Jump to content
rbibb

Taking the consumer to SLR plunge

Recommended Posts

I have been diving with a Oly 5050 and and single Ike DS125 strobe in an Ike housing for a long time now (3 years+) but am beginning to find myself getting frustrated with image quality. It's a fine camera to learn with and I am extreemly pleased with that as a choice for a first UW camera. Now, however, I'm ready to go SLR. My problem is that, although I'm reasonably savvy with SLR cameras above water I find myself a little lost with lens choice etc for underwater.

 

Whether it's a good choice or bad I'm almost certain that I'm going to go for the Canon 5D (or if it takes me long enough to pluck up the courage to ask my wife, its successor :lol: ). Looking at the housings the Sea and Sea housing appeals to me with the aquatica second and Ike third.

 

Other things about my photography. I always shoot TTL flash and loosing that ability doesn't appeal to me (my brain doesn't like considering technical issues under water). I'm not really a wide angle sort of guy and as time goes on I spend more and more time shooting small stuff (badly I may add). Arrow crab, shrimp, nudi's and some larger things like clown fish, frog fish etc. The 5050 lets you do all of this and although the image quality isn't always bang on it's fair. What do I need to achieve a similar level of flexibility. Ideally, as I guess you all appreciate, I'd like to keep the equipment list short as possible - I already break most baggage allowances. Money isn't really an issue, longevity is (i.e. I'd like to buy something I'll look back on in the way I look back at the purchase of the 5050.

 

So starting my list off I have

 

Canon EOS 5D

Sea & Sea Housing ?

Canon L lens(es)

Port

 

What else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A completely unbiased opinion says only your third choice provides everything from proven eTTL and the widest choice of ports to the finest waterproof integrity money can buy............

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went from a 5050 in an Ike housing to a DSLR early this year. It's a hard choice, and mine was a smaller step than yours (just a Nikon D70). I looked at Nexus, Aquatica and Subal housings, with all imaginable port configurations.

Long story short, I wound up right back at Ikelite. It might not look quite as sexy as the metal housings, but it had everything I needed, including excellent TTL, and the price was as good as it gets. It still wasn't cheap for me, I can't afford to throw money around, but when I considered all my lens options, and the ports I would need, the Ike fulfilled every category.

And if the worst happens, and it begins to flood, at least I can see it, and get a fighting chance.

 

Six months on, I think it was still the right choice. Good luck with whatever you choose, I believe it's a very nice camera (although with full frame, your lens choice will make a big difference).

 

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know that much about the other two. I've been happy with the Aquatica. I may be even more happy when the viewfinder upgrade finally comes out.

 

We've had this discussion earlier. One of the major differences between the Ike housing and the others is how the ports work. The Aquatica and S&S uses extension rings, so that basically all you need is one dome and one macro port and splice in rings to fit just about any lens or combination of lens and teleconveters and diaopters. The two ports plus a couple of rings support all the lenses listed on my equipment list below plus the 100mm is often used with a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter and/or a diaopter, and I can have manual focus on all these combinations. Now the Ike ports are less expensive and it may not cost more to buy all the Ike ports you need for the same coverage, but I would rather not pack that many for a trip.

 

However, I do sometimes wish for a smaller macro port so that I can place the strobes closer to the lens, and try out a 6" dome for the fisheye and see if I can get a tighter close focus wide angle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard, I know you said you were "decided" on the 5D, but I am going to pipe in anyway.

 

I have no intention of starting a platform war, so I will not even broach the subject of Canon vs. other makes.

 

That said, you were pretty strong in your statement that you are a macro shooter. Yet you are choosing a "full frame" sensor This is the one time a "cropped" sensor is really of value.

 

I know, the smaller sensor does not create magnification, but there IS a perceived magnification. Bottom line, with the existing macro lenses on the market, it is easier to fill the frame with a cropped sensor camera than a full frame camera.

 

Since you are looking at canon, I might only recommend that you look at the higher end crop sensor offerings, like the 20D or the 1DmkII.

 

my humble $.02.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked an Ikelite because of the TTL. It works great. Simply stated, my shots are always illuminated properly. Plus, the DS-125 has an ultra-quick recycle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lenses i would suggest for the macro lover.

 

Canon 100mm

 

Canon 60mm for more flexibility

 

Sigma 50mm, cheaper than the Canon 60mm and also does 1:1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good thread and great advice so far. I have a 5D so I can speak to this one a bit.

 

I agree RE the macro lense recommendations. On the FF sensor camera, the 100mm will probably get the most use.

