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MarctheShark

Which camera to get???

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For a few years I have been looking for a new camera to improve my underwater photography with a more professional setup. I want a camera that can take crisp, professional images with good dynamic range, fast auto-focus, focus peaking, is compact for travel and can be expanded or customized with lenses to be able to photograph the smallest critters on the reef to share my love of the ocean with others. I focus more on photography over video, and prefer macro over wide angle with my passion being super macro. For these reasons I have zeroed in on mirrorless cameras for their compact size and high quality capabilities.

For some time one camera that stood out for quality and value was the Sony a6400 mirrorless, however the colour science of Sony cameras has a bad rep and I would like to minimize the editing required for RAW images. I have also spoken to some photographers that have used this camera and weren't happy with the colour reproduction (if anyone disagrees please feel free to share your experience with this camera). I've looked at the Nikon Z6 which seems like a great option but really expensive (I would only be willing to spend so much if I can be absolutely sure that it is great value). One other mirrorless option that I have stumbled on is the Canon EOS M50 which has good reviews online and a great price point but no reviews in respect of underwater photography. The M50 is also a crop sensor so I wouldn't be able to use the native lenses if I choose to upgrade to full frame down the line, but the additional crop would help me get closer to those tiny critters?

Ideally I would like a camera that can grow with me as a photographer; I would not want to discover limitations down the line and feel like I have to upgrade again. Can you shed some light on the subject and help me make a decision?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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Hi Marc

I'm sure you will get lots of advice and thoughts on the question you pose.

I won't make any suggestions on particular cameras but I would offer one or two general thoughts.

Underwater photography is, sadly, a pretty expensive hobby and one that never fails to suck money out of a bank account. All the elements of the equipment are pricey and, scarily, one of the cheaper parts tends to be the camera body. So if you are looking to produce crisp, professional images and be able to do macro, super-macro etc, that comes at quite a hefty price. You'll need a housing, strobes, ports, specialist lenses and diopters, strobe arms etc etc. I'm honestly not trying to dampen your excellent enthusiasm, just flagging up expectation management. A system that will achieve what you are looking is likely to cost more than a new Z6 camera body.

That said, once you have a clearer idea of the equipment you'd prefer, it'd definitely be worth checking out the Classified adverts on Wetpixel. Many elements of u/w camera equipment drop in value very rapidly and you can sometimes pick-up second hand items at 30%-40% of their initial retail value - especially if you are happy to go with a generation or two older model. So for example, a few people are selling Nikon D800 systems (camera body and housing) at the moment as they move to D850s. Some of the prices are really good and even though a D800 is a few years old, they can certainly produce superb images. 

For the system to grow with you, it is worth "investing" in a few good quality items which, generally, hold their value and age better than others. These tend to be strobes and strobe arms. Take a look, for example, at the now discontinued Inon Z240 strobe and ULCS arm systems. Both very popular, last for ages (my ULCS system is almost 20 years old) and "grow" with you. By contrast camera bodies and housings age quite quickly and many folks will change them every 3-4 years.

Good luck with the hunt. 

 

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28 minutes ago, TimG said:

Hi Marc

I'm sure you will get lots of advice and thoughts on the question you pose.

I won't make any suggestions on particular cameras but I would offer one or two general thoughts.

Underwater photography is, sadly, a pretty expensive hobby and one that never fails to suck money out of a bank account. All the elements of the equipment are pricey and, scarily, one of the cheaper parts tends to be the camera body. So if you are looking to produce crisp, professional images and be able to do macro, super-macro etc, that comes at quite a hefty price. You'll need a housing, strobes, ports, specialist lenses and diopters, strobe arms etc etc. I'm honestly not trying to dampen your excellent enthusiasm, just flagging up expectation management. A system that will achieve what you are looking is likely to cost more than a new Z6 camera body.

