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advice for a p&s canon digital compact


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#1 pbella29

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 09:03 AM

hi,

just looking for some recommendations from divers that have experience with canon point and shoot digital compacts.

im looking for something 6 - 7mp, movie mode, wide to short tele zoom, small and light, with a 40m rated housing available.

i've been looking here

http://www.camerasunderwater.co.uk

but there is quite a choice and it would kinda be a stab in the dark for me.

best regards, paul.

Oo forgot to mention i'm looking at a budget of approx £400 for both camera and housing. :)

#2 LChan

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:08 AM

i have a Canon SD550 with a Canon underwater housing.
i originally bought it for my gf last xmas, but we had a big fight, and now it is mine!

i like this camera. wide screen in the back, 7 megapixel. the video is probably not as good as the larger Canon digi but it is pretty good. Small footprint. Fits well in my BCD pocket, so when i'm tired of shooting my dSLR, i pull it out. Usually it is because i want to shoot video, or because i'm shooting supermacro (105mm) and something big comes along.

i bought the whole setup for B&H here in the US for $550. $400 for the camera and 150 for the housing. I think Canon has just upgraded to the SD700. I don't know anything about it but it is supposed to have Image Stabilization. Whatever that is worth.
Nikon D200 - Subal housing - 10.5mm, 12-24mm, 17-35mm, 60mm, 105mmVR - Dual Ikelite DS-125 - ULCS arms.
Canon SD550 - Canon housing (pocket videocam)

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#3 pbella29

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:48 AM

thx for the reply - has been really helpful.

im guessing the ixus 800 IS is the UK equivalent of the SD700 IS

http://www.canon.co....al_IXUS_800_IS/

and here i can buy camera and housing together for only slightly more than my intended budget.

http://www.camerasun...s800/index.html

great advice, thx again.

regards, paul.

#4 LChan

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:09 AM

cool

last piece of advice.

Canon in a fit of stupidity made housings that are for divers (rated to 130ft) and for snorkelers (rated to 10 ft). The cost differential is small. But, it could be a HUGE problem for the diver with the wrong housing. Some housings are only made for the higher or lower rating. So buyer beware. Make sure you have the right camera with the right housing.
Nikon D200 - Subal housing - 10.5mm, 12-24mm, 17-35mm, 60mm, 105mmVR - Dual Ikelite DS-125 - ULCS arms.
Canon SD550 - Canon housing (pocket videocam)

Larry Chan -- My Webpage

#5 GMcCarthy

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 03:49 PM

Re: Depth ratings on the Canon UW housings: if the product code starts with "WP", (for WaterProof) they're generally good to 120 feet (40m); if it starts with "AW" (for All Weather), they're only good down to 10 feet (3m).

#6 naca-yoda

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 03:31 PM

Hey all,

After some serious consideration of the canon A540 my plans at a AA powered gem have been dashed. My fiance, who is the actual intended recipient (I get a more serious Sony R1, she gets the play thing) played with the A540 in a store, she has decided it is way too bulky for her "needs".

Drats. Battery charger #3 here we come. For an extra AUD$100 I am looking at the considerably smaller Canon PowerShot SD630 (IXUS 65). With the WP-DC3 Underwater Case it should be able to do everything the A540 can... with a custom battery and a smaller flash.

Anyone have any experience with this camera? Any noteworthy drawbacks noted?

I looked at other brands but they seem to be lacking in quality or function (namely, not being able to record 640x480 video at 30fps).

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Cheers,
Anthony.


ps. Is it just me, or is WetPixel one of the slowest websites on the internet. I find it astonishingly slow, from a number of PCs using different internet providers.

#7 anthp

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 07:43 PM

Hi Anthony,

For underwater use, the ixus 65 is poor choice. It lacks any control over shutter speed and aperture. What lead you away from the suggestions provided by several members in this other thread?

http://wetpixel.com/...topic=14497&hl=

The Fuji F30 records video at 640x480 30fps and has aperture/shutter speed control. It is also a much better camera for topside use than the ixus 65 due to its high ISO performance. The F30 will have no trouble with an external optically triggered flash because you can set the shutter speed.

Also, given your stated criteria as a "'duck-diving, daylight snokeller", the advantages of using a magic filter with higher ISO would seem to be appealing.