 

If you are interested in TTL, check out the Sea and Sea TTL adapter. It's an external controller that mounts on the housing and gives TTL with many of the better strobes. Some that have been shown to work w/ the 5D are Sea and Sea and Inon strobes. I bet the Ikes work too.

 

The 5D is an absolutely amazing camera and good for just about everything, both above and below water. I used mine a few weeks ago in a theater to take photos at ISO1600. To me these shots look as good as my old Nikon D100 shots taken at ISO200.

 

Cheers

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That said, you were pretty strong in your statement that you are a macro shooter. Yet you are choosing a "full frame" sensor  This is the one time a "cropped" sensor is really of value.

 

I know, the smaller sensor does not create magnification, but there IS a perceived magnification. Bottom line, with the existing macro lenses on the market, it is easier to fill the frame with a cropped sensor camera than a full frame camera.

 

Since you are looking at canon, I might only recommend that you look at the higher end crop sensor offerings, like the 20D or the 1DmkII.

 

 

I would disagree that the cropped sensor is an advantage for macro. We've had a number of long... threads on this subject. See

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9702

 

for example.

 

My one line summary of all that is:

 

If you need large DOF and want high resolution, larger sensors helps a little and increased pixel density beyond that of a S2, D70, or 300D... is of little value.

 

As for lenses, using a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter with a 100mm lens is not a problem, and there are 150mm and 180mm macro lenses available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy user from Aquatica. I was an ike user in the film years, but moved to Aquatica when Digital began. I got A20 housing for EOS 20D and now got a A5 for my new EOS 5D. If you have budget, I high recommend you to get a 5D. The colors are impressive in high and low lights.

 

About the housing, I just can say you that I'm very satisfect with Aquatica.

 

Regards. Fabio

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for yor responses. I think you may have persuaded me that I will not be making a fatal mistake by deciding on the sea and sea housing. What I could do with now is advice on lenses.

 

James, Mike and Herb, you all talk in terms of prime lenses, why is this? Why would you not go for a zoom?

 

Originally I had considered (primarily based on it's excellent reviews and the regard given to the L glass) the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens. I'm presuming that this lens would be too short for the sort of photography Iwould like to do. Are zooms not a sensible option? (excuse my idiot statements here).

 

Finally I see talk of teleconverters being used all over the place. Now, when I was somewhat younger and more heavily in to SLR's (on land), teleconverters were frowned upon as they were almost always much lower quality than the high end lenses. Additionally they made auto focusing difficult due to the increase in minimum F stop. What insight can you give on this and where, if anywhere, would extension tubes fit?

 

Thanks again for your help folks. It is increadibly valuable to me to get real opinions from people who aren't trying to sell me something (That isn;t a snipe at Ike either as I have a very high regard for his company)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

rbibb-

 

Excuse me but I am going to push back on your entire selection criteria. I am doing this because I am a previous 5050 shooter with a single strobe and you may be getting advice from dSLR shooters that may not understand how some 5050 shooters shoot. For example, do you hold the 5050 way out in front of you with one hand?

 

I went through this entire selection process about 6 months ago and my wife just made her choice. We are both 5050 shooters. Some considerations.

 

1-If you choose a full frame sensor (35mm) and use standard lenses not designed for digital cameras, you have a bad match. Somewhere on the Olympus board you will find a writeup why. It is in the "E-system Zukio Digital" catalog.

 

2-If you choose a full frame sensor you will need a bigger lens than with a Nikon 2/3 or Olympus 1/2 sensor for the same magnification. Is bigger better for you?

 

A key question: Is bigger better for you? Another key question: Do you like composing with the screen? A third key question is: Do you like shooting with one hand?

 

In choosing the 5D you are saying that big is OK, I will shoot with both hands on the camera and I will use the viewfinder, not the screen. If this is correct, the 5D is an awesome camera. Just make sure you get digital lenses. If not we gotta talk.

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tom,

 

Maybe there is a typo in #1 of your reply, because to me, it just doesn't make sense otherwise. You're saying that if you shoot a FF sensor camera, you should buy special "digital" lenses? What does that mean?

 

The Canon 5D setup with a 15mm fisheye lens and a housing w/ fisheye port is going to be the same size as just about any other housing, including the Olympus offerings. And it is going to perform better. I know that's an absolute statement to make - and I could be wrong. But in my experience, it's true.

 

Cheers

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all.

Tom, I agree with James - the "digital" lenses are specifically made for smaller "crop" sensor cameras like the Rebel and 20d etc. They project the image onto a smaller area (for the small sensors), and thus can be smaller, lighter, cheaper, or better quality for the same price. In Canon terminology, these are called EF-S lenses. (I don't know the Nikon name. "DX" maybe?).

