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Haven't read through all this gear discussion but I usually tell people that unless they know they want a dslr rig, go mirrorless or compact. Your images are excellent, you know what you're doing. If you're happy with compact, go that route.

 

Regarding your hand, why not disconnect the strobe arms and clip them to d-rings on your weight belt (and/or BCD shoulder straps) for the topside walk? I also have a bag shoulder strap rigged to my housing handles.

 

It took me a while to also realize my macro setup was messing with my wrist UW, not from negative buoyancy but from the housing's trim. It was very nose heavy and I holding it level I was always sort of 'twisting' it up. Didn't even realize I was till I had some wrist problems.

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A Sony A6300 is roughly the same size as your Canon G12, but it packs an APS-C sensor. Olympus OM-D series M4/3 cameras are similarly sized, and Olympus 12-50mm lens even has a dedicated macro mode, although utilizing it takes an expensive gear in a very expensive housing.

I own the Olympus OM-D with two 12-50 mm lenses and the nauticam housing with the associated port/ gear. I bought my whole system, with a spare OM-D body used for under $2500 at the time. SO it doesn’t have to be insanely expensive to get a very versatile and easy to travel / dive with rig.

 

 

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Hmmm - I haven't done any research yet into the Sony A6300 but will take a look. Thanks for the heads up on the gear and housing costs - my research had led me straight to that lens but without looking at price tags. Forgive my ignorance, but when you say dedicated Macro Mode, do you have to switch to that before the dive and stay with it for the entire dive, or can you toggle in and out of the macro mode during a dive?

If you decide to go the 12-50mm route, I have two of those lenses and the nauticam port / gear to use with it. I dove the 12-50 mm for a couple trips. It is very versatile and I got a bunch of great shots with it. I eventually upgraded my lenses to the Zuiko pro level lenses and dome ports, so I am looking to sell the combination of 12-50mm + flat port + gear as a package.

 

 

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Honestly, if I were in a similar situation, I'd be tempted to buy a used (or two) Canon G16 and the Ikelite TTL housing for it. It does everything you want, and realistically, the sensor size is more than enough for underwater photographer needs. A used G16 and housing could be obtained quite inexpensively and would do you for years to come.

 

Mine had a wired Ikelite DS51, but my buddy has a G15 in the same (almost) housing and uses a Sea&Sea optical strobe with equally excellent results.

 

If you wanted to get really fancy, get a used Inon Z240 which does optical TTL and is half the size (and weight) of the DS125. Add a good Sola video/focus light for complete versatility.

 

What I love about my G16 is that without a strobe it's very small and can be carried on any dive. It also is capable of 1080p video and the video is very good - the auto-focus works properly (in my opinion) when taking video which is a bonus when something fast goes past (i.e. dogfish).

 

That's the one real downside of the 7D. It's video is good, but does not maintain autofocus during video which means it's pretty much useless for most UW video, again IMO.

 

The last point is whether your a "Canon" person (or a Nikon person, or a Fuji person, etc.). If so, then getting told to buy and learn another brand (and get all the lenses you need for it) is really a non-starter. I know Canon is not the best camera in every circumstance (and poor in many), but the time/money I've got invested in Canon means that I'll go to it first before considering any other brand. Or, put another way, any other brand MUST be something like 4-10x superior in every way before I'd even consider it. It's just the economics and learning curve.

 

 

Wow! That is a nice housing and a very, very reasonable price, especially as the page showed in $CDN. Sadly, they only go to 130ft according to the site, which limits them for me.

If. you spring for the Nauticam housing you gain in functionality and depth limits.

 

 

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