Jump to content
SwiftFF5

Winter musings

Recommended Posts

Hi all, time to update this thread. After having inconveniences/equipment failures on both of my last two dive trips, it is definitely time to update my equipment, especially now that the new gear is out. I have been talking with a couple of vendors, who are giving me different advice, so I could use your help sorting it all out. I am planning a trip to Guadalupe Island, so I would like to have the new gear in hand prior to that trip to get a chance to play with it first. I am on a bit of budget, and would like to stay in the range of about $5K USD, and I already have video lights, so it is really the camera/housing/port combination that I would be replacing.

 

Basically, I have been shooting video with camcorders for a while now, starting with Sony handycams (digital tape versions), but got so discouraged with their WB problems, that I switched to a Canon HF S30 in a Light and Motion housing several years ago. The last two trips, either the camera or housing has had problems, causing me to lose shots so it is time to upgrade, and getting 4K in the bargain isn't a bad thing.

I basically shoot fish portraits, up to the size of sharks and rays, and down to macro subjects using a Subsee +5 flip in diopter. I pretty much only shoot video, since I dive with some excellent still shooters, anyway.

A friend that I dive with has a TG-4 and has suggested the TG-5 as an option. When I talked with one vendor, he suggested a GH-5 set up, and I was leaning strongly that way, but was a bit worried that I would have to add an external monitor/recorder to be able to see the image well, especially when shooting macro. However, after talking with another vendor (who has been my supplier for years), he suggested a Sony AX700 in a Gates housing. His argument was the GH-5 has such a small DoF that I would need a tripod for any sort of macro work with the GH-5, and it already has a large screen, which is visible in the Gates housing, so that I would not need any sort of external monitor. Those points both make sense to me, but I am really worried about the Sony WB issues not being resolved yet. I have been enjoying the quality of the Canon WB, which hasn't needed anywhere near as much work to get decent color.

 

So, if you were in my shoes, which option would you choose? Thanks for the help.

Edited by SwiftFF5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GH5 + Nauticam. WB really does work, and 4K 50/60 is just great to have. 10-bit 1080 50p, 10-bit 4K 25p, 1080 up to 180 fps, 4K up to 1.... someone on here said they could not really think of what more to ask for, and I agree. In practice DoF depends on aperture surely? I use the PZ 14-42 3.5-5.6, and DoF isn't really an issue. I guess with your +5 diopter you would have to be careful, but one of the great advantages of 4K is that you can crop and still end up with a full HD image, so you don't always need to be fully zoomed in underwater. Also, 50p slowed down to 25p in post looks very smooth. I don't do macro, but the best macro stuff you see on vimeo etc seems to have been filmed with a tripod. Don't forget that you'll need a decent computer and good NLE to edit!

Just my 2 cents!

 

Matt

Edited by matdiver1234
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, if you were in my shoes, which option would you choose? Thanks for the help.

 

How much you got to spend? :)

 

The GH5 (and m43 generally for that matter) I don't think suffers from lack of DoF - set the aperture to f5.6 and you are golden.

 

What aperture are you running on your current camera? Might give you a good idea of what fstop you would require on a m43 lens to match the DoF.

 

Personally you might find the ergonomics of a still's camera very off putting compared to the ease of use with your L&M housing. The lack of instant thumb control for camera control - you might find it a big step backwards. I'm very pleased thou with that Nauticam have done with the NA-GH5, everything pretty much is at your right thumb.

 

So perhaps an AX700 in a gates housing would be a good call, but your right, I think the consensus is that Sony's MWB still isn't up to much compared to the Canon and now Panasonic (better its getting, but still not great) so you will probably still need the flip filter.

 

I've got zero complaints with my GH5/GH5s setup, but its a pretty amazing system when tied with the WWL-1. The only negative I have is the buoyancy and the need for so many float arms.

 

Something only really bettered (for video) if you are willing to spend another 15k-20k on an EVA1 or C200 at the moment.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Matt and Richard. I had definitely been leaning toward the GH5 until vendor 2 (who sells both) strongly suggested the AX700. I don't mind a flip filter, if it actually fixes the problem. I had not had any luck previously with filters on my old Sony's (including the famous Alex Mustard Magic filters).

 

I'm not actually sure what f-stop I am using now, since the camcorder sets that automatically. I suspect that is embedded in the clip data, so I will take a look at that. Good idea, thanks.

