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Full Frame - body, lenses, mounts and more questions when going FF

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Posted (edited)

So there, the evil (upgrade bug) has struck...Been browsing upgrade options for the GH4, and by pure accident noticed S5 - literally FF in GH5M2 body and with lens choice that appears fairly priced.

I have always shunned the FF format as both crazily expensive and bulkier than M4/3 but it seems that in the past 1-2 years a lot of so called "entry level" FF cameras showed up, with weight matching M4/3 (or even lighter) and reasonable price (sub 2000 USD), meanwhile M4/3 seems to have gotten a bit heavier, and given the GH5M2/GH6 prices basically matching entry level FF. And I only care about stills, video being irrelevant more or less, so perhaps FF could be a good choice here.

As I can tell that the evil is strong, thought I will ask a few questions since seems there are lots of FF folks here. Body wise looked at the following:
Nikon: Z5/Z6 II
Panasonic: S5
Fuji: XT4
Sony A7RIII / IIIA
Anything else out there ?? (sub/around 2000 USD, those A1 cameras are way out of my price range :D )

A link to a comparison of tech specs of those (vs GHx) below, using dpreview camera comparison feature:
GH4 vs GH5M2 vs GH6 vs Z5 vs Z6 II vs S5 vs XT4 vs A7RIII vs A7RIIIA

Also a good read on Wetpixel:

The Perfect Underwater Camera

 

I am a bit confused by the Sony stack, also curious why Fuji did not get much traction underwater, as it seems an excellent camera on paper at least. But these seem more or less similar to a degree, though AF being generally praised on Sony and Canon R5 (not included as way too pricey) , hence this brings me to my main point - lens mounts and lenses.
These all have different mounts L/Z/E and whatcha not. And I am confused.com. So a few questions to all the FF users out there (in an organized fashion so perhaps this topic can serve as a reference later):

1) are there any pro/contra of mount X vs mount Y? (as in tech specs of the mount itself)
2) are there any pro/contra of mount X vs mount Y? (as in lens ecosystem prices and future support, e.g. F being abandoned etc)
4) are there any lenses that are better with a given mount than other? (in other topic there was a talk of Sigma 105mm being slower on Z-mount for example)
5) are there any lenses that really shine but are specific only to a given mount?
6) are there any lenses types that are missing for a given mount, forcing usage of WACP or other pricey/heavy solutions?  (like no wide angle etc)
7) anything else that might be important when considering body X /mount A vs body Y/mount B?


Thanks for all the feedback in advance :)

 

EDIT:

Forgot to add - do feel free to tell me i am silly and upgrading to FF will yield little benefits. That is also an open question.

Edited by makar0n
FFS - Fat Finger Syndrome

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well for a start the XT-4 is an APS-C sensor.   I don't know that mount matters all that much.  I'd suggest working out what class of lens you want , for example a fisheye for reef scenics and a macro lens, then work back to the camera body in each class.  Setup a spreadsheet and work out what the components of the system are going to be and how much they'll cost.  Then look up posts on WP and other places about each type of lens in combination with the camera body.

I note you are listing the Type III Sony bodies - there have been posts here complaining about slow and hunting AF with the Sony 90mm macro lens for example.

be sure to look at the total price for each lens.  For example a 16-35 f2.8 class wide angle with a 230mm dome and extension may cost near as much as a WACP and the second hand 28-70 zoom. 

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Having recently made the jump to FF I would say that if you are not shooting video, a lot of the differences become less compelling. For me it was Canon or the Sony A7 iv.  I went with Canon due to the 1.5 crop at 4k on the Sony, making it a large and heavy aps-c size sensor for more money but since you won't be shooting video, that doesn't really matter. In addition, white balance at deeper depths is a challenge on the non A1 sony (although I have not heard conclusive answers on the A7 iv) and this can be fixed in post on stills easier than video.

I will echo what Chris said - look at the whole housing costs and the housing and port availability.  Not an issue with the Nikon, Canon, or Sony but if the only manufacturer is Nauticam, all of a sudden things just got very expensive and any cost driven choices on the body become mute.  Also be sure to include the cost of strobe firing solution (TTL or not) in your searches.  Those also range widely in cost and availability. 

