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What to do with a maximum $4000 budget

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#1 downbelow



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Posted 30 September 2018 - 04:16 PM

I've been using a canon first generation g7x in a fantasea housing. It's worn out. I'm primarily going to use the camera for macro, and wide angle is secondary (but not unimportant). I'm a solid diver but my photography skills leave a lot to be desired so I'll have a steep learning curve. I'm interested in mirrorless for a lot of reasons including portability and have been looking at the Sony a6500 and Olympus omd em1 mk2 but prefer a nauticam housing. The a6500 seems to make more sense, but then the lens options appear to make the economics of the 2 pretty similar. Also looking at a used a7r2 but that seems overkill. Not really interested in much other than basic video. Not interested in using the camera on land. I have all I need in strobes and decent enough video lights so lighting isn't an issue. Camera, housing, and general starter lenses only with emphasis on good macro capability. I'm hoping to make this my last camera purchase in a long, long time but of course can add lenses as time goes by.
Any and all thoughts are appreciated up to and including it can't be done or I'm asking for too much or I'm crazy.

#2 ChrisRoss


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Posted 30 September 2018 - 07:07 PM

I use the EM-1 MKII with both the 60mm oly and 30mm panasonic macro lenses.  The C-AF plus tracking function works quite well on both lenses but a bit snappier on the 30mm.  I use the 30mm macro for more versatility as many of the dives I do around Sydney don't demand 1:1 macro and the 30mm macro handles things like a weedy sea dragon which is about 300-400mm long a lot better than the 60mm. 


Doing it on a $4K budget might be stretching it a little though, unless you wanted to go second hand.  For example a Nauticam setup is $5590 with a 60mm macro and pany 8mm fisheye.  The Aquatica housing is $400 cheaper, but the ports are more $$ so it adds up to be within $1-200 or so of the Nauticam, Olympus housing is similar.  You could probably get closer with ikelite, maybe $4700.


If you were to compromise on the camera You could get a Nauticam setup for $4300 if you went with the EM-5MkII.  I had the EM-5 II previously and it was a great little setup, the main downside compared to the EM-1 II was AF hunted a little on the 60mm macro and tended to lock onto floaties in the water (Sydney temperate water diving)  if you are doing clear water tropical diving may be less of an issue for you.  I'd suggest going onto one of the UW photo stores websites and start filling carts to compare pricing.

#3 downbelow



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Posted 30 September 2018 - 08:43 PM

Thank you Chris for taking the time to give me a thoughtful answer.

Edited by downbelow, 30 September 2018 - 08:45 PM.

#4 bvanant


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Posted 02 October 2018 - 08:28 AM

If you are mostly interested in video, then I think you might want to look at the Panasonic versions. like the GX9. I think the nauticam housing is $1450, the camera is $1000 (with the 12-60 lens sadly). The only 60 macro is $400 and the Pany 8 is $800. that is $3600 for the system leaving you $400 for ports. The Nauticam flat port is $300 so you need to find a $100 dome for the Pany. The nauticam 4 inch dome is $495 so you are about $4400. 

You could also go and get a used GH4 for that kind of price.

If you are interested in stills mostly then the Olympus is quite a good call.


Canon 7d, Nauticam, Lots of glass, Olympus OMD-EM5, Nauticam, 60 macro, 45 macro, 8 mm fisheye, Inon, S&S, Athena Strobes plus lots of fiddly bits.