Finally, pricewise in Australia, the Canon and the Fuji seem to be on a par.
Anthony Plummer
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#8 anthp

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 07:55 PM

Oh and Paul - glad to hear you are back considering diving again!

I would recommend you consider the F30 as an option too. It is within your budget.
Anthony Plummer
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#9 anthp

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 08:36 PM

ps. Is it just me, or is WetPixel one of the slowest websites on the internet. I find it astonishingly slow, from a number of PCs using different internet providers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I suspect the predicted wetpixel downtime during the server upgrade may be contributing to general slowness at the moment.
Anthony Plummer
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#10 naca-yoda

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 07:42 PM

Hi Anthony,

For underwater use, the ixus 65 is poor choice. It lacks any control over shutter speed and aperture. What lead you away from the suggestions provided by several members in this other thread?

http://wetpixel.com/...topic=14497&hl=

The Fuji F30 records video at 640x480 30fps and has aperture/shutter speed control. It is also a much better camera for topside use than the ixus 65 due to its high ISO performance. The F30 will have no trouble with an external optically triggered flash because you can set the shutter speed.

Also, given your stated criteria as a "'duck-diving, daylight snokeller", the advantages of using a magic filter with higher ISO would seem to be appealing.

Finally, pricewise in Australia, the Canon and the Fuji seem to be on a par.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks for your reply anthp,

As my fiance has rejected the Canon A540 on the basis it is too bulky, so also is the SP-350 disqualified. The other suggested camera on the other thread was the e900 - also too bulky.

The FujiFilm F30 is definately on size and on budget. Unfortunately the reviews leave me with many concerns as to its performance. in particular purple fringing was identified as a problem, one of my pet hates (see dpreview conclusion).

I don't agree that the IXUS 65 (SD630) suffers from noise problems. One review (of the IXUS 60, practically the same camera but with a viewfinder) states that "shots taken at ISO 400 were on par with most competitor's ISO 200 or even 100 settings". Seems Canon have worked hard to achieve great results in low light (see imaging resource review).

The lack of control over aperture & shutter speed on the 65 is a definate shortcoming. Honestly though, my thought is that in a snokelling environment (ie, no air supply when skin-diving to subject depths) I won't have endless time to set manual controls anyway - so I'd likely be on 'auto' regardless.

Cheers,
NY

ps. All your feedback has made me focus my research in areas and review products I hadn't previously considered. Thank you all.

#11 anthp

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 08:11 PM

Hi NY,

I understand eliminations based on size...

Also, if you are only going shallow/bright/clear conditions (ie. clear tropical waters) then the SD630 may be a reasonable choice. I take your point about snorkelling and having little time to adjust settings. Are you ever planning on scuba diving with the camera?

Regarding the noise issue. The SD630 is perhaps slightly better than average compared to other offerings, but as I was trying to point out - the F30 is in a different league. In the dpreview article you reference Simon notes: "...the F30 is by far the most capable compact camera on the market when it comes to shooting at higher ISO's - in low light. It also offers one of the highest resolutions on the market, meaning sharp, detailed images (and at lower ISO settings even low contrast detail such as hair and foliage is captured well, without the usual blurring effect of heavy noise reduction."

These characteristics, along with it's low shutter lag make it an excellent candidate for underwater photography. And if you ever decide to go deeper on scuba for example, will make it a good candidate for filter photography. Simliarly, the manual control make it a good option for adding an external flash.

Regardind purple fringing - I agree it is objectionable - however it is worth remembering that it mainly occurs only in a small percentage of photographs where high contrast conditions occur, such sky set against a very dark foreground. It is also relatively easy to remove in post production in those few instances. It is not a deal killer for me, but YMMV.

I'm not trying to talk you out of the SD630, just trying to provide some alternative perspectives.
Anthony Plummer
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#12 sshawn09

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 06:16 AM

I own a sd600, I like it, but the pics arnt what I really wanted... so I was told to go for an external strobe, which I outfitted myself with a ys-50. Check back soon for results.

#13 mschiff

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 11:35 AM

My wife has an SD500, and a Canon housing for it, and it works very nicely. Here are some pictures I took with it at Stingray City in Cayman.

Posted Image

Posted Image

If I were you, I would get the SD870IS. It has a wider angle lens which will help you get closer underwater, and it is very small which will please your wife. I have some pictures at home that my son took in Belize on a reef with the SD500 if you would like to see some. He got some very respectable pictures.

