Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Chris_Duncan

Which setup would you choose?

Recommended Posts

Hi Everyone,

 

After renting all of the requisite photo (35mm) equipment on my last several dives, I am ready to take the plunge and invest in my own U/W (digital) setup. What is making my decision difficult, is that I currently own a D60, and I am debating whether the extra expense of getting it under water is worth it. I would be interested in hearing what others would do, if they were in my shoes.

 

Current Equipment

Canon D60

24-84mm (probably not a good lens for U/W, esp. given the multiplier)

100-300mm (definitely not a good lens for U/W)

420EX Flash

 

Option 1

Nikon Coolpix 4500 - $500

Ikelite Housing (assuming one would be available in the near future) - $850

Wide Angle attachment - $300 - probably makes the lens a 20mm equivalent

Strobe(s) w/ arm(s) - $1,000

Total Cost - $2,700

Pros - No deciding what lens to use before dive, get a nice P&S camera that the wife can use, and probably the least expensive alternative (relative to the quality of pictures)

 

Option 2

Canon D60 - $0

Ikelite Housing (assuming one would be availabe in the near future) - $1200

Sigma 15-30mm lens - $475 - a 24mm equivalent with the multiplier

Sigma 50mm macro lens - $230

Lens ports - $265

Strobe(s) w/ arm(s) - $1,000

Total Cost - $3,170

Pros - Better image quality, no shutter lag, RAW image files, get two lenses that will be useful on land.

 

I know the capabilities of D60 after a recent trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but I have also seen great results from using the Coolpix 995.

 

I am interested in hearing any opinions you might have.

 

Thanks,

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couple things you might want to consider:

 

The cost of the Ikelite housing may be higher than you listed if you wait for the new back that is coming out, which will allow for full control of the camera's functions. If you get the custom version now, you'll have some limitations on what controls you can access, but I don't know exactly what.

 

You might consider a Coolpix 5000 instead of the 4500, as it seems to be much more popular for UW photography. There have been some stunning photos taken with this camera and an Ikelite housing.

 

The Sigma 15-30 may not fit in the D60 housing from Ikelite. I believe James had the same lense for his Fuji s2 pro and sold it. Search for a thread on that lense.

 

If you're used to shooting with an SLR, and haven't had much experience with a P&S digital, you may find it frustrating to use the Coolpix (I did personally).

 

Just some thoughts...

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply.

 

I based the cost of the Ikelite housing based on what an Ikelite S2 housing at BH Photo costs. I really have no idea what the actual cost might be.

 

I have considered the Coolpix 5000, but I wasn't sure whether the macro capabilities were as good as the 4500's. Also, it is about $200 more.

 

Yeah, I just read that post from James, after I started the thread. Bummer. It looks like a lens with a comparitive focal length that will fit into an Ikelite housing will run about $200 more.

 

Thanks,

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Tom. I tried the 995 underwater. Got a couple of good shots, but was pretty annoyed with it. "I could draw a picture easier than shooting one" I believe I said through my regulator.

 

The CP5000 will get you RAW, reduced (but not eliminated) shutter lag and TTL if you want it. It has excellent macro capabilities, as do all the Coolpix cameras.

 

It's a matter of how you value the differences. I'd for the D60 housing. I often miss the perfect shot by miliseconds with a film SLR. Death to shutter lag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I just picked up my Sea and Sea D60 housing, and will be trying it out in the pool tonight and Cozumel next week.

 

The housing deal James mentioned is great, especially considering it's basically a one-stop shopping exercise with the exception of the strobes / arms....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the replies.

 

I have no doubt that $2400 for Eric's housing is a good deal, but I think I can find cheaper alternatives that will get me in the water with or without my D60. I would still need to buy at least one strobe that will run about $550, and my lenses (or possible future lenses) don't match up to what Eric is offering (non-macro).

 

Thanks for pointing me towards the Nikon Coolpix 5000 option. I don't know what made me think the macro capabilities weren't as robust as the 4500. Having the RAW mode is also a plus, even more so if I could find a good Canon P&S that will allow me to use my current processes (i.e. Breezebrowser).

 

Thanks,

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris,

 

Don't poopoo your 24-80 zoom lens so fast. My first housing was a Elan II that i used the kit lens a 28-80 piece of crap lens with. I got some of my best shots with that lens and a diopter on it.

 

If you check out my website, almost all of the Fiji pics were taken with it. It may not be a sharp or ideal as some others, but give it a try!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can check my website for CP 5000 pics. All, including the macro were taken with the 19 mm lens. Poor low light autofocus is the main draw back. It has one great advantage over any other system you can take UW and that is with the 19 mm lens attached you can shoot everything from close macro to 99 degree wide angle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the ultimate rig. D100 with macro port. CP5000 with dome port. Gives you 1:1 macro to 99 degree wide angle. Entirely functional. Dual Ike synch coord hooks up both camera housings to an Ike manual strobe connector so either camera can fire the strobe. Second strobe fires off first with Ike's TTL slave sensor. Two Ike DS 125 strobes

 

I shot a similar rig once in Cozemel. Use a Nikon N50 with the 60 mm lens and a Nikons with the 15 mm lens. Work flawlessly. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reefkeep: Kan you tell me sothing about the 15-30mm Sigma lens? Im, thinking about it and am not sure if it is a good buy or if I spend (A lot) more on the Canon 16-35

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't like it (the Sigma 15-30). Large size, and flare problems caused me to trade mine for a Nikkor 18-35 instead.

