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Nikon D3 & D300. Hands on and test shots


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#61 DavidScubadiver

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 06:02 PM

Gentlepeople, let me start off by saying that I am heading to the Bahamas this July, on the Aqua Cat, and expect to have an opportunity to take some photos of the sharks. I have fine sony point and shoot, which with a broken flash (circuit board was fried, over exposing everything) took some nice shots in Bonaire (see http://www.divelove.zxq.net.

However, I just purchased my Mac duo quad Core PC, and a 30" Monitor, AND turned 40. So its time to get a D300 camera. (Note, according to the manual, one cannot have the sun in the frame, lest one risk starting a fire. I thought that was a very funny warning. How the heck do people take pictures of sunsets with this pyro-camera? :P

I can't justify buying this thing and the housing, based on anything other than, "well, its the best there is and it is more camera then I will likely grow into...." which means spending thousands of dollars on a housing, when "amortized" over the number of dives/years I will have it, makes it very cost effective.

It also helps not to think of the overall cost and to be "surprised" when I add it all up...

I have some questions...

1) Do you buy an extended warranty on this baby?
2) The "promos" offer a) Save $150 instantly on an AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED lens when you purchase a Nikon D3, D300, D200 digital SLR or an F6 35mm SLR camera body; or bJ Save $300 on an AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 18-200mf/3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens. Are either of these lenses suitable for underwater? (I know the ikelite housing says no, but what about other housings? Seems the answer would be, "No, you don't use a super zoom underwater, idiot!). With that said ought I to get one of these lenses with the camera body for topside shots?
3) My local Nikon dealer doesn't sell housings. Should I eschew my local dealer in favor of buying from B&H, which does sell housings? (Does b&h also service the housing? Will B&H give any kind of discount for buying the camera and housing together?)
4)Related to question 2 - I am going to be dead broke after this, but obviously, I am going to need a lens or two for the housed camera. Its my first real camera so I have no lenses. For shooting sharks, what would be a good lens to have? I am not so much interested in "depth of field" as I am in being able to shoot a lot of pictures that are in focus. If there is another fish in the background, or a diver, I am happy to have everybody be in focus if it means I am more likely to get a "clear" picture. I assume it has to be a "fast" lens but more than that, I do not know. I'd also love to be able to use the lens to take good (not great) close up shots of critters. I'd also like to know what a good macro lens is for the pygmy seahorses and whether such a lens can ever be used to take a photo of a bigger animal (or are you always locked into one type of picture taking with an slr?)
5) Is there a preferred housing/flash setup? Everything seems crazy expensive, though Ikelite at half price is calling to me... oooh, pretty clear box... Do I need/want to spend money on a special optical viewer or is it unnecessary with live view? I understood it was not supposed to be good for using underwater, but i think I may have misunderstood...

I head to Indonesia in 2009. I figure, by that time I will have a few SLR dives under my belt and hopefully will love this camera as much as any real photographer.

Finally, thank you for your patience, if any. Your advice, if any.
Nikon D300/Ikelite housing and Ds-125 Strobe
Tokina 10-17mm
Nikon AFS 60mm

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#62 DavidScubadiver

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 06:42 PM

I know, too many questions...

6) The manual says that live view can be used up to one hour, that it will "heat up" the camera, causing noise, etc., and that one should use the eye cap to keep light from entering the viewfinder (not sure why such an expensive camera lacks a shutter for the eyepiece...) Does anybody have any experience actually using live view underwater? Does the "warming" camera body cause fogging -- and how long can it actually be used in water that is 70-85 degrees? This seems important if one blocks the lens with a lens cap....since that is inside the housing....

Is light leak through the viewfinder that terrible if you don't use the lens cap? (doesn't seem to be tons of light underwater...)

Btw, manual also says that the sun will damage the sensor in live view mode. So I guess one should not compose a sunset in live view (assuming one was inclined to ignore the fire warning at the beginning of the manual). :P

7)Do people shoot underwater in continuous mode? Of does the need for a flash make that impractical?

Edited by DavidScubadiver, 25 April 2008 - 07:24 PM.

Nikon D300/Ikelite housing and Ds-125 Strobe
Tokina 10-17mm
Nikon AFS 60mm

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#63 bruceterrill

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:33 PM

Hi David,
You don't use either of those two lenses underwater, you idiot... :P

You don't list where you are from, my friend, so I am assuming USA if you are looking at B&H?
When you are starting out in a new field (DSLR's) I think that you need to support the industry and get as much help and guidance as you can. B&H might be good for buying things like cameras and lenses, but I think that housings and strobes, etc., should be purchased from those who support us 24/7. If you look over to the right hand side of this forum, you will see a list of sponsors and there is none better than Ryan Canon and Berkley White. I believe that Berkley White has reports listed on his web-site regarding the camera and housings that you are looking at... I also know from personal experience that Ryan has very good prices and is available at any time for a quick chat regarding your intentions...

You have done the right thing by posting here at wetpixel, but you might want to start a new thread with your thoughts; not many people keep track of old threads...
Also run a search for the 'stuff' available because it's all been discussed here before...
HTH,
Bruce...

Edited by bruceterrill, 25 April 2008 - 08:37 PM.


#64 ornate_wrasse

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:54 PM

If you look over to the right hand side of this forum, you will see a list of sponsors and there is none better than Ryan Canon and Berkley White. I believe that Berkley White has reports listed on his web-site regarding the camera and housings that you are looking at... I also know from personal experience that Ryan has very good prices and is available at any time for a quick chat regarding your intentions....


Bruce has given you excellent advice. I'd like to add to his post and clarify that you can contact Ryan at Reef Photo & Video and you can contact Berkley at Backscatter. As Bruce has said, the links are on the right.

I've personally dealt with Ryan at Reef Photo & Video and have had nothing but positive experiences. After the plastic mount for my Focus Fix light on top of my Subal housing broke on a liveaboard, I visited the store in Ft. Lauderdale and Ryan and Shen (another wonderfully helpful employee at Reef Photo & Video) fixed it cheerfully for me without charge.

Ellen
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

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#65 mary122

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:08 AM

I am impressed how Nikon continues pay attention to ergonomics))
realy good quality, I love it