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Upcoming Sea & Sea DX-1G camera


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#1 eatmor18

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 07:11 PM

Today I was given a presentation by a Sea & Sea sales rep about their newest hottest compact digital. On paper, it looks *really* good. I sell underwater cameras for a living and, along with a YS110, this just might unseat the Canon G7/Ikelite DS125 as the best non-SLR kit out there (though admittedly, TTL is sorely lacking).

Here are the details that I can tell you:
  • camera is essentially a Ricoh GX100
  • 10 megapixels
  • 24-72mm lens (far wider than anything else out there at the moment)
  • 1cm wide-angle macro
  • 4cm telephoto macro
  • RAW files (approx. 4-second write time)
  • CCD-shift image stabilization
  • external strobes triggered via fiber-optic by LED light (NOT built-in flash, which should mean much faster shot-to-shot times)
  • lever-activated shutter release
  • two VERY comprehensive custom modes activated on mode dial (set one up for wide-angle, set one up for macro)
  • knob-activated manual focus (as opposed to push-buttons) (misinformation from rep)
  • about US$1000 street price
  • housing looks very robust with a nice big grip, though still much more compact than third-party housings (e.g. Ikelite)
Sounds intriguing, no?

Edited by eatmor18, 21 June 2007 - 08:09 AM.


#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 12:20 AM

The never ending quest for Megapixels...

I really think that 10 Megapixels in a compact is pushing things. Many here have commented that Fuji F30 (a very popular UW compact) at 6MP has better image quality than its 8 MP replacement the F40. I do fear that this camera is 10MP for the sake of specs to help it sell rather than any benefit to image quality.

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#3 DesertEagle

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 05:13 AM

This is interesting. I'm guessing that Sea & Sea will use a dome port? I would really like to see the housing with a bulkead for a strobe.

The GX100 looks like it uses the same sensor as the G7.

Alex, you hit it right on the spot. Manufacturers know that the number of pixels, not image quality is what drives consumers. The F31 has almost as much resolving power as the G7 at ISO 80. When you get to ISO 400, it's a different league. The F31 looks almost as clean as a Nikon D100. Granted the D100 is old by today's standards, but it's impressive nonetheless.
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#4 eatmor18

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:42 AM

Yes, we're all on the same page re: megapickels -- I should've put the "10 mp" spec down at the bottom of the list. But, if you want to put the F31 up against this new Sea & Sea, here are some of the other important factors, if you ask me:
  • Fuji's 36mm lens leads to 50% more water between you & your dive buddy if you want to get her head-to-toe
  • with an external strobe attached to the Fuji, you'll be waiting ~6-8 seconds between shots while the built-in flash recycles itself
  • from two inches away, the S&S can zoom in to 72mm, while the Fuji is stuck back at 36mm. This means that the S&S will fill the frame with one square inch & the Fuji with four square inches
  • the xD card from the Fuji will cost 50% more per GB than SD cards, and will be significantly less universally accepted in other devices (N/A for newer F40fd)
Back to your questions, DE:
The S&S housing does not have a dome port, unfortunately. It looks like it uses the same flat port & bayonet mount from their old 8000G/5000G housings.

It doesn't have a bulkhead, either. Both of those would jack the pricetag too high, I guess. From my understanding, though, the fiber-optic "bulkheads" (there are two, just like the 8000G) will give similar performance to a traditional hardwired sync cord, because this new camera will no longer have the flash recycling delay that every other fiber-optic system had.

From what I can tell, it does not use the G7's sensor. The G7 has a 1/1.8" sensor, and all of the S&S/Ricoh specs call its sensor 1/1.75". Tough to say whether this is a rounding error or a real difference.

Thanks for the replies.

#5 craig

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:25 AM

I question the value of a 24mm wide end if the housing only offers a flat port.
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#6 eatmor18

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:41 AM

I question the value of a 24mm wide end if the housing only offers a flat port.

Educate me - why? Edge sharpness issues?

