Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I have two different setups for top-side and need to make decisions on where to invest for UW gear to build a system around.

 

Currently owned bodies:

Canon 77D

Panasonic LUMIX G7

 

Lenses (that seem relevant):

Panasonic Leica DG Vario 8-18

Panasonic 14-140 kit lens that came with the camera

Panasonic LUMIX Vario 12-35

Tamaron SP 10-24 (Canon)

Canon 50 mm fixed

Canon 18-55

 

My preference is to go with the LUMIX as I've started to move that direction for topside travel for compactness And yes, I realize that question is laughable considering Im asking a question that adds considerable gear, but I still don't want to carry around huge lenses for my topside photos.

 

Things that are important to me:

- A good strobe system. I've seen that TTL is a thing underwater so that feature if possible. I do a lot of multi-strobe work topside but this is clearly different so I honestly don't know how many folks are using TTL underwater. I haven't seen anybody mention off-camera light meters yet though so I'm guessing people are using TTL. :0

- A good housing and ports. From what I can tell Nauticam makes (or made) a housing for the G7. Ikelite had one on sale currently. I can't tell if Ikelite has/allows for a vacuum system, which might be a deal breaker for me. I don't see a Nauticam housing for the 77D.

- If I absolutely need a different camera body I would entertain it, but I'd really prefer not to buy one. I'm happy with my cameras and generally don't feel the need to chase the new bodies. I have no desire to change brands/formats and start investing in new lenses though.

 

About me

I'm more of a photography gal than a video gal but I originally bought the LUMIX for its video capabilities because I have a YouTube channel for my business. Underwater I'll do more still photography, likely. Right now I'm thinking more wide angle than macro, but I suspect macro will be in my future.

 

I've been certified since 1998 but took a break because, well life. I'm back now though. I just spent a week in Cozumel and while it wasn't quite like riding a bike, most of it came back to me after a review of my PADI book and some good conversations. Next month I'm heading to Key Largo and in September, Tahiti.

 

Thanks for your thoughts and input. I've read a lot already on this forum and the info is fantastic. So much so when I go read an article somewhere else I find myself saying, "yeah, I read that over on wepixel."

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am no expert on Canon cameras and housing options so I leave that to the others. 

With your MFT setup, the 8-18 is a fine lens underwater.I think Ikelite might be your only choice with the G7. If you want an aluminium housing (Nauticam, Isotta, etc...) you will probably have to upgrade your camera. Once you find a brand that supports your preferred camera, have a look at the port charts to see what your lens options are.

TTL is generally regarded as not adequate for underwater, although many still like the option for ease of shooting. Manual strobe shooting is not that hard though, if you have a grasp of the concepts at play. Personally, I don't use it. 

Generally most people build a system around an available housing and not necessarily the camera as this is often the most expensive part. Look at the whole cost of the system before making any decisions. Especially when buying used, you may get a better deal by changing the camera than buying a new housing for what is already a fairly old camera (although I agree that chasing upgrades for the sake of it is not smart).

Those things also depend heavily on the amount of money you are willing to pay.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a Canon 80D with Ikelite housing and DS160 strobes. Ikelite does have a vacuum system. You can purchase the pump cheaper on Amazon than the $60 Ikelite charges. Its just a Mityvac pump. DS160's shoot both TTL and manual with the proper board added to the housing. For wide angle, I use Tokina 10-17 fisheye with 8" dome port. Sometimes add a Kenko Teleplus HD Pro 1.4x extender for a little more reach. The system works great, though housing is probably not as nice as a Nauticam. But, much less expensive. DS160 strobes are amazing, but a little on the heavy side. If you do go the Ikelite direction, with an 8" dome port, you will get a lot of lift. Make sure to balance the rig properly before you head out. I use the Trim Weight System from Ikelite which isn't great, but works. Then add some floats to strobe arms.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of things first, just because you own a camera above water doesn't mean it's the best choice for UW, the costs for taking cameras UW scale with sensor size and the larger sensors need bigger domes and more expensive housings and more strobe power.  the m43 lenses are also cheaper to purchase and there is a wide range of them.