Canon has a new mount - that may be of interest and the lenses are super nice.  Sony's take the WWL-1, which is a significant advantage in certain cases.  Sony housings are frequently (but not always) smaller too since the bodies are smaller. Then again, nothing is small with a 230mm dome on the front.

I'd also say you may want to have the Canon R6 on your list.  I have one for above water shooting for stills and it is a dream to shoot with.  For shooting stills there is no downside for the R6 compared to the R5 (fewer megapixels but WOW do the images come out clean even at stupid ISOs).  The R6 is also closer to your price point (but over, except you can get a housing that is non-Nauticam and that will recoup all of the body cost differences right there).

Good luck on your decisions!  

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5 hours ago, makar0n said:

Forgot to add - do feel free to tell me i am silly and upgrading to FF will yield little benefits. That is also an open question.

I might put my hand up here, makar0n. 

Yep, lots of folks have and want FF and I respect that decision. I've posted many times that, although I love toys and the shinier the better, having had both APS-C (D300) and FF (D800), I have reverted back to APS-C (D500).

I'm not convinced that, for me anyway, FF is worth the extra cost and hassle. I found housing wide-angle FF is an expensive and inconvenient travel pain and, unless you have a special print or sales requirement, APS-C does the job extremely well. I just could not see the benefit of FF. I did take some convincing to revert to APS-C opting, as I say, for the D500 rather than the D850 I thought I wanted. But it was the right call.

Having said that,  I do believe you should not buy a system that leaves you really hankering for the one you decided against. So if you truly want FF because that will make you delight in your system, then fair enough, buy it. But if you truly want to buy a system that meets your needs, is relatively travel and budget friendly (relative being, err, a relative term of course) then maybe FF is not the way to go.

Are you buying FF because it's the only format that does what you need? Or because it's the big, cool kid on the block? 

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9 hours ago, TimG said:

I'm not convinced that, for me anyway, FF is worth the extra cost and hassle. I found housing wide-angle FF is an expensive and inconvenient travel pain and, unless you have a special print or sales requirement, APS-C does the job extremely well. I just could not see the benefit of FF. I did take some convincing to revert to APS-C opting, as I say, for the D500 rather than the D850 I thought I wanted. But it was the right call.

 

Yes, I missed the footnote - I agree with Tim, if it makes you happy and you can afford it - then why not.  But  look critically at the FF downsides and decide is they are worth the trouble. 

I settled on m43 underwater and found it's good enough and I certainly like the more compact setup for travel - everything is smaller - lenses, bodies , housing (more or less depending on which brand you settle on ), even required strobe power is less as you are shooting at wider apertures.  You can also do things like adapt an 8-15 fisheye and have a true fisheye zoom- only APS-C with the Tokina 10-17 and m43 can do that and you don't have to think about big domes and rectilinear lenses unless you do wrecks and  even then a 180mm dome is generally good enough.

Another way of looking at it is what is lacking in the GH4 that you want to improve upon?

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Posted (edited)
On 6/11/2022 at 12:50 PM, ChrisRoss said:

well for a start the XT-4 is an APS-C sensor.   I don't know that mount matters all that much.  I'd suggest working out what class of lens you want , for example a fisheye for reef scenics and a macro lens, then work back to the camera body in each class.  Setup a spreadsheet and work out what the components of the system are going to be and how much they'll cost.  Then look up posts on WP and other places about each type of lens in combination with the camera body.

I note you are listing the Type III Sony bodies - there have been posts here complaining about slow and hunting AF with the Sony 90mm macro lens for example.

be sure to look at the total price for each lens.  For example a 16-35 f2.8 class wide angle with a 230mm dome and extension may cost near as much as a WACP and the second hand 28-70 zoom. 

Yeah, that one is diff, though guess still bigger than M4/3, and at least on paper specs look pretty ok plus one of my on-land photo buddies swears by Fuji. But spreadsheet is a good idea - that is the plan for this week, compare choices/cost/weight.

Already found an interesting resource, at least cor macro comparison, probably known to you but a new one for me :)
Basically a nice listing of all macro lenses for underwater usage, their basic specs like magnification/working range as well as the most important, weight and dimensions

UW Guide - Macro Lenses For Underwater Photography

Definitely not getting even close to anything like 230 - that is not a travel size but a hat size, one can wear it instead of a sombrero perhaps.

