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Sony a7s or Sony a7ii


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#1 Tommy2p

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 10:21 AM

Hi guys, first post on here. Just starting out with us photography. Looking at a couple of Sonys a7s or a7ii. Any advice on which might be better would be great. I am on a budget hence the older models. I like to film but take shots too. I understand the a7s has great low light ability which seems like a good idea for underwater pics in the non tropical waters of Cornwall. And Id like to get away without using strobes if possible. However the a7ii looks good too for what I need. Any help would be great, treat me as I if I know nothing! Thanks.

#2 ChrisRoss

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 12:15 AM

While you may get away without strobes in relatively shallow water, by custom white balancing the very green water in cold water areas  sucks all the red out rather quickly and the whole thing is very green and you eventually won't be able to post process it afterwards.  To me it would not make sense to get a top shelf camera and not use strobes - the lighting is everything.  If you use strobes the need for low light capability is less, particularly for macro work.  If you are shooting video the same applies though your capability to correct in post processing without artificial light is even less.

 

I would suggest looking at things from a total system basis.  Full frame requires bigger domes (if going wide angle) and the housings are significantly more expensive. You live in the UK, the local Nauticam dealer shows the A7 housing at £2630 and the Oly EM-5II housing at £1340.  You can buy two strobes at £650 each with the difference in price between the two housings.  The Olympus lenses are also very reasonably priced compared to some brands.  An example is the Sony 24-70 f2.8 is $3099 in Australia while the Olympus equivalent is $750 for the 12-40 f2.8- both are extremely sharp lenses.  These are just examples but illustrates the cost differences you may come up against, which I think would be important if you are on a budget. 

 

The equation will change of course if you decide on a cheaper housing, but the point is look at your total cost to get setup, including camera, lenses, ports, strobes and accessories.   Also lens availability is important, SONY has a 90mm macro, expensive and about the right focal length for full frame with some subject size flexibility but the shorter offerings you may want for their APS-C range are not so good, they also don't have a native fisheye which may or may not be important to you. 



#3 trimix125

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 01:20 AM

Hi,
but the low light possibilities for the Olympus are poor...
Thats why i went back for a dslr rig.... Have all the lenses...

If starting new, i would think about a mirrorless system in apsc. The Sony a6300 makes great shots and film is ok.
And uses smaller lenses than the A7 series.
The housings are smaller and much lighter as well.

Without any light it wont work. But looks that video lamps make more sense for you.

Regatds,
Wolfgang

#4 Barmaglot

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 02:16 AM

My $0.02 worth - I'm just wrapping up a 2-week trip that I spent shooting an A6300 with 10-18mm and 90mm macro, and while the latter is a bit too long, it's perfectly manageable on APS-C. Strobes are of paramount importance though. The difference between macro shots within strobe range and larger fish portrait shots taken from outside strobe range is striking.

 

SaPsc83.jpg

 

H4vdEjI.jpg



#5 Tommy2p

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 02:46 AM

Ok thanks guys.touve been really helpful. Any idea how much a set of strobes would cost? Of decent quality? I assume they arent universal to all housings?

#6 Barmaglot

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 03:11 AM

Strobe compatibility depends on two things: triggering and mounting.

 

Mounting is pretty universal - you either have a YS type joint, or a 1" ball, and you use it to connect to the appropriate type of arm. One exception is SeaLife Sea Dragon lights and strobes - they have connectors that are proprietary to SeaLife arms.

 

Triggering is more involved. In general, it falls into two main options - electrical or optical. With electrical triggering, your housing has a bulkhead with an internal connector that plugs into the camera's flash hot shoe, either directly or via a special board to enable TTL operation, and an external watertight connector to which you attach a electrical cable to carry the signal to your strobe(s). With optical triggering, there are no electrical conductors that penetrate the housing - instead, there is a small window, through which light is transmitted, and on the outside of the housing, you attach a fiber optic cable, which carries this light to your strobe(s). When a light pulse is produced inside the housing, a sensor on the strobe(s) picks it up, and triggers firing. The light pulse can be produced either by an on-camera flash (provided the camera has one, which Sony A7 series cameras don't) or an add-on LED trigger which plugs into the camera's hot shoe.

