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Are They Pro quality image wise???


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#21 JackConnick

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 12:35 PM

Well, I have a different background.

I'm coming from film and a S&S MMIIEX. Which didn't have the greatest glass, it was ok though and got me published in XRay.

I switched over to an affordable Fuji F810 early this year. (BTW, the new E900 is a good improvement and fixes the battery issues and has a bigger screen.) The saturation and macro/CU images are very sharp. Here in the PNW, we don't have a lot of opportunities to shoot WA due to viz conditions.

But I just got back from a liveaboard trip to Mexico's Revellagegos Islands.

My experience is in terms of lens/sensor issues is that at ISO 100 I was forced to use a med/large aperture to shoot CF/WA and have some background. This made chroma issues much worse. If I added the Inon WA it got terrible, with blue lines around the critters. Even shooting RAW it was pretty bad. I fiddled with some settings, and at the end of the week I got better results, but still I had a lot of problems with it.

My end feeling is that I could of gotten better WA with my old film system. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going back, but I wasn't impressed. Combined with lag time (and the F8110 is pretty fast) and other issues, I'm hoping to get into a DSLR when I can afford it, maybe pickup up a used D70 or something.

Macro and fish portraits work fine. Using the Inon macro lens works great, maybe even less chroma (?). But reefscapes can be an issue.

That all being said, I used the camera professionally to shoot about 25 commercial properties for a real estate client, who was very impressed and I've made the camera pay off about 10X!

Jack

PS: You can compare the systems and photos at my Flickr site below.

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#22 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:30 PM

I think that this is a very interesting discussion. I think we have focused a lot on image quality, but the other factor that differentiates DSLR and Compacts is camera performance in helping you get the image in the first place.
There are certain images that you can get with a DSLR because of its superior AF and lack of shutter lag, that you wouldn't get on the compact. The DSLR doesn't only provide you with better quality images, but also allows you to take types of images the compact would fail to capture.

In fairness, I should mention that there are a few types of images that compacts will get that DSLRs might not. For example you can stuff a compact in a small hole, and I think the high DOF of small sensors in compacts can be a bonus for super-macro. But then who ever sold macro images for decent money!

Alex

p.s. here, for info, is the article about press photography with a compact that Cliffd referred to:
http://www.robgalbra...cid=7-6468-7844
There are two factors that matter here. First he has the talent and I am sure would produce great images with any camera. And second he made a conscious decision to choose the best tool for this job, knowing the field and output requirements. I am pretty sure if he was doing a studio shoot for a billboard poster he wouldn't have used a C5050.

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#23 motionsync

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 06:28 PM

I like to jump into this discussion and I will try to do my best with my poor english becauce it is a very hot topic.

It is true that often when we look at forums like wepixel and others there is very much discussions about terms, megapixels, AF systems sensors. etc..

There are rigs here that cost more that a car or a house, in some countries.
There are photographers that maybe have a great rig and we think that they don't use it to 100%

In the end a camera is just a tool, not more, not less. The photographer behind the camera is the master.

I dont think that everybody is a photographer just becauce he have a pro camera and take photos. I call them holiday shooters. The sea is full of them.
100s of photos of the same subject, same composition, just different equipment.

SORRY TO SOUND HARSH, BUT IT IS TRUE. There is a great lack on creativity in UW photography and this will not change with equipment.

But can we criticise like this? Off course NOT - becauce everybody likes to take the photos he likes to take..

The equipment is just helping to get it better...

My first camera was a Oly5050 with a INON lens
Now I have a D70s with Nikon lenses and soon will I have a D200

Will be a differece on my still ? NO!!!!!!!
in my compositions? NO!!!!!!!
in the qaulity off my images? YES!!!!!!

With time you see what you need and what you don't... until now I was asolutely uninterested in strobes - until, that is, that I saw some of my images needed some extra light. So now I will order a strobe and the equipment (if i learn to use it well) will give me better Photos..

I have a nice. I shoot freedivers. I am very new in the UW photography and everytime that i take a photo I see later on my computer that I could do it better.
So i try to learn to compose better to work the light better etc...
long learning curve.

But sometimes you see that you need other tools to make the job..

I just have people to ask my about posters... from a image that i have cropped.
It is imposible. I have tested it, to make very big prints with a 6MP camera. they are just not good. so next time i will have a 10milion pixels camera so that i can make posters etc..

Just a example.

and about myself... I have a great way to go to be a UW photographer. A very long way....but i have become better not becauce I have a better camera but becauce i have learned from Wetpixel members how to shoot UW.. the camera just help me to relize this.

