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Puffer Fish
02-13-2008, 16:23
I have promised myself that I would never again invest the amount needed to take a SLR underwater, that all may have changed with the introduction of the new Sony Alpha 350.

For the first time, they seem to have gotten live view (using the back LCD panel to see the image the camera will take).

As this system has no additional lag, it should be ideal for UW images.

It also is not bad that it is a 14 meg image.

Ikelite already has a 100 case, and the camera is only slightly different, so there should be a reasonably priced case available.

For anyone thinking about getting an DSLR, you should consider one.

Note: The price with wide angle zoom is expected to be around $900

Aussie
02-13-2008, 17:47
I have promised myself that I would never again invest the amount needed to take a SLR underwater, that all may have changed with the introduction of the new Sony Alpha 350.

For the first time, they seem to have gotten live view (using the back LCD panel to see the image the camera will take).

As this system has no additional lag, it should be ideal for UW images.

It also is not bad that it is a 14 meg image.

Ikelite already has a 100 case, and the camera is only slightly different, so there should be a reasonably priced case available.

For anyone thinking about getting an DSLR, you should consider one.

Note: The price with wide angle zoom is expected to be around $900

Sony announces Alpha 300 and 350: Digital Photography Review (http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08013004sonyalpha300350.asp)

The issue really comes down to how good is the live view LCD. Olympus brought out the E-330 a couple of years ago and when you used the liveview is provide no where near the definition of the standard optical viewfinder. I never bothered with using the liveview.

Then you should consider the range of lenses that Sony have when compared to Nikon and Canon. You could say that Sony has a limited range. Also you can get brands like Sigma and Tokina for the Nikon and Canon cameras at very reasonable prices which would suit someone new looking at a dSLR.

The ikelite housings are at $1500rrp for the Sony Alpha range which is the same price for Nikon and Canon dSLR's.

Another thing you should consider is the amount of battery use with the camera in live view. Up to 410 shots when live view is used. In the field/underwater I would be guessing that if you have liveview on all the time you would be getting less than the 410. Compared to the Nikon battery life of 2800.

For anyone looking at getting into underwater dSLR's you look at the lenses first than the camera. Cameras are now getting updated every 6-9months by the major manufactures. If you invest in top quality lenses they will last you for decades.

Something to think about.

Aussie

Puffer Fish
02-16-2008, 19:18
Sony announces Alpha 300 and 350: Digital Photography Review (http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08013004sonyalpha300350.asp)

The issue really comes down to how good is the live view LCD. Olympus brought out the E-330 a couple of years ago and when you used the liveview is provide no where near the definition of the standard optical viewfinder. I never bothered with using the liveview.

Then you should consider the range of lenses that Sony have when compared to Nikon and Canon. You could say that Sony has a limited range. Also you can get brands like Sigma and Tokina for the Nikon and Canon cameras at very reasonable prices which would suit someone new looking at a dSLR.

The ikelite housings are at $1500rrp for the Sony Alpha range which is the same price for Nikon and Canon dSLR's.

Another thing you should consider is the amount of battery use with the camera in live view. Up to 410 shots when live view is used. In the field/underwater I would be guessing that if you have liveview on all the time you would be getting less than the 410. Compared to the Nikon battery life of 2800.

For anyone looking at getting into underwater dSLR's you look at the lenses first than the camera. Cameras are now getting updated every 6-9months by the major manufactures. If you invest in top quality lenses they will last you for decades.

Something to think about.

Aussie

Assie, you raised some interesting points.

First off, I still believe that anything you put in an underwater case should be considered disposable.

But you are very correct that they keep coming out with new models, so does one consider both the housing (which is camera specific) and the camera as disposable? I guess so, but that sort of sucks economically.

If you consider a camera to be a sensor, lens and features, that have a very short life span in todays world (some slr's remained unchanged for decades, but that is very unlikely to return any time soon), then getting the best combination at the lowest cost would seem to be a practical view point.

I would agree regarding lens, without a good lens, the sensor is rather worthless. But even that has become a bit troublesome, in that the current high density smaller sensors, require higher resoluiton lens, but to do that, they had to limit the coverage...And now, with them running into limits on that issue, they are returning to larger sensors... so todays lens may not be usable on future camera's. And buying full 35mm coverage lens, means loosing quality... again, a not real comfortabe place to be.

