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TRACI
11-21-2007, 12:05
Ok, there are so many camera choices, I think if I can just get my search narrowed down to a particular brand , then I can get one step closer to making a purchase, any suggestions?

Puffer Fish
11-21-2007, 12:29
Ok, there are so many camera choices, I think if I can just get my search narrowed down to a particular brand , then I can get one step closer to making a purchase, any suggestions?
I think you first need to decide which type of camera you want, and roughly, how much you are willing to spend... DSLR choices are very, very different from Point and shoot.

Also, what are your picture taking goals... critter pictures? Underwater scenes? Art? Screen savers?

Even within a group, a Nikon D80 (great camera, by the way) is far different from the Oly DSLR with live view..and they do different things better and worse.

TRACI
11-21-2007, 12:38
I would probably want to take mostly pics of critters and other people I am diving with, I would love to spend under $400, I would just use for recreational diving, nothing too deep.

TRACI
11-21-2007, 12:39
D80 is out of my price range :(

Puffer Fish
11-21-2007, 12:41
I would probably want to take mostly pics of critters and other people I am diving with, I would love to spend under $400, I would just use for recreational diving, nothing too deep.
That will make a very short list..there are the UW specific camera's and a short list of Point and shoot that would work... I'll see if I can put together a short list of all that would work and be in that price range this weekend.

TRACI
11-21-2007, 12:43
Thanks!

TRACI
11-21-2007, 12:45
But, maybe I could do $500. I would just have to cut out my Starbucks for a couple of weeks ;)

Puffer Fish
11-21-2007, 15:08
But, maybe I could do $500. I would just have to cut out my Starbucks for a couple of weeks ;)
You need to start saving for a strobe.. the camera is easy...

Navy OnStar
11-21-2007, 15:13
I'm interested in this range too. Thanks.

diversteve
11-21-2007, 15:50
I'd consider the Canon A series. They range up to 12MP for less around $450 to models in the 7-8MP range for +/- $200. Most include at least one underwater mode - my buddy's A620 has 3. And for Macro, they focus down to something like 1/3rd of an inch.

Canon housings typically sell in the $129-169 range.

Limitations: No RAW shooting mode unless you go to a pricier "G" model.
And no TTL strobe connection through the housing so if you do go with an external strobe it will have to be fiber-optic triggered - but almost all under $500 are anyway now.

Some of the A-series housings use a square front port. So add-on lenses are more difficult. There is a place in France that sells an adapter for some wet mount lenses. But the other choice is an Ikelite box and they start at $3-400 or so.

Do some camera/housing matching at Adorama.com (http://www.adorama.com). They have several deals that should fall within that range. One that's in the sweetspot now is a Canon A570IS 7.1MP model ($155) with a WP-DC housing for $163. Or you can get an Ikelite housing for it for $259.

It also appears that there's a new line of A700 series cameras just coming onto the market. Adorama lists a few models but they don't even have details listed yet. So maybe wait a few weeks before buying anything.

They also have a few refurbished cameras at stupidly low prices. But some have low pixel ratings. I wouldn't buy anything below 7.1MP for u/w use.

I used to recommend the Olympus SP series since I have an SP-350 which does raw and has a hotshoe for direct flash connection. But it's discontinued and Olympus removed the hotshoe from their new line. But the SP series is still worth a look also.

CompuDude
11-21-2007, 16:31
I concur with DiverSteve's recommendations 100%.

I would add a recommendation to get one with the "wide angle" 28mm lens, as well... upper end zoom is useless underwater, wide angle is far more useful.

quasimoto
11-21-2007, 19:13
I haven't done much photo shooting but I do agree on the wide angle lens. Some will argue that you loose your macro ability but I found one for my video camera that allows "zoom through". You do loose the very end of your close up ability but nothing major.

bversteegh
11-22-2007, 14:34
This is an older camera, but the Fuji E900 and Ike housing can be purchased for close to $400 US, and is an outstanding underwater camera. Uses AA batteries, manual control as you evolve, shoots RAW. Fuji has (my opinion, and that of people more knowledgeable I trust) a superior CCD sensor, very sharp, good colors, low noise. Then save your pennies and when you have the money, get an Inon 2000 strobe or Sea and Sea 110, and an Inon wide angle lens; and you have a killer system for around 1000 US.