Lambis
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#24 freediver

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:34 AM

Excellent points you raised, Paul.

It was my feeling back in the day when photog's started using autoexposure when I had come from the old school of total manual cameras (Old school Canon F-1's). Then I got my hands on the Canon T-90, and I was in heaven. I used 3 of those for all my work and to this day, I still say it was the best damn camera Canon ever produce - in fact - the best produced by any manufacturer! (I miss that camera)

Needless to say, I'm not trying to demean the craft of what we as photographers do, only to ask and dialogue with others to make sure that when I make my purchase - it really is the RIGHT one! :-)

Do it right the first time is my mantra...

I can remember the day when I got in to shooting where one spent a few hundred dollars and got up and running with what could be fairly serious gear - not it requires thousands and thousands of dollars.

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#25 FreediveWI

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 12:54 PM

Lots of great points on here and a very interesting read. I started snooping around again to see about a smaller camer for freediving, since I started eyeing up my wife's little casio compared to my 5050 w/ inon dome lens. It would be so small I could carry it on every dive and it would fit onto my speargun mount so much easier than my current camera.

Then, I get reading some of Fred, Lamibs, and Cliff's posts and you guys have me ready to sell a kidney so I can get a housed DSLR! :D I have even started hitting the camera shops to check them out and there are some big differences.

The shutter lag is much better than on my 5050- especially when shooting in RAW mode. That in iteself is huge, but having to use the viewfinder instead of a huge screen on the back of the camera is a drawback.

Being able to get a fisheye lens that's attached to the housing, instead of an add-on, would also make a big difference as I have found out recently- by trying to shoot split level shots with the pool while water drains out of my add-on lens. Thus, making me really work for those split level images in a way I wouldn't have to if I owned a DLSR.

Higher ISO for low light situations, since I no longer use strobes, also makes a difference- especially at depth or on wrecks. I can certainly talk myself into a DLSR, even if I can't convice my wife.

There are other drawbakcs, especially with freediving. I see that Lambis now wants to add in a strobe with his set-up to get more light. This will work, but it will also limit your depth with the camera. A friend of mine had me try out his camera system a couple of years ago (nikon F-4 with auto rewind in an Aquatica housing and dual Ikelite strobes) while we were diving this little wreck in 75' of water. Dragging that thing up and down almost killed me, where as I can go much deeper than that without the extra wieght of the strobes. The strobes, and strobe arms, really do add on a LOT more drag to the system while freediving- or even while scuba diving if your in a current like on Cozumel. If it had been my camera I think I would have just left it on the bottom and kept diivng down to it to take more shots, but it wasn't and he was a cop who carries his gun off duty. :D

I was hoping that the DLSR would eliminate the need for the strobes because everything can be touched up later.

Like Jack mentioned, I too came from a MMII background. I have had pictures published from images I took, in a series of shipwreck books, because they were decent enough pictures, but unique subjects. I know a skilled photographer can use almost anything, but then it's easier to do the job with the right tools.

Now, I am wondering if I would be better off to go with a fancier camera which will bring back better images, but will make me dedicate all of my time to JUST shooting images. Or, just getting something SO small that I bring it with me all the time no matter what I am doing in the water- freediving, spearfishing, teaching, or raising an airplane? There most be something to the shoot a 1,000 shots and get 2 that will turn out compared to spending all of your time concentrating to take 20 shots and get 2 to turn out- that's what my wife and my bank book would have me believe. :)

So much for my meandering on here. I am still looking through all of those posts on the DLSR thread. I have seen the 10.5 nikon lens and it is a nice piece of glass, but am floundering between a Canon eos350 and a nikon 70. I guess that some questions could be answered better over there, but maybe Lambis can give me his take on it quick. The 200 and the D20 seem to be a little bit too much out of my range right now- especially when you add in a housing. :rolleyes:

Jon

#26 freediver

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 03:49 PM

Hey Jon - long time No talk!!! :D

I was talking with Rodger Klein on Saturday and he highly recommended the INON strobes due to their compact size with a housed camera. Seems that 4 of them weighs as much as a single Ike 200!!!

If you're going to choose between the Eos and D70 - go Nikon - it's a better built camera. The EOS feels like a disposable camera.

On a side note I'm not going with either.. LOL

I've decided to go with 2 Olympus E-300's, 2 lenses, vertical battery grips and strobe, along with the dedicated housing - the grips for shooting above water.

I will then eventually get a second port and upgrade to the 7-14 (equiv to 14-28mm in 35mm), 11-22 lens (Equiv to 22-44 in 35mm) or even the 8mm Fisheye and dome port.

