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stirner

Travel UW Video for Beginner

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Posted (edited)

I am looking to purchase my initial setup for UW videography. I have been unsure about either going for:
- Panasonic GH5(s)? + Nauticam Housing
- Gates AX700 with Sony AX700 video camera.

Assuming I will NOT be doing photography, is the AX700 a much better camera and setup for UW video?

If I do want to do photography, then I assume I must go with an Hybrid (like the Panasonic GH5)..?
If this is the case, is the GH5s a better choice than the GH5 if I focus on video? (I see the GH5s loses the IBIS... how necessary is it for UW video/photo?)

Size and Weight considerations are really important, since most of the use will be while traveling to locations. I saw the AX700 + Gates and the Nauticam + GH5 seem to be roughly the same volume, but different LxHxD values. If the quality of a more compact system would be close to as good and a much better video solution, please recommend away!

Cheers and thanks for helping!!
I'll edit this post with more details and questions over time

Edited by stirner

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Good choices.

If I'm honest the GH5s didn't win me over vs the older GH5 (I quickly sold off the GH5s) - the loss of the IBIS is a big ask, especially for your initial / beginner camera, having smooth video does help a lot to give your recording a more polished feel. The GH5 produces stunning video, given enough light and a good lens setup. (hint: 14-42mm ii and the WWL1 :)

The only thing I would say about the Gates setup where it excels vs a nauticam setup, is the Gates are made to be neutrally buoyant from the get go, where as the GH5 (in a Nauticam housing) will require float arms to get it neutral, so for travel the gates might actually work out smaller for packing as you won't need to pack large float arms etc. But saying that, I would pick the GH5 (or a A6xxx APSC Sony series) over a Sony camcorder any day at the moment, I just don't think they are worth it over a hybrid.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, thetrickster said:

The only thing I would say about the Gates setup where it excels vs a nauticam setup, is the Gates are made to be neutrally buoyant from the get go, where as the GH5 (in a Nauticam housing) will require float arms to get it neutral,

it's not difficult to get it neutral, actually its' difficult to get it perfectly trimmed. WWL1 is different for sure. Once neutral with my 7-14 and 6" dome the whole setup rotate with the dome upward. So I had to add a 700gr neoprene ankle weight on the dome collar: everything become negative. Then I added a float arm on the top of the housing. Finally I threw away my double float arms opting for a single float segment each light. Much much better now but countless tests. Now I move my lights up & down and the whole setup remains nearly perfectly trimmed.

Looking at Roberto Rinaldi moving his Seacam 3D behemoth in front of him with just one finger... Another planet 

 

 

 

Edited by Davide DB
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After shooting video with multiple set ups, I settled on the Sony FDR AX100 and the Gates AX100 housing with the wide angle port. I've never been more happy with my video (4K 30p). I'm lucky in that my wife shoots photography and we work together to get what we want from a dive trip. Read the specs. The Sony FDR AX 100 is still available. Not sure about housings. 

If I was going to try "both", I would go with the Sony a6400. It has both IBIS and the same processors is the same processor in their top of the line a9. 

Good Luck!

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I would not recommend the Sony A6XXX as a video platform portable or not the camera is way off any decent standard and has a lot of rolling shutter

A portable alternative is the Panasonic LX10/15 it has the same 1" sensor does not need ports and white balances very well that is genuinely portable. I have shot the RX100 series up to IV and maybe the VA is also a candidate but the damn thing would not balance in any condition

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Seems like it’s a difficult balance between a ‘travel’ video setup and stable footage unless your technique is spot on? 
 

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Having used a GH5, a GH5s, a Sony AX100 and a Sony Z90 (the "pro" equivalent of the AX700) underwater and being a video guy only, the setup that works best for me is a dedicated video cam, currently the Z90.

I am saying "for me" because what you choose wil depend on a lot of different factors. As you say, if you want to do phots as well as Video, you'd have ot go the hybrid route. Yes, the AX700 can shoot photos, but nothing to take really serious.

If you are a video guy and - like me - hate fiddling with lots of different lenses, ports, extension rings, focus and zoom gears (just to find out when you arrive at the other end of the world that you left important bits at home...), then go for a Gates/AX700 setup. 

I just grab my housing before the dive and put it back on the deck after the dive and relax while my hybrid buddies are still spending another 30min+ configuring their rig for the next dive.  Can be fun as well - but its just not for me.  One battery takes you easily thru 3 dives.

Whatever you choose, with both setups (GH5 or AX700) you cant go completely wrong as both are great systems.

Just to mention: Yep, the specs in the GH5 look much more impressive. But you cant beat the super precise auto-focus on the AX700/Z90.  The autofocus on the GH5 even after a quazillion of firmware updates remains to be a bit of a joke. 

And also just to mention: If you a are "big sensor" freak: Forget both both GH5 and AX700 and go for a RED Monstro :-))  Joking aside, its a topic somewhat blown out of proportion IMHO.  The 1'' Sensor in the Sony does a great job!