Puffer Fish
11-22-2007, 18:26
This is an older camera, but the Fuji E900 and Ike housing can be purchased for close to $400 US, and is an outstanding underwater camera. Uses AA batteries, manual control as you evolve, shoots RAW. Fuji has (my opinion, and that of people more knowledgeable I trust) a superior CCD sensor, very sharp, good colors, low noise. Then save your pennies and when you have the money, get an Inon 2000 strobe or Sea and Sea 110, and an Inon wide angle lens; and you have a killer system for around 1000 US.

The new F50 has a better sensor... so better image quality... but you loose raw (will have that issue in the 101 section before monday). It costs less, the UW case costs less,

I would agree with the Inon Strobe (not used the S&S 110, but would like to know more about it), and there is a Inon wide angle for it.

Would end up being around $100 less...with better images...(not that the E900 is bad), don't know of any good imaging system in the same price range.

dbh
11-23-2007, 09:02
The new F50 has a better sensor... so better image quality... but you loose raw (will have that issue in the 101 section before monday). It costs less, the UW case costs less,

Would end up being around $100 less...with better images...(not that the E900 is bad), don't know of any good imaging system in the same price range.

IMHO, the RAW makes the E900 a better choice for u/w use. I doubt MOST people would be able to tell any difference in image quality between the 2.

If I were in the market for a compact, I would look real hard at the Canon G9.

Dave

shadragon
11-23-2007, 09:35
Ok, there are so many camera choices, I think if I can just get my search narrowed down to a particular brand , then I can get one step closer to making a purchase, any suggestions?
You can get an inexpensive camera, but make sure you can get an U/W housing that takes that model before you buy. Ikelite has a full list of the models they support on their website. Problem is a good quality case will cost you a few bucks. They are worth it though. It only takes one flood to kill the camera.

I bought a SeaLife DC310 with dual strobes (second hand) and it is a good all around camera. However, even that was twice your budget. Keep the seals lightly lubricated and keep the camera submerged before and after use to minimize condensation / fogging.

Safe diving...

Puffer Fish
11-23-2007, 10:31
The new F50 has a better sensor... so better image quality... but you loose raw (will have that issue in the 101 section before monday). It costs less, the UW case costs less,

Would end up being around $100 less...with better images...(not that the E900 is bad), don't know of any good imaging system in the same price range.

IMHO, the RAW makes the E900 a better choice for u/w use. I doubt MOST people would be able to tell any difference in image quality between the 2.

If I were in the market for a compact, I would look real hard at the Canon G9.

Dave


The wonderful fairy tale about what does and does not happen with raw is a different issue (Jpeg is not a single standard, and just because a Nikon D200, for example, has a rotten Jpeg implimentation, does not mean everyone else does).

There are a fair number of advantages and disadvantages with the E900 versus the F50, but image quality (if used correctly) goes the F50. Effective focal lengh - E900. f-stop range - F50. Cost - F50... It is a mixed bag, and depends on what you want.

I hope to post information on the JPEG issue this weekend.... but, the best raw from a E900 is not as good as the best JPEG from a F50...

TRACI
11-27-2007, 07:53
I think I have decided on a Olympus FE-280, the camera and the housing will fit into my budget;)

Puffer Fish
11-27-2007, 08:07
I think I have decided on a Olympus FE-280, the camera and the housing will fit into my budget;)
Without manual settings, and a very limited F-stop range, that is a very difficult camera to take pictures with UW... would strongly suggest you step up to at least one with some manual controls.

But if that is the maximum price, then so be it.

Note: The extra cost is about $60 more (for camera and housing)

TRACI
11-27-2007, 08:22
What is a decent camera with manual controls?

Puffer Fish
11-27-2007, 09:57
What is a decent camera with manual controls?
The selection is very limited in P+S... which is one reason people think so badly of them.

