestly can't pick the quality difference.

I have listed my 7D rig for sale twice this week and removed it both times due to feeling so conflicted - the Canon world just feels so comfortable and honestly the housing is an absolute (albeit painfully bulky) dream to drive (today the doctor confirmed that I have pulled a tendon in my camera carrying hand that will likely take 'at least a year' to heal). In part I am clinging onto the 7D because I can't find a large sensor compact rig I would be happy to exchange it for. I LOVE the specs on the Canon G7X EXCEPT that the battery life is reportedly dodgy which is my absolute top criteria in a camera (my dives are typically 2-4 hrs each, and I typically run out of camera battery before I run out of my 12 litres of air ...). My second quality of life criteria is 'shoot everything and anything that comes my way' which demands a level of versatility that only a G12 can apparently deliver. I was almost ready to buy a Sony RX100 Mark IV (better battery life than Mark V) but the colours on the Sony leave me craving Canon (for all the hype, I'm unable to find any uw images online that I love shot with this camera) and other things I've read in reviews have left me 2nd guessing whether it would be a good fit for me. Honestly, give me a bigger sensor on my G12 and a good quality new or second hand housing for it with an 0-ring thicker than the pathetic elastic hair tie equivalent in the housing I already have and I would be happy for the rest of my life ... or someway to double the battery life on the G7X ...

So no matter what I do there's an epic trade-off. And even though I've literally stretch a tendon in my hand due to the weight of the 7D, I've been stuck trying to make this decision and getting dizzy from the endless 360s on To Sell or Not to Sell; To Buy or Not To Buy .... 

You may not be able to offer any new perspectives I haven't already thrashed through with my rapidly tiring sounding boards, but I'll take a shot and put it out there (just please don't tell me to 'man up' - I will never be a man and have no desire to ever become one  ...) Has anyone here got any suggestions or advice for me? How did you navigate your transition from compact to DSLR and possibly back again or in reverse? What would you do if you were me? Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might like to throw into the mix ....


Edited by Pink Tank Scuba, 13 March 2018 - 07:50 PM.


#2 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:48 PM

https://pinktankscub...images-gallery/


Edited by Pink Tank Scuba, 13 March 2018 - 07:49 PM.


#3 trimix125

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:25 PM

Hi,
then you should micro four thirds or a mirrorless system give a chance ;-))
A Sony A6300 is small, and you can choose between a "standard" zoom or take a prime lens.
Same with a Olympus omd.....

To many possibilities.....

Regards,
Wolfgang



#4 NWDiver

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:24 AM

Personally I love my Sony RX100 IV.  Here is article I wrote awhile back when I had the RX100II but my feelings haven't changed: http://aquabluedream...l-de-evolution/

As to color...The following galleries were all shot on the Sony RX100. 

Fiji: http://aquabluedream...y/fiji/dsc02229

Indonesia: http://aquabluedream...r-2015/dsc03311


Edited by NWDiver, 14 March 2018 - 06:48 AM.


#5 hellhole

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:43 AM

If you do not intend to shoot any super micro. Then you can stay with your g12.

#6 Barmaglot

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 09:37 AM

A Sony A6300 is roughly the same size as your Canon G12, but it packs an APS-C sensor. Olympus OM-D series M4/3 cameras are similarly sized, and Olympus 12-50mm lens even has a dedicated macro mode, although utilizing it takes an expensive gear in a very expensive housing.



#7 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 12:41 PM

Hi,
then you should micro four thirds or a mirrorless system give a chance ;-))
A Sony A6300 is small, and you can choose between a "standard" zoom or take a prime lens.
Same with a Olympus omd.....

To many possibilities.....

Regards,
Wolfgang

You have sent me on an interesting journey where I am now researching between Panasonic GH5 and Olympus OMD EM1 Mk II - thank you.



