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Are They Pro quality image wise???


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#1 freediver

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 06:42 PM

I am in the market for underwater gear, but due to a tight budget, I am questioning what the advantages are to shooting a DSLR in a housing as compared to one of the 5+ megapixel point and shoot cameras in a housing.

I have a couple of Oly C3000's and a housing for them along with an INON 100degree lens which I dearly love, but want more capacity than the 128MB cards and only 3 megapixel quality.

I am considering a couple of the OLY 5060's or possibly 7070's with a housing as I want to be able to utilize my INON lens - but are the publication quality images from these cameras?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

I have attached one of the images I created with my OLY's in that housing with the INON lens...

Cliff

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Cliff Etzel

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"To live the liquid life is to experience the rehabilitation of our bodies and minds as they evolve in the underwater world by not using any form of mechanical breathing apparatus - this is the essence, the purity of purpose of freediving." - Aharon Solomons


#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 03:16 AM

Short answer is no. If you have a compact camera image and another photographer has exactly the same image taken with a DSLR then all things being equal the DSLR image will always be chosen ahead of yours.

However, if your pictures show subjects that nobody else has - then they will sell irrespective of the camera used.

Alex

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#3 Monkey_Knife_Fight

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 10:50 AM

I've never used the Oly's but I've heard they have considerable shutter lag which would annoy me (and is one of the big selling points of DSLRs for UW). Check out the Fuji E900. With the Ikelite housing + adapter you can use your INON lens (i think) and it has no shutter lag, and produces pictures just as good as any DSLR pics i've seen (i'm no pro and know nothing about publishing).

#4 Photobeat

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 03:33 PM

I think in 3-6months there may be a bunch of d-100 and d-100 housings for sale at an amazing price. I am hoping to snatch a housing myself as the d100 is still a great camera regardless of the 12mp cams comming out. Even better to take around saltwater. Even the d70's may be around as some of those guys may want the new d200 also. We will have to see how it plays out. With the colder weather things will be a little slow but start to pick up next year I think. Patientence will be well rewarded as these deals will present themselves every three -four years it seems when the newer technology takes a major jump. Also keep in mind that the number of megapixles is only part of the equation, the sensor and most importantly in a DSLR is the lens. A 1k lens vs a $250.00 lens makes big difference. In uw most guys use the higher end lenses so it is not a big issue but it does need to be adressed. Kit lenses produce good pictures (all things equal assuming same photographer and tech. skills) a pro lens produces an exceptional picture.
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#5 ce4jesus

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 12:17 PM

Freediver - I was in the same boat. I wanted a half-way decent setup but didn't want to fork out $2500 for Camera, housing, dome port, and strobe...and yes...the $2500 is a conservative estimate. I was able to price a complete package with a lesser camera (in my case the Olympus SP-350) for just under $1000.

Camera with 512 card $375
Underwater Housing $195
Strobe with Arm $350-$700 depending upon choice.
Gary
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#6 MikeO

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 12:50 PM

Short answer is no. If you have a compact camera image and another photographer has exactly the same image taken with a DSLR then all things being equal the DSLR image will always be chosen ahead of yours.

Alex

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Any particular reason for this sweeping statement? Noise? Number of pixels? How would a judge even be able to tell? Just curious. I know a few people selling very nice stuff from their Fuji F810s . . .

Mike

PS -- my other question is: What does "pro quality" mean anyway?

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#7 acroporas

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 01:28 PM

Main problem with p&s cameras are their tiny lenses. The lenses on p&s cameras can only resolve about 4 MP of data. the super high mp p&s cameras do not really resolve any more detail than a 4mp camera. think about it. What is the chance that the lens on a $500 camera can compete with the a $1000 lens?

Then there is the super tiny sensor. The small sensor results in high noise. A p&S at ISO 50 will have more noise than a modern dSLR at ISO 400.

What does pro quality mean. Today, pro quality as defined by Seapics.com (largest underwater stock photo library) the quality you get with 6MP dSLR with nice lenses. (and no they will not accept images from a 10mp p&s)
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#8 apete

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 01:44 PM

I own and use both an Olympus 5060 (5MP) and a 7070 (7MP). They have the same lens, and the 7070 definately resolves more detail.
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I have a business interest in some underwater imaging products.

#9 tie

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 03:13 PM

Without even considering the noise factor, cheap compacts have noticeably cheap lenses. Even besides that, DSLR's have better DOF control. For some macro and wide-angle, this might not matter or even favor the compact camera. But for fish portrait shots, it is often very easy to tell compact from DSLR; the DSLR will usually have the better background.

