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Working through my options

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#1 ms67


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Posted 12 July 2014 - 01:24 AM

Hi everyone.

I'm a pro photographer from Sydney but have never taken gear in the water before.  I'm in the water nearly every day and just feel the need to get my gear wet, I haven't figured out what kind of photos I'll be taking, but I just want to have fun, and have something my kids can use.

I shoot Canon and have tons of spare gear, but I'm not really keen on housing for a DSLR due to bulk. A water proof compact is out of the question as I'd puke when I see the image quality they produce.

So I guess large sensor compact or mirror less is the go. Sony seem to be making great sensors these days, so that's a direction I'm seriously leaning.

Can anyone recommend a good large sensor mirrorless/compact water housing combo?

#2 gsk3



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Posted 12 July 2014 - 03:09 AM

One of the Olympus micro 4/3.  You can get them for under $500 with housing.  Or an RX100 MkII housed (likely more $ after the housing costs).


Spend your money on:

- The tray

- The arms

- Proper buoyancy control (floats or buoyancy arms) so that it's approximately neutral

- Strobes or video lights


Then go shoot. 

#3 troporobo


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Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:52 PM

If you have never shot underwater before, my guess is that your biggest mental adjustment will be about lighting. You have to have external lights, and their diffusion and reach behave very differently under water than on land. Good underwater lights (strobes or video) are also a lot more expensive than land photographers think they should be.  Many beginners start out cheap and often with only one light, but eventually upgrade.  I would advise starting with one good strobe, experimenting, then see how you like the results.  

#4 bear35


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Posted 13 July 2014 - 03:54 AM

Either the Sony nex cameras or Olympus 4/3, there are many more lenses available for the micro 4/3 systems though so think about what sort of pictures you want to take. Personally I would opt for one of the Olympus OMD in a nautical housing. Depends on your budget though. 

#5 dreifish


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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:06 PM

The OMD in a Nauticam housing is neither particularly cheap nor particularly less bulky underwater than a housed canon DSLR. Since the original poster already has the camera and the lenses, getting the ports and housing for a Canon DSLR might be more economical than starting with a whole new m4/3 system.


The alternative I think if a housed DSLR is too much size-wise is a Sony RX100 system. But the devil is in the details -- to get nice pictures underwater you need strobes and arm, and wet lenses for wide angle and macro, and floats to make your system neutrally boyant. By the time you add all those things to your small RX100/Nauticam housing, it's not going to be a whole lot smaller than a DSLR :)

I'd start with an RX100 (mark I or mark II) in a Nauticam housing, a single handle, a wide angle wet lens and a single strobe. If you want to take wide angle photos that is. If you prefer macro, a canon G15/G16 might be a better path. 


I've seen amazing work done with both systems. So maybe start out by browsing some underwater photos and figure out which ones you like/what you'd like to reproduce. Then you can research a system that allows you to do that :)

#6 Interceptor121


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Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:56 PM

Good advice here. If I had to upgrade my RX100 I would be looking at a Sony A6000 though there are still some lens issues


Dreifish is correct my system weights 5.6 Kg on land with all the stuff on which is a lot for a compact however a DSLR housing means another 2.5Kg to make it 8 Kg which is rather heavy indeed

I used a Nikon D7100 nauticam housing and the thing was really heavy however it felt solid (you bet!)

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#7 bvanant


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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:28 AM

I think you will find that a u4/3 system is considerably smaller than a housed DSLR and less negative at least for shooting macro (Big domes float a bit) but the image quality is also a bit less.


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.

#8 Tom_Kline


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Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:55 PM

Are one time use underwater film cameras still being sold? It is very, very easy to trash camera (regardless of type) gear by flooding - all underwater gear requires extreme (should be read with emphasis) attention to maintenance. There are many reports of flooding on this site, even when people are being careful.

 I just want to have fun, and have something my kids can use.

Thomas C. Kline, Jr., Ph. D.
Oceanography & Limnology
Currently used housed digital cameras: Canon EOS-1Ds MkIII, EOS-1D MkIV, and EOS-1DX; and Nikon D3X. More or less retired: Canon EOS-1Ds MkII; and Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2H.

Lens focal lengths ranging from 8 to 200mm for UW use. Seacam housings and remote control gear. Seacam 60D, 150D, and 250D, Sea&Sea YS250, and Inon Z220 strobes.



#9 jhelmuth



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Posted 23 July 2014 - 12:29 AM

In my not-so-humble opinion....



Olympus E-PL5 with their housing (PT-EP10) to keep cost down.   This gives you the same sensor as the OMD (which is damn nice, and hard to beat excepting full frame) - better than the Sony (much smaller sensor) stuff for sure.  Add your favorite strobe (my pick would be either the Sea&Sea YS-D1, or the YS-250).


Good news here is you can build on this system (great optical glass domes for fisheye, macro, etc.) AND get quality results...