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Noob2Scoob
03-29-2009, 17:53
Hey guys,

just trying to limit down to a few good ideas for cameras that would work well in my conditions..

it seems plenty of people discuss what to shoot in the best situations, what to use in the warm pretty water.....but I frequently dive in low vis(high sediment) quarry dives and lake dives, sometimes with vis less than 10 feet. Always fresh water to date...

Im looking for a Point and shoot digital, with room to grow if i decide to, strictly as a scuba tourist looking to take some pretty pictures.

I've been looking into the different options, the sealife 800 style setups...

but more and more looking at the canon options and buying a housing..


i just dont know where to look...

i was looking at olympus SP models as well...


just looking for a little guidance as to which models and options i should be looking at for


thanks in advance

JCAT
03-29-2009, 18:32
Good question to ask and I'll give you my opinion on what I use.

A Canon A570 with WP-DC12 Canon Housing and the CHDK Mod. You can get the housing for around $170usd and the camera for $149usd from Amazon 'For Now' (camera is no longer made)

The above will get you into the water, but diving in the conditions you stated will pose a struggle with backscatter, since the internal flash is used.

That being said, you will learn how to work around this issue to a point, or until you reach the point you want a strobe.

The a570 will take the CHDK Mod which greatly enhances this little camera, it turns all the features of the chip on and adds quite a few.

Read More Here (http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK) There are many cameras you can do this to, I like the a570 because it has full manual control as well. The important thing is that it allows you to shoot in RAW format.

With RAW, you'll be able to use software to clean the photos to a higher degree, ie Photoshop, Picasa 3 (free from Google) ect. After you correct them, export them to .JPG format if you wish.

You can check out my pictures by clicking the camera icon under my profile. Some are good, some are not so good. For your conditions, check out the graveyard pics. At that depth (118ffw), it is cold, dark and silty, but note I was using a strobe. If those pics were shot in .JPG, the water would be dark green. Instead using RAW, I can correct for this.

For further research, go to SB and search at the 'Canon Corner' There are several who use the Canon A-series and produce amazing photos. (see Alcina's posts) Wetpixel.com (http://wetpixel.com/) is another good website.

Remember, you are starting down a dark path with underwater photography, it is a one-hit drug that is almost impossible to break. Sorta like legal crack for geeky photog divers.

You've been warned!:smiley36:

Noob2Scoob
03-30-2009, 02:00
thanks for the advice!

i had already been snooping through various canon camera's specifically in the A series...

my biggest problem i keep coming back on is, i read about these cameras, compare price points, then come back to cameras like the sea and sea 1200hd, or the sealife dc800....

i cant help but scratch my head and wonder which way is better frequently...

Nemrod
04-10-2009, 00:04
The S&S or SeaLife do not have Canon optics, Dig III, IS, Canon firmware and software, Canon color rendition and they don't have the manual exposure control, manaul strobe control, manual white balance of the Canon cameras. The Canon 570/590 is a more versatile system coupled with the Ikelite housing and available wet mount lenses that allow this type of shot from a few feet away:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/IMG_0891.jpg


Shooting distance to Lion Fish, about 6 inches:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/IMG_0796.jpg


About a foot or two from the coral:


http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/IMG_0615.jpg

Megapixels, yawn, that is a way over hyped measuring stick especially in the P&S catagory, all of these cameras can make quality blow ups of 12X10. If you need more than that then you better go dSLR. I would rather have the flexibilty of wide angle wet lenses like the Inon 100WAL with dome corrector or Inon 165AD fish eye than a few more pixels--especially if you are really trying to shoot low viz. The wide angle lenses let you get CLOSE!!!!!

Shooting distance to prop, about two feet:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/IMG_0794.jpg


N
Canon 570IS, Ikelite and Canon housings, Inon D2000 strobe, Ikelite tray, Inon 100WAL, Inon 165AD fisheye, Inon 165AD macro

scubagirlj
04-10-2009, 13:42
nice pics!!

