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Newbie needs suggestions

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After seeing one too many nice dive videos I have been bitten by the bug and want to try this out. I have some financial limitations and also size limitations. If I can't carry it on the plane it won't go, so I need something that will be compact. I figure $3,500.00 would be my top end for a housing, port and camera, and less expensive would be better.


I would like to try filming without lights, if possible, so good performance in "low" light would be nice. I dive in the Caribbean so usually have clear water. I am sure I would add lights before too long, for night diving if nothing else, but would love to be able to do natural light. I don't need and can't afford the "best" but don't want to get something so cheap I need to move up too soon. I gather some of the lower cost housings limit the ability to do manual white balance, which I gather is important. I shoot RAW for still photos so don't have much problem with white balance there.


I don't have the latest/greatest computer, so I gather I might be better off with a DV tape?


I was thinking of looking for a good deal on a Sony HC9, maybe used, and would then look for a housing for it later, figuring I could play with it on land before the next dive trip. Maybe I could find a nice used housing as someone moves up to some of the newer camcorders coming out?


Another option would be to look at a Canon HF20/200 and their OEM housing, but I worry that this might prove too limiting.


Any suggestions or comments on a camera and housing choice would be great. I have searched and researched this, but would still like any suggestions anyone would care to make.


Well, after further searching it appears the HC9 and HC7 tend to have problems with white balance using natural light, so these might not be the best choices for what I want. Thanks to those who replied, I appreciate any help.


Thank you.

Edited by Draq

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