Good luck!

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That’s really useful info!

I already shoot Leica M10p full frame topside, so I’m not necessarily looking to do photo underwater atm. I’d rather learn and excel at the video part and see what’s up later down the line. I hadn’t thought about it, but it’s true I’d much rather be able to relax between dives then to spend 30 min messing with configurations.

Any advice on a AX700/Z90 setup? If I start from 0 gear, what should I be buying and learning about?

 

I’d like the ideal setup to have minimal amount of equipment to carry/bring that doesn’t gimp me hard somehow

 

What’s the difference between AX700 and Z90? Also, would these cameras be suited for topside Game Drive/Safari filming?

 

Cheers!

@bubffm

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42 minutes ago, stirner said:

What’s the difference between AX700 and Z90? Also, would these cameras be suited for topside Game Drive/Safari filming?

Have a browse thru some YT reviews, but basically the Z90 has a removable top handle with professional audio features, it has an SDI connection for monitoring in addition to HDMI and a slightly more robust codec. But all other specs are identical.

Yep,  it sure will be good for Safari and similar trips.  Here a link of some stuff I filmed on the Z90 on a trip to Antarctica last January. 

I got a pile of underwater stuff (Maldives) we the Z90 in the vaults - one day l‘ll get that out as well.... 

 

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2 hours ago, bubffm said:

Have a browse thru some YT reviews, but basically the Z90 has a removable top handle with professional audio features, it has an SDI connection for monitoring in addition to HDMI and a slightly more robust codec. But all other specs are identical.

Yep,  it sure will be good for Safari and similar trips.  Here a link of some stuff I filmed on the Z90 on a trip to Antarctica last January. 

I got a pile of underwater stuff (Maldives) we the Z90 in the vaults - one day l‘ll get that out as well.... 

 

Is this shot handheld?

 

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Posted (edited)

95% of it,  yes. The humpbacks even from a bumpy zodiac ;-) Only the timelapses and some of the close shots of the penguin chicks getting fed are on a little travel tripod. I was never able to achieve that type of free-hand stability on a GH5 (or any other classic photo cam), be it underwater or overland.

Edited by bubffm
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@bubffm Another follow up, regarding camcorders and cine camera UW.

Which brands make the best housings? I'm trying to find housings for a variety of camcorders, like Panasonic or Canon camcorders. I can't find most models?

Also, what do you think of these for UW video cameras? (I'd be looking at the Nauticam or Gates housing)
- BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k/6k
- Sony Z90
- Canon C200
- Canon VIXIA GX10
- Z Cam E2

for travel/UW housing size and weight, image quality, AF tracking for typical UW subjects, low light conditions, UW white balance at depth, shooting with only natural light vs. video lights, etc?

I'm trying to figure out what are the pros and cons. Price is the least important factor to me in this case; if there were a much better camera in a smaller size body/housing that would do better than all of the above, then I'd love to know about it! :)

Cheers, thanks for helping out.

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Posted (edited)

I have hot played with most of those cams, but if AF is important to you, forget about the Blackmagic 4k/6k and the Z Cam. All I hear is their AF is bad overland, so it certainly wont get better underwater. The concept of the Z2 as a kind of „Mini-Red“ is certainly quite interesting nonetheless.

Housings for Camcorders are scarse. For Z90 you get a housing from Gates. Depending on the cam, have a look at Seacam housings. They are superb.

Whatever you take, get a decent set of UW lights. Keldan is the gold standard. I use the Keldan 4X. Compact and powerful. Particulary for macro, you cant do without.

 

 

Edited by bubffm
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Agreed the BMPCC4K isn’t good at AF. It isn’t good at lot of things I took for granted with my GH5. But what it does to well is wide dynamic range, raw recording, amazing highlight roll off and that nice colour BM has going on.
- The screen on the BMPCC4K is fantastic thou for focus peaking with MF lenses mind.

I would also say it’s got a very narrow use case underwater, great for static shots and scenic shots, but not the camera I would use for open water swimming or fast moving action.

A Gates set would be a great choice from a ease of use perspective and travel point of view if starting from scratch. I do get frustrated with all the extra bits I’ve got attached to the GH5 and the whole handling perspective - it’s does everything and more, and is more camera than I need, but as bmffm attests to, it doesn’t do everything great. I did look at the ax100 / gates combo back when I had the GH4 and looking at ‘what next’ but I like my photography side of things too so in the end stayed with m43 - but see (with some envy) why bmffm went back to a gates. Less is more.

The new canon mount Komodo Red looks super interesting, but I think we are in a whole world of wallet pain for that. The EZ cameras require monitors etc. So could end up expensive also.

C200 another contender?


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Thanks all! I've bought my initial rig.

I'll then upgrade after my upcoming trip (once I get a bit of experience filming) to a real setup.


