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Planning a new (and smaller) setup!


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#1 Gymrat76

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 09:58 AM

Hi guys

I've decided to move from DSLR (housed D90 in Ikelite housing & Ikelite strobe systems) to a compact camera. Reason is that I'm tired of lugging all the photography equipment around both on land and underwater. So, I've sold off my D90 setup and am looking at compacts.

Currently deciding on either the Canon S95 or the Panasonic LX5. Have not decided on the housing, but prob looking for one that is compact and doesn't break the bank (10Bar or Nauticam... maybe Ikelite but its a little bulky).

I'm thinking of pairing the camera with a video light (Light&Motion Sola Video 1200) and an Inon S2000 on the other side. Any comments on the setup, or on the choice of cameras? Thanks

#2 derway

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 08:35 PM

Hey there.

The lx5 is much more responsive. Better autofocus, and faster overall shutter lag.

The s95 would be much more annoying, in lag time, when shooting underwater.

Another alternative would be the oly zx-1. Or even the oly epl-2. These are the only 2 oly's I'd touch, in terms of shutter lag, and auto focus.

The micro 4/3rds cams, including the epl-2 and the panasonic gh2, and gh1&2 are also great contenders.

Finally, consider a sony nex5. Great performance, in terms of IQ, and AF lags. But there are not enough lenses out yet. And the interface is not the best for doing Aperture, Shutter, or Manual exposure mode.

The epl2 with an oly housing is the way to go for low price, compact size, and really good performance.
Don Erway
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#3 folivier1

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 03:58 AM

Yes, the reviews on the Nex 5 sound like the menu system is somewhat cumbersome. Don't know how bad that will be to access the normal functions used underwater. The least appealing thing is the lack of wide angle lens. I think I would want around 15-18mm (on 35mm equivalent) and a good macro around 70-100mm.
The Panasonic GH2 sounds really nice (I like the viewfinder for topside shooting) and it looks like the lens are available, and may be less expensive than the Olympus EP2 (the Zuiko lens are really expensive, anyone know if they are that good optically?) But I think there is only one housing available for the GH2 and that is the 10bar.
So if you want a system now the Oly EP2 may be the best choice, I think I'll wait a few more months and see what develops for the GH2 and maybe lens for the Nex5.
I'm looking hard at these camera systems for the near future. I was going to house my 5D2 but the weight and size makes it difficult to carry-on for travel. These systems look to be much easier to carry and should be nice enough for the results I want.

#4 Gymrat76

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 04:03 AM

Hey there.

The lx5 is much more responsive. Better autofocus, and faster overall shutter lag.

The s95 would be much more annoying, in lag time, when shooting underwater.

Another alternative would be the oly zx-1. Or even the oly epl-2. These are the only 2 oly's I'd touch, in terms of shutter lag, and auto focus.

The micro 4/3rds cams, including the epl-2 and the panasonic gh2, and gh1&2 are also great contenders.

Finally, consider a sony nex5. Great performance, in terms of IQ, and AF lags. But there are not enough lenses out yet. And the interface is not the best for doing Aperture, Shutter, or Manual exposure mode.

The epl2 with an oly housing is the way to go for low price, compact size, and really good performance.


Thanks for the feedback Don. I'm probably not going to go with a micro 4/3rd setup as I'm moving away from DSLR, and am looking for a simpler setup for when I go diving. Shutter lag was what made me switch to DSLR in the first place, but I'm giving up a little bit of performance for portability and simplicity :D

Have seen the Oly PEN's in action.. and am very impressed. Perhaps worth a second look, thanks :D

#5 derway

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 08:02 AM

The gh2 body is way more expensive and heavier. Great cam though.

The panasonic micro4/3s lenses fit on the oly bodies, and generally perform much better at autofocus than the equivalent oly lenses.

So an epl2 with a couple pany lenses would be a good way to go.

All the micro4/3s lenses are over priced for what you get, and no f2.8 zooms available. But it is coming down. And sigma, tamron, tokina, are moving finally..
Don Erway
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nikon n90s/ikelite housing/twin SS-200 canon G2/ikelite/DS-50/optical TTL slave
sony V3/ikelite/DS-51/Heinrich DA2 slave

#6 allen

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 08:34 AM

FWIW, I was shooting a LX4 which was stollen last month so I was forced into a LX5. I planned to upgrade it anyways but ... In terms of compactness I have been really happy with the UK Germany housing I got for it. My kit, housing, strobe, focus light, etc. (sans arms) fit into a Lowe Pro Magnum 200 bag. Perfect carry on size and it can actually fit into my back pack. New UK Germany housing has full control on all buttons.