Then there are the usability issues. The F810 has terrible battery life, less than one dive if you don't conserve, so you lose the digital benefit of free shooting. It also takes 10 seconds to write a RAW file, during which not only can't you take another picture, but you also can't even change the camera settings. If you're a good photographer, then you'll take good photos with any camera, if you're a bad photographer, well you won't — but if you are somewhere in the middle then these issues will affect you.

#10 MikeO

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 05:13 PM

What does pro quality mean.  Today, pro quality as defined by Seapics.com (largest underwater stock photo library) the quality you get with 6MP dSLR with nice lenses.  (and no they will not accept images from a 10mp p&s)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's a useful data point, but so is "Home Depot is the largest hardware retailer so I'll use the hand saws I find there as the definition of a hand saw". Thank goodness I was able to apply a different standard when shopping for kayak building tools! And yes, I am half joking, but only half joking.

Then there are the usability issues. The F810 has terrible battery life . . .


Granted, but the question was about image quality and whether there was a market for any images out of a P&S. There have been several published photos from F810s (though I have to admit, the ones I know about have all been macro photos) and many from C5050s . . .

As for the idea that all compacts have cheap lenses, one must give some thought to the fact that the lenses are optimized for small digital sensors, making them not so bad. Maybe even better than some of the old full frame DSLRs with wide angle film lenses not optimized for digital cameras ( the newer full-frame ones have microlenses built onto the sensor to try to straighten out the light rays hitting the edge of the CMOS/CCD array) . . .

Not trying to be argumentative here, just trying to pin down the reason point and shoot digital camera have such a horrible stigma attached to them . . .

Mike

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#11 acroporas

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 05:33 PM

That's a useful data point, but so is "Home Depot is the largest hardware retailer so I'll use the hand saws I find there as the definition of a hand saw".  Thank goodness I was able to apply a different standard when shopping for kayak building tools!  And yes, I am half joking, but only half joking.
Granted, but the question was about image quality and whether there was a market for any images out of a P&S.  There have been several published photos from F810s (though I have to admit, the ones I know about have all been macro photos) and many from C5050s . . .

Mike

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


But your analagy is from the consumer's point of view. Pro's sell their product not buy it. If you were trying to sell saws, what home depot was looking for would be very important standard.

Yes there is no question that it is possible to sell an image from a P&S camera. If you have unique subjet it does not matter what camera you used. If you manage a picture of a giant squid, it does not matter if you used one of thouse disposable film cameras in cardboard boxes and a plastic lens you can sell it all day long.

But as Alex said, if you are shooting with a P&S and someone else has the same composition with a dSLR. The buyer will pick the dSLR shot every time.
William

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#12 freediver

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 05:56 PM

Short answer is no. If you have a compact camera image and another photographer has exactly the same image taken with a DSLR then all things being equal the DSLR image will always be chosen ahead of yours.

However, if your pictures show subjects that nobody else has - then they will sell irrespective of the camera used.

Alex

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I recently asked a good of mine who shoots freediving for some of the European dive magazines and works with Fabien Cousteau among such notables in the diving community about what he shoots and why..

His Response: Canon G6 in an Ikelite housing...

I relayed to him the responses I have gotten regarding the reasoniong behind shooting DSLR's as opposed to P/S in a housing..

Being the typical frenchman he is - basically eluded to it being full of S%#!

HE said it's not the camera that creates the photo - it's the photographer - and if the image is good enough, it will sell itself no matter what it was shot with.

He does have a valid point.

I remember seeing award winning photo's shot with nothing more than an old Leica and 35mm lens. Recently read of a shooter who works for Magnum Photo Agency and he has been shooting in Iraq with a brace of Olympus 5060 P/S cameras and is garnering recognition for the quality of his work.

Was chatting with another good friend who shoots commercial work and he basically said - anything at or above 8 MP is film resolution and that it really doesn't matter after that. He should know - he's been shooting for as long as I can remember and is quite successful at it.

Which has me wondering again - is it marketing hype in favor of the DSLR's or is there something to be said for the 7+ megapixel p/s camera's out there in a housing.

The dialogue has been very stimulating to say the least so far...

Cliff Etzel

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"To live the liquid life is to experience the rehabilitation of our bodies and minds as they evolve in the underwater world by not using any form of mechanical breathing apparatus - this is the essence, the purity of purpose of freediving." - Aharon Solomons


#13 MikeO

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 06:39 PM

But as Alex said, if you are shooting with a P&S and someone else has the same composition with a dSLR.  The buyer will pick the dSLR shot every time.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I guess my question boils down to -- if you didn't tell them, how would they know? Is the difference really that obvious? I guess one could always tell by the EXIF data :huh:

Mike

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#14 apete

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 11:33 PM

There are more than two kinds of cameras. How would you classify Leica Digilux 2, Sony DSC-R1 or Olympus C-8080 WZ? ... or a Ricoh GR Digital?

