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Unique Equipment Needs: Any Help Much Appreciated!

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Dave here, new to the forum. I freedive/spearfish in California and am looking for the perfect compact camera to bring along. With this comes a few limitations:

 

1. Size/Weight: Can't be bulky or heavy, as I'll need to be able to connect it to my upper arm while NOT in use.

 

2. Must have decent built-in Flash: There is no way I'll use a strobe/arm - First, it'll get in the way and second, most of my diving involves hiking down steep hills and crawling over rocks to get in the water, so I don't want to risk damaging it.

 

 

Now, here are the things I hope to find in my camera:

 

1. Price: < $1000 US

2. Sturdy Build: I have to accept that this camera IS going to get banged around more than it would if I were diving from a boat and not spearfishing

3. VIDEO CAPABILITIES: Yes, every camera these days can do video, but does anyone have input on the best compact cameras for this? I realize that if I want perfect video, I've got to go with a video camera, but I'm just looking for something youtube/vimeo-worthy.

 

 

On a sidenote, I usually dive in 10-15 foot visibility and will not be doing many "macro" shots. I will mainly be hanging in the kelp, photographing gamefish.

 

Thank you everyone, I really appreciate any input!

 

- Dave

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The one issue that spings to mind is the issue of a decent built in flash. Many of the smaller cameras have an internal flash that may do an okay job if you are real close (think Macro) but you mentioned doing more WA things, and it sounds like you are in limited viz water . Though the picture quality is not the greatest, Olympus and some other have put out tough portable cameras.

 

 

You may want to consider filters also, such as Magic Filter. The Canon G9/G10 are nice small cameras with the benefit of RAW, but they are not very very small. (I can slip it into a pocket but would not say it is quite pocket size like some others out there.) The Canon housing is not big, but it is not a tough housing...

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Have a look at panasonics new dmc-ft1. Haven't tried but it's meant to be sturdy and waterproof down to 3m, I think. There's a housing for going deeper, and it has full hd capabilities...

 

As I said, never tried it, but it matches some of the features you're looking for..

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The Olympus T-8000 with maybe a silicone skin on it should work fine. You don't list a depth ability, but these will shoot and are capable of 33' depth WITHOUT a housing. In addition they are shock proof, crush proof, freeze proof. They have 4 built in underwater modes that work great and are easy to use. There is also an accessory float strap that you could stick your arm through.

 

There are very nice housings available as well to 140'. Fantasea makes a wide angle lens that screws to the front of it.

 

Jack

Edited by JackConnick

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I mounted a Casio Z1000 onto my speargun with very good results. I now have it mounted on my Hawaiian sling and it works well. It' small enough to not notice it too much when spearfishing, but still gives me you-tube worthy footage. I also own a Panasonic DMC-TZ5 which does HD video, but the housing is larger and I find it to be too large to drag around when spearing. It is nice and small for other types of freediving.

 

Having said that, I think you should really take a look at the new Go-Pro 5mp housing with the wide angle lens. It's super tiny and has many different mounts for the camera. I've seen them mounted to guns or onto headstraps and masks. They hold on tight enough to be able to scooter with them and not fall off. The wide angle lens will help you out with the crappy vis. don't expect wall sized prints or IMAX video, but for less than $200 it might just fit the bill.

 

For something larger than that you could check out the new Olympus Tough 8000 with housing and wide angle (wet) lens. It's still pretty small and will allow you more control over you photographs.

 

Jon

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Thank you everyone for the suggestions this far. I'll have to take some time and read up on these models.

 

To Clarify: I go to 50' to hunt once in a while, and Freedive to 100' (33m) for practice sometimes, so I'd better use an actual housing.

 

- Dave

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Look at the new Sea and Sea point and shoot cameras.

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Thank you everyone for your advice. I decided to go with the "Go Pro HERO Wide".

 

After seeing recent footage and reading the specifications, it appears to be well worth the money, and I won't be afraid of damaging it due to a low replacement cost.

 

I ordered the "Helmet" version since it comes with several potentially useful straps/mounts for different uses. I also ordered a chest mount for it, which is a particularly cool idea, since I imagine filming from the chest in wide angle will capture everything I want spearfishing, and the chest is likely to be more stable than the wrist, the head or the speargun.

 

It should come in 3 business days - As soon as I get in the water with it I'll post a video for you all to see.

 

Thanks again,

 

- Dave

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