#8 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 12:44 PM

A Sony A6300 is roughly the same size as your Canon G12, but it packs an APS-C sensor. Olympus OM-D series M4/3 cameras are similarly sized, and Olympus 12-50mm lens even has a dedicated macro mode, although utilizing it takes an expensive gear in a very expensive housing.

Hmmm - I haven't done any research yet into the Sony A6300 but will take a look. Thanks for the heads up on the gear and housing costs - my research had led me straight to that lens but without looking at price tags. Forgive my ignorance, but when you say dedicated Macro Mode, do you have to switch to that before the dive and stay with it for the entire dive, or can you toggle in and out of the macro mode during a dive?


Edited by Pink Tank Scuba, 14 March 2018 - 12:44 PM.


#9 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 12:53 PM

If you do not intend to shoot any super micro. Then you can stay with your g12.

I already shoot super macro on the G12 using a Recea Flip Diopter. While I would love to stay with the G12, my housing needs upgrading and it wouldn't hurt to go for a larger sensor at this stage, now that I've experienced the quality difference from shooting on the 7D which is just too big for my daily and travel needs.


Edited by Pink Tank Scuba, 14 March 2018 - 02:30 PM.


#10 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 01:01 PM

Personally I love my Sony RX100 IV.  Here is article I wrote awhile back when I had the RX100II but my feelings haven't changed: http://aquabluedream...l-de-evolution/

As to color...The following galleries were all shot on the Sony RX100. 

Fiji: http://aquabluedream...y/fiji/dsc02229

Indonesia: http://aquabluedream...r-2015/dsc03311

Thank you for sharing - you've taken some absolutely gorgeous images (those mating sea snakes - wow!!!!) Having looked at a lot of uw photos taken with Sony RX100, to me the colours always tend to look really 'hot' and the shadows, darks and blues are underpinned by a lot of grey I just don't see in photos taken by other cameras. Maybe it's all in my head but I've noticed that consistently across RX100 images across many users ... maybe my brain is just hard-wired to Canon colour?


Edited by Pink Tank Scuba, 14 March 2018 - 01:02 PM.


#11 ChrisRoss

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 03:47 PM

The OM-D EM-1 MkII is a great camera.  Though using the 12-50 is a bit of a compromise, the dedicated port is a flat port with a complicated zoom gear which allows you to activate the macro switch, gets you good macro but wide angle is not truly wide as it's through a flat port and image quality is rather compromised at that end.    Though you're no worse off than the G12 which also shoots the  wide end through a flat port.  Put the Em-1 II in a nauticam housing and it's still sizable, just not as big as a DSLR.

 

On a side note if you've damaged your hand presumably that's from using the camera UW.  Do you have anything on your rig to make it more buoyant?  You can get the camera weightless UW with Buoyancy arms, just takes a bit of experimenting to get the right combination.



#12 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 09:37 PM

Interesting journey. Mine is similar... I've been using a G16 with a DS51 (wired TTL) + Sola 1200 video/focus light for years and love it. Last year I also scored a great deal on a Canon 7D and Nauticam housing. Mine came with 2x Ikelite DS125 strobes and the biggest focus light I've ever seen (old BigBlue).

 

I love the new 7D in the wonderful housing, but with the two strobes it was quite a monster. Just before Christmas I bought the Kraken (Weefine) 3000 Ring Light. I tried using it as my only strobe/light. It makes the whole rig very small and "clean" (for a DLSR in an aluminum housing!), but I wasn't as thrilled with the strobe as I hoped.

 

So I bought a used Inon Z240 which does TTL with optical and now use the Kraken as a fantastic macro focus light, with the Z240 for fill. It's great - almost as nice as my G16 (Ikelite housing) in TTL mode.

 

I use a 60mm lens exclusively simply because our vis off Vancouver Island Canada is never really good enough to justify buying a wide angle lens and dome.

 

I've looked at the mirrorless cameras, but am not super impressed - although the housings are definitely smaller. Ever since the root kit fiasco I refuse to go near Sony, but I am really liking the Fuji mirrorless cameras. If someone makes an inexpensive housing for one of the XT series that would be great.



