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Newbie Rigs: What camera system did you buy?


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#21 ohok1973

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:37 PM

Hi folks,

I bought my first point and shoot underwater camera (Casio Z77) this year and was very surprised of the good quality of the photos.

Here are some examples:
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

US$230 Casio Z77 + EWC-11 (3m) is the camera I used
US$324 Casio Z80 + EWC-130 (40m) alternative for divers

I have created a website with tips for this particular camera (but should be similar for other casio models).
http://underwater-ph....webconrad.com/

Full-size photos and videos can be found here: http://underwater-ph...otos-videos.php

Cheers
Clemens



Wow these are great picutres!

#22 GuidoW

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 04:05 AM

Hello everybody,

my name is Guido and I'm totally new to this forum. I've been advised to ask my questions in the forum by a semi professional diver and under water photographer.

Well, my wife and I are visiting the tropical regions for snorkeling since a few years. Last years we visited the maldives and bought a very cheap underwater camera with built in film there and took some shots. I think we don't have to speak about the quality of these photos.

At our home I'm photographing analog in 6x6. But, I don't want to take this equipment with me during vacation.

Therefore we decided to buy a further camera which will allow us to take under water photos too - using a special case/box around the camera itself.

Because I'd like to do the post processing myself and I'm a little bit spoiled form my off water equipment the new camera should fulfill the following requirements because it will be used out of water also.

Well, these are my requirements:

- No DSLR because it's to big. Better a smaller compact digital camera

- under water case / housing must be available for it

- should have an optical view finder and a small LCD display at its back

- relatively small and low weight

- fully automatic and manual mode (time/exposure free selectable)

- metering: spot and surroundings (automatically and manual choice)

- wide angle to tele zooming lenses

- data format: raw format available (=> direct import to photoshop), i.e. not JPEG only

- may be built in flash

I think these are the "must haves" for first. Any idea/suggestions what to buy?

Many thanks for now!

Greetings

Guido

Edited by GuidoW, 23 November 2008 - 04:12 AM.


#23 aussie

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:16 PM

Hi Guido, welcome to Wetpixel! I'd start by having a look at the new Canon G10, seems to cover all the bases you've mentioned above. In the Canon housing, it's not an overly expensive package either.

Oh, the only thing is you won't be able to use the viewfinder when the camera is in the housing (I can't think of any compacts that allow you to do this).
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#24 GuidoW

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 10:43 AM

Many thanks for your reply - I'll have a look!

I forgot to say that I want to use the optical viewfinder outside the water only, i.e. if it's to bright or to dark to see anything on the LCD display.

Again, many thanks for your tip!

Guido

#25 Noobie

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 08:47 PM

How well does the underwater housing work, and how well would it work for the Canon A720. Must have help I leave for the Barrier Reef in one week.

#26 Steve Williams

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 09:08 PM

How well does the underwater housing work, and how well would it work for the Canon A720. Must have help I leave for the Barrier Reef in one week.



Hi Noobie,
Both Canon and Ikelite make a housing for the A720 that I know of. The Canon is rated to 131 ft for about $170 and the Ikelite to 200ft for about $350. Adorama, Amazon, B&H and Helix all sell them plus some others I'm sure.

The housings work very well if your careful and make sure the o-ring is clean and lubricated per the instructions.

Good Luck,
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#27 Beach Bum

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 04:13 AM

Hi Noobie
I used to have a Canon SD550 in a Canon housing and it worked great with no problems.
Mike

#28 Noobie

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 03:45 PM

Hi Noobie,
Both Canon and Ikelite make a housing for the A720 that I know of. The Canon is rated to 131 ft for about $170 and the Ikelite to 200ft for about $350. Adorama, Amazon, B&H and Helix all sell them plus some others I'm sure.

The housings work very well if your careful and make sure the o-ring is clean and lubricated per the instructions.

Good Luck,
Steve

So it sounds like if i be gentle and i follow the instructions there should be a low chance of water getting in.

#29 DuncanS

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 02:42 AM

Hi All,

Have been hunting through old threads and posts and am slowly getting more and more confused and unsure of the best options. I had previously been using a Canon A570is in canon housing with inon fish eye lens and an epoque 150ds alpha strobe. Initially I used to just white balance and snap away in program mode, then i moved to Sharm in Egypt working as a dive instructor. So now i have free access to the redsea anytime I am not working and as there is nothing better to to in sharm my days off generally consist of Tech diving and photograpy (often combined) My poor little canon housing regularly get sent to 50-65m occasionally taking the odd photo and then as we hit the reef on the way up to deco out comes the camera (great way for using us deco time in the shallows). I then added the chkd software to enable raw and more manual control but this just slowed down the camera and this camera eats batteries..........so I started looking at other options (G9, G10 etc) At this point I should add that my wife has a dslr and lenses that are sat gathering dust.

