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Action Johnson

Downsizing for travel - Opinions Needed

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Hello, I am very new to underwater photography and drove straight in last year. After ive had some use with my 6d w/ikelite housing and 8" dome i have realized that it isnt practical for my use and am looking to downsize.

 

at this point im not sure where to start. Does anyone have any recommendations for a decent travel setup. Most of my shooting is watersports centered (fishing) and will do some nature and fish photography as well.

 

thanks for the help

 

-Robert

 

 

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I'm sure that you're about to get a wide variety of advice about everyone's camera, and equally sure that it is all valid in one way or another. A system has to fit your needs and preferences, and all have different advantages. Whatever sensor format, you won't save much money downsizing, but you won't lose much capability either.

 

With that caveat out of the way, I will only say that I am completely sold on the m4/3 format for my uses (UW macro and travel, no video). I really like the Olympus cameras and their new line of PRO lenses is nothing short of fantastic.

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my budget is fairly open, i also have been leaning towards the micro 4/3 format so its nice to hear a recommendation coming from that end of the spectrum. I will start doing some research on the Olympus line and see if anything strikes my interest.

thanks for the input!

Edited by Action Johnson

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The problem with downsizing is that you end up with something large anyway if you not too careful.

 

If size / weight is the primary concern that I would look at plastic based housing (if looking at Olympus cameras, they do their own brand of housings) and not an Aluminium like Nauticam or Seacam etc... You save a fair bit in actual dry weight, and also you need less buoyancy arms - which again saves packing volume, but you loose depth rating and port options.

 

The next issue is that the newer m43 cameras are really not any smaller than some of the DSLR bodies, which in turn makes the housings not that much smaller. My NA-GH5 isn't what I would call small / travel friendly. So you need to look at a more compact m43 body than the GH5 or EM1's.

 

Some of my friends have an Olympus (can't remember the model) TG5 TOUGH-somthing? which is a 3x zoom I think, which the camera itself is waterproof, and there is also a deeper housing for it. They love it and its properly 1/16th of the travel volume compared to my GH5, lights etc etc..

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GH5 and E-M1 are pretty big cameras though. If you want a smaller setup, you can look at E-M5/E-M10 series, or Sony A6xxx line, which is even smaller despite having a larger (APS-C) sensor. Lens selection is better for M4/3 though.

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you've probably already looked at the panasonic lx10 because backscatter and others are singing its praises (see also discussion here https://www.scubaboard.com/community/threads/lumix-lx10.551061/)- but just thought it deserved a line in this thread. I didn't have an open budget, and would have preferred a canon 5d mk iv if price was no object for lowlight, but obviously that is the antithesis of going light. For a sense of how compact my kit is, look at this pic I posted of my lx10 with housing, lens and strobes all fit into my new backpack, in this other thread: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60589

Edited by Aotus

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The problem with downsizing is that you end up with something large anyway if you not too careful.

 

If size / weight is the primary concern that I would look at plastic based housing (if looking at Olympus cameras, they do their own brand of housings) and not an Aluminium like Nauticam or Seacam etc... You save a fair bit in actual dry weight, and also you need less buoyancy arms - which again saves packing volume, but you loose depth rating and port options.

 

The next issue is that the newer m43 cameras are really not any smaller than some of the DSLR bodies, which in turn makes the housings not that much smaller. My NA-GH5 isn't what I would call small / travel friendly. So you need to look at a more compact m43 body than the GH5 or EM1's.

 

Some of my friends have an Olympus (can't remember the model) TG5 TOUGH-somthing? which is a 3x zoom I think, which the camera itself is waterproof, and there is also a deeper housing for it. They love it and its properly 1/16th of the travel volume compared to my GH5, lights etc etc..

 

I know, it seems like every time i start looking at bodies the size is never an issue, but when i start looking into the housings the size starts to skyrocket. I will look into your recommendations, thank you!

 

 

GH5 and E-M1 are pretty big cameras though. If you want a smaller setup, you can look at E-M5/E-M10 series, or Sony A6xxx line, which is even smaller despite having a larger (APS-C) sensor. Lens selection is better for M4/3 though.

