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The Dream

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With all these new cameras appearing on the market several times a year and product runs less than 2 years it's got to be hell to be in the housing business. This transfers over to the consumer in both the cost of the housing as well as the cost to constantly upgrade the housing every 2 years or so.

 

Consider this 300D analogy:

 

300d Camera with lens kit: $1000

Ikelite Housing: $1300

Required ports: $150?

 

 

This makes even the cheapest available housing for the Rebel about 1.5 x the cost of the camera in it. Most housings cost 2-2.5 x. This makes it very expensive (perhaps prohibitively so) to upgrade your camera gear anywhere near the rate of digital improvements. And what benifit do I get out of an upgraded housing? The new housing would be just as good as the old one except that if fits my new camera. And does anyone even bother to maintain their housing anymore? It seems to me that for those of us who dive 1-2 x per year the camera will be obselete before the grease wears off the o rings.

 

Imagine if the camera manufacturers (at the pro level) could just freeze their body styles. Then you could just upgrade the electronics to gain the benifit of the better camera without the added cost of the housing as well. Really, on pro level cameras how many more buttons in different positions do they need. The D100 seems near perfect for me. SLR cameras have been around for decades and I think pros have pretty well refined the correct size of a 35 mm slr and where they want their controls. I realize the UW doesn't drive the market (which is why this would never happen) but the advantages could carry over to dryland accessories as well--one set of vertical grips, dual battery compartments cases etc.

 

At the very least I think the speacialty UW manufacturers getting into dedicated UW digicams should consider this. S&S or SeaLife should consider upgrading their line of ho-hum 3mp cameras with new cameras built to the same dimensions and button locations as to fit their existing housings. If they advertize this guranteed upgradability, I would be much more willing to go with their system.

 

Just an observation that I'm sure others share.

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I'll second those emotions. I wonder if it is realistic to hope that Olympus will make a housing for the E-1. Realising that it's not as easy as making housings for point-and-shoots, I still hope for it to happen. After all, they went through quite a bit of trouble in making all the gear for the 5060, with flash housing, housed lenses and such. Surely a housing for the E-1 made by Olympus would be considerably cheaper than the dSLR housings around today? <$1000?

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It's really the same problem as there has always been. A N90s cost $600 - $800 and it's housing cost $1200+. An F5 cost $2k and a pro housing cost $3500 - $5K. The difference is that the technology is changing much faster with digital than with film. The best thing to do, IMO, is to get a system you are happy with and stick with it for several years until there is substantial improvement and not just the next model #. I intend to buy a couple of S2' bodies when they come down in price when the S3 is shipped.

 

I don't remember mass migrations to the F100 from the N90 when it came out because many N90 users were happy with the results they were getting, and still are.

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1) Will you current DSLR stop taking good pictures when the next version comes out? So unless you're one to require the latest and greatest thingy out there...you're fine, just get a camera that has a housing built for it.

 

2) Canon has already kept with the standard form factor for their Grips, using the same one for the 10D, D60 & D30. I believe the 1D & 1Ds share the same style batteries too, not sure about the 1DMk2

 

3) Most metal housings these days are CNC machined, all that is basically required is for the manufacturer to create a generic enough housing then when a new body comes out, it's simply a matter of reprogramming the tool path as the equipment cuts out holes for controls etc... same for Ike, his housings usually have enough room to move controls around and maybe he'll just need to machine new back plates.

 

stu

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I think each manufacturer has a button engineer. His/her soul responsibility is to decide where to place camera controls. If he/she said just keep them where they are, everyone would realize that the button engineer's job wasn't necessary and he/she would lose their job. So each new model must have the controls moved and/or changed.

 

Now, the tech writers also rely on the button engineer. If the controls don't change, they could just use the same bits and pieces of copy from previous user manuals. They too would soon be out of a job. New buttons/locations require new illustrations/directions.

 

I remember when the F100 came out. Really nice, but I couldn't figure out why I would upgrade. Faster AF was all I could come up. So I kept shooting the N90s. I did pick up an F100 used and cheap. On land it has a few other advantages.

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True, at some point very soon there will be little reason to upgrade every time the new improved versions come out. Perhaps when I get my D70 (on order--hurry up already!!) I will feel that way. With 6 mp and fairly fast autofocus and shutter lag I should be able to get pretty good enlargements, excellent image quality, and get the photo I'm trying to shoot. There isn't much more to want. Like pro level film SLRs--there really isn't much to substantially improve.

 

But until now, we've come a long way in the ($1000 and below price range) from really slow 1 mp point and shoots to some very capable dSlRs. Some of the main things I hope to improve on my Y2K Canon S300 are:

 

Faster shutter/autofocus delay (now in the tenths of seconds on D70)

Faster continious shooting (now faster than my strobes as some have mentioned)

More megapixels (now enough for decent 13x17s almost big enough)

Better overall image quality (with SLR lenses, larger apertures, larger CCDs etc. )

Full manual control

Direct connection to my strobes

 

So maybe we've arrived?

 

The only things I could see improving that would cause me to upgrade are:

 

Perhaps up to 8 mp with a FOVIEN style color accuracy

Better TTL support (not necessarially a camera solution)

Larger chip (full 35 mm size) to improve WA

 

So I don't think we are quite there yet to the point where upgrades are just to get the latest new gagetry, but we are getting very close I'll agree.

 

What do you think? Will a new D70 last an enthusiastic beginner like me 5 years?

 

Thanks

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Well at least at the very upper end - Canon has kept the same body for teh 1D, 1Ds and now the Mark II with only one minor button addition on the back. So at least those housings won't need to be completely re-worked. Canon basically just updated the electronics.

 

Now if only the other lower priced DSLR's would follow suit....

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