A top quality dSLR (and lens) is not always the right tool, even if high image quality is the only requirement.
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I have a business interest in some underwater imaging products.

#15 freediver

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 11:37 PM

I guess my question boils down to -- if you didn't tell them, how would they know?  Is the difference really that obvious?  I guess one could always tell by the EXIF data :huh:

Mike

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Mike, you raise a very interesting point.

If you are shooting with a 7-9 megapixel p/s camera and no one knows, and the photo's are published, does it matter if it was shot with a $1000 setup or $10,000 setup? Not really - the point being is that you can have all the gear in the world, and be a lousy photographer and it will show, while you can have so called "Consumer" equipment and create compelling images.

One comment that bears exploring is the notion that the lenses on P/S cameras are inferior - and yet, companies like Olympus are putting ED glass in those very P/S lenses to eek out as much resolution as possible.

Recent research I have looked at could have the tables turned on those who discount the quality of P/S lenses - that being that unless your DSLR body is using a lens specifically design for digital, you are actually losing image quality due to the lens not taking into account the CCD or CMOS chip. from what I can see, only Nikon and Olympus have gone that route. And even then the offerings are sparse. So at what point does one say, a DSLR is better than a point and shoot, with this little revelation?

I'm seriously re-evaluating my position on a housed digital camera, looking specifically at the Oly SP-350 with housing. Since I have the INON lens already, it's less than $600 for the setup, sans media card. For freediving, it would be a very compact setup and even while blowing bubbles, the unit would be easy to dive with due to the reduced drag. Add a $350 strobe and all is good, but then again, who knows. Forum member Motionsync and I have been discussing this at great length recently.

When I did the story I shot on 2.1MP Oly C2000's, I wasn't sure they would even get used. I didn't tell the photo editor, instead I let them make the decision on how to use the images. The ONLY reason I didn't get a cover shot was due to the lack of file size needed to go full page - otherwise they were some of the best images the photo editor had seen.

Oh the joys of spending money on paper for photo gear..

Cliff Etzel

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"To live the liquid life is to experience the rehabilitation of our bodies and minds as they evolve in the underwater world by not using any form of mechanical breathing apparatus - this is the essence, the purity of purpose of freediving." - Aharon Solomons


#16 echeng

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 09:34 AM

If you take a typical point & shoot vs. a slr, shoot in bright daylight, and make a print to 8x10", it may be difficult to tell the difference.

But if the image has a shallow depth of field (for artistic reasons, or whatever), then it pretty much rules out small-sensor cameras.

Given a full-resolution image or a large print, it's easy to tell. Point & shoot cameras are noisier, and the images are very hard to use for any purpose other than online viewing or small prints, if you don't shoot at ISO 100 or lower.

We will have to deal with this issue when judging the Compact Camera category in the upcoming WP photo contest. Anyone who has used both P&S and SLRs extensively should be able to tell, but if we can't for some reason, we'll just audit the RAW file, or make a judgment call...
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#17 Paul Kay

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 10:30 AM

I have image files from Nikon D1X and Canon G5 cameras. If I compare them I find that:

The G5 images are noisier, not as sharp (ie with similar usm applied), appear to have less tonality, and so on - this camera produces inferior images to the D1X and both are 5 MPixel cameras generating raw files. As far as I am aware this is down to the fact that the sensor size differs and the G5 has an adequate but not stunning lens and has exposure control which is not as accurate as the Nikon. Whilst I have taken the odd shot on the G5 which has been accepted by an agency, these are few and far between (and are as Alex pointed out accepted only due to content), the D1X produced far more.

This said, if a compact does the job you want then fine, but in my case the G5 was bought as a 'snapshot' camera and for the odd grabbed shot, and can't really think of it in any other terms.

I have seen some remakable underwater images off compacts but have usually been disappointed in their finite image quality upon careful scrutiny of the image file.
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#18 ikelite

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 10:45 AM

Following URL shows some of the David Haas test photos from a Canon G6. Not a D2X, but the camera did well:

http://www.ikelite.c...iv_haas_g6.html

#19 freediver

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 11:30 AM

The discussion here is proving to be quite informative to say the least.