 

Quote

Yes, I missed the footnote - I agree with Tim, if it makes you happy and you can afford it - then why not.  But  look critically at the FF downsides and decide is they are worth the trouble. 

I settled on m43 underwater and found it's good enough and I certainly like the more compact setup for travel - everything is smaller - lenses, bodies , housing (more or less depending on which brand you settle on ), even required strobe power is less as you are shooting at wider apertures.  You can also do things like adapt an 8-15 fisheye and have a true fisheye zoom- only APS-C with the Tokina 10-17 and m43 can do that and you don't have to think about big domes and rectilinear lenses unless you do wrecks and  even then a 180mm dome is generally good enough.

Another way of looking at it is what is lacking in the GH4 that you want to improve upon? 

 

Well whether i can afford it that is the question :D Definitely will aim to get as many 2nd hand parts as possible, to keep the cost down, and most likely start smaller, i.e. macro/wide lens then see later about adding more. Fish eye might skip, somehow never got along with it, barely used the Panasonic 8mm.

Travel wise that is indeed where M4/3 seems unbeatable...I have full setup (macro/wide/standard/fisheye) with strobes, lights and whatcha not + laptop and it still fits into a medium sized backpack (smaller than average hand baggage allowance, apart from weight - it is about 12-13kg) sans arms/clamps/floats....that definitely helps sneaking through all check-ins  (only ever had trouble once, but it was Swissport handler in Amsterdam and luckily actual Garuda rep was nearby) and i do not need to worry about gear traveling in cargo hold.

As for improvement - apart from general tech upgrade, my biggest gripe is AF i would say, especially with Panasonic 45mm macro. Somehow find it problematic, and with things like CMC it becomes a real chore. But then of course it could be also that I simply stink, in which case upgrade won't help :D

Edited by makar0n
FFS - Fat Finger Syndrome

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Posted (edited)
On 6/11/2022 at 5:28 PM, TimG said:

I might put my hand up here, makar0n. 

Yep, lots of folks have and want FF and I respect that decision. I've posted many times that, although I love toys and the shinier the better, having had both APS-C (D300) and FF (D800), I have reverted back to APS-C (D500).

I'm not convinced that, for me anyway, FF is worth the extra cost and hassle. I found housing wide-angle FF is an expensive and inconvenient travel pain and, unless you have a special print or sales requirement, APS-C does the job extremely well. I just could not see the benefit of FF. I did take some convincing to revert to APS-C opting, as I say, for the D500 rather than the D850 I thought I wanted. But it was the right call.

Having said that,  I do believe you should not buy a system that leaves you really hankering for the one you decided against. So if you truly want FF because that will make you delight in your system, then fair enough, buy it. But if you truly want to buy a system that meets your needs, is relatively travel and budget friendly (relative being, err, a relative term of course) then maybe FF is not the way to go.

Are you buying FF because it's the only format that does what you need? Or because it's the big, cool kid on the block? 

 

Well firstly thank you for being the voice of reason :) Part of whatever passes for my brain thinks exactly the same. I was more thinking FF as a "middle ground", definitely not bothered about coolness factor, i.e better quality than M4/3 but not as big/heavy as DSLR...that said seems maybe I was wrong.

I do like toys (aren't we all) but then also try to stay reasonable - don't have a huge budget and do not see a point in splashing for some super duper expensive things as this is only my hobby, not work, hence money is best allocated elsewhere like actually going diving. Even the most expensive camera is not good if sitting at home. And sadly I am still stuck in a place where reefs are rather hard to come by hence traveling cost is a thing. And no, I have no interest in any lake/mine/quarry etc diving....I like my ass warm and must have all the pretty shiny reefy things :)

Now to shine some light - never bothered with FF, since one look at Sony body price was enough to nope the heck out of there. However I am now facing a bit of a dilemma - would love to slowly start thinking about "updating" GH4. Was even dreaming about GH6 but housing prices quickly cured me out of that. Original GH5 holds no interest for me,  it was not a big upgrade vs GH4 in my opinion and most improvements were in terms of video. That leaves GH5M2 currently, but, body price is almost as high as entry level S5, and housing prices (thanks to all the price rises) are still pretty high (i.e. from what i would expect for a 5 year old system/saw with previous generations). So at best i am looking at about 2.5-3k upgrade cost.
So that exactly got me thinking - hmm if i am to spend that much (which is a lot for me), why not Zoidberg?  Maybe it makes more sense to jump up, and once i sell M4/3 the total spent cost would be around the same, or so I hope.