Found another reference to this new camera online:
in Japanese: http://infocmx.exblog.jp/6344884/
Google translation: http://64.233.179.10...log.jp/6344884/

And a photo swiped from that site:
Posted Image

Stuff to note:
The two circles directly above the lens port are the attachment sockets for fiber-optic sync cables. I'm starting to wonder what on earth the S&S rep was referring to when he described an "LED" that would trigger those external strobes... I see nothing on the GX100 behind those sockets.

I think the knob on the upper-right will manipulate the diffuser for the pop-up flash. The photo that the rep showed me had the white diffuser filling in the flash window.

Attached Images

  • Sea_and_Sea_DX_1G_housing.jpg


#7 james

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 10:11 AM

Hi to our new user Eatmor (name???)

Here's a link to the DPreview page for the Ricoh GX100:

http://www.dpreview....ricoh_gx100.asp

If this new sea and sea setup is a housing for the GX1000 (rebadged) then I think that's fine. It's not a "pro" level camera - it's a point and shoot and about as good as any of the 10 megapixel point and shoots can be.

The image quality is not that good. 10 megapixels on a 1/1.75 sensor is just too much.

With that said, I took the DX8000 diving and snorkelling and was quite happy with it's performance otherwise. It has very low shutter lag and was easy to use and set up. Plus Sea and Sea has done taken a lot of "guess-work" out of the purchasing process by designing a housing they know will work well w/ their accessories. When you buy a Sea and Sea system you get a "prete-a-porte" system - something your grandma can buy you as a gift and she knows it's all going to work together.

The hot-shoe on this camera is certainly unusual too:

# The Caplio GX100‘s hot shoe accepts an electronic viewfinder, an external flash, or an external viewfinder available on the market.
# The optional hood and adaptor allow use of the 19 mm wide conversion lens or other 43 mm diameter accessories, such as various filters available on the market.


Since the housing has some space on top, It looks like the flash can be popped up for use w/ the window. But perhaps a small LED flash unit can also be mounted on the hot-shoe??? In the other photo posted at that site, the flash looks like it's a reguler tube type flash:

Posted Image

Re the the lens. Without a dome port, you can't use the wide end effectively. Most of the wet-mate wide-angle lenses are made to work with a camera lens of around 35mm (equivalent) anyhow. If you zoom out to 24mm they can vignette.

I think the reason your post has raised a bit of ire is that you said you sell underwater camera equipment (probably Sea and Sea too) and at the same time you are agressively promoting a new product. That just tends to sound fishy when you start calling the "best" and compare it to other great products and say you think it might be better... That's just a hunch though - I can't speak for the other users here.

Cheers
James
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#8 davephdv

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:18 PM

Strobe recycle time isn't dependent on optic fiber cables. If you use an Ike DS125 with their slave sensor you will still have a recycle time of less than a second after a full power dump. Faster than you can frame a new shot.

Second what James said on the 8000. Leader of our group to Sipidan last summer brought a bunch of digicams for divers to try. The 8000 was the clear winner. She said though don't expect it to be a dSLR

The whole thing for the digicams is the AF speed and the shutter lag. If they are very good then they have something.

Also I wouldn't consider buying if it didn't have a dome port. Unless you could add a quality auxiliary wide angle lens to the housing dedicated to UW use.
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#9 Lndr

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:34 PM

The whole thing for the digicams is the AF speed and the shutter lag. If they are very good then they have something.


The ricoh compacts were amongst the first to have good (acceptably low) shutter lag. I can't imagine this would go backward. From what I have experienced in trying to help people to get good shots out of their systems the S&S DX3000 (which was a Ricoh) out performs the DX8000 (Edit: I meant the DX860G) (not a Ricoh) in all respects except megapixels and screen size. It was outstanding on macro.

Also I wouldn't consider buying if it didn't have a dome port. Unless you could add a quality auxiliary wide angle lens to the housing dedicated to UW use.


The other S&S compact housings work with wet wide angle lenses (as well as macro and close-up lenses).

Edited by Lndr, 21 June 2007 - 09:24 PM.


