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AquaGirl
11-04-2007, 01:01
Looking for decent Digital Camera and housing for under $400. Don't know much about underwater digital deals so I need a little help!

NitroWill
11-04-2007, 01:03
Why not get something new?

For a good starter camera the reefmaster line would be a pretty good choice..

SeaLife ECOshot 6mp Digital Camera SL-321, Underwater Cameras, SeaLife, SeaLife ECOshot 6mp Digital Camera SL-321 (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=SeaLifeECOshotDigitalCamera)

Only $225 after discount, could even throw in a wide angel lens and be well within budget. Will give you room to grow too! :)

AquaGirl
11-04-2007, 01:27
Is there any advantage or disadvantage to going with this style as opposed to a Canon power shot with a housing? I guess I need experienced personal advice on this because everything on the internet sounds great to me and I can't tell if I'm getting played or not. What do you own or have shot with in the past?

AquaGirl
11-04-2007, 01:30
Also what are your thoughts on buying Used camera equipment? I worry that something will be leaking by now since someone else has elsed it for a while already. I'm so lost on all this and the deeper I dig the more confused I get (plus it's 3am my time so maybe I just need some sleep to clear my head!)

Puffer Fish
11-04-2007, 06:52
Also what are your thoughts on buying Used camera equipment? I worry that something will be leaking by now since someone else has elsed it for a while already. I'm so lost on all this and the deeper I dig the more confused I get (plus it's 3am my time so maybe I just need some sleep to clear my head!)

I'm a very big fan of the low cost uw housing made in Japan...they have a very easy to identify orange plastic on the case. Canon uses them, as does Fuji and several other.

You need a camera with manual settings... and the biggest sensor you can find... today, that is the Fuji F50, and it with their underwater housing are well under $400. There is a Canon that is close... so if one has to use Canon... that would be another option. The F50 is a 12 meg sensor, and given it's bigger size and image quality, there is no other compact camera that can produce images of that quality. But, it does not have the famous low light image quality that some of the older Fuji's have...

Without a strobe, you will be taking pictures at depth, that don't have much color, or use the built in strobe and get some back scatter.

Here is a non-stobe picture from around 70, with vis around 80 ft....

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/garinj/bluefish1.jpg


Shallow water, without the strobe and you get some color:

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/garinj/fred2.jpg

Add a cheap strobe... and you get this sort of image:

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/garinj/scfish6.jpg

But a simple strobe takes some skill to use...

Just my thoughts on the issue.

Puffer Fish
11-04-2007, 06:54
Also what are your thoughts on buying Used camera equipment? I worry that something will be leaking by now since someone else has elsed it for a while already. I'm so lost on all this and the deeper I dig the more confused I get (plus it's 3am my time so maybe I just need some sleep to clear my head!)


Because technology is changing so fast, getting used digital, also means you are getting last years or several years old technology.. if the price is right... not bad... but in the $400 range, you can get really good stuff new.

Puffer Fish
11-04-2007, 06:56
I just noticed that the second picture does have the built in camera strobe fired..but it was not enough to actually get to them... it just caused some backscatter... sorry...

AquaGirl
11-04-2007, 14:19
Can I add a strobe to the F50? (Is that a dumb question?)
So far I have found a few sites and can get the package right under $400 like you said!! This is VERRRRRRY helpful - thank you!!!

Puffer Fish
11-04-2007, 15:56
Can I add a strobe to the F50? (Is that a dumb question?)
So far I have found a few sites and can get the package right under $400 like you said!! This is VERRRRRRY helpful - thank you!!!
There are two effective ways to go at this.. get the cheapest strobe that works....

This is an example of how well one will work:

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/garinj/GoatFish2.jpg

You will reduce the number of pictures you take, because the camera strobe will be firing at maximum on ever shot.. makes the recycle time longer, but thank goodness the camera can take a lot of pictures on a charge.

The above used one of these:

Sealife Digital Strobe SL960D, Underwater Cameras, SeaLife, Sealife Digital Strobe SL960D (http://scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?product_id=SL960D)

I found, in this case, you get a working strobe, with output adjustment, that will leak if you take it below 100 ft.... (I'm on my third).

Spend more money, and you can get an Inon strobe, which is very intelligent and works with the camera.. the strobe output is greatly reduced and it can actually take pictures in auto...but they cost a lot...one of my next big purchases.

Byte Me
11-04-2007, 16:39
There are a ton of options as you're finding out. One thing to try is search "underwater" on ebay in the digital camera section - a fair amount of new/used camera & housing combos for good prices.

F50 is a good option but image quality compared to F30 / F31 is reportedly much lower. There are some canon options SD900, A640 which come in under $400 when you include the canon housing.

That was pretty much my limit too, I was able to find an Olympus SP350 for that price with 2 1gb cards, batteries, housing, camera on ebay. Manual modes, hotshoe, can shoot RAW, big lcd, lots of good press about it.

Until I made that purchase I was driving myself nuts searching and reading.