 

The ergonomics of the L&M housing are really good, and that does factor into the equation a bit. Although it is manual and not electronic, the Gates housing would be more familiar, I would expect.

 

Richard, my budget is in the $5K range for camera and housing, no lights - so the EVA1 or C200 are not in the picture - and I'm not sure my skills could justify them, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For best ergonomics and overall zoom flexibility without having to fiddle with wet lenses, the camcorder route is hard to beat. Your white balance will suck without a filter, but 1) the GATES housing has a flip filter option and 2) IMO, most scenes below 5 meters benefit much more from good lights then they do from great white balance capabilities. 90% of my shots with the GH5 are with the WB set to 5200K and video lights. I only really shoot ambient light 5 meters and shallower.

 

That said, the GH5 is definitely the better option when it comes to image quality and faster frame rates. It's just not the most ergonomic or streamlined solution in the water once you add all the extra flotation and wet lenses you need.

 

Macro is a wash -- whether or not you need a tripod largely depends on the magnification you're shooting at. At equivalent levels of magnification, you're going to get equivalent levels of shakiness and moving in and out of focus based on your movement in the water, basically. This has nothing to do with depth of field or sensor size really -- larger sensors can get the same depth of field as smaller sensors by shooting at a smaller aperture. And actually, the 1" sensor in the AX700 and the m4/3 sensor in the GH5 are not that different in surface area at the end of the day. 2x crop on the GH5 vs 2.7x crop on the AX700 vs full frame. That's only a one stop difference in aperture to achieve the same depth of field.

 

Given your budget, I think both the GH5 and AX700 are options, and I'd make the decision based on what's more important to you -- ergonomics and ease of use vs ultimate image quality, basically.

 

One other thing to mention -- since you only shoot fish portraits and nothing larger than sharks, you don't really need the wide field of view the GH5+WWL-1 combo would give you. That's more for reef scenes. Indeed, I find that with the WWL-1 on, I usually have a tough time approaching fish/sharks close enough to get a good portrait, even zoomed in all the way to 42mm. For that use, you might be better off with something like the Panasonic Leica 12-60mm lens inside a 180mm dome port or even the olympus 12-50mm inside it's specialized flat port, which gives you the whole range from macro to 35mm equivalent. Note that if you go the 12-60 +180mm dome port route, you're looking at $2500 on top of the $1500 for the GH5 body and $2650 you're spending on a housing, so it might be above your budget.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Andrei, that is very helpful information indeed. I agree that the WWL-1 will be wider than anything that I am really interested in, and there is a lot of appeal for either the 12-60/180 port or the 12-50 and flat port options.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other options that you might consider are a GX85 in a Nauticam housing or a G85 in an Ikelite housing. These cameras are limited to 4K UHD at 30fps but, then again, so is the AX700. On the other hand, they are well over half the cost of a GH5 body and are considerably smaller and lighter. With both systems, you could acquire the camera, housing, ports and gears for an Olympus 9-18mm and a Panasonic 60mm macro for around $4,000. That would leave you with ample budget to house the kit lens or add a CMC and flip holder for super macro.

 

Note that the Ikelite ports are AF only, which may not be an issue for you given that you are comparing to a camcorder alternative. Nauticam also offers a lot more port options, which may or may not be a good thing for you and your budget.

 

Finally, I should add that I have no experience diving either of these cameras. I have an LX100 in an Ikelite housing. However, I shoot a G85 above the water and absolutely love it. Dual IS (IBIS + a Power OIS lens) is very sweet, especially on long lenses!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks EvilOtter, I will look into that option as well, then. With my current setup, I usually do use the built in autofocus, which if is good enough, might not really be an issue as you say. Thanks.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is finally an underwater review of the Sony FDR-AX700:

 

https://www.gateshousings.com/uncategorized/gates-ax700-white-balance/

 

They seem pretty excited about it - those of you who are more savvy than I am (which is most everyone here), what are your thoughts? Has Sony finally gotten a good underwater white balance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, Gates builds a housing for the AX700 and want to sell that, so no surprise they are excited :))) This is really a promotional article, not a review.

