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View Full Version : Using Existing Camera, or Buying an UW cam.



divingchef
11-29-2007, 09:52
Greetings! Im not new to diving, but new to UW photography. I have recently ordered an Ikelight housing (hasnīt arrived yet) for my existing Fuji Digital camera. Is there a benefit to buying another camera that is sold as UW? What are the real differences b/n a "standard" land camera and a camera that is UW? Are there any drawbacks to using my existing camera underwater? Can anyone help me with these questions? Thanks in advance.

Signed,

photographically challenged

Puffer Fish
11-29-2007, 10:56
Greetings! Im not new to diving, but new to UW photography. I have recently ordered an Ikelight housing (hasnīt arrived yet) for my existing Fuji Digital camera. Is there a benefit to buying another camera that is sold as UW? What are the real differences b/n a "standard" land camera and a camera that is UW? Are there any drawbacks to using my existing camera underwater? Can anyone help me with these questions? Thanks in advance.

Signed,

photographically challenged

Which Fuji?

Most of the issues revolve around cost... how much you are willing to spend..

The camera's are basically.. well digital camera's.

As a camera freak, I like DSLR's.. but don't use one underwater... The thought of seeing my pride and joy floating in salt water would be way too much for me to bear. And if you take anything underwater enough... it will leak (may take a long time... but eventually either it will wear or you will make a mistake).

Bang for the UW buck... sometimes is not bad with some of the ones made for UW use... quality per dollar is another story.

The best P+S with manual controls.. like the Canon G9, are wonderful camera's to use underwater.. you loose the fast image taking of the DSLR, but you gain the back panel display.

Part of the cost is also the case... the Japanese cases for Canon, Fuji and some others are great values and are actually very effective cases, but you can only use special strobes with them (optic cable, as there is not thru the housing connection). When you go to the housing makers, the price takes a big jump, but if the camera allows a hard strobe connection, it might be worth it.

Next is the cost of the strobes, and perhaps more surprisingly, the tray and arms that hold them. The UW camera's usually have a very affordable system, most of the other ones are pricy...with some exceptions.

I use a Fuji... with a Fuji case...not because I cannot afford to get a more expensive one, but because I can live with it leaking (which has not happened, by the way).

BobArnold8265
11-29-2007, 14:30
The only thing I would recommend in an "underwater" camera is the ability to shoot in a manual mode. Automatic settings just don't seem to cut it in underwtaer conditions. Also, if you get more serious about your underwater photography, you'll want to add an external strobe at some point. You'll need either a TTL link or to control you exposure manually. Other than that, there is nothing that an "underwater" camera can do better than a "land" camera in a housing.

ChrisA
11-29-2007, 17:30
Is there a benefit to buying another camera that is sold as UW? What are the real differences b/n a "standard" land camera and a camera that is UW? Are there any drawbacks to using my existing camera underwater?

The advantage of the Ikilite housing is that they are very sturdy and well made. Not liely to leak or break even if you get knocked down in the surf. The smaller housing are more form fittig and compact but not as sturdy. The UW camera are really just camera inside a housing.

You have to stand back and look at the total system including the strobe(s) and how you might upgrade later. Ikilite may cost more but yo can change camers and keep the strobes and cables

ScubaJW
12-10-2007, 21:45
Automatic settings just don't seem to cut it in underwtaer conditions. Also, if you get more serious about your underwater photography, you'll want to add an external strobe at some point.

IMO -that's YMMV.

My buddy shoots his pictures in automatic mode and he does not use a strobe. His pictures are fantastic. I have a better camera than his and he always shoot better pictures than I do!

Matt's 2007 Bonaire Dive Pictures (http://yukoneer.com/bonaire2007/matt/)

Daved
12-10-2007, 21:54
I have an old point and shoot sony--DCS-p9--it must be a 100 years old--maybe older. My shots are no where close to Matt's --they do me just fine. Automatic point and shoot. No external strobe.
I also have a cannon dslr for the last few years. It has bells and whistles--heck it can even make coffee in the morning. With out a doubt it is the superior camera. It is shame I do not have the time to learn how to use it.
If you are photo geek--DSLR. If not have fun with your point and shoot--it will be all you need for a few years.
IMHO

divingchef
12-20-2007, 10:53
alright guys.....the Ikelight housing has arrived in los cabos.....tomorrow will be my first attempt at shooting UW photos.....any recs on what setting to put my camera on? Auto just as good as any? Flash? Flash deflector?

Iīll post em if you can see anything other than my hand! (:

Mycroft
12-20-2007, 14:33
The advantage for me is that my above water cameras don't have an available housing, and can't be replaced new if leak did occur.

Back in the early 90's I got Ikelite to quote for a custom housing for the camera. They wanted $800 THEN.

And replacing 1 body on my above water camera is >$2700, not to mention the lens. (probably another >$800)

So, I went Nikonos V, I'm happy and haven't looked bck.

And I have not gone digital land or sea yet, nor in the forseeable future.

Zenagirl
12-20-2007, 17:40
I think there are 2 important things to look for in a camera you're going to use underwater:

1. You can do macro without using the zoom.

We had a Pentax camera that had an UW housing available, so went with that first. Although the camera is a nice little thing and takes nice pictures, the closest you could get to something was 12 inches (or so), then you had to use the zoom lens.

This resulted in less than satisfactory results, so we wound up buying a Sea&Sea camera that you can get to within 2 centimeters of an object to take a photograph...without using the zoom. As you can imagine, the quality of the macro photography increased exponentially and since my husband is a macro fanatic, he's a happy camper.

2. As little "shutter lag" as possible.

Our Pentax has a terrible shutter lag and you can only guess at the number of fish that have swum away by the time the picture was taken. The Sea&Sea camera has a 1/10 second shutter lag, which is basically zero and it makes a huge difference. We still have to wait a few seconds for the camera to recycle (which will only get worse when we get a strobe), but it's still less than the Pentax.

You definitely don't need to get underwater camera branded cameras to get these features, we just happened to like the Sea&Sea so bought it.