That said, once you have a clearer idea of the equipment you'd prefer, it'd definitely be worth checking out the Classified adverts on Wetpixel. Many elements of u/w camera equipment drop in value very rapidly and you can sometimes pick-up second hand items at 30%-40% of their initial retail value - especially if you are happy to go with a generation or two older model. So for example, a few people are selling Nikon D800 systems (camera body and housing) at the moment as they move to D850s. Some of the prices are really good and even though a D800 is a few years old, they can certainly produce superb images. 

For the system to grow with you, it is worth "investing" in a few good quality items which, generally, hold their value and age better than others. These tend to be strobes and strobe arms. Take a look, for example, at the now discontinued Inon Z240 strobe and ULCS arm systems. Both very popular, last for ages (my ULCS system is almost 20 years old) and "grow" with you. By contrast camera bodies and housings age quite quickly and many folks will change them every 3-4 years.

Good luck with the hunt. 

 

Hi TimG

Thanks for your comments. I am aware of the expenses associated with the hobby, and that it makes more sense to invest in higher quality lenses, strobes, ports etc rather than an expensive body and skimp on the optics. I am willing to build my setup over time, even if I get the body now and play with it topside before getting a housing and new lenses etc as I can afford them, but for now I am just so confused by the amount of options for bodies that I no longer know what to look for.

Ideally would like to find a camera that would not need replacing after 3-4 years but rather that I can keep while I work towards obtaining the lenses, lights and ports to play with. The Nikon d500 for example is still reviewed as a top camera for above and under water and it is now already 3 years old (also one I have considered but the size and weight has held me back - if anyone has experience with this camera I would also love to hear your thoughts).

One large factor for selecting a body and optics is that if I eventually do upgrade my camera body, the optics will be compatible with the newer camera systems and I wouldn't have to start over. For this reason the Z series from Nikon has confused me as the larger lens mount shows promise for future optical capabilities but limits compatibility of older lenses even with the FTZ adapter.

Why is this so hard??! haha

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LOL, yeah, it's not easy for sure.

I actually use a D500 and really like it. I moved back to the DX of the D500 from the FX of the D800 and instead of going to the D850. 

In terms of size and weight, I doubt that a D500-based system would be that much bigger or weigh significantly more than a Nikon Z-based system - certainly if you are using F-mount lenses. Wide-angle with the DX is easier to manage with far smaller (and cheaper) dome ports than the Z series will need; and there is better depth of field for macro with DX.

 As you rightly point out too, there is for the moment a limited selection of Z lenses and none which are good for underwater. I'd suggest for the time being you'd be better with the F mount system if you're looking at Nikon. For macro either a 60mm or 105mm,

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3 hours ago, TimG said:

LOL, yeah, it's not easy for sure.

I actually use a D500 and really like it. I moved back to the DX of the D500 from the FX of the D800 and instead of going to the D850. 

In terms of size and weight, I doubt that a D500-based system would be that much bigger or weigh significantly more than a Nikon Z-based system - certainly if you are using F-mount lenses. Wide-angle with the DX is easier to manage with far smaller (and cheaper) dome ports than the Z series will need; and there is better depth of field for macro with DX.

 As you rightly point out too, there is for the moment a limited selection of Z lenses and none which are good for underwater. I'd suggest for the time being you'd be better with the F mount system if you're looking at Nikon. For macro either a 60mm or 105mm,

Your information is very helpful and I will definitely be looking into the D500, however based on my research thus far the camera and housing combinations for the Z6 and the D500 are also very similar in price. I have been looking at Nauticam housings as I really like the ergonomics, although they are quite pricey. So if there is no clear winner between price and size how would you say image quality compare between these two models and would you still choose the D500 (as I know you own both of these models)? Is there not a more compact solution that could produce similar quality in a smaller package? If I choose to shoot wide angle with the Z6 I would use a FE lens so would not need a large port as with rectilinear so the size of dome for the larger sensor camera will not be an issue. 

Another difference between the models is more depth of field with DX over FX for macro but on the other end of the spectrum there is a lot you can do with bokeh and shallower depth of field with a large sensor for the same f stops (correct me if I am wrong here).

