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Need Recomendations on Camera Setup


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#1 Ronyx

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:44 AM

Hi Everyone!

After many years I am re-entering the world of underwater photography. This necessitates the need for some new gear (or new to me) and this is where I could use your help.

I do a lot of top side photography and have a small side business doing architectural and interior design work. My current Camera is a 5D Mark II. My thinking regarding options goes like this:

OPTION #1
CAMERA: My current 5D Mark II
HOUSING: used housing, Aquatica or similar
STROBE: Have my current Ikelite DS-125 strobe refurbished by Ikelite to DS-160 spec
PORTS: Start with Macro, purchase new/used port for my current EF 100 2.8 USM

ADVANTAGES: Lower cost due to used housing and using existing camera
DISADVANTAGES: 5D Mark II is an old model so this underwater set-up will have a shorter operational life, resulting in more costs when I upgrade camera for Architecture

OPTION #2
CAMERA: Sell 5D Mark II, buy new 5d Mark III
HOUSING: New housing, Aquatica or similar
STROBE: Have my current Ikelite DS-125 strobe refurbished by Ikelite to DS-160 spec. could also sell D2-125 and purchase new Inon's
PORTS: Start with Macro, purchase new/used port for my current EF 100 2.8 USM

ADVANTAGES: Longer operational life as this is a brand new model, will use camera for architectural work, ability to recover some costs through sale of old camera.
DISADVANTAGES: higher initial cost, manageable through a phased purchase approach with means longer time before photographing underwater

My primary concern is if I go with my current camera then I will be locked into using an older system for some time.

Does anyone have thoughts or experience with this type of decision?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Edited by Ronyx, 16 January 2013 - 08:45 AM.


#2 blibecap

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:55 AM

You would want to consider two strobes. depending on the age / serial number on your ikelite ds-125 it may not be sutable for a upgrade.

DS-125 Substrobes

* SubStrobes with Serial Number below 2,500 can NOT be updated to operate correctly with the latest TTL conversion circuitry. Click here for details on upgrading to a DS160 or DS161 Substrobe.

* SubStrobes with Serial Number between 2,500 and 4,999 require upgrade of electronics to operate. Cost of update depends on strobe circuitry. Strobe must be returned to the factory for evaluation to provide an estimate of upgrade cost.

Also this will not upgrade them to a ds-160.
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#3 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:20 AM

I went through the same decision process recently. What made me sell my 5dmk2 and go with the Mk3 was the much better handling the new body gives you. AF on the mk3 is outstanding, way better than the mk2. It was at the suggestion of 2 other highly respected photographers that got me over the initial spending hump (plus my dealer took my mk2 in for a trade). The Aquatica 5dmk3 housing has more functionality than the mk2 version mainly by giving you access to the rear joystick, the optional ISO lever is a nice touch as well.

The camera also now allows in camera multiple exposure so that just opens up a whole new option on creative composition. While most pooh pooh the slight resolution increase, it's not just the MP that makes the camera sing. I do quite a bit of commercial photography and that helps pay for the UW toys. I leased my system and as a working pro, that is a definite consideration as you can claim the full cost of your lease as a business expense. You can PM me if you want more details.

Can't advise you on the strobe selection as I'm using the S&S YS-D1's with my setup. As for your lens selection, hard to beat the 100 macro, and with the great AF ability of the mk3, you can just opt for the AF only macro port and proper port extension. I would suggest at least a good focus light though as it can get dark shooting our Canadian waters.

Cheers

S.

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#4 Ronyx

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:34 AM

Blibcap, thanks for setting me straight on the upgrade path for the DS-125. Sounds like it might be better to buy new.

Stewart, thanks for your insight. I'll send you a PM as I've considered the lease route in the past.

#5 Fasando

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

From what i understand u can change ur ds 125 to 160 through ikelite, but u will need to pay 300-475$ for it-
from ikelite's site - Can I upgrade my DS125 to DS160 or DS161?
Can I upgrade my DS160 to DS161?
Yes!
Substrobe DS125 Upgrade to DS160: $ 300 - 475*
Substrobe DS125 Upgrade to DS161: $ 450 - 625*

#6 Longimanaus

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

Have you considered hanging onto your MKII and just upgrading the strobes to Inon Z4s? This way, you can spend your "savings" from a used housing on better strobes. The strobes will likely carry forward to your next rig in the future (including all of the connecting kit).

The MKII is an awesome camera and many experts will tell you to hang onto it if you already have one vs jumping to the MKIII (even pick up another MKII second-hand). The MKII is one of those game-changers (especially the video) that will last for quite some time.

Just went through the MKII vs MKIII debate last year. If you did not already have the camera, then more people will push you toward the MKIII (based on my polling experience).
Nikon D700, Hugyfot, Inon Z240s, Nikkor 16-35mm, shaved Tokina 10-17mm, 105mm D series, 60mm, Zen 230mm dome

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#7 Ronyx

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:24 PM

Good feedback everyone. I've gone back and forth in my mind a bunch on the 5D Mk II vs MK III thing and I agree with Longimanaus in that the MK II was a game changer when it came out. Indeed it is still an excellent camera, so much so that I haven't felt the need to upgrade up to this point.

#8 Ronyx

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:56 AM

After thinking more. There really are many more options that could be explored.

Are there other recommendations in the Canon DSLR line other than the 5D II or III?

For instance, what about a T4i or would the image quality be a let down? One advantage I can see going this route would be the ability to use TTL.

#9 VizBiz

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

Ha - I had a Nikon D300 (no video)... What started as an idea to get a second hand 300s for video, and just a new back plain for my housing needed in:

Selling my D300
Selling my D300 housing
Buying a D800 new
Buying a D800 housing new
New full frame Lens's new
New ports
Selling old Lens's
Selling old ports
And so on.....

It's underwater photography, and I don't think there is an easy way. Spend as much as you can up front to get the best you can.... It is expensive to upgrade too soon again...

Cheers
I dive and take pictures....
VizBiz
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#10 Ronyx

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:25 PM

LoL, That reminds me of projects that start out simple and cheep but get change ordered into something much larger. I can see that happening to me here