There are:

Casio EX-Z1200 and Z1080

Canon G series (7 or 9) (but much more dollars)

Fuji F31 and F50fd (not the F40, oddly)

Panasonic LX2

I know there are UW cases for the Canon and the Fuji. Not sure on the others.

My favorite, right now (until something better comes along, and it will) is the Fuji F50 at around $239, with a 2 gig memory card (remember, camera's come with a stupid small one), and around $130 for the case.

It compares very good with the G9, except that the G9 has some nicer additional features, and more strobe options. But the G9 costs a lot more.

I have not finished the strobe thread, but having a higher F-stop can be really important, and both the G9 and F50 do.

Hope that helps.

TRACI
11-27-2007, 10:10
Very good info, I will start checking out these options, thanks for your help ;)

TRACI
11-27-2007, 10:35
I found the Fuji F50 for 240.00, do you know who makes the case?

TRACI
11-27-2007, 11:03
I found the case also. I think the camera and housing looks pretty good for the price.

CompuDude
11-27-2007, 13:23
What is a decent camera with manual controls?
The selection is very limited in P+S... which is one reason people think so badly of them.

There are:

Casio EX-Z1200 and Z1080

Canon G series (7 or 9) (but much more dollars)

Fuji F31 and F50fd (not the F40, oddly)

Panasonic LX2

I know there are UW cases for the Canon and the Fuji. Not sure on the others.

My favorite, right now (until something better comes along, and it will) is the Fuji F50 at around $239, with a 2 gig memory card (remember, camera's come with a stupid small one), and around $130 for the case.

It compares very good with the G9, except that the G9 has some nicer additional features, and more strobe options. But the G9 costs a lot more.

I have not finished the strobe thread, but having a higher F-stop can be really important, and both the G9 and F50 do.

Hope that helps.

What about the Canon A series? They all have manual controls, unless there are some super low ones (or new ones) I don't know about.

Puffer Fish
11-27-2007, 14:34
What is a decent camera with manual controls?
The selection is very limited in P+S... which is one reason people think so badly of them.

There are:

Casio EX-Z1200 and Z1080

Canon G series (7 or 9) (but much more dollars)

Fuji F31 and F50fd (not the F40, oddly)

Panasonic LX2

I know there are UW cases for the Canon and the Fuji. Not sure on the others.

My favorite, right now (until something better comes along, and it will) is the Fuji F50 at around $239, with a 2 gig memory card (remember, camera's come with a stupid small one), and around $130 for the case.

It compares very good with the G9, except that the G9 has some nicer additional features, and more strobe options. But the G9 costs a lot more.

I have not finished the strobe thread, but having a higher F-stop can be really important, and both the G9 and F50 do.

Hope that helps.

What about the Canon A series? They all have manual controls, unless there are some super low ones (or new ones) I don't know about.


Humm dpreview show the latest not having manual... don't know, will check tonight.

Canon PowerShot A650 IS digital camera specifications: Digital Photography Review (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon/canon_a650is.asp)

Puffer Fish
11-27-2007, 14:44
I found the case also. I think the camera and housing looks pretty good for the price.
The amazon deal (with the free 2 gig card) is pretty nice, but I used the 18.99 down on the 8 gig card...

There are limited reviews of this camera out there.. Steve's is very good, and this page (from the G9 review addresses image quality

Canon PowerShot G9 Review: 19. Compared to...: Digital Photography Review (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong9/page19.asp)

You should know, this is a very small camera, with a lot of buttons and controls, with the back almost completely filled with the display.

It is somewhat difficult to even find a place to put your fingers.. In the UW case, it is a lot more friendly.

I have used an F11 in a similar case for years, without any issue, and tested the case down to around 125ft.. my strobe leaked, but not the camera.

There is some tribal knowledge needed, if you use a strobe with it... as you have to black out the in camera strobe, but let the focus light come thru...easy to do, but you need the information.

This camera, as a side note, can use the focus light in macro.. which most camera's cannot.. nice to have actually.