Actually, if you can find a used S70, it makes a great underwater camera and is small (though not quite as small and light as the SD series), AND it takes RAW images which is a HUGE plus for UW photgraphy. I took this one with an S70 in Belize using an Ikelite Substrobe 125.

Posted Image

You can see lots more pictures with the S70 from Belize [url="http://"%20<a%20href="http://www.pbase.com/mschiff/belize""%20target="_blank">http://www.pbase.com/mschiff/belize"</a>"]here[/url].


-- Martin

#14 DesertEagle

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:39 PM

Nice shots in Cayman.

Good luck finding anything smaller than the Canon A540 and A570 with manual controls.

I used to have a Fuji F31fd. It was great for low light situations, but had some serious color problems. Many of my photos required post processing to look good. I paid $189 after rebate, and sold it for $340 on eBay.

If you want a small camera with wide angle lens and great movie mode, check out the Panasonic FX35 and FX37. I got my FX37 on Amazon, soon after they became available. The FX37 has a 25-125mm equivalent lens and shoots 720p, 30fps video. Panasonic's housing is compatible with Inon's AD mount lenses, including the super wide one. Photos at ISO 100 and 200 show some noise but will still make good enlargements. When viewing ISO 200 at 100%, the noise is definitely there. Viewed at 67% things look very nice. There are some downsides: battery life is average. The movie files are huge and the sound isn't good, but they look excellent when viewed on my HDTV through a component cable. And it doesn't have much manual control. But if you want small and versatile, this is the camera to beat.
Canon 30D. Olympus SP-310, PT-030 housing with Sea & Sea 16mm lens. Sea&Sea YS-50 and YS-60 stobes. Heinrichs-Weikamp DA2 adapter. ULCS base & arms. A little Magic (original & auto).

#15 House

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 11:26 AM

If you want a small camera with wide angle lens and great movie mode, check out the Panasonic FX35 and FX37. I got my FX37 on Amazon, soon after they became available. The FX37 has a 25-125mm equivalent lens and shoots 720p, 30fps video. Panasonic's housing is compatible with Inon's AD mount lenses, including the super wide one. Photos at ISO 100 and 200 show some noise but will still make good enlargements. When viewing ISO 200 at 100%, the noise is definitely there. Viewed at 67% things look very nice. There are some downsides: battery life is average. The movie files are huge and the sound isn't good, but they look excellent when viewed on my HDTV through a component cable. And it doesn't have much manual control. But if you want small and versatile, this is the camera to beat.


When you say "it doesn't have much manual control", what do you mean and how does it compare to the Canon A570 and Fuji F30(31, 40, ...)?
I have always had Canons (replacing an a70), so I'm leaning towards an a570, but I like the idea of being able to shoot wide screen video at 720p or 480p with the FX37.
Are there any other options, which will shoot at least 480p wide screen, that I should consider?

Thanks!

#16 greedo5678

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 10:00 AM

Im a huge fan of the canon range, the powershots are good with a fair few manual controls, but they have BIG downsides! 1stly the silly slide open lens covers... not accessible in a housing, so either youre closing the housing seconds before you enter the water, to save battery, which i think could only increase the chance of floods, or open the lens, close the housing then kit up while your camera waits for you - nothin worse than running out of battery mid dive. 2ndly - AA batteries!! If you have any care for the planet (and you should, youre divers) get a camera with a lithium-ion battery. A weeks diving means about 40 dead batteries to dispose of.
And for those 2 reasons and more i chose the ixus 85 (possibly called something else in usa) . An amazing small camera with good high, quality lens. a small housing and good battery life in a Li-ion. The bit that swayed me over Olympus, pentax, fuji etc was the ability to set the direct print button to an option of your choice - of course UWP's will choose the custom White Balance! So 1 button to set your WB is amazing, no fidly menus etc. Macro also goes down to 4cm and digi macro to about 2 but no flash fires with digi macro.
Canon have updated the ixus 85, with the 90 and added to the range with 870 and 970 etc but they added a silly wheel to get to some manual menus which, of course, you cant get to in the housing so some options just not available UW. a pity with the expanded screen and better MP count.
Anyway, the 85 is great camera. ive added a stobe, a macro lens for super close ups and WA lens too.
Im off to the philippines in 3 days for a long dive trip so maybe i'll post some pics in the contest soon!

