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Porris

Beginner equipment

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Hello

 

A little background: I started diving (still doing my PADI OWD course) and got interested in underwater photography. We are going to Thailand on 28.2.2011 and plan on doing dives there. The problem is that I don't have a clue what equipment should I buy?

 

I currently own Canon Ixus 80is and I am not certain if that is suitable for diving purposes. It has a possible underwater case but I am not sure if that is good combo. The problem is that the camera is my only camera, and inserting it to a case and removing it (for example night time purposes) and then rehousing it in the case is a good thing to do. I think that with each "sealing" you get a chance of getting some dirt between the case and it makes it leak, thus ruining my camera. :/

 

I do not want to buy expensive equipment right at start because I am just starting the hobby and it can come costly if I happen to realize that it's not my thing.. So I am turning to you now to get help for my newly found hobby. :)

 

So few questions:

- Anyone has experience with Canon Ixus 80is underwater photography? Is it "decent quality" or totally rubbish?

- Does it matter which case to get? The points on this: Is others more secure in waterproof way? Does it affect image quality?

- How well does the underwater digital single use cameras work? Mares underwater single usage cameras can be bought for ~50 euros (~60$) from thailand. Should I go with these? Problem is that these add easily up to the case price..

- Is there a camera (small compact) that is waterproof? Up to ~18m that I am allowed to dive now. I mean without a casing? Any examples? Experiences?

- Is it better to have underwater camera and "land camera" or just one camera and using it also in water and in land?

- Any other points of view that should be taken in to account?

 

Thanks!

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Don't take this the wrong way, but I would make sure your bouyancy is nailed before you take a camera out onto a reef with you.

 

You need to be able to dive first, take photos later, and passing OW is only the start.

Edited by londonsean69

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Porris,

 

I just wanted to second what londonsean69 said: please take a bit of time to get your buoyancy and skills down before you take a camera underwater. And please do not take this as an insult or criticism; one thing they don't seem to teach in OW classes is that certification is just the beginning of your training. You are taught a lot of skills during your training, but it's the dives that you do afterwards that will really cement those skills for you. Dive as much as possible after certification - take a dive trip, go locally, do whatever works for you - and practice practice practice! While you're out there observe other divers and photographers and take notes for the future. This is the only way you're going to get your buoyancy right, and good buoyancy is crucial to becoming a responsible photographer. Some people might need 5-10 dives to get good buoyancy down while others might need more, but please keep working towards that goal. In the end it will make you a much better and safer diver AND photographer!

 

-Gina

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Yea! Not insulted. I was not going to take it with me when we do the first dives. I have noticed that my boyancy control still needs "some" work.. :)

 

But..

 

One thing that I forgot to tell was that I am not going to use it ONLY diving. Snorkeling too, and the camera should fit for that too. But the points are still valid. There will be a point (maybe during our 2 weeks diving trip) that I can take the camera with me with rest of the gear. Let's say we do 10-15 dives during the trip and I take the camera to last 2 to 5 dives + the snorkeling trips / swimming trips.

 

If you forget that I am still learning, and imagine that I can actually dive at some point, what would the answers be then? :)

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The deepest you can take a camera, built for underwater, is 12 meters. That is the panasonic ts3, but not sure if it is in stores yet. The ts2 is out now, and it will go to 10 meters. These are about $350 now.

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There is a good article on lower and medium priced cameras/housings on the Backscatter web site.

http://www.backscatter.com/learn/article/article.php?ID=80

 

It's a few months old and a few cameras have been updated, S95 for S90 for example, but it will give you a good idea of things to look for and to think about.

 

Have fun,

Steve

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I'm going to take a slightly different position to some of the above posts and suggest that there is a difference between photography and snapshots.

 

As a new diver, there will be plenty enough going on for you but there is no reason why you can't take a pocket sized camera and take a few snaps in the less busy moments.

Yes your buoyancy control will be suspect but as long as you make sure you stay well off the reef and don't attempt any close up work where you have to hover in one place whilst setting up or refining a photograph there's no reason why you can't take shots of things as you swim by or they swim by you. Just remember to focus on your diving, position and personal safety. The camera is a secondary item.

