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What holdover rig to get?

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Hey y'all,


I've got a situation brewing, and I'm shopping for opinions.


My current UW rig is ancient. It's an Olympus C4000 housed in a Light & Motion Tetra housing. I've got a Sea&Sea YS90 strobe (which I like a lot). I've got the rig fully accessorized with the L&M wide angle wetmate lens, and a macro diopter called the "macromate" that I got back in 2002 when I bought the rig.


As I've just moved back to a place where I can dive regularly, I want to get back to UW photography. And the technology has come so far I'm just in awe of what's available in the digital SLR world. My long range goal is to get into a Canon T2i rig with an Aquatica housing. For the whole enchilada I'm looking at about a 4000 dollar layout. For me, this is significant money, and it's going to be a while before I can swing it.


Unfortunately there are 2 things with my current rig that are frustrating me to the point where I am really wanting to get something as an intermediary rig.


1) Picture format. My C4000 doesn't shoot RAW format, the best it does is TIFF - and it will only fit 11 TIFFs onto the memory chip (128mb). I end up shooting JPEG, and they are just... well, not really making me smile much.


2) Memory problems. SmartMedia chips are (barely) still available, and the ones I have are all seeming to deteriorate to the point where they're losing images I shoot routinely. This is (needless to say) incredibly frustrating.



I've run across 2 rigs that I would consider as 'holdover' rigs until I can get a modern, expensive camera. They are:


a) A used Nikon D100 housed in a Subal D10 housing. No lens. 2 Ikelite strobes. What appeals to me about this rig is the fact that it's a dSLR (even if it's an old one), and it's a great housing. Uses CF cards, up to 4 gigs. They are asking 1300 OBO for this rig.


b) A new Olympus Pen rig. This would require a change for my strobe going from a wired connection to a fiber optic connection (which really bothers me for some reason). It's also still a P&S camera instead of an SLR. I think, though, that I could get the entire rig set up (using my existing YS-90 strobe) for under 1300 bucks.


What I shoot is 90% macro, 10% scenery. I shoot in water that ranges from 10' to 50' vis regularly, with the occasional foray down to the tropics.


My primary concerns with the Pen is the ability to shoot macro, the P&S nature of the camera, and most of all the fiber optic strobe connection.

My primary concerns with the Nikon is that I'd have to buy a 60mm macro lens (450+ bucks?), and then I'd have a nice Nikon rig which would make me lean towards getting another Nikon rig when I finally upgrade to a modern rig.


I'd love to hear opinions. Particularly from anyone who has shot or is shooting either of these rigs!


Thanks a bunch,


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Well, although I shoot neither of the options can I just comment that the Subal D100, whilst elderly in digital camera terms, has probably taken most, or at least a great deal, of its depreciation and it will always (providing you can get D100 bodies that still operate - watch some of the earlier ones as they can suffer from a freezing problem) make a good starter outfit as it is a useful step from a P&S to a dSLR. A used Nikon 60 in reasonable (not mint) condition shouldn't be that expensive, especially an earlier none 'D' version (the 'D' is for flash distance which is irrelevant underwater) so then you'd just need a port which you might pick up used.


The Pen on the other hand will depreciate pretty hard if it follows other digital cameras and I see no reason why it won't.


So I'd suggest the Subal D100 as a viable interim stage especially if you think that you will eventually be upgrading it as it will keep a better value (and you should lose little on a 60 Nikkor if you get a cheapish one).

Edited by Paul Kay

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The first oly pen shutter lag is horrendous. Basically 1 full second total shutter lag:




Forget it for underwater.


The only manufacturers who have usable contrast detection autofocus is panasonic and sony.


At this point you might find a used gf1 system, but probably not.


The d100 will be a pleasure to shoot with.

Edited by derway

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Thanks for the replies guys! In particular that shutter lag is going to be too much to handle... I detest the lag I have with my current Olympus, so that's very good info to know. Thanks for sharing!


Unfortunately I'm starting to become afraid the D100 rig has sold. I haven't heard back from the seller all day after getting a prompt response yesterday.


The search continues!




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