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JMauser

Help narrowing down Canon choices.

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Hi all,

I'm planning on buying a digital compact for my fiance and I will buy myself a housing to go along. I've narrowed it down to one of these four with a canon housing: A95, S5000, S60, and S70. All four have 5+ mp and aperature and shutter priority which I want. I would go for an A95 or S5000 because of the cheaper pricing but I would like a wider angle than the 36 or 38mm that they offer. The S60 and 70 have the 28mm on the wide angle but they're more expensive. B/t those two I may as well pay the extra 40 bucks for 7 mp.

Anyone with experience with any of these cameras please give your opinions. Also, do you think it's worth the extra $100 for the wide angle underwater. If the S70 is the best choice, then just say "get the S70 you dummy." Thanks, John

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Hi

In my experience I'd say go for the wide angle. In addition check which cameras can shoot in RAW. Being able to manually shift white balance will give you a huge advantage for getting better quality pictures.

 

In terms of going for more megapixels, you should evaluate what you are going to be doing with your shots. If you plan on making 16x20 prints or shooting for publication then go more megapixels. If you'd just like to make some 4x5 or 8x10s and throw them on a webpage, then you might want to look to save a couple bucks. Hope this helps.

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16x20's :D ...

I'd consider myself semi pro topside. My main digital is a 10D...just not ready to pay to house it yet. Although the underwater photography would be a hobby thing for now, I still want to have the option to make really big prints if something comes out really nice. That's why I'd go for the S70 over S60 if I had to choose b/t the two. I have a feeling I'd be missing the wide angle under water. But if anyone disagrees, let me know. Anyone have a S70???

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I understand the imaging advantages of RAW, but with a Nikon CP5000 there are a couple of problems (it may be better for newer Canons, I dunno):

 

1. The RAW write speed of the CP5000 is very poor. This makes RAW impractical for "action" shots where you may need to fire several times in rapid succession. This is principally a camera, not flash card, limit. JPEG's set you free.

 

2. The sensors have higher noise compared to DSLR's, and the ultimate image quality is limited by this. Yes, my RAW's do look better than my JPEG's, but I have this feeling (unsubstantiated by experience with RAW's on DSLR's) that the SENSOR is much more of a limit than the FORMAT on image quality (so shooting RAW on my CP5000 is sorta shutting the door after most of the horses have already left the barn).

 

And then, of course, I can get about 4X as many fine JPEG's on a card.

 

I do all my image processing in a loss-free format (TIFF or PSD).

 

For me, and the shooting I do, I can rarely take full advantage of RAW underwater with the CP5000. IF the write were much faster and the sensor somewhat silkier, then the feature would be more worthwhile.

 

Also, I agree on wide-angle being very important -- this is why I got the CP5000, it has 18mm equivalent focal length with the pretty good Nikon WCE68 lens attachment and Ike port.

 

Here's looking forward to getting a fast on, fast focusing, fast writing DSLR ... whenever I can afford it!

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Hi John,

 

You've got a lot to think about and I'm not going to be able to decide for you... but I can offer a couple of insights. Firstly, remember that the wide angle lenses on all the cameras become less wide behind the flat ports you find in most of the housings (including Canons). Therefore, your 28 mm becomes a ~35 mm underwater (depending on the camera). You can of course, buy wide angle converters that fit on outside the housing (inon and epoch make popular versions). Similarly, if you house the camera behind a dome port, the field of view of the lens is maintained. You may wish to consider whether you would prefer to save some money on the camera (and get, say, the A95) and then sink the rest into a wide converter? :lol:

 

Depending on the depth you are planning to take the camera, you will almost certainly want to consider something other than the in-camera flash. Unlike topside photos, most shots don't work too well u/w without some sort of suplementary lighting. You can get away with in-camera on some macro shots, but for wide angle you end up with detrimental backstacker from the particles in the water. You might consider an Inon strobe as well. :shock:

 

Once you start adding all this up, it often becomes a pretty attractive option to just stick your 10D in an Ikelite housing and use your existing wide lenses. You'll still need a flash, but you would with any camera u/w - something to consider. :?

