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kerryw

Nikonos to Digicam

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Hi folks, I've been shooting Nikonos underwater for 15 or so years (NIK I and NIK V) I currently use a NIK V and 2 Ikelite Substrobe 50's. Currently I shoot mostly cold water macro but I'm hoping to add more torpical macro and WA in the near future.

 

I want a nice small compact set up that is easy to transport and easy to bive with, just like the Nikonos. budget is an issue

 

I've pretty much decided on a Canon A630/640 (not sure if the extra MP's are worth it in a Digicam) in a Ikleite housing, what I am unsure of is the strobe....

 

I'm not sure I like Ike's manual controller approach, Inon 2000S sounds intriguing and it looks like it works good but it is also probably at the top of my budget.

 

Any comments on other options particularly Sea&Sea or some of the cheaper brands??

 

Also if anyone is using the A630/640 underwater 9or topside for that matter) I'd be intersted in your thoughts

 

I do shoot DSLR topside but I have no desire to go to the size or expense of housing it...

 

Thanks

Kerry

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Kerry,

 

I just made a similar transition. 13 years with Nikonos V with Ike Substrobe 200 with 20 mm lens for wide angle and Nikonos V with Ike Substrobe 50 with 35 mm lens and extension tube for macro. I just got an Olympus SP350 with Ikelite housing and DS125 strobe and found it very easy to use for fish portraits and macro. Check out my pics with this setup from my recent trip to North Sulawesi:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=18473

 

I was quite pleased with the results. The camera was easy to handle underwater, one handed operation was no problem. The DS125 strobe was probably overkill for the closer stuff, an Ike DS50 probably would have worked just fine.

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Nice shots, it certainly looks like the camera can perform u/w. I had discounted it due to rumours about poor batterly life and excessive shutter lag.

 

Any comments on those two points?

 

Also i assume you are using the Ike manual controller, I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on it. I have never used anuthing other than an Ike strobe underwter (ok about 10 dives with a SubSea) so i so have a soft spot fo the company.

 

Thanks for the input

 

Kerry

 

Kerry,

 

I just made a similar transition. 13 years with Nikonos V with Ike Substrobe 200 with 20 mm lens for wide angle and Nikonos V with Ike Substrobe 50 with 35 mm lens and extension tube for macro. I just got an Olympus SP350 with Ikelite housing and DS125 strobe and found it very easy to use for fish portraits and macro. Check out my pics with this setup from my recent trip to North Sulawesi:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=18473

 

I was quite pleased with the results. The camera was easy to handle underwater, one handed operation was no problem. The DS125 strobe was probably overkill for the closer stuff, an Ike DS50 probably would have worked just fine.

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Kerry,

 

I use rechargable AA batteries, I changed batteries between every dive. Each dive was about 1 hour in duration. It is kind of a battery hog, but not impossibly so. Remember, though, that I was using the hotshoe on the camera and it was directly connected to the strobe via a sync cord for TTL shooting (which is what all of my shots were). If one is using a strobe system where the camera is not directly connected to the strobe, then the internal flash will fire. And of course, that will eat up batteries much faster (and I've read that the internal flash will heat up the inside of the housing and potentially cause fogging on the inside of the lens port.....YUK!).

 

Once the camera has locked focus, there is very little shutter lag. Not quite like shooting the Nikonos :-) but certainly fast enough (0.1 sec?) to capture "heat of the action" images. Autofocusing is a little pokey, but once you get the hang of it, it's also not that bad. You just learn to anticipate. The only serious complaint with the autofocus I had was when the lens was in full "telephoto" mode (equiv of ~120mm for a 35mm film camera), in which case it may never autofocus properly. So I used the camera in "wide angle" mode (equiv of 38mm for a 35mm film camera) 90% of the time, or maybe just slightly zoomed out. In those instances, the camera seemed to autofocus just fine (not nearly as fast my digital Nikon SLR, though!). The lens can be set in "macro mode" which deactivates the zoom function (always in "wide angle" mode) but with the camera set up this way you can focus at very short distances, about 2" from the subject. Most of the time, I just left the camera in "macro mode" since I wasn't really interested in the telephoto capability anyway.

 

I hope that was not too wordy!!

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

Edited by fish foto

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Thanks for the additional info I had forgotten you could use the Ike strobes corded with this camera. That does make a bit of a difference.

 

Anyone have any other comments re the original question/setup.

 

thanks

 

 

Kerry

 

Kerry,

 

I use rechargable AA batteries, I changed batteries between every dive. Each dive was about 1 hour in duration. It is kind of a battery hog, but not impossibly so. Remember, though, that I was using the hotshoe on the camera and it was directly connected to the strobe via a sync cord for TTL shooting (which is what all of my shots were). If one is using a strobe system where the camera is not directly connected to the strobe, then the internal flash will fire. And of course, that will eat up batteries much faster (and I've read that the internal flash will heat up the inside of the housing and potentially cause fogging on the inside of the lens port.....YUK!).

 

Once the camera has locked focus, there is very little shutter lag. Not quite like shooting the Nikonos :-) but certainly fast enough (0.1 sec?) to capture "heat of the action" images. Autofocusing is a little pokey, but once you get the hang of it, it's also not that bad. You just learn to anticipate. The only serious complaint with the autofocus I had was when the lens was in full "telephoto" mode (equiv of ~120mm for a 35mm film camera), in which case it may never autofocus properly. So I used the camera in "wide angle" mode (equiv of 38mm for a 35mm film camera) 90% of the time, or maybe just slightly zoomed out. In those instances, the camera seemed to autofocus just fine (not nearly as fast my digital Nikon SLR, though!). The lens can be set in "macro mode" which deactivates the zoom function (always in "wide angle" mode) but with the camera set up this way you can focus at very short distances, about 2" from the subject. Most of the time, I just left the camera in "macro mode" since I wasn't really interested in the telephoto capability anyway.

 

I hope that was not too wordy!!

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

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Hello,

 

I will be interested in knowing what you choose Kerry as i am in the same boat.. used a nikonos V from 1985 to 2002 then went digital and bought a OLY 5050 and did not like it for several reasons. would like a smaller cam than this with more than 5 Pix and the ability to house it with reasonably priced strobe(s) that are not too large. i have looked at some new sony cameras -- the Sony DSC-N2 10 Megapixel CyberShot Digital Camera is very interesting and i wonder if it can be housed and how it is UW???

tarzana

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Hi all,

 

I adress this subject at a lot of my talks. Here are some of my tips:

 

Find out which cameras are supported by housing companies (Ikelite or OEM housings)

 

Go to Frys or similar electronics store and check out these cameras. Find out which ones have the least shutter lag. Find out which ones have A, S, and M modes and a hotshoe, etc.

 

Pick the camera that feels best for you.

 

If you bring your own memory card then you can check out the image quality when you get home.

 

Cheers

James

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