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I'm new! What camera/housing/strobe should I buy?


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#1 wetpixel

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 11:10 PM

Since everyone new seems to ask this (if they don't ask, they are afraid to ask because they'll be told to do some research first. :D ), I'm creating a new topic and pinning it to the top. Please post opinions that might benefit a digital diving newbie. :)

I'll retire this thread every few months and create a new pinned thread as new equipment comes out.
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -

#2 grasshopper

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 05:07 PM

I don't know if this is the correct forrum, but here is my opinion on some vendors:

Adorama (very good prices, no customer service, not helpful when I sent e-mails, didn't let me know that an item was out of stock that I had ordered)

BHphoto (very good prices, not especially helpful by e-mail, helpful by phone with purchase and questions)

underwaterdigital (good prices, responsive by e-mail, very helpful)

www.underwatercamerapros.com (good prices, very helpful by e-mail and phone; Ryan went the extra mile to get me what I needed prior to a dive trip; he was also up front when he couldn't get me something in time, great guy)

I'll post again when I've tried out my stuff in Bonaire

Cheers,

Sean :huh:

#3 warith

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 10:40 PM

My 2c:

I have owned two underwater cameras previously (two point-and-shoot minoltas). I do not dive, however have many thousands of hours snorkelling, and enjoy (very) amateur underwater photography (as well as collecting old bottles while snorkelling . This time I saved all my pennies for a few years, and bought an Olympus 4000 with an Olympus PT-010 housing. I can't remember the exact prices; I think the combination was around USD$800 all up, delivered (perhaps less).

I bought the camera from "www.buyright.com" and the housing from "www.underwaterdigital.com".

Buyright were cheap and fast and I'd recommend them. Prior to purchasing my camera I rang a number of the other NY based "ultra cheap" places that advertise so much on the 'net. After a number of calls I was very annoyed and totally disgusted with them all, and I'm since convinced they are mostly thieves and liars. Avoid the ultra-cheap places unless you have money to burn!

After having a few problems getting my housing I contacted Allan at Underwaterdigital. At this point I'd wasted three weeks mucking around with the NY rip-off stores and had other problems with getting the setup. Underwaterdigital came to the rescue and with only three days left before my plane was leaving for The Barrier Reef the purchase was initiated, completed and delivered to NY. Saved my holiday from near-disaster!!

This was December. Since then I've been enjoying the Australian summer and have taken perhaps a thousand pictures. In fact I've been having such a good time taking the pictures that I haven't spent any time yet working out how to 'touch them up' to make them look better (so I haven't displayed any yet).

The camera setup I've just purchased is fantastic for my purposes, it takes fantastic images and it's internal flash is quite suitable while diving in clear waters to about 10M depth, for objects within 5M range. It's optical magnification and focus are both excellent and I believe it's an excellent option for a person with a limited budget, or who only snorkels. Of course I'd now buy the Oly5050 and a PT-015... Perhaps I'll convince the wife I need to upgrade already... (about the time that pigs start flying about).


regards
Dave

#4 SeanC

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 06:03 PM

After two terrible (but fun) rolls of film with a disposable camera in Cozumel last year, I've been looking around recently for my first "proper" underwater camera (to take pictures with more colors than blue in them!). The one that I really like is the Canon Powershot S400 with additional housing, but I can't tell if this is compatible with an external flash.

Has anyone tried the Canon Powershot series? Are they any good? .. and is an external flash absolutely necessary? If not Canon, what would you recommend in the same price / compact category?

I'll check out the Olympus 4000 / 5050 now - thanks Dave!

Regards

Sean.

#5 SeanC

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 07:55 PM

I should have searched the rest of this site first! - Excellent job guys! Fantastic resource!

I'll definitely be checking out the Olypus 5050 in more detail and maybe the Canon G2/3. Ikelite housing seems to be the way forward, and a stobe, for sure. ..........

Dear Bank Manager .......

-------------------------

Thanks to everyone for answering my questions in advance.

Sean. :)

#6 SeanC

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 02:33 PM

Hmmm, I looked at the Olympus 5050 and G3. Both seem great. I think the 5050 above the G3. Here's my dilemma: I only get to dive for about 2 weeks of the year. With the other 50 weeks I'd like a decent, compact, point and shoot, that I can put in my pocket and take anywhere. I'm a complete beginner and would only be taking underwater shots for fun (for now). Would I be wasting money with the Powershot S400, housing and strobe set-up?

Does anyone / has anyone used a similar set up? - and how are / were the results?

Grateful for any advice / past experiences...

Sean

#7 jupiter

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 01:10 AM

I'm quite happy with my Canon Powershot G2 + Aquamir housing. The camera seems to be still availlable here and there, the housing definitely is (I got it from digitalEyes - quick replies, fast delivery).

I like the G2 better than the G3, because you see half of the zoom-optics through the viewfinder of the G3 and I find the G2 more ergonomic.

The Aquamir housing is teriffic. Unlike the orignial Canon housings, it's safe for 180 feet (10bar!) and you have buttons for really all camera functions. Compared to other housings, it's rather inexpensive (I paid ~700 US$).

Next thing I definitely need is an external strobe - any recommendations?

#8 Archdaledoc

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 09:14 AM

I am currently shooting a Sealife Reefmaster 35mm. I wondered if anyone is using their digital DC200. I have also seen advertised the DC310, but not from sealife yet. Any word on when that will be released?