Puffer Fish
11-27-2007, 14:49
What is a decent camera with manual controls?
The selection is very limited in P+S... which is one reason people think so badly of them.

There are:

Casio EX-Z1200 and Z1080

Canon G series (7 or 9) (but much more dollars)

Fuji F31 and F50fd (not the F40, oddly)

Panasonic LX2

I know there are UW cases for the Canon and the Fuji. Not sure on the others.

My favorite, right now (until something better comes along, and it will) is the Fuji F50 at around $239, with a 2 gig memory card (remember, camera's come with a stupid small one), and around $130 for the case.

It compares very good with the G9, except that the G9 has some nicer additional features, and more strobe options. But the G9 costs a lot more.

I have not finished the strobe thread, but having a higher F-stop can be really important, and both the G9 and F50 do.

Hope that helps.

What about the Canon A series? They all have manual controls, unless there are some super low ones (or new ones) I don't know about.
You are correct.. the A series does have manual controls, although the price is very similar to the G9.. missed that one.

BobArnold8265
11-29-2007, 14:45
For $400 to $500 you have a ton of options. There are many very nice cameras out there in the $300 range and housings for them are available starting around $150. I think if you stick with the major brands you will do better (Nikon, Canon, Olympus or Sony). All of these makes have inexpensive housings available and also are "upgradeable" (i.e. you could upgrade to say an Ikelite housing or add a strobe in the future). Personally, I lean towards Canon or Olympus. The one thing you want to make sure of is that you get a camera that allows manual control of the exposure. That's extremely important underwater.

Please don't let the hard core folks scare you away. DSLRs are certainly nice but I have seen tremedous shots taken with inexpensive cameras. Also, you don't have to shoot raw to get good pictures. JPEG quality is just fine unless you want to print gallery sized pictures. Finally, an external strobe is great to have but again you can get great shots without one. You just have to know the limitations of the camera. If you don't have a fancy strobe, just shoot as close to the subject as you can get with the internal flash (or use no flash at all if in shallow water).

Puffer Fish
11-29-2007, 14:57
For $400 to $500 you have a ton of options. There are many very nice cameras out there in the $300 range and housings for them are available starting around $150. I think if you stick with the major brands you will do better (Nikon, Canon, Olympus or Sony). All of these makes have inexpensive housings available and also are "upgradeable" (i.e. you could upgrade to say an Ikelite housing or add a strobe in the future). Personally, I lean towards Canon or Olympus. The one thing you want to make sure of is that you get a camera that allows manual control of the exposure. That's extremely important underwater.

Please don't let the hard core folks scare you away. DSLRs are certainly nice but I have seen tremedous shots taken with inexpensive cameras. Also, you don't have to shoot raw to get good pictures. JPEG quality is just fine unless you want to print gallery sized pictures. Finally, an external strobe is great to have but again you can get great shots without one. You just have to know the limitations of the camera. If you don't have a fancy strobe, just shoot as close to the subject as you can get with the internal flash (or use no flash at all if in shallow water).
You are correct, but not under $200 for the camera and under $340 with a housing... To my knowledge, only the F50 is in that price range...wish there were more.

CompuDude
11-29-2007, 15:14
You are correct, but not under $200 for the camera and under $340 with a housing... To my knowledge, only the F50 is in that price range...wish there were more.

Many of Canon's A series cameras are under or right around $200, and the housing is usually about $140, if memory serves. Whee!

Puffer Fish
11-29-2007, 16:07
You are correct, but not under $200 for the camera and under $340 with a housing... To my knowledge, only the F50 is in that price range...wish there were more.

Many of Canon's A series cameras are under or right around $200, and the housing is usually about $140, if memory serves. Whee!
To get anything more than manual and auto.. and manual in this case is not usable... as the A series uses ISO speed changes rather than f stops, you need to go to at least the A630 (still don't have f-stops, but you do have better control), and it is around $350, with the UW case costing around $200.... Not in the same price range.

cummings66
11-30-2007, 20:01
My A620 will in manual mode let me adjust f stops. I can adjust everything in fact, it's not limited. It won't shoot raw for example and only does Jpeg, but it's not bad.