I just got the replacement camera so I am going through things now. But if the LX4 was any indication the LX5 will be excellent. One of my planned upgrades was to add on a wide angle adaptor and change the port to a dome port.

#7 folivier1

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 08:56 AM

While I like the GH2 because of the viewfinder I am not sure which setup will be best for me. I was planning to house my 5D2 but want/need a much smaller system for air travel. I can wait a few months before I buy so I'm anxiously awaiting any new housings to see the actual size difference between the GH2 and EPL-2, LX5, Nex5, etc.
Another thought is that the GH2 may be able to (with the right lenses) replace my 5D2 on trips because of the smaller size.

#8 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 03:21 PM

I got a NEX-5 as my wife's all around camera and will have the Aquatica AN-5 housing for it. Am very impressed with the lack of lag and the gorgeous IQ. Menu system is actually not as bad as what some of the review sites say and the firmware upgrade from last fall certainly improved things a lot. Right now, B&H sells the camera, 18-55 and 16mm pancake with a Lowepro bag and 4GB SD card for 750. Really good price. My one nit is that battery life isn't the best, I would suggest having at least 1 spare on a multi-dive day.

Cheers

Stu

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#9 folivier1

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 05:23 PM

Stewart, I'd be real interested in seeing your opinions & images once you get it wet.
Particularly interested in how the add-on wide angle and fish eye adaptors work.
Any idea on a macro lens or adaptor for the Nex5?

#10 derway

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 07:16 PM

I don't think the gh2 will be significantly smaller or lighter, than an entry level dslr. And MORE expensive.

The pany gf1 is certainly of interest here. The gf2 has gone off in the direction of competing with the nex5. And it is less photographer friendly, according to some.

Stewart, how is shooting full manual exposure, on the nex?

Anyone know how it is with gf2?
Don Erway
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sony V3/ikelite/DS-51/Heinrich DA2 slave

#11 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 10:30 PM

@foliver: I likely won't be fulling kitting out the AN-5. My wife isn't as hard core a shooter as I am, I have the dome port and flat port on order for the 18-55 and 16mm pancake respectively. I likely won't order the Fisheye port as I'm hoping Aquatica comes out with a port adapter that will allow me to use my 6" dome and multitude of extensions to use the Sony Fisheye adapter (that I've yet to buy). I do expect it to do double duty as a backup camera or a 2nd body if I'm set up for wide angle with my DSLR and a nice macro subject comes along. I will be equipping the AN-5 with twin YS110a strobes on optical ttl. I do expect to order a Subsea diopter and will see if that will work with the AN-5

@derway: Manual shooting is pretty straightforward, the NEX-5 has 3 rear buttons and the control wheel. Once you set the camera to Manual Mode, the rear wheel will control aperture, a simple down arrow press on the control wheel/joystick and the wheel will then control shutter speed. Flash mode is accessed by a right press, shot mode (single, multi, pano) is a right press. LCD info is controlled by a top press. Very intuitive really. Movie mode has a dedicated button as of course shutter release and power. The AN-5 pretty much mimics the controls, I'll do a better description when my first dealer unit is in my hands. I don't have a dive trip planned so any UW images will have to be from a pool. =)

Cheers

S.

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SLS Photography, when your images matter....
Aquatica, Amphibico, TLC, ULCS (Philippines), Stix, iTorch, FIT, Magic Filter Dealer
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#12 sgietler

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 06:28 AM

The Ikelite & Recsea S95 housings are both quite small. Sea & Sea has done a great job with the compact YS-01 strobe, I'd take a look at that also.

Scott

#13 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 08:58 AM

IMHO, IQ of the S95 is not quite up to par with that of the EPL-2 or the NEX-5. Not to mention the performance disadvantage due to significantly longer shutter lag.

S.

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#14 davephdv

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 07:05 PM

When the LX5 came out and an Ikelite housing was announced I was going to pull the trigger on one.

Went down to Sammy's to check out the LX5, the GF2 and the NEX5.

The staff strongly recommended the NEX5, due to the larger sensor. There opinion of the LX5 was that it was a moderate improvement on the LX3 (which I own).

In my handling I thought the NEX5 was the worst and the GF2 the best. I couldn't get a good picture out of the NEX5. The LX5 was nice, but not as good as the GF2.

Being use to shooting a D300s I wouldn't spend the money on a camera that is only a modest improvement over the LX3. The camera is too slow and noisy at 400 ISO and above.