 

For sure, the quality of your work won't be up to the sort of thing we see posted on here which are a result of planning, patience, diving skills, quality kit and long practice. Never the less you will still be able to take a few that will give you both satisfaction and good memories.

 

For this sort of work, the Ixus in the small Canon housing will be fine. You can likely get a used one quite economically. You might want to start on internet auction sites but make sure you get the right one for your exact model - they keep moving the controls around.

 

As your buoyancy skills progress, try to minimise the amount of water between the camera and the subject to eliminate some of the blue cast that you will no doubt find disappointing. Also learn how to use the white balance controls on your camera and practice them on the sofa in your living room until it becomes instinctive.

 

Later on get an external strobe/flash to improve colours but by this point you will start to dive to photograph rather than photograph whilst you are diving.

 

2c

 

Tim

Edited by Balrog

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Hello

 

A little background: I started diving (still doing my PADI OWD course) and got interested in underwater photography. We are going to Thailand on 28.2.2011 and plan on doing dives there. The problem is that I don't have a clue what equipment should I buy?

 

I currently own Canon Ixus 80is and I am not certain if that is suitable for diving purposes. It has a possible underwater case but I am not sure if that is good combo. The problem is that the camera is my only camera, and inserting it to a case and removing it (for example night time purposes) and then rehousing it in the case is a good thing to do. I think that with each "sealing" you get a chance of getting some dirt between the case and it makes it leak, thus ruining my camera. :/

 

I do not want to buy expensive equipment right at start because I am just starting the hobby and it can come costly if I happen to realize that it's not my thing.. So I am turning to you now to get help for my newly found hobby. :)

 

So few questions:

- Anyone has experience with Canon Ixus 80is underwater photography? Is it "decent quality" or totally rubbish?

- Does it matter which case to get? The points on this: Is others more secure in waterproof way? Does it affect image quality?

- How well does the underwater digital single use cameras work? Mares underwater single usage cameras can be bought for ~50 euros (~60$) from thailand. Should I go with these? Problem is that these add easily up to the case price..

- Is there a camera (small compact) that is waterproof? Up to ~18m that I am allowed to dive now. I mean without a casing? Any examples? Experiences?

- Is it better to have underwater camera and "land camera" or just one camera and using it also in water and in land?

- Any other points of view that should be taken in to account?

 

Thanks!

 

I use a Canon camera and housing since started taking pics and diving. Don't spend anymore money on better cameras or anything until you get really good at what it is like to take pics underwater. Don't buy a camera that can go "underwater" without a housing. I have never used one but why would you. Poor focusing and everything else. I have a simple Canon Powershot point and shoot camera with a Canon housing. It is fine for me, can take a video and any adjustments i want to make underwater just like on land. Not a big deal to take it out for going landside. You do need to be careful about resealing the camera in any underwater case. Mine flooded once and ruined the camera because of some sand in the seal. Not the cases fault, mine. Camera was cheap to replace and I still use the case with the new camera with more care and no problems. Good luck.

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- Anyone has experience with Canon Ixus 80is underwater photography? Is it "decent quality" or totally rubbish?

I don't own a Canon Ixus but have a compact canon camera with canon housing. I've seen photos from other canon ixus cameras and they are good quality for a compact.

- Does it matter which case to get? The points on this: Is others more secure in waterproof way? Does it affect image quality?

The more expensive cases are generally more secure and better quality than the canon ones but cost an awful lot more. I don't think they have any impact on image quality. I've done probably 200 dives with my compact canon case with no problems. Any new case should be taken for a dive with no camera in it to test before use.

 

- How well does the underwater digital single use cameras work? Mares underwater single usage cameras can be bought for ~50 euros (~60$) from thailand. Should I go with these? Problem is that these add easily up to the case price..

You will get a lot better quality picture from a regular compact with a case than the single use camera.

 

- Is there a camera (small compact) that is waterproof? Up to ~18m that I am allowed to dive now. I mean without a casing? Any examples? Experiences?