Having said all of that, of the lenses you list the m43 ones seem most suitable for UW usage, specifically 8-18 and 12-35.  The 12-35 is sometimes regarded as "less useful"range UW, but I use an olympus 12-40 for general semi-wide shooting in temperate waters around Sydney and find it suits the available subjects.  The Panasonic lens doesn't focus quiet as close as the olympus,  so using it shoot smaller subjects is more limited.  The olympus will fill the frame with a 60mm subject, while the Panasonic is limited to about 100mm.  For macro you'll probably want a Oly 60mm macro lens.

On you lens choices what type of subjects interest you?  if it's wide angle reef scenes, perhaps a fisheye lens might be a consideration.   The 8-18 is certainly a nice lens, but I know my 7-14 gets very little use and I pick the 12-40 around Sydney and the fisheye on tropical reefs.  You should be able to use the same dome with maybe a different extension for these two lenses. 

As for strobes forget a lot of what you know about strobes topside, TTL only really works sort of OK with macro shots, wide angle is a bit hit and miss, it does seem to depend on the camera body a lot.  You need quite a lot of strobe power UW as the water sucks up the light very quickly, even the little GN-20 S2000 strobes put out a lot of power compared to land strobes.  Off camera light meters are really not a thing UW.  For wide angle particularly most people shoot manual, this is made a little easier by the fact that you are trying to get very close to your subjects so the distance to the subject doesn't vary so much - so the strobe setting will not vary a great deal.

On the camera body, given the price of housings I would look hard at whether you really want to house the G7, limited availability of housings is an issue and you probably don't want to shell out all that money for a compromise.  You could take some of the sting out by looking for a second hand housing and camera combo, any of the m43 cameras could be a reasonable candidate.  Your other consideration is the AF - if you are doing macro, some of the older contrast detect AF systems do tend to be a little slow and hunt - I don't know what the G7 is like but a macro lens is the real test of that.  You could go with Ikelite but that will involve some compromises - if you wish to zoom, you are restricted to the 6"dome port with zoom knob, which is a little small for the 8mm end.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@hyp @Btscott @ChrisRoss

This is all such great info and insight. Thanks for the input.

After MUCH research, I think I've actually decided to go the simpler route. I'm looking at either the TG-6 (which clearly seems to be the community favorite) or the SeaLife Micro 3.0 + either 2 strong video lights (3000+?) or strobes.

I've seen a bunch of photos taken with the TG-6 (here, there, and everywhere) and a few from the Micro 3.0 (not as much here, there, and everywhere but I've seen some in person and they're as impressive as some of the TG-6 shots I've seen on IG and here) and they meet my current UW photography goals. If I become enough of a UW bada** that I feel the need to upgrade for more control at a later time, I'll deal with that then.

I'm weighing the pros and cons between these two cameras and keep going back and forth on which one is better suited for me, but I'm leaning towards the TG-6. I'm really hoping the TG-7 comes out before I make my decision though and has some feature (or a larger sensor) that makes it a no brainer.

As always, I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, lynnontheweb said:

@hyp @Btscott @ChrisRoss

This is all such great info and insight. Thanks for the input.

After MUCH research, I think I've actually decided to go the simpler route. I'm looking at either the TG-6 (which clearly seems to be the community favorite) or the SeaLife Micro 3.0 + either 2 strong video lights (3000+?) or strobes.

I've seen a bunch of photos taken with the TG-6 (here, there, and everywhere) and a few from the Micro 3.0 (not as much here, there, and everywhere but I've seen some in person and they're as impressive as some of the TG-6 shots I've seen on IG and here) and they meet my current UW photography goals. If I become enough of a UW bada** that I feel the need to upgrade for more control at a later time, I'll deal with that then.

I'm weighing the pros and cons between these two cameras and keep going back and forth on which one is better suited for me, but I'm leaning towards the TG-6. I'm really hoping the TG-7 comes out before I make my decision though and has some feature (or a larger sensor) that makes it a no brainer.

As always, I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. 

The TG-6 has it's place and can produce some great results, with macro subjects.  I noted you said you were more inclined to wide angle and this is not the TG's strength.  You can of course get wet lenses for it. 

Video lights are much weaker than strobes, there was a post on here sometime back where someone tested 14,000 lumen video lights against YS-D2 strobes and there was 6 stops difference between them in output.  You certainly can use video lights with the TG-6 but really only for macro because you are just so close with the light.    My personal experience has been occasional use of my daughter's TG-4 it works but as an experienced photographer I found it a little frustrating to use. 

