Jump to content
Pyrolancer

$1000-$1500 set up for beginner camera

Recommended Posts

Hi all!

 

This is my first official post here, but I need help on deciding what to buy in order to start with UW photography

 

I own a GoPro Hero 7 Black with 2 Big Blue video lights, but I just feel that I need a real camera for photography.

 

I was thinking to buy something in the lines of a used TG 5 with housing and a pair of strobes.

 

Since I am completely new, can anyone recommend me a list of things I need to buy that would be in my budget?

 

Thanks so much!

Greatly appreciated

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The TG-5 is a popular beginner camera especially for its microscope/macro mode. I don't own one so cant comment much. I can recommend the Sony RX100 line. I own a mark 5 and am happy with its performance. Video white balance is an issue but you have a gopro that can handle video quite well. If you are willing to get second hand equipment like me you can get a nice compact setup for that price. You can expect to get discounts of retail as much as 60-70% depending on how many models back you go. For example I was able to get a RX10V and Fantasea housing for 600. I got a few Sea &Sea YS-D1 Strobes for 650. Add in another 150-200 buying a tray arms and clamps from AliExpess (I have bought a few and am happy with BNGing clamps and arms) and you are all set. In the future you can add a wide and a macro wet lense. Or if you want a wet ense now go with 1 strobe and get a wide or macro wet lense depending on which shooting you prefer more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you need to define your goals. All else being equal, macro is a lot easier on the budget than wide angle, mainly because the lighting demands are so much easier

 

If macro, an Oly TG5, housing, single Inon S-2000, and some education and practice can produce great images.

 

If WA, regardless of camera and lens, you need more powerful dual strobes. Trust me, two budget strobes will not do it. You can shoot ambient, and might like it for a while, but I guess you will want more artificial light.

 

A final thought. I tried for years to rig for any eventuality on any given dive and shoot WA to portrait to macro, and eventually realized that I was achieving uniform mediocrity. When I started to rig for one type of image and give up any possibility of other types, I started seeing differently and making better images.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A final thought. I tried for years to rig for any eventuality on any given dive and shoot WA to portrait to macro, and eventually realized that I was achieving uniform mediocrity. When I started to rig for one type of image and give up any possibility of other types, I started seeing differently and making better images.

 

Such an interesting comment!

I am firmly still in the former camp! I have a serious case of FOMO!!! I can not seem to be able to give up that flexibility of taking WA & macro in the same dive. Take for instance the Liberty Wreck, there are great WA scenes and on the sand flats out to the wreck there may be dotnut nudis!

 

I do feel though with new Canon G7X m3 (and the Sony RX100 m5) you can have both!

 

I will never have the cash to go mirrorless, and do not dive enough times a year to ever make it "worthwhile".

So I may just be stuck in the world of mediocrity!

 

BUT I can see how by focusing on one thing would bring about better results. Definitely something I will think about on my next dive trip...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree with troporobo. My experience has been that you either need extreme wide-angle/fisheye or macro and need to head out with one type of shooting in mind. It's not just the equipment but that mindset the deciding on one or another produces. You "see" imagery and the dive site/scene in a different way and envisage images better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will never have the cash to go mirrorless, and do not dive enough times a year to ever make it "worthwhile".

So I may just be stuck in the world of mediocrity!

 

 

I don't think that with wet lenses and the like there is much difference in expense between going mu43 and compact, especially when going used. A lot of money goes into lighting, which is equal on both systems. On the used market, the price between a last generation mu43 housing seems about the same to a compact. Wet lenses like the WWL don't seem to come up nearly as often or cheap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Completely agree on the mind set (and camera set-up) of going in with a macro OR WA, and 9 times out of 10 that is exactly what I do. Just every now I and then there is a bit of everything!! And that is when I need to be disciplined!

 

The used market in Singapore if far less active than it is in the states or elsewhere! This also means it is more difficult for me to sell my "pre-loved" goods.

Also I have all the wet lenses for a compact camera (macro and WA).

So the extra costs is really "only" the new compact + housing (so say $800 for camera + $1100 for top of the line Nauticam or $550 for the Fantasea). So max $2grand. Would one be able to get a comparable full mu3/4 system that can do both macro and WA for that?

 

ALSO the last comment is on size. The compacts just are so so much more ...well...compact!