That said, this is all just thinking loudly for now. I am not in a rush, so want to gather as much info as possible first, as there seems to be system differences. For example lens wise noticed Sigma 105mm is a popular macro choice but should i go with Nikon, i am stuck with Nikon version which costs 3x as much. Generally aim to this week do some weight comparison, as that is also a major issue - seems, at least based on macro lenses, it is quite significant, like 200g vs 700g or so. 0.5kg for a single lens seems quite a lot.

Also, digging through wetpixel found yours and Adam's posts about D850/D500 and its unbeatable AF. And as much as i always shunned DSLR as well, now realized, darn it, its basically almost the same weight for housing/body, the same weight for lenses, and definitely wins in price/AF.
And to complicate things even more, found out new lenses are incoming for M4/3, and while Panasonic seems tight lipped, Olympus confirmed that one of the will be macro apparently, maybe even 100mm one.
Plus of course there is one more option - can the upgrade at all for now and revisit it next year for example.

Edited by makar0n

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On 6/11/2022 at 4:21 PM, ColdDarkDiver said:

Having recently made the jump to FF I would say that if you are not shooting video, a lot of the differences become less compelling. For me it was Canon or the Sony A7 iv.  I went with Canon due to the 1.5 crop at 4k on the Sony, making it a large and heavy aps-c size sensor for more money but since you won't be shooting video, that doesn't really matter. In addition, white balance at deeper depths is a challenge on the non A1 sony (although I have not heard conclusive answers on the A7 iv) and this can be fixed in post on stills easier than video.

I will echo what Chris said - look at the whole housing costs and the housing and port availability.  Not an issue with the Nikon, Canon, or Sony but if the only manufacturer is Nauticam, all of a sudden things just got very expensive and any cost driven choices on the body become mute.  Also be sure to include the cost of strobe firing solution (TTL or not) in your searches.  Those also range widely in cost and availability. 

Canon has a new mount - that may be of interest and the lenses are super nice.  Sony's take the WWL-1, which is a significant advantage in certain cases.  Sony housings are frequently (but not always) smaller too since the bodies are smaller. Then again, nothing is small with a 230mm dome on the front.

I'd also say you may want to have the Canon R6 on your list.  I have one for above water shooting for stills and it is a dream to shoot with.  For shooting stills there is no downside for the R6 compared to the R5 (fewer megapixels but WOW do the images come out clean even at stupid ISOs).  The R6 is also closer to your price point (but over, except you can get a housing that is non-Nauticam and that will recoup all of the body cost differences right there).

Good luck on your decisions!  

Out of the curiosity, what did you shoot before, was it M4/3 ? Did this make a big difference?
Sadly Sony/Canon (even the R6) are way out of my price range...would have to really get lucky and find some package at some crazy prices, but little chances of that. For now aiming for the previous gen ideally, do not need the latest and greatest and that helps to keep the overlay cost down (and increases the chances of finding things like housing 2nd hand)

WWL is a tough one for me - heard it is a nice thing, regardless of the system, but i am trying to stay away from the glass things. They are heavy unfortunately, both travel wise and underwater.

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On 6/13/2022 at 8:20 AM, makar0n said:

And as much as i always shunned DSLR as well, now realized, darn it, its basically almost the same weight for housing/body, the same weight for lenses, and definitely wins in price/AF.

Yeah, not easy calls at all.

Like so many on this forum, I've thought hard about trying to reduce weight/volume of my system for travelling. I thought that maybe mirrorless would do that. But then when you start to add it all togther, the difference between, say, APS-C (or even FF) and mirrorless is minimal. Yeah, the camera body might be smaller - and maybe the housing (although not necessarily it seems!) but total size/volume isn't that much different as lots of a system's parts stay the same. 