#13 Barmaglot

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 10:24 PM

Hmmm - I haven't done any research yet into the Sony A6300 but will take a look. Thanks for the heads up on the gear and housing costs - my research had led me straight to that lens but without looking at price tags. Forgive my ignorance, but when you say dedicated Macro Mode, do you have to switch to that before the dive and stay with it for the entire dive, or can you toggle in and out of the macro mode during a dive?

 

If you use the Nauticam housing ($1450 for E-M5 II, $1900 for E-M1 II) with the dedicated port and gear ($800), you can toggle it on and off during a dive; otherwise it's set for the duration. 12mm (24mm equivalent) at the wide end isn't very wide, but you can augment it with wet lenses, same as you would for a compact. Of course you can also set up for dedicated wide-angle or macro with the appropriate lenses and ports.

 

 

I've looked at the mirrorless cameras, but am not super impressed - although the housings are definitely smaller. Ever since the root kit fiasco I refuse to go near Sony, but I am really liking the Fuji mirrorless cameras. If someone makes an inexpensive housing for one of the XT series that would be great.

 

Someone does - https://meikon.com.h...r-fujifilm/x-t2



#14 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 01:24 AM

The OM-D EM-1 MkII is a great camera.  Though using the 12-50 is a bit of a compromise, the dedicated port is a flat port with a complicated zoom gear which allows you to activate the macro switch, gets you good macro but wide angle is not truly wide as it's through a flat port and image quality is rather compromised at that end.    Though you're no worse off than the G12 which also shoots the  wide end through a flat port.  Put the Em-1 II in a nauticam housing and it's still sizable, just not as big as a DSLR.

 

On a side note if you've damaged your hand presumably that's from using the camera UW.  Do you have anything on your rig to make it more buoyant?  You can get the camera weightless UW with Buoyancy arms, just takes a bit of experimenting to get the right combination.

Thank you. I think in all honesty I need to explore the large sensor compact options - maybe Canon GX7 Mk 2 despite the battery life reduction from the G12. Funny enough, my damaged hand is from carrying the huge rig with the (now banished) twin Ikelites the 200 metres from my car to the water on my regular dives 4-10 times a week. With a Single Sea and Sea rather than 2 whopping Ikelites it's now 6.7 kgs which is much more managable. Underwater the rig is just slightly negative with buoyancy arms already - but thanks so much for that comment. 



#15 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 01:29 AM

Interesting journey. Mine is similar... I've been using a G16 with a DS51 (wired TTL) + Sola 1200 video/focus light for years and love it. Last year I also scored a great deal on a Canon 7D and Nauticam housing. Mine came with 2x Ikelite DS125 strobes and the biggest focus light I've ever seen (old BigBlue).

 

I love the new 7D in the wonderful housing, but with the two strobes it was quite a monster. Just before Christmas I bought the Kraken (Weefine) 3000 Ring Light. I tried using it as my only strobe/light. It makes the whole rig very small and "clean" (for a DLSR in an aluminum housing!), but I wasn't as thrilled with the strobe as I hoped.

 

So I bought a used Inon Z240 which does TTL with optical and now use the Kraken as a fantastic macro focus light, with the Z240 for fill. It's great - almost as nice as my G16 (Ikelite housing) in TTL mode.

 

I use a 60mm lens exclusively simply because our vis off Vancouver Island Canada is never really good enough to justify buying a wide angle lens and dome.

 

I've looked at the mirrorless cameras, but am not super impressed - although the housings are definitely smaller. Ever since the root kit fiasco I refuse to go near Sony, but I am really liking the Fuji mirrorless cameras. If someone makes an inexpensive housing for one of the XT series that would be great.

Interesting parallel - and I would be certain this kind of experience would not be uncommon - the 7D Nauticam housing is a dream! Personally I find a 60mm lens way to restrictive for the sites I dive regularly and I've been a bit more experimental with the 18-55 and even the 10-22. I've been talked out of mirrorless by people who know my shooting style and priorities as there's not a huge amount of benefit to me to making that exchange, so again I'm gravitating to maybe the Canon GX7 Mark 2 - maybe losing a quarter of my shots per charge will just force me to shoot more selectively. 