The advantage of the waterproof compacts is usually for use on a boat or maybe snorkelling. They are also good if your case floods.

 

- Is it better to have underwater camera and "land camera" or just one camera and using it also in water and in land?[/i]

I've used the same compact canon above and below water for the last few years. I've seen lots of cases leak but thankfully not mine. If you're careful about not getting anything in the seals you'll reduce the risk but they can all potentially flood. A lot of people who have SLR's use a compact and case underwater due to size and cost of an underwater SLR.

 

- Any other points of view that should be taken in to account?

In my case I didn't see the point in spending extra money on a second camera and case until i'd seen how much time I would spend taking pictures. I sometimes take the camera snorkelling too.

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The Canon Ixus 80is you already have should be just fine for practicing underwater photography, in the Canon underwater housing WP-DC-22 it will be quite OK. It will allow you to take fun pictures from your dives and great memories back home.

 

I myself started with the very similar Canon Ixus 800is in Canon housing, and took the camera with me to my first big diving trip in Thailand in November 2006. I had done about 30 logged dives & AOWD just before the trip.

Here is a selection from the very first snapshots I took with that camera at Phi-Phi island:

https://picasaweb.google.com/ianleiman/Thaimaa2006PhiPhi#

 

Followed by that I did a 5 day very memorable liveaboard to Similans, and took maybe a 1000 pictures, out which I think these were among the best (and some just "typical" to show some bad ones too):

https://picasaweb.google.com/ianleiman/Similan#

IMG_3126-v1.jpg

 

I should expect that you should be able to get similar shots with your camera - eventually. :)

 

My diving and underwater photography skills were very rudimentary at that time, and I certainly have developed enormously since then, but I am glad I took the camera with me and took those pictures. They are great memories. I have since moved to a much more expensive and complicated camera setup, but that Canon Ixus was very good to begin with. In fact I still own a Canon Ixus (a newer 980is) and do have Canon underwater housing for that too, and do still use that occasionally too. The camera is so small, that it is easy to carry with you always. Use the lanyard that comes with the casing to keep it safely on right hand. You might also want to get a double-ender so you can clip it to BCD D-ring at shoulder when not taking pictures.

 

The Canon native housing is very easy to use, and putting the camera in and taking it out takes just a moment, so you can definitely use it both for diving and on surface. I always have two batteries and memory cards, and on liveaboard trips I swap fresh recharged battery after each dive, and swap the memory card as well. The case should be opened in your air-conditioned cabin only to prevent moisture entering the case. When empty, I keep desiccant packs inside the closed case. On day boat trips I don't open the case, only in the air-conditioned hotel room.

 

The internal flash on the camera is good for only very short distances, 30...50 cm, and works only in very clean (particle-free) water. For longer range shots you should set flash-off and use manual white-balance setting - this is so called available light photography. You mostly shoot with the zoom at widest setting, so called wide-angle shots, although with this camera you don't really get very wide angle shots. The zoom is good only for shooting small creatures at very close distances with the flash, for taking so called macros - but again you won't be getting pictures from really small creatures with this camera.

 

My advice is to take lots of pictures, and video too, and try to review them as soon as possible after each dive. It would be good to have a laptop on your trip. Then look at the pictures carefully, think how you can improve and do things better on the next dive. The first pictures will be great disappointements, but don't worry, they will improve quicker than you think :)

It might be a good idea to buy a current book on underwater photography, and read it well before you go.

The book by Martin Edge is pretty good and thorough.

 

Just be aware, underwater photography & scuba diving in exotic places can be highly addictive, and you might end up spending a fortune on it :)

 

Hello

 

A little background: I started diving (still doing my PADI OWD course) and got interested in underwater photography. We are going to Thailand on 28.2.2011 and plan on doing dives there. The problem is that I don't have a clue what equipment should I buy?

