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#21 sethgold

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 08:57 PM

My advise is buy the camera you really want and the cheapest *reliable* housing available. The life cycle of digital cameras is becoming very short. Don't spend $2500 today to house a $1500 camera. At the current rate of improvement, in 1-2 years $1500 might buy a full frame sensor. It’s not that farfetched, and if I'm right, you'll want a new camera. Then you'll be stuck with the world’s sexiest doorstop. A Polycarbonate or abs-resin housing is twice the weight of aluminum, but its 30% the cost.

#22 craig

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:28 PM

My advise is buy the camera you really want and the cheapest *reliable* housing available. The life cycle of digital cameras is becoming very short. Don't spend $2500 today to house a $1500 camera. At the current rate of improvement, in 1-2 years $1500 might buy a full frame sensor. It’s not that farfetched, and if I'm right, you'll want a new camera. Then you'll be stuck with the world’s sexiest doorstop. A Polycarbonate or abs-resin housing is twice the weight of aluminum, but its 30% the cost.

Actually the Sea & Sea is the same cost as the Aquatica. Ikelites are more than 30% the cost of an Aquatica. Aluminum is not what makes a housing expensive. It's labor and sales volumes.

If you're going to spend the money for a housed SLR, don't think it'll suddenly become a good value by housing it in plastic. If you are spending $4000 or more on camera, lenses, and strobe you'd better buy the housing you want, too. It's the housing you operate underwater, and if you don't like it you're hosed.
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#23 donauw

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 04:52 AM

Hmmm...the day I bought my D100 all my the photos I had taken with my D1 were suddenly degraded, faded and blurred? Nah.

I think we forget that if we are getting good results with the "tools" we are using (and I am thrilled with my D100 results - I feel they are equal to slide scans off my F100), the introduction of a new more advanced tool does not degrade the quality of what we already have. (Just the resale value!)

Buy the best you can afford and enjoy working with it.

Regards,

#24 gofigure?

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 06:27 AM

Looking into the threads ideas of the Nikonos RS versus housed and I thought I might be at a crossroads, but now the housed has won me over. (Plus some other reasons on the RS.) Then the F5 has me drooling....but the more I thought of it, digital (and it's headaches as well...don't worry, I remember that they are good headaches) has some much more sex appeal right now.

Yesterday, I was thinking that the full frame sensor issue may be something of an issue. Would the new 12-24 dx Nikkor Lens possiblity at least be some help on the way for the Nikon? I think craig pointed out though, it's field of view is equivalent to a 18-36 for full-frame. This is correct yes?

Has the Cannon realized the full frame issue? And is that what you are talking about when saying that the wait might not be long until the full frame digi is more reasonable?

On housings, I'm tending to lend more toward the Aquatica, Nexus, Subal. I'm clueless on Uk-Germany, and the Ikelites has less appeal to me. I go back and forth on the Sea & Sea. A friend has his F90 housed, but a hassle on mounting and TTL port. I'm not judging by only that and I'm sure some are very much satisfied. (Remember, I'm not claiming to KNOW anything). I just try to learn most of the time and try not to have any stubborness affect my ability to adapt.

I do realize that whatever I get, in the future I will want the latest and greatest (The kid looking at all the pretty candy through the store display case, drooling) Heck, with my other scuba gear, I've owned/own 10 dive computers, 7 regs, 4 bcds, and 6 fins in the last 10 years - but each one has been of pretty darn good quality - that's what I'm trying to do now with UW Photo - own quality - but NOT have to change as much as I have like with the scuba gear. :)

#25 craig

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 10:11 AM

The Nikonos RS is quite large and heavy though not as big as a housed SLR. It can be very heavy underwater. Never used one, but I have a friend who has two and wouldn't consider anything else.

The 12-24 is equivalent to 18mm on the wide end. That's very wide for most people's tastes, though. The fisheyes can do over 100 degrees even when corrected. You seem to be concerned about not getting wide enough but there is no reason to be!

Eric has the full-frame Canon so he can talk about that. Whether the industry goes strongly in the direction of full-frame sensors is anyone's guess and it might be different for Canon vs. Nikon. It's safe to say that cameras will continue to improve regardless of the direction they take but today's models offer very good performance.

When you ask owners of housed D100's, S2's, and the Canon's how they feel, none of them will say they they wished they had bought something else (IMHO). One can argue the merits of one camera over another but they are all good and you'd be wise to consider the whole underwater package before commiting to a specific camera body. I think you'll find the Sea & Sea more like the Ikelite than the others you mentioned. Many are happy with their Sea & Sea's.
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#26 donauw

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 06:41 PM

Here's a GREAT deal on a Sea & Sea DX-D100 housing:

http://wetpixel.com/...t=ST&f=6&t=2204

:)

Regards,

#27 Kasey

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 02:23 AM

No offense, but you seem to be all over the place with this decision (d100, f5, RS). You have to make some basic decisions first.

1) Digital vs film - check out backscatters articles on this

2)SLR vs rangefinder (film) vs P&S (digital)

3)size and weight - F5 and D1x are very large and very heavy, I think the 1ds is as well

4) budget - You said money is not a concern, but then mentioned you'd comfortably spend $6000. I assume that means that a 1ds in a seacam housing would be out of the range at over$12k. The big advantage of the D1x over the D100 is the viewfinder, which is a big plus underwater. Again, only seacam builds a housing, and they are high dollar.

