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joydives!

Which video camera for serious divers but not seriour videographers?

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Wondering which camera consider buying if we mostly dive in dark waters. We're traveling to Palau/Yap and are occasionally in tropical water but usually in darker, cold water. We want to have a camera that is budget-oriented (Ok, we're lusting for a new Mac, too!). We have a Canon Elura but the housing is discontinued. Wondering if HD is worth the price if our dives are usually in darker water? We may eventually buy lights, but not now. We just want to take those touristy videos of our trips, not serious perfect films. Any help would be appreciated as we still want to make the right choice. Thank you so much for any help/guidance.

Edited by joydives!

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I would recomend the SONY HC7 as being the perfect camera for what you describe.

 

It is compact , has more than enough features and performance for the serious hobbiest and it is supported by all of the major housing makers which gives you a world of choices in terms of function and form.

 

White balance access is an option on some housings, as are integrated lighting packages.

 

Whatever you choose you will be able to fit the whole kit into a Pelican 1520 case which will make travel a lot easier.

 

Here is a link to a some clips made with various Sony Single Chip HDV Cameras.

 

HDV Clips

 

Hope this helps.

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In good light, I agree with the previous recommendation. But read the HC7 review at camcorderinfo.com - they found the low-light performance to be less adequate. Based on their conclusions, the HC5 should perform better in low-light since it has the same sensor footprint with less CMOS elements to make noise.

 

For Palau/Yap, my choice would be an HDV camcorder. I'd want to capture that in HD(V). I'm taking mine in 2009...

 

More budget-oriented options:

 

What Canon Elura do you have? I haven't seen a camera made in the last 10 years. that couldn't be housed either by TopDawg - the only given here is that your Elura has a LANC control port so it can be controlled by the housing. Or if not consider Equinox. They may not list it on their website, but Equinox can make a housing for any camera that will fit inside their tube.

 

Consider the price difference involved also vs. buying new - the Top Dawg is $900 if your Elura will work - check their compatibility page (Canon's at the bottom). A custom Equinox I believe is $2-300 over their base price so maybe upwards of $12-1300 (don't quote me, just something I read...) So maybe it's not such a great idea since:

 

For under $1500 ($1459) you can get into an entry-level HDV system - a Sony HC5/Equinox combo. Or for $2000 you can get the Sony HC7 in an Equnox housing. Those and about 6 other options are on the housing/camera package page at B&HPhotoVideo.

 

Understand that any entry-level mechanical housing is going to be limited to the exact camera it's made for and almost identical models only. There's less built-in obsolescence with a model from TopDawg or Amphibico. One new option is Light & Motion's new Stingray HD housing. Sells for $1899 and is future compatible with Sony's single CMOS HDV line.

 

Almost all other housing options can be found on the housing manufacturer's list.

 

hth,

Edited by sjspeck

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Thanks for both suggestions. It is a quandry for us since we have a camera but it may be more cost effective to consider a new one with a case. And, since most of our diving (except for vacations) is in the Pacific NW, it makes sense to consider light when purchasing. We compared them at the store and the Canon is much brighter. As I previously mentioned, we're lusting after a new Mac, too. I'm getting a bad feeling about all this...

Thanks again for all the advice.

In good light, I agree with the previous recommendation. But read the HC7 review at camcorderinfo.com - they found the low-light performance to be less adequate. Based on their conclusions, the HC5 should perform better in low-light since it has the same sensor footprint with less CMOS elements to make noise.

 

For Palau/Yap, my choice would be an HDV camcorder. I'd want to capture that in HD(V). I'm taking mine in 2009...

 

More budget-oriented options:

 

What Canon Elura do you have? I haven't seen a camera made in the last 10 years. that couldn't be housed either by TopDawg - the only given here is that your Elura has a LANC control port so it can be controlled by the housing. Or if not consider Equinox. They may not list it on their website, but Equinox can make a housing for any camera that will fit inside their tube.

 

Consider the price difference involved also vs. buying new - the Top Dawg is $900 if your Elura will work - check their compatibility page (Canon's at the bottom). A custom Equinox I believe is $2-300 over their base price so maybe upwards of $12-1300 (don't quote me, just something I read...) So maybe it's not such a great idea since:

 

For under $1500 ($1459) you can get into an entry-level HDV system - a Sony HC5/Equinox combo. Or for $2000 you can get the Sony HC7 in an Equnox housing. Those and about 6 other options are on the housing/camera package page at B&HPhotoVideo.

 

Understand that any entry-level mechanical housing is going to be limited to the exact camera it's made for and almost identical models only. There's less built-in obsolescence with a model from TopDawg or Amphibico. One new option is Light & Motion's new Stingray HD housing. Sells for $1899 and is future compatible with Sony's single CMOS HDV line.

 

Almost all other housing options can be found on the housing manufacturer's list.

 

hth,

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Where you go may influence your choice of using the Pelican or other similar cases. They "advertise" something expensive that's easily stolen. There have been some serious problems at some locations such as San Juan, PR. After reading some of the horror stories, I've left my "Pelican-like" case at home and taken the serious (expensive) stuff with me as far as I can in carry-on luggage. I have insurance, but it's far more trouble and expense replacing the stuff than it would be worth to me if I had to make a claim compared to not having things stolen int he first place. Just a thought.

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i just bought the Canon HV10 with an Ikelite housing. That pair cost me $1350 and i now have a set of Niterider HID pro 40's on the way which i got on here used for $1400. Although i haven't taken the camera under water yet, i am pretty impressed with the video, even at night time. may want to consider it. ive also heard the HV20 does even better in lower light than mine.

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