I think the best thing for me to do is to narrow my search to 3 or 4 models and then find them and physically hold them and test them to see which I prefer, the only problem is narrowing my search haha. Can anyone comment on the Canon M50 for underwater?

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Although the Z series are the "latest thing" they have a few features that currently makes them challenging to use underwater:

  1. Lack of native lenses with focal lengths suitable for underwater use. You can use the adaptor with F mount lenses, but you then remove the optical advantages of using the Z mount!
  2. Relatively poor AF compared to D500, D850 and D5. We rely on AF underwater and the better it is, the better your images will be! 
  3. Very high resolution can be a drawback underwater...we shoot through water (which has stuff in it) and any optical flaws that are created by the lens/port become more obvious. Of course you could deal with the optical flaws by using a WACP, but this would add a significant cost to your budget!
  4. You are correct that DX has a greater depth of field. However, you can stop down and still get great bokeh.
  5. You will still get significant corner distortion with a fisheye lens on the Z series, so will need a 7" dome and to keep the aperture at f8 or so or higher.
  6. The bulky/heavy part of any underwater system is the housing. There is negligible difference in size/weight between z series and SLR housings. 

I doubt many people are shooting Canon M series underwater for all the same reasons as above!

Adam

 

 

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On the D500 v Z6 image quality comparison, I think you'd have to be a real pixel peeper or want to blow up your images to a very large scale before you can see a discernible difference. I sell a fair few images and have never seen any variation in terms of sales or image acceptance by agencies between DX and FX.

As to whether there is a more compact solution, if you want to go DLSR route, there's isn't one that I know of. But then being a Nikon dinosaur there might be things out there that I'm not aware of. I'm sure others will chip-in.

Yep, you can indeed, in theory, do more things with the shallower depth of field of FX. Generally however this is not something used underwater - unlike topside - and you can achieve the same effect easily with DX. My experience has been that you tend only to use shallow depth of field occasionally with macro and there is no problem at all achieving that with DX or any other system!

Totally agree that it's worth narrowing your search down and then, if at all possible, getting your hands on the systems - especially with a housing. 

 

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3 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

Although the Z series are the "latest thing" they have a few features that currently makes them challenging to use underwater:

  1. Lack of native lenses with focal lengths suitable for underwater use. You can use the adaptor with F mount lenses, but you then remove the optical advantages of using the Z mount!
  2. Relatively poor AF compared to D500, D850 and D5. We rely on AF underwater and the better it is, the better your images will be! 
  3. Very high resolution can be a drawback underwater...we shoot through water (which has stuff in it) and any optical flaws that are created by the lens/port become more obvious. Of course you could deal with the optical flaws by using a WACP, but this would add a significant cost to your budget!
  4. You are correct that DX has a greater depth of field. However, you can stop down and still get great bokeh.
  5. You will still get significant corner distortion with a fisheye lens on the Z series, so will need a 7" dome and to keep the aperture at f8 or so or higher.
  6. The bulky/heavy part of any underwater system is the housing. There is negligible difference in size/weight between z series and SLR housings. 

I doubt many people are shooting Canon M series underwater for all the same reasons as above!

Adam

 

 

Totally agree with all of this - in fact, it's these points made by Adam himself that persuaded me about 18 months or so ago to go with the D500 rather than D850. (Z6/Z7 were not then available but the arguments still hold)

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19 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

Although the Z series are the "latest thing" they have a few features that currently makes them challenging to use underwater:

  1. Lack of native lenses with focal lengths suitable for underwater use. You can use the adaptor with F mount lenses, but you then remove the optical advantages of using the Z mount!
  2. Relatively poor AF compared to D500, D850 and D5. We rely on AF underwater and the better it is, the better your images will be! 
  3. Very high resolution can be a drawback underwater...we shoot through water (which has stuff in it) and any optical flaws that are created by the lens/port become more obvious. Of course you could deal with the optical flaws by using a WACP, but this would add a significant cost to your budget!
  4. You are correct that DX has a greater depth of field. However, you can stop down and still get great bokeh.
  5. You will still get significant corner distortion with a fisheye lens on the Z series, so will need a 7" dome and to keep the aperture at f8 or so or higher.
  6. The bulky/heavy part of any underwater system is the housing. There is negligible difference in size/weight between z series and SLR housings. 

