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luke1962
09-13-2009, 05:44
Hello to everybody, I'm a new member of this forum, attracted by the richness of topics and competence in digital UW photography.
I'm an Italian diver with passion for photography (since many years) and UW photos since 2003.
I had found a very satisfactory solution with Oly 5060WZ and his housing.
Unfortunately last year its case flooded, despite my maniacal attention to cleaning rules, and the camera lost (Oly assistance refused repairing (This was an opportunity for buying a Nikon D90 DSRL, but Iíll never put under water. )

This seem the destiny (sooner or later) of all housed cameras!

So in my opinion the first and biggest question when buying an UW equipment is to choose the most reliable case and after a supported camera.

Iím not a professional and I donít want to invest K$ and take with me a lot of weight (and also DSRL houses flood).
Iím convinced that you can get a prosumer equipment (srtobe excluded) within 1000$.

Now, which are the most reliable solutions (e.g. Sea&Sea kit like DX-1G or Ikelite housing plus a digital camera)?
Shouldnít be more reliable an waterproof camera (like Oly stylus 1030SW) plus 60m housing?

What do you suggest? Thank you everybody

CompuDude
09-13-2009, 16:43
There's a saying in UW photography: It's not if you will get a flooded camera, it's when.

#1 Rule: If your gear is important to you, buy flood insurance.

Now, to get to the meat of your question, my personal feeling is that the safest housing (there is no such thing as 100% and probably never will be) is the Ikelite style two piece housings, where the backing goes onto the main housing and you can easily inspect the o-ring all the way around the opening through the clear Lexan plastic. The Ikelite material is FAR more durable than the cheap brittle plastic used by all the OEM housings, and yet it's still clear, allowing a better view of the o-ring and the interior, compared to the metal housings used on the high end DSLR housings.

I use that style housing, have still managed two floods... they were user-error, however, and not the fault of the housing.

DevilDiver
09-13-2009, 17:35
I would look at the:

Sea & Sea DX 1G or DX 2G- the 1G being the older model can be picked up around $750 (US)

Canon G9 or G10 (the G11 will be soon in the states but the housings could be a few month behind) with the Ike housing

Nikon P6000

All are great cameras above and below, there are pluses and minuses for each but still very capable cameras. When deciding, take into account available wet mount lenses for the housing and compatibility for strobe connection.

I would go ahead and research strobes now and take this (features/recycle/connection/cost) into account toward the purchase of the camera/housing. When you are ready to move into a strobe you will be glad you did.

Scuba Toys carries Ikelite and Sea & Sea so you would get a 10% discount for being a forum member plus you could use your gift certificates for shipping cost.

mitsuguy
09-13-2009, 19:02
Easy...

Olympus waterproof camera in a waterproof housing...

this way, if the housing partially floods, it won't ruin the camera immediately, and, up to certain depths, the camera may even survive a full flood...

My 1030SW is good to 33 feet without a housing... With this in mind, I have no issue with students practicing with it and cleaning o-rings and such... If it were a regular camera and a student flooded it, I'd be pissed, whereas if this one floods, it shouldn't harm the camera...

One note - although the Ikelite housings are beautifully well made, they are absolutely huge in comparison to the OEM camera housings...

BTW, my 1030SW takes beautiful pictures underwater for a point and shoot...

CompuDude
09-13-2009, 23:16
One note - although the Ikelite housings are beautifully well made, they are absolutely huge in comparison to the OEM camera housings...

True, although (a) the new compact housings are considerably smaller than the other models, and (b) size is less important than the ability to help prevent floods, IMO.

I wish the Olympus cameras did better in picture quality comparisons, but the Canons tend to sweep the floor with them, so I've stuck with Canons. The 1030 has great features from a rugged/waterproofing standpoint, however... I hope other manufacturers follow suit!

DevilDiver
09-14-2009, 00:15
All depends on what the person buying the camera is looking for....

Gimicks do not help the lens or the sensor....if you can't control the camera it's taking the picture, your just pointing it.

mitsuguy
09-14-2009, 05:23
All depends on what the person buying the camera is looking for....

Gimicks do not help the lens or the sensor....if you can't control the camera it's taking the picture, your just pointing it.

I will admit, there are better cameras out there than the Olympus SW series...

