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Next Rig: Older DSLR or Newer 'Pro-sumer' Point & Shoot?

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Firstly, my apologies for posting this both here and in the DSLR sub-forum. I thought I might get slightly biased opinions, depending on where this was posted! Here's the link to the identical post there:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=34012

 

 

 

 

I've been shooting film u/w for a long time (my main rig is a nice old Nikon F3 in an Acquatica, and I've used an S&S MM for light weight work) and only just started to experiment with a basic Ikelite housed Canon p&s digicam over the past 18months. I'm sold so it's time to make a modest move to more upscale digital!

 

With the budget I have, I can go with either an older, lower res housed DSLR (I have a D50 and a D70 at home) in an Ikelite, or I can afford a newer higher res, high-end point & shoot 'pro-sumer' style camera and housing. (I'm assuming the cost of strobes, etc will be equivalent in each case). I'm thinking of a G9 in an Ikelite.

 

 

From my limited experience, it appears the advantages of the older DSLR Nikon D50/70 approach are:

 

- interchangeable lens (which I already own)

- more in-camera image control

- improved depth of field manipulation

- potential reuse of the Ikelite ports when I move to a newer Nikon DSLR

- easier manual focus?

 

 

 

The advantages of the p&s Canon G9 appear to be:

 

- higher resolution (12Mp v.s. 6Mp)

- much bigger/brighter viewfinder (high res 3" v.s. lower res 1.8")

- better auto focus?

- video potential (limited interest)

- smaller and lighter

 

 

 

What would you do?

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

.

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You can probably pick up a used D-80 or D-200 with a used Ikelite case for what you can house a new G-10 in a newIkelite case. The D-200 is probably as good as the most modern cropped sensor cameras with the exception of low light and possibly autofocus speed. If you have an acceptable macro lens (60mm, 105MM) and a wide angel lens for Nikon this is a no-brainer because you'll get sick of a P&S or a D-70 quickly underwater

 

The essential differences are:

 

1. Fast shutter (+ DSLR)

2. Fast autofocus (+DSLR)

3. Dedicated lenses versus a compound lens (hard to say)

4. Viewfinder versus liveview (good argument)

5-Size and simplicity (+ P&S)

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I see that thjere is an Ikelite housing with ports on E-bay for the Nikon D-50 that is currntly about $250 US, I guess anything under a grand would be a reasonable price. This is the rig I am using and I've found it an excellent beginner rig. Eventually I'll try to buy a housing for my D-200 but for now the D-50 is a better camera than I am a photographer and it is infiniely better than the P&S I had before.

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From my limited experience, it appears the advantages of the older DSLR Nikon D50/70 approach are:

- interchangeable lens (which I already own)

- more in-camera image control

- improved depth of field manipulation

- potential reuse of the Ikelite ports when I move to a newer Nikon DSLR

- easier manual focus?

 

 

The advantages of the p&s Canon G9 appear to be:

- higher resolution (12Mp v.s. 6Mp)

- much bigger/brighter viewfinder (high res 3" v.s. lower res 1.8")

- better auto focus?

- video potential (limited interest)

- smaller and lighter

 

You got the major points based on my experience with P&S and dSLR. I use a Canon dSLR and a P&S and will soon be adding a Canon S90 to my u/w equipment. The major advantage with the dSLR imho are the dof control and the reduced noise level. The plus for the P&S are the small size, the ability to record videos (higher end dSLR can do that, but they are beyond my budget) and the wider lens range. The most important feature for u/w photography for me is the ability to shoot raw, which dSLR and the G9/10/11 and S90 have. The resolution is not that much of an issue to me. I have taken some great photos with my old P&S. Price and travel size are far more of an issue. The P&S easily fits in the carry-on, while the dSLR rig is another story. On note, most dSLR ports will only allow to either manual focus *or* zoom, but not both. Depends on the lens, too.

 

For my 2cts, if you want to focus your dives on diving and sight-seeing, you might want to go with a P&S. If you rather want to have fun with photos, the dSLR might be a better option.

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"......if you want to focus your dives on diving and sight-seeing, you might want to go with a P&S. If you rather want to have fun with photos, the dSLR might be a better option."

 

...............yep!

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I have a G9 and it's not that great a camera anymore :-( The image quality on even my wife's new point and shoot SD940 is WAY better. :-(

 

If it were me I'd house your D50 or D70 - whichever is newer. If you've got the 18-70mm lens you're in good shape, and you can add a 60mm macro lens for some fantastic shots.

 

Cheers

James

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.

 

Excellent feedback - thanks.

 

In favor of the housed DSLR approach (for my situation):

 

 

- the faster (and more controllable) shutter speed of the DSLR's

 

- I'm comfortable with the relative complexity of a housed SLR, having lived with such in a housed film camera. I don't need a p&s for simplicity (size - that's a different point...)