Nemrod
04-10-2009, 15:16
Thanks, the main thing to realize is that while it looks like I am far back, the reason that the pics are clear with little sediment is that:

1--the water is clear
2--I am but inches away

The closer one can get the better. I plan to use my rig to photo a wreck in low viz freshwater also if I get around to it so I feel the ops pain.

N

Rainer
04-10-2009, 15:23
Nice shots, N.

3rdEye
04-10-2009, 15:28
nice photos, a wide angle lens makes a huuuge difference. you get much closer, so there's much more clarity, and less scatter, yet are still get depth and that wide shot that really captures the underwater experience

Noob2Scoob
04-11-2009, 00:39
thanks for posting the pictures...

i've decided to move away from the "pre combo'd" sea and sea/sealife/etc. underwater packages, and instead concentrate on finding a good land P&S camera, with exceptional high ISO handling qualities... then pair it with a reasonable housing...

now i am getting more hung up on external strobes and figuring those out than the camera...


currently the top 2 P&S cameras i am looking at purchasing are either...

panasonic lx3

fuji f200 exr


the panasonic handles high iso well, does raw, has great wide angle, etc...

the fuji has the new fancy fandangled ccd sensor which is supposed to handle high iso amazingly well, has a little less wide angle and no raw...

the fuji has a cheaper though still good quality housing, the panasonic has a more expensive housing though it could handle the strobes a little easier as well...


since its a first camera, currently the fuji is winning... i dont think the RAW PP is going to be a huge issue to me at first, and i only dive a couple times a year... the sensor has been getting amazing reviews... though im hesitant because of the panasonics 24mm lens and higher quality at that... it also has the hot shoe for flashes.... just cant decide at the momment...


but neither camera has gotten much action for underwater, primarily since they are new for underwater work, both because of new releases and new housings....


so im trying to hold off until there is a bit more info out...

next i just need to understand the differences in all of these strobe connections and how they work...

slave ttl etc. its still all a little greek to me..

Nemrod
04-11-2009, 00:55
I would caution you if your interest is really low viz photography that you first find a camera and housing combination that will accept the wide angle lenses, without them you are dead in the water, simply put. The ISO thing is important, maybe number two or three with manual control capability high also.

Some companies claim "wide angle" but in fact for P&S the only ultra wide lenses are the Inon 100WAL with dome, Inon 100-28AD with dome and the Inon 165AD fish eye. Any of the listed lenses will produce FOV in excess of 130 degrees diagonal. Most of the "claimed" wide angle lenses are 60 to 100 degrees. Better than nothing but not especially wideangle. I would say, my opinion, getting close is more important than high ISO.

If you go wide angle then you may need two Inon D2000 strobes, each covers up to 105 degrees. I currently use just one but am looking at getting another or getting a cheapo Intova set to slave from the Inon D2000.

Short of going with a dSLR that is where you are at. Thing is, only as an example, my rig currently packs in a carry on size hard case, all of it, a dSLR rig will be much larger and much more money and of course more capable in many aspects especially when it comes to high ISO.

From a distance of 4 to 6 feet, my camera easily photographs a huge area, two Inon D2000 strobes or similar should easily light the area from only 4 to 6 feet. Now, without the wide angle lenses, you are going to be backed up maybe 15 feet. If you only have 10-20 foot viz, well, you get the idea. Ultra wide angle gets you close. It is not optional, for what you claim to want to do it is an absolute. Therefore you must choose a camera and housing that will accept the wet lenses and function with them, easier said than done. I know the Canon A590 will and I know it takes decent photos up to ISO400. Not publishing quality but certainly good enough for web viewing and 4X6 to 8X12 prints. Yes, some noise will be evident at ISO400 but it really does quite decent. The Fuji 200 may be a good choice also, do your reasearch, good luck.

Most P&S and many dSLR use optical syncs. I usually shoot with my strobe in auto and my camera in Av(aperture priority auto) but some people shoot in Program with the Inon in sTTL which simulates TTL and allows the Inon to mimic exactly the camera's strobe. The S&S and YS strobes are good units also, I just happen to prefer the Inon for it's auto mode they don't have and it's compact size and power and wide coverage.

