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exgratia

Looking for new camera system

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I'm looking for a rig that will cost a maximum of $1000 firm, including shipping. I've gone up and up w each of estimates, but I can't afford to pay more than that.

 

I thought I had it picked out as the Canon PowerShot A80, but then couldn't configure an external strobe to work.

I've done a lot of research on all the sites I can and my best ideas are as follows:

While I'll eventually want to go deeper, the housing needs to be rated for at least 130'. The most imporant buttons should be available, including power.

A digital camera that works well topside out of the housing, for other outdoor activities, with a miniumum megapixelage of 4, going as low as a 3.1 if the quality of the pickup is indifferentiable. The smaller the camera, the better, as I don't want to be lugging around a huge rig that becomes the centerpiece of my dive.

My reasoning for wanting an external strobe is to be able to take shots of wrecks from a distance at depth, as most internal flashes won't get past ~10'.

Lastly a 256MB card, which i'll pick up from a memory dealer.

 

If there are good external strobes that will work with the Powershot series, I'll give it another look, but right now I need to make a decision within the next 4 days.

 

Much thanks in advance,

Tom

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So you want to get a camera, memory, housing, and strobe for less than $1000? I don't know how you are going to find that unless you find something used. You might try looking in the classified section of this forum or at classified of digitaldiver.net. Plus when taking photos of wrecks a strobe really won't light one up. About the maximum lighting with the most powerful strobes you can get will only go about 5 feet underwater. What you need is a wide angle lens on the housing to be able to capture it.

 

Tony

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I think the Epoque kit at

 

http://www.marinecamera.com/strobe_epoque.html

 

would work with the A80 + the WPDC900.

 

I was looking at the same sort of system. My prices look like

 

A80 300 (Circut City)

WPCD900 180 (B & H)

Epoque ES 150 DS

Full Kit 360 (MCD)

 

And then I'd bust the budget a little with the Inon Fisheye lens for $370

and a $50 AD mount adapter ($1260, but with a really cool fisheye lens.)

 

Dan

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Oh,

 

I'd also get the 52mm Canon filter adapter, and a couple of 10x diopters

for surface close stuff (another $60 or so.)

 

Dan

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I really appreciate the help, Tony and Dan.

I guess I'll lay off on my plans for wreck pictures on this budget/camera. Or at least until I understand underwater photography better.

The Epoque kit is exactly what I was looking for, I didn't know they called it a "slave sync". I'm fairly certain I'll go with the strobe kit, camera, and housing as described. I'll look at/for other 'slave sync' strobes, because 5-6 sec refresh time seems to be long enough for any moving thing you're shooting to swim away.

 

As for filters and adapters, I'll need to research them more. I'm only familiar w the basic filters for my landbound SLR camera.

Don't fisheye pictures require correction to remove distortion? or is it acceptable

 

Thanks again,

Tom

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You can get an refurbished Olympus 5050 on ebay for around $400, and a PT-015 housing for around $200. That'll leave you around $400 for strobe and everything else. You may be able to get an Inon D180s for that.

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I agree with Herb. Maybe a Oly 4040 and housing. Even cheaper. Then you could add a UR Pro or a FL-D filter for available light shots - that camera is amazing just like that. And you would also have enough money for an external strobe. Alex

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Yes, fisheye pictures need correction for distortion if you have straight edges in them (but that's why you shoot digital, right?) If you just have a big fish and some blue, no problem.

 

I don't know about referbs. It just give me the heebeejeevies. In my mind I find it hard to imagine being able to check electronic components to see how close they are to failure (one capacitor or resistor looks pretty much like another, and once one fails, how many more will go / were attached poorly, got a shortened life span from whatever cause the part that needs refurbusing died, etc.)

 

Dan

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I dunno Dan, My wife had a flood with her 3030 and Oly replaced her camera with a refurb. I feel a refurb by the factory is going to be pretty good because they went thru the unit. Its still going strong and it didn't cost that much.

 

Tony

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Yes, fisheye pictures need correction for distortion if you have straight edges in them (but that's why you shoot digital, right?)  If you just have a big fish and some blue, no problem.

 

I don't know about referbs.   It just give me the heebeejeevies.  In my mind I find it hard to imagine being able to check electronic components to see how close they are to failure (one capacitor or resistor looks pretty much like another, and once one fails, how many more will go / were attached poorly, got a shortened life span from whatever cause the part that needs refurbusing died, etc.)

 

Dan

 

We've heard from quite a few who's bought the referbs from Olympus. As far as I can remember, there hasn't been a reported problem. The ones from Olympus are sold with a short warrenty.

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I don't know about referbs.   It just give me the heebeejeevies.  In my mind I find it hard to imagine being able to check electronic components to see how close they are to failure (one capacitor or resistor looks pretty much like another, and once one fails, how many more will go / were attached poorly, got a shortened life span from whatever cause the part that needs refurbusing died, etc.)

 

Dan

 

My own take on refurbs is different -- and I have bought rebuilt drives, computers, and cameras. I think that these units may actually be more reliable, in that they are generally well "burnt in", the buggiest link in the chain has been repaired, and the unit has been individually inspected. Of course, the quality of inspection depends on the manufactures, but I have no complaint with Nikon, Dell, and SmartDisk refurbs I have.

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Another option:

 

New Olympus 5060 $600

Extra Battery $50

New Olympus PT-020 Housing $200

Sandisk Ultra II 256 mb compact flash card $100

UR-Pro color filter $80

 

Total $1030 New, strobe will wait for latter. Upgrade to an Ikelite housing for an extra $300 including the UR-Pro filter $1250 total.

 

Doug

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I have to agree with Scubag. I think that in order to get a system you will ultimately be happy with, you are going to have to spend significantly more than your target budget. You could make compromises on the camera and housing to get into the water with it now, but you will eventually end up spending alot more money to end up with a system you really can grow with. You are better off buying a good camera and housing now, along with a decent sized memory card, and a copy of PhotoShop. Learning the limitations of the internal flash, and working with lighting will make you a better photographer down the road when you can afford to upgrade the system with one or more strobes.

 

My wife and I bought each other a 5050 last year for our anniversary and have been using it land only for the last year. This year we are getting an Ike housing and double handle tray, and have upgraded our flash memory from 128mb to 1gb. Maybe around christmas we will have enough to go for the DS-125 that we want also. It is taking a while, but the time to work with each piece and get used to it before adding on, will in the end hopefully make us better and more flexible photographers. YMMV...

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There is no doubt that combining scuba diving and photography is the road to financial ruin - and a lot of fun! I agree with TxAgs92. It doesn't take many trips into the water to make you disatisfied with your system and want that extra bit which, you know, will make the world of difference. So, my advice, buy good quality stuff which you can grow when you have the momey - not easy admittedly when, certainly with digital, systems are changing by the day. Get the biggest memory card you can afford; and a good stobe.

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