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annaknoc

Biologist Needs Photography Tips/Gear Suggestions

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Hi Everyone!!

 

I am new to underwater photography, but not new to the ocean. I recently graduated with a B.S. degree in Biology and will embark this year on several trips around the world as I dive into a several research projects. I focus on marine microbiology and coral reef ecology and virology. I am in the market for a new camera and I have no idea where to begin. Any help and advice is so appreciated.

 

I have some grant money that I can use to buy a camera, but my max budget is around $1500. I am going to Tubbataha and Palau in two weeks for a dive trip, and need something that will help me photograph the reefs. I will also begin research on manta rays this year, and I will need something capable of taking sufficient ID shots of their bellies. I realize having a strobe would be helpful, but I don't think I can afford that right now.

 

So far, I am looking at buying used gear, the Olympus TG-5 with housing and wide angle lens, and the Canon GX7ii with housing and wide angle lens.

 

Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

For $1500 you should be easily able to get a used RX100 or G7X series camera with a housing, plus a pair of new Inon S-2000 or used Z-240 strobes. Here for example is a full SeaLife DC2000 kit (same sensor as Sony RX100 III) being sold for $1000 with a strobe and a video light.

Edited by Barmaglot

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Get a 1" sensor compact and housing, much more flexible and expandable than a small sensor model. A G7XII, a Sony RX100 or Panasonic LX10, look in the classifieds here are a couple going now

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64057

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64030

 

both good deals with Nauticam housings.

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I think for research and recreational purposes, a TG5 is a great choice. Even after you get a housing for it, that should still leave you with some room for a strobe. I've been using it for fish surveys in pretty bad visibility and has been solid for me. Plus, the microscope mode is incredible. In terms of internal flash, backscatter is inevitable, but nothing that would get in the way of manta ID

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I think for research and recreational purposes, a TG5 is a great choice. Even after you get a housing for it, that should still leave you with some room for a strobe. I've been using it for fish surveys in pretty bad visibility and has been solid for me. Plus, the microscope mode is incredible. In terms of internal flash, backscatter is inevitable, but nothing that would get in the way of manta ID

The TG5 is a good choice, and is on sale right now due to the release of the TG6 (with minor improvements).

However, the TG5 can be frustrating to use with its very restricted apertures and no manual controls.If all you want is close-ups and macros, fine, but forget the internal flash. It is too weak to reach out any useful distance (except for macro) and too close to the lens to avoid backscatter.

the G7XII and RX100 are much more capable, and used ones a decent prices.

You will need a good strobe for those mantas, two would be better. The S-2000 is weaker than the Sea&Seas and the larger Inons.

Don't skimp on the housing....if you can't get at all the camera controls with it, you are wasting the camera.

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If you are not looking for a crazy setup and interested in taking awesome macro shots the Olympus TG series is amazing! I have had a Olympus Tough TG-820 since its release in 2012 and it still works great (diving depths max 30ft). If it wasn't still working I would upgrade to the TG5 but I am also looking to upgrade to a full setup for my Olympus E-M10 Mark II camera. I do love the Olympus brand...If you didn't notice.

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