Sure it goes against the grain with the majority here, but I've concluded based upon my research, Olympus has the right idea by developing the whole system from scratch. Partnering with Koday, Sigma, Sanyo and Fuji on the 4/3 format. Their explination of standard lenses -vs- digital specific ones was an eye opener. Sure you can use your eos and nikkor lenses on any digital body, but you aren't going to get near the sharpness except with the digital specific lenses - especially at the edges.

I like the compactness of the Evolt E-300 and the cost of acquiring that setup, along with 8MP resolution and the housing will just be over budget by no more than $400.

Sure the other cameras and housing are nice, but we're talking practical here and I need to squeeze every dime out of my budget I can.

Regarding your 5050 - Have you looked at the dome port for the INON??? It is said to allow over/under shots without any problems. Might be a cost effective solution...

Cliff Etzel

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#27 FreediveWI

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 04:45 PM

I have the dome port- per your reccomednation last time. :D It works great underwater and for selfportaits- when you can't find a buddy. The problem is when trying to take a split shot you need to angle the housing just right or the water starts to leak back out of the space inbetween the housing and the lens attachment. A DSLR housing wouldn't have that gap inbetween where the add-on lens attaches so it would be easier to use.

How big is the e300? How big is the housing to go with it? I am still looking for small and am not interested in dragging strobes along. I looked at the d50 and the d70 and have read differing opinions on which is better- some people have the idea the 50 is better, but since the 70 costs more I would think that it has more features that would be nice to have.

With the vis we have around here most of the time I would just be looking for one lens- a 10.5 in the case of the nikon and whatever is the equivilent in any other camera. I stated looking at the eos 350 after reading Fred's raves about the D-20. Who makes the housing for the e300?

Jon

#28 freediver

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 04:50 PM

Olympus makes their own housing for it.. You can take a look at it here...

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


#29 ce4jesus

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 07:28 PM

Can I ask how much you paid for the E300 housing and dome port? I was considering that earlier but just couldn't justify the cost for as little diving as I do.

PS..not to enter the fray but if I were to sit through the Boston Symphany's worst performance of the year, I would never know it. :D However, I have worked with those people who take their hobby seriously and can distinguish the slightest deviation from perfection. These types make great musicians and I'm sure that holds true for photography as well. So while the professionals might argue quality of the photo, I'll lend my common vote to the artistic impression left on the reader who is left in awe by its magnificence.

Gary
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#30 FreediveWI

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 08:43 PM

OK Cliff,

I've had a chance to look at some reviews of the E300. I have a couple of questions.

First, why not the newer E500? Is it because Olympus doens't have a housing yet, just Ikelite, or is there something else wrong with the camera?

Second, some of the reviews say that it has a slower write time to CF if your shooting in RAW mode- and write time does matter when your diving on a single breath of air. :D

Third, I also read that it isn't as sharp at higher ISO ratings- above 400.

Having said all of that I LOVE the camera! It is much more within my budget and is also smaller and lighter- both very important for freediving photography! I also like the looks of the Olympus case- and the fact that it's good to 60 meters!

Jon

#31 freediver

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 10:38 PM

OK Cliff,

I've had a chance to look at some reviews of the E300. I have a couple of questions.

First, why not the newer E500? Is it because Olympus doens't have a housing yet, just Ikelite, or is there something else wrong with the camera?

Nothing wrong with the camera - just that there wasn't a housing other than Ike's... But I did feel that the E-300 did have some time out in the world and so had been a little more proven, same as the E-1

Second, some of the reviews say that it has a slower write time to CF if your shooting in RAW mode- and write time does matter when your diving on a single breath of air. :D

I think that when one is shooting images, one preplans as much as possible and then hopes for the best. But according to specs - it can shoot RAW/TIFF 4 frames at a pop. It's no Canon DII or Nikon D2X, but I am a firm believer in editing in the camera - just because you aren't shooting film doesn't give one license to shoot just for the sake of shooting. Edit in the camera. Make it difficult for you or your photo editor to pick the best images.

Third, I also read that it isn't as sharp at higher ISO ratings- above 400.

Only the high end pro cameras are going to give good image quality at the higher ISO ratings - Besides, I don't plan on shooting much below 10-15 meters while freediving - most of the light is going to fall off below that anyways. And I do plan on shooting with at least one strobe anyways, so...

Having said all of that I LOVE the camera! It is much more within my budget and is also smaller and lighter- both very important for freediving photography! I also like the looks of the Olympus case- and the fact that it's good to 60 meters! 

That was my feeling about the camera. I think Olympus is still getting a feel for the underwater realm for shooters, but from what I can see they are making a serious effort to meet a need that Nikon abandoned when they dropped the Nik V and RS.