 

I was coming from the the AX100 so the logical update would have been to the Ax700. But honestely, to me the specs are hugely disappointing and you will get much more features out of the GH5: 10bit, 60p(that one not at 10bit though), All Intra codec etc etc... Sony markets HDR capabilities. But then, by definition, HDR means 10bit - and the AX700 only has 8bit. They castrated the cam to protect their pro product range. Panasonic has been much more open in that respect.

 

The screen of the AX700 and GH5 are pretty much the same (small) size, so no benefit on that end. You could argue that the swivel-screen on the side will be easier to see than the GH5 screen at the lower end of the Nauticam GH5 housing. No question though that the buoyancy of the Gates AX housing is hard to beat. Thats a big minus for Nauticam GH5 which, depending on port, is pretty negatively buoyant.

 

Nonetheless, I have not regretted settling for the GH5. But if your focus is on easy handling and perfect buoancy and you dont mind only having 8bit and 30p, go for the Gates AX700. Their housings are great without any doubt.

Edited by bubffm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@bubffm - thanks, yes, I guess to sell housings, they need to generate some excitement about the camera that goes in the housing.

 

So, for someone coming from the AX100, how hard was it to get used to the ergonomics of the GH5? I really like being able to go from shark or turtle-sized portraits, down to macro stuff on the same dive by zooming and using a flip in wet lens. Having one button white balance on my right side handle is also really nice. Anything else that you can offer on the change from a dedicated camcorder to a mirrorless camera doing video? Thanks!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, for someone coming from the AX100, how hard was it to get used to the ergonomics of the GH5?

 

Let me put it this way: If I could get a AX700-sized camcorder with the specs of the GH5 and a fitting housing by Gates or Nauticam, I'd definitely prefer a dedicated camcorder over the GH5 for its easy of use and better ergonomics. But you get used to the trade-off's of a photo-centric camera body.

 

 

I really like being able to go from shark or turtle-sized portraits, down to macro stuff on the same dive by zooming and using a flip in wet lens.

 

My view: You can go from whale-sharks down to nudis on the same dive much easier with a camcorder due to the build-in zoom lens and macro-converters that you can swivel simply over the domeport. You could use wet-converters on the GH5 to achieve the same (Nauticam WWL with Bayonet mount etc..) but its somewhat more cumbersome. An yes, sometimes you miss shots on changeable lens system as you got the "wrong" lens on.

 

Having one button white balance on my right side handle is also really nice.

 

You have manual WB right at your fingertips on the GH5 housing from Nauticam as well. More important is the quality of the WB you get underwater. Personally, I think Panasonic wins this over Sony.

 

There are now a couple test clips taken by the AX700 (or Z90, which fits the same Gates housing) on Youtube.

 

Have a look at this guys clips. he is a sort of "Gates Ambassador". I have seen better UW-footage taken with the GH5, but let me know what you think.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnKjMMMzc7HFmFwSy40Nt4g

Edited by bubffm
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[t-quote name=bubffm" post="396645" timestamp="1529591448] [t-quote name=SwiftFF5" post="396641" timestamp="1529580542]

So, for someone coming from the AX100, how hard was it to get used to the ergonomics of the GH5? [/t-quote]

Let me put it this way: If I could get a AX700-sized camcorder with the specs of the GH5 and a fitting housing by Gates or Nauticam, I'd definitely prefer a dedicated camcorder over the GH5 for its easy of use and better ergonomics. But you get used to the trade-off's of a photo-centric camera body. [/t-quote]

 

Yes, that would be ideal, wouldn't it? That is my dilemma, I guess. I want the image quality, plus the ease of use and flexibility at the same time. I'm afraid that my OCD is starting to get the best of me.

[t-quote name=bubffm" post="396645" timestamp="1529591448] [t-quote name=SwiftFF5" post="396641" timestamp="1529580542]
I really like being able to go from shark or turtle-sized portraits, down to macro stuff on the same dive by zooming and using a flip in wet lens. [/t-quote]

My view: You can go from whale-sharks down to nudis on the same dive much easier with a camcorder due to the build-in zoom lens and macro-converters that you can swivel simply over the domeport. You could use wet-converters on the GH5 to achieve the same (Nauticam WWL with Bayonet mount etc..) but its somewhat more cumbersome. An yes, sometimes you miss shots on changeable lens system as you got the "wrong" lens on. [/t-quote]

 

I miss shots anyway, I don't need any help with that! :fool:

 

[t-quote name=bubffm" post="396645" timestamp="1529591448] [t-quote name=SwiftFF5" post="396641" timestamp="1529580542]

Having one button white balance on my right side handle is also really nice. [/t-quote]

You have manual WB right at your fingertips on the GH5 housing from Nauticam as well. More important is the quality of the WB you get underwater. Personally, I think Panasonic wins this over Sony. [/t-quote]

That is good to hear. Thanks.