So I wait on the alleged Ikelite housing for the GF2 and maybe 4/3rds cameras with second generation sensors. To do otherwise is giving up too much compared to my D300s.
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#15 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 06:47 AM

Went down to Sammy's to check out the LX5, the GF2 and the NEX5.

The staff strongly recommended the NEX5, due to the larger sensor. There opinion of the LX5 was that it was a moderate improvement on the LX3 (which I own).

In my handling I thought the NEX5 was the worst and the GF2 the best. I couldn't get a good picture out of the NEX5. The LX5 was nice, but not as good as the GF2.


Dave, when did you test the NEX-5? There was a firmware upgrade done in October/November of last year that significantly improved the menu structure. The NEX-5 isn't as SLR-like as the EPL-2 but I (and my other UW-Photo buddies) found it very easy to use.

S.

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#16 davephdv

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 06:31 PM

Only like a month ago. Problem was in shop photos. No one, myself or the staff could get the camera to take a good photo. The staff assured me though that it had the best IQ of the 3 cameras. The GF2 one the other hand was extremely easy to use and had great IQ.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

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#17 Deep6

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 06:22 PM

Yes, the reviews on the Nex 5 sound like the menu system is somewhat cumbersome. Don't know how bad that will be to access the normal functions used underwater. The least appealing thing is the lack of wide angle lens. I think I would want around 15-18mm (on 35mm equivalent) and a good macro around 70-100mm.
The Panasonic GH2 sounds really nice (I like the viewfinder for topside shooting) and it looks like the lens are available, and may be less expensive than the Olympus EP2 (the Zuiko lens are really expensive, anyone know if they are that good optically?) But I think there is only one housing available for the GH2 and that is the 10bar.
So if you want a system now the Oly EP2 may be the best choice, I think I'll wait a few more months and see what develops for the GH2 and maybe lens for the Nex5.
I'm looking hard at these camera systems for the near future. I was going to house my 5D2 but the weight and size makes it difficult to carry-on for travel. These systems look to be much easier to carry and should be nice enough for the results I want.

The possible new lenses don't look too promising for u/w.
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#18 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 08:32 AM

I'm seriously enjoying using my...err...the wife's NEX-5. I took some shots at ISO 1600 and they were very very nice. Base ISO was awesome. While not quite up to the responsiveness of my DSLRs, that wasn't the reason why we got it. I have the 16mm Pancake and the 18-55. These 2 are good UW lenses IMHO. I will likely get the Fisheye extension and the 30 Macro (when released). The NEX will be used in the new Aquatica AN-5 housing that I expect to have in my ... I mean the wife's hands shortly. =)

S.

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#19 leepix

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:30 AM

Thanks for the feedback Don. I'm probably not going to go with a micro 4/3rd setup as I'm moving away from DSLR, and am looking for a simpler setup for when I go diving. Shutter lag was what made me switch to DSLR in the first place, but I'm giving up a little bit of performance for portability and simplicity :B):

Have seen the Oly PEN's in action.. and am very impressed. Perhaps worth a second look, thanks :P

@Gymat76. I have been shooting S90 in Fix housing with Inon D2000 for over a year. Yes it is a VERY compact system. The whole rig will go into a stanard attache case with room to spare. I have been very happy with the results even with my Inon WAL 100 lens. While those who like to emphasize its (and the S95) cons compared to DLSRs and EVIL m4/3rd systems, I do not its comparing apples and oranges to my mind. The dials on the Canons make it VERY easy to adjust u/w.

Now value wise is another thing all together~ The cost of a S9X plus housing and flash is much higher than an Oly PL series (especilly with Olympus now discounting older model. I suspect that the ZY-1 system would be even cheaper?

The problem with Pany is always availability/cost of housings and customer support (from what I have read?).

While EVIL and m4/3 digicams offer bigger sensors for sure, one has to ask if the cost and size fit your goals? You have not said what kind of shooting you do?

P.S. the S90 was great second shooter while in Yosemite last year and generally is my goto camera for topside trips.

#20 TomR1

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 04:36 PM

Macro photography is a problem with the EVIL cameras. Check out the kit 14/42 lens for the magnification value. You won't be pleased. You'll need a macro lens for macro photography. The best compact out there currently is the Olympus XZ-1. Use an OLY housing and an INON s-2000 and you are good to go in a small package for less than $1500. Use an INON wet lens for MACRO.

The LX-5 is a better camera than the E-PL2 but the housings are more expensive. I think an Ikelite housing defeats your purpose