Then the other night she turned to me and said "If you sell that jeep you can get an SLR housing etc" good girl (haven't used jeep for 6 months) So went hunting......that night I came across a ikelite canon 30d housing with flat port which had 20hrs to go and was 100 gbp....so I watched it and snuck in at the end and won it for 268 gbp. Quite a bargin I thing. The guy also had an 8in dome and a couple of extentions so I got those as well. Total for everything 600. (Housing alone in uk is 1200). Now I need to build the rest of the system. I have hijacked all her SLR kit and will sell, exchange etc to get a good set up. The following is a list of all the equipment I own plus the housing that I have just bought. What I want to know is what should I keep and what should I let go.

Initially I will not have the funds for the strobes so will be doing natural light only, however the housing comes with an inon / sea and sea sync cord and I wondered if this would drive the epoque flash as a stop gap??

SLR kit:

Canon 350D (sell and replace with 30D)
1.4x Canon multiplier
2x Canon Multipiler
Canon 100-400 L IS
Canon 10-20
Canon 18-55 (kit lens)
Canon 28-135 IS USM
Tamron AF 180 1:1 Macro
Canon 480 Speedlight

Housing Bought:
Ikelite 30d
Flat port (don't have part no yet but seller says suitable for 60mm)
8in Dome
Wide stalk
Superwide stalk
Sync cable for inon / sea and sea

Existing strobe

Epoque 150 ds alpha


I am more interested in building up a decent system that I wont have to keep chopping and changing as I think this is a one time offer from the wife!!!! The housing etc came as a set so I am not tied to using the exact ports that come with is as I will simply re sell any surplace.

Any advice gratefully recieved....head spinning.............

Rgds

Duncan
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#30 Tjsnapper

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 03:34 PM

Hi Duncan, I'll bite,

If you have the port for the 60mm then go for it it is about 250 and a good lens especially with the crop on the sensor but it would be nice to get the 180 on there if you want to go Macro (if Ikelite do a gear and port for it) if not then then sell it and get the canon 100mm. On the subject of Macro if you are going to get the 60 then the 1.4 and 2X teleconverters are really up to you, you can, again, get good money for them on the second hand market, then buy the extension tubes as/when required.

Wide, you can go for the 10-22 ( I can't find a 10-20 canon lens (you mentioned) on their list did you mean the 10-22) or the Tokina 10-17 seems to be a great lens with lots of support here on the forum here.

The 100-400mm is a nice lens but there is a good second hand market on ebay and you could get both the 60 and 10-17 (if you want to buy one) for what you would get for it, or put some towards some strobes.

The 18-55 is a dog of a lens, i got one with my 20D and there is about 0 market for re-sale. 28-135 is nice to hang onto for topside photography as is the flash so I would hang onto those anyway

Basically it depends what you want to shoot, if it is wide stuff then 10-22 Canon or Tokina 10-17 with your 8" dome. For macro you can get the 60 if you already have the port and gear for it. again there is an active market for second hand gear so if you want to change in the future you can.

I hope that this helps, there will be far more knowledgeable people here than me so I am sure that they will chip in :uwphotog:

Tristan
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#31 DuncanS

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 01:37 AM

SLR kit:

Canon 350D (sell and replace with 30D)
1.4x Canon multiplier
2x Canon Multipiler
Canon 100-400 L IS
Canon 10-22
Canon 18-55 (kit lens)
Canon 28-135 IS USM (Lens to large dia for port)
Tamron AF 180 1:1 Macro (Lens too large dia for port)
Canon 480 Speedlight

Housing Bought:
Ikelite 30d
Flat port (don't have part no yet but seller says suitable for 60mm) Port no 5502
8in Dome
Wide stalk Port no 5510.16
Superwide stalk Port no 5510.10
Sync cable for inon / sea and sea

Existing strobe

Epoque 150 ds alpha


I am more interested in building up a decent system that I wont have to keep chopping and changing as I think this is a one time offer from the wife!!!! The housing etc came as a set so I am not tied to using the exact ports that come with is as I will simply re sell any surplace.

Any advice gratefully recieved....head spinning.............

Rgds

Duncan
[/quote]


Some update to equipment.....


Tj thanks for that....

The 18-55 is not the best bit of kit hence I still have it as no resale value.....however it will slot into the same flat port as the 60mm macro so may use it to see what focal lengths work for different things whilst finalizing the lens choices. I can see a long time sat at the pots in the bay trying things out......as long as the butterfly fish leave me alone and dont make me bleed again, although they did give the dome a good clean......(did you get any photos of that?)

Sal loves the 180 macro so I think she will ban me from selling that. As far as I can work out the multipliers are only compatible with the L series lenses so I think they will be going and the 60mm is an EF-s mount anyway.

Wide is the 10-22 not 10-20 as quoted.....

