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I lost my camera, advice for an upgrade?

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#1 ocean_pony


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Posted 08 December 2013 - 04:06 PM

Hey everyone! I'm pretty new here, so I hope I can gather some good advice from you smart folks  :laugh:


I'm a rank amateur photographer that's been shooting for the past 5 years with a Canon PowerShot SD990 IS and housing, with no strobes. It's been a great camera, and I think I had just about pushed it to it's limits. 


Long story short, due to gear malfunction and general human error, my Canon is now either floating around or washed up on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. So, before my next trip I am looking to upgrade! Problem is, I don't exactly know where to start.


Are there any cameras, strobes, or rigs you guys could recommend? I've been looking at a few Olympus cameras and housings, based on a recommendation from a fellow diver who took some killer shots.


In addition, I had some experience with a rental camera that had one strobe, and was thinking one would be enough for the next step, but reading around has almost convinced me that two strobes is the way to go. Problem is, The rental camera I used (some form of Sea&Sea) was so bulky even with 1 strobe, would buying 2 be worth the extra money?

#2 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 05:14 PM

Regarding strobes, I'd recommend to get one. The wow you get from having one versus zero strobes is huge. From one to two much less and depends on the type of images you like to take. Even when I had two strobes I would normally only use one at a time. Now with my new Olympus camera I have only one strobe and after my 2-week outing have found no need to get a second. But if you like wide-angle or want to get more sophisticated with lighting the story will change. But you can get that 2nd strobe once you feel the need.



Olympus OM-D EM5/Nauticam, 12-50mm & 60mm macro
Sea&Sea 110a, iTorch, GoPro3 BE

#3 ocean_pony


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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:31 AM

Thanks for the reply! I'll go with 1 to start then.


Regarding that, I know very little about strobes in general. Are strobes made such that they are compatible only with certain cameras (i.e. should I be looking for a package deal?) or is there some sort of standard hookup that allows most strobes to work with most cameras?

Edited by ocean_pony, 09 December 2013 - 01:06 PM.

#4 bvanant


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Posted 09 December 2013 - 12:36 PM

Most strobes can work with any camera and the main ones from S&S, Inon, Ikelite, etc can pretty much be used with pretty much any housing. There are some proprietary IKE issues but the new Ike Manta strobe looks like it can play nice with everyone. I have strobes that are on the order of 10 years old and have been used on a wide variety of systems.


Canon 7d, Nauticam, Lots of glass, Olympus OMD-EM5, Nauticam, 60 macro, 45 macro, 8 mm fisheye, Inon, S&S, Athena Strobes plus lots of fiddly bits.

#5 dpaustex



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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:18 PM

I'd guess I would ask what your budget is (range?).


If you're going back to a point-and-shoot, I'd opt for one with full manual control. You can pick up a used G-9 in a housing for not too much money. You need a strobe, preferbably fired from a hot-shoe on the camera.  Most strobes fire from a wired connection, but there are optical trigger converters to make them fire if you have an on-camera flash.


Good luck. I'll look for your camera in my travels.....

#6 Overexposed Seahorse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 12:55 PM


Another option would be a micro four thirds camera. These have got a larger sensor than any compact so have better image quality, interchangeable lenses so that you can use a dedicated wide angle lens behind a dome port. They have full manual controls, and you can get something like an olympus E-pl3 and olympus housing for around £800, so a fair bit more than a compact. You can also use 67mm wet macro and wide angle lenses such as Inon, which are cheaper than buying lenses and ports.


As strobes go, you get what you pay for. Strobes can be compared by their guide number, which is a measure of how powerful and bright they are. Those with higher guide numbers are brighter, but more expensive as a result. Also it is worth looking at the angle of coverage. If you have a single strobe and a 100 degree wide angle lens, then a strobe with a 90-100 degree coverage is recommended to light the majority of the image.


A good strobe to start with is the Sea & Sea YS-01 (http://camerasunderw...ea-sea/ys-01-02) which is pretty good value for money. I would stick with one strobe. Many photos are taken with a single strobe, and the best time to add the second is when you know you need it. If you know what the second strobe will do and why you need it by all means get two. But to shoot everything with two strobes will make your setup heavier and more expensive, and does not teach you as much with regards to how to position strobes. 


Good luck with your decision!