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PaulE

Olympus Sp-350 versus Fuji F810

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Hi. Thinking of buying a camera to use with an u/w housing. I have narrowed my search to either the Olympus SP-350 or Fuji F810. Any one recommend on over the other, good or bad points of each welcomed.

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Hi Paul, and welcome to Wetpixel.

 

Not much is known about the Olympus camera yet as it is very new. The Fuji is capable of wonderful image quality, but it has been noted that it is slow to write raw files and battery life is only good enough for one dive, two is pushing it.

 

HTH

James

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Hi Paul, and welcome to Wetpixel.

 

Not much is known about the Olympus camera yet as it is very new.  The Fuji is capable of wonderful image quality, but it has been noted that it is slow to write raw files and battery life is only good enough for one dive, two is pushing it.

 

HTH

James

 

In addition, the F810 only uses xD cards, which max out at 1GB. Battery life is probably more limiting, however. The F810 has produced marvelous results for many people, has good housing availability, works well with strobes and add-on lenses, etc. However, it has been discoutinued and appears to be getting difficult to find. No replacement for it has been announced, per se, but Fuji is now offering the E900, a slightly larger 9MP point and shoot with similar features. Early reports on the E900 are mixed. The good news appears to be that it is fast, loaded with features and uses AA NiMH batteries. The not so good news is that there are reports that the sensor is noisier than the Fuji 6MP sensors (in effect canceling out much, if not all, of the resolution increase you might expect jumping from 6 to 9MP) and that the RAW files it uses are on the order of 18MB, making it possible to get only about 55 pictures on a 1GB xD card. In addition, there are many people who are dissatisfied with the RAW converter that accompanies the camera (Fuji sells a more capabkle RAW converter for an additional $200). There are work-arounds popping up, but no "official" support for the E900 RAW files from any of the makers of the most popular photo editing software programs.

 

xD: I have seen no real plans from Fuji or Olympus to offer larger cards in the xD format, despite a lot of marketing blather. Bob Whorton, who doesn't post so much here but is a regular on DigitalDiver.net has had an E900 and a first-run Ikelite housing for it for a couple weeks now. Many people are waiting to see what his initial impressions are, given that he was, for all intents and purposes, one of the first to prove the F810 to be a capable underwater performer . . .

 

Mike

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I would look at the Canon A620 in an Ikelite housing. DPreview just gave it their highest rating. Focusing is fast, optics are good, it takes AA batteries. Noise is pretty well controlled for a digicam. Maybe instead of shooting the SP-310 in RAW, you could use the A620 in JPG and take advantage of the fast recycle time to shoot more frames.

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Was looking at the same quandy myself, ended up ordering the Canon S80 instead. A620 was also interesting but prefered the smaller size of the S80.

 

The mixed reviews put me off the two you mention but I've seen nothing but praise for the two Canons.

 

Good luck!

 

Cheers,

 

James.

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I've owned the SP-350 for over a month and have shot no less than about 400 topside photos with it. I've yet to take it down under but that will occur the moment I can find a housing which Olympus maintains is released but out of stock.

 

The good:

RAW mode

25 scene modes with 3 specific underwater modes

Full Manual, auto, Program, Shutter, apeture, custom and scene modes

4 programmable modes which allow you to choose settings which means I'll have 4 additional quick to access, pre-programmed underwater modes

cheap Olympus underwater housing

decent low-light focus speed (topside in a darkened room about 1-2 seconds)

A boatload of features including things like auto bracketing, full time focus, spot or area focusing, and a pretty cool panoramic feature when using an Olympus XD card.

Easy to see 2.5 inch LCD

Good single hand control (everything seems to be laid out well)

Turn on time is less than a second

accepts AA batteries

lots of accessories

 

Up in the air (just okay?):

Manual digital focus - yes you can manually focus but its push button style.

48 RAW photos per 512MB card

Write times to a 512 Card are slightly faster than 1G

2.8 to 8 f stops.

Got roughly 250 RAW photos out of a lithium CRV3 battery (this included downloading to the PC on battery and formatting)

4 second cycle time on SHQ Jpeg

10 Second cycle time on RAW (this can be an eternity if Jpeg shooting isn't your thing)

 

The bad:

None of the scene modes, including underwater let you choose RAW quality. SHQ is the best they do.

There are so many features, you can get lost in them. You'd need to play with this camera for 2 months before even considering taking it on a nice dive. Ie..shutter lag and focus time. The lag can be improved by several settings inside the camera but it takes awhile to figure that out.

Regular alkaline AA's get chewed up pretty quick 1 card of RAW. I'm in the process of trying 2500mA hour rechargeables.

 

overall, I'm pretty happy. I'll reserve final judgement when I lay hands on that underwater housing and get some pics posted. If you have any questions, ask....It took 31 posts about a darkened display in manual mode to figure out it was a loose nut behind the viewfinder..haha.

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HI ,

@ce4jesus

 

would you please explane the SP350 solution for the dark display in manual mode again ..... I have read it but i did not find it any more. Last weekend I had a SP350 and I try to, but i did not find out and I am a German Olympus specialist .. I thought ...... :D

 

Michael

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Michael,

You go into menu, mode menu, then select the setup menu. Then arrow down until you run across what appears to be a digital representation of a histogram (its the 4th screen down and the 4th option on that screen). Select this histogram and turn it off. I think Olympus tried to make the screen an active histogram for the novice. Unfortunately when there is low light, the screen is completely black...even with the flash enabled. When you turn the histogram function off, manual mode reverts back to normal.

Gary

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My 7070 has a related feature.

 

The combination of super-macro and manual exposure gives a strange effect: If you turn the histogram on the screen also gets locked in real mode, and that makes it very dark (depending on how you set the exposure).

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