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AggressorBLUE

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About AggressorBLUE

  • Rank
    Starfish

Additional Info

  • Show Country Flag:
    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT
  • Camera Housing
    Ikelite
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Ikelite DS 125
  1. So, rookie question then: Do lens auto-focus at the selected stop, or do they focus at the lowest possible stop for the lens, and then choke down to the selected stop when commanded to capture the photo? That said, at the current street price of $800USD (Amazon), I'd say from the pics shown this looks to be well worth the premium over the Panasonic.
  2. (Emphasis mine) Wait, why? larger apertures have their uses underwater too; more DOF to play with, less work for the strobes, sharper fast-moving subjects, and for shallow enough dives, 1.8 could work well without any strobes
  3. Yeah, the Nauticam is looking like the way to go, I appreciate the feedback! Regarding the 12-50, I'm really hesitant there. The lens itself looks great, but $550 is a LOT of money for a zoom gear (that's the rate on Backscatter at least), and it looks cheaper all in to just go with the more expensive Oly Macro 60 and zoom gear (which appear to be compatible with the 72 flat port). Of course, the 12-50 lets the camera swing-role between macro and wide angle. Choices, choices...
  4. Thanks for the feedback everyone! As follow-up, I went with the E-M5 after all. Oly had a Columbus day sale where refurbs were on heavy discount. I nabbed a refurb M5 with the 12-40 RII lens for about $600. As my grandmother would say, "it would cost me money to leave it there" A 2 year extended warranty from Oly is only $100, so I'm still out ahead of a new M5 price-wise. As far as handling, my fiance got me the HLD-6 grip, which really brings it pretty close to the in-hand feeling of the E-M1 (M1 still wins here, but it's not $400 better IMO), but can be removed to make the M5 more portable. Even fully loaded, the M5 is cheaper than the M1, and that lets me put the cash into expanding my glass and underwater kit. This way, I'll have a turn-key operation going should I adopt an M1 down the road, or more likely I'll 'leap frog' the M1, and go with what Oly offers as it's replacement in (presumably) a year or two. And this way I also have the M5 as a back-up rig down the line. So far I'm having a blast with my '5! It's a very fast, 'smart' shooter, and I've only scratched the surface of what it can do. Next question of course, is how to get it underwater. I'm now comparing the Oly PT-EP08 ($1.4k with port) vs Nauti NA-EM5 ($1.9K with port). Any imput one brand vs. the other?
  5. This is incredibly helpful actually! At this point, I'd defer to the IL housing if I went with an SL1, as I could probably walk out of the shop with one under 1K (it pays to be a volunteer dive master ), but if I could get a deal on a Sea and Sea I'd also cross shop it (it is a fantastic looking housing). Do you regularly shoot in live view? My initial assumption was that this wouldn't be ideal, but now it appears this isn't the case. The lack of "the" fish-eye lens for underwater use, the Tokina, is indeed a painful barb in MILs side, but it looks like Panasonic makes a half way decent substitute. As far as "pocket-able" I was hoping for at least cargo or jacket pockets to work, but at this point I agree that's simply not realistic. Smaller and lighter still make for a less obtrusive 'wart' hanging off my side though. One hesitation point I still have with the SL1 though, is where my upgrade path would lie. Upgrading to a higher end rebel means a larger camera and housing, thus making it less likely to be taken on a trip. While I'm sure whatever eventually replaces the SL1 in the line up will be a step forward, I can't help but feel Canon will always sand-bag the camera just a bit, as it's the Rebel lines "little brother". Conversely, the EM-1 is the top dog in it's line up (upgrade path thus being irrelevant), and would only see replacement after a generation or two of new models come down the pipe. The A6000 also leaves me the option of taking my glass to the A7 (or whatever iteration replaces it) down the road..or just buying the A7 to start (used models are going for the same price as used EM-1s), which again sees me shooting with the 'top dog' in the line up. This isn't gonna be easy....