#10 eatmor18

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:28 PM

Wow, lots of good stuff here to reply to...

James, I hope you understand why I'm trying to remain somewhat anonymous in this thread. My boss has been less than thrilled with other online discussions I've had where I've included my camera store's name, regardless of how benevolent the discussions were.

I do see how my "promotion" here might look odd -- that's not my intention here. I'm simply thinking outloud about a camera that just might become popular in the next few months, and why it's intriguing to me.

So here's evidence that I'm not astroturfing for Sea & Sea:
I kindly disagree with you that S&S products are somehow easier to shop for. Is Granny going to understand this?
http://www.seaandsea...systemchart.gif
In my conversations with customers, I've never been asked for a system where accessories could be picked out easily. I've also never seen hesitation with mis-matched brands (e.g. Fantasea arm between Epoque strobe & Canon housing with S&S fiber optic). I think that "systematic" is an advantage on paper, but I see little carryover to the marketplace. As an aside, our shop carries the S&S "Islander" & "Sport" packages, where you get the 8000G along with a strobe & arm, and I personally have never sold one.

I also disagree that 10mp is "too much." Granted, these current high-megapixel tiny-sensor cameras are not massively better than their 5mp 2004 equivalents, but they are certainly no worse. To see for yourself, here's a searchable set of 38,000 photos from the GX100: http://www.flickr.co...h/caplio_gx100/

You're right that there could possibly be a miniature LED "strobe" that could sit in the camera's hotshoe to provide that quick-recycling triggering. And while we're on that topic... Dave, you misunderstand the issue with slow recycling. It's not the external strobe that you're waiting for - it's the camera's built-in flash that takes so long. Since the built-in flash is generally blocked and/or too weak to reach the subject, the camera will choose to dump its full power with essentially every shot. Not only does that kill your shot-to-shot time, it drains the camera's battery faster. Avoiding having to fire that built-in flash is one of the main reason a lot of my customers request TTL systems (e.g. G7, SP-350, P5000). It moves the "continuous" mode from unusable to usable.

Also, Dave, you're over-simplifying things when you say (redundantly) that the AF speed & shutter lag are the only things matter.

Re: wide-angle... I still don't clearly understand how the flat port renders the 24mm lens "ineffective." The stuff about vignetting makes perfect sense, of course, but I was thinking that 24mm might be just wide enough for some folks to avoid dragging along an add-on lens. If it's not, then I don't see the problem attaching the 0.6x S&S lens & zooming in a notch or two. The designers might have had that in mind, because the S&S rep quoted a "16mm-equivalent" view once you attach their wide lens. That would be 27mm * 0.6.

Can anybody point me toward a non-SLR dome port? I didn't know such a thing existed, but several of you have brought up this camera's lack of a dome port. What am I missing?

And finally, Lndr, the DX-8000G certainly is a Ricoh. Namely, it's the Ricoh GX8.

#11 Lndr

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 09:22 PM

And finally, Lndr, the DX-8000G certainly is a Ricoh. Namely, it's the Ricoh GX8.


Correctionto my post, I was referring to the 860G

#12 Lndr

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 09:43 PM

What am I missing?



lots :( :P


oh, and an Inon dome gets *some* compacts up around 150 degrees :D

#13 DesertEagle

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 05:43 AM

You're right that there could possibly be a miniature LED "strobe" that could sit in the camera's hotshoe to provide that quick-recycling triggering. And while we're on that topic... Dave, you misunderstand the issue with slow recycling. It's not the external strobe that you're waiting for - it's the camera's built-in flash that takes so long. Since the built-in flash is generally blocked and/or too weak to reach the subject, the camera will choose to dump its full power with essentially every shot. Not only does that kill your shot-to-shot time, it drains the camera's battery faster. Avoiding having to fire that built-in flash is one of the main reason a lot of my customers request TTL systems (e.g. G7, SP-350, P5000). It moves the "continuous" mode from unusable to usable.

