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Wetnurse28
11-12-2008, 01:48
Okay I am going to Hondurus in January and I need a camera.

Budget --- no more than 400-500

I need a camera that will take nice pictures in the Carribean ,

then secondary I would also like this camera to take decent pics's in Lake Michigan also, but this is not a primary concern.

If the camera is cheap enough, maybe add a wide angle lens?

CompuDude
11-12-2008, 02:41
What sort of experience level do you have with photography? Ever used an SLR? Are you the type who wants a snapshot to remember the moment, or an artist who wants to paint with light to capture just the right mood for the subject? Do you need something that will be small and fit in a BC pocket, or are you willing to tote a huge housing with multiple external strobes to meet your goal... or perhaps a mid-size housing with one strobe?

The answers to these questions will go a long way towards getting the best recommendations to fit your needs.

Wetnurse28
11-12-2008, 04:45
[quote=CompuDude;244174]What sort of experience level do you have with photography? Ever used an SLR? Are you the type who wants a snapshot to remember the moment, or an artist who wants to paint with light to capture just the right mood for the subject? Do you need something that will be small and fit in a BC pocket, or are you willing to tote a huge housing with multiple external strobes to meet your goal... or perhaps a mid-size housing with one strobe?

Total beginner at underwater photo
Never used an underwater camera period
I want snapshot to remember moment, maybe even some video. I really enjoy the video part.
LOL, NOT AN ARTIST HERE, just want to remember what I saw
I use BP/W, no pockets, doesnt need to be that small
I would tote med. size housing
I like the idea of strobe, but I would only consider buying one strobe, 2 is just way to bulky and unnecessary for my needs/wants

scubarobin
11-12-2008, 08:26
Basically, for $400-500 you might can get a low-end point-and-shoot camera with housing, but not a strobe. Without a strobe you are looking at very blue photos any deeper than 30'. The internal flash works if subject is 3' away from camera but will give you backscatter in most cases and flash won't reach much farther than 4-5' away. Some of these cameras will give you video option but it will again be blue as you need lights or a red filter for truer colors.
ScubaToys has several you might want to look at, but with a strobe you are looking at almost doubling your budget. Scuba Diving Underwater Photo with reviews on sale (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/search_results.asp?iLevel=1&txtsearchParamCat=12)
these are all basic entry-level cameras, point-and-shoot.

robin:smiley20:

Grin
11-12-2008, 08:39
I have been very happy with a simple Cannon powershot SD 1000 in the Cannon housing made specifically for this model. I put it in the underwater mode and click away. It's super small and brainless, and takes great photos underwater as well as on top. I simply clip it to D-Ring on my bc and don't even know it's there until I want it.
I had a NIKON D70 SLR and it was way too much work for me. Sold it on EBAY and bought the Cannon.
I payed around $400 for the camera and housing. My neighbor said this model is on clearance this year and he said he bought one(just the camera) for around $100.
Oh yea, this camera also does video very well also. So get a good mem card for it. When I bought mine mem cards still cost a little bit, now memory cards are so cheap.
I got all mine on EBay stores. Go do some searches, and make sure the camera you buy has a underwater mode to help the color. Of course if you want real color you need strobes and you just stepped out of the realm of what you asked for.

Wetnurse28
11-12-2008, 08:57
Well after looking at some of the pictures posted here with and without the strobe, I can't see not having one. The strobe is just far superior the the camera alone.

gNats
11-12-2008, 09:10
Hi Wetnurse,

I recently bought a digital uw camera from eBay - brand new out of the box for roughly $150.

It is an intova IC600. 6 mp with built in flash in a waterproof housing. It came with the camera, housing, and laptop/tv cords.

:: INTOVA :: (http://www.intova.net/intovaic600.html)

I have a full digital Canon xt with 2 flashes and 6 lenses. Photography is a passion of mine. However, I didn't want to go out and buy a ton of camera equipment until I had an idea of my interest in taking uw photos. Plus, I just bought a TON of scuba equip and couldn't afford a comparable wet system to my dry system.

The camera can be used on land - and I am very impressed with the quality of features and output. It is a nice palm size camera and does have optical zoom. I've used it for uw quarry photos where vis was under 15' and I was truly impressed with it.

I have a trip planned to Bonaire in Jan and really believe for the investment this camera will take photos that I will be pleased with.

gNats
11-12-2008, 09:23
One other thing I would suggest - buy the PADI Underwater Photography packet.