#16 sbonev

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 01:43 AM

Thank you. I think in all honesty I need to explore the large sensor compact options - maybe Canon GX7 Mk 2 despite the battery life reduction from the G12. Funny enough, my damaged hand is from carrying the huge rig with the (now banished) twin Ikelites the 200 metres from my car to the water on my regular dives 4-10 times a week. With a Single Sea and Sea rather than 2 whopping Ikelites it's now 6.7 kgs which is much more managable. Underwater the rig is just slightly negative with buoyancy arms already - but thanks so much for that comment. 

I have the same dilemma - how to keep things small and quality good... Unfortunately the advanced compact cameras options are quite limited between the Sony rx100 series, canon g7x and Lumix lx10/lx15. I was personally leaning towards the Panasonic, due to better image quality, menus and functions, also is quite versatile and can do everything from wide to macro with the correct wet lenses. The one drawback I found is that probably the macro with wet lenses would not be that great, and as there are not many people using it, there is no way to confirm that. From the 3 I think the best for overall performance is rx100m2 as it has 100mm zoom and in the macro it'll best them all wet lense. Unfortunately is a bit old, difficult to find housing and the image quality is one idea worse than the others. The canon really lacks on macro and video.

Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk

#17 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 09:38 AM

Honestly, if I were in a similar situation, I'd be tempted to buy a used (or two) Canon G16 and the Ikelite TTL housing for it. It does everything you want, and realistically, the sensor size is more than enough for underwater photographer needs. A used G16 and housing could be obtained quite inexpensively and would do you for years to come.

 

Mine had a wired Ikelite DS51, but my buddy has a G15 in the same (almost) housing and uses a Sea&Sea optical strobe with equally excellent results.

 

If you wanted to get really fancy, get a used Inon Z240 which does optical TTL and is half the size (and weight) of the DS125. Add a good Sola video/focus light for complete versatility.

 

What I love about my G16 is that without a strobe it's very small and can be carried on any dive. It also is capable of 1080p video and the video is very good - the auto-focus works properly (in my opinion) when taking video which is a bonus when something fast goes past (i.e. dogfish).

 

That's the one real downside of the 7D. It's video is good, but does not maintain autofocus during video which means it's pretty much useless for most UW video, again IMO.

 

The last point is whether your a "Canon" person (or a Nikon person, or a Fuji person, etc.). If so, then getting told to buy and learn another brand (and get all the lenses you need for it) is really a non-starter. I know Canon is not the best camera in every circumstance (and poor in many), but the time/money I've got invested in Canon means that I'll go to it first before considering any other brand. Or, put another way, any other brand MUST be something like 4-10x superior in every way before I'd even consider it. It's just the economics and learning curve.


 

If you use the Nauticam housing ($1450 for E-M5 II, $1900 for E-M1 II) with the dedicated port and gear ($800), you can toggle it on and off during a dive; otherwise it's set for the duration. 12mm (24mm equivalent) at the wide end isn't very wide, but you can augment it with wet lenses, same as you would for a compact. Of course you can also set up for dedicated wide-angle or macro with the appropriate lenses and ports.

 

 

 

Someone does - https://meikon.com.h...r-fujifilm/x-t2

 

Wow! That is a nice housing and a very, very reasonable price, especially as the page showed in $CDN. Sadly, they only go to 130ft according to the site, which limits them for me.



