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aquaplane

The upgrade pathway - new camera or a strobe?

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Hi there, I'm not entirely sure if this is the best place to be posting this thread, but I consider myself very much a beginner and I'd love some advice!

 

I've been shooting UW with a housed compact for a couple of years. It's the first camera I've ever owned - a little Olympus Stylus mju1020. It does the basics you'd expect but, like a lot of snap-happy compacts, has no manual control over aperture, shutter speed, focus etc. I'm a poor student and aren't exactly rolling in money, but would really like to upgrade to have a bit more freedom in the sort of photos I take. At the moment, I rely on internal flash and torch lighting and shoot in cold water (10-16 C), so backscatter is a massive problem for anything other than macro shots. I've given some examples below of what I've managed so far - not really much scope for experimenting with lighting, DOF etc. I still love snapping away, but I am increasingly feeling like I've 'outgrown' the capabilities of my current setup.

 

post-25155-1276738994.jpgpost-25155-1276738934.jpgpost-25155-1276738947.jpg

post-25155-1276738967.jpgpost-25155-1276738959.jpgpost-25155-1276738972.jpg

post-25155-1276738940.jpgpost-25155-1276738980.jpgpost-25155-1276739560.jpg

post-25155-1276739024.jpgpost-25155-1276738987.jpgpost-25155-1276738953.jpg

 

My question is this: would I be better off purchasing a better compact (was thinking maybe a Canon G10 or G11) and learning how to improve my photos using manual control before adding a strobe, or would it be a better learning pathway to go the other way around and add a strobe to my existing camera until I can save up for the next upgrade? Eventually I'd like to experiment with adding some macro and WA wet lenses, so that needs to fit in somewhere too!

 

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm terrible at making decisions! :)

Edited by aquaplane

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Hi there, I'm not entirely sure if this is the best place to be posting this thread, but I consider myself very much a beginner and I'd love some advice!

 

I've been shooting UW with a housed compact for a couple of years. It's the first camera I've ever owned - a little Olympus Stylus mju1020. It does the basics you'd expect but, like a lot of snap-happy compacts, has no manual control over aperture, shutter speed, focus etc. I'm a poor student and aren't exactly rolling in money, but would really like to upgrade to have a bit more freedom in the sort of photos I take. At the moment, I rely on internal flash and torch lighting and shoot in cold water (10-16 C), so backscatter is a massive problem for anything other than macro shots. I've given some examples below of what I've managed so far - not really much scope for experimenting with lighting, DOF etc. I still love snapping away, but I am increasingly feeling like I've 'outgrown' the capabilities of my current setup.

 

post-25155-1276738994.jpgpost-25155-1276738934.jpgpost-25155-1276738947.jpg

post-25155-1276738967.jpgpost-25155-1276738959.jpgpost-25155-1276738972.jpg

post-25155-1276738940.jpgpost-25155-1276738980.jpgpost-25155-1276739560.jpg

post-25155-1276739024.jpgpost-25155-1276738987.jpgpost-25155-1276738953.jpg

 

My question is this: would I be better off purchasing a better compact (was thinking maybe a Canon G10 or G11) and learning how to improve my photos using manual control before adding a strobe, or would it be a better learning pathway to go the other way around and add a strobe to my existing camera until I can save up for the next upgrade? Eventually I'd like to experiment with adding some macro and WA wet lenses, so that needs to fit in somewhere too!

 

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm terrible at making decisions! :)

 

Hey mate

Some of those photos are sik, I like the urchin one

Personally I feel like it'd be better to get to know your G10/11 above water - I had mine for roughly 3 months before I thought about UW stuff and I learnt metering, focus, all the manual stuff so yeah, that's what I'd recommend.

Orrrrrrr

As strobe technology isn't as quick as cameras - you could buy a strobe now with an arm and stuff... Wait for the G12 to come out?

Just a thought :P

Adam

Edited by MitHere

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Aquaplane,

congratulations for your photos, they are very beautiful!

 

The question you pose is not very easy to answer as i have no idea how far your Mju 1020 can be pushed using a external strobe.

Consider that on the S90 or G10/G11 the internal strobe is only useful on the Canon OEM housing, while the other housings trow

a ugly shadow as the flash is partially covered by the port. So a better camera will leadmostly to spend extra money for a external strobe. 

Depending on your (unknown) budget you can go as cheap as possible with a S90 with Canon housing and a Intova strobe shooting mainly in manual.