Sounds like you've narrowed down to a dSLR, but are you sure? If so, D100 or S2 housed with th 60mm and 16mm fisheye will run you closer to $8000. Great systems and you won't be dissapointed. My theory - make a decision and start learning. Every day debating is one day closer to your equipment being obsolete.
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#28 gofigure?

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 06:30 AM

I agree with you Kasey, I'm really seem all over the place. Even that chat with Marty mentioned that my starting query was like the biggest question every new phtographer is asking and there's no clear answer for anyone. Learning and respecting the responses here has help 'ground' me instread of being so 'up-in-the-air'. I do appreciate all the help (I've tried to do my part on the travel section as my contribution - though not as experienced as most in some areas)

I take no offense by your suggestions, it's all sound advice to me.

I've answered some of my questions/your direction.
1) I want digital.
2) I want a DSLR (no P&S) - more future in SLR
3) I want less weight (leaning toward the D100, but have to now research the Cannon's. With as much travel as I've had and the plans in the future - the handling of film, the weight issue on my back, and with the airlines policies, packing is something to be considered. All my scuba gear is great performance and minimalized to the utmost streamlining - why shouldn't my camera gear help in that committment/pursuit.
4) Budget - $12K is too much for me as being this much of a beginner. $4-6K of that goes toward my next trips(s) :)

Now it's just down to putting the whole system together. Looking at the big picture instead of bodys only.

I respect and once again that you for the great responses and help. hopefully we can all be on a trip soon, with me workign though all those FUN mistakes, and all of us oogling over some great shots!

#29 Kasey

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 11:59 AM

Recommendations will vary greatly, but I'll start off by making a few basic recommendations.

strobes - Sea and Sea DX 90s or Ike DS 125s. I own YS120s - slightly larger and slightly more powerful, but often overkill. The YS90s or DX90s seem to be 1/2 the size and weight and 80% the power. Same goes for the DS125s. I think I'd lean towards the Ike side for strobes if I were to do it all over again - their tech support has a much better reputation. A little more expensive - but don't skimp on strobes as they will likely be with you for a long time.

Buy one strobe for starters to stay within your budget and learn basic lighting techniques.

Arms - I love my ultralights. I think they are the gold standard.

Camera - 10d, S2, or d100 You really can't go wrong here. I picked the d100 because I wanted access to nikon lenses, and I felt that the max sync speed on the fuji was not fast enough to freeze sunbursts in the background. The S2, however offers TTL which may get you good exposures much earlier in the learning process.

You should probably shop for housings before you pick your camera - the D100 has a monstrous advantage here - probably 5X as many housings as either of the others. If you are still checking out the Titan, I can give you some info based on my experience with the Titan E20 - some good and some bad. Subal, Aquatica, Nexus should give consistent performance since they are totally mechanical. The Titan will probably be an awesome tool, and I've used a few LMI products with good results. I've found their electronics to be pretty reliable, in contrast to a few other posters. I think that they still have some overdue fine-tuning to be done on their still camera systems, however. Particularly their strobe bases and handles. I picked the Aquatica because I have local support for the housing. It is a great housing, and has functioned perfectly on about 40 dives already. Its finish quality is not up to the standard of Subal, but with the rate of advances in digital photography, I was happy to save about $1500 by going with Aquatica - that will probably buy my next camera!

Lenses - I'd recommend starting off shooting macro, perhaps with the 60mm lens and a flat port. Get comfortable with this setup before expanding to wide angle or fish photography. At that point, you'll add a dome port and WA lens, and possibly a second strobe.

Make sure you refer to prior threads about flood insurance - no matter how meticulous you are, you want this security.

I guess thats about it - let us know as you build your system.

Kasey
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#30 wetpixel

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 01:53 PM

Camera - 10d, S2, or d100  You really can't go wrong here.

One note: 10d housings are not yet readily available, so if you do decide to go with the 10d, you will have to wait.

Also, there are tremendous deals right now on D60s and housings. D60s are going for below $1200 on ebay, and the price is only going to drop as mainstream folk learn that the 10d can be had for as low as $1350, if you take advantage of occasional time-sensitive deals. :)

I haven't had many problems underwater with the D60, and am quite happy with its performance. It does start to become finicky in low light, but by the time light levels are low enough I've usually switched to a macro setup. :) When the price drops well below $1000 (which won't be long now), it will be easier to justify a backup body, which you should always travel with, anyway. (err... if it's important enough to you. :) )
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#31 wetpixel

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 01:57 PM

I think you'll find the Sea & Sea more like the Ikelite than the others you mentioned.  Many are happy with their Sea & Sea's.

Another data point:

The Sea & Sea housing with the 8" dome, Sea & Sea arms, and dual Sea & Sea strobes will be extremely bouyant (at least, with the strobes that Anna Abernethy has on her rig -- don't recall the model, but I think they are YS-120s). She puts 3lb of lead on her housing to keep it roughly neutral.

Ike DS-125s and ultralight arms make the entire thing just about perfect, though.
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#32 bvanant

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 04:06 PM

I don't want to start a Nikon/Canon war here, there is enough of that in other places. I like Canon glass better than Nikon and long familiarity with Canons would suggest that Canon will do you better than Nikon. In my current topside photo class on lighting we have a number of high end digital cameras including a D60, D30 and a new 10D as well as a couple of Nikon D100s. The output from the cameras (all shooting the same setups, with the same lighting) suggests that the CMOS in the Canon is a little better with color than the Nikons. Underwater with flash that will be a very minor point, I am sure.
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#33 donauw

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 04:13 PM

Yawn....

:)