 

I have used a few Sony APS-c and FF cameras that i really like, they are on the list of options as well.

 

 

you've probably already looked at the panasonic lx10 because backscatter and others are singing its praises (see also discussion here https://www.scubaboard.com/community/threads/lumix-lx10.551061/)- but just thought it deserved a line in this thread. I didn't have an open budget, and would have preferred a canon 5d mk iv if price was no object for lowlight, but obviously that is the antithesis of going light. For a sense of how compact my kit is, look at this pic I posted of my lx10 with housing, lens and strobes all fit into my new backpack, in this other thread: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60589

 

Very impressed on the full setup in a backpack size package! My main body i shoot regular with is a 5d mkiv i also have a 7d mkii and i love those bodies but id be back in the same predicament with my 6d ikelite rig which i have to lug around in a large pelican case. thanks for directing me to your picture though, that looks like the size i am trying to hunt down. so many options though make this difficult!

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I have used a few Sony APS-c and FF cameras that i really like, they are on the list of options as well.

 

If you end up going with Sony, it's probably worth mentioning that Meikon have recently released a new housing for A6xxx series with interchangeable ports which, IMHO, provides much better value for money than anything else on the market.

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You can go with a Sony A7 series + Seacam housing + 2 ports + 2 objetives + 2 x Scubalamp VK6 Pro + DJI Mavic Pro + Dell XPS 13" in a samall cabin trolley....

Edited by TaxiDiver14

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Need to update this article but I think it is still relevant. I shoot the Sony RX100IV and the camera is even better...

http://aquabluedreams.com/#/page/my-digital-de-evolution/

 

 

Great article.

 

I sometimes get that feeling too 'who / what am shooting for' Do I really need all that hand luggage and to check in a 23kg hardcase of camera gear - all for a few views on youtube.

 

I've never had a DSLR system, but my m43 systems haven't been small at all. A GoPro and some lights would probably actually do me, if I'm really honest with myself. But hey, they it wouldn't be as much fun playing with all this gear. hehe.

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Great article.

 

I sometimes get that feeling too 'who / what am shooting for' Do I really need all that hand luggage and to check in a 23kg hardcase of camera gear - all for a few views on youtube.

 

I've never had a DSLR system, but my m43 systems haven't been small at all. A GoPro and some lights would probably actually do me, if I'm really honest with myself. But hey, they it wouldn't be as much fun playing with all this gear. hehe.

 

 

I think this is where im at most of the time! im a gear junkie!

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"Gear junkies" (like me and others here) go for system cameras, easy travellers for compact...

 

The size problem with FF is, to my opinion, not the camera itself, but the monster domes and lenses. Here comes the advantage of MFT systems..

 

If I would not be a Gear junkie I would go for Sony Axxx with excellent standard zoom (but no other lenses), small housing and wet lenses for macro and WA. This is still fairly travel friendly, close to compact..

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis

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I decided that downsizing a travel housing had become almost essential (caveat - I still have a dSLR housing in case its essential) so I looked at my options. Basically I ended up going from a pro-dSLR (EOS1DS MkIII) to a Sony A7II. The weight reduction for (aluminium) housing and camera body was 5.5Kg to 2.2Kg. So I can now carry most of my kit as hand luggage. However downsizing comes at a price. The A7 is IMO not as easy to use as a dSLR, and consequently has taken some time to get sorted to nearer my liking (and the Sony menu is not a great asset to their cameras). The upside is that image quality is great when it is working as I want it to. Even now I'm still trying to figure optimum lens options - lenses are light(ish) but still limited from Sony. And one housing can take three models. There are other options but I still like full-frame so this is my take on downsizing.

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Latest developments in reducing carry-on luggage made me to almost abandon my Hugyfot D800 rig for size and weight size.
Is use the D800 only back home in Italy as the weight and size of the whole rig incluing flat and mini dome is basically a 50lbs luggage.

