Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ilusion

Recommendations for Canon Digital Rebel

Recommended Posts

I’ve been shooting with a Canon S400 and the WP-DC800. I’ve gotten so-so results and mostly have been frustrated with the auto focus problems and backscatter. So I figured I’d the bullet and get a case and external strobe for my Canon Digital Rebel. Looks like I can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $2200 if I go for the Ikelite case. As for the strobes, I’ve been leaning towards the Ikelite ds125 or the Inon z220s (Initially I was looking at the Sea & Sea YS-90DX but the missing focusing light made me reconsider that option). As far as arms, everyone seems to like the Ultralight ones but I’m not sure if that is a great option with the Ikelite case, and they seem to be a little pricier

 

My question for the Wetpixel community is, if you were in my position, what strobe/arm combination would you suggest? Or is there a better way to get digital pictures for that amount of money ($2200 or less--Perhaps an Olympus or Nikon option???).

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well, there seem to be a lot of Oly 5050, 5060 cameras around that you can get a housing for for only $200 or so. Add a Sea and Sea DX90, and you'll have the ability to get great shots like Chrism does (see the current Picture of the Week). I just got the digital rebel and Ikelite housing, but not shots yet and I am going to use my Nikon SB-105 strobes which I already had (saves money), but you should check out e-bay for used strobes, Olympus cameras and housings if you want to save money by either changing systems altogether or just adding a strobe to you current rig.

You'll probably find that the biggest improvement you can make is adding an external strobe, and I bet your current camera/housing should support some kind of arm/strobe system.

You dont say it directly, but it seems that you are trying to use the camera's built-in flash. IS that true? If so, it is tremendously underpowered (everything looks green in your pics?) and in the wrong place to reduce backscatter (get the strobe away from the camera).

 

Good luck,

Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ilusion,

 

I have the setup that you are considering (canon Dreb in ike housing + ike strobe ds125).

 

When I made my purchasing decision price was one very important consideration that leadme to this setup. I was a bit worried at the time that i would regret not getting one of the more expensive housings.

 

Now that I have used the rig for a few months and had a chanse to compare to some other setups, I am very happy with the choise I made!

 

I am especially pleased with the ike housing because I never worry about flooding. I can see that the housing is sealed, I can see that the orings do not have hairs or dirt. If I had an aluminium housing I would probably worry a lot more. Also, The clear housing allows you tyo see that all the contols line up correctly.

 

I have been diving quite a bit and the housing has taken some heavy abuse both from going thru rinse cycle in surf and rugged transport. Yet it has held up amazingly well!

 

Ike has also been amazingly good about their service. I managed to ruin one of my domeports by stacking on a diopter on my lens. In no time at all Ike sent me a new port. I wish all companies I deal with were like Ike! This experience definetly made me a lifetime customer.

 

I am thinking of getting the new Canon d20. If I go this route, I will get the ike housing for it. This time it won't be because of the price, but because of the good experiences I have had with their product and service.

 

So, my advice is: go for it! The setup you are considering is a good choise for entering into uw dslr shooting.

 

Ps. today I sold my first pic for a magazine cover. It was taken with the dreb in the ike housing, but is not an uw pic, but an "in water but above water shot". I am very excited!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the Aquatica Aluminum housing and have been extrememly happy with it. Coming from a prosumer camera I thought I may be overwhelmed by the change in systems but i actually found it rather minimal.

 

Aquatica also has given me exceptional service also and, I too do not worry about threads on the orings any more than a Ike owner.

 

When I maintain my orings between dives I carefully inspect them for foreign material. I beleive this would be the same for someone using a Ike housing. I am quite convinced that if you missed the hair in your regular oring maintenance, you won't be finding it once the housing is sealed. You would only notice by seeing water enter the housing. I have a moisture sensor that would alert me should that occur also. Another thing I do is pre dunk my housing in the rinse tank prior to entering the water to inspect for any leaks.