Chris Ross, Robert and a few others argue that M4/3 solves that problem and remains very high quality. Having invested my kids' inheritance in Nikon, I feel it would be unfair to them to now try and switch to Olympus or such. I hope they appreciate what I am doing for them - the burden I bear.....

Still, fun for you going through all the possibilities. Do post your findings. I'm sure lots of folks would be interested.

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2 minutes ago, makar0n said:

For now aiming for the previous gen ideally, do not need the latest and greatest and that helps to keep the overlay cost down (and increases the chances of finding things like housing 2nd hand)

Really good move I think. Second hand housings can be a bargain and provided you chose one that will house a camera with good AF and the right range of lenses, you're on a winner and probably good for a few years. Camera iterations and upgrades have slowed down since the 2000s.

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You should maybe look at Olympus or now OM-D offerings. In terms of AF they are generally ahead of Panasonic although I believe not quite up to Canon/Sony levels. Their bodies are often smaller and housings cheaper. 

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11 hours ago, makar0n said:

Yeah, that one is diff, though guess still bigger than M4/3, and at least on paper specs look pretty ok plus one of my on-land photo buddies swears by Fuji. But spreadsheet is a good idea - that is the plan for this week, compare choices/cost/weight

Definitely not getting even close to anything like 230 - that is not a travel size but a hat size, one can wear it instead of a sombrero perhaps.

Well whether i can afford it that is the question :D Definitely will aim to get as many 2nd hand parts as possible, to keep the cost down, and most likely start smaller, i.e. macro/wide lens then see later about adding more. Fish eye might skip, somehow never got along with it, barely used the Panasonic 8mm.

As for improvement - apart from general tech upgrade, my biggest gripe is AF i would say, especially with Panasonic 45mm macro. Somehow find it problematic, and with things like CMC it becomes a real chore. But then of course it could be also that I simply stink, in which case upgrade won't help

I don't know it seems you've painted yourself into a corner, no 230mm domes- which I would agree with, no fisheyes and I think elsewhere you said probably no to a WWL?  In full frame that comes down to something in the 24-70 range with a 180mm-ish dome with the corners maybe a little soft at its widest for a wide angle solution unless I'm missing something?

On the Fuji, I've fielded questions here from people determined to house their Fuji - they seem to be enjoying it - but they don't have a fisheye option and their macro options are limited.  If you look at sensor specs the difference between m43 and APS-C is relatively small for the most part and they suffer from lens choice issues as well.  APS-C sensors probably a little large in sensor size for a 180mm range dome I think.

I haven't used a GH4 but the common complaint in Panasonic on posts I've seen here - all bodies from GH4 through to the S series full frame is the contrast detect AF is pretty average.   The Olympus EM-1 MkII I use is quite snappy focusing with a macro lens and on land at least the OM-1 is significantly snappier to focus.  In Olympus you could use your current lenses and ports and put that money towards a better body.  As far as image quality goes the The gap from the GH4 to the OM-1 MkII is bigger than the gap from the Olympus camera to a Nikon D500 at least on noise performance basis.  You can see the performance in this DXO comparison:

https://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-GH4-versus-Nikon-D500-versus-Olympus-OM-D-E-M1-Mark-II___943_1061_1136

The Olympus housings in Nauticam have not escalated as much as the Panasonic housings and are quite a bit cheaper than the full frame offerings.

 

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I went from Nikon D200 (Seacam) to D7000 (Nauticam) to D800 and now back to a crop-sensor Z50. This last is far more complicated to use as you need to remove the port and lens to change a card or battery when using Nikon F lenses. I wanted to try mirrorless and water contact optics - the WWL-C is good, only 1kg and $1000, but it's not really wide enough for my taste at 130 degrees corner to corner. I use a Sigma 8-16 with an FTZ adapter which is wider and good for over/under. I use it with the 8.5" acrylic dome. The Z50 focus doesn't support screw type autofocus so I can't use the Tokina 10-17. I relented and bought a Nikon 8-15 fisheye which is useful on a crop sensor, almost imitating a Tokina. Wide rectilinear on full-frame is heavy and expensive and a pain for travel.