#18 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 11:22 PM

I have the same dilemma - how to keep things small and quality good... Unfortunately the advanced compact cameras options are quite limited between the Sony rx100 series, canon g7x and Lumix lx10/lx15. I was personally leaning towards the Panasonic, due to better image quality, menus and functions, also is quite versatile and can do everything from wide to macro with the correct wet lenses. The one drawback I found is that probably the macro with wet lenses would not be that great, and as there are not many people using it, there is no way to confirm that. From the 3 I think the best for overall performance is rx100m2 as it has 100mm zoom and in the macro it'll best them all wet lense. Unfortunately is a bit old, difficult to find housing and the image quality is one idea worse than the others. The canon really lacks on macro and video.

Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk

Yes - this is all what has kept my head spinning - thinking now maybe I'll just secure a new housing for my G12 - every year I try to upgrade and can never find something that I think will tick all my boxes so I just give up ...



#19 Pink Tank Scuba

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 11:28 PM

Honestly, if I were in a similar situation, I'd be tempted to buy a used (or two) Canon G16 and the Ikelite TTL housing for it. It does everything you want, and realistically, the sensor size is more than enough for underwater photographer needs. A used G16 and housing could be obtained quite inexpensively and would do you for years to come.

 

Mine had a wired Ikelite DS51, but my buddy has a G15 in the same (almost) housing and uses a Sea&Sea optical strobe with equally excellent results.

 

If you wanted to get really fancy, get a used Inon Z240 which does optical TTL and is half the size (and weight) of the DS125. Add a good Sola video/focus light for complete versatility.

 

What I love about my G16 is that without a strobe it's very small and can be carried on any dive. It also is capable of 1080p video and the video is very good - the auto-focus works properly (in my opinion) when taking video which is a bonus when something fast goes past (i.e. dogfish).

 

That's the one real downside of the 7D. It's video is good, but does not maintain autofocus during video which means it's pretty much useless for most UW video, again IMO.

 

The last point is whether your a "Canon" person (or a Nikon person, or a Fuji person, etc.). If so, then getting told to buy and learn another brand (and get all the lenses you need for it) is really a non-starter. I know Canon is not the best camera in every circumstance (and poor in many), but the time/money I've got invested in Canon means that I'll go to it first before considering any other brand. Or, put another way, any other brand MUST be something like 4-10x superior in every way before I'd even consider it. It's just the economics and learning curve.


 

Wow! That is a nice housing and a very, very reasonable price, especially as the page showed in $CDN. Sadly, they only go to 130ft according to the site, which limits them for me.

You make a lot of sense and will now send me off to Camera Decision to check out the differences between G12 and G16  Though I'm not a fan of anything Ikelite - all too big, heavy, bulky and rugged for me I think it will be worth me investigating other housing options. For me Canon colour is life and other brands just fail in the colour department as far as my eye is concerned. After my video test on the Canon 7D yesterday with all the autofocus issues, sadly, it's gotta go. Maybe I'll be a compact shooter and a Canon shooter for life - only a successful trial of the RX100 next week is likely to convince me otherwise.



#20 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 09:07 AM

I'm now sticking a 4K go-pro clone on the top of the macro port on my Nauticam 7D housing for video. It beats taking two cameras. :-D

 

I do love the video my G16 produces - the autofocus works really well when I use my Sola 1200 as a video light. The Sola also makes a great focus light for the G16. My G16 rig was a dual handle Ikelite TTL housing. DS51 on an Ikelite arm set with wired sync cord for TTL flash. Sola 1200 on a flex-line on the other handle positioned just above the lens port. I got many great shots and video with that setup.

 

The only downside of video and G16 is the autofocus does make a slight 'chugging' noise. It's audible and does really annoy some people. I just cut the gain on the audio track and find it OK.

 

I bought the Nauticam / Canon 7D because it was such an awesome deal. I'd been wanting to try DLSR in a aluminum housing, but could never afford it until this deal came along. I got a whole kit (camera, lens, port, focus light, strobes, cord & arms) for the same price as some folks are asking for the housing alone, so I just had to buy it. ;-)

 

I can live without video on the 7D. Using the 60mm lens for macro, it's just too difficult to get really good video of any length. Even with a manual focus knob, I spent all my time pulling focus. SO much easier to add a go-pro for video.







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