#9 Simon K.

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 12:11 PM

The Camera inside the housing is not very state of art, and I won't recommend to do the investion.

You get nice Consumer Cameras with affordabe hoiusings from Canon/Olympus/Sony et.al.

They may be a bit more expensive but you get a better value for your money.

I don't see any sense to spend a lot of money on a cheap camera in a cheap housing.

Simon

#10 tpscuba

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 06:01 AM

I'm about half way completed with my underwater camera. (Yes it took a lot of research.) All that is left is the strobe. I purchased a Canon Powershot Sxx series with Canon underwater casing and am looking at the Ikelite and Sea and Sea strobes now leaning towards the Sea & Sea.

My goal was to find a great camera that could be made into an underwater camera that was relatively inexpensively and that would last for many years and not become technologically obsolete. I wanted a great digital camera to use above water as we only dive a few times a year.

The Canon Powershot S45 is 4mp and S50 is 5mp. Find a local camera store and work the prices down. They have room to play. Most of the canon cameras have housings made by Canon and can be bought for under $200 doing the same (bargain the price down). I got it for $175 listed on Canon's website for $240.

The downfall to the canon housings are they are only good to 100/130ft depending on which camera series you buy. For me as a recreational diver, that is fine. I will sacrafice going belolw 100ft or not photograph that dive. Although I have heard many people take it lower. My local dive shop liked it but thought there were too many buttons on the case (more chances for leakes). But hey, for the price, I will never complain! It sure beats paying $500-1500 for a custom housing!

The Canon Powershots take incredible pictures above water even in low light! It has exceeded all of my expectations and I don't know of any consumer cameras that do a better job!!

One final recommendation, get insurance! (DEPP Flood Insurance) Just in case!

Hope this helps!

#11 Pyrfan

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Posted 21 June 2003 - 07:09 PM

Hi all - I am a bit confused so here goes. I started looking big but got killed by price (Cool Pix 5000, Light and Motion housing and strobes)(Recommended by my dive shop owner)(Probably should have the new roof on the house before a $5000 camera setup). Then started looking at consumer products. Does anyone have a comparison opinion on the Canon S50, the Sony DSC-p10, and the Olympus 5050? They all have housings available from the manufacturer. Is one better for strobing than the others? Is there a place to learn about this? I am off at the end of July for a dive trip. Thanks. :D :(

#12 raytibbles

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 04:32 PM

I would also like to hear some views from people who have used various digital systems. I have a canon s30 with the canon housing. It's ok but to be honest, I have some real problems getting the darn thing to focus properly (especially macro shots). I read the stuff on the canon Japan site which helped a lot. But, it still seems to be very problematic. Last week I was in sipidan/mabul and finally had that perfect opportunity to get a good madarin fish shot. Unfortunately it was out of focus. For me at least this is not an easy camera to use. I would love to hear from more of the rest of you. I am seriously thinking about a change to the Olympus 5050.

Ray

#13 Simon K.

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 12:39 AM

A stupid question (I did the mistake my self): Did you use the Macro Mode?

Simon

#14 raytibbles

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 01:26 AM

Not stupid at all. The answer is yes, I did use the macro mode. I am sure that there are cases where that was my problem (got in a hurry), but not this time.

Ray

#15 Simon K.

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 01:31 AM

I get pretty good Focus with the Macro Mode. Then try the Manual Focus. Its not very confy but it works.

Simon

#16 Stroz

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 11:06 AM

Hello all,
I am hoping that you could maybe help a complete beginner to get started.
I am off to micronesia for a couple of weeks. I would like to take some digital photos.
I have $700.00 to spend on a set up.
Can I get anything for $700.00 that is worthwhile? If so what should I buy?
Should I just buy the slides, or video that I am sure the dive op will offer me?
I have access to Photoshop and have a god laptop with burner to take already.
Just need to find a camera, housing, (and lights?).
Thanks in advance for all advice.

Patrick

#17 PhotoNut

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 01:06 PM

I just got an Olympus C5050 with the Olympus Underwater Housing #PT-014.
Have to save a few more pennies to get an external strobe because I understand the images come out much better with a strobe. My bifocal lenses were fogging up so I was just pointing and shooting. Better luck next time. Anyway, click on the link to see the first pictures out of this setup.
http://www.pbase.com/krishnadas/diving

#18 TedJ

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 04:27 PM

I hope you meant that you got the PT-015 housing which is the one that matches the C-5050z. If not you need to exchange the PT-014.
TedJ

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#19 PhotoNut

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 09:58 AM

I am seriously thinking about a change to the Olympus 5050. 

I have a Canon 1D but I can't afford a good case. So I got the Oly c5050 and the PT-015 case. No Flash yet. This link point to my first time out.
http://www.pbase.com/krishnadas/diving
I realise I have a lot to learn but at least I got some pictures out the first time. Need to save my pennies and get a good external flash such as Ikelite Substrobe DS-50 Package for other brand Housings (Canon, Olympus, Sony) $450.

#20 PhotoNut

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 10:00 AM

I hope you meant that you got the PT-015 housing which is the one that matches the C-5050z.  If not you need to exchange the PT-014.
TedJ

You're right - PT-015 is the one I got.