As for the Sony...it's Live view has nothing to do with that rotten Oly system, and in addition to all of the lens they have, all the Tamron (which they essentially own) and Sigma lens that would fit a Nikon are available. I rather like the 17 -70 macro Sigma as a general lens. (that is a digital lens, so it would not be usable with a full size sensor)

Actually, if it were not for the great installed base for Nikon (which does not make sensors), it is doubtful that they would be doing as well as they are. But there is something to be said for all those that already had lens, to stay with the same company.

Part of the cost of an underwater case is the very limited life span of each model... making them far more expensive than they should be.

So, if you compare the Sony, with the D300, with the same lens, and the same cost housing, you have the following:

1. Sony - slightly (very slighty) better resolution, and dynamic range.

2. Nikon - Better built (how important is that with a life expectancy of around 2 years?).

3. Battery life - not sure this is even a issue. Stobe life, memory card and time usually limit the number of images that one takes. I have never managed much more that 100 pictures on a dive. And not surprizingly, most battery issues can be improved on.

Note: The YS110's I have are now better than 2 second recyle, due to improved battery power, and my F50 is now using much higher powered batteries than listed for it (turns out the Pentax battery of the same size is much more powerful).

Cost: Around $2,700 for the Sony and around $3,700 for the Nikon.

Note: There are other feature differences, but just looking at the final pictures, for the most part, the features are not that important)

Note2: If you did not know this, Nikon uses a lot of Sony sensors in their camera's. Almost all of the D200 and below are Sony.

Both are a lot of money.

Who knows, maybe there will not be a uw housing for the Sony, making the issue meanless.

Aussie
02-20-2008, 22:48
"Assie" is what you would call me if I won the lottery.

Yes, anything you put in an underwater case should be considered disposable and its matter of when not if it will happen to flood. Thats the reason we have Disposable income so we can buy these disposable items.

My reference to updating every 2-3 years has more to do with the best way to economically buying new gear. If you purchase a popular model which is highly sorted after you will find that when you sell the camera and housing in the 2-3 year period that you will recieve a better return on your investment which enables you to purchase the newest best combination (at the lowest cost). I found this to be the case when I sold my Olympus C7070 pro-consumer with Ikelite housing when I was updating to the Nikon d80. The money I actually lost from when I bought the setup new was very reasonable.

I regards to Full sensor cameras I think we are looking maybe 3-5 years away before they come "affordable" i.e less than $2000. I would suggest that buying non-digital lenses (35mm full ocverage) would be more suitable for future cameras. The issue with loosing quality with non-digital lenses with todays sonsors would be hard for the naked eye to pick up.

For the current use digital lenses are cheap and well made. The 17-70 Sigma sells for around the $300 mark. This means that someone starting out can buy 3 good digital lenses to one good non-digital and use them sucessfully until the issue of affordable full size sensor cameras arrive on the market.

Comparing the build quality and preformance of lenses from Tamron to the likes of Nikkor and Canon is comparing chalk to cheese. Yes Nikon uses sony sensors but as we both agree without a good lens the sensor is rather worthless. Nikon and Canon make great lenses and they have been doing it for years very well.

I think comparing the Sony Alpha 700 with the Nikon D300 would be more suitable comparision.

Battery life i beleive is an imporant issue. The Sony states that they have a 410 shot battery life when the live view feature is used. Now in the real world underwater when you have the live view on all the time and your taking photos how many actually shots do you get? Improving on the cameras own battery capacity is often hard as after market batteries made for your camera either have a slight increase of power and have build quality less than the production battery.

I often take more than 200 pictures on a dive and I am basically limited to the Battery life of my two Ikelite DS125 strobes.

It would be interesting to see some figures from Ikelite in the amount of housings bought for different cameras. Maybe they wont add the Sony Alpha 350 as they dont think many underwater photographers would be interested as they already have a collection of either Nikkor or Canon lenses.

They are all lots of money but thats why we have disposable income to buy the toys we can afford.

Aussie

fkostyun
03-23-2008, 04:38
One thing to note: the Sony Alpha camera's use the Minolta AF mount, so most Minolta AF mount lens will work properly.

Take a look at this link:

Scuba Gear and Scuba Diving Equipment - Discount dive gear (Cheap online!) (http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/index.asp)

Aussie
03-23-2008, 06:38
One thing to note: the Sony Alpha camera's use the Minolta AF mount, so most Minolta AF mount lens will work properly.

Take a look at this link:

Scuba Gear and Scuba Diving Equipment - Discount dive gear (Cheap online!) (http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/index.asp)

You might run into the issue of finding ports for some housings to fit the Minolta AF lenses. I believe there are better cameras from the major brands (Nikon/Canon). But again if you already have the camera or the lenses your arleady half way there.

Aussie