 

[t-quote name=bubffm" post="396645" timestamp="1529591448] There are now a couple test clips taken by the AX700 (or Z90, which fits the same Gates housing) on Youtube.

Have a look at this guys clips. he is a sort of "Gates Ambassador". I have seen better UW-footage taken with the GH5, but let me know what you think.

https://www.youtube....c7HFmFwSy40Nt4g [/t-quote]

 

Well, it would appear that the AX700 is actually quite a bit better at white balancing than the AX100, at least based on those side by side comparisons. There is much less of that green color that was so hard to remove.

 

Again, I really do appreciate your help and comments. My desire to have it all at the same time, along with my tendencies to over-research and agonize over a decision like this is making it tough to decide which way to go. Thanks for your tolerance, and patience with my endless questions.

Edited by SwiftFF5
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure why the formatting isn't working - sorry that my post is so hard to read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever route you go between those two, you‘ll end up owning some great kit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever route you go between those two, you‘ll end up owning some great kit.

 

That's a good ;point, thanks bubffm.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience regarding the Panasonic/Leica 12-60 lens for underwater use? They are selling it as a package with the GH5 now for a pretty good price and it looks good on paper, but I have not seen anything on it for underwater use yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not seen anyone using the 12-60 underwater. By the time you add the gear needed for that lens, you maybe better off looking at the Pana 12-35, which new is a bit more expensive but works great underwater - if 12mm on the wide end is ok for you. Otherwise, or in addition, the 7-14 WA. The Pana 8-18 is also great and sits in the middle between the 7-14 and 12-35, but only really works well in the 180 glass dome with step-up adapter, therefore a more pricey option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the 12-35mm panasonic a great lens but focal range not great on land. 70mm equivalent is too short. So I got rid of it as I already have the 14-42mm and got the Leica 12-60mm.

This takes the 7 plastic dome or the 180mm glass. You need to check if you can zoom through the range if you shoot video you also have tele mode that makes the tele end 168mm that is pretty good. And then consider no diopters possible.

Looking at the shape of the 12-60mm the focussing distance does change when you zoom and the lens extends a bit so would check with nauticam if you can zoom through

And also get the leica lens not the panasonic as it is too slow to use on land

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Interceptor121. I had not realized that it would not be possible to use flip in diopters with this lens. This is becoming quite the education for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To update this thread, I thought that I would let you all know that I have placed on order (with one of the vendors that supports this site) for a Panasonic GH-5 with a Nauticam housing, 14-42 PZ power zoom lens, plus a Nauticam WWL-1, as well as an extra bayonet mount for my current Subsea +5 diopter, so that in theory anyway, I can go from wide angle to macro on the same dive. I also sprung for a SmallHD-502 Bright, with housing as well, so that maybe I will be able to see and frame my videos properly. It ended up being somewhat more than I had intended to spend, but I think that it will be worth it to get the capabilities that I need. I should probably get a new case to carry all this, but I want to set it all out and see what size I need before I order that.

 

I would like to thank all of you for your help and advice and answering all my questions. Now, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of my new toys.

 

Thanks everyone!

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck with your set up

I think the 5” monitor is a winner I wish Nauticam made an housing for the Ninja V as 7” monitors are really not a good fit for a micro four third camera

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I agree, I would have really liked a Ninja V, but did not want to wait until they release a housing for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I agree, I would have really liked a Ninja V, but did not want to wait until they release a housing for it.

The 502 is very bright I wonder how it works in HLG mode

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 502 is very bright I wonder how it works in HLG mode

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I can't wait to find out. I wanted a bright monitor to help with viewing it in shallow water situations, since one of my favorite places to look for stuff is the shallow turtle grass on the "front lawn" at CoCo View resort, where it can be very bright. I am sure that there will be a learning curve playing with the various options, including HLG. Thanks for the help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...