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Thread: It's time to get a new UW camera

  1. #1
    Grouper
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    It's time to get a new UW camera

    I'm looking to get a new camera with UW housing. I haven't been keeping up too much with camera news lately, but apparently M4/3 cameras are getting pretty popular. Am I correct in assuming that the underwater housings for these cameras allow full control of the camera?

    What I'm looking for really is a camera that is not quite as complicated as my SLR, but gives more control than a point and shoot. I'd like it to have a built-in flash so that I don't have to bring a strobe with me on every dive. As for a regular compact camera vs a M4/3, I haven't quite decided yet. For that I'd have to weigh cost vs functionality.

    What would you guys recommend? Is a built-in flash viable?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Depends on what you consider "viable". I tried my camera once without a strobe using just the built-in flash and yes there was an image. Was it good? Picture was washed out and really no color. (The camera was a point and shoot SeaLife.

  3. #3
    Megalodon
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    In my not so educated opinion; No, a built-in flash is not a viable option. If there is any particulate in the water at all, a built-in flash will show it. Devil Diver can give you a better answer, but my understanding is that the offset flash gives you less reflection of the "stuff" in the water as it will shine back at the strobe and not the lens.

    I once saved a man in Wichita just to watch him dive...(inventor)

  4. #4
    Dominus Diabolus Urinatoris ST-Forum Mod DevilDiver's Avatar
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    If you arelooking to get into M4/3's check out the camera/housing deal on the E-PM1.Really great price and would free up some cash for additional lens/portoptions.

    Olympus E-PM1camera & underwater housing bundle, best deal ever on an underwater camear| Bluewater Photo & Video

    Housings