 

One thing to watch out for: EF-S lenses will not fit on a 5d. The physical construction is different, they just won't go on it. They also project an image that is too small onto the sensor.

 

I shoot a 5d (used extensively on land as well) with an Ike housing and one or two DS-125 strobes. Like people said above, the eTTL-II is true TTL like you're used to on land, and it works amazingly well. The Ike housing is fantastic that it allows this to work. You really don't have to think about exposure underwater unless you want to get creative.

 

My biggest problem going from a P&S style camera to the SLR underwater was using the viewfinder. With your mask, plus the housing, plus the viewfinder (5d even has a nice big viewfinder), it took me a long time to be comfortable with the viewfinder on the Ike housing. Maybe the more expensive housings have different methods for this, I don't know. But that's my one challenge with the dSLR. It would be a good idea to try the different housings with the camera in side and your mask on.

 

Oh, and whoever said metal housings are sexy, this chick disagrees! :-) Gimme a clear housing any day for pure sex appeal! :D

 

Vis-a-vis the crop factor, where you might use a 60mm macro on a crop sensor camera like 20d or 30d, you'll want a 100 macro on the 5d. Sometimes I wish I had gotten one of those cameras - my "long" lenses got alot shorter when I got the 5d!

 

There are some threads on "super macro" that talk alot about extenders v. tubes v. diopters - I think they are stickied somewhere. They have alot of info. I'm sticking with my 100mm macro just plain for now, the autofocus works fine with that.

 

Oh, that reminds me, a consideration for you in choosing housings: If one offers the ability to flip the AF/MF button back and forth underwater, you might want to consider that. I leave my 100 macro in AF underwater and it has worked fine so far, but I know the day is going to come when I wish I could change it.

 

Enjoy your new toys, and welcome to 5d land! It's an absolutely wonderful camera, you'll love it.

 

Taxgeek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James, Mike and Herb, you all talk in terms of prime lenses, why is this? Why would you not go for a zoom?

 

Originally I had considered (primarily based on it's excellent reviews and the regard given to the L glass) the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens. I'm presuming that this lens would be too short for the sort of photography would like to do. Are zooms not a sensible option? (excuse my idiot statements here).

 

There aren't very many macro zooms. Nikon had one that's no longer in production. It's huge and does not go down to 1:1, but some people really liked it. Lots of us use WA zooms 16-35, 17-40... for full frame and 10-22, 12-24... for cropped sensors. I don't know about the 24-70. I would guess that's a tough range to get to work well because of the optics of the dome port.

 

 

Finally I see talk of teleconverters being used all over the place. Now, when I was somewhat younger and more heavily in to SLR's (on land), teleconverters were frowned upon as they were almost always much lower quality than the high end lenses.  Additionally they made auto focusing difficult due to the increase in minimum F stop. What insight can you give on this and where, if anywhere, would extension tubes fit?

 

Teleconverters work very well for macro. When you're stopped down to F/16 - F/22 the teleconverter does not cause much of a loss in image quality. The limitation is usually diffraction due to the small aperture. Most auto focus are rated to work with a F/4 lens or better. In practice even a F/5.6 lens will auto focus. So a F/2.8 lens with a 1.4x or 2x will be in range. I've used the 100mm F/2.8 macro with both a 1.4x and 2x and can auto focus.

 

Extension tubes can be used. Most people seem to favor diopters for the same functions of letting you get closer for higher magnification. I don't think it's possible to generalize and say which is better, and in practice I don't think that's the limiting factor so either is OK. Diopters are easier to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well guys, I am quoting from the Olympus Zukio brochure. They say:

 

"Digital SLR cameras equipped with regular 35mm film lenses can't match the quality of digital lenses. That's because they can't channel light properly to the camera's image sensor."

 

It has to do with the angle that the light strikes the sensor and the difference in how the sensor vs film responds. Apparantly film has no problem processing light that strikes at an angle but a sensor does.

 

The Olympus rep made a very convincing presentation on this.

 

Somebody with more theoretical knowledge than I need to adjudicate this.

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting Tom. Never heard this in my photography circles, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. Will be interesting to hear people's thoughts. I'll run it by my guru of the moment, who is one of the original gurus of digital photography, and see if he has anything to say (or whether he thinks it's bs.)

 

Edited to add: Guru of the moment agrees with Tom's and Olympus's statement, that at least to some extent, light direction affects how sensors read data. He says it is one argument for a smaller sensor camera.