I don't think the TG-7 will get a bigger sensor, mainly because if it does it won't be the same camera, it can do what does mainly because it's using a small sensor.  This is what allows it to be so good at macro, focusing so close in a compact body with a zoom lens that doesn't extend.  The only real improvement you could do to make a TG type camera more attractive would be to allow manual control - that's the real frustrating part about using the TG series cameras.

The micro 3 is a fixed approx 18mm wide angle lens it's wide but not that wide and looks like it can't trigger strobes, so relies on a video light which will restrict you to very close range.  It appears to a fixed focus lens 15"to infinity so you can't get super close to subjects.

You could also consider for not a whole lot more money a 1"sensor compact like an RX-100 or Canon G7X, maybe start with a single strobe and work up from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[mention]ChrisRoss [/mention]
I'll look at those other camera options as well. I hear what you're saying about the limitations of those cameras. I do wonder if since I'm used to full control of my shots above water, I'll find the simpler cameras frustrating.

I think I might take a step back and look for some good online classes, behind the scenes videos, or take a photography class with a local dive shop before making my final decision. From reading on here I have a good overview of the housings, lighting, how they work, etc but I'm very much a person that learns by watching how others do things. I'm guessing a better understanding of these details will give me more clarity about what setup will be right for me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, lynnontheweb said:

[mention]ChrisRoss [/mention]
I'll look at those other camera options as well. I hear what you're saying about the limitations of those cameras. I do wonder if since I'm used to full control of my shots above water, I'll find the simpler cameras frustrating.
 

Everyone's different, but I think if you are an experienced land photographer you may well be frustrated with the TG cameras, no mistake they do a nice job at what they are good at, but there are compromises for other styles.  A lot of cameras can be made to work UW, but they require kludgy workarounds.  To me having full manual mode and the ability to use manual flash are important.

Maybe see if you can rent a camera in key largo to try out UW photography and then try getting a setup to take to Tahiti?  I think I'd certainly want a camera with good wide capabilities and a good set of strobes to use with the sharks in Tahiti.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's possible to rent UW camera gear? That's definitely what I'll try! I had looked at BorrowLenses to see if they rented anything for underwater but hadn't gone any farther.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, lynnontheweb said:

It's possible to rent UW camera gear? That's definitely what I'll try! I had looked at BorrowLenses to see if they rented anything for underwater but hadn't gone any farther. emoji2360.png

Possible but probably not everywhere, you would need to do some research all the big UW photo retailers offer rental gear including top end equipment but I expect prices will be rather high.  I have seen various dive shops offer cameras as well, google around or ask the dive shop you'll be using to see what's possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After much handwringing and thought I decided to buy the housing for my old Panasonic LUMIX G7. Ikelite had it on sale, I love the camera, know the camera, and don't have upgrade-itis. When I do ultimately decide to get a new camera body, I'll likely stay in the Panasonic LUMIX family and just get the new housing (or keep shooting UW with the G7 for as long as it works).

 

I also got two DS-160s and all the other stuff like the tray, arms, etc.

 

In the next few days I will start practicing in the pool, then I'll graduate to a low-stakes dive in the lake, then if I can pull away from the real world and work, likely go to Cozumel for a long weekend in about 3 weeks to give it a whirl.

 

Photo of my happy camera at IMG_9392-600x450.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, lynnontheweb said:

In the next few days I will start practicing in the pool, then I'll graduate to a low-stakes dive in the lake, then if I can pull away from the real world and work, likely go to Cozumel for a long weekend in about 3 weeks to give it a whirl.

I hope they aren't still soaking dive photographers with that big tax on dive housings!   A few years back someone posted about flying into Cancun and getting hit with a special, hefty tax.  Here's a Wetpixel article on the subject: https://www.wetpixel.com/articles/housing-importation-duties-levied-at-baja-airports

We're talking 16% of the estimated value of the housing, as looked up on google right there at customs.

Congrats on the housing.  You'll have lots of fun with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, phxazcraig said:

I hope they aren't still soaking dive photographers with that big tax on dive housings!   A few years back someone posted about flying into Cancun and getting hit with a special, hefty tax.  Here's a Wetpixel article on the subject: https://www.wetpixel.com/articles/housing-importation-duties-levied-at-baja-airports

We're talking 16% of the estimated value of the housing, as looked up on google right there at customs.

Congrats on the housing.  You'll have lots of fun with it.

That post is still regularly updated and still seems to be going on...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...