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Citra
01-21-2010, 20:43
Hi I am new to the board and need some suggestions for my first U/W set up. I am looking for camera, housing and one strobe. My budget is max $1000.00. I want something fairly simple to use with auto settings and maybe some manual settings for later down the road. I have been reading up a lot on the forum here and am still not sure on what to buy.

I have some setups I am interested in:

1. Sea & Sea DX-1200HD sport kit with YS-27DX strobe and Grip stay S and soft case. I really like the look and quality of the Sea & Sea especially the housing and strobe, but am not sure on the actual camera that comes with it. I don't really need the hd video.

Does this camera take good pictures? Is this strobe sufficient or do I need the YS-110a?

2. Sealife DC1000 Elite kit , I like the price and the fact that it comes with a wide angle lens. I am not sure on the black rubber look of this setup.

How would this compare to the Sea & Sea as well as the strobe?

3. Ikelite ultra compact case with any Nikon or Canon compact and AF-35 strobe or possibly the DS-51.

What camera to use? I have a Nikon S-610 for a land camera and like it a lot. I could use this and get another camera for land the S-630 or vise versa? What do you think? Do you need a camera with a underwater mode like the Canons or does it matter? How much optical zoom would be needed?

The strobes? how do they compare to the Sea & Sea? ie. output

I am looking for a quality setup that I will not have upgrade too soon. Any help or suggestions on other setup would be greatly appreciated.

mitsuguy
01-22-2010, 00:51
out of the above, I choose #3... for one reason - I have never been impressed by any of the sea and sea or sealife cameras and the pictures that result from them... if you truly want to spend $1000, you should get one of the point and shoots with the more manual controls, so when you need to go there, you can...

you do not need an underwater mode - this is nice to start with, and is very easy to take good pictures with, but, at the same time, you can do all of the same with a camera with some manual controls...

if you are looking for real good pictures without spending SLR type prices, then something along the lines of a Canon G or SX series, Nikon P6000, etc... something with SLR type sensors and settings, but with built in lenses instead of SLR type lenses...

if you like your Nikon, you could do the P6000 for right at $1000 (housing and camera), then just add a strobe for a couple hundred... (which I realize is over your budget, but if it was me, I would do the camera / housing, then wait if needed to get the strobe later)

these setups start with better cameras - the sea and sea and sealife you chose above are no better than any other compact, small sensor camera, and if you are going to do something like that, you could do a $200 housing with a $250 point and shoot Oly / Nikon like you have / Canon and get decent pics (I have some great pics taken with my Oly 1030), but its nothing compared to what I take with my Oly E500 SLR (even though the 1030 is 10mp, the SLR at 8 MP produces a much cleaner picture)... its all about sensor size... the sensor in most point and shoot cameras is a weak .4" SLR's have sensors with around 10x bigger surface area than that... Micro Four Thirds system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Four_Thirds_system) on the right you will see what I am talking about - size wise...

Problem with the SLR's is that a housing pretty much starts at $1000...

thinking the new micro 4/3's stuff might be my next digital underwater purchase - smaller, SLR performance... still expensive tho...

Citra
01-22-2010, 01:53
It looks like the p6000 is discontinued. What do you think about the Sea & Sea DX-1G or DX-2G? I can find the DX-1G for $650 and the DX-2G for $1000. Not sure on how they compare with a Canon S90. I want something fairly compact and easy to use. What do you suggest for a strobe and tray?

DevilDiver
01-22-2010, 06:54
IMO the Canon G10, G11 or the S90, Nikon P5000 or P6000, Sea & Sea 1G or 2G and the Olympus 1030 are the best U/W camera options on the market right now. Any of these would be a great beginner/advanced choice.

This is probably one of the best deals going at the moment.

Canon PowerShot S90 IS
Digital Camera Kit, with 8GB SD Memory Card, Spare NB-6L Type Lithium-ion Battery, Camera Case, Professional Lens Cleaning Kit, USB 2.0 SD Card Reader
$399.00
ICAS90KB Canon PowerShot S90 IS, Digital Camera Kit, with 8GB SD Memory Card, Spare NB-6L Type Lithium-ion Battery, Camera Case, Professional Lens Cleaning Kit, USB 2.0 SD Card Reader (http://www.adorama.com/ICAS90KB.html)

Ikelite Underwater Camera Housing for Canon Powershot S90 Digital Camera
$299.95
624290 Ikelite Underwater Camera Housing for Canon Powershot S90 Digital Camera (http://www.adorama.com/IK624290.html)

There are other housings available for the S90 that offer better options as far as access to controls, add on wet lenses and strobe options IMO but for $299 the Ike housing is the bargain if this is a priority.

Personally I am not a fan of cheaper housings.

**One thing to consider before purchase is how your camera/housing/strobe will be sync'd. Make sure this is reliable, not all housings come with attachment points, you might have to purchase an adapter and/or mask of some kind.

As far as Strobes, you really need to consider what you get here, a good strobe can move to other systems if/when you decide to upgrade.
For the $$ right now if you can find a S&S YS-17 or YS-27 strobe/package in the $350-500 range it would be a good deal.

Sea & Sea YS-27DX Lighting Package [ss.70021] - $549.95 : Reef Photo & Video!, The Underwater Photo Pros (http://reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_83&products_id=3997)

Sea & Sea YS27 DX Strobe reviews and discounts, Sea & Sea (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=YS27DX)

Sea & Sea YS-17 Auto Lighting Pkg. for Compacts or SONY MPK [ss.70015] - $349.95 : Reef Photo & Video!, The Underwater Photo Pros (http://reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_83&products_id=3081)

Sea & Sea YS-17 TTL Strobe (http://www.backscatter.com/HostedStore.LassoApp?-ResponseLassoApp=detail.lasso&ID=cbedccc8e5aad98acee27c8c605be016&s2op=cn&s2=Photo&s3op=cn&s3=Strobes_Arms&s6op=cn&s6=Shop&sop=AND&sf=Price&so=Descending)

Sea & Sea YS-27DX Strobe (http://www.backscatter.com/HostedStore.LassoApp?-ResponseLassoApp=detail.lasso&ID=6bdcaa686ecb317e4f8829e931584ebd&s2op=cn&s2=Photo&s3op=cn&s3=Strobes_Arms&s6op=cn&s6=Shop&sop=AND&sf=Price&so=Descending)

Sea & Sea Sea Arm Light - Single Arm (http://www.backscatter.com/HostedStore.LassoApp?-ResponseLassoApp=detail.lasso&ID=0fa4f26af3db36d9f9b5bfe28594aafa&s2op=cn&s2=Photo&s3op=cn&s3=Strobes_Arms&s6op=cn&s6=Shop&sop=AND&sf=Price&so=Descending)

Consider some of these options and keep researching, contact some of the U/W photo shops and talk to the reps, they could have inventory on things they need to sell and cut a deal.

Scuba Toys can order a lot more than they have on the website and you get the 10% forum discount also.

**Personally I am a big fan of the Sea & Sea DX-1G and DX-2G :smiley2:

http://bighugelabs.com/profilewidget/random/000000/ffffff/[email protected] (http://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/)

Citra
01-22-2010, 12:05
I really like the Sea and Sea DX-1G and DX-2G as well. Is it worth the difference in price to go for the DX-2G? What are the advantages? I don't like to buying outdated models when the is a new model available. How do they compare with picture quality compared to the Canon S90? I am not sure I want to go with Canon, I feel it might be a little to advanced for me. I have no experience with manual controls and want something with auto settings and that is somewhat compact. I was thinking about a YS-27DX strobe with a one handle grip tray with flex arm? Can you suggest a tray and arm that would work? and where to get it?

How is this for a deal? Add to cart for different price.
Sea & Sea | DX-1G, Underwater Digital Camera Sport | SS-06582SA (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/588396-REG/Sea_Sea_SS_06582SA_DX_1G_Underwater_Digital_Camera .html)

I like this setup, but would like to swap the camera for a DX-2G and the strobe For a YS-27 for around that price? Is this possible anywhere?

j1j2j38
01-22-2010, 12:23
you could do a point and shoot Canon also. (Like anything in the IS series). I went with the Sd940 over the G Series ones because they can take HD video. I kind of regret it now and wish I had more manual controls, but overall I'm still quite happy with the SD940 and it's cheaper than the G series ones, both for the camera and the ikelite housing. I use the inon s-2000 strobe. It's slightly but not incredibly more expensive than the ones you are looking at. I like ultralight arms, but again a little more expensive. I bought camera, housing, ultralight arm and inon s-2000 for I think $1200. If you bought a crappier arm you could probably come in right around $1000.

Citra
01-22-2010, 12:30
Where did you buy your setup?

DevilDiver
01-22-2010, 13:17
I really like the Sea and Sea DX-1G and DX-2G as well. Is it worth the difference in price to go for the DX-2G? What are the advantages? I don't like to buying outdated models when the is a new model available. How do they compare with picture quality compared to the Canon S90? I am not sure I want to go with Canon, I feel it might be a little to advanced for me. I have no experience with manual controls and want something with auto settings and that is somewhat compact.

DX-1G vs. DX-2G
Both are great cameras u/w and topside. I really like the Richo (that is who makes the actual camera) camera line, they make some of the best cameras on the market IMO but you really only find them marketed overseas.

I actually have add-on lenses that I use for topside photography (outside the case) for my camera, wide angle and telephoto, I have even seen a ring flash add-on.

Both cameras have Automatic, Sea&Sea Underwater, Shutter and Aperture Priorities and full Manual modes. You can go from beginner to advanced at your own pace.

The 1G & 2G are the same as far as body, lens 24mm-72mm (F2.5 - F4.4) and sensor size 1/1.7" but the increased the mega pixels (pixel density/photo detectors) on the 2G to 12.1 (28MP/12.4) which really does not make much difference unless you plan to enlarge your photos to poster size.

The big thing changed in the 2G was the improvement with the RAW buffer from 1 shot/5 sec to 5 shot/3 sec for RAW files but if you do not shoot RAW and are happy with JPEG then it really does not come into play.

Improvements in DX-2G

Improved RAW buffer, Allows up to 5 continuous shots RAW mode.
Larger LCD screen 2.7" 460,000 pxl vs 2.5" 430,000pxl
Three individual settings of the My Setting function vs two settings
Built-in electronic level indicator displayed on the LCD monitorSo, if you want decent RAW capability go with the DX-2G, if you are OK with JPEG you can save some $$ with the DX-1G.

Compared to the Canon S90? Well, I have only seen a handfull of test photos so far and a couple of shots done u/w but the S90 looks like a great camera. People really seem to like the control ring on the camera but it is pretty new so I am waiting for some detailed reports and photos before praising the camera too much. It looks like it could be a winner for Canon though, I am a fan of the G9, G10 and G11 cameras, I just wish there were better wide angle options but I believe this will change soon also.
I have to say the Nikon P5000 and P6000 are really good cameras as well...

j1j2j38
01-22-2010, 13:19
i got the camera through amazon and the rest of the package through backscatter.

DevilDiver
01-22-2010, 13:44
I was thinking about a YS-27DX strobe with a one handle grip tray with flex arm?
I would go for the YS-27 strobe over the YS 110a. You really don't need that high end of a strobe. Personally I do not see the real need for TTL with a system like this. If you want to shoot macro most of the time maybe but there is no benefit for portrait or wide angle work. I do not like Flex Arms either.



Can you suggest a tray and arm that would work? and where to get it?

Sea & Sea Sea Arm Light reviews and discounts, Sea & Sea (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?product_id=seaarmlight)
or
Optical Ocean Sales Single Underwater Tray/Arm Set 1 - Optical Ocean Sales Underwater Photo - 800-359-1295! (http://www.opticaloceansales.com/trays-arms-handles-clamps/optical-ocean-sales-single-underwater-camera-tray/arm-set-1/prod_62.html)
or
ULCS 5" x 8" 2-segment/3-clamp Arm Set [ulc.set.5x8] - $185.75 : Reef Photo & Video!, The Underwater Photo Pros (http://reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_97_38&products_id=3334)
with
ULCS TR-D Digital Tray [ulc.tr.d] - $39.95 : Reef Photo & Video!, The Underwater Photo Pros (http://reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_17&products_id=423)
with
ULCS AC-H Padded Handle, w/ Base Ball [ulc.ac.h] - $49.95 : Reef Photo & Video!, The Underwater Photo Pros (http://reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_17&products_id=420)

As you can see the ULCS arms are $$. Any of these would work fine.... INON makes good arms also but they are harder to find.



How is this for a deal? Add to cart for different price.
Sea & Sea | DX-1G, Underwater Digital Camera Sport | SS-06582SA (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/588396-REG/Sea_Sea_SS_06582SA_DX_1G_Underwater_Digital_Camera .html)

I like this setup, but would like to swap the camera for a DX-2G and the strobe For a YS-27 for around that price? Is this possible anywhere?


ST will customize a package for you so yes this is very possible. If you call ask for Joe and tell him I referred you. I know someone who just purchased the same package you are asking about last week.

j1j2j38
01-22-2010, 14:19
the other photo stores will put a quote together for you, too. Shop around, the prices can vary fairly substantially, e.g. the quotes for fairly similar packages when I was buying ranged by $100-200 across stores. You should be able to get at least a 10% package discount from most places. Scubatoys will give you the 10% forum discount, too which would be substantial on a thousand dollar package.

JCAT
01-22-2010, 16:57
One thing you might consider is the ability to shoot in RAW format. Hopefully my statement won't start a 'discussion' of the pro's and con's of RAW.

Using the CHDK hack, you can turn many canon P&S cameras into powerhouses below and above the surface. Analogous to putting a V6 into a pinto (I'm dating myself here)

Actually, it's not really a hack. All your doing is loading a different OS via your memory card. The camera itself is not modified.

Here the link CHDK Wiki (http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK) camera models on the right side in case you might go with older camera

Just throwing it out there.