 

Depending on your housing, your camera, and your strobes, you may have one or more of these options available to you. Sometimes it is possible to convert one type of signal to another - for example, Ikelite DS series strobes only have electrical connectors, but you can buy add-on sensors that will trigger them from an optical signal.

 

In general, the simplest and least expensive way is to use on-camera flash and fiber optics. Of the strobes currently available on the market, for bigger cameras, the choice is basically between Sea & Sea YS-D2J and Inon Z-330 - both carry a similar price tag and comparable feature set. For smaller cameras, you can get away with their smaller siblings Sea & Sea YS-01 and Inon S-2000. Retra strobes have some unique features, but the older model has been discontinued and the newer model won't be available for a few more months.

 

If you're on a budget, I'd advise avoiding full-frame, as the housings, ports and lenses are very large and expensive, even if you can find a good deal on an older body. Get a crop sensor camera or even a compact, and invest the difference in good strobes. I use a Sony A6300 in a SeaFrogs Salted Line housing, and I'm quite happy with it - the housing is not as feature-rich as Nauticam, but it does the job at a small fraction of the cost.



#7 ChrisRoss

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 03:31 AM

The 90mm might be usable in cleaner tropical water, it's 135mm equivalent on APS-C, I shoot in temperate waters around Sydney and find the 60mm (120mm equivalent) too long a lot of the time apart from small nudis and the like.  When you back off to shoot something larger, there's too much water between you and your subject.  Whether you need low light capability depends on whether or not you shoot a lot of available light.  Yes the APS-C and full frame are better but it comes at a price $$$.

 

Strobes can be universal, something like the INON Z330 can connect both wired and fibre optic, but there are all sorts of limitations and gotchas.  For example the Sony A7 can be connected manual only via sync cord or needs a flash trigger.  The Sony A6300 has a built in flash so can do fibre optic triggering TTL or Manual or wired sync  Micro43 can all trigger via the mini onboard flash.  Fibre optic I think is the most flexible.  The site I found had the Z240 listed at about 600 pounds, that's discontinued but the Z330 should be about the same more or less.



#8 TaxiDiver14

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 04:22 AM

If you like to film but take photos too… Did you think on taking photos with continious light using video lights ???.



#9 Barmaglot

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 06:08 AM

The 90mm might be usable in cleaner tropical water, it's 135mm equivalent on APS-C, I shoot in temperate waters around Sydney and find the 60mm (120mm equivalent) too long a lot of the time apart from small nudis and the like.  When you back off to shoot something larger, there's too much water between you and your subject.  Whether you need low light capability depends on whether or not you shoot a lot of available light.  Yes the APS-C and full frame are better but it comes at a price $$$.

 

Good point about murky water; being a tropical dweller, I've never shot in those conditions so it didn't really enter my mind. Sigma recently released a 70mm macro for E-mount though, being the equivalent of 105mm on full-frame or 52.5mm on M43 it might be a good compromise focal length. SeaFrogs just released a longer flat port targeting the 55-210mm zoom for surf photographers, and it should be able to accommodate the Sigma 70mm as well.



#10 trimix125

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 06:12 AM

Hi,
but be awere that the Sigma has no internal focus!
Means it will get longer ( centimeters ) if close focused.
That can vignet if a wider distance is used.......
Otherwise it would be the perfect macro lens.
Regards,
Wolfgang



#11 Barmaglot

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 06:15 AM

At 70mm the field of view is sufficiently narrow that vignetting shouldn't be an issue. In fact, I have tested the very short Sony 16-50mm kit lens inside the long port meant for 90mm macro, and despite being like 1/3 of the port's length, it stops vignetting at 45mm focal length or so.



#12 trimix125

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 12:00 AM

Hi,
i was using a 70mm macro lens with external fokus,
and it vignetted in infinity 😐
Regards,
Wolfgang