 

- I like the concept of a smaller, lighter p&s rig, but the Ikelite polycarbonate DLSR setup seems manageable (a lot smaller than my big film rig)

 

- the DOF control with DSLR

 

- the upgrade path (hanging onto lens and port investments and switching only the housing and camera

 

 

 

My only questions would be:

 

 

1) for image review, the modern p&s's have really big, bright monitors (high res, 3"). My D50's is only 2". Is that large enough to be useful?

 

2) a really specific one related to the two DSLR's I have, if any of you remember this level of detail. I've never been happy with the D70's autofocus performance. The D50's (actually my wife's camera ...but she won't miss it!) autofocus performance seems better. Should I be worried about autofocus performance of these cameras in low u/w light?

 

.

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In my opinion the size of the SLR LCD is of minor importance. Its only used for adjusting settings, reviewing histograms and shots. Composition is done through the slr viewfinder.

 

Most people use autofocus underwater (you might find it hard to get manual focus port options for many lenses anyway) so this is important. If the camera struggles in low light, fit a focus light. I have no experience of the D70 or D50 but generally SLRs focus more rapidly and accurately than p&s cameras. Many migrate to SLR out of frustration with p&s shutter lag.

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Hello !

 

I have a Canon G9, and don't find the auto focus performs very well for macro subjects. I have used Custom1 & Custom2 to fix manual focus to a fixed distance & move the whole rig to get the focus I want. Autofocus for larger subjects not too bad, but I don't like the shutter lag... which you may find frustrating coming from a DSLR world!

 

Best option is to borrow someone's set & try it out for yourself.. tho not sure how easy it is for you to do that!

 

~ Frank

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I like the concept of a smaller, lighter p&s rig, but the Ikelite polycarbonate DLSR setup seems manageable (a lot smaller than my big film rig)

The Ikelite dSLR housings are the bigger ones on the market. The aluminum housings are smaller, but a lot more expensive. The Canon u/w housings for their P&S are small enough to fit in a large BC pocket. You will have to use fiber optics for the strobes, though.

 

1) for image review, the modern p&s's have really big, bright monitors (high res, 3"). My D50's is only 2". Is that large enough to be useful?

My 20D has a small display and I find it perfectly workable compared to my P&S's 3". Bigger is nicer, but not as critical as you might think.

Edited by Dunadin

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.

 

I've got a trip to St.Lucia coming up fast. Had to pulled the trigger and went with an Ikelite D50 housing. Now to decide on what to do lens and lighting wise!

 

 

Thanks for your help, all.

 

.

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Since you went the Ike and Nikon route let me recommend a Tokina 10-17 FE zoom. Now you also have to choose which port system of Ike's two to use.

 

Personally, I am selling my Nikon D70s and Ikelite rig. I wanted SMALL! so I got a Fisheye FIX housing for the Canon S90.

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Since you went the Ike and Nikon route let me recommend a Tokina 10-17 FE zoom. Now you also have to choose which port system of Ike's two to use.

 

Personally, I am selling my Nikon D70s and Ikelite rig. I wanted SMALL! so I got a Fisheye FIX housing for the Canon S90.

 

I almost laid out the cash for a T1i and a Seatool housing, even bought the camera and brought it home and bought a Tokina 10-17. I could not get the f stop and shutter up without pushing buttons and spinning weird multi command dials. The camera was just plain hard to use for an old time film Nikon SLR/Leica RF shooter to deal with. The mirror was noisy, the Live View was clunky and junky and I took the thing back like it was a toaster oven. I came home with a sleek S90, dual control rings allow rotary knob input to both f stop and shutter with no buttons, the FIX housing is so cool and sleek and the camera works better in the housing than not.

 

When the Nikon/Canon EVILS do battle with Micro 4:3 and the dust settles out I will upgrade--sideways grade to one of those--maybe. I am so pleased with my surface shooting with the S90, the ergonomics are perfect, the camera is a little jewel to shoot.

 

I think the dSLR thing is much exaggerated. And then, there are the travel restrictions to deal with.

 

Why cannot they put a shutter dial and f stop ring on these digi SLRs, they have them on the S90?

Edited by crawdad

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The resolution thing is not as simple as it sounds. I have had plenty of experience underwater with a Fuji S2 Pro (6mp), D200 (10mp), D700 (12mp) and G9 (12+mp). I can honestly say that the compact gives the poorest quality because it's all seems due to the size of the sensor. So get the DSLR even if it obsolete.

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Why cannot they put a shutter dial and f stop ring on these digi SLRs, they have them on the S90?

 

The Cameras up from the Rebel implement f-stop/shutter to be easier - when shooting in Manual with the 40D/50D/5D your index finder rolls the dial on the top near the shutter release and the thumb can change the dial on the back which is f/stop. In Aperture or Shutter Priority mode the dial near the release adjust them. I find it easier to deal with then the set-ups when I used to have to move my hands around to adjust f-stop and shutter speed.

 

The Rebel takes the extra button presses. I know some people don't mind it, but the extra pressing of buttons can take some getting used to. I had some P&S where you got to press an extra button and/or hold it down and had many shots where I thought I was adjusting f-stop but was just changing the shutter ;)

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