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Ohh my God, my Wife wants a Nikon D100!!!


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#1 JohnRLewis

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 11:13 AM

After our scuba vacation to Maui last week, my wife mentioned that we needed a better camera for our diving. Then this morning, she came into my office with an ad from the Sunday paper, pointed to a Nikon D100, and reminded me that her birthday was soon approaching. I just about fell out of my chair.

So my question to all of you is what all do I need to buy to get started?

I was looking at the Sea & Sea DX100 housing.
Which lens or lenses should I start with?
Which ports and other accessories for the housing do I need for those lenses?
Which flash should I start with?
Is a 1GB CF card big enough?

Any other things that are pretty important to have right off the start?

And the biggest question, how much is all this really going to cost me?

#2 divedoc

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 12:21 PM

I just housed a Canon D60 with a Sea and Sea housing and the stuff below. (Backscatter, Divers Discount, B and H photography) The prices are approximate...you might be able to find some stuff a little cheaper. Maybe some flowers would be a nice alternative!

Housing $1800 (same price roughly for the D100)
Flat macro port ($250)
Wide Angle Dome Port ($600)
Ikelite DS125 Strobe ($600 each if you want more than one)
Sync Cord single/dual ($75-135)
Strobe Arms (variable but as much as $200 for a dual setup)
Lenses (15mm and 50 mm-Sigma/Canon $700)

#3 divedoc

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 12:30 PM

Oh yea, the 1gb flash card
250-300 dollars
Plenty big if you have a mechanism to clear the card after a dive or two (I use my laptop)
Will get full pretty quick if you shoot RAW images

#4 jimbo1946

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 12:54 PM

Howdy, John! The bad news is that a divorce would be cheaper (ha ha ha).

The good news is that the D100 is a superb camera. I just returned from my first U/W foray with the D100 (in an Aquatica housing), and I loved the results. The D100 is currently selling for about $1700. Most of the major "name-brand" housings are first rate and each has its disciples. My only two housings have both been Aquatica, which makes superb housings, about lower mid-range on the price scale. Ikelites are the cheapest. I'm not very familiar with Ikelite 35mm housings, but my wife has an Ikelite video housing, and it appears to be very well made.

If you only had one lens to start with, I would recommend the 60mm AF Micro Nikkor. It's a great lens, razor-sharp, and focuses extremely closely. It's good for fish ID (small fish - the larger ones you'll have to get a head shot) and macro/close-up. This lens is a bit under $400 at the big discounters like B&H or Helix, although I understand that's the 60mm has been in short supply lately. Nikon also makes some very inexpensive 50mm lenses. NOTE: The 60mm lens was my workhorse with the N90s. However, due to the cropping effect of the D100, it's effectively a 90mm lens now. For that reason, you might want to consider a 50mm lens, which would be a better fish ID lens and would be cheaper too.

When I got my first housing four years ago, most folks were using fixed focal length lenses underwater. I still have the fixed focal length mindset, but I know that many people now favor zoom lenses. I'll leave it to others to make the case for zooms.

With my old Aquatica/N90s set-up, I used my Nikonos SB-105 strobe. You can use this strobe with the D100, but because of the way the D100 handles TTL, you can't use the SB-105 (or any other current underwater strobe) in TTL mode, only manual. Since I do a lot of macro photography, where - in my experience - TTL works very well, I bought a housing for the Nikon SB80-DX strobe, a (land) strobe developed by Nikon for its DSLR cameras. In the housing, the strobe works well in TTL mode. In any case, don't even consider not using an external strobe - you just won't get the vivid colors and contrast without one.

Regarding the memory card, a NEF/RAW file is about 10 MB, so on a 512 MB card, you would get about 50 shots. That should be enough for a two-tank dive, since you will be deleting bad shots. If you wanted to shoot in the best JPG mode, you would get about 150 shots on that card. The 512 MB cards are very cheap nowadays. After the dives you would need to offload the image files to a PC (I carry a laptop) or one of the little portable hard disks that work without an attached PC.

All of the information above is strictly my own opinion. If you ask ten other people, you'll likely get answers very different from mine. And all ten answers are probably good ones. There is a lot of hardware out there to choose from, and a lot of options on how to mix and match it, as you'll see on this forum.