I doubt many people are shooting Canon M series underwater for all the same reasons as above!

Adam

 

 

Hi Adam 

Thank you for your comments. Regarding the Z6, I am glad that I have posted in this forum to get information from people with hands on experience with these cameras; the reviews for the Z series' autofocus have generally been good (but not as good as the Sony mirrorless range or higher end Nikon DSLRs) so it is interesting to hear that the autofocus is in reality not up to scratch for underwater photography..

Regarding the Canon M series, most sources I have read say that the M series works as well with an adapter and EF/EF-S lenses as it would with native lenses, so I do not see how this would be a problem (please correct me here if I am wrong or if I am missing something). It does however seem from the people I have met that there are not many Canon shooters for underwater photography.

It seems like if I wish to have a more travel friendly system I would have to be looking at a crop sensor mirrorless system, as full frame mirrorless systems have large and heavy lenses (at least currently for underwater that is the case) and DSLR including cropped sensor generally have large, heavy bodies although lenses could be more compact. Is there no middle ground that maintains performance? As mentioned before my focus is macro and for that reason fast and accurate autofocus is crucial, focus peaking is also something that I have been looking for (not available in the Nikon D500), I do not really take videos (although this would be a nice extra).

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I have no experience with Olympus cameras but I hear good things about their lens selection. Can anyone comment on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark ii and on Olympus optics in general when compared to other camera brands? Is it worth investing in an Olympus system?

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I will start by saying that my equipment is not the limiting factor in getting better images, its the grey matter behind the viewfinder that holds them back!   I see great images all the time shot on all formats.   

I'm a big fan of the m4/3 system in general and Olympus gear in particular - I've had three of them.  I currently use an E-M1 mk II in a Nauticam housing.  I shoot stills exclusively and macro with the 60mm lens probably 80% of the time and also use a Subsee +5 diopter which allows 2:1 magnification.  The E-M1 has very good autofocus and decent continuous focus with tracking that I am starting to appreciate in some situations.  The 60mm macro lens is super sharp.  The m4/3 system with its 2x crop factor has obvious advantages for macro photography (and for wildlife, which I also do).  The size and weight of the body and lenses are of course more travel friendly , but to be honest not a game changer compared to full frame once you pack the housing, strobes, batteries etc.  For a benchmark, everything I need fits in a Pelican 1600.

I have not used a full frame kit but I dive with people who do, and I believe that the IQ of both ecosystems is comparable.  I will say that I have seen images from full frame systems that I don't think I could have made with my setup.  This holds especially for wide angle.  But I feel no compelling reason to change.

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6 hours ago, troporobo said:

I will start by saying that my equipment is not the limiting factor in getting better images, its the grey matter behind the viewfinder that holds them back!   I see great images all the time shot on all formats.   

I'm a big fan of the m4/3 system in general and Olympus gear in particular - I've had three of them.  I currently use an E-M1 mk II in a Nauticam housing.  I shoot stills exclusively and macro with the 60mm lens probably 80% of the time and also use a Subsee +5 diopter which allows 2:1 magnification.  The E-M1 has very good autofocus and decent continuous focus with tracking that I am starting to appreciate in some situations.  The 60mm macro lens is super sharp.  The m4/3 system with its 2x crop factor has obvious advantages for macro photography (and for wildlife, which I also do).  The size and weight of the body and lenses are of course more travel friendly , but to be honest not a game changer compared to full frame once you pack the housing, strobes, batteries etc.  For a benchmark, everything I need fits in a Pelican 1600.