What I bought:
- GoPro 8 Hero Black

- 2x Sola Pro 3800 (the ones with 110 degree)

- Go Pro tray and arms

- Red Filter

 

Am I going to be able to use the Sola video lights if I upgrade? I was on a very strict "timeline", the Keldan 4x or 8x were out of stock, that's what I was going for initially.
Are the Keldan 4/8x that much above the Sola 3800 Pro?

Any good references for videography with GoPro and Video lights? Tips/tricks?

Cheers thanks for all the help earlier. I'll see how I manage with the GoPro and upgrade to a better setup and mount the GoPro on top :D


cc/ @interceptor121 @bubffm@thetrickster 

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7 hours ago, stirner said:

Thanks all! I've bought my initial rig.

I'll then upgrade after my upcoming trip (once I get a bit of experience filming) to a real setup.


What I bought:
- GoPro 8 Hero Black

- 2x Sola Pro 3800 (the ones with 110 degree)

- Go Pro tray and arms

- Red Filter

 

Am I going to be able to use the Sola video lights if I upgrade? I was on a very strict "timeline", the Keldan 4x or 8x were out of stock, that's what I was going for initially.
Are the Keldan 4/8x that much above the Sola 3800 Pro?

Any good references for videography with GoPro and Video lights? Tips/tricks?

Cheers thanks for all the help earlier. I'll see how I manage with the GoPro and upgrade to a better setup and mount the GoPro on top :D


cc/ @interceptor121 @bubffm@thetrickster 

I am glad my article was useful. 3800 is a bit little for wide angle but you can keep going until you feel you need to

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21 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

I am glad my article was useful. 3800 is a bit little for wide angle but you can keep going until you feel you need to

Yes :( I was on a very tight schedule before leaving on the trip and, because of the corona virus situation, there were no keldan lights that were reasonable in size and price that fit my use case) I was looking for the Keldan 4x/8x or something similar.
I'll probably upgrade to a nicer setup like:
Keldan 8x
GH5? BCCP? Z90? (not certain yet)
with a proper nauticam or gates housing :smile:

Thanks!

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Yes :( I was on a very tight schedule before leaving on the trip and, because of the corona virus situation, there were no keldan lights that were reasonable in size and price that fit my use case) I was looking for the Keldan 4x/8x or something similar.
I'll probably upgrade to a nicer setup like:
Keldan 8x
GH5? BCCP? Z90? (not certain yet)
with a proper nauticam or gates housing :smile:

Thanks!

Get some experience first is a good idea


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2 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:


Get some experience first is a good idea


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

My thought exactly. I’ll see what was most annoying, lacking, great and figure out where to go from there. I am making many assumptions without experience. Plus I’ll appreciate better lights and camera after this experience ;) haha 

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@Interceptor121 Hey :wave:

I've finally purchased my "final" kit after some experience with the gopro setup

I ended up going for:

Panasonic GH5
Nauticam Housing
Keldan 4X (2x) + 2x spare batteries
Olympus 8mm Pro Fisheye f/1.8
Nauticam N85 140mm Glass Port + N85 mini extension

ultralight arms + stix floaties + clamps
Mechanical Vacuum

The only thing I didn't get that I might upgrade to later is:
a HD502 monitor (or an alternative) + housing
a macro port + lens (if I end up wanting to do macro)
potentially strobes for photography if I end up going that way after a lot more video experience

 

 

Cheers, I really appreciate all the recs in here :) <3

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5 hours ago, stirner said:

@Interceptor121 Hey :wave:

I've finally purchased my "final" kit after some experience with the gopro setup

I ended up going for:

Panasonic GH5
Nauticam Housing
Keldan 4X (2x) + 2x spare batteries
Olympus 8mm Pro Fisheye f/1.8
Nauticam N85 140mm Glass Port + N85 mini extension

ultralight arms + stix floaties + clamps
Mechanical Vacuum

The only thing I didn't get that I might upgrade to later is:
a HD502 monitor (or an alternative) + housing
a macro port + lens (if I end up wanting to do macro)
potentially strobes for photography if I end up going that way after a lot more video experience

 

 

Cheers, I really appreciate all the recs in here :) <3

Why a fisheye lens? Did someone advice you?

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5 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

Why a fisheye lens? Did someone advice you?

Yes. I got advice. I want to mainly focus on improving my physical skills filming and focus on filming landscapes/big creatures or normal sized creature closely. I don't want to cover macro early on and don't want to do photography early on either.

Thoughts? (even thought it's too late and I think I'll be happy with that initially :P Lol)

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Alhough I have fisheye lenses I have only used them for photography, there are some people that manage with that but I find the lack of variation boring also to take a close or medium shot you need to jump on another dive so I never use a fisheye lens for video maybe when I go for whales I will change my mind but up to whale sharks not necessary at all

If you have not used the gear I warmly recommend you to return it ASAP and swap for a cheaper zoom lens and the nauticam WWL-1

 

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