Heres a question, Is a fisheye just an ultrawide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) prime or are there other optical differences...eg a 15mm fisheye vs 10-22 set to 15mm (appart from max apperture is there any ral difference and if so what is it?????)

Seller states that he uses the 5510.16 port with the 10-22 with no problems, however ikelite make a specific port body for this lens, anyone know what the difference is???

Rgds

Duncan

Edited by DuncanS, 02 December 2008 - 01:38 AM.

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#32 MailmanDod

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 02:02 PM

Hi everyone, love the site. I have been reading in my free time to try to determine what sort of camera rig I should get at my level of experience.

My experience: About 15 dives, taking photographs on about 8 or 9 of them. Done well with air consumption, etc while taking photos. I've only used point and shoots/advanced point and shoots (no strobes, mostly the cases had diffusers). Some of my photos have turned out well but many of them didn't get enough light and I'm working on my technique to get some closer, better pictures.

My question is this: I've been renting cameras every time I dive and it's been getting expensive. Image quality hasn't been up to par (low megapixels, no RAW, bad light due to no strobes) and I was wondering if you think it's a good idea for me to buy a DSLR? I really want the quality of the DSLR but I have no experience using one underwater. Do you think it's a silly idea for someone with as little experience as I have to get one?

I was looking at the Nikon D90 (mainly because my dad has a lot of Nikon lenses) or the Canon XSi Digital Rebel. Any suggestions would be great!

- Adam

edit: I forgot to mention, I have a Nikon P5000. Is it a smarter move for me to sink some money into it buying a housing and those tele-converter stackable wet lenses I've read about? My only issue with that is that none of that will be compatible with a DSLR if/when I get it.

Edited by MailmanDod, 10 December 2008 - 02:04 PM.


#33 DuncanS

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 01:21 AM

Adam,

Things to consider, where are you going to dive? locally or travel (slr = heavy bags). How often are you going to be able to get in the water? It is possible to get some great shots using compact rigs that are generally inexpensive. These offer you alot of flexibility (ie range of focal length) which you can build up both your photography skills and more importantly your diving and buoyancy skills. The golden rule is if you think you are close, get closer!!! But you need to be in control to avoid damaging the reef. You can then build on this system and upgrade at a later date. Yes wet lenses will not be transferable to an slr however the wet lenses themselves tend to hold their value fairly well, as for strobes, if you invest in one and choose one with an upgrade path in mind their is no reason that the strobe cannot transfer to an slr at a later date.

My advise, start with a compact and upgrade as your skills improve, this will allow you to focus in on the type of photos you like to take. Practice your skills in the pool if you are out of the water for a while so that you can hover on a dime in a varity of positions. Don't be afraid to adjust tank position and weight distribution until you find a comfortable position.

Most of enjoy........

Duncan
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#34 randini

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 08:04 AM

First of all, IMHO 15 dives is not enough to start jumping in with a rig. You need to get more experience in the water. A novice diver with a DSLR rig to is an accident waiting to happen. Your diving skillz really need to be second nature before you start concentrating composition, exposure and so on.

Second, if you've only done 15 dives are you sure you want to invest about $2000 (not including camera & strobes) to take an DSLR in the water with you?

How happy are you with image quality of the P5000 you have for topside pics? I know it's no dslr (I have P5000), but if you're happy enough with it, then then why not get a housing for that, start playing around with that in the water and build on it as you advance. Your options are the Fantasea for $200, the Ikelite for $450-500 and the FIX for $750-900. All will take add on lenses and M67 mount lenses for the Ike & Fix have a very good resale value if you want to sell them to upgrade to a DSLR at some point. There are many strobes that will work well with this camera that would also migrate with you if you do upgrade to a DSLR system later.
Nikon Coolpix P5000 in a Fantasea housing with a S&S YS60 (triggered via H-W DA2) & a S&S WAL
Nikon Coolpix S3 in a Nikon housing - mostly for tidepooling, BC pocket & on the boat stuff

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. - Mark Twain

#35 MailmanDod

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 08:16 AM

Duncan:

Thanks for the response I really appreciate it. That's a good point about the compact. I think the real issue I have is that I just really want a camera that can shoot in RAW (and sadly my P5000 can't). The G10 does look like a pretty good option though.

Randini:

I mean, I like the image quality for the P5000 but like I said to Duncan, I really want a camera that can shoot in RAW. That way, it will give me much more flexibility later when touching up my photos. I definitely agree that it might be a bit too ambitious of me to try diving with a DSLR at this point. I feel very comfortable in the water but you are right, it's probably not worth it at this point.

Do you think it's worth getting the UW housing for the P5000? The reason I wasn't going to do this was because it takes somewhat lower MP pictures than newer cameras and also doesn't save pictures in raw.