As i am not a pro and don't sell my pictures or d strong crops on them i went with the Panasonic Lumix LX-100 as this camera offers what need.
I have 2 housings, a cheap Meikon housing for my daily work as instructor and guide and a Nauticam housing with twin Z-240 strobes and +10 SubSee diopter.

The Panasonic G4 was a option, but as the camera itself is not really so much smaller as my Hugyfot D800 housing and i had to invest a substantial sum in camera, housing and ports

i took the decision towards the LX100.

 

I have the Maikon housing clipped on my bcd with a Cetacea strap and the housing tucked under my armpit if not in use. A small and handy solution for unexpected encounters.
If i wanna go more "professional" i use the Nauticam housing with a 5000 lumen videolight and the +10 diopter on a flip holder and if it's something really important

i mount the two Z-240 on the UCLS arms to get perfect photo lighting.

 

The same/similar size and quality is obtainable with the Canon G series or the Sony RX100 series (or some newer cameras i am not aware of)

 

Chris

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I'm using an EM-1MkII system and packing for travel is relatively easy:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=5814&page=6&do=findComment&comment=390241

 

The case is standard domestic spec rollaboard and should give no problems getting on board most planes. In the checked bags I have my float arms and clamps. As you can see there is room to add a macro port or other equipment.. In the case there is the EM-1 II, 12-40mm f2.8, Zen 170mm dome port, 2 x INON Z-240s, spare batteries, fibre optic cables and the pouch has o-rings, vacuum pump etc The dividers are re purposed from a camera backpack and the case lined with closed cell foam panels. The EM-1 II is a lot better at AF than the EM-5 II I had previously, mainly noticeable with macro AF and the C-AF = tracking actualy works quite well.

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m 4/3 is the way to go but if you really want to go small then an Olympus TG-4 in an Ikelite or Olympus housing, that set up can be really small

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Personally, I like my 4/3 Oylmpus E-PM1 (yes, it's getting old) for several reasons:

  • Size. The camera and housing are small enough to take with my 2 UFL-2 strobes on as carry on. I only shoot with the kit 14-22mm.
  • Price. I picked up my camera+housing up on a sell off from Olympus. I just noticed the other day they are still having similar sell offs. You save by joining back 1 or 2 generations back on models.

and BTW, as you become more experience, you will want 2 light sources. Whether they are traditional strobes or video lights is something you will have to determine.

Edited by DS256

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One other suggestion is to take a dive trip with a nearby U/W camera shop nearby and rent different cameras. For example, at Sunset Divers on Grand Cayman, there is Cathy Church's Photography on site.. They have a wide range of cameras and strobes you can try out on different dives. They give it to you sealed and dunk tested. You return sealed and they give you a DVD of your pictures I believe. You can also get above and underwater training as well.

 

I'm sure there are other places that offer something similar but this way you can try before you buy.

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IMHO it all depends on what you want to achieve with your photography. Assuming that you want to shoot RAW (since you might otherwise not be posting on this forum), it is about parameters such as noise level, Auto ISO convenience, general functionality, etc.

 

For example, the Sony RX100 series is great in terms of compact set up, but if you shoot in conditions requiring ISO 800 or higher you are going to see the limitations of the smaller chip. Also keep in mind that wide angle photography starts to push you in the opposite direction again. The mentioned Sony with a Nauticam WWL wet lens starts to turn into a smaller beast again.

 

In order of decreasing size and weight I'd look at the Sony A7 series, Micro 4/3 format (Olympus and a few others) and Sony APS-C (like Sony A65XX), and Sony RX 100 XX. Expect decreasing size to be positive correlated with decreasing picture quality although all of them can deliver beautiful shots under good conditions.

 

Good luck making up your mind.

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I have a 4/3rds set and a compact camera set up.

 

The 4/3s outfit is not a lot smaller than my old SLR outfit.

 

When the photography is not critical I bring the compact camera outfit.

 

Currently that is a Panasonic LX10. I bring a wetlens for wide angle and macro. The macro isnt that useful.

 

This works well.

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