Second-hand housings you can find for 50% of new. I think a D500 with a Tokina 10-17 and small dome is hard to beat, and if you want better quality, pay for better water.

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So I have been quiet as been digging and creating pretty spreadsheet things. For now these are based on Nauticam parts (which is perhaps not the best choice if one considers their general prices and their recent price "improvement" of popular camera housings). But, I am currently using their system (I am waiting for that N85 converter Aquatica ;) ), so can compare actual lenses/ports I own and I am familiar with.

Another factor is technical data - all companies slack here, Nauticam is no exception. So finding data like weight becomes a real challenge, which took me way longer than expected. So sadly while I was planning to add Aquatica et all, it is not there now, perhaps at some point in the future if i have the time...
And other manufacturers will make difference, both in weight (for example GH5/GH5 from Aquatica is only 2450g, while Nauticam GH5 is 2360 but jumping to a whooping 2800 for GH6.

Similarly expect big jumps in prices - again Nauticam GH5/GH6 is about 4500 USD (funnily enough GH6 being cheaper), meanwhile Aquatica 2950 USD and that includes vacuum thingie and flash trigger - another 600+ USD if going with Nauticam). Also in general things like extension/adapters/ports etc will be even 2x+ cheaper than Nauticam - in other words, total system price might be 1000s less if going with others.
Also note that i have excluded things like zoom gears/strobe triggers etc for now as these do not add much to the weight. However as these do add to the cost, you could take number of lenses and multiply by average price of 300 USD then add another 300 for a trigger so say 4x 300 + 300 - add about 1500 USD to the total price (though not everywhere as for example Nikon Z6/Z7 housing has trigger built in)

Not included is also Canon FF system (no real entry level camera) as well as Panasonic S5, as there are no housings yet and no real data on underwater performance.

As for the spreadsheet i might make it available here, if there is any interest, but for now i want to clean it up a bit and see if some things can be automated to a degree. Though if you do feel like you just cannot live without it, do feel free to PM me.


So here we go:

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1) Comparison of macro/standard/WA/fisheye setup weight (grams):

A few notes:
-while this one is pretty accurate I had to estimate weight of some oddball extension ring that i could not find anywhere or OM1 housing (as its still TBA)
-weight of fisheye lens/necessary housing parts is not there for Nikon/Sony/Fuji as these systems do not have a fisheye lens. Hence that will skew it a bit vs others.
-in general I've tried to use least parts/share ports etc. however as i am not that familiar with lenses other than M4/3 some of my choices could be questionable :)
-similarly i've tried to avoid any glass ports/wwl/wacp and other potatoes. That was however not possible with Fuji, as apart from having tiny choice of lens, most require glass parts.

 

image.png.45a228cb7f90df2ca09044bdf7183230.png

 

Thoughts:
Olympus cameras and GH4 are undisputed winners here. GH5 and especially GH6 housing seems to have gotten fat. FF can be 1.5-2kg heavier, to the point of being even heavier than the dSLRs.

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Posted (edited)

2) Comparison of system, housing (as in all parts needed to take macro/standard/WA/fisheye underwater, as well as camera body and lenses weight (grams)

Notes:
-zoom rings/strobe triggers etc, as well as any other parts like strobes/lights/arms and all the metal junk are not included
-these are the same parts as used for weight estimate, so lens choice might or might not be questionable.
-as noted previously FF systems do not have fisheye choice, as such their total weight is skewed

image.png.c22b25928766743157ffab7390f108b7.png

Thoughts:
-M4/3 is significantly lighter, up to 3kg. This however decreases slightly with GH5/GH6 due to their heavier housing. Surprisingly dSLRs can be lighter than FF setup, even including fisheye lens. Even the D850 aka "the brick" is very close, and in case vs Fuji (with glass parts) actually lighter
- dSLRs system seem to in general be better "designed" - there is not only more lenses, but most can share ports and extension, while in FF there seems to be more "single use" extensions, or the need to use N100 o N120 adapter, adding more weight vs dSLR

Edited by makar0n

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Posted (edited)

3) Comparison of system, housing (as in all parts needed to take macro/standard/WA/fisheye underwater, as well as camera body and lenses weight (USD)