#36 randini

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:30 AM

Duncan:

Thanks for the response I really appreciate it. That's a good point about the compact. I think the real issue I have is that I just really want a camera that can shoot in RAW (and sadly my P5000 can't). The G10 does look like a pretty good option though.

Randini:

I mean, I like the image quality for the P5000 but like I said to Duncan, I really want a camera that can shoot in RAW. That way, it will give me much more flexibility later when touching up my photos. I definitely agree that it might be a bit too ambitious of me to try diving with a DSLR at this point. I feel very comfortable in the water but you are right, it's probably not worth it at this point.

Do you think it's worth getting the UW housing for the P5000? The reason I wasn't going to do this was because it takes somewhat lower MP pictures than newer cameras and also doesn't save pictures in raw.

I do think it's worth it since I'm getting a housing for mine, but then it's just my opinion and YMMV. Keep in mind that I'm not to worried about RAW since I have a strobe that I'm carrying over from my older camera and I've been able to do some corrections in PS on my pictures to get them to my satisfaction. The ones that I haven't been happy with, even raw couldn't have helped me (usually phtographer error, but then I'm still learning). Also, lower MP, many argue that that's actually a good thing for these small sensor cameras. I've been fine with the 8MP of my P4 up until now and, while I do like the pictures out of my P5000 much more than my P4, I don't feel that I gain much with the extra 2 MP of the P5000 (topside stuff - I haven't used the P5000 underwater yet). What I do like about the P5000 over the P4 is that it has much more flexibility in the shooting modes and that the housings for it all have better access to the controls than the housing I have for my P4.

If you're considering the G10, you should also take a look at the P6000, It's very much like an updated version of the P5000 (think of a G10'ed P5000: specs like a G10, in a "body" you're already familiar with). The main differences between it and the P5000 is that it has a raw format (the infamous non-standard NRW format, but Adobe now supports it on both Mac & Windows platforms as do a few others), a nice 28mm eq. lens, and since you're into MP, 13.5 of them. Iklite's already got a housing for it, and Fantasea and Fix should have theirs out soon (the FIX will be a winner if they use the dome port over the Nikon WA adapter as has been rumored).

Edited by randini, 12 December 2008 - 11:39 AM.

Nikon Coolpix P5000 in a Fantasea housing with a S&S YS60 (triggered via H-W DA2) & a S&S WAL
Nikon Coolpix S3 in a Nikon housing - mostly for tidepooling, BC pocket & on the boat stuff

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. - Mark Twain

#37 DuncanS

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 01:38 AM

Adam,

Don't get too hung up on RAW. Yes when rescuing images it gives you alot more flexibility, but on the plus side it will teach you to get as much as possible correct at the time of shooting to minimise post processing making you a much more efficient photographer. Far to many people snap away and then post process the image to death. If you are desperate for raw but don't want to spend a fortune on a compact you are going to chop in later then have a look on wiki for raw hacks for canon cameras. I am currently using this on a a570is and it allows me to take raw, however it does slow the camera down, I would focus more on the flexibility of shooting modes, eg Tv, Av and manual. The G series are great cameras but ikelite housings are alot more as they have ttl circuitry in them and if you are definately going to move up to an slr I would minimise what you spend at the moment and learn how each setting effects your image as this will be a great foundation to step up to an slr....

Mine arrives tomorrow!!! woo hoo...........

Rgds

Duncan
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#38 rajpsft

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 09:46 AM

Hello all,

I have had a Canon 20D for a few years and am going on my first snorkeling trip to Mexico. From reading the forums, it is not a good idea to get an expensive housing for the DSLR. I was thinking of getting a cheap P&S with a housing to go with it. Would I be disappointed with a cheap one like this

http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/B001B6469S

or should I splurge a couple of hundred on a housing.

TIA

#39 Beach Bum

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 06:00 PM

Hey rajpsft
Although I've never actually used a housing like your looking at, I have seen them up close.It is very limited in how deep you can take it and access to controls somewhat difficult. I know you said your going snorkeling, but perhaps in the future you may wish to scuba dive to deeper depths in which case you will need an actuall housing. I used to shoot with a Canon point and shoot and a Canon housing and was quite happy with it's performance(it never leaked). Go to Canons web site and you can check out there housings.
Mike

#40 M4rauder

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:04 PM

I used an older (larger) version of the DiCaPac with my Sony DSC-V1, and I was able to get some great UW photos while snorkeling. Sometimes the bag will warp/defocus your photos, but it's a very cheap way to try things out. Adjusting controls is very difficult though, so you lose a lot of flexibility.

I recently bought and used a Sealife DC800. Picture quality is similar, but I was able to get a few more good shots due to the better ease of use. Also, I liked having it on a scuba dive, something I would not bring a camera bag on. If you have a little more to spend, the Canon G10+housing will no doubt give you better image quality though and you'll have a better camera out of the case.