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Advise for an compact "available light" SLR setup

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I am thinking maybe to upgrade my system. I am a frediver and I only take photos with available light between 0-10 meters, so I need a very compact and fast setup.

 

First I will tell my likes ands dislikes with my current Olympus 5050 setup

 

Likes

Small format

1.8 lens

manual controls

Mymode settings

My Inon UWL100 with Dome

 

Dislikes

Shutter lag "the delay is killing my shoots"

Slow Raw

Slow buffer

Olympus PT015 Housing "I know....GET a Ikelite"

 

I am searching for a SLR that corresponds to my needs.

Since I am a freediver and shoot WA only in available light I need a camera that:

 

1. is small together with the housing

2. have no shutter lag

3. has big & fast buffer

4. Lens (Like Nikons Af 10,5/2,8DX G ED fish-eye )

5. Enough pixel so that when I need to crop a picture I have enough quality for a A4 page

 

I think than Canon D20 is a good camera, but the Canon lenses are not what I am looking for. The alternative is Nikon D70, but will D70 contain the above requests, or should I better stay with my 5050 and wait for the next SLR generation?

 

P.S Please don't recommend me the Nikon D2X because my father was not a Greek tycoon :D

 

Lambis

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Hi Lambis,

 

I think either a Canon 20D or 350D are your best choices. These are bar far the most compact DSLRs. Obviously you need to makes sure that you choose a housing that carries over this size saving. In fact that is an interesting question:

 

Which housings for the 20D are significantly smaller than say a D70 housing (which is, of course, a bigger camera)?

 

I would suggest that you don't get too wide a lens for shooting freedivers. Personally I think that you will find the 10.5mm too wide. I suggest using a 15/16mm fisheye. When shooting available light you will end up with a big exposure variation across the frame of a fisheye.

 

So I suggest a Canon 20D/350D in the smallest housing out there for it. I don't know which that is. Plus a 15mm fisheye and maybe a 10-22mm.

 

Alex

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To re-state that question -

The smallest housing I have used is the Subal D70. Which of the Canon 20D/350D housings are smaller than the Subal?

Alex

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i just had two people here with the Subals for D70 and 20D, couldn't tell the diff in size. But i was admiring the small size of both.

 

But with Subal....perhaps he needs to adopt a Greek tycoon father? Speaking of greek tycoons, just marry Paris Hilton!

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How about Nikon D70/D70s in Nexus housing with their small dome for 10.5mm? That has to be one of the smallest wide angle setup with domeport. Nexus D70 housing is very compact as well and not much different in size to Subal. The only disadvantage of Nexus small dome is that it is not very good with over/under shot, I think.

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Thanks for the Help

 

I was always a Nikon user (My first Camera was a Nikon EM) but maybe its time to test Canon.

 

I dont know eather what quality the Canon lenses have and for WA lenses

I am searching something between 100 & 130 angle underwater

 

 

I have try to find prices for all the parts. Price matters untill I marry Paris Hilton :-)

 

Camera Bodys

Nikon D70s 140 x 111 x 78 mm ca 800 Euro

Canon Eos 20D 144 x 106 x 72 mm ca 1390 Euro

Canon Eos 350D 127 x 94 x 64 mm ca 800 Euro

 

Lenses

Canon Ef 15/2,8 Fisheye ca 690 Euro

Nikon Af 16/2,8D Fisheye ca 1290 Euro

Nikon Af 10,5/2,8DX G ED fish-eye ca 670 Euro

 

UW Housings

Subal Canon D20 ca 3000 Euro

Subal Nikon D70 ca 2600 Euro

Nexus D70 ca 2000 Euro

Nexus D20 ????

 

DomePorts

Subal ca 1000 Euro

Nexus for 16 mm lens ca 500 Euro

 

Like we see the UW Housing is the most expensive Part

 

A Canon 350D with a 15 Fisheye and Nexus housing is the cheapest setup that

you can get.

 

Subal on the other side is a Housing that I like a lot. I hope in Egypt to find some UW photographer with Subal housing. I must test it before I pay that amoung off money.

 

ALEX what UK shops can you recomment me with Subal housing gear?