 

Cheers

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just one thought about the d60 / coolpix decision

 

if you are used to shooting the d60, the coolpix is going to feel very slow, both the auto focus and the actual shutter lag. and i find that as i'm fighting underwater, that lag seems long. i would strongly suggest getting your hands on the coolpix and taking a couple shots before going that route, and see how it feels to you, and if you will be comfortable adapting.

 

i'm using consumer digicams myself, but the couple days i had the d100 were heaven, which is why i mention it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow - hot topic.

 

I can't imagine your being happy in the long run if you opt for a point and shoot when you have a sweet SLR already. There are a couple of things to think about, though:

 

1. Are you going to keep the slr long-term? I would hate to spend the bucks if I might upgrade a couple of years down the road.

 

2. If you are only able to optain an effective lens size of 24mm, I think you will not be too happy, compared to something like the 5000 with a 98' angle 19mm lens.

 

I think the limitations of the point and shoot cameras would be a headache when you don't normally have to deal with them topside, ie: shutter lag, processing time (my 5000 takes MANY seconds to process one RAW shot), different menus and controls, etc.

 

One other thing - though the housings for the point and shoots are smaller, you would also have to carry another camera, plus another set of batteries, chargers, possibly different memory cards, etc. This might not be an issue if you dive locally, rather than travel.

 

Rob.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm a little nuts, but I have a D60 and opted for the housed 5050 - why?

 

Size, ability to go from macro to zoom to wide without changing ports, lenses, etc. And, although the shutter lag is a bit of a drag, a little practice makes it quite manageable. Also, after spending much $$$ for the D60, nice white lenses, etc., I couldn't justify several thousand more for a housing, two ports, etc.

The 5050 and PT-015 is a bargain, especially considering the results many have demonstrated on this forum alone.

 

It's a tough decision, but since I have the 5050 as a "back-up" snapshot camera anyway it was a more fiscally responsible choice.

 

. . . also, if it gets wet, its a $700 loss, not a $2000 body plus $1200 "L" lens loss.

 

Just my 2 cents. Good luck!

 

Gerry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
if you are used to shooting the d60, the coolpix is going to feel very slow

 

This was one of the things that prompted me to switch from my Sony DSC-S85 to the D60. The Sony was a great camera, but it just didn't perform the way I wanted it to as compared to the Canon Elan 7e I was using topside. It's manageable as many people have proven, but it's something to consider.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I have finally completed my underwater setup. I can't believe that it took me over two months to decide on what setup to go with and then purchase all of the equipment. If you live in an area like I do, where there is very little if any underwater photo equipment dealers, deciding what you need and want is a daunting task for a newbie. Fortunately in this day and age we have forums such as wetpixel for people to share their ideas and experiences.

 

That being said, I chose to go with the Olympus 5050, because for me personally it was the best value. I decided not to house my D60 because it would cost a significant amount more for the housing, the ports, the additional lenses I would just "have" to buy, etc.

 

To help others putting together their system for the first time, I have laid out exactly what I purchased to complete my system, what it cost, and where I got it. All purchase amounts include shipping.

 

Component/Cost/Store

Camera - Oly 5050 / $629 / d-buys.com

Housing - PT-015 / $269 / ebay

Sea & Sea YS-90DX Strobe - used / $365 / ebay

Sea & Sea YS-90DX Strobe - new / $425 / naturephoto in Japan

TLC Arms - two sets 4",8",8", handle / $263 / bhphoto

Custom Tray / $170 / Ron on digitaldiver

2 Fiber Optic Cables for Strobes / $83 / naturephoto in Japan

Olympus Wide-angle lens for PT-015 / $267 / naturephoto in Japan

512MB CF Card / $140 / buy.com

2 extra sets of o-rings for PT-015 / $35 / naturephoto in Japan

Tube of lubricant for PT-015 o-rings / $7 / naturephoto in Japan

2 extra o-rings for strobes / $13 / naturephoto in Japan

extra diffuser panel for strobe / $14 / naturephoto in Japan

TLC strobe adapters / $43 / Helix Camera

Total $2,723

 

Anyway, I can't wait to get the system wet, and my wife can't wait for me to stop talking about it. Now I just have to buy something to put it all in and about 100 Ni-MH batteries! Thanks for all of the advice everyone has given, directly and indirectly.

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume you will be using 2000 mHa rechargable batteries.............www.thomasdistributing.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris, I presume you've ordered stuff from naturephoto in Japan.

 

What was your experience in dealing with them?

 

And have you seen the price of the PT-015 on their site? If the prices are correct it's 18,900 Yen or USD162 approx.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris, I presume you've ordered stuff from naturephoto in Japan.

 

What was your experience in dealing with them?

 

And have you seen the price of the PT-015 on their site? If the prices are correct it's 18,900 Yen or USD162 approx.

My experience has been very good so far. I just placed my order with them yesterday, and everything shipped today with a tracking number. They accepted PayPal and wire transfers into a US bank account. Because I used PayPal, the exchange rate I got wasn't as good as the market rate. I think I got an exchange rate of 113.626 when the market rate was closer to 117 at the time I ordered, but I still felt that I got a good deal on the items I purchased. Shipping for everything came to around $40, which was included in the prices I gave.

 

If you are interested in ordering from them, you can contact them via email at: info@naturephoto.co.jp

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One last note on NaturePhoto, I received everything I ordered from them within a week, which is pretty good considering it is coming from Japan. Also, the pre- and post-sales support has been very good. They were very prompt and helpful in answering all of my questions. I would do business with them again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...