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Bex

Need suggestions for underwater camera:)))

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Hi all,

This image below is kind of pictures I have taken, tho sometimes I also take pic of small creatures(e.g. nudibranch), I wish I could upload video but the size is too big. Please give me some recommendations what sort of camera would be suitable for me. I want to upgrade my underwater camera that just in simple way(with additional fish-eye lens/wide angle lens + light) ,but create good quality videos and photos and affordable. I see you are all very professional, so I need your suggestions for these. 

 

Cheers,

Bex

P1181737.jpg

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Hello Hyp,

I use TG-5 with Ikelite housing with additional lens (in-uwl-h100-dome and in-uwl-h100-t2), I sometimes also use a torch Archon W40VR D34R Cree XM-L2 .

My objects mainly are sharks or big sea creatures, but I also would like to take pic of small objects as well. 

 

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So it looks like your main interest lies in available light wide angle pictures. I am not a big fan of the size and expense of full frame, but for your style that would probably be the best. But really what you need to figure out is how much money you want to spend and how large your rig can be. From that you can decide which sensor size you want (1"compact, mu43, aps-c, FF) and only then can people here help you with the specific choice of a model and manufacturer.

 

 

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Depends on how close you can get to them and if you want wide and macro on the same dive,  a starting point is a 1" sensor compact which can take wet lenses for both wide and macro shooting, as you move up to bigger sensors you become more restricted to either wide or macro on any one dive - there are solutions that can give you both with large sensors but they tend to be very expensive.  If you have some idea on budget that would help.

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thanks for the answers, probably more focussed to big objects than macro, my budget would be AU$3,500-4,000, as I was thinking that I could get secondhand here. 

 

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On 12/1/2019 at 7:06 AM, Bex said:

Hi all,

This image below is kind of pictures I have taken, tho sometimes I also take pic of small creatures(e.g. nudibranch), I wish I could upload video but the size is too big. Please give me some recommendations what sort of camera would be suitable for me. I want to upgrade my underwater camera that just in simple way(with additional fish-eye lens/wide angle lens + light) ,but create good quality videos and photos and affordable. I see you are all very professional, so I need your suggestions for these. 

 

Cheers,

Bex

P1181737.jpg

I've been using the Sony's with great success. The A9, A7IV are great full frame cameras for use with he larger housings. The new RX100 VII has the same AF system in a point & shoot form if you're looking for something smaller. Using Ikelite housings for both.

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You might something secondhand here, but being in Australia (I guess based on $AU) will limit your options quite possibly.  Going new you could get a G7X II for about $3K in a Nauticam housing and add on a wet lens for wide angle for maybe $700. 

Or you could go with a Fantasea housing which is $799 rather than the $1800 Nauticam, Isotta have an aluminium housing for $1500.

I'm concentrating on the 1" sensor cameras as m43 and bigger sensors are an all together bigger investment and the cheaper options tend to have limitations in supported lens ports.

On the wide lenses, this is a bit of a minefield and trying to find details on all the lenses is difficult, many are designed for 28mm lenses and only give a 100° field of view and don't zoom through.  There are newer options better suited to cameras that are 24mm at the wide end.  Zoom through will definitely help with big animals that don't want to get close.

Here is a link to some recommended wet lenses:  https://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/guide-to-best-wet-wide-lenses

 

Looking in the classifieds this looks like it might be a good deal:  https://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/guide-to-best-wet-wide-lenses  If the owner will ship to Australia, probably be close to $4k by the time it gets through customs: 

The LX-10 is the top pick for 1" compacts from Backscatter's article:  https://www.backscatter.com/reviews/post/Backscatter-Best-Underwater-Compact-Cameras

 

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Been checking around all your suggestions, and I found this Canon EOS Rebel SL1 18-55mm IS STM Lens Kit with Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 Fisheye Lens and Ikelite housing.

What do you reckon ? 

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Canon SLRs and the Tokina 10-17 are a popular option, the tokina is the not the sharpest around but is reasonable and the range is good, though apart from very close focus wide angle work you need to change lenses to do semi-macro.   The 18-55 will fill the frame horizontally with a 60mm long subject at closest focus, but the 18mm end is not that wide, similar to your TG-5 without an accessory lens.  Bear in mind the 180° diagonal field of view is quite a different beast to your TG-5 even with the dome system and you need to get much much closer.

From the pics it looks like you freedive?  you may want to physically hold the rig before deciding, the dimensions are 19x16x15 cm.  It is quite boxy.  The Pany LX-10 kit is much more compact.

The other thing to consider is a vacuum system, I believe Ikelite offer an optional kit.  If you are popping up and down freediving, spending a lot of the time at the surface you are actually more prone to leaks - o-rings need to be loaded to seal properly and loading is minimal at the surface.  The vacuum system pre loads the o-rings allows you to test for leaks before diving and also means it is physically difficult to impossible to dislodge the ports or housing back.

You have not mentioned strobes or lights so I assume this is not of interest?  The ikelite requires electrical sync for strobes which is another set of o-rings to maintain - I much prefer fibre optic triggering.

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I wasn't free diving when taking that pic, I was scuba diving, however I do quite a lot of snorkelling.

I don't usually use strobes, I'll use same torch Archon W40VR D34R Cree XM-L2 to support the light of the objects, otherwise would be extra more expensive to purchase strobes if using this light is enough then I don't need strobes? 

 

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LED lights are much, much less powerful than strobes - by several orders of magnitude, as tests show; a Sea & Sea YS-D2 has a prompt output in the area of a million lumen. I started with two Archon D36V lights (2x the output of your D34R, times two lights) and found that in daylight, they didn't make much difference outside macro ranges. Switching to twin strobes - and cheap, fairly crappy SeaFrogs ST-100 strobes at that - immediately produced an improvement in image quality much greater than any camera upgrade could have achieved. Putting good strobes on your TG-5 is the fastest path to better photos.

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A couple of things to remember with lighting as above the power output of lights is much much less than strobes and are only useful in macro ranges.  In shallow water you can use custom white balance to bring some of the colours back.  Strobes are definitely the best solution for still images, but you need to be close within a meter or less to get enough light, water soaks up the light very quickly.

The Archon light you mention is only 2600 lumens.  This link here compares a 14000 lumen light to a strobe:

There's 5-6 stops difference in the lighting between the two the image shows correct exposure obtained at 1/250 @ f2.8 ISO200.  With the wide angle lens and the proposed Canon DSLR you would probably want to be at f11 which would mean an exposure of 1/15 @ f11 ISO200 which is too low a shutter speed and would be over exposed by ambient light in shallow water most likely and this is with a 14000 lumen light not your 2600 lumen light.  This all shows that only way the lights would provide sufficient light is if they are very close as in macro work.

If you use a 1" sensor camera f5.6 is enough and the smaller cheaper strobes like the INON S-2000 are adequate.  With a DSLR you will be looking at f11 and definitely needing the bigger more powerful strobes like the Z-330 or YS-D2J if you are looking at new strobes.

You could buy the camera now and strobes later and just shoot in less than 10m and get reasonable results with custom white balance and shooting Raw.

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