I have not used a full frame kit but I dive with people who do, and I believe that the IQ of both ecosystems is comparable.  I will say that I have seen images from full frame systems that I don't think I could have made with my setup.  This holds especially for wide angle.  But I feel no compelling reason to change.

Thank you for the info it looks like the E-M1 mk II is a contender. Since this is my first proper camera purchase I think it would be foolish to go straight for the large and expensive D500 when there are smaller options available that would fulfill my needs, at least for now. The size of these rigs would be significantly smaller and lighter than that of a Nikon D500 making them easier to travel with and as you say, the tools don't make good images they merely help. All I need now is to get my hands on the models and make my final decision. One more question about the Olympus M43 models, how do they work with lenses of other brands such as Sigma, Nikkor or Tokina? Is it an option to buy some lenses that would be compatible on other brands and systems if I choose to upgrade down the line?

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Same dilemma here. Fx or Dx. Once that decision is made, which camera? New or used. It's a minefield and its not exactly cheap is it.

If I went Dx I would go with the Ollie. Nice lenses in that family. To me its all about the lenses. Bodies come and go, but lenses are forever.

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Bluntly, if macro is your objective, there is no mirrorless system that can autofocus like the D500!

It all depends on your priority I guess, if you emphasize the quality of the imagery you produce over everything else, you should probably go down the SLR route, if ease of carrying is your priority, consider mirrorless.

That said, people produce very fine imagery with just about any camera, and the limit is (in my case) the person behind the camera rather than the camera!

The Micro 4/3 ecosystem as many fine lenses that are very suitable for underwater use. There is limited compatibility with other systems (as far as I know they will not work on SLRs, for example)

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You need to look at your choices from a total system approach housings, ports, lenses etc.  For me m43 is a sweet spot all the flexibility and lens choices at a nice price point.  I shoot Canon on the surface and landed on Olympus as the choice for underwater work for a number of reasons first great lens choices second size and cost.  I could buy a Nauticam housing and the camera body for less than the price of a Nauticam housing for my Canon or other full frame bodies.  The other thing to consider is that dome size scales with sensor size for rectilinear wides.  A 180mm dome is adequate for a 7-14mm  (14mm full frame equivalent) though a 200mm dome is better in the corners at the wide end.   Full frame you would be looking at a 230mm dome.  The lenses are also all very sharp.   Also less demanding on strobes for wide angle work as f8 is fine to bring in the corners while full frame is looking at f11-16.  Plus it all packs easily into a carry on size photo backpack.

I use the EM-1 MkII in a Nauticam housing, I can use C-AF plus tracking with the 60mm macro and it works fine, not quite DSLR standard but perfectly usable.  I use the 12-40 zoom for temperate water it focuses very close and is sharp, good enough for large nudis , weedy sea dragons and smaller schools of fish on the one dive.  For tropical waters I use a fisheye.

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Thank you all for your comments. Based on the information received I have re-evaluated what I am looking for in a camera, and I have narrowed my search to the Olympus E-M1 mk ii and the Sony a6400. It seems like the M43 model would be a better all-round solution with nice additional features at the cost of a smaller sensor, slightly lower resolution and slower autofocus. The a6400 however is cheaper, provides a higher resolution and larger sensor but at the cost of less dials for ease of use, slower flash sync, poorer weather sealing and no image stabilization. I think my best bet would be to locate these models, hold them, play around with them and decide from there. If anyone has input regarding image quality comparison between these two models feel free to comment. This forum has been most helpful

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Hi,
the choice is not easy ;-))
A Nikon user since more than 30 years....

I had after a D300 for underwater  a Oly OMD5e in a Nauticam housing and loved it!
For macro a great system, wide angle too. Light weigted, so my prefered setup for a trip could easily fit in the hand luggage...
But then a trip with restrictions in light use, Malapascua treasure sharks, no strobes or lights, make the difference.
The small sensor is great for macro, big depth of field, but low light, ups....
Forget 800 iso.... looks shi.....