  6. Hmm. I was "afraid" the A6000 would start to become a dark horse, thus making this choice even harder! It's larger sensor and resulting 24MP shooting rez are certainly praise worthy though. Also, I'm on-board with it's 'cons' being a lack of touch screen and average viewfinder spec, as neither of those are of consequence underwater. It is a bit odd that it lacks an in-body mic though, which I'd like to have for shooting on-land video from time to time. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for the "sweep panorama" feature too, and use the pano mode on my iPhone all the time. I know it's not really underwater friendly, but I'm sure shooting panos at 24MP could lead to some amazing shots on land. I'm not a huge fan of the viewfinder placement though, having tried one out at a local store. For on-land photography, it felt a bit awkward to shoot.I'll search around to see if anyone is making extended grips for the camera, perhaps to balance this better. I certainly agree that the EM-10 is the best mix of features at the price. But I went to a local camera shop this weekend, where I got to handle all three models in the OM-D line, and then a problem arose: I actually picked up an EM-1. "Wow" about sums up my reaction. It just felt right. It felt like my first film SLR from years ago; it had just the right heft and feel, solid handling, dials and buttons that were right where I'd want them. By comparison, the EM-10/EM-5, and A6000 felt like toys that needed to be handled with care, where as the EM-1 felt like a mechanical instrument. I walked out of there knowing that would be my next camera. It's a great shop too (Allens Camera in Levittown PA), and they'll be giving me a shout the next time a used model hits the floor, which should keep the cost just under $1k for the body. Great selection of used glass too! So at this point, it's looking like a show down between the A6000 and the EM-1. If I were just shooting underwater, the A6000 would probably take it, owing to it's smaller housing foot print, and macro friendly full frame (I'm sure more Fish eye type lenses are on the way). Plus, it's lack of touch screen wouldn't be painful underwater. But for surface shooting, the EM-1 just feel better and more balanced. Choices, choices...
  7. So, as a quick background, I’ve been diving with a 7 year old Rebel XT, kit lens (18-55mm) Ike light housing, and dual Ikelight strobes (DS160s) for several years now, and it’s time to upgrade. The setup is a family camera, but It generally gets handed to me on Dive trips. As such, I’ve not invested in any extra glass for it, and I’m not married to Canons eco-system. I’m not fiercely brand loyal either, so I’m generally open minded. That said, here’s what I’m looking for in my next rig: -Compact WITH housing: That is to say, I can fit at least the housing and camera in carry-on baggage (bonus points for strobes!). I do carry on the current canon setup, bit it’s 90% of the bag when I do, and whoever carry-ons the camera generally spreads their other stuff out across other family members baggage. In short, it’s an operation to get the camera on a plane. I’d like to cull that with my next rig. I also have no wish to ever ‘upgrade’ to the mega sized SLRs (eg. EOS D), as I’d rather spend more on a compact setup I can actually bring half way around the world, versus gather dust at home. -Streamlined: I’d like to be able to setup the next rig so that I can clip it to a BC D-Ring (my Knight hawk has rings that sit along the bottom under the weight pockets) , and ‘drop’ the camera in high current/line operations if needed. For example, I Had to pull out of a dive in the FL Keys (the Duane, one of my favorites L ) a few weeks ago because the current was too strong and I couldn’t pull myself and the giant plexi box with strobes along. Maybe I’m over-reaching here, but it would be nice to pull a bit less drag when working in current. -Powerful shooting capabilities: I’d like my next rig to be faster focusing in low light, with better ISO response than the rebel XT. Higher MP ratings are the norm these days, so I figure that won’t be an issue. Manual controls would also be nice. I need to get back in shape with my manual shooting skills, and fast, intuitive access would be nice here. -Live View: Not much to say here, other than It would be nice to not have to get right behind the viewport to frame a shot. -Video: Video isn't my priority with this rig, but the on-land capability would