But at the same time, you'd be hard pressed to really tell the difference between cameras on pictures that weren't taken back to back... Not looking for a professional picture, then almost any point and shoot is going to be more than sufficient, want a professional picture, you can forget about all the point and shoots and go the DSLR route...

Here's the problem with things like the larger ikelite housings and DSLR's... You have to be a very dedicated photographer to use them... For me, photography is not a priority, the dive itself is, so, I use the compact Olympus housing, clip it between my ribs and the wing on a locking retractor, and forget about it until I find something that I want to take a picture of... Some dives, I make it a point to be photo dives, but not all... If all I had was a DSLR, or a much larger Ikelite housing, I would probably be leaving the camera on shore much more often than I do...

It's little things like this one should consider when buying things like a camera and such - sure, image quality is important, and I'll show you some great pictures taken with my little point and shoot, but, I'm not trying to make any magazine covers with my pictures, so for me, at least, smaller, compact, reliable, wins out over pure picture quality...

mitsuguy
09-14-2009, 05:35
oh, maybe I need to retract that statement about the professional pictures...

here are some pictures I jacked from Ikelites website, taken with a 1030SW and an external strobe:

http://www.ikelite.com/customers/various4/yang1.jpg
http://www.ikelite.com/customers/various4/yang2.jpg
http://www.ikelite.com/customers/various4/yang3.jpg

And ya know, to be completely honest, most people are better off with a point and shoot and not being able to mess with a lot of controls - its real easy to mess up a picture trying to do it manually versus letting the camera decide what is best, most of the time...

CompuDude
09-14-2009, 13:50
And ya know, to be completely honest, most people are better off with a point and shoot and not being able to mess with a lot of controls - its real easy to mess up a picture trying to do it manually versus letting the camera decide what is best, most of the time...

Cameras do a notoriously poor job of decided what is "best" in an underwater environment, so I'm going to have to disagree with that statement.

Naturally, in some conditions, cameras do better than they do in others. So if you're diving in the sorts of conditions where the cameras can do a moderately decent job... and you don't care enough about photography to do the actual thinking... then yes. But in any conditions that are even remotely challenging, manual controls will produce better results than the automatic controls will.

luke1962
09-14-2009, 13:56
Thank you everybody.
Let me add some additional considerations.
First one (as reply to CompuDude)
That IKelite is more reliable is is also my feeling, but Why?
I expect that the more reliability of Ikelite over other products relies mainly not into transparent case (also Oly case was transparent). Maybe also that reliability is not derived from having 2 sealing o-rings (like Oly case which flooded).
The main O-ring, in fact, is not the only potential fllooding point. There are also a lot of commands, each with its little o-ring (but neither I've ever heared about their maintenance nor I founded to be sold as spare parts).

May be Ikelite is more reliable because of design of commands and their sealing characteristics like better mechanical coupling or better rubber quality?
Based on your experience, how many years the o-rings around commands could safely seal the housing?


Second Consideration (for DevilDiver)
Kind of photo I want: Iím happy when I've taken photo like those attached.

Sea & Sea DX 1G, or DX 2G, or Canon G9/G10 with Ikelite Housing
have passed my selection criteria, but issues related to sealing still apply.

P.S. Another potential problem could be to interface my Y90Auto strobe (with its ball made arm and FO cable) to an Ikelite housing

So the solution proposed by Mitsuguy I agree to be the most safe.
Unfortunately the 1030SW, which until yesterday was my final solution has some strong limitations on Macro mode.
In fact, according to the user manual, the internal flash is not fired when in SuperMacro modes. In this way I'm not able to trigger an external Strobe linked by a Fiber Optic cable.
Mitsuguy , how did you solve this issue? Do you work in TTL mode or do you not use the SuperMacro mode ?

Final consideration
I agree that 80% is the Photographer
Great results can be reached with post processing
I think that at the end I shall make a choice between Quality&Flexibility (of camera like DX-1G, G9, etc.) and ďrelaxĒ (I.e not wandering about housing floods)

CompuDude
09-14-2009, 14:14
Thank you everybody.
Let me add some additional considerations.
First one (as reply to CompuDude)
That IKelite is more reliable is is also my feeling, but Why?
I expect that the more reliability of Ikelite over other products relies mainly not into transparent case (also Oly case was transparent). Maybe also that reliability is not derived from having 2 sealing o-rings (like Oly case which flooded).
The main O-ring, in fact, is not the only potential fllooding point. There are also a lot of commands, each with its little o-ring (but neither I've ever heared about their maintenance nor I founded to be sold as spare parts).

May be Ikelite is more reliable because of design of commands and their sealing characteristics like better mechanical coupling or better rubber quality?
Based on your experience, how many years the o-rings around commands could safely seal the housing?

The ikelite is more reliable because of better quality materials on the housing itself, i.e., less brittle. The respective depth rating are indicative of the strength of the materials, as well. With Ikelite, the main o-ring is visible all the way around, unlike any OEM housing I have ever seen. That main o-ring is the source of the vast majority of leaks... sand, hairs, you name it prevent a good seal, but a careful inspection will reveal the problem most of the time... IF you can see the o-ring.

The buttons and controls are equally vulnerable to flooding on any design... there is no advantage to one o-ring vs. another. However, the ikelite buttons use better springs, so the buttons are less likely to be pushed due to water pressure. (This doesn't happen on ALL OEM housings, but it is a common complaint.. the springs frequently aren't as stiff as the should be. Not a problem if 60' max reef dives are all you intend, but definitely a potential problem area if you dive to rec limits or beyond.)

The ikelite has two designs, the classic two piece design held together with 2-3 stainless steel spring clasps, or a newer hinged design. I don't know too much about the newer design, but the material is still far stronger than the plastic used on OEM housings. I've seen many issues with the hinge on OEM designs where trapped sand ends up causing issues with the hinge, so I prefer the two pieces which separate... no hinge to gum up. That said, I strongly suspect the Ikelite design would be easier to service in this regard.

Any housing should be serviced annually or as needed, either by yourself (if sufficiently skilled) or by sending it in for service. As long as it's cared for, however, all the pieces will last a good long time. O-rings are o-rings, and will need periodic maintenance and occasional replacement, regardless of housing brand.

Replacement parts can be readily obtained directly from ikelite or often, authorized dealers can order them for you. Replacement parts for OEM housings, other than spare primary o-rings, are generally difficult or impossible to obtain without sending them to the factory. (And sending to Canon/Olympus/etc is a different proposition from sending to Ikelite.)

mitsuguy
09-14-2009, 14:27
So the solution proposed by Mitsuguy I agree to be the most safe.
Unfortunately the 1030SW, which until yesterday was my final solution has some strong limitations on Macro mode.
In fact, according to the user manual, the internal flash is not fired when in SuperMacro modes. In this way I'm not able to trigger an external Strobe linked by a Fiber Optic cable.
Mitsuguy , how did you solve this issue? Do you work in TTL mode or do you not use the SuperMacro mode ?


Supermacro mode is not needed... Macro is good to 3.9" from your subject, and I've successfully taken focused pictures closer than that in Macro...

one very nice thing about this particular Olympus camera, is that it has a wider angle lens from the factory than most other point and shoots... 28mm, which, is noticeable, but definitely not 15 mm like the standard lens on my DSLR...

As for CD and the automatic settings - There may be many digital cameras out there that cannot handle underwater pictures on automatic mode... I find for 90% of my shots, automatic produces the best results, well, program mode, that is, which is specifically designed for underwater pictures...

Again, there are plenty of better options for underwater cameras, but if you want something completely reliable and a who cares if it floods type attitude, the waterproof cameras are definitely the way to go...

edit: one more thing - I just took out my Oly housing, and noticed - the acrylic is 1/4 to 3/8" thick all around, and the hinge would be next to impossible to much up, and, even if it would, it is easily removable to clean if need be... There is also sufficient spring pressure to keep the springs from depressing, and this camera has been to 180 feet without issue, although the housing is only rated for 130 feet...

My biggest reason for picking the Oly housing over the Ikelite was pure size - Oly 5.28" wide, Ike 6" wide; Oly 4.1" tall, Ike 4.4", Oly 2.8" thick, Ike 3.4"... These numbers don't seem like a lot, one by one, but side by side, they appear hugely different... The Oly allows for screw on lens adapters and a tripod mount as well...

The Ikelite, I'm sure, is a great product, but my Oly housing has been on at least 100 dives with me and no issues to date...

DevilDiver
09-14-2009, 15:44
Thanks for the info.......

Things I believe you will need to consider with the options you have picked.....

With the S&S 110a strobe you will not have TTL with the Ike or Sea & Sea housings. The Ike has TTL capibillity but only with coupling thier stobes & housing. I have read that the DX 1G has some kind of mock TTL capibillity (mocks the intensity of the cameras on board flash) with the 110a but have no first hand knowledge of it.

Also with your housing obviously the Sea & Sea housing would be the easiest to couple with.

I would consider the ability to attach wet lenses as well, Sea & Sea has a wide angle and close up available. Ike has a wide angle (W-20) but requires the addition of a flat port ($100 US).

To answer your origional concern the only thing I would offer is that manufacture housings (Sony, Canon, Oly) are made by a third pary and most likley the standard is not what it would be compaired to a company thats primary focus is U/W photo equipment. I have owned manufacrure housings in the past and would not put my money into them now personally, but that is me. They could be fine for others depending on thier needs and situation.

Nice photos!! Where were they taken? I shoot the Sea & Sea DX 1G, if you are interested here is the link to my Flickr page: Flickr: devildiver's Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/devildiver/)

jugglematt
09-15-2009, 01:02
at the moment the camera that stands out for me is

the sea&sea dx2g couples with 1 or 2 ys110 strobes , at a later date add a wide angle lense and add on macro lenses

sea&sea make very good compact housings , good in the hand and ergonomic, and the ad on lenses and strobes connect quite easily .

i owned a sea&sea housing and found its construction to be very good

the camera that goes in the sea&sea is a Ricoh ,and these cameras produce sharp images with good colours


im not criticising the other cameras and housings mentioned most would probally do the jobe well but the dx2g stands out for me as a total package that works
Regards
Matty

mitsuguy
09-15-2009, 06:29
How come everyone here except CD and my self have not addressed the main reason of the post, to find a reliable housing that won't flood, and everyone keeps going back to "this camera takes this good of a picture" and "this camera has these features"

He claimed he was happy with the Oly 5060 to start, which is a simple point and shoot with a 27mm effective wide angle lens, and only 5 megapixel...

DevilDiver
09-15-2009, 09:21
How come everyone here except CD and my self have not addressed the main reason of the post, to find a reliable housing that won't flood...

Well... all I can say is that there is no housing that I know of that will not flood. I would not suggest one that I thought had a higher potential to flood. It' kinda like taking an "undeserved hit" you do everything right and it can still happen.

I can see the logic of a added security of a sealed camera inside a sealed housing and I am not trying to put down anyones choices or reasons for purchasing any brand or type. It's not like there is a DIR of photography (well, not to the same extent) but there are certain things to consider depending on what you want as a diver/photographer and where you plan on going with it in the future.

As for the choice of a sealed camera inside the sealed housing.... If you are at 75ft and the housing has a catastrophic failure would being inside the housing off set the pressure enough to save the camera? I don't know... How reliable have these cameras proved to be? Have some of them failed due to operator error or manufacture defects? I don't know........ Does using this kind of set up make you feel more protected from loosing the camera? Sure it does....... So it all comes down to researching the current options and picking what is right for you.

The best advice I would offer on the inevitable flood issue is inspect and maintain your equipment and look into purchasing insurance, other than that the equipment is there to take photographs.

If the main reason of the OP was just to find a non-floodable housing please ask the MOD's to remove my post because I have no answer for that.

CompuDude
09-15-2009, 12:09
How come everyone here except CD and my self have not addressed the main reason of the post, to find a reliable housing that won't flood...

Well... all I can say is that there is no housing that I know of that will not flood. I would not suggest one that I thought had a higher potential to flood. It' kinda like taking an "undeserved hit" you do everything right and it can still happen.

I can see the logic of a added security of a sealed camera inside a sealed housing and I am not trying to put down anyones choices or reasons for purchasing any brand or type. It's not like there is a DIR of photography (well, not to the same extent) but there are certain things to consider depending on what you want as a diver/photographer and where you plan on going with it in the future.

As for the choice of a sealed camera inside the sealed housing.... If you are at 75ft and the housing has a catastrophic failure would being inside the housing off set the pressure enough to save the camera? I don't know... How reliable have these cameras proved to be? Have some of them failed due to operator error or manufacture defects? I don't know........ Does using this kind of set up make you feel more protected from loosing the camera? Sure it does....... So it all comes down to researching the current options and picking what is right for you.

The best advice I would offer on the inevitable flood issue is inspect and maintain your equipment and look into purchasing insurance, other than that the equipment is there to take photographs.

If the main reason of the OP was just to find a non-floodable housing please ask the MOD's to remove my post because I have no answer for that.

Agreed.

I will say that I read an early review of those waterproof Olympus cameras, and the guy took it down to 75' just as a test (no housing). The camera worked fine although buttons were beginning to get stuck in, since they weren't made to handle that kind of pressure. Not a recommended course of action, and no promises at all for other camera models, but that was the case in that one instance, FWIW. One other thing a water-resistant camera would do is give you some time to get to the surface in the event of a minor flood.

I do wish all companies would release some more/better/good cameras in a waterproof format like the Olympus, but I'm not holding my breath.

mitsuguy
09-15-2009, 14:54
I do wish all companies would release some more/better/good cameras in a waterproof format like the Olympus, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ya know whats sad???

Canon has one, but there are no underwater housings for it (at this time)

CompuDude
09-15-2009, 15:27
I do wish all companies would release some more/better/good cameras in a waterproof format like the Olympus, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ya know whats sad???

Canon has one, but there are no underwater housings for it (at this time)

I consider that Canon to be a toy, especially without a housing, considering the relatively lousy specs. And considering the form factor, it may as well be a housed camera.

Make on of their better A-series cameras waterproof, and make sure there is a housing for it, and we're getting warmer. Better still, make the G11 or S90 waterproof!

jugglematt
09-16-2009, 04:43
NO such thing as a No flood housing they all can and have flooded with incorrect setting up.

but i know of housings that are badly designed and are more likely to flood .

my friend owns a liveaboard and has many customers come on board , all camera housings flood, but the camera that she sees floods the MOST is the Olympus brand housings .

there is no substitute for correct camera set up procedure .
-set up in clean area
-dont rush when setting up
- dont crack the camera housing on the back of the boat
-inspect o rings
-dont let anyone else set up your camera


ive seen customers set up cameras &insert Silica gell to prevent fogging, but have the camera lanyard draped over the housing o ring , then go diving and flood the camera.


Matty

scubarobin
09-16-2009, 13:21
the only housing that is flood-proof is the one that never gets in the water. :smiley11:
most camera floods I have seen, in fact, all I have seen were user error - sand, hair, etc. in o-ring or the latches weren't secured correctly.

I agree with compudude about Ikelite housings... they are about as leakproof as you can get. I have been and Ikelite user for 9+ years now, and yes, I did F***** one last year, but I didnt' have the latch secure so when the DM handed it down to me in the water it popped open. :smiley19: Ruined my camcorder. I have since upgraded to HD, and bought another Ikelite housing. :smiley20:

IKELITE Underwater Systems (http://www.ikelite.com)

robin

CompuDude
09-16-2009, 13:39
The one exception I would make with regard to Ikelite is with their DSLR housings, but I think that's outside the scope of this thread. I haven't used them personally, but I know a number of people who do, and the main weak point seems to be the flimsy clips they use to attach ports at the front. The back seal is good, but the port seals can be an issue.

For smaller cameras, which don't have/use ports for lens changes, this is not an issue.

thesmoothdome
09-20-2009, 10:14
Ruined my camcorder. I have since upgraded to HD, and bought another Ikelite housing. :smiley20:

IKELITE Underwater Systems (http://www.ikelite.com)

robin

See flooding your current gear can be helpful! :smiley31:

With a quality housing, floods are nearly always going to be user error. Some housings, like Ikelite, make it really easy to catch that user error though. In my experience, when making 5 dives a day that user error is usually caused by complacency or by a rushed last minute gear change during the dive briefing.

As always, I'll end my post on flooding offering the following advice: No matter how lazy, complacent, or rushed you are, dunk the camera into the camera rinse tank BEFORE the dive. If you do have a leak, you'll find it and fresh water is a heck of a lot less destructive than salt water.