N

Noob2Scoob
04-11-2009, 02:04
thanks for the very good points you made.... ill certainly take them to heart for making my decision....

the biggest thing, which you made a point of clarifying was, underwater what was "most important" and what could you let slide....

as to the ISO thing, i guess i just assumed, in the conditions i would be diving in, that it was a bit of a given....

light seems to usually penetrate well to 25 feet, at 35 feet its getting a bit dark... and beyond 45 feet and its REAL dark...

so i guessed that either the higher ISO or a faster lens would be an absolute must for my conditions...

the panasonic has a f2.0, narrow focus, but a nice fast lens, and macro focus of 1cm!

the fuji has a slower lens at f2.8, but counters with a nicer telephoto for topside photos, less in the macro world 5-10 cm iirc, and a higher ISO tolerance...

so im not sure which way to go..


i assume ill have at least 1 strobe going.... 2 likely.... but since its a first setup i didnt want to go nuts with a giant complicated setup with tentacles reaching every which way....

Nemrod
04-11-2009, 02:44
Ikelite is studying the Fuji 200, the F60 might be a good choice since it can accept wide angle wet lenses. Not completely sold on it however. Really, at this time there are very few choices in P&S that will function well with wet lenses. It gets complicated explaining it all but I have done a lot of research on it. I did it before I bought a camera. I used to shoot film slr and Nikonos III years back, nowadays I just want a compact, fun to shoot camera but it must shoot ultra wide because that is what I need and use.

Fuji Digital Camera Chart (http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/camfujichart.html)

The Fuji F60 with the Ikelite housing and Ikelite AD adapter to the Inon 165AD fish eye might be a good combination for low viz wide angle.

Just trying to help, no expert here, but most people think 28mm is wide angle, no, underwater until we get past 110 degrees, no. You will need a fish eye or semi-fish eye lens to do the low viz stuff unless macro is your interest, then it gets much easier. Many cameras do good snaps and macro, very few adapt to wide angle well.

N

Noob2Scoob
04-11-2009, 15:37
Ikelite is studying the Fuji 200, the F60 might be a good choice since it can accept wide angle wet lenses. Not completely sold on it however. Really, at this time there are very few choices in P&S that will function well with wet lenses. It gets complicated explaining it all but I have done a lot of research on it. I did it before I bought a camera. I used to shoot film slr and Nikonos III years back, nowadays I just want a compact, fun to shoot camera but it must shoot ultra wide because that is what I need and use.

Fuji Digital Camera Chart (http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/camfujichart.html)

The Fuji F60 with the Ikelite housing and Ikelite AD adapter to the Inon 165AD fish eye might be a good combination for low viz wide angle.

Just trying to help, no expert here, but most people think 28mm is wide angle, no, underwater until we get past 110 degrees, no. You will need a fish eye or semi-fish eye lens to do the low viz stuff unless macro is your interest, then it gets much easier. Many cameras do good snaps and macro, very few adapt to wide angle well.

N


are you sure about the ikelite thing, everything i had heard, as well as the chart you linked says they are not planning on touching the f200.... something which made me VERY sad...


more and more i am thinking of going with the panasonic lumix lx3...

it has a 24mm lens and 2.5 zoom for land, its nice and fast with a f2.0...

crap for any real telephoto but full manual mode with raw...

720p video at 24 frames is nice too...

10bar makes a housing for it which is "reasonable"

accepts wet lenses, domes, etc, although not cheaply but none of them ever are...





in the end though, i have to admit, im half way purposefully dragging my feet a bit hoping that something amazing might pop up while im trying to make a choice...



again, thanks for your input, its deffinatly helpful!

Nemrod
04-11-2009, 16:00
Well, maybe I am wrong, sorry about that, I thought they were. The Luminox sounds good, there is a thread on it at digitaldiver or wetpixel I think.

Unfortuneatly the 24mm is not really wide angle underwater and that camera has diffuculty with wide angle wet mount lenses so again, I don't think it is a good choice. But, you do some research on it, check that thread out if you can find it, if you cannot I might can find it and a link.