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


#32 FreediveWI

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:22 AM

One other very cool thing aobut the E300 is the self cleaning ccd.

Have you found a price on the housing yet- as long with the dome port and fisheye lens?

It looks to be around the same size as my 5050. I shoot fish stuff in 10 meters of water, but like to wreck dive with it in 20-30 meters of water. Hitting the deeper stuff means a smaller camera, and ability to take more shots while I'm down there, more important that if I was tank diving.

Jon

#33 freediver

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:05 AM

Spoke with National Geographic photographer, David Doubelet on the phone this morning and he had some great insights on shooting underwater.

He is still shooting film most of the time while on assignment although slowly making the transition to digital. Of course due to his heavy investment in Nikon, he is going to their bodies. The thing that shocked me was his personal recommendation NOT to shoot Canon.

When it came to film, he said the Nik V with 15mm lens was the U/W Leica rangefinder equivilent - said no other setup (film or digital) could come close to the resolution that lens has. He also said he has noticable softening and chromatic abberation at the edges when shooting non-digital designed lenses and as such, has to shoot with only the center in mind when using his digital bodies.

His setup is a mix of film and digital bodies, 10 in all with housings, lenses, strobes, etc... Really nice guy - was very fortunate to get his insights.

Needless to say, it only solidified in my mind the choice of going with Olympus due to their design from the ground up philosophy.

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


#34 Paul Kay

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:35 AM

I don't know whether you ever view www.robgalbraith.com, if not you might find some very interesting comments amongst the vast amount of info available within the forums regarding lenses and digital.

Whilst I don't want to get involved in any sort of wrangling over better/worse equipment can I just state the following:

Canon and Nikon now produce substantially differing systems - FF and the smaller sensors do produce different results (they are akin to film 645 cameras and 35mm cameras). In my experience the FF Canons like to be used at wider apertures and when used appropriately can produce a stunning bokeh with some lenses. The new Nikons have a 'better' depth of field due to their smaller format as will, I assume, the Olympus.

The Canon FF cameras show up every flaw in lenses - especially wides. Since the Nikonos 15mm can only be used with film (unless someone is very good on DIY) it cannot be directly compared to digital and it is now, a relatively old design.

All this said, these are differences which by the look of the posts here are not as significant as other factors, but are points which I feel should be put on the record.
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#35 james

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 10:16 AM

This is a great thread! Definitely homepage material, I'll be adding it soon. What I'm seeing is a general consensus that when it comes to DSLR and Compact Digicams neither one is "better" it just depends on what you need it for.

Thom Hogan often talks about how Galen Rowell used a 35mm camera for his nature photography, instead of a MF setup. Everyone else was using a MF setup because of it's better image quality (due to a bigger "sensor" lol). Galen was able to get much better shots with the 35mm setup because he could get his camera where no photographer would be able to lug a MF setup - like hanging off the side of El Cap. in Yosemite valley or out the window of a helicopter or light plane flying over a herd of wildebeast, etc.

The compact vs dslr setup is much of a muchness.

Sometimes, the DSLR setup is just too big. Let's keep in mind that this thread was started by a freediver - so for him, a compact setup is everything. After that, all he needs is acceptable image quality and shutter lag and he will get the goods.

This is not the case for the majority of recreational divers though. Oftentimes, the shot is there and then it's gone, so shutter lag is important. We won't get a chance to try again when the next freediver comes down. We also shoot in a much less ideal situation - most freediving events are in pretty clear water (except for poor Lambis!) where you can use a low ISO and the water will still look smooth. Diving in California, Australia, or the PNW, blue or green water backgrounds can look very "dirty" as noise is accentuated by the dark waters and the floating particulates.

In any case, it all comes down to the old mantra 'the right tool for the right job.' I agree with what Alex said. To paraphrase: If you capture a photo of mating whalesharks, it won't matter what camera you used - the photo will sell. But if there are two identical shots, one taken with a DSLR and one with a compact - the editor will choose the DSLR shot every time. They won't even have to know which shot was taken with which camera, they'll just pick and it will be the taken by the photographer w/ the boatanchor.

Cheers
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#36 freediver

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 11:27 AM

I should state though that even though I am a freediver, Image quality is important enough that I am considering lugging a housed camera due to the added capabilities. Once the ideas were bounced around here in this thread, as well as chatting privately with other pro's, I realized that the point and shoot option would be great for snapshots, but not for serious work. Fortunately, I train enough at the gym to maintain my cardio fitness for freediving. I am scheduled to head off in January to train with a world reknowned freedive coach to get some added depth/time while shooting and freediving.