 

I currently own Canon Ixus 80is and I am not certain if that is suitable for diving purposes. It has a possible underwater case but I am not sure if that is good combo. The problem is that the camera is my only camera, and inserting it to a case and removing it (for example night time purposes) and then rehousing it in the case is a good thing to do. I think that with each "sealing" you get a chance of getting some dirt between the case and it makes it leak, thus ruining my camera. :/

 

I do not want to buy expensive equipment right at start because I am just starting the hobby and it can come costly if I happen to realize that it's not my thing.. So I am turning to you now to get help for my newly found hobby. :)

 

So few questions:

- Anyone has experience with Canon Ixus 80is underwater photography? Is it "decent quality" or totally rubbish?

- Does it matter which case to get? The points on this: Is others more secure in waterproof way? Does it affect image quality?

- How well does the underwater digital single use cameras work? Mares underwater single usage cameras can be bought for ~50 euros (~60$) from thailand. Should I go with these? Problem is that these add easily up to the case price..

- Is there a camera (small compact) that is waterproof? Up to ~18m that I am allowed to dive now. I mean without a casing? Any examples? Experiences?

- Is it better to have underwater camera and "land camera" or just one camera and using it also in water and in land?

- Any other points of view that should be taken in to account?

 

Thanks!

Edited by ileiman

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Thank you all.. I think I will buy the canon housing, extra battery and extra memory card. And will see a few dives how my skills allow to take out the camera. :)

 

Great pics and comments. Thank you all! :)

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Hello

 

A little background: I started diving (still doing my PADI OWD course) and got interested in underwater photography. We are going to Thailand on 28.2.2011 and plan on doing dives there. The problem is that I don't have a clue what equipment should I buy?

 

I currently own Canon Ixus 80is and I am not certain if that is suitable for diving purposes. It has a possible underwater case but I am not sure if that is good combo. The problem is that the camera is my only camera, and inserting it to a case and removing it (for example night time purposes) and then rehousing it in the case is a good thing to do. I think that with each "sealing" you get a chance of getting some dirt between the case and it makes it leak, thus ruining my camera. :/

 

I do not want to buy expensive equipment right at start because I am just starting the hobby and it can come costly if I happen to realize that it's not my thing.. So I am turning to you now to get help for my newly found hobby. ;)

 

So few questions:

- Anyone has experience with Canon Ixus 80is underwater photography? Is it "decent quality" or totally rubbish?

- Does it matter which case to get? The points on this: Is others more secure in waterproof way? Does it affect image quality?

- How well does the underwater digital single use cameras work? Mares underwater single usage cameras can be bought for ~50 euros (~60$) from thailand. Should I go with these? Problem is that these add easily up to the case price..

- Is there a camera (small compact) that is waterproof? Up to ~18m that I am allowed to dive now. I mean without a casing? Any examples? Experiences?

- Is it better to have underwater camera and "land camera" or just one camera and using it also in water and in land?

- Any other points of view that should be taken in to account?

 

Thanks!

 

My Ixus 75 produced better results than a slew of high-end rigs on multiple red sea trips! Bloomin marvellous unless u want to shoot crazy-close macro stuff all the time.

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Think everyone has answered the question of trying your first camera. As a PADI instructor and digi uw specialist instructor i would second eveything on bouyancy and cameras. But having never dived with you and i have seen divers who have good enough bouyancy after OW i would say, if thats what ur interested in, go for it.

If it keeps you diving and brings hightened enjoyment from your dives then thats what its about.

 

I had a ixus 85 and canon housing and loved it. Did more than 600 dives with it and had some amazing results ( i did add a external strobe and wet lenses later on before going down the DSLR route).

 

I would add to the setup u are thinking of is a coiled bungee style lanyard that clips to the BCD. Being able to drop it and not have it attached to ur wrist is a big plus when starting out. Keep the wrist lanyard for snorkelling trips.

 

As its a now out of date camera u may even find a 2nd hand housing someplace.

 

And no worries about using the camera topside and uw, u will have to open it after each day to download anyway. My biggest problem was taking the camera out to bars and promptly getting drunk and breaking the camera!

 

Enjoy ur trip. Hope to see some pics on ur return!

 

Olly

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