be nice down the road. -Lens selection: As mentioned above, I’m not married to a lenses family yet, but I’d like to “settle down” and raise a nice family of lenses. J This would also give me room to grow -Cost: I’d like to keep the camera itself under $1K with a kit lens, and the housing around $1.5K without strobes. I can be convinced to rethink the finances here and go higher if the right camera comes along. I am also willing to go with a refurb and/or used to keep costs down. Bonuses (not “need to haves”, but “warrants a bit of extra cost to haves”): -Weather-proofing: Nice for out-of-housing shots when on the boat, or when shooting outside in foul weather. I’d also like to think that a weather-proofed camera has a fighting chance if the housing starts to flood and I get back to the surface before it turns into a fish tank. Also nice to know that if something’s spilled on it, it’s more survivable. -Cargo-pocketable: I know there’s nothing out there that will slip into a jean pocket, but cargo-pockets would be nice for toting it around during "extended surface intervals" -WiFi: Would be nice to be able to view pictures on the iPad without taking the camera out of the housing. So, with all that said, my search thus far has lead me to either: A) The canon Rebel SL1 (not a MIL, but fits many of the above criteria hence why I post this here), as it’s very affordable and tiny for an SLR, and ticks many of the above boxes. But it’s still awkwardly shaped (compared to the sleeker MILs out there), and from what I hear, focuses more slowly in live-view mode. Another downside is that I don't see much purpose in building out a lens family, as all the other cameras in the series are much larger. The only other model to look to would be a refresh to the SL1. Ikelight does make a very small housing though, and I can get a Dive Master discount on IL stuff from my local dive shop (only ever bought IL from them, so not sure if they can also work with me on Nauticam stuff). B) The Olympus OM-D Family: -The EM-1 ticks all the above boxes, save for cost (brand new, it’s $400 over my budget, without lens!),and is pretty large for a MIL, which I suspect will impact housing size. On the other hand, this camera certainly has a reputation the precedes it, and seems like it packs a lot of future proofing within it’s frame. -The EM-5 also ticks many of the boxes, but is now 2 years old, and I suspect due for a refresh in the next year or so (any thoughts on this?). It’s not hard to imagine an “EM-5 2.0” with wifi, upgraded AF and image sensing abilities around the corner. -The EM-10 seems like the “just right” option…except apparently an Olympus housing (the most affordable housings for the family so far) isn’t in the cards, and the lack of weatherproofing gives me pause. I could spring for the Nauticam offering, but that’s already $1300 without a dome port. Overall, I also like the direction the OMD family is headed; I imagine they'll continue to get smaller and/or more powerful over time, which keep my lens family relevant. Also, I can expand my camera family back to the PEN series, if I want to equip my Fiance with a less intimating point and shoot type model that works with MFT lenses. I am a bit concerned though, as I haven't been able to actually try out an OM-D camera anywhere local. Best Buy for example has the SL1 and A6000 on display, but nothing from the OM-D line. C) The Sony A6000 also seems like a decent alternative, but apparently lacks the MFT glass options. D) Mystery door number 4: Open to other suggestions (eg. Panasonic, Fuji, Nikon, etc) So, sorry for the brain dump, but this is after a month or so of researching. I'm certainly open to a 'sanity check' if any of my above requirements are simply unreasonable. Thoughts, comments, concerns? Any feedback welcome.
  8. As this is a month old, sorry if I missed giving the OP this advice, but for others: BRING A SNORKEL! I've done CR before, and it's easily one my favorite dives. I went years ago with my Dad, and we were absolutely spoiled because we had the boat to ourselves. That said, I was kicking myself for not bringing my snorkel, because you can easily drift for 2+ hours if you float along the surface on Snorkel, and only switch to Reg when you see something to dive down to, then head back to the surface when ready to move on. (the section I was diving on was only about 15 feet at it's deepest). Any good pics OP?
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