I also do tank dive - my poseidon regs and BC along with my Northern Diver Drysuit will get used with this setup as well, hence the decision to actually go DSLR.

Yes, I have been to Rob's sight, it was a major resource for me regarding Nikon DSLR's. But never being one to Trust experts outright, I decided to do my own research and discovered that there are some very real advantages to the Olympus system that could not be ignored.

It wil be interesting to be the "Odd Man Out" so to speak as compared to the shooters using Nikon and Canon, but hey, I've been a non-conformist my whole life - why change now.. :D

Cliff Etzel

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#37 Paul Kay

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 11:57 AM

James makes an interesting point. I'd not really considered the way that the 'shallower' depth of field from my FF Canon interacted with the 'green' water and suspended particulates, but of course it does and in a way which I personally like. Given that I usually operate in less than perfect conditions this is an advantage to me.

For freediving photography (which I have as yet not attepted) I would be interested to hear how the compacter cameras cope. Having seen some excellent results from such a camera recently, I can see that there are potential advantages. My concerns have always been to do with the absolute focus accuracy of such cameras (and for my sort of photographer still is), so I will be interested to read this thread as it (hopefully) continues and feedback is posted.
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#38 motionsync

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 12:20 PM

As a Freeiviing Photographer I can only say one thing about the compactes myth off compact cameras.
I have beginn with a Oly 5050 with a olympus housing Now i have a Nikon D70s with nexus housing.

My new setups is not bigger that the old one.. I fell it smaller underwater.. Its easear to use the buttons are on the correct place and everything is going smooth

Try to do Manual white balance with the Olympus 5050 just with one hand... imposible...

The DSLR Setup have not just the advantage off using better sensors or lenses. the biggest advandage is the AF system & ergonomy. The ergonomy that help you using the camera underwater without to thing 2 times how and where this funktion is..

With my Olympus i have fight all the time with my camera.. losing photos becauce of shutter lag or because its take time to chainge some settings.. with my nikon everything is going fast and easy. from the first day.. The problems that I have is low contrast and wrong port :-( but this have nothing to do with the choice or a DSLR system

Cliff look at the autofocus system on your Olympus. i think they have 3 red sensors. AF is very importand for freediving photography.. you just have not the time and peace to play around with camera settings.

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#39 FreediveWI

FreediveWI

    Triggerfish

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  • Location:Madison, Wisconsin
  • Interests:freediving, trimix, photography, wrecks, kayaking, running, skiing, underwater hockey, scuba instructor, ect.

Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:35 PM

It's about time you chimed in here Lambis! :D

It's nice ot hear that the housed D70 isn't that much bigger than the olympus you used to use- and I still do. Considering how small the 5050 is I was a bit taken aback when I saw how big my housing was! If there isn't that much of a difference is size, but a big difference in write speed and a reduction in high ISO noise I would consider it worth trading up- just have to convince the wife. :D

Since I don't use strobes the higher ISO settings look pretty attractive to me. Not having to carry around a strobe to offset a camera with poor low light capabilites would more than offset a slightly larger housing.

Cliff, I have now spent all of my freetime in the past day looking up info on your E300. Checking out prices on the Olympus housing and lenses, especially once you add in dome ports, seems to come out to be much more than putting a D70 in an Ikelite housing. I am still waiting to check on my shops current status as a Sea+sea dealer to check about getting into one of those instead. I can understand your excitement about a lens designed for a digital camera, but the other factors, which I stated above, have me leaning towards a D70.

Now, after reading through a lot of other threads on here, and seeing some Nikonos RS systems being blown-out on ebay for $1,500 ( that's gotta hurt! :rolleyes: ) I am thinking that there should be some used D70 systems comming onto the market by spring (Lambis? :) ) that we should be able to pick up once the D200's hit the market and people start 'Jonesen' for the next new toy.

Here's a shot that could have benifited from a higher ISO rating- and a faster write speed since I took it while freediving.

Jon

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  • waiting_for_students.jpg


#40 FreediveWI

FreediveWI

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Location:Madison, Wisconsin
  • Interests:freediving, trimix, photography, wrecks, kayaking, running, skiing, underwater hockey, scuba instructor, ect.

Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:46 PM

Split level shots are possible with my inon dome lens, but you really have to angle the camera just right so the water doesn't drain out. I also don't have the different diopeters on my lens like you can do with a dome port housing. This would make a big difference in this kind of shot where the surface is VERY bright, since the ground is covered with snow and the sun is shining, and the water is VERY dark, because of the snow cover blocking out sunlight to the lake below.

Jon

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  • ropes_split.jpg