 

Hope this helps rather than hinders. :D

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Anthp,

your advice really helped. I had no idea that the wide angle was hindered without the wide lens port. I just figured that the ports were only for the wide angle lens adapters. I will need to do some more research now. Just to get this straight...the only way to get wide angle on these compacts is to add a lens adapter and wide angle port, correct? Say I buy the A95 and shoot it without the port and adapter for a little while...will the lens still be a ~35mm equivalant or will it be cut down even more to say 50mm.

There were a couple reasons I was going to go with the point and shoot over housing my 10D.

1) $$$

2) Compactness...the first couple times we will use it will be on our honeymoon. Stingray City, Snorkeling Cozumel, etc. I didn't want to carry a DSLR with a big housing on those kind of trips.

3) My fiance wants a P&S digital anyway... so if I eventually upgrade to a DSLR housing, my only money loss will be a $200 canon P&S housing.

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Hi John

 

A couple more things to consider if you do go the compact route ...

 

- There's a substantial price difference (last time I checked) between the Canon housing and the next-cheapest option.

 

- For cameras with small lenses such as these Canons, the obvious way to go for wet lenses (should you decide you want a wide-angle lens) is the Inon AD-mount. These lenses are much easier to deal with than the M67 (67mm thread) mount lenses. But Inon do not support the Canon S60/S70, apparently because the native lens is so wide already that the adapter would vignette, and they don't want people to compain about that. (Having said that, I got an Inon AD_mount adapter from a website in Austria, and it works, although it does in fact vignette unless you zoom in a bit; but the result is still much wider than the native lens alone.)

 

- If you house an expensive camera, make sure your insurance is appropriate! Occasionally people DO flood these things.

 

- My observation on live-aboard trips is that dealing with the housing is much more fiddly with the DSLRs. But since I have never housed one, that's a bit of conjecture.

 

- I have personally resisted the DSLR route because of the size and weight of the whole setup (I already usually have to fast-talk my way out of weight penalties when I check in for dive trips!), and my presumption that's it's more complicated than what I do now.

 

- My other - equally important - reason for resisting the DSLR route is that I so much dislike the idea of not having a view of the whole scene - including whatever's happening around me - while I'm framing a shot. Different people obviosuly have very different preferences in this area. Without knowing your level of diving skill, I'd just suggest to be sure you don't initially give yourself too high a task loading in what is afterall a potentially lethal environment. My observation - based on watching other divers - is that a housed DSLR leaves you less spare attention for your dive situation.

 

I have a few S70 shots (only did a few dives) in the 200411 Bali Diving gallery here:

http://www.fototime.com/inv/36B23AC6067E711

Some of these used the Inon w/a lens or macro lens. Wherever I used flash it was a pair of Inon Z220s.

 

The "S70 Manta" subdirectory has shots taken by my girlfriend on her one-and-only dive (of that trip) with the S70 - she had ear problems and couldn't descend as recommened, so she was right up there with the Mantas. She used the Inon W/A lens.

 

Otherwise, in the "diving" subdirectory, the others are all my shots with the S70 (except the Mantas were taken with my old Oly5050, without a wide-angle lens)

 

(All the previous diving directories were taken with the 5050.)

 

HTH

-David

 

[edited the embedded link]

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David, thanks for the help and the photos. I have decided to just get my fiance an A95 and myself the corresponding canon housing. This will have to suffice for the honeymoon as the wedding expenses have already drained us. Later on, I'll purchase an Oly 5060 or possibly a 7070 with wide angle lens, housing and strobe. All that together will still be much cheaper than trying to house my DSLR. And I won't feel nearly as bad if something ever happened to it. I use my DSLR topside way too much to risk it. John

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