Okay, let's add up the costs for a "starter" set-up:

Housing plus one flat port: $2000+
D100 camera: $1700
60mm lens or mid-range zoom lens: $400
Strobe plus arm set: $500+
512 MB memory card: $150

With shipping costs, that's about $5000. That's a major investment if you're getting it all at once. Many of us already had the lenses, ports, memory cards, and strobes that we used with film cameras, so it wasn't so much sticker shock to go digital.

Actually, the divorce might be cheaper!
Jim Chambers
Tucker, Georgia

Nikon D300 in Aquatica housing with housed SB800 flash.

#5 KimInNB

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 01:25 PM

If there's anyone else out there who would like to buy their wife a D100.... I'm single!!! LOL!!!

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#6 JohnRLewis

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 04:28 PM

So if I were to opt for a mid-range zoom lens, versus the 60mm macro, which one would you suggest? Keep in mind that macro shots are primarily what I go for here in the turbid waters of the pacific northwest.

#7 davephdv

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 04:31 PM

I know a guy who promised to buy his wife a house on the big Island so a D100 sounds cheap.

What do you want to shoot? As mentioned above, for small stuff and macro the 60 mm is great. For general all around shooting the 17 - 35 can't be beat. I have a 14 mm but prefer by far fitting my subject into the 17 - 35. Most D100 and S2 UW shooters are probably waiting for the 12 - 24.

I have and love the Subal housing. You would probably do fine with any of the housings.

Keep in mind if you go to a housed SLR you have to pick your lens for each dive. One law of UW shooting is that you will always have the wrong lens on your camera for what you find on your dive.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

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#8 JohnRLewis

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 04:43 PM

For general all around shooting the 17 - 35 can't be beat. I have a 14 mm but prefer by far fitting my subject into the 17 - 35. Most D100 and S2 UW shooters are probably waiting for the 12 - 24.

The 17-35 is a pretty pricy lens. What is the price on the 12-24 going to be once its available?

Will either of these two do macro?

#9 Craig Ruaux

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 05:21 PM

The 17-35 is a pretty pricy lens. What is the price on the 12-24 going to be once its available?

Will either of these two do macro?

Ah, but what price is love :blink: :(

What price the 12-24DX will be, when it finally appears, is one of the great questions of the Nikon internet world at the moment. Consensus of the ill-informed seems to be "about $950", though you will see pundits claiming both higher (up to $1200) and lower (~$500). The 17-35 can do "sorta macro", it can focus to within a few inches from the front of a port, but it does not do 1:1 or higher reproduction ratios, on a film body at least. I don't think the 1.5x sensor crop is sufficient to get the 17-35 to 1:1 reproduction, but would love to be corrected... The 12-24DX, that's anyone's guess.

My first (and so far only :ph34r: ) divorce was indeed cheaper than a d100+housing. By a large margin :)
Why would I take a perfectly good camera underwater??
D300, D200, D70, 12-24 f4 AFS DX, 60mm f2.8, 70-200 f2.8 AF-S VR, 105 f2.8 AF-S VR, Tokina Wunderlens.

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#10 JohnRLewis

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 07:19 PM

So I was checking out the competition, and was wondering, why are there no housings for the Canon 10D?

#11 marscuba

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 08:57 PM

Perhaps a better question is "Why are there substantially more housings available and manufacturers supporting Nikon cameras over Canon for both film and digital?"

If you do enough research, you'll come up with the answer, but the real short version is that Nikon is just better for UW photography.

I'll duck now while the Canon vs. Nikon flame wars begin.

#12 davephdv

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 09:09 PM

On a 35 mm film camera the 17 -35 will 1:4.6. According to the Nikon spec sheet it focuses to 12" from the film plane but I measure it at about 8" With the digital crop factor you will still get the same magnification but your image area is cropped. As a comparison the images with my 60 mm look more magnified and finer detail with my D100 vs. my old F100.

To get back to the question you can shoot small objects with the 17 - 35, but I wouldn't call it true macro.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

Life is a beach and then you dive.

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#13 Arnon_Ayal

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 04:00 AM

Ohh my God, my Wife wants a Nikon D100!!!

I wish my wife has given me an ultimatum to buy D100/10D/S2 B)

Is there at all a lens with the combination of WA & macro?
Arnon Ayal www.arnonayal.com
Nikon D200, Ikelite housing, Dual SB105.

#14 bobjarman

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 04:07 AM

If you do enough research, you'll come up with the answer, but the real short version is that Nikon is just better for UW photography


I will not start a flame war on this ridiculous statement, but sure would like to see some empirical evidence for that assertation?

