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DSLR vs Compact


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#1 nopro

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 06:15 PM

I've been an avid amatuer photographer since the days of bw labs in my basement. This might give you an idea why I have bi-focals in masks. I converted to a Canon digital rebel XT and an XTi for above water shooting. I currently use a Sealife DC-500 underwater. I find it to limiting in both pixels and battery capacity. I dive lots of cold dark Pacific Nowthwest water. Even on warm water boat dive one battery is only good for the first dive. I'd love to get an Ikelite housing for my 400D and enjoy the freedom. The only concern is the viewfinder. Would I be better to get a Canon G7, Nikon Coolpix P5000 or something in that range instead?

I understand every diver is different but would like to enjoy better underwater shots for the few years of diving I still have. (first dive was in 1967)

I would love to hear from divers who can raelly guide my upgrade.

#2 Rocha

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 05:46 PM

You should also check the new Olympus with live LCD preview...

The biggest disadvantages of point and shoots are their shutter lag and short battery life, but they now have great image quality.

Luiz

P.S.: I am moving your post to a more appropriate area...

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#3 Islandbound

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 07:45 PM

A huge advantage of a PNS over a DSLR is the video capability. Most have 640x480 at 30fps and some like the G7 have 1024 @ 15fps. Thats good enough to frame grab and print 4x6 from which is nice when your trying to catch fast movers like octopus,cuttle or little fishes etc that wont slow down.

I have both the G7 in an Ikelite and have a D80 which I expect the Ikelite to arrive in several weeks. My goals are to use the G7 when the whole family goes to the water as it is undoubtedly the more versatile camera with video, internal flash etc ready to go. I am in the water several times a week alone and this is what the D80 is going to be used for. Most of this album at http://outdoors.webs...558982663uaDCTJ was shot with a G7 although some were with a Sony N2 in a Sony housing.

I just began shooting UW photos in the last several months and certainly dont know as much as some of the folks here. This site has been an enormous help in both the technical use of a camera's controls as well as a source of how to improve the photo rendering and composition. Needless to say, I am still working on both!

Good Luck!

p.s. Just wanted to say, I get a consistent 130-140 shots per battery with 4 to 5 15-20 second video clips as well.

Edited by Islandbound, 01 June 2007 - 07:46 PM.


#4 ReefRoamer

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 06:48 AM

I would say another consideration is how much you travel. A DSLR rig with camera, lenses, housing, ports, strobes, arms, clamps, batteries, chargers and accessories can easily consume its own large, heavy case. A simple PNS setup will usually fit in a single bag with your dive gear and clothing. Having been separated from my photo equipment before, I usually carry a small PNS inside its housing in my carryon these days, in addition to checking an SLR case.
Canon 20D, Subal C20 housing, Canon EF 100mm USM macro, EF-S 10-22mm, Inon Z220s.

#5 alo100

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 05:32 AM

I've been an avid amatuer photographer since the days of bw labs in my basement. This might give you an idea why I have bi-focals in masks. I converted to a Canon digital rebel XT and an XTi for above water shooting. I currently use a Sealife DC-500 underwater. I find it to limiting in both pixels and battery capacity. I dive lots of cold dark Pacific Nowthwest water. Even on warm water boat dive one battery is only good for the first dive. I'd love to get an Ikelite housing for my 400D and enjoy the freedom. The only concern is the viewfinder. Would I be better to get a Canon G7, Nikon Coolpix P5000 or something in that range instead?

I understand every diver is different but would like to enjoy better underwater shots for the few years of diving I still have. (first dive was in 1967)

I would love to hear from divers who can raelly guide my upgrade.


Nikon P5000 has a lot of real good features, but unfortunately, the shutter lag and slow focusing issue is a big draw back, esp for UW photography (critters capture):
http://www.dpreview....p5000/page4.asp

Canon G7, I saw some v nice UW pictures taken by others, impressed. The draw back of G7, however, is the housing WP-DC11, it's not supported by Inon ( http://inonamerica.com/ ) if the setup is fully supported you may be able to get a full setup looks like any of these: http://www.inon.co.j...recomended.html

More about the G7 setup: http://www.scubaboar...ad.php?t=193068
Or I just found out that there's a new choice, but I haven't received any feedback from the new product yet:
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=18903

A lot of people are talking about G7: http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=17747

Besides the above two choices, you still have other Canon models, Olympus, Fuji.... as alternatives; and there are really some famous compact cameras esp suitable for UW photography, I am sure after a quick search, you will be able to find them.