It takes movies pretty good as well.

Granted the thing isn't in the same league as my film cameras, but it's better than what you're giving it credit for.

I can honestly say get the A620 and housing for it, it's a good under water camera given a few limitations using strobes and lenses. It's ok for point and shoot above water as well. I prefer my other camera but it does work.

For example I can do custom white balance under water, I can change F stop, aperture, and film speed under water. Look at the dial of a Cannon Digital Rebel and notice all the custom modes it has, this has them too. I can set Av, or Tv as needed, or go full manual if I want. I can go full auto as well. The large LCD on the back makes it easy to see if you got the shot you want as well, so I think anybody getting it will not find it to be limited in what it can do. In fact when it came out it was praised as being so versatile and having features such as under water modes to boot.

Give it a fair shake Puffer Fish.

cummings66
12-01-2007, 12:22
Here's a brief feature list; stolen from amazon.

A larger 2.0-inch vari-angle LCD offers users great versatility in composing shots from awkward angles, such as from ground or waist level, above the head, and when shooting self portraits. The selectable grid line display helps with composition and levelling horizons.

The A620 incorporates a total of 20 shooting modes, including full Manual mode, a Custom mode for allocating preferred shooting settings, and a shutter speed priority mode, with shutter speeds ranging from 15 seconds to 1/2500 second. Eight scene modes--such as Night Snapshot, Snow, and Underwater--maximize results in a variety of shooting situations. The Stitch Assist mode facilitates shooting pictures for panoramas, which can be joined together easily with the supplied PhotoStitch software. My Colors--located on the mode dial--allows the expansion of creativity in digital photography. Special effects, such as Color Swap or Custom Color, which allows users to select their preferred color balance for any given shot, can be performed in-camera and viewed on the LCD while shooting stills and movies. These effects could previously only be achieved using PC software after shooting. High-quality movies are selectable from VGA (30/15 frames per second), QVGA (30/15 frames per second), Fast Frame Rate (for slow motion replays in camera), and Compact Mode (for clips that are ideal for e-mailing).

You can find the camera for around $150 and the housing for around $170, $320 for new and can be found cheaper used if a person wanted. I'd buy a used camera but not housing, FWIW. Add a bit extra to any camera for a SD card as well.

BuggyDad
12-02-2007, 05:28
You can very easily hack the firmware on most canon A-series cameras which will allow you to do some cool features (e.g. shooting in RAW). Google "Canon hack CHDK" and you should get a good listing of websites showing you how to do it.

BuggyDad
12-02-2007, 05:43
Here's a link to a pretty good review for the Canon A570is which says it does indeed have full manual control.

DCRP Review: Canon PowerShot A570 IS (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_a570-review/)

I was struggling with this very issue of which camera to buy and finally decided to to with the A570is.

Italianprincess
12-24-2008, 13:09
Traci, if you haven't already purchased one, do your homework, find the right fit for your needs. Mine is just recreational, in and out of the water, works great! Picked something that had good underwater housing, yet affordable. I have a cannon Powershot. The housing for it is also made by Cannon, together they cost me about $500. I have full function of my camera underwater...pics are great for me! I love it!

RoyN
12-24-2008, 14:34
Another problem with the canon housing right now is the oval port which makes using a wide angle lens impossible. The G and some of the A series have that awful port. This is why I went with the A570is but also because of the complete manual control which I need especially shooting pictures in Monterey. Pretty soon I'll use the G5 with the ikelite housing where I'll have the ability to shoot RAW.

imasinker
12-24-2008, 16:49
Sealife reefmaster mini....
SeaLife Cameras - Underwater Digital Camera - Reefmaster Mini (http://www.sealife-cameras.com/cameras/reefmaster_mini.html)

I have one and it's great. 2gig card you can shoot pics all day and take an hour video. No housing needed and takes great pictures on land and underwater. I have seen them as cheap as 229.00 you can add a .45x wide angle lens for another 50.00.