 

Taxgeek

 

Oh, and btw, I think I read somewhere that (at least for Ike housings) the 24-70 is too fat for the port opening in the housing. Besides, that thing is mongo heavy and not very much zoom range. Check on Fred Miranda or Rob Galbraith - even for topside stuff, there are people who love it and people who hate it. I prefer the 24-105L (not for UW). I bought a 24-70 and hated it so much I sold it. But YMMV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't find a description on the Olympus site but it is in the brochure.

 

The light from the "traditional" film lens is shown as diverging from the back of the lens to the sensor. The light angle is straight in the center but longer on the edges because of the divergence. The digital lens has two additional elements that make the light from one edge to the other fully parallel.

 

The sales guy claimed that Olympus is the leader in "digital" lenses.

 

Obviously with a 2/3 sensor (Nikon) this "advantage" would be minimal because the cropped sensor doesn't capture the outer light but on a full frame camera this issue might have legs.

 

Olympus also trumpets its smaller lenses as "faster" than larger lenses.

 

Don't shoot the messenger here. I am a Nikon guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not shooting anybody. I doubt any of this is gonna make anyone switch camera brands, but I love learning about the technical side. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's true that the silicon sensor's sensitivity to light falls off for light coming in at sharp angles. The micro lens they put on the photo site corrects that to some extent. There's probably still a little difference between digital and film. That only affect sensitivity and produces dark corners which is simple to fix in photoshop. It does not add distortion.

 

It's not a fundamental limit of the system. Canon has not made "digital" wide angle lenses. I hope they do in the future. The problem is most acute at wide aperture and not a big deal when stopped down a couple of stops.

 

When comparing the 5D to the Olympus systems you need to take into account that the 5D has 3 stops better high ISO performance. You can stop down the lens 3 stops and bump up the ISO 3 stop on the Canon vs the Olympus for the same exposure, and that probably more than offset any advantage the Olympus lenses have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Originally I had considered (primarily based on it's excellent reviews and the regard given to the L glass) the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens. I'm presuming that this lens would be too short for the sort of photography Iwould like to do. Are zooms not a sensible option? (excuse my idiot statements here). "

 

I've tried the 24~70L and whilst it works well enough and makes a versatile 'diver' lens, its close focus ability is not too good and it would require a diopter to move this closer. Its not a lens that I would recommend unless you already have one and you don't mind buying zoom gear/appropriate extenders for it.

 

My set-up: 100 mm macro, 60mm +Extender 12II (very good for lower vis diving) and 50mm macro - all Canons and all used on FF - of the 3 I'd lose the 50 first. Rather than think in terms of which is best, you could consider your own likely subject matter and request opinions on which would best work for it. For example, I find the 100 to be an excellent small fish lens (we are getting some wierd stuff around Britain/Ireland this year, so this is what I am concentrating on. If I want to shoot small benthic species then the 60ExtII is my next choice, but for sponges, larger anemones, etc., I'd probably select the 50. Horses for courses!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Herbko-

No question that the Canon has the best high ISO performance, even better than the Nikon and much better than the Canon. Nevertheless, that is not traditionally an issue underweater.

 

So question #4: Is this a dual use camera or just underwater?

 

OTOH, maybe high ISO performance should be importent to underwater shooters. Traditionally underwater shooters use ISO 100 (or less). However, my Nikon allows me to float the ISO up to a preset number. I tried it. When the shot was too dark (poor strobe placement) the ISO floated up and the shots were saved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tom, good post.

 

I think it's definitely an issue for underwater. Clean high ISO means that you can stop down your wide angle lens more for MUCH improved corner sharpness. If you bump the ISO from 100 to 400 then you can stop down from f4 to f8.

 

It's also great for filter photography where you typically use a higher ISO.

 

Cheers

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Herbko-

No question that the Canon has the best high ISO performance, even better than the Nikon and much better than the Canon. Nevertheless, that is not traditionally an issue underweater.

 

So question #4: Is this a dual use camera or just underwater?

 

OTOH, maybe high ISO performance should be importent to underwater shooters. Traditionally underwater shooters use ISO 100 (or less). However, my Nikon allows me to float the ISO up to a preset number. I tried it. When the shot was too dark (poor strobe placement) the ISO floated up and the shots were saved.

 

What does tradition have to do with anything. Understand your equipment and use it to get the best image.

 

Here's an example: shot under a dark pier, F/11, 1/30, ISO 1600.

 

IMG_0548.JPG

 

Using high ISO and small aperture is the right trade off for the 5D. You have to look hard to see the difference between ISO 100 and 1600.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I let my Nikon float to ISO 400 and see zero difference even on macro shots. The specs say a 5D is better at high ISO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...