After using SLR for many years, I never regret starting UW photography by using a small dc,
first the size of the small dc is really good for travel (it can be in my case or attached at my belt),
I use my compact dc together with the housing in many other occasions
e.g. during hiking or taking photo's at the sea shore (sand), so that even if it's raining I know it's going to be alright. For DSLR, I need another setup if I want to do the same.
then the cost of it, esp for the housing, is only a fraction of that of the DSLR's. So, I haven't brought any insurance for my setup but I don't really worry about what might happen.
I won't do this for my SLR's, you know.
Wet lens for wide angle and macro are widely available. I don't worry about which zoom/prime lens to bring and modification for my housing back on the boat; I simply switch my lens underwater, whenever. This is similar to what I did before when I use SLR on land -- switch lens whenever a new topic showed up.
With a decent strobe, the pic quality for many compact dc is already v. good.
Battery good enough for, say, 580 shots per charge.


I still keep all of my SLR cameras, lens etc. and I do miss the days when I did manual focus all the time, get my fingers pale in the black and white labs. UW with a mini camera is a different experience.
I am sure DSLR is good for UW photography, but I think at this moment I've by passed a lot of overhead, and as a result, the simplified solution is enjoyable for my case.

Edited by alo100, 04 June 2007 - 05:06 AM.


#6 alo100

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 06:23 AM

I've been an avid amatuer photographer since the days of bw labs in my basement. This might give you an idea why I have bi-focals in masks. I converted to a Canon digital rebel XT and an XTi for above water shooting. I currently use a Sealife DC-500 underwater. I find it to limiting in both pixels and battery capacity. I dive lots of cold dark Pacific Nowthwest water. Even on warm water boat dive one battery is only good for the first dive. I'd love to get an Ikelite housing for my 400D and enjoy the freedom. The only concern is the viewfinder. Would I be better to get a Canon G7, Nikon Coolpix P5000 or something in that range instead?

I understand every diver is different but would like to enjoy better underwater shots for the few years of diving I still have. (first dive was in 1967)

I would love to hear from divers who can raelly guide my upgrade.


Here's the other side of the opinion:
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=19294

I think there are some v. reasonable factors being reminded.
Something related, one of the reason why I am still using Nikon SLR only is because I think the image quality brought by DSLR is not yet comparable to the film camera yet. Still waiting.
By the mean time, I can see that the nature of digital products get obsolete fast. Please don't get me wrong, I am working for this branch of the industry.

Edited by alo100, 04 June 2007 - 06:38 AM.


#7 DesertEagle

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 09:42 AM

Seatool has a new housing for the XTi that's supposed to have a HUGE viewfinder. As Luiz metioned, you could also check out the new Olympus DSLRs with live view.

Point 'n shoot digicam cameras can do some outstanding macro, but as some mentioned, you have to be on top of the subject. The XTI with a 100mm lens would enable you to work from a much farther distance.

Yes the digicams can make great photographs. I've got 11x14 inch prints from my Olympus SP-310 that are quite sharp. Not to get into the film vs digital debate, but one reason I changed over to digital was that it's hard to get direct prints made. The best way to print film (usually) is a direct enlargement. Most of the good labs have closed. Having seen very large prints from DSLR cameras, I don't have any concerns that they rival film. I'll take a clean native 8MP image over an Imacon 12MP scan any day.
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).

#8 alo100

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 04:04 AM

This is what I meant by "the pic quality for many compact dc is already v. good"
Sample, not taken by me,

Fuji F30 with Swaroski telescope
Another one with Fuji 30 with Swaroski telescope
Sky

With decent lighting, a small camera can still deliver some good pic's.

Edited by alo100, 06 June 2007 - 10:49 PM.


#9 ptyx

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 08:33 PM

I've been switching from a Sealife 500 setup to a DSLR (Canon 20D) recently. I don't have many dives with the SLR yet, but it is a completely different experience.

You can always tie a compact to your BC - or even store it in a pocket if it's small enough - and no longer worry about it if photo conditions aren't good. Or if you finally don't feel like shooting anything. With a SLR, you're diving to shoot first and most of your attention will go to it. You'd better have a tolerant buddy :rolleyes:

Most compacts can produce amazing results in natural light or good lighting conditions. In not-so-good conditions, I found my Sealife extremely frustrating: extremely slow strobe recycle time, unreliable flash link, limited battery life, shutter lag, difficult control over focus on the LCD screen, no control over depth of field or background illumination, etc.

Don't get me wrong - I got amazing pictures with it (well, given my debatable photographic skills anyway). But I also spent a lot of time cursing at the damn camera because I had to take 4 samples of the same shot before both flashes decided to work with the correct intensity. At the end of a dive, that's almost one minute or recycling - even an anemone might have decided to move !