I won the packet at a diving outing and started to read through it BRIEFLY. I was impressed with the level of detail. It may have useful information for you.

The camera I referenced above has a single flash. As I said, I was really pleased with the output of the camera.

I have done a lot of snorkling using the disposable water cameras, in Roatan specifically, and found those pics came out wonderful also. I have several on display.

I am sure that there are huge differences between the more $$ camera quality to the quality of my camera choice. But, for the money, I know I will be pleased with the memories I capture.

Scuba_Moron
11-12-2008, 09:30
[quote=Total beginner at underwater photo
Never used an underwater camera period
I want snapshot to remember moment, maybe even some video. I really enjoy the video part.
LOL, NOT AN ARTIST HERE, just want to remember what I saw
I use BP/W, no pockets, doesnt need to be that small
I would tote med. size housing
I like the idea of strobe, but I would only consider buying one strobe, 2 is just way to bulky and unnecessary for my needs/wants[/quote]


Wetnurse28,

I was in the same shoes as you. CompuDude recommended the Cannon SD880 IS. I bought the camera and housing from Tigerdirect for $438 + shipping. They had the lowest price on the housing and they matched my Amazon price of $259 for the camera.

Good luck..

CANON GOLD POWERSHOT SD880 IS 10MP CAMERA 2672B001 at TigerDirect.com (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4177330&CatId=3617)

Canon WP-DC26 Underwater Housing For SD880 IS Camera 3202B001 at TigerDirect.com (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4177337&csid=_21)

Wetnurse28
11-12-2008, 15:33
Looks perfect, sleek, compact, and 10MP wow.

Why did Compudude recommened this camera.

What about using strobe with this item?

Scuba_Moron
11-12-2008, 16:38
Looks perfect, sleek, compact, and 10MP wow.

Why did Compudude recommened this camera.

What about using strobe with this item?

Because I am a novice and want a compact, simple to use, point and shoot camera.

I believe you can attach external strobes to the housing's tripod mount - see link: Tray & Arms for Olympus, Canon, Sony housings (http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/opt10dlx.html)

bubbletrubble
11-12-2008, 16:39
@Wetnurse28: Considering your budget, I would recommend getting a simple point-and-shoot digital camera without strobe...for now. As others have pointed out, a decent strobe alone will cost at least $500. You can always get a good quality strobe at a later point and continue to use it when you upgrade to a DSLR.
With regard to digital camera, I think you should give the Canon "A" camera series a good look. The A570IS (now discontinued) is what my dive buddy has...and she loves it! The camera uses regular AA batteries which is nice since that kind of battery can be found everywhere. It also has a manual setting which would allow the camera to grow with you as you learn more about UW photography. This particular model has a CHDK build available. The hack allows the camera to shoot in RAW mode, which gives you the option to white balance in post-processing (among other things).
For UW waterproof housing, Canon makes their own for under $200, but keep in mind that they will NOT repair/service their housings at all. They won't even pressure test the darn things. Weird, huh? Ikelite makes UW housings for select Canon models, but the Ikelite ones are substantially more expensive -- about $200 more. However, Ikelite has a good reputation for supporting its products.
This being said, I own Canon OEM housings for two different cameras and they have held up well over the past couple of years.
Take a look at the Canon point-and-shoot digital cameras. They are a great value.

After you get the camera setup, I would advise you to take things slowly. As a newer diver, it can be frustrating trying to get an in-focus photo due to suboptimal buoyancy control. Work on your backward kick, too. You'll need it on wall dives. Also, while you're playing around with your camera, don't neglect your buddy. His/her well-being needs to be your top priority.

If you're camera setup is positively buoyant (mine is), make sure that it stays clipped off to a D-ring...even during operation. Of course, you can weight it so that it's neutrally buoyant, but it's still a good idea to have a way to attach it. I've had several friends who had a camera "float away" on them. :-)

My last bit of advice is to join a local UW photography club. Not only will you learn a lot from more experienced photo divers, but you might also get some leads on great used gear. :-)

CARDIVER
11-12-2008, 16:50
I can't say enough good things about the Casio EX-Z1200 with the Casio housing. Under 400.00 for the entire set up and Casio stands behind the camera and the housing. All of the pics on my page were taken with either the EX-Z1000 or the newer 1200.