Paul - you did make mention of something that had me thinking in your response - that being your last paragraph on being disappointed upon careful scrutiny - I myself know what you are saying here, but at what point does the average viewer, looking at a dive publication, going to say "Oh the photographer must not be a professional - I can clearly see they shot this image with a point & shoot".

It is true that the general public has become more sophisticated in their appreciation of imagery, but are we giving them more credit than what is due based upon our chosen profession? One could surmise that an image shot with a D70 isn't as professional as one shot with a D2X in a housing - all other aspects being equal.

It's a subjective debate based upon those who feel that if one can make a 16x20 print without noticable loss of image quality, that it will show itself in publication - typically where the image is being used at max 3 columns - when in reality, the moire' pattern induced by going to press itself hides many of those very artifacts that are apparent in a direct print process.

It's always the dream to have a cover shot for a trade publication, but the vast majority of images used in publication are running 1-2 columns wide. A 3MP p/s can handle that no problem.

Yes - I have been to the various digicam review sites and seen the difference in image quality when the image is take to maximum size in side by side comparisons - but we are talking about practical day to day submission work here, and those print sizes never make it to press anyways.

My first serious photojournalism mentor chastised me for not editing and cropping in the camera - I learned my lesson well from that proverbial spanking.

I have seen too many images from photographers who have all the right gear posting images that look like they were shot without regard to practicing that very principle. If you are using the extended capabilities of the camera to make up for poor technique, then you are still no better than someone using a point and shoot in a housing.

I have seen award winning photo's done by people who use very simple equipment - the conent itself is what made it - not the type of gear it was shot with.

I sometimes wonder if we as photographers delude ourselves into thinking that because we spent the thousands of dollars in gear that we need to justify that expense.

I myself have won numerous regional awards as a newspaper photographer on gear that was considered "consumer level" yet because of proper technique, produced images that were exceptional enough to warrent the awards (This was still in the days of film though)

There is always a need for high end gear - don't get me wrong, but I also think the lines are becoming more blurred as the technology improves in what seems almost a daily basis.

Cliff Etzel

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"To live the liquid life is to experience the rehabilitation of our bodies and minds as they evolve in the underwater world by not using any form of mechanical breathing apparatus - this is the essence, the purity of purpose of freediving." - Aharon Solomons


#20 Paul Kay

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 12:25 PM

Your points are well put and I have to agree with you (but with some caveats). A look on various web fora may convince you that some equipment and especially some lenses are so poor that you can't see through them. The reality is that I have NEVER had an image refused for publication because of what it was shot on.

And I'd go further and say that something far too easily and often overlooked is that if the equipment does the job then it is appropriate. I've just been away on a trip and amongst my friends were 11 Mpixel dSLRs, 6 MPixel dSLRs, an 8 MPixel compact (I'd call this one an advanced set-up with ports, flash, etc.) and film cameras. Everyone enjoyed their photography and (film is still to be processed) hopefully produced images that they were happy with. But this is of course the point - they produced 'images that they were happy with' (myself included) and for their chosen uses (which varied considerably).

I've taken the decision not to upgrade from my Canon EOS1DS (I now have 3) because I cannot see any advantage in doing so. To me this camera produces as good images as I actually want or can market, and yes it is often overkill, I admit. But as much of my photography is stock, as such its parameters are set by the agencies I supply and the demand is often for substantial file sizes.

I would say though that few images produced by even 8 MPixel compacts satisfy ME. Sure they are often published - there are some truly abysmal examples of what dive magazines and others will publish - but the image concious public often DOES notice poor quality in my experience and does not appreciate being shown garbage (either technical or compositional).

On the other hand I'd also say that there are many magazines and publishers out there who do appreciate quality and who do understand grain (noise) and tonality, and who will not publish images which do not meet their criteria.

Whilst the lines are blurring, I do have to qoute a friend of mine (a very good nature photographer) who is convinced that the "digital revolution is lowering standards" - it maybe doing so and is potentially likely to, but only if we let it. The new technology should do the opposite - it should raise standards - the capabilities of equipment today are something of which we never even dreamt when I studied photography 25 years ago.

Whilst compact digital cameras in the right hands can achieve stunning results in the right circumstances, but all too often they do not.

In a world awash with images I still believe that quality will differentiate between two otherwise similar images - when this is no longer true, I will earn my living in some other way.
Paul Kay, Canon EOS5D/5DII, SEACAM/S45, 15, 24L, 60/2.8 (+Ext12II) & 100/2.8 Macros - UK/Ireland Seacam Sales underseacameras & marinewildlife & paulkayphotography & welshmarinefish