Olly
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Canon 7D, Nauticam NA-7, Canon 100, Tokina 10-17, Canon 18-55, Twin Inon Z-240s, Anthis Woody Dipotre, homemade snoot.
MY GALLERY

#17 House

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:39 AM

Im a huge fan of the canon range, the powershots are good with a fair few manual controls, but they have BIG downsides! 1stly the silly slide open lens covers... not accessible in a housing, so either youre closing the housing seconds before you enter the water, to save battery, which i think could only increase the chance of floods, or open the lens, close the housing then kit up while your camera waits for you - nothin worse than running out of battery mid dive. 2ndly - AA batteries!! If you have any care for the planet (and you should, youre divers) get a camera with a lithium-ion battery. A weeks diving means about 40 dead batteries to dispose of.
And for those 2 reasons and more i chose the ixus 85 (possibly called something else in usa) . An amazing small camera with good high, quality lens. a small housing and good battery life in a Li-ion. The bit that swayed me over Olympus, pentax, fuji etc was the ability to set the direct print button to an option of your choice - of course UWP's will choose the custom White Balance! So 1 button to set your WB is amazing, no fidly menus etc. Macro also goes down to 4cm and digi macro to about 2 but no flash fires with digi macro.
Canon have updated the ixus 85, with the 90 and added to the range with 870 and 970 etc but they added a silly wheel to get to some manual menus which, of course, you cant get to in the housing so some options just not available UW. a pity with the expanded screen and better MP count.
Anyway, the 85 is great camera. ive added a stobe, a macro lens for super close ups and WA lens too.
Im off to the philippines in 3 days for a long dive trip so maybe i'll post some pics in the contest soon!

Olly


Thanks for the reply. Not being able turn the camera on or off with the housing closed would certainly be a problem. Luckily, the model I am looking at in the USA does not have the slide open lens cover that you describe.
On AA batteries, I take a different view. I use rechargeable eneloop AA batteries. These have a lot of capacity plus they discharge very slowly. The claim is that they can sit for a year and will still hold 70% of a full charge. From my experience that seems to be true.
The advantage to me is that if something goes wrong, I can pick up new rechargeable, or disposable batteries just about any place I might be.
Have a great time in the Philippines. Some day I hope to dive the pacific, but that may be a long way off.

#18 Zuludigital

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 12:36 AM

I purchased for a nice price <$900 the PowerShot SD870 IS, Canon Camera Housing, Sea&Sea YS-27DX Kit

The camera a 28mm wide angle and has great close focus.
The housing is inexpensive and works great. Good build quality - easy to clean seal which only needs to be done once before trip. I've taken the Camera to 100ft more than once.
The Sea&Sea strobe is also about the cheapest strobe with a variable power flash for exposure - a must have for this non hot sync set up. If you have the money an Ion strobe (that could be later use with a hot sync) would be a good option.

As an above land photographer - I was shooting OK photos on the 1st dive and very good photos by dive 3 etc.. Most all these shots are from system
http://packerlighting.com/Fiji_WEB/
The movie mode was a blast to use and the right size for LCD talks and online publishing. One plus point is that you can zoom the camera while taking a movie. A very useful feature. I understand some camera (including some canons) don't allow this.

Main complaints: that I wish the camera had aperture priority.
Also some settings you wish would not reset when you turn the camera off - reset.
I found the camera battery on the short side but not prohibitive - I adapted to it no problems.

ZD

Edited by Zuludigital, 13 February 2009 - 12:40 AM.


#19 Maarten_NL

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:15 AM

I purchased for a nice price <$900 the PowerShot SD870 IS, Canon Camera Housing, Sea&Sea YS-27DX Kit


Do you have a VGA 30fps movieclip from that camera?
UW Setup: Canon EOS 50D / 60mm Macro f2.8 / Tamron 17-50 f2.8 / Sea&Sea YS27DX / Seatool housing

#20 Zuludigital

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:33 AM

Do you have a VGA 30fps movieclip from that camera?


Only a 30 frame/s AVI unless there's a way to output what you ask using adobe elements. ZD

I have a couple movies here:

http://packerlightin...magepage30.html
http://packerlightin...agepage179.html

Edited by Zuludigital, 13 February 2009 - 05:52 AM.