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Oly C3030/PT-010 vs. C5050/PT015

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I'm a once-a-year snorkeler looking to go digital cheap, and have narrowed my choices to either the Olympus C3030\PT-010 combo, or the newer C5050\PT015. A little shopping on eBay tells me that I can pick up "like new" C3030's for about $200, plus maybe $100 bucks or so for the housing -- $300-$350 total. On the other hand, a new C5050 plus PT-015 runs about $700 total at B&H Photo. I have a Canon EOS 10D for "on-shore" pictures, so the housed camera really won't be used for anything else.

 

Bottom line: I'm inclined to go for the C3030, since it is obviously capable of very nice results, and really, the picutures taken while snorkeling aren't going to justify buying nice equipment anyway.

 

My question is this: Are there any really, really irritating quirks, etc of the C3030 that would make the money spent on the C5050 worthwhile? In particular, I'm thinking of things like the slow shutter response which has supposedly been improved on the new cameras. How about the PT-010? Is the PT-015 superior in any way? :D

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The shutter lag is around .5s don't expect a DSLR here. In a recent dolphin dive in Kaikoura, New Zealand, I missed what could hopefully be awesome shot with a DSLR. Taken at high ISO and with a fast shutter response it would have been very helpful. I could not do anything here as I was seeing dolphins swimming toward me, as vis was around 6-8m, I took most shots when the dolphins were circling around me rather than facing me :D

 

That said, both can do excellent macro and semi-macro shot.

 

As for the housing being a former PT-010 user and now a PT-015, the PT-010 is more 'toyish' and has only a single o-ring which may or may not increase the flooding probability, the shutter button is also a bit flexible and requires some skills, as for the zoom spring it broke after 100+ dives due to corrosion.

 

I cannot decide if having a C5050 is overkill for you, it's all a perspective issue...but as you say, it's snorkelling. So personally I would not invest into a C5050 for that but would go toward a cheapo solution. But then again I do not own a 10D.

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I've had both combinations, and while the 5050/PT-015 is obviously superior, the images with the 3030 will be very nice. Especially since you are just snorkeling, and not on scuba, I would tend to go for the 3030 solution.

 

The 3040 is, of course, slightly better if you can get that for a good price. Main difference is the F1.8 lens, the rest is pretty much the same.

 

I don't think that the shutter lag on the 5050 is significantly better than that of the 3030/3040. Both are problematical for that illusive shot with fast moving animals, especially those little reef fish that you often see when snorkeling.

 

Rather spend your savings on your dSLR.

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Thanks for the info -- I think you both sort of confirmed what I suspected.

 

Since I posted the question, I've actually decided to go even cheaper -- given what I already own. I have an old EWA Marine UFGM or something like that, designed for handling an SLR + 'potato masher' flash. I purchased a cheap used Sigma 50mm Macro for EOS mount, and I'm going to take my chances and stuff the EOS 10D+macro lens into the plastic bag, along with the big flash. The flash will be completely manual, but I figure that with digital I should be able to tweak the exposure pretty quickly to get it right.

 

I'll just have to hope that the thing doesn't leak. I've used it several times before with an old Pentax SLR, and it seems to hold up fine. Undoubtedly the first leak will be with the 10D inside.

 

Again, thanks for the help.

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I'm going to take my chances and stuff the EOS 10D+macro lens into the plastic bag

 

you are truly a brave man sir! - I sincerely hope all works out OK... I love my 10D and I presume you feel the same... so to put all that faith in quite literally a plastic bag is truly a testament to your belief :P

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