 

Select the housing you will feel most comfortable and offers the features you feel are important to you. Remember also that should you change camera in the future you will be able to utilize your existing port on a newer set-up most likely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your replies. Frosterrj, I have been using the built in strobe on my S400, and yes I definitely see lots of blue/green and backscatter (In case anyone is interested, I found a quick way to deal with backscatter is to use Alien Skin’s Smart Fill plugin-it automates lots of drudge work that I would otherwise have to tackle with the clone tool).

As far as the Olympus option, I have been seriously considering the C-8080, since it looks like I can get the camera and housing for a little less than the housing and port for my Rebel. The other advantages of going down that route seem to be as follows:

1. If it floods I won’t lose my main camera.

2. Build in wide angle and macro on the same dive.

3. I can use the LCD screen to frame the shot (I’ve found this is really useful with the S400 and I’m wondering how much of a problem it will be to focus through the viewfinder with a mask on.

4. ds

The disadvantages of going down that route seem to be as follows:

1. I love shooting RAW, and in these cases where exposure seems tricky it sounds like it could make a huge difference. The 15 delay on the C-8080 for RAW seems awfully slow.

2. Ikelite just made that eTTL announcement with the Rebel/DS125 combo, and I’m sure since I’m a beginner in this area of photography that could definitely come in handy.

3. On trips I would just have to pack the single camera with lenses.

4. Autofocuse in low light sitatuions doesn’t seem to be a big problem with the Rebel, not sure how the Olympus is. Sony seems to have the best technology for overcoming this problem with their laser focusing.

5. I’d have to explain the purchase of yet another camera to my wife :)

 

As far as the other housings like Aquatica and Sea & Sea, they all sound like they would exceed my budget. I do have one concern with Ikelite though-everyone keeps saying they have wonderful service and support…which leads me to wonder, does that stuff break all the time and require a lot more support than the other options?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ilusion, I don't think Ike stuff breaks more often than anything else (I haven't had anything break on my setup, though I've only had it six months, other than breaking the focus light bulb in my DS125 when I dropped the strobe - can't really consider that Ike's fault!); for me, the customer service has been in the form of quick and complete answers to my many questions as I dug through figuring out everything I'd need and how it would all fit together.

 

I migrated from a Canon S230 in the Canon housing to the Digital Rebel in an Ikelite housing with one DS125 strobe and the manual controller; I'll probably get a second DS125 soon. I had some of the same concerns as you do - particularly the loss of the LCD viewfinder. My thoughts, after diving with this setup for 6 months-

 

1) I use the kit lens when diving, and although it doesn't do true macro (it goes to about 3:1 ratio without accounting for the dome port) it can do pretty good close-ups, and certainly goes pretty wide.

2) The viewfinder is a pain. It's small, even with the magnifier in the Ikelite housing, and you have to get your mask pretty close to the camera. Even so, I've adapted pretty quickly, and it is better for focusing and framing - and the lack of any shutter lag is INCREDIBLE (though I think the 8080 has a low shutter lag for a P&S?).

3) The DS125 is a kick-ass strobe. I can't begin to tell you how much it's done for my pictures - so much I want a second one (for wide-angle and more even lighting), risking the wrath of my wife who is quitting her job this week. :) It is SO much better at avoiding backscatter, which is very important here in the murky waters of Puget Sound.

4) RAW is really important for me for correcting exposure problems. I leave the camera in raw at all times.

5) I'm excited by eTTL, but I've been impressed with how quickly I got used to shooting in manual mode underwater. Particularly with the manual controller right there to adjust strobe power, it's pretty simple, and you do get instant feedback.

6) Even with just one camera (okay, I still take the S230 along, but it slips in a pocket), I'm carrying a lot of camera and dive gear along on trips. I shudder to think of taking another full-sized camera along.

7) The setup as a whole is MUCH bigger and heavier out of the water. I don't mind, since I love taking pictures, but it's not like you're gonna tuck a housed Rebel with a strobe in a BCD pocket. :P I keep saying at some point I'm going to stop taking the Rebel on every dive, but it hasn't happened yet (except when I'm assisting with classes).