CompuDude
11-12-2008, 19:29
@Wetnurse28: Considering your budget, I would recommend getting a simple point-and-shoot digital camera without strobe...for now. As others have pointed out, a decent strobe alone will cost at least $500. You can always get a good quality strobe at a later point and continue to use it when you upgrade to a DSLR.
With regard to digital camera, I think you should give the Canon "A" camera series a good look. The A570IS (now discontinued) is what my dive buddy has...and she loves it! The camera uses regular AA batteries which is nice since that kind of battery can be found everywhere. It also has a manual setting which would allow the camera to grow with you as you learn more about UW photography. This particular model has a CHDK build available. The hack allows the camera to shoot in RAW mode, which gives you the option to white balance in post-processing (among other things).
For UW waterproof housing, Canon makes their own for under $200, but keep in mind that they will NOT repair/service their housings at all. They won't even pressure test the darn things. Weird, huh? Ikelite makes UW housings for select Canon models, but the Ikelite ones are substantially more expensive -- about $200 more. However, Ikelite has a good reputation for supporting its products.
This being said, I own Canon OEM housings for two different cameras and they have held up well over the past couple of years.
Take a look at the Canon point-and-shoot digital cameras. They are a great value.

After you get the camera setup, I would advise you to take things slowly. As a newer diver, it can be frustrating trying to get an in-focus photo due to suboptimal buoyancy control. Work on your backward kick, too. You'll need it on wall dives. Also, while you're playing around with your camera, don't neglect your buddy. His/her well-being needs to be your top priority.

If you're camera setup is positively buoyant (mine is), make sure that it stays clipped off to a D-ring...even during operation. Of course, you can weight it so that it's neutrally buoyant, but it's still a good idea to have a way to attach it. I've had several friends who had a camera "float away" on them. :-)

My last bit of advice is to join a local UW photography club. Not only will you learn a lot from more experienced photo divers, but you might also get some leads on great used gear. :-)

Wetnurse, for you I would second the recommendation for a Canon A-series camera. I specifically recommended the SD880 for ScubaMoron because of a particular set of needs he had, including an easily-pocketable camera for topside use, ultra-simple operation, and the desire for for a small, simple, and easily-pocketable camera (and camera+housing). He was not interested in using it with a strobe, as that interferes with the portability factor. That said, you COULD use it with a strobe if you wanted to, the only issue is the pack of manual controls... but that's more complicated than he wanted anyway. The added bonus of the SD880 is the wide-angle lens, both topside and underwater. Without needed an accessory lens. It's hardly fish-eye level of wide, but the wider-than-most lens definitely helps underwater, where you want to reduce the water between you and the subject. (Also helps you fit everyone on the other side of the table into the shot when you're taking snapshots of your buddies in a restaurant.)

For someone in Wetnurse's position, however, a medium-size camera and housing is fine... extreme portability is less important. Interest in going farther and attaching a strobe is there, the pocketability is less of an issue. This means higher aspirations (eventually), which calls for manual controls, which narrows the field and eliminates most smaller point and shoots. The G10 is great but quite expensive, and the housing is even MORE expensive (not to mention complications with add-on lenses), which leads me to think the A series is just about in the perfect sweet spot. Full manual controls (available... full auto is there, too), beefier camera, lower price. Either camera can have a strobe added in the exact same way: Add a tray/handle and a strobe with an optical pickup. The A series camera can definitely grow with you, is well liked and supported, and has the ability to add extra lenses, such as fisheye and macro. I'll have to do some digging around to see which A series would offer the most flexibility, but meanwhile, if you find a store with the A570 still in stock, it's hard to go wrong with that one.

Wetnurse28
11-12-2008, 19:40
Compudude,

Thanks for that post. I do believe you completely understand what I want.

Post the camera type when you can. I have until January.

Wetnurse28
11-12-2008, 19:53
I found this camera at cheap price IMO


Canon POwershot A570IS -------- 149.99
UW Housing -------------------- --168.95

Should I consider wide angle lens?
Is the Canon Housing sufficient for added strobe later on?
Should I serioulsy consider I think it was the Ioklite housing?

After seeing the pictures using strobe posted by DevilDiver, using my camera on vacation without the strobe is not an option.

I want nice pics, they dont have to be great, but the color using strobe was just fantastic.

CompuDude
11-12-2008, 20:02
I found this camera at cheap price IMO

Canon POwershot A570IS -------- 149.99
UW Housing -------------------- --168.95

Should I consider wide angle lens?
Is the Canon Housing sufficient for added strobe later on?
Should I serioulsy consider I think it was the Ioklite housing?

After seeing the pictures using strobe posted by DevilDiver, using my camera on vacation without the strobe is not an option.