Next step would the same camera but with a much better Ikelite housing and the Intova strobe, then Ikelite housing and a Inon S/D-2000 strobe up

to a 2500+ S90/G11 camera with Fix/Patima aluminium housing and two D-2000 strobes.

 

A good strobe is often very helpful to make better photos

A good housing is better to protect your camera but not to take better photos, she may due a bigger choice in ports and lenses

 

As the decision what make and housing to go is a quite "deep" one and often results in a big bunch of $$$ i suggest to go with a universal strobe

like the Inon S/D-2000 and use your Mju1020 till her end. The Inon S/D-2000 is a excellent strobe and will function wit virtually any camera you buy

in the future. Consider also that you will need a tray and a arm to mount the strobe!

 

 

Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer

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My advice would be to get an external strobe. That will bring your photography far forward.

 

When ppl get started I usually recommend this order: camera + housing, external strobe, wideangle add-on lens. So...you are at step 2 :-)

 

If you decide you want to upgrade your camera later, you can always take the strobe along w/ you.

 

Cheers

James

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I agree with James. Getting a different compact camera but still no external strobe will not improve your photography nearly as much as an external strobe will/should. That is especially true in cold water, where the ability to place/aim a strobe to just "paint" the subject with the edge of the light beam is critical to minimizing backscatter. You've done an amazing job without a strobe; I can only imagine the great shots you could get WITH one!

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Thank you all so much, you've been incredibly helpful :-). I really appreciate the time you've put into responding.

 

So it sounds like the consensus is a strobe is the way to go! I'm thinking perhaps the Inon S-2000... or would I be better with the D-2000? Ugh, so many questions. I'll go trawling through some threads to see what I can find.

 

Again, thanks to everyone who offered advice. You guys are an amazing resource!

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aquaplane,

 

 

the S-2000 has one (important) mode less, the External Auto mode. This mode gives you some TTL even when the camera is in manual mode and TTl is factory disabled like the S-90/G11 for example. Read here: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/strobes-l...0-thoughts.html and the excellent article of Reef Photo here: http://reefphoto.com/tt/index.php?action=kb&article=7

 

The S-2000 is a nice, miniature strobe but has his limitations, and they can be quite boring. The D-2000 or Z-240 may e more verstaile due the EA mode on some cameras, especially the ones without TTL.

 

Chris

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aquaplane,

 

 

the S-2000 has one (important) mode less, the External Auto mode. This mode gives you some TTL even when the camera is in manual mode and TTl is factory disabled like the S-90/G11 for example. Read here: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/strobes-l...0-thoughts.html and the excellent article of Reef Photo here: http://reefphoto.com/tt/index.php?action=kb&article=7

 

The S-2000 is a nice, miniature strobe but has his limitations, and they can be quite boring. The D-2000 or Z-240 may e more verstaile due the EA mode on some cameras, especially the ones without TTL.

 

Chris

 

Thanks again, Chris. I'm VERY new when it comes to all this sort of terminology, but I saw you posted some similar info regarding the EA mode of the D2000 on the G11 thread and it made slightly more sense to me there... With my current mju1020 camera, I have no manual control (everything is on Auto) so I assume that the lack of EA on the S2000 wouldn't make any difference, is that correct? If I was to upgrade to a camera like the G11 which does allow full manual settings, would the lack of EA on the S2000 strobe mean that I couldn't use the TTL setting? Is EA required to properly expose the strobe to match the camera's manual settings?

 

I'm sorry if that's all a bit jumbled. There's so many new words to learn :notworthy:

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The INON External Auto mode generates some kind of TTL similar automatic exposure control while the camera is in manual mode and it seems that it works.

Full manual exposure makes today not so much sense except you would like to achieve special effects, but this would be the last step of mastering (under water) photography. You can use S-TTL with the S-2000 strobes and set the camera to Tv (shutter speed) or Av (aperture) mode and she will expose perfectly on macro photography while on wide angle most cameras/strobe combinations are having some problems.

EA is not necessary to correct expose the images but it would do automatic what you have to do by your self, regulating and matching the strobe power to the cameras manual exposure values. To do that manual is not a big deal, but need some practice and a good understanding about how exposure works.

You can use the G11 in automatic mode as you used the Mju, but you have to learn how to set and use the strobe to archive a perfect exposure, but

this is normal using new gear.

 

More informations about the INON S/D-2000 you will find on this tread: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=36443 and especially on the links i posted all below.

 

Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer

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Hi Emma,

great to see you on Wetpixel! Very jealous of the Handfish image, would love to see one for myself one day.