I was always under the opinion, and have been told by several mfgs/distributors, that the reason that Nikon is supprted is due to 2 reasons:

1: Back in the old days of film, Nikon ruled underwater with thr Nikonos and the RS. they were what photographers HAD to use. Everyone just accepted the fact that if you wanted to shoot underwater, you shot Nikon.

2: there is a very limited market for housings. It costs a lot to design and tool a housing for an SLR camera. Because of the limited market, it is not cost justified to produce metal housings multiple cameras at a price point people are willing to pay.

Those arguments make senseto me, sadly, But until I see definitive proof from a non biased source for the basis of your comment, IMO it was intended to start a flame war.

All cameras, given decent glass, regardless of manufacturer are capable of producing stunning images. (even nikon)

:) :blink: :(

#15 scorpio_fish

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 04:18 AM

OK, some quick notes. I use the 17-35mm on the D100 for wide angle. Great lens. Can you use it for macro? Not really, but close. At 35mm it has a crop factor making it the equivalent of 52.5mm. It can focus to 12". So it can get you some tight/small fish portraits.

The problem is that if you use it behind a dome port, the port itself doesn't magnify like a flat port and it adds a lot of space between the lens and the subject.

I tried sneaking up on some small critters, but the dome starts getting darn close to the subject way too soon. Not quite as bad as a framer, but still isn't good enough to maximize the ability of the lens, which still can't get you true macro (probably 1:3 with the dome touching the subject)

As far as housings go. I've got one for sale. I will e-mail you a quote.

You can check out my review:

Aquatica Review
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#16 scorpio_fish

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 04:55 AM

If you do enough research, you'll come up with the answer, but the real short version is that Nikon is just better for UW photography.



First, I'm a Nikon guy, but there are no facts to support this statement. Bob is on the right track.

Nikon was first of the major camera manufactures in the the underwater market with the Nikonos system. They were first in the housed 35mm SLR and actually distributed Aquatica housings through Nikon dealers. (They have since completely abandoned the underwater market). Others followed suit.

Many years ago, Canon wasn't considered the equal of Nikon amongst the professional ranks. Now it is much different. One is not superior to the other.

It is only natural for housing manufacturers to continue to support Nikon first. 1) Those already shooting Nikon will tend to keep shooting Nikon and 2) They already know Nikon.

When Aquatica made their first consumer digicam housing, they chose the Nikon CP995. Why, I asked? Because they have always done Nikon. This, even though they were starting from scratch when it came to consumer digicams. Old habits die hard.
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#17 JohnRLewis

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 06:17 AM

Thank you for all your opinions.

So it looks like I will stick to Nikon.
It looks like I need to get both the 60MM macro, and the 17-35 WA (or wait for the 12-24).
I may have been steered towards the Aquatica housing.

Now, what should I do for a strobe? Do I get an UW strobe? Or should I go for a housed model?

#18 Simon K.

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 06:43 AM

So I was checking out the competition, and was wondering, why are there no housings for the Canon 10D?



Pretty Simple: The 10D ist to new. It is known, that several companies are working on it, but it takes normaly 3-9 month until the Housings for a new body hits the shelves.

(I won't comment the Nikon is better the Canon diskussion. If you are curious about the quality of Canon DSLRs UW ask Eric ;-) )

Simon

#19 scorpio_fish

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 06:54 AM

It looks like I need to get both the 60MM macro, and the 17-35 WA (or wait for the 12-24).



Well, you don't have to do both at once to start off. If you want to go wide angle, you don't have to buy the 17-35mm either. The 18-35mm is much cheaper and you won't notice the difference underwater.

You have plenty of strobe options. If you want TTL then you can house a Nikon Flash like the SB80. The flash housing and flash will end up costing you around $800-$1000 and it won't be that powerful. Good enough for macro, but not enough for wide angle. You have plenty of choices in underwater strobes, but they will only work in manual mode.
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#20 scottyb

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 07:30 AM

If you are considering using the 17 - 35, you have to rule out the Ikelite. The Fuji S2 is the only camera capable of TTL with underwater strobes at this time. However, if you are starting from scratch, the housed SB-80DX would appear to be the way to go. Then you would have a nice above water strobe as well.

I love my S2 but I already owned Nikon glass and SB-105's. Unfortunately, the housing possibilities will probably remain limited.