I want nice pics, they dont have to be great, but the color using strobe was just fantastic.

Start without the strobe, add it later. You can add a strobe to the Canon housing as easily as the Ikelite housing. The Ikelight housing is a lot more robust than the Canon and has a deeper depth rating, but unless you're planning to dive deeper than 140' with this camera, that's not too much of a concern, so it's all about how much extra you want to pay for the robustness. I also think the ergonomics are better on the Canon housing, since it's truly custom to each camera as opposed to the standard Ikelite "brick" that has just controls drilled in the right place.

Skip the extra lenses at first... learn to shoot first! You'll do fine taking ambient light shots and macro work using the built-in flash, for quite a while. You can add extra lenses, strobes, etc., down the road after you've learned to work the camera a bit and know what the base capabilities are. Strobes make things a lot more complicated (and are quite expensive), so start simple.

Looks like a good package and a decent price. You'd be quite happy with it. One of my regular dive buddies purchased that very rig about 2 months ago, and she's doing very nice work with it.

RoyN
11-12-2008, 20:23
The A570 camera should give you great pictures. :)

Here are some samples. This is using the wide angle lens and two strobes.

http://inlinethumb54.webshots.com/30261/2938185190101309303S600x600Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2938185190101309303LfYynK)

http://inlinethumb10.webshots.com/43273/2026556950101309303S600x600Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2026556950101309303EZCowh)

DevilDiver
11-12-2008, 20:58
I found this camera at cheap price IMO

Canon POwershot A570IS -------- 149.99
UW Housing -------------------- --168.95

Should I consider wide angle lens?
Is the Canon Housing sufficient for added strobe later on?
Should I serioulsy consider I think it was the Ioklite housing?

After seeing the pictures using strobe posted by DevilDiver, using my camera on vacation without the strobe is not an option.

I want nice pics, they dont have to be great, but the color using strobe was just fantastic.

Start without the strobe, add it later. You can add a strobe to the Canon housing as easily as the Ikelite housing. The Ikelight housing is a lot more robust than the Canon and has a deeper depth rating, but unless you're planning to dive deeper than 140' with this camera, that's not too much of a concern, so it's all about how much extra you want to pay for the robustness. I also think the ergonomics are better on the Canon housing, since it's truly custom to each camera as opposed to the standard Ikelite "brick" that has just controls drilled in the right place.

Skip the extra lenses at first... learn to shoot first! You'll do fine taking ambient light shots and macro work using the built-in flash, for quite a while. You can add extra lenses, strobes, etc., down the road after you've learned to work the camera a bit and know what the base capabilities are. Strobes make things a lot more complicated (and are quite expensive), so start simple.

Looks like a good package and a decent price. You'd be quite happy with it. One of my regular dive buddies purchased that very rig about 2 months ago, and she's doing very nice work with it.


Should be a good camera to start out with. Canon makes great cameras but I would stay away fron their housings. The Ikelite housing for this camera is much better. You can add lenses and filters as well.

Here is the link:
Underwater Housing for Canon A570 IS Camera (http://ikelite.com/web_two/can_a570.html)

scubarobin
11-13-2008, 08:51
I agree with Devildiver, Ikelite makes much better quality housings than Canon. But they do cost a bit more. If all you want are snapshots, get the Canon housing. If you want pictures to share and even print, go ahead and spend more $$$ now and upgrade to Ikelite housing and Ikelite tray and strobe setup.

Also, whichever system you go with, I think you should get the strobe now ...... learn to shoot with the strobe right from the beginning! YOur pictures will be so much better and you will have a better experience if your pictures are better right from the beginning.

B&H Photo is a good price to get housings, here is the one suggested to you:
Canon | WP-DC12 Case for A570IS | 1909B001 | B&H Photo Video (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/491668-REG/Canon_1909B001_WP_DC12_Case_for_A570IS.html)
the accessories for that setup are even listed there for you. I have been buying from B&H for 10+ years and love them. Great prices, too.


robin:smiley20:

DevilDiver
11-13-2008, 10:00
I would suggest that you make sure the housing has someway to attach the cables for a strobe(s). Some do, some don't. One of the most frustrating things I faced with my first U/W camera housing (Canon) was now way to attach the fiber optic sync cord.

Oh yea they have the Velcro adhesive strips.... Did I mention frustrating. If you ever plan on adding a strobe(s) there needs to be an actual connection OR you will need to look at a strobe with a slave sensor. These will work but the cameras flash will be exposed to fire the strobe witch means you could have more backscatter issues and they are not as reliable as a cable IMO.