The 24mm through a flat port is roughly equal to a 28mm on land (35mm equivlent) and that produces a FOV of about 65 degrees. About half or a third of what I am shooting.

10Bar LX3 Housing - Wetpixel :: Underwater Photography Forums (http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=27978&st=0)

N

Noob2Scoob
04-12-2009, 00:05
Just trying to help, no expert here, but most people think 28mm is wide angle, no, underwater until we get past 110 degrees, no. You will need a fish eye or semi-fish eye lens to do the low viz stuff unless macro is your interest, then it gets much easier. Many cameras do good snaps and macro, very few adapt to wide angle well.

N


jumping back to this, why is the wide angle / ultra wide angle so important...

i understand the difference in the field of view, and also the mag effect of shooting underwater....

but is the rest strictly to accommodate the "closeness" of the photo to make sure you get the whole image? so that even at 1 foot, you can get the entire diver in the picture? that kinda thing?


a lot of the basics for underwater photography i still dont quite grasp for sure...

Nemrod
04-12-2009, 01:26
There is much more to it than that, the less water between you and the subject the less sediment and crud for the strobe to light up is one very good reason. After re-reading your initial post, just get your SeaLife, you will learn with it and enjoy it and eventually learn the answer to your question. At first you will be completely happy with your pictures but in time you will begin to wonder why so many of your pics are washed out blues and greens and fuzzy outlines full of sediment. Then you will figure it is normal, no, it is that you are shooting from a distance of 8 to 12 feet beyond the range of your strobe to get the same FOV that I get with a wide angle lens from 2 to 3 feet or less. My strobe is well within it's range, there is little water between me and the subject and therefore much less crud in the water. Because my strobe reaches the subject bright colors are vizible and only the background fades to blue or green.

I got the idea for some reason you were trying to take photos of larger objects in low viz, I understand now that is not your interest. I think one of the "package deals" from SeaLife or S&S would suit you to learn what not to do next time.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/IMG_0713.jpg

This poor fellow was a professional photographer hired to follow our group. Notice in addition to his professional dSLR rig that costs as much as a car that he has a huge dome port and ultrawide Tokina 10-17 fisheye lens. According to him it is the lens he uses most all of the time so he can get close and still cover the subject. Professionals know the reason and need and importance of getting close. I took this pic from about four feet I think give or take. You can see my strobe reflecting in his dome.

This pic is not mine, it was taken from a good 12 plus feet or so. Despite the air clear water notice it is all blue and the subjects are washed out. Yes, he fired a strobe, no, the strobe never reached us. No, he had no wide angle lens because had he he would needed to be only four feet to frame this pic and his strobe would have lit us up showing the bright red scooter and there would be very little sediment, notice all of the sediment in the pic.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/IMAG0113.jpg

N

Noob2Scoob
04-12-2009, 13:50
N-

I think the two photos are probably as telling as any explanation you could have given me on the subject, so thanks a million!

I already have figured out at the very least, that i probably will not be happy with a pre-configured setup. Either because of reading enough posts, or what ever. So i am forgoing that and looking into the land camera housing combos....


the biggest question, as mentioned is which.... I at least have been able to figure out some of those questions based on your suggestions, and your emphasis on the lens requirements... something i had obviously not been giving as much weight as i needed to...

for my diving, since i will be in crap low vis, i am certainly not trying to capture the the 50' wreck in one photo, or anything in that style...

im looking more at mid frame, or macro style shots....pictures of me, my dive buddies, and any other fish that happen on the way....

certainly at some point i want the option, which is where your suggestions are really raising there head... it seems like one could very easily jump into a camera/housing combo that doesnt allow for much growth in any direction, beyond congrats your underwater take a picture...


it never really occured to me what the degree of FOV(beyond basic concept of course) really meant until your diver photo... assuming your 120-160+ FOV you mentioned previously, you could at 4 feet, effectivly fit 6-10 horizontal feet roughly....

something which is obviously HUGE when it comes to as you mentioned, getting up close and personal, and still managing to take a reasonably sized frame....