So a year later, same destination i switched to a D500 setup, Hugyfot, a lot more weight, much more bulky,
but under these conditions, better pics....
Quick focus with every lens, ...

But not a 12 - 50mm lens, that can do even macro, light weigthed, big Dof, very universal,....

But, the question is, what is your goal? How many trips a year by plane? How many dives by car?

If i would start today, with not my lens park and Nikon history, i would think about a Sony A6400 setup.
I have a A6300 and was thinking to get a system for underwater, but will upgrade to the A6400 because the focus.
And the Sigma converter gives you the Canon lenses with good focus. Means you can use the Tokina 10 - 17mm and the Sigma 105mm OS or Canon 60mm macro....
And that with only a bit more than 2 lbs of housing weight....

The most leight weighted Nikon Z housing is more than 4 lbs, Sony full frame around the same weights....
 

Quality of the pics from D500 to A6300 are equal.

But so many things to think about ;-))

Regards,
Wolfgang

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If you look at sensor performance on DXO for example  the gap between the EM-1 MkII and Sony APS-C sensors is really not that big - this only applies to EM-1 MkII sensor, there is a further gap to the 16MP sensors.  The Camera itself may be cheaper but the Sony lens line up is limited and you end up paying a lot more for some of those lenses.  For example the 50mm options are either slow to AF or expensive, the 90mm is too long on APS-C except in the clearest of waters unless you restrict yourself to very small stuff and it is twice the price of the Oly lens.  For a fisheye you need the expensive Canon 8-15 with metabones adapter for decent quality and more expense with adapter rings to fit the big lens or you just buy the Oly fisheye.  You need to look at total system cost which includes housing lenses and ports.

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You are right, the EM1 mii is a lot better than the other Oly cams, but still not so good as the Sony cams.
Not only cost, weight is as well a factor.
And the housing for the Em1 mii weights 800gr more, the camera weights 140gr more. Thats ~ 1kg more, and 300€ difference in housing too.
The Tokina 10 - 17mm ( 500€ ), a well known underwater fisheye works with the Sigma converter.
As well as the original Canon macro lenses or the Sigmas for Canon....
The Oly fisheye is not cheap, dont know the exact prices and differences in the staates, but here in europe the Panasonic FE is 600€, the Oly FE f1,8 pro is 750€ and the f 3,5 is 850€ ( amazon.at )...

The big pro for the Oly is the Dof in macro, no question.
The Oly 60mm will be equivalent to full frame 120mm, the Sony 90mm be 135mm...
I use a Sigma 105mm on my Nikon D500 mostly, or the old Nikon 70 - 180mm macro zoom.

Thats the reason i asked for the goal and most use.

Regards,
Wolfgang
 

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Work it backwards. What use do you put the photos to: Print or web? What size? Do you crop a lot during editing? That should give an idea of minimum sensor pixels you actually need.

Any pixel count more than that is money you are spending on a sensor that you could be spending on a lens, or money you are spending on excess baggage that you could be spending on beer.

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On 9/12/2019 at 1:46 AM, MarctheShark said:

For a few years I have been looking for a new camera to improve my underwater photography with a more professional setup. I want a camera that can take crisp, professional images with good dynamic range, fast auto-focus, focus peaking, is compact for travel and can be expanded or customized with lenses to be able to photograph the smallest critters on the reef

to share my love of the ocean with others. I focus more on photography over video, and prefer macro over wide angle with my passion being super macro. For these reasons I have zeroed in on mirrorless cameras for their compact size and high quality capabilities.

For some time one camera that stood out for quality and value was the Sony a6400 mirrorless, however the colour science of Sony cameras has a bad rep and I would like to minimize the editing required for RAW images.

. I've looked at the Nikon Z6 which seems like a great option but really expensive (I would only be willing to spend so much if I can be absolutely sure that it is great value).

One other mirrorless option that I have stumbled on is the Canon EOS M50 which has good reviews online and a great price point but no reviews in respect of underwater photography. The M50 is also a crop sensor so I wouldn't be able to use the native lenses if I choose to upgrade to full frame down the line, but the additional crop would help me get closer to those tiny critters?