RoyN
11-13-2008, 11:02
Call up Scubatoys.com about the Ikelite housing for the A570. They'll give you an excellent price. Thats what I got, unfortunately I don't have a wide angle lens yet so can't use it. :smiley19:

CompuDude
11-13-2008, 16:09
I would suggest that you make sure the housing has someway to attach the cables for a strobe(s). Some do, some don't. One of the most frustrating things I faced with my first U/W camera housing (Canon) was now way to attach the fiber optic sync cord.

Oh yea they have the Velcro adhesive strips.... Did I mention frustrating. If you ever plan on adding a strobe(s) there needs to be an actual connection OR you will need to look at a strobe with a slave sensor. These will work but the cameras flash will be exposed to fire the strobe witch means you could have more backscatter issues and they are not as reliable as a cable IMO.

Very few housings have a way to attach the strobe cable built in. Ikelite does not, unless you are referring to TTL systems, which are a LOT more money and which do not apply to the A-series cameras anyway. With Canon, you don't get TTL until the G series or above (Rebel SLR, etc.).

Which strobe cable you have and how much of a pain it is depends on the strobe. With my Inon strobe, it uses a simple fiber cable that goes to a little screw-on block that attaches to the blocking card that sits in front of the camera's flash, just like the diffuser that comes with the OEM Canon housings.

I certainly agree the Ikelite housings are better made, but many, many people do just fine with the Canon housings, and in fact, it can sometimes be easier to get add-on lenses for the Canon housing. Just be vigilant about the o-ring cleanliness and there is no problem with the Canon, and in fact the ergonomics are much better since Canon does more per-camera customization than Ikelite's one-size-fits-all housing does.

My camera has an Ikelite housing, but the strobe attachment method would be just as simple with the Canon housing... no velcro funkiness needed.

http://www.h2ogeek.com/divegear/s80-kit.jpg

scubarobin
11-14-2008, 07:56
my biggest criticism of the Canon housings has to do with 2 factors: the latches and the air space.

1. I have found on some of the Canon housings, latches which can come open when bumped, like in the rinse tank, causing people to have floods. Ikelite latches are really secure and it takes me 2 hands and some work to open my housing (I started out many years ago with a film camera in an Ikelite housing and it was the same way).

2. Air space around the camera is important to help keep the camera cool and condensation from building up. I have talked to several people with Canon, Sea & Sea, Olympus and other smaller housings which have lens fogging issues. The problem arises from the fact that the cameras produce heat inside the housing when they are turned on, and some people are zooming in and out alot, creating even more heat. Dessicant packets are mandatory but sometimes they can't help with that problem and condensation occurs.

I don't know if all the knobs and buttons are a problem on the newer Canon housings, but I really don't like them on some of the older Canon, Sea&Sea housings as they just seemed frail and didn't always line up correctly. My husband has an Olympus housing on his Oly camera and it is the same way - don't get the camera seated in there perfectly and nothing works. So it is important to take a picture topside to make sure it works before jumping into the water!

robin:smiley20:

teerlkay
11-19-2008, 16:03
to stay under budget if you want a strobe - unless you go used

a canon a570 and canon housing can be had for around $300. Do note what others said about latches and condensation but it will work just fine with a few precautions. The upside is the video is pretty good underwater.

That leaves you around $200. ST has a used sealife 961D strobe and arm set for $250. I dont think that comes with the "flashlink" (fiber optic cable - so add another $30.

for a toal of around $580. I personally think the sl961D is only an ok strobe.


there are other small strobes and arms (fantasea) that you might be able to get for a few less bucks

dannybot
11-19-2008, 20:03
You could also use a red filter made by Fantasea, while not as good as a strobe, it will help out on some of the shallower dives with good ambient light.

teerlkay
11-20-2008, 23:48
The upside is the video is pretty good underwater.



Scuba Diving Videos Eel in Bonaire Scuba Videos (http://www.scubadivingtube.com/play.php?vid=652)

made witha powershot a series

VRod RS
11-22-2008, 07:03
An option that hasn't been posted here is you could get an SP-350 and housing which can have full TTL wire sync capabilities with your strobe. This gives you a great camera with full manual settings, programmable quick settings (My Modes), hot shoe with TTL, 8MP camera. It is a fast camera and takes really good pictures.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c80/rjsimp/EBay/_DSC2906.jpg