Re: wide-angle... I still don't clearly understand how the flat port renders the 24mm lens "ineffective." The stuff about vignetting makes perfect sense, of course, but I was thinking that 24mm might be just wide enough for some folks to avoid dragging along an add-on lens. If it's not, then I don't see the problem attaching the 0.6x S&S lens & zooming in a notch or two. The designers might have had that in mind, because the S&S rep quoted a "16mm-equivalent" view once you attach their wide lens. That would be 27mm * 0.6.

Can anybody point me toward a non-SLR dome port? I didn't know such a thing existed, but several of you have brought up this camera's lack of a dome port. What am I missing?
And finally, Lndr, the DX-8000G certainly is a Ricoh. Namely, it's the Ricoh GX8.



Regarding the small camera's flash being used up- if the large strobe has TTL, it will mimic the small camera's preflash. When it does so, it should amplify the amount of light going out to the subject. This shortens the recycle time of the small flash. Inon strobes do it. I'm using a Sea & Sea YS-60 with a Heinrichs-Weikamp optical adapter which also does it.

Many small cameras have a single flash (slave setting) or allow for flash compensation. That's an effective way to manually control the small flash output. The trick is that the main strobe needs multiple settings.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but a 24mm lens behind a flat port won't have as much coverage as the same lens behind a dome port.

Ikelite's housings for cameras such as the Nikon 8400 and the Olympus C-8080 had dome ports.
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#14 james

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 06:29 AM

The Sea and Sea housing for the Coolpix 5000 had an optional dome port that was excellent. I think they even had a fisheye port. Many of the Ikelite housings had dome ports too - all the way back to the original Coolpix 950 housing.

Cheers
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#15 craig

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 06:48 AM

Any lens will exhibit pincushion distortion when shot through a flat port. In macro lenses this can be ignored, but with wide angle lenses the effect will pronounced. A 24mm perspective behind a flat port will show severe distortion; 35mm equivalent focal length is generally considered as wide as you should go.

You don't need a dome port to fix that, though---wide angle supplementary lenses can do it too. Most video rigs these days use true wet lenses rather than dome ports. Without some solution, however, the wide angle portion of that camera will be wasted.

A flat port will also result in a narrowing of the field of view so, yes, a 24mm lens behind a flat port will not be as wide as the same lens behind a dome. I wasn't mentioning that since the comparison was simply between focal lengths. It's true, though, that when you shoot wide you want the field of view to be really wide. A flat port can't do that since it's maximum field of view barely exceeds 90 degrees under any circumstances and it typically will be much less.
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#16 ScubaSpen

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 09:29 AM

I hope this one is better than the previous one's. I think the housing is robust and the DX-27 strobe is good and gives reasonable light for a p&s. Just the camera and service dept I have an issue with. See previous thread below.


http://wetpixel.com/...S...st&p=131342


Much happier now with Ikelite and my D80.

#17 oskar

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:15 AM

When can we expect that the camera & house will be available then?

It's a good idea to have a led flash to trigger the external flash. I'm considering getting the G7 and was thinking about building a flash like that to trigger an external flash in the cheap Canon housing.


/O

#18 eatmor18

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 10:19 AM

Sadly, I was not given any idea when the DX-1G will arrive. My guess is that the sales rep didn't know.

I checked closer, and yes, there will be an LED device that sits in the camera's hot-shoe. Hopefully it's something that can be purchased seperately for those G7 & P5000 photographers.

Thanks for all the feedback on the flat/dome issue. It has certainly clarified stuff for me.

#19 DesertEagle

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 06:53 AM

LED with TTL would be cool.

If it's not TTL, then it's a waste of money.
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#20 eatmor18

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 07:20 AM

Right, should've clarified -- the LED device in the hotshoe will be TTL. The Sea & Sea literature explicitly pushes its compatibility with their YS-110's TTL slave system. Cool stuff.

And now that I say that out loud, I guess that will mean that it won't work for those G7 & P5000 photographers, because its pin configuration won't match the Canon or Nikon hotshoe. Sad.