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Housings with no viewfinder, monitor only, opinions ?


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#1 ronrosa

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 02:25 PM

I was a little suprised when Amphibico told me the Endeavor housing did not have a viewfinder as an option and only came with a permanently mounted monitor.

How reliable are these things ? I'd hate to have some kind of failure with the monitor, batteries or electrical connections and then be stuck not being able to see what I am filming.

#2 PnL

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:27 PM

I would imagine its about as reliable as the LCD monitor on your camera. Batteries might die, the cable to your camera might go bad, or the LCD might crap out. But these are the same things on your camera LCD, no?

Perhaps this raises the failure points by two?

Besides, shouldn't you be able to frame your subjects without the viewfinder by now? :blush:

BTW - I'm eagerly waiting for you to get the Endeavor and post some clips :ninja:

Edited by PnL, 26 March 2007 - 03:27 PM.


#3 Scuba_SI

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:39 PM

I think it dramatically increases the chances of things going wrong on a trip. on an old fashioned amphib, you could sometimes get away with flooding it and putting a backup camera in the next day. With a monitor only back it's definitely going to need to go back for service.

You'll need to carry extra batteries and chargers for it = more things to go wrong, at least with an external one you can leave it off for a dive if your battery charger gets unplugged by someone or they circuit breaker goes etc.

The LCD in your camera is old technology, tried and tested, a HD monitor in a housing, not so sure on that, im sure its thoroughly tested, but i'd like to have access to the viewfinder too.

I think it's great for an occasional shooter who can get it serviced often, but if it's to be used a lot i'd be cautious. I used a sea and sea housing ages ago with a monitor back, but we had the viewfinder back as a backup. It was way easier to shoot with the monitor back, but.... if it goes down :blush:

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#4 Drew

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 11:32 PM

An LCD monitor should technically have the same life span anywhere but you have a few variables to deal with:
Connections: With a camera, it's fully assembled and designed to be integral with the camcorder. Whereas in a housing it's dissassembled, reassembled in the housing with new connectors etc. That alone creates new variables and possible failure points. However that said, my monitors from 8 years ago still works (albeit a lot dimmer!).
LCDs are nice and big but the viewfinder is better for focus and accurancy. With video peaking focus however, the LCD wins hands down(BUT...read further!)
Battery: Often battery life is not indicated unlike on the camcorder. So you run the risk of running out on a dive if you are not religious in replacing the battery after so many on hours etc.
Camera indicators: Zebra and Peaking are usually not available in the videoout (For Sony, haven't checked for Canon). Depends on the camera. Basically without zebra and peaking, 2 of the crucial functions when in manual mode is handicapped.

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#5 DeanB

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:45 AM

No viewfinder eh...

Thats mad, we will go from no monitor to two of the bleeding things...I like external monitors... Does this mean I'd have to have two..Thats even more trouble if things go wrong.

I love the look of the Endy but it keeps getting worse the more I find out... :(

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#6 johnny boy

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 02:25 PM

I was suprised when i saw the recent pictures with the endeavor having a monitor back and no viewfinder. It somehow seems 'not right', dunno how to describe it really. I suppose you can't beat a good old fashioned optical, no frills, viewfinder. Having seen the endeavor, i'm glad i went the FX1/L & M blue fin route. Just wish the FX1 had HDMI out instead of just component.

#7 sjspeck

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 04:34 PM

Just curious, does anyone know if the monitor is self-powered or uses the camcorder batteries. On their EVO HD SE model, the monitor back also limits the length of the camcorder batteries that can be used, not sure if this is the same.

Edited by sjspeck, 27 March 2007 - 04:34 PM.


#8 ronrosa

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 05:23 PM

On the Endeavor, the monitor has it's own set of batteries. If memory serves me correctly, it was 4 AA's on the inside of the door.

When I 1st saw the rear mounted monitor, I thought wow, that's a nice option, I could start out with a viewfinder and then upgrade to the monitor after saving some more money and still have the viewfinder as a backup. Surprise, surprise, no viewfinder at all.

Edited by ronrosa, 27 March 2007 - 05:48 PM.


#9 PnL

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:26 PM

So has it been confirmed that Amphibico will not be making a back with a view finder? It does seem surprising that they won't make this an option. I prefer the monitor myself, but I do agree with the points made here about the additional complexity which is added to the rig.