Here is a link to a video I shot the first time I tried the camera and no pre set setting, just normal. Nothing special but gives you an idea.
YouTube - Tobermory Niagara II (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br1NkcmAN7Y)

Just an option within your price range!

DMWiz
12-24-2008, 17:14
Traci, take a look at the sealife cameras. The reefmaster mini is a simple point and shoot and you can add a wide angle lens and a strobe for around your budget price. Check out their photo gallery (http://www.sealife-cameras.com/gallery/digital_galleryechomini.html)
I know for a fact that I don't like futzing around with a camera while I'm diving and I have been able to take some really nice pics with this camera.

If you think you want to get really involved in photography then by all means check something a bit more flexible and advanced.

heydn62
12-31-2008, 09:37
Sealife reefmaster mini....
SeaLife Cameras - Underwater Digital Camera - Reefmaster Mini (http://www.sealife-cameras.com/cameras/reefmaster_mini.html)

I have one and it's great. 2gig card you can shoot pics all day and take an hour video. No housing needed and takes great pictures on land and underwater. I have seen them as cheap as 229.00 you can add a .45x wide angle lens for another 50.00.

Here is a link to a video I shot the first time I tried the camera and no pre set setting, just normal. Nothing special but gives you an idea.
YouTube - Tobermory Niagara II (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br1NkcmAN7Y)

Just an option within your price range!

I have the EcoShot (sl321) which is essentially the same camera rated to a lesser depth. Both models are listed as memory expandable to 1GB SD cards. I've not tried a 2 GB card, but this works for you? I wonder if a 4 GB card would work.

It took decent photos, but I need the strobe and the wide angle lens.

DMWiz
12-31-2008, 09:54
I use a 2Gb card on the reef master mini and works great. I have not tried the 4Gb cards yet.

Diver Kat
12-31-2008, 13:37
I just got the Sealife DC800 8 megapixel for Christmas. Scuba.com has a nice deal for $399 with free shipping and a lot of extras included ... then picked up a 4 GB SDHC memory card. (Althought it will take up to 8 GB.) After using an Olympus C5050 for a few years, this camera seems almost miniscule by comparison, but very easy to work with. And out of the housing, it a really nice compact land camera.

scubadiver888
12-31-2008, 22:12
I use a 2Gb card on the reef master mini and works great. I have not tried the 4Gb cards yet.
The ad was probably created when 1Gb cards were the top of the line. I have never seen a device that takes a 1Gb card but doesn't work with a 2Gb card. Everything from 256Mb (or smaller?) to 2Gb use the same technology (SD).

The 4Gb card will be the bigger question. Anything 4Gb to 2Tb (1024 * 2Gb) would be the SDHC standard. So if a 4Gb card works, 8Gb, 16Gb, 32Gb and the soon to be released 64Gb card should work as well.

neugierig
01-01-2009, 04:09
hi wiz and kat,

what does the sealife look like without the casing? what brand is in the actual camera? is it a sealife brand or doesnt it have a brand name printed?

thanks

Inka26
01-01-2009, 05:36
hi wiz and kat,

what does the sealife look like without the casing? what brand is in the actual camera? is it a sealife brand or doesnt it have a brand name printed?

thanks

The camera has Sealife brand on it, but seems to be a RICOH. Just received it yesterday, great camera + housing for $399.

sabbath999
01-01-2009, 21:55
[quote=DMWiz;258367]I have never seen a device that takes a 1Gb card but doesn't work with a 2Gb card. Everything from 256Mb (or smaller?) to 2Gb use the same technology (SD).

Oddly enough, I have seen one... the Nikon Coolpix 4800 won't take a 2GB but it will take a 1GB. I have no idea why.

DevilDiver
01-31-2009, 17:32
hi wiz and kat,

what does the sealife look like without the casing? what brand is in the actual camera? is it a sealife brand or doesnt it have a brand name printed?

thanks

The camera has Sealife brand on it, but seems to be a RICOH. Just received it yesterday, great camera + housing for $399.

Sealife does not use any of the Ricoh cameras for thier products.......