I too agree a strobe is the way to go and that it is wisest to choose the best one for the long term. Obviously budget

is going to be the limiting factor but a good strobe like the Z240 will be an investment for when you can afford a better

camera to go with it. The advantage of the Inon Z240 is that it can be fired via either fibre optic or electronic sync cables

and has excellent power to weight ratio. If you decide to stick with a mini strobe option there is also the Sea & Sea YS-01

to consider.

 

Another possible pathway could be to pick up a pre-loved Canon G9 from some one upgrading. This would give you the manual

capabilities you crave and better options for add-on lens than the newer G-series cameras. Never know you might be able to

pick up a bargain that includes a strobe in the package.

 

 

Cheers,

Jim.

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Aquaplane,

congratulations for your photos, they are very beautiful!

 

The question you pose is not very easy to answer as i have no idea how far your Mju 1020 can be pushed using a external strobe.

Consider that on the S90 or G10/G11 the internal strobe is only useful on the Canon OEM housing, while the other housings trow

a ugly shadow as the flash is partially covered by the port. So a better camera will leadmostly to spend extra money for a external strobe. 

Depending on your (unknown) budget you can go as cheap as possible with a S90 with Canon housing and a Intova strobe shooting mainly in manual.

Next step would the same camera but with a much better Ikelite housing and the Intova strobe, then Ikelite housing and a Inon S/D-2000 strobe up

to a 2500+ S90/G11 camera with Fix/Patima aluminium housing and two D-2000 strobes.

 

A good strobe is often very helpful to make better photos

A good housing is better to protect your camera but not to take better photos, she may due a bigger choice in ports and lenses

 

As the decision what make and housing to go is a quite "deep" one and often results in a big bunch of $$$ i suggest to go with a universal strobe

like the Inon S/D-2000 and use your Mju1020 till her end. The Inon S/D-2000 is a excellent strobe and will function wit virtually any camera you buy

in the future. Consider also that you will need a tray and a arm to mount the strobe!

 

 

Chris

 

The S90 and FIX90 housing work great without an external strobe with no port blockage of the strobe until very, very close.

 

I prefer the D2000 to the S2000 because ti has IMO, more power, more even coverage, has the very useful EA mode that I use a lot and it has bigger controls and an excellent and powerful modeling light.

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Wow, even more info!

 

Jim, was wondering how long it would take before I bumped into you. I stalk around the place a bit (creepy...) and have seen some of your new dSLR pics. It looks like there's no stopping you! If you're THAT keen to snap a handfish, they're surprisingly easy to find down here in Tassie if you know the right places to look. You'll find them on the most boring dives in the world where everything else is apparently dead, but those little guys make the boredom all worthwhile.

 

I'm not too concerned about the lack of an electronic sync cable because realistically I'm not going to be investing in an SLR for many years (if ever) on a continued student salary. I would however like a strobe that will work in well with any compact that I decide to upgrade to. I trawled through some more threads and it seems there's enough of you rooting for the D-2000 for the EA mode thingimy and the more even strobe coverage to make it sound like the more attractive option for +$100ish. I emailed Ryan at ReefPhoto and he advised me that the EA system is a little outdated and much more prone to user error compared with S-TTL, but I guess if you don't have the option of using TTL then you do whatever you can! I do like the idea of an aiming light also. It will probably remove a bit of the guesswork with aiming when I'm learning how to use the thing.

 

Unless anyone else has drastically different ideas, I think I might go for a D-2000. Again, thank you all so much for your help :notworthy:

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Hey Emma,

 

thing is whatever strobe you get you'll be happy in the short term to have that quality of light. It will make a big difference to your shooting, though

I am constantly impressed with what Brian Mayes achieves without one. I think the D2000 is a great choice on your student budget and will still be

useful if you ever do make the SLR leap. I have a Z240 and I currently use it via the optic fibre sTTL system on my Nexus housing. It(sTTL) works a

treat as far as I'm concerned, especially for macro.

 

Might just have to give you a nudge when I do make it down there again to show me where to look :notworthy:

 

 

Cheers,

Jim.

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Instead of buying new - why not consider looking around for a 2nd hand setup complete with a strobe/s? There are pleanty out there on the market these days as people upgrade their compacts or to DSLR.

 

Look around for something like a Canon G9 / G10, or a Sea & sea Dx-1G or Olympus C8080 - all very good cameras and will still give you years of use until you can afford something new.

 

Karl

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