 

Lambis

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I will leave the Canon/Nikon choice up to you. The Canon's are smaller - but if the housing is the same size then you don't gain from it - looking at the images I reckon that the Subal D70 is smaller than the 20D! Try both brands and see what you like. Both are good cameras.

sd70fr240.jpgsubalc20240.jpg

 

Lenses - the 15mm Sigma is popular here on Wetpixel. I can't believe your cost of a 16mm Nikkor - but it is certainly not worth that much more than the Sigma. I haven't bought one for a long time, and was given one of the two I have, but I think it was only about 500 Euros. I don't know the Canon or Sigma so check how easy it is to fit a filter on the back. The 16mm Nikkor is very good for this.

 

Also look into second hand fisheye lenses. They are quite easy to find them - because a lot of land photographers tend to sell them on - because they are limited above the surface.

 

Nexus is a good suggestion on the housing front. Certainly a good saving over Subal (especially when you consider the port) and they are small. But I don't think Nexus do a Canon housings.

Subal do have a lot of different domes and you will be able to find a cheaper dome for the 15/16mm fisheye than the FE dome (push your dealer on this - because many only stock the fisheye dome).

 

If you get a Subal - which I sense is where your heart is - I would not get the GS viewfinder - more drag when freediving. My two criticisms of the Subal D70 housing in my wetpixel review were the lack of two synch plugs and two strobe mounting points. Neither are a worry for the available light photographer!

 

I get my Subals from Ocean Optics in London. Who I thoroughly recommend. They stock Nexus too. But I would say it is worth buying kit close to home so you can take it back in person, should something go wrong.

 

Alex

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Coincidently I have been working on my freediving images this morning. And I would say that the 16mm is a very suitable lens - it is easy to fill the frame with a diver, but also at the same time you can shoot lots of space in the frame.

 

This shot shots Martin Stepanek on the sledge (not relation of the family who makes Subal!).

07_free_07.jpg

 

And this shot shows a wide view of Kirk Krack hanging on a line (not processed properly). Both taken with the 16mm on a cropped sensor DLSR.

07_free_02.jpg

 

Alex

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There is no dealer in Sweden experienced in Subal.

I have before buy stuff from Ocean Optics and they are very professional and helpfull

I will take a closer look att the 15mm Sigma. The 120° is perfect.

I know that Peter Schulz use one with his Nikon D70

 

Alex great freediver pictures. Exact like I like it!!! How the hell you get this beautifull Blue background?

 

Half the work shooting freedivers is done once you've got THE BLUE

 

I think its time for you to put together a "Available Light" workshop.

 

If you do count on me

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I'd like to claim the credit for the blue. But that is just Cayman water for you.

 

Seriously correct filtration is very important for good blues. If you have to pull colours too far in white balance then you loose the quality of your blues.

 

Alex

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Hi Lambis,

 

I'm in your case, I'm shooting only in freediving and with avaible light.

 

Like you I faced the problem of the shutter lag with my former camera a coolpix 5000. It's a great camera that I still use,, but some shots missed due to the shutter lag make me switch to a dslr....

 

My choice is an eos 20d, a 10-22 lens and an Aquatica housing. The setup is of course a bit bulky compared to the coolpix, but from the first dives, I felt ok with it.

I was hesitating between the eos and a D70 too.

 

Having the opportunity to take more than one shot every 5 seconds changes your life, believe me!

 

Hope it helps you in your choice.....

 

Fred

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I used Hugyfot SLR film housing for years and found them to be quite compact. look on www.hugyfot.com, they show all housing with removed back and installed camera. Not much space left around the camera.

 

And: if you want a COMPACT housing, don't even think about an Ikelite....

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Nice to see you att this Forum Fred. Your experience is needed. You know how it is to shoot freedivers.

Offen you do more job that the freedivers becauce you freedive and take photos in the same time. Some times I thing i am a elevator. Up and down all the time :-)

I will take a closer look att your setup.

I am absolutly shure that the SLR is the way to go but i dont know if I will go with Nikon or Canon. Do you have some photos from Canon 20D setup?

 

In some days I will visit Lotta Ericson in Dahab. There is a freediving event at Blue Hole (National Atempts). There I will put my Olympus 5050 under a really test.

 

Satura I have see the hugyfot housings. compact and futuristic. Anyone that have use them? Reviews?

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Right.....my dives are much longer when I take pictures. But not as long as when I use the video camera...but that's too dangerous....!