Notes:
-as noted previously cost of zoom rings/strobe trigger is not included
-i have used prices from Nauticam/Backscatter/BH Photo or tried to find out a launch price where possible i.e. to avoid comparing used prices vs new
-that said, when factoring in used prices, numbers might change significantly, ie plenty of used M43/dSLR parts out there. Guess FF will still remain the most expensive though.
-D500 - as it is no longer appearing on Nauticam website i have used launch price of 3500 USD. That said D850 is currently 5159. A similar paradox occurred with GH5 - launch was 2650, but as Nauticam decided to "improve" that since, it is now 4540 USD. However as it is still listed on Nauticam website i have used the latter
-as previously no fisheye for FF, hence cost is also skewed a bit vs other systems
-it is entry level FF vs top of the line M43/dSLR

 

image.png.bec4b7617ef8f12bfd0c68191d5bb437.png

 

Thoughts:
-Not as much difference (vs M43) as one would think, that said I have avoided glass parts where possible, and those somehow will recommended when going FF/dSLR vs somehow optional with M4/3
-as we are comparing Nauticam prices, their price "improvement" effort of the last year certainly shows - just see 1000s difference when looking at GH4 vs GH5/6. Others will be also affected to some degree, though probably lesser one.
-interestingly dSLR win vs FF yet again, being actually cheaper than even entry level FF, even when FF has no fisheye lens/port/assorted garbage factored in
-D500 seems to come out as the price to performance ratio king - great quality and price even lower than M43 setups

Edited by makar0n

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Posted (edited)

4) Closing points at least from my perspective:

-weight - FF is not great to say the least - my general impression is this system is slightly less thought through/designed than dSLR (being its closest counterpart). Plenty of random  extensions/adapters and other weight adding crap. Also it somehow feels that a lot of these extensions are of almost single use only while in dSLR there seems to be less different ones and these are usable on more than one lens/port

-cost - here FF is simply terrible, where even the entry level setups can costs thousand more than even dSLR ones, and that is even without the fisheye options. Also the gazillion of extensions at 600 USD a pop makes it even worse

-complexity - another thing that has dawned on me - M43 is simple, take housing + port, done. dSLR/FF takes it to a whole new level, with a tonne of extension/adapters/adapters to an extension to an adapter and other nonsense, especially visible with Sony and the usual recipe "...take the N100 to N120 adapter". That is way more points of ingress and o-rings to worry about. Not to mention you get to spend even more time with your camera while the rest of the group has dinner or enjoys evening beers.

-interchangeability - with M43 I can change bodies to different brands and keep the lenses. With FF and their mounts, I am mostly stuck within a given brand.

-size - another issue in addition to the weight - smallest, non glass dome is 8.5", Lenses can also be up to 2x bigger. And you have to stuff it all to your backpack and then try to squeeze in that generous 7kg hand baggage weight allowance.

-image quality - seems to me that while the entry level FF would have a better quality than M4/3, whether that difference would be significant enough to warrant big weight and and sizeable cost increase, seems debatable. For anything serious one would have to go with top of the line choices and then expect another 5000-8000 USD added cost, to the point of being 2x price of even D850.

Edited by makar0n

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Posted (edited)

5) And a closing summary:

Praise flying spaghetti monster as i am cured... @TimG aka "The Voice of Reason" (this should be your new official title) wins :D


After a week of digging around and crunching numbers, I came to the conclusion that for now, any upgrade to FF is simply not worth it. Any image quality increase comes with huge cost and weight increase. And the only way to have significant quality increase is to go for not-so-entry-anymore bodies where costs skyrocket.
At this point this stops making sense and might as well go for dSLR - seem to have both better quality, much bigger lenses ecosystem (including fisheye) and on occasion even weight less, not to mention can cost half of what a corresponding FF system (with top tier body).
In other words, FF might or might not be the future, time will tell, but its not there yet technologically it seems. And once we factor in the cost, it becomes a rather questionable choice. The only exception could be Canon - the R5 seems to be getting real praise and their lens ecosystem is also huge (only FF with fisheye it seems). But that is nowhere near an entry level camera, with a significant price tag.