#10 Drew

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:29 PM

Guys
The Sea & Sea VX2000 housing had a monitor back for the PD150/170/VX2k/2100 and they for the most part it was good. But I like to use manual exposure for shoot using 100% zebra, and the LCD doesn't show zebra. I still don't think they show up on the new cameras, which is stupid but I guess how the circuitry is laid out.
One of the best features for macro shooting is peaking for focus, and that isn't shown. However, if the monitor is sharp enough, it may be moot. I suppose calibrating the monitor to the camera will be key for exposure.

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#11 DeanB

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 03:15 AM

That must of been tough shooting under a hundred Zebra..

I thought one would have been heavy enough..Your a strong man Drew...

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#12 Steve Douglas

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 03:52 PM

With the standard resolution of video monitors for housings, I can't imagine not having a viewfinder. However, it is a very real possibility once true hi res monitors arrive if they can produce the same resolution as the viewfinder itself.
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#13 wagsy

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 03:59 PM

Well they might offer a normal viewfinder door as an option. I figure it might be abit close to you as you would have to hold the housing way out in front of you. Anyhow time will tell.

We had a guy here with a FX1 when they first came out in a custom made housing. He had the FX1 LCD inside the housing at the back so when you looked through the viewfinder you actually looked at the LCD screen inside. Seem to work okay.
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#14 ronrosa

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 04:11 PM

Well they might offer a normal viewfinder door as an option. I figure it might be abit close to you as you would have to hold the housing way out in front of you. Anyhow time will tell.....


According to the Amphibico guy at the Beneath The Sea show, a rear door with a viewfinder is not being offerred or designed.

I guess they could always change their mind. We're just talking about changing the rear door.

#15 DeanB

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:46 AM

They could also change their minds about the price... ;)

Z2 rumours are turning up on forums again...New one is its going to be the same as the PD150 to PD170 sort of upgrade..Better res and better Lux rating...Here's hoping...But then again I wouldn't be able to afford it, so what the hell am I getting excited for :glare:

Be good if it fits the original Phenom housings though...For you phenom guys anyway.

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#16 ronrosa

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:19 PM

They could also change their minds about the price... ;)


I would think a viewfinder door should be at least $1,000 cheaper than the monitor door.

#17 FishFotos

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 08:59 PM

Amphibico will also be releasing the new Dive Buddy EVO HD Elite for the Sony HDR-HC1 and HVR-A1 HDV camcorders on April 23rd with the rear monitor mounted at a 10 degree upward angle on the door. No viewfinder option. A picture is now available on their site.

In email correspondence with the folks at Amphibico, I was told that if the monitor is powered by lithium ion AA's (I'm assuming 4) it will be good for 50-70 minutes in 'good' conditions.

Since I'm currently using the Ike housing with mirror and reversing circuitry, the rear monitor is an upgrade from an ease of use standpoint. My main concern, however, is battery life in colder climates. In Mexico two weeks ago, the QM71 battery was good for a couple of hours on the morning dives in 78F water as well as the video capture to the laptop back at the hotel. Last weekend, however, with local water at 32F (and some ice ;) ), the same battery was gasping for whatever batteries gasp for after about 15 of shooting. At least now I can monitor the camera's battery drain on the LCD and plan accordingly - I'd hate to have the monitor, as the only source for shot composition/focus, cut out unexpectedly beforehand.

Although not directly related to this thread, the Elite housing will accept the camcorder with standard and medium (71) batteries, however, not the 91's. Also, a wide angle solution for the CMOS housings including this one is in the works and will be available by mid to late summer. No tech spec or pricing info available yet.

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#18 DeanB

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 03:15 AM

Crikey,

And I thought my local pond was cold.....

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#19 ronrosa

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 11:52 AM

50-70 minutes ? Man, more bad news. Many of my single tank dives last longer than that and I've been living a strict rule of not opening my housing while on the boat. This doesn't sound good for 2-tank boat dives, especially on small boats.

#20 DeanB

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:58 PM

Sometimes I think actually asking the potential customers what type of things they would prefer would be a bonus...

Or is that just me...

Gives us more of an anticipation into what 'Gates' will pull out of the bag.

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