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Camera Situation Help


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#1 rockcityphoto

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:16 PM

I'm looking to get a new camera, but I'm stuck in sort of a puzzling situation and I'm not sure how I want to proceed, so I was looking for some help.

Currently I have an old Nikonos setup with quite a number of accessories that I inherited from my dad. It worked great while it was functional, but the unit flooded and I can't get the shutter working right anymore. I could get it serviced and fixed, but personally, I'd really like to go digital anyway, so I'm using this as an excuse to make the jump. I'd love to get a DSLR, but that's just not in the cards financially right now. I'll get there someday, but not today.

Here is what I currently have that is in working order. Nikonos 15mm, 28mm and 35mm lenses and two almost brand new SB-105 strobes and the various brackets for them. I'm thinking of selling all or most of that and putting it toward a new setup. If I keep the strobes, I could potentially re-use them with a camera that I can slave them to that has no pre-flash. The camera would need to have some sort of manual setting though so the flashes don't blow out the images. The other option would be to sell those too and look for a complete kit and not worry about slaving. I'm really not sure what all that is worth though. The lenses are all in pretty good shape for their age and don't have any major blemishes and the strobes have only been on two dives.

The other thing that really intrigues me is a GoPro setup. Ideally it's not what I'd want for stills, but I love the video I've seen come from them and I could see using that for more than just diving. It's something I may end up getting regardless because I think it would be a lot of fun, but I don't think I'd be happy with it for still photography.

At this point I'm really not sure which direction to go as underwater photography is pretty new to me. I've been doing photography on land for about a decade now so it's not a new field to me, but underwater gear is and I'm not sure what I want to look for. Realistically, what might I be able to get for those lenses and/or strobes and what should I look into getting. I'm fine throwing in a little more money, but I really have no idea what they're worth to gauge as a starting point, does anyone have any idea? I'd probably be looking to buy a used setup, potentially on here to replace what I have now.

I'm really open to suggestions on this as I don't have much to gauge it on. Thanks for any help.

#2 Stoo

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:25 PM

Been there, done that... :D

Like you, I have a bucket of old Nikonos stuff here. I suspect that 1/3 of the members of Wetpixel do.

After about 2 years of waffling, I finally accepted that my old stuff was better as book-ends. The reality is, you can barely get them fixed anymore, and even if you do, decent film is becoming almost impossible to find, and will be "gone" within a couple of years... The SB105s might be useable with some system... maybe Ikelite... and someone else will correct or confirm this, but the old analog stuff just doesn't work with DSLRs.

The bodies and lenses aren't worth much with the possible exception of the 15. I've seen complete systems on eBay that sell for under $100.

The thing is that pretty much nothing you have will migrate to the digital word. I fiddled with friends' point and shoots and they were awful. I know that they have improved, but this was maybe 4 years ago. The shutter lag was so bad that I missed more than I got. But I simply couldn't come to terms with dropping $10K+ on a decent DSLR setup. So I resigned myself to a photo-free life.

Then Mrs. Stoo and I went to Cayman Brac in the summer... And for the first time in 25 years, I was without a camera. I had no idea diving was so BORING! There's nothing to do excepts swim around and look at fish.

So I came back here, shopped the classifieds, and eventually found a gently used D90 system, and a deal was made. I used it on one trip, then added a second strobe, and a lens or two. And bagged some pretty nice shots.

I am in the midst of a slight upgrade to a D7000. I have been publishing some stuff and need a few more pixels.

So my advise, is bury the Nikonos stuff in the yard, decide on a budget, ask maybe 300 questions here, then buy all new (or a nice used system as I did).

You won't regret it!

Edited by Stoo, 16 February 2012 - 06:30 PM.


#3 errbrr

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:24 AM

My dad also shot with a Nikonos V, which I was never brave/silly enough to try and dive with. My first purchase was a dSLR, and my experience is definitely that the old strobes will work with digital. I've used ikelite substrobes and SB105s with my Canon 5DII. All on full manual, lots of light output, no problems and much, much cheaper than trying to buy new strobes at the same time as a camera and housing.

#4 Stoo

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:37 AM

I've used ikelite substrobes and SB105s with my Canon 5DII.


Good to know. I have a couple of Ikelite 225s and was told (I thought) by Ikelite that they wouldn't work at all. If anyone would like them, let me know! It might be that they were that much older than the 105s...

I have DS 161s now... great strobes, at about half the size and weight...

#5 saga7

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:54 AM

Your sb 105 strobe does work with aquatica housing and sea and sea housing. The camera must be set to manual modes and you use the hotshoe on camera to fire strobes. The camera does not see the strobe attached so you guess. It is very easy to get great shots. Shoot on raw on camera to allow editing if you get the setting slightly wrong. Works very well. TTL cannot be used but i never used it anyway on my nikonos camera. TTL i found was useless except for macro.The chart on the sb105 for aperture setting is just about bang on for digital. The only thing i do is go up one f stop. If chart says f8 i use f11.

#6 rockcityphoto

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:04 PM

Thanks for all the tips on using the strobes with modern housings, I'm glad to hear I can re-use them directly connected rather than slaving them with a few of them.

I don't think I can shell out for a housing for my 40D right now, but I'd like to step into something for meantime and re-sell when I'm ready for the jump. It seems like the only thing I could potentially re-sell for any money would be the 15mm lens and even that I might only get a few hundred for. Assuming I can get a little bit for that, let's say my budget is around $7-800. Does anyone have any suggestions for a camera and housing that would fit that budget and work with my SB105's? I don't mind looking at something used either if anyone knows of a good deal floating around. If I'm looking new, it seems like I could look into a Canon S95 and an Ikelite housing and use their cable for my strobes. I haven't looked much into the Aquatica and Sea and Sea housings yet.