 

About the setup, I don't have pictures of it. In the water, the housing is very light thanks to the dome port providing some boyancy.

 

The main difference between the 20d and the Coolpix is the way you compose your image.

I have to say that for the kind of images I'm taking, the Coolpix is easier because I use the monitor to do it. Like that, I can see what's happening around and keep an eye on the frame, like you do with a video housing. With the 20d, you have to use the viewfinder. It takes some time to get used to it.

 

I suffered a bit during the first dives with the new housing as it was at the North Pole in freezing water, having to take care of a new camera, being carefull not to loose the hole to get back to the surface, dealing with extreme light conditions under the ice and having maximum 15min in the water to get the shots.... The breatholds were not very long!!!!!!

During the trip, I realized that I did the right move by choosing the 20d instead of the D70 as the Canon handles hi ISO better. Most of the shots were taken at 800 and 1600.

I don't regret my choice at all.

 

Say hi to Lotta and have fun in Dahab. Blue hole is a great spot to shoot freedivers with a nice background and deep blue. At that time, we will be in Corsica with the Frolla's brother and Stephane Mifsud playing in the big blue...

 

Fred

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Fred Buyle, I entered your site, in one word: Impressive!

I would love to read more on your experience at the North Pole especially with pictures :D

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I suffered a bit during the first dives with the new housing as it was at the North Pole in freezing water, having to take care of a new camera, being carefull not to loose the hole to get back to the surface, dealing with extreme light conditions under the ice and having maximum 15min in the water to get the shots.... The breatholds were not very long!!!!!!

Fred

 

Fred! You are a nut! I wear a 7mm in the tropics, huge kudos to you from me.

 

Going to go check out your site now...

Mike

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Back again, nice site Fred, well laid out and very professional layout.

Have to admit to some ignorance of the different areas of freediving.

It says you did over 100m no limits. Is that just a mask and fins? Now that is hugely impressive.

Never mind rebreathers i want to be the silent guy like Fred, you have got to have the most amazing whale encounters with your immense apnea talents.

Really like the team_2.jpg shot, the purple colour gives it a nice artistic edge and great rays

 

Welcome to the board Fred, looking forward to your input

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Arnon, the Pole trip was to follow a croatian friend who putted an expedition together to freedive there. We stayed in a russian opperated drifting station. Good fun an once of a life time experience. Unfortunatly, no wildlife encounter (no seals or polar bears) exept a 2cm long shrimp.

 

About the pictures, it was very dificult to shoot in and out of the water, even harder outside in fact: batteries were dead after a few minutes, frozen fingers after 1min without the glove to take the shot...

 

We've tried to difuse the images, but seems that no mags exept french dive mags and croatian medias are interested so far, so I can't tell you where to find the images.

 

Mike, no-limits is the "sled assisted" discipline. The easiest way to get down there, the lift to the abyss.

 

True that it's easier to approach sea creatures when you freedive. Next big trip after the summer is to take pictures of a freediver with big whales in warm water, then later, same with "whale with big teeth" in cold water....

 

Another big advantage is that you travel light and you can get in the water anywhere without having to rely on logisitcs etc.

 

Team2 is one of our favourite pic. It was taken in south of France during the summer, at 01:00 pm with vertical sunlight and 40m+ vis.

 

Fred

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Fred is not only a good photographer by also a good freediver.

I think sometimes it must be very frustaring for freedivers in tournaments when they see that the photographer dive deeper and stay longer under water :-)

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Hugyfot is a perfect housing for my needs but I dont know about quality resealers support....

They make a new housing now.

 

http://www.hugyfot.com/news.htm

 

Material is Delrin??? Anybody know this material??

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Wow!!

 

Definately the coolest looking D70 housing I have seen. Delrin is a kind of hard acetal resin polymer from what I understand. It is the same material that Ike uses for his sync cord connectors and could potentially make a very nice, light weight but strong housing material. Interesting choice. Love the classic sculpted Hugy look.

 

Love to hear what you think of this Lambis, if you find a place to handle the product.

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I have always liked Hugy housings. I think I will pick up an secondhand film one at some point just for fun.

 

I think that they are a good choice for available light. One of their few weeknesses is how strobes attach - which isn't a problem for you.

 

Alex

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