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Which Ultracompact P&S?

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I'm toying with the idea of getting an ultracompact P&S. Mostly for topside and nights out with friends, etc. But, it seems silly not to get one that is also fairly UW capable, just in case, if the 5d gets an ear ache or something?

 

So does anybody have or know of an ultracompact (you know, the really really teeny ones, that could fit in a girl's shirt pocket) that is also pretty good for basic UW? The Leica and Panasonic clones are too big. The Canon A series is too big. Canon SD series is the right size. What about Fuji F30? I understand RAW would be good, but the ones with RAW are larger.

 

I like the SD700 IS and the SD900, but there's something horribly wrong with them for UW as I recall . . . oh yeah, no manual controls, at all. Not even Av or Tv mode.

 

Granted, I would probably just shoot it in video mode, and not use a strobe, but who knows?

 

Thanks!

Susan

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Well, I got a Fuji F30 for the same purpose. I wanted a pocket camera, then I read good things on here about the underwater capabilities. I haven't used it underwater yet, but it's nice top side. The movie mode is great and shutter is lag is pretty good. I have an old C4000 I use underwater and on land the F30 appears to be twice as fast. I also have a Nikon D50. The F30 isn't as fast nor does it take as good pictures as the D50, but I expected that.

 

The Fuji housing for the F30 is impressive. very well made. I've tried it with my optically fired SL960D strobe and it works fine. I won't be trying it underwater until July.

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Thanks Chris! Good info. It's low noise characteristic almost sells it for me.

Susan

 

Well, I got a Fuji F30 for the same purpose. I wanted a pocket camera, then I read good things on here about the underwater capabilities. I haven't used it underwater yet, but it's nice top side. The movie mode is great and shutter is lag is pretty good. I have an old C4000 I use underwater and on land the F30 appears to be twice as fast. I also have a Nikon D50. The F30 isn't as fast nor does it take as good pictures as the D50, but I expected that.

 

The Fuji housing for the F30 is impressive. very well made. I've tried it with my optically fired SL960D strobe and it works fine. I won't be trying it underwater until July.

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Thanks Chris! Good info. It's low noise characteristic almost sells it for me.

Susan

 

One note. It's not as thin as some of the cameras I've seen in the same class. It's thin enough for me, but there are smaller ones out there if pocketable is the most important thing.

Also, the F30 doesn't have full manual control. you can have either aperture or shutter priority, but you can't set both.

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I always thought that the Sea&Sea line of compacts fit this bill. Also a couple of the Olympus waterproof version depending upon how deep you want to take it.

 

Gary

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I always thought that the Sea&Sea line of compacts fit this bill. Also a couple of the Olympus waterproof version depending upon how deep you want to take it.

 

Gary

 

Most things I've read about the sea&sea cameras are not good.

I considered the olympus waterproof camera, but that's only good for snorkeling at best. Even then, I don't know how much I would trust it in continual use.

I chose the F30 because, based on what I read, it was superior photographically over most small cameras out there. It met my original criteria of a pocket camera, but it also has the potential of being a better U/W camera than what I have (Oly C4000). So, I was going to buy a $200-$300 camera anyway and for just $140 more I get another underwater option that can also take movies underwater.

 

I doubt if I'll ever house my D50. Just too expensive and bulky for me and how I use it.

 

Anyway, that was my rationale.

Edited by chris_l

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Whatever you get, make sure it has an optical view finder. In very bright sun light the digital viewing screen becomes very hard to use. We had an Olympus, but traded it it for a Canon SD 700IS. Great camera with spot on color. We got the camera and a Canon housing for ~$500. This is our back up U/W rig!

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Sarah and I used the SD700IS in the Canon housing in Zanzibar. We didn't bring an external strobe.

 

Working within the camera's bounds we were able to get decent photos of subjects from silver dollar sized up to about the size of a loaf of bread.

 

A wide angle lens really would have come in handy as would an external strobe. If you dial in -1 or -1.5 exposure compensation, the "manual" program mode of the camera at ISO100 does a pretty good job.

 

Cheers

James

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Woohoo, that's shat I ended up getting. I just ordered it. I was really really torn between the fujifilm f30 and the sd700IS . . . the fuji seems so much sharper in dpreview's comparison shots (holy moly, a LOT sharper), but I was concerned that the camera seemed to be overcooking the contrast a bit in bright light. In fact the stronger contrast curve applied in camera might be responsible for some of the perceived sharpness, I'm not sure.

 

If used primarily for UW stills, I prpobably would have gone with the f30 for it's amazing noiselessness and semi-manual controls. Since I plan to use it primarily in sunny conditions on land, however, for no-fuss snapshots, the canon won out because of its longer zoom and more control over the jpg algorythm (although admittedly not much control).

 

If I do use it underwater (haven't decided whether to get the housing before heading off to indo), it will be for video most likely, rather than stills, and the IS will be key there. Im almost afraid to compare the video with my little S1 IS that I usually use for video - this newer camera is probably much better. But we'll see.

 

Either camera is probably just fine - thanks for everybody's input!

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I use the Vivid jpeg setting.

 

Cheers

James

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Kewl, I'll try that too. :-) New toy! Can't wait.

 

In researching this, I learned two new technques to combat camera shake when handheld that I never even thought of before. 1 was to shoot on continuous mode - the example soomeone showed on dpreview showed like 5 shots of the same scene, and some were really bad, but one was perfectly sharp. Guess the action of pushing down on the shutter and releasing the shutter causes enough shake to be a problem, but the shots where the shutter is just held down in betweeen were pretty good. 2. The second was to put the camera on 2 second delay. Same general logic. Totally OT, but I thought I'd pass it on anyway, as I never would have thought of it, since I'm used to the dslr and a tripod with cable release. :-)

 

I use the Vivid jpeg setting.

 

Cheers

James

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