Ideally I would like a camera that can grow with me as a photographer; I would not want to discover limitations down the line and feel like I have to upgrade again. Can you shed some light on the subject and help me make a decision?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

You have some mutually-exclusive wants in there.   Basically around the 'compact for travel' part.   That would tend to rule out an FX camera if you plan on crisp, professional wide angle images.   For macro, not that much difference.   But if you want wide angle with crisp edges that are not fisheye, you're into the 230mm dome territory, and that is the opposite of 'compact for travel', I can guarantee.

As for Mirrorless, I have no experience with them beyond Canon point-n-shoots and a Sony RX100 II.   I would lean toward mirrorless only if I prioritized video at this time.  And that is for one reason only - autofocus during video.   I'm shooting a D850 now, and I can tell you that video autofocus on moving subjects is basically hopeless.   On the other hand, autofocus for stills is the best I've ever seen, and it makes getting an accurate shot as easy as it is to put a focus spot on it.  (Which sometimes isn't easy, but if you do it, the camera delivers every time).   I would say that in the Nikon world this means either a D500 (DX format) or a D850 (FX format), or possibly a D4 or D5, though those are pretty expensive options.   I'd look very closely at the Z6 and Z7 if into video, but you'll also then need video-oriented lenses, meaning ones that are quiet during autofocus operations.

You make a point that you "would like to minimize the editing required for RAW images".   This is a mistaken attitude, in my opinion.  It really says to me "I don't know how to post-process underwater images very well, and I'd like the camera to do that for me".    For this to work, you have to really know what you are doing while in the water, not only nailing the exposure, but also nailing the white balance.  I don't know of any camera that does a good job of getting white balance right throughout a dive at different depths, with or without flash.   I think you should look instead for a camera that is very forgiving and allows you great flexibility in post.   For me, that means a camera with tremendous dynamic range (the more the better) and lots of resolution (for cropping).   That also means shooting at base ISO (which is most easily done for macro with strobes).   This tends to rule out a lot of older and cheaper cameras.   A Nikon D500, D850, Z6 or Z7 all have pretty good dynamic range, as do some Sony's with the same basic sensor.   A problem I have had with Sonys, and which is echoed over and over and over is that the user interface - especially the menu system - are cluttered and tedious to work with.   Bad enough to stand out as a point against them.

Craig

 

 

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On 10/11/2019 at 6:10 PM, phxazcraig said:

   But if you want wide angle with crisp edges that are not fisheye, you're into the 230mm dome territory, and that is the opposite of 'compact for travel', I can guarantee.

Craig

 

 

Wise words, Craig. Wise words

Some years ago I moved from the 8" Subal DP-FE dome to the 230mm. One inch bigger? No big deal, I thought. 

Ha! I had one of the biggest shocks of my life when I unpacked the box (crate?) when the 230 arrived. I've seen smaller fish tanks. A 230 dome could define the opposite of Compact for Travel.

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On 10/13/2019 at 2:19 AM, TimG said:

Wise words, Craig. Wise words

Some years ago I moved from the 8" Subal DP-FE dome to the 230mm. One inch bigger? No big deal, I thought. 

Ha! I had one of the biggest shocks of my life when I unpacked the box (crate?) when the 230 arrived. I've seen smaller fish tanks. A 230 dome could define the opposite of Compact for Travel.

Me perhaps even more.  I had never seen a 230mm dome port (or hardly any others either) before one showed up in my home as part of my first DSLR rig,   And I got this:

151026-201611-00-98-rx100m2.JPG

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I do sympathise.
Crazy though it may sound, trying to travel with a 230 dome port put me off using a rectilinear lens. I switched to an FE - the Sigma 15mm initially and now the Nikkor 8-15. That plus a much shorter EXR and a 180 dome is so much easier for traveling- and hauling around for shore dives. 

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