 

But I hear you...and I will keep an eye on the second hand market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Of course, if you already have wetlenses a significant part of the compact cost is already done. I got an exceptional deal, so I don't think it's fair to compare but I paid 1000€ for Housing, Camera, two ports (macro and dome) and one lens. I put about another 1000€ into strobes and arms. The other lens I had already for topside. This was bought on Ebay. Deals on Wetpixel are generally less favourable because both sellers and buyers know what stuff is worth. To buy on ebay requires a significant amount of patience. As I was very short on cash, but determined to get into UW photography I just waited for a long time for a deal like this to come up. These deals happen maybe once a year, so it's very much a thing of luck.

Edited by hyp
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot for the inputs! I think I will focus on macro for now, but don't want to limit my shots if I meet something awesome.

 

Thanks again everyone for all your valuable inputs!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally get the argument for focusing on one thing for a dive. I came to that realization on my last dive trip which is the first dive trip I did with a full rig and all options, video lights, strobes, macro and WA. The only problem I see is unless you really know what you are going to see its hard. For example Ii dove 2 dives to shoot WA and Marine life, and of course we saw none, and everything was macro. It would have been nice to be able to swap out but I was committed. I have decided I will do either video or stills, but I am bringing both lenses. I will start with what I think we will see. If conditions are not there I will swap lenses and stick with it. Lens swapping on a thread mount is a PITA though. I am considering getting a magnetic mount to make it quick and easy. As hyp says ebay can have some good deals. The market is small and some people don't know what they have. It is a patience game though. Another good place to find deals is scubaboard classified. In this forum members are quite aware of what market price should be. on SB sometimes they are not as keyed into photography trends, gear and process and are just looking to unload something. It also takes patience though.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me clarify that my reference to mediocrity was not image quality, but rather my perception, mindset and composition.

 

Believe me, I also suffer not only from FOMO but also from AMO (actually missing out!). Here's an example. I shoot macro probably 80% of the time. Recently we decided to dive a very pretty reef so I rigged for WA. I have spent many years looking for mating nudibrachs without success. Guess what I finally found? A mating pair of nembrotha colemani. Aaarrrggghhh . . . .

 

47278244161_aa77688fd0_z.jpg

 

This was as close as my setup allowed, and my WA lens is nowhere near as sharp as my macro lens. For the compositionally minded, yes, I could have gone around to the left and isolated the pair against blue water but I didn't see the point with the WA lens. Fortunately we were able to go back the next day, this time rigged for macro, and found two more pairs, so I got the shots.

 

I have had other dives where I am rigged for macro and we find something like a very cooperative hawksbill turtle or a large octopus or a big swirling school of barracuda. I get a slight twinge of regret but am mostly content to just enjoy watching them. However I get to dive a LOT so I know I will have other opportunities. I completely understand if someone dives only a few times a year that a versatile rig is perhaps a better way to go.

 

I shot an Olympus 12-50mm lens with macro function behind the expensive Olympus port that allowed both zooming and switching to the macro function. And I got many very nice images. It is better for macro and portrait as the flat port makes the wide angle not as wide as you would like at times, but it works well at both ends of the range. And if you have a good diopter you can get close to 1:1. I sold that complete system minus the strobes for under $1350 and it took a while to get that price. I have seen others go for less here on WP. Here are two quick examples from that setup, one WA one macro (without diopter), to give an idea of the possibilities:

 

48327344386_53dcc7535c_z.jpg

 

48327505662_ba43106fa2_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Few years ago before compact camera died for the purpose of underwater photography due to super zoom lenses and port systems you could get a canon camera and house it and build your system using wet lenses

The Olympus tough are the only camera really simple today and you can take it underwater relatively cheap.

For very close shots you can actually use the in built camera flash I would start there as a strobe adds complexity.

Then depending on where you go you can focus on ambient light shots for which you will need a wet lens or portraits and better macro for which you will need to start with a single strobe

Wide angle balanced light with two strobes is possibly the most complex underwater photography challenge and should be left last in an ideal progression and for that you need two strobes. If you get close enough even two s2000 will work ok as the Olympus has a small sensor

I would really recommend you spend a couple of years learning this set up before you move on something else unless you are already an experienced land photographer in that case you can jump directly on micro four thirds

So recap

1. Camera with built in flash

2. Wide angle lens OR single strobe

3. What is left from 2

4. Second strobe

5. Upgrade

 

With $1500 you can easily accomplish 1 and 2 with the TG5 but avoid getting overwhelmed with tools if you start from zero photography experience

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...