And yes, weight does play a huge role for me - while it might be less relevant in the US/Canada, as it seems luggage is both cheaper and often operated on the piece (rather than weight) concept, Europe is going to hell. So to give you an example based on Singapore Airlines - extra 1x 23kg  in Economy class in long haul costs 280 USD in piece concept. Or 42 USD per kg in weight concept. So 23 x 42 = 966 USD for any non US/Canadian route.
Before we had high prices but great service. Then crappy service but low prices. Now we have the worst of both worlds - high prices and crappy service. And this translates to luggage - (from recent experience trying to book a flight to Indonesia from mainland Europe) more and more airlines think that 25 (or even 23) kg is enough for long haul, or remove checked luggage altogether in some idiotic "economy light" classes. Similarly hand luggage is often limited to 1 piece/7kg. And i am talking about major airlines here. So good luck stuffing your dive gear and camera, not to mention such silly things like clothes. And those few extra kilos will often cost you few hundred EUR extra minimum, sometimes so much that it is cheaper to book another ticket than pay for the extra weight. And it is only going to get worse I fear.


Also another interesting discussion  has developed, with some very interesting comments on the subject so linking it here purely due to a related subject:
https://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?/topic/69437-mirrorless-cameras-opportunity-or-necessary-evil/


There are also new lenses coming for M4/3 system, possibly including 100-150mm macro. I have been also looking into the Olympus side following the feedback of @ChrisRoss , @hyp and @Davide DB (somehow ended up on Panasonic one without any particular reason), and perhaps this could be something to try instead of the whole FF thing - grab a EM1 M2/M3 body and see how it goes. OM1 looks amazing, but as its "latest and greatest" there is rather little chance of getting body or housing 2nd hand, meaning a significanly higher cost at this point.  But lets see how it goes, I am not in any rush :)

On a side note i just hate Olympus naming, all those Olympus O-MD E-M1 Mark III like names literally make half of search engines barf. All those lovely dashes, marks, numerals, and then lets name a newest camera the same as our 50 year old one that litters half of internets :crazy:

 

Thank you all for the feedback though and sorry for the wall of text :)

Edited by makar0n

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1 hour ago, makar0n said:

Praise flying spaghetti monster as i am cured... @TimG aka "The Voice of Reason" (this should be your new official title) wins :D


After a week of digging around and crunching numbers, I came to the conclusion that for now, any upgrade to FF is simply not worth it. Any image quality increase comes with huge cost and weight increase. And the only way to have significant quality increase is to go for not-so-entry-anymore bodies where costs skyrocket.

The Voice of Reason: saving one photographer at a time..... :crazy:

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1 minute ago, TimG said:

The Voice of Reason: saving one photographer at a time..... :crazy:

!!!!

IQ alone is insufficient rationale for up-sizing one's sensor size IMHO. One needs to be rather specific such as a desire to make really large prints that have been unsatisfactory with current gear.

I use FF. My main bodies are the Nikon D4S and Canon IDX that are used mostly in auto ISO mode with max ISO set, respectively, at 16000 and 12800 for available light shooting (spring to very early autumn). These cameras have resolution in the same ballpark as micro four thirds cameras but have about a 3-stop high ISO edge. With direct sunlight I typically get from ISO 5000 to my max (when a cloud blocks the sun). Use mainly fisheye lenses (so no real small lens apertures except with micro-dome). Need short exposures due to fish movement. Shallow water but at 60.5 degrees north latitude. The big batteries also help a lot because the mean water temp in my streams is 5C (actually measured by a graduate student).

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Fair points, Tom. You’ve got very specialist needs which FF meets. That was a point I made - but for the average Joe, not so much. 

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28 minutes ago, TimG said:

Fair points, Tom. You’ve got very specialist needs which FF meets. That was a point I made - but for the average Joe, not so much. 

Yes!!!

I think examples are needed! Many seem to want to upgrade without articulating a good rationale or two, etc. The average Joe might do well with something even less than what the OP has. I see a lot of Sealife and Go Pros when diving in Hawaii. The only local (to me) that has given an UW presentation used a Sony 100 model with wet lenses - the results wowed most people in the audience although the pix were not all that sharp. The projector may have been dodgy as well (I used a different venue when called).

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