The canon let me control everything, and the TTL (I know, I know) is spot on almost every time. I decide what the background will look like, the AF works on everything moving or not, and low light shots are ten thousand times easier. And the quality is good even in really bad conditions.

BUT - it is bulky, especially above water, I have to decide which lens to use before the dive (obviously it's never the right one), and it takes a lot more time to prepare and rinse than the compact. Packing for air travel is also a nightmare.

Good luck

#10 JimDeck

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 05:56 PM

It may be worth looking into the Seatool housing for the XTi as DesertEagle suggested. The Seatool housing is the smallest DSLR housing I've seen yet, on par with the size of the Tetra housings. It changes the rules of having to check a Pelican case for your SLR system with the airline--you can pack this on a carry on bag--it is that small. The viewfinder that DesertEagle mentioned is made by Inon. It's very sharp and clear and gives almost 100% corner to corner coverage of the camera's finder.

The compact cameras are getting better all the time and will give good quality pics. However, the quality of the optical glass of the SLR lenses and the larger sensor sizes (gathers more light) of the DSLR cameras are going to yield higher quality images.

Best regards,

Jim
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#11 Gudge

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 06:31 PM

My wife only just received her Seatool 400XTi housing from Reef Photo last week and took it diving for the first time yesterday. She loves it! It is very small and only slightly larger than her old Oly 5050 in a PT-105 housing. It fits on her old base plate for this system nicely. She got it with the 0.8X pickup viewfinder and it is surprisingly good and great value at around US$150 against nearly US$700 for the Inon viewfinder. The Inon sTTL with her Z240 worked really well using the fibre optic connection built into the housing.

Seatool USA have recently updated their web site and there is a lot of information now available on ports, viewfinders, accessories etc:

http://www.seatoolus...m/xti/index.php

Edited by Gudge, 10 June 2007 - 06:46 PM.

Canon 7D, Nauticam NA-7D housing, 2 x Inon Z240, 1 x Inon S2000, Tokina 10-17 & 12-24, Sigma 17-70 Macro, Tokina 35 macro, Canon 60 & 100 macro, Tamron 2X & Kenko 1.X Teleconverters.

#12 TheRealDrew

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 06:01 AM

It is very small and only slightly larger than her old Oly 5050 in a PT-105 housing. It



I have been looking at that also for portability. Did not see anything about the size of the ports - is the port for the standard kit lens fairly close to the size of the kit lens with the XTI? Saw some pictures but was not sure which port it was.

#13 Gudge

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 03:18 PM

If you look at the Ports tab in the link I posted above the port that my wife got was the SLP-70S. This port is used for both the Canon EF-S 60 macro (which is what my wife uses) and the Canon 18-55 kit lens.
Canon 7D, Nauticam NA-7D housing, 2 x Inon Z240, 1 x Inon S2000, Tokina 10-17 & 12-24, Sigma 17-70 Macro, Tokina 35 macro, Canon 60 & 100 macro, Tamron 2X & Kenko 1.X Teleconverters.

#14 TheRealDrew

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 06:35 PM

If you look at the Ports tab in the link I posted above the port that my wife got was the SLP-70S. This port is used for both the Canon EF-S 60 macro (which is what my wife uses) and the Canon 18-55 kit lens.



It looks fairly small (took a look earlier also), so it really does not extend too far off the housing(?) The housing is 4.8 inches, could not find specs on the port depth, but it looks around the same as the depth of the housing.

http://www.fisheye-j...kiss/index.html (looks like the shot with the hands is that port)

It is very tempting

#15 Gudge

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:33 PM

All the shots I have seen of the housing have been with this port (probably because other ports have only very recently become available). From memory 90mm diameter and 70mm long. I'll check the dimensions when I get home from work tonight.

Edit: I just measured it and the port extends 75mm in front of the housing

Edited by Gudge, 11 June 2007 - 09:02 PM.

Canon 7D, Nauticam NA-7D housing, 2 x Inon Z240, 1 x Inon S2000, Tokina 10-17 & 12-24, Sigma 17-70 Macro, Tokina 35 macro, Canon 60 & 100 macro, Tamron 2X & Kenko 1.X Teleconverters.

#16 TheRealDrew

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 04:44 AM

All the shots I have seen of the housing have been with this port (probably because other ports have only very recently become available). From memory 90mm diameter and 70mm long. I'll check the dimensions when I get home from work tonight.

Edit: I just measured it and the port extends 75mm in front of the housing


Thanks, it is smaller than some compact housings. Perfect for travel.