 

Finally, I wouldn't shut out the idea that if you stick with housing the Rebel, you can swap lenses later on to upgrade your lens quality and expand your repertoire, and you only have to buy the lens and a new port. I'm waiting for my Canon 100mm macro lens to show up in the post (it's in Pennsylvania today! 1/3 of the way here!), and all I'll need to get 1:1 macro and a super-sharp lens underwater is a ~$100 port for it, not a new camera and new housing.

 

And the Aquatica and other aluminum housings are quite nice - but I do personally like being able to see inside my housing, and make sure there's no water seeping in. I had a thimbleful-sized leak in my old Canon housing, so I'm paranoid about partial floods.

 

All in all, I wouldn't go back on my decision for the world. I love the setup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3) The DS125 is a kick-ass strobe.  I can't begin to tell you how much it's done for my pictures - so much I want a second one (for wide-angle and more even lighting), risking the wrath of my wife who is quitting her job this week.  :)  It is SO much better at avoiding backscatter, which is very important here in the murky waters of Puget Sound.

.

 

I don't understand how one strobe is better at avoiding backscatter than another. Does it not all come down to the positioning of the strobes and the amount of water lit up in front of the subject?

 

Ahh, I get it now. :oops: He is saying an external strobe is better than an internal strobe for avoiding backscatter. That I agree with fully. Thanks Richard, I thought that was a strange statement at first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also recently housed a Rebel in an Aquatica and couldn't be more pleased. It really is not that much more in size than my 5050 in a PT015, and I just dove with someone with a D70 in an Ike housing. Ike's products are great, but they are Big, so if that is a factor......

 

And from comparing the two systems, Ike's was not that much less in the long run than an Aquatica setup, taking into account ports, etc.......

 

I wouold do more research before investing in an 8080 and 23 housing tho.... what I've heard has not been that good.

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I did mean external vs. the internal strobe, not that the DS125 is better than a Sea&Sea DX90 or other external strobe at avoiding backscatter - though it's a big step up from the SeaLife strobe-on-a-short-bendy-arm I had before, since I can position the strobe pretty freely, and avoid more backscatter by getting the strobe further away from the lens. The DS125's fast recharge time means I can blind the fish faster than ANYTHING, though. :)

 

Chris, I'm somewhat confused by your comment about the Aquatica not being much more expensive than the Ikelite "in the long run...taking into account ports, etc.". The Aquatica ports seem to run for $200-300, while Ikelite ports are in the $100-150 range. Granted, you can use extension rings with Aquatica, but even the extension rings are in the $100 range (I'm getting all this off B&H Photo, so YMMV).

 

I don't intend to make a negative comment about the Aquatica housing - I haven't used one, and everyone here who has one has seemed pretty pleased with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris, I'm somewhat confused by your comment about the Aquatica not being much more expensive than the Ikelite "in the long run...taking into account ports, etc.".

 

Actually, I kinda take that back......

 

When I was pricing systems (through Ryan) the difference was like $800 or so, IIRC. So yes, in terms of the housed system, it's a bit more, but ion terms of the amount of money spent on diving, dive gear, cameras, lenses, dive trvel, etc., it just didn't seem like all that much for the benefits (IMHO) of the Aquatica system.

 

It is certainly not pocket change and is worth consideration in purchasing a housing.... (now, Subal, you're talking big money 8) )

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a DRebel in an Ikelite housing with DS-125 strobes. The DS-125 performs exceptionally well and is very durable. I don't think you can go wrong with it. You can read numerous other testimonials here arriving at the same conclusion.

 

The question of a housing is more complex. I dismissed S&S because I was unable to get a quote, using a Wetpixel sponsor, who shall remain nameless. The Aquitica web site was deficient in its content of port specs for my Canon lenses, and when I called them, my call was answered by a service. The Ikelite website had all the information I needed to pick the correct ports and everything I needed was in stock from B&H.. I don't think any of these housings are a bad choice, but for me, it was the path of least resistence. After using the Ike housing on about 15 dives, I can report that I'm very happy with it and I feel it's a solid value.

 

I also have an aluminum UK-Germany housing from a deceased D60. The UK-G housing is a sexy piece of metal that I want to fondle and sleep with. I don't feel that way about my Ike housing. On the other hand, the Ike housing is less than half the cost of the UK-G and they both perform equivilently. I also like the transparancy of the Ike housing so much I not sure I'd buy another aluminum one.

 

I only have one criticism of the Ike housing. I find the zoom gear for my Canon 16-35 to be flimsy and hard to install. I almost always shoot as wide as possible, so I leave the lens at 16mm. For me, it's not an issue.

 

Ikelite's phenomenal support is an additional benefit, not an accommodation to compensate for lower quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marjo, congratulations on the magazine cover, you must be proud. You should post a pic online sometime. That way I can tell my wife-see, if only I get a housing and strobe I'll be able to shoot non-crappy underwater pics like this :)

 

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to reply to the post. It sounds like it would be hard to go wrong with most of the Rebel housings and that overall people have had good experiences with Ikelite.

 

I was a bit confused about the Rebel eTTL announcement from Ikelite so I contacted them to get some more info. I was told the functionality would be built into the housing nad would cost an extra $200 or so. With DEMA coming up soon I was also a bit concerned about buying somehting that might be superceded in a month. It sounded like they would have some new stuff to show but they were very tight lipped about it.

 

I'm new to this area so does anybody know if the Inons, Sea&Sea's and Ikelites of the world tend to preannounce products before those shows or do they normally wait for the show to unveil their products?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm new to this area so does anybody know if the Inons, Sea&Sea's and Ikelites of the world tend to preannounce products before those shows or do they normally wait for the show to unveil their products?

 

There will always be something new coming out right after you decide and buy. I think it's a karmic law...... For example, I bought the Digi Reb about 3 months before the D70 came out and, although it was rumoured at the time, some people said it's not gonna be that great of a camera. I think that was wrong... :? , but ces't la vie, eh?

 

I think it's more the camera manufacturers that wait to announce. You can pretty much bet that the housing manufacturers will find a way to support the 20D, the D90, the 40D, the D150, etc etc etc.......That is, the main Canon and Nikon announcements......

 

BEst advice is decide whichever housing works for you - including price, size, custom,er service, availability - and don't look back. You'll drive yourself nuts otherwise

 

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ilusion, I think we must NEVER introduce our spouses to eachother... My hubby is simply horrified by the $$$ I am putting into all this equipment. I have also done a lot of justifying talk and it felt very triumphant to announce the sale of picture the other day (of course, I haven't mentioned that the compensation was rather meager...)

 

On one hand these spouses are absolutely right, it is probably absolutely insane to pick up uw photography unless you are independently wealthy, especially considering that "the ocean always wins"... on the other hand they will never probably understand how obsessive and passionate we feel about our pictures and how completely sexy a new housing/camera/lens or the perfect shot strobe feels.

8) After all, the meaning of life is to be happy and uw camera makes life happy!

 

Good luck with whatever system you pick!

 

 

There will always be something new coming out right after you decide and buy. I think it's a karmic law...... For example, I bought the Digi Reb about 3 months before the D70 came out

 

Completely true... And the big benefit with the D70 was supposed to be the advantage of WA lens selection... but then Canon came along with announcement of 10-22mm... and pendlum has swung back and I'm glad I have the Canon body... No matter what, one has to jump in somewhere along the line

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Marjo, how about that cover, you gonna post it in the member in media tread or what, we wanna see, so get to it <_< .

 

Sincerely, congratulation it's velvety smooth to get your picture on a front page, about your spouse... do like me, every time my wife notice a new piece of gear, I always shrug and look at her with a disapointed look in my eyes and give my speach about how she does'nt pay attention to my sport and that this trashy old thing has been litering my locker for so long.... and that I should actually buy a new more expensive one, then usually there is a change of subject :D

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...