The olympus set up is hard to find but proven, the only set up I had wanted to find more than that was the Fuji F31fd and housing. Almost impossible to find that camera though. Also in the top 3 was Fuji F30 and housing.

Puffer Fish
11-04-2007, 17:16
There are a ton of options as you're finding out. One thing to try is search "underwater" on ebay in the digital camera section - a fair amount of new/used camera & housing combos for good prices.

F50 is a good option but image quality compared to F30 / F31 is reportedly much lower. There are some canon options SD900, A640 which come in under $400 when you include the canon housing.

That was pretty much my limit too, I was able to find an Olympus SP350 for that price with 2 1gb cards, batteries, housing, camera on ebay. Manual modes, hotshoe, can shoot RAW, big lcd, lots of good press about it.

Until I made that purchase I was driving myself nuts searching and reading.

The olympus set up is hard to find but proven, the only set up I had wanted to find more than that was the Fuji F31fd and housing. Almost impossible to find that camera though. Also in the top 3 was Fuji F30 and housing.

It's funny that in todays world, camera's are part technology and part hearsay... I guess it is just part of being human. I use the F11, which was never sold in the US, but is almost identical to the F31fd in features, but in an uglier case.

The image quality on the F50 is both better and worse.. it depends on how you are going to use it. But, it is such an improvement in other areas, that even if that were not the case... it should be considered. Just the increase in shutter speed range, the increase in f stops, and real image stabilization make it fairly noteworth.

But on the issue of image quality (everyone who is not a techie.. run.. run as fast as you can and do not stop to look back).

Taking the same size sensor and putting more pixels in it does a couple of things.. not all good. It allows you to say you have more pixels (good, I guess). It may, if the lense allows it, allow you to have better resolution (a bit in this case, so good), it allows larger pictures before you have pixelization (I don't know, maybe good). It does a number on the camera's low light capability (bad, for some people).

It is this last item that has a lot of fuji people upset. As Fuji was famous for it's high ISO performance better than any company.. and making that 12 meg sensor has made them like everyone else....

But what about using it at around 100 ISO... which is where I take pictures at? Not much is out there, except if you look at the latest DPreview.com of the Canon G9... (keeping in mind that the G9 is a much more expensive cameral)

Canon PowerShot G9 Review: 19. Compared to...: Digital Photography Review (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonG9/page19.asp)

Of all the reviews out there, this guy is by far the most detailed and gives the most support information.

Notice the numbers for the F50?

Here are some numbers from several common SLR's:

Nikon D200 Review: 30. Compared to...: Digital Photography Review (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond200/page30.asp)

Now, in reality, there is a far bigger difference than that.. and these are just test charts...and all the slr's can shoot in raw... and get better images, and there is the lense issue...but, if you take an image carefully with an F50, at the right settings... with the right exposure.. you can get some amazing results...

Silverlode
11-06-2007, 06:17
Looking for a digital camera as well. I saw the Canon A640 mentioned above. Was eyeing it a while back... then the newer models came out. Anyone with experiences on the A640, A650IS, A720IS, especially under water.

Are there any good current Olympus point and shoot camera for underwater?

I do not need the camera for above water as I have a Nikon D80 for 'everyday' and above group use.

Easydiver
11-09-2007, 09:05
AquaGirl,

I have just ordered my new upgrade camera rig (should be here the 14th:smiley32: ) and have a Sea & Sea DX3000G Islander kit for sale. I would be willing to sell it for 350 and shipping to keep you under your $400 budget.

The kit contains the camera, housing, YS-25 strobe, wide angle lens, lens caddy, short loc-line strobe arm, extra o-rings, grease, and a fitted Pelican case. It takes nice pictures and I can provide you with several examples of them.

The unit works well for what it is -- 3mp housed automatic Ricoh camera. I decided that I wanted creative control over the camera rather than the other way around so I spent some big bucks on a G9, Ikelite, dual 125 strobes, etc.

I've never had any problems with the system other than being dissatisfied with lack of artistic control. The strobe arm is short for really murky water like we have in Puget Sound but it works well on clear tropical dives like the trip we took to Mexico in April.

Take care,
Easydiver

PS my avatar picture was taken with this camera

AquaGirl
11-09-2007, 12:34
Well thanks to Pufferfish's suggestions and research, I went with a Fuji F50 and housing. The camera just got here so I can't wait to open it and start messing with it's settings!

AquaGirl
11-09-2007, 13:28
Darn, it's just the housing. Not much to play with on the housing without a camera - that's no fun.:smiley13:
Still, the housing looks pretty cool.

Silverlode
11-19-2007, 03:56
AquaGirl, has the camera arrived yet? Do post (detailed??) what you think of it after you'd dived with it... I'm still looking.

Puffer Fish
11-19-2007, 19:21
AquaGirl, has the camera arrived yet? Do post (detailed??) what you think of it after you'd dived with it... I'm still looking.
I get mine tomorrow... already have an early version of it... and love the thing...Amazon has a sale on, where you get a free 2 gig SD card, or 18.99 credit for a larger card this week. This on top of the lowest price I could find.

I have a couple of hundred dives with older version of camera and housing (f11.. very similar to the F50, except the 6 meg versus 12 meg, and a bunch of features).

Sadly, I bought an extra housing for it (they are so cheap) and never used it... although I did get the box wet.

I use a reef master strobe (got a deal on two of them a while back), and already had one leak. It takes some knowledge and practice to use any point and shoot with a strobe...but when it is done right, it produces very nice results.

Over the G9, it has a lot of better features for underwater pictures. Focus light, even for macro. Strobe works for macro pictures. F stops go to F8.. max shutter is 1/2000th...and better detail,as long as you are shooting in 100 or 200 iso...

MissyB
12-11-2007, 18:50
I'm finding this thread very helpful, as I am looking for a digital camera too. I see that Scuba toys has 2 that I am interested in, and would probably get the one that can go deeper, but am wondering if anyone could post pics taken with the ReefMaster mini digital SL? (the one rated to 130 ft)
thanks!
Marie

adv_diver1
12-14-2007, 09:00
I know you said digital, but I saw the Sea & Sea underwater camera /w the strobe on Ebay for $199.

I used this model camera years ago and had some really good pictures turn out. Kinda big and bulky, but pics for the price.

teerlkay
12-30-2007, 09:58
We've got a Sealife digital COMPLETE Kit for sale

Here’s what it includes:
Sealife Reefmaster Digital 3.3 megapixel camera – it uses 2 AA batteries, SD memory cards. The camera is in excellent condition. It comes with a velour-like carry case with belt loop.

Sealife DC300 waterproof housing – rated to 200 feet. Never flooded. Very good condition.

Sealife SL960 External Flash – Rated to 164 feet. Never flooded. Good condition. Takes 4 AA batteries. Flexible arm for positioning the flash where it’s needed. ($154 on ST)

24mm wide angle lens – Excellent condition. Great for the big animal encounters. ($80 on ST)

Wide angle lens docking port – Attaches to external flash plate to store your wide angle lens when not using. Makes it very easy to change lenses underwater! Neoprene covers for front and back of lens. ($19 on scubatoys)

3x macro lens – brand new never used, taken out of package only for the picture. ($35 on scubatoys)

8x macro lens – excellent condition

16x macro lens – excellent condition (The 8x/16x kit is $90 on ST)

8x and 16x macro lens measuring wand –attaches to external flash plate and rotates out when you need to measure distance for macro shots. Rotates back when not needed. Excellent aid for depth of field when shooting macro.

Sealife Reefmaster soft sided, padded carry case – some scuffs on it but structurally sound and has ALWAYS done a great job protecting this gear!

All the original manuals – all are in very good shape
The original software CD
Bonus Photosuite III SE CD
Video out cable – yes the camera does video too!
AC adapter – never used – dual voltage (110/220) ($22.00 on ST)
Cleaning supplies
Moisture munchers

Added bonus
256MB Kingston memory SD card
Sealife NIMH battery charger – dual voltage (110/220)
4 sealife NIMH 2100mah batteries

OK – what are the known issues with the kit? In a nutshell – none. We take good care of all our equipment. Proper rinses after all dives. None of the equipment has ever been flooded or failed in anyway. Now I’m going to nitpick because you can’t see the equipment. The soft-sided case definitely has some scuffing – you can see it in the picture. The yellow rubber armor on the flash head is partially separated at the seam – less than 1/32 of an inch - this is cosmetic only and in no way affects the waterproofing or the protection of the flash head. The batteries suck! We use Sony 2500 mah batteries with drastically better results. Oh, and the moisture munchers have partially munched moisture. That’s really all I can come up with. You can search ScubaToys (ST) for “Sealife”and see a lot of this gear. Also sealife is very modular equipment – if you decide in the future you need more megapixels – there is a very good chance you can still utilize most of the accessories.

Let’s face it – Sealife is not the best underwater equipment out there but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get good results with this stuff – we’ve been very happy with it. It’s probably not going to get you any magazine covers but we’ve got plenty of 8.5”x11”pictures hanging up, with plenty of compliments to boot! It’s rugged too – the rubber armor has a very good feel to it and it shrugs off the inevitable bumps on a dive boat.


Here’s a link to some photos taken with this very camera.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/trlkdivers/sets/72157603578157294/show/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/trlkdivers/sets/72157603578157294/show/)


If you are looking to get started in underwater digital photography this is a great all in one solution. We are selling this as best offer.

Shipping – Buyer pays actual USPS shipping from zip code 78520.

Any questions please PM

We have posted this on several sites – we reserve the right to sell it “wherever”.

Thanks for looking and happy holidays
TEERLKAY

http://forum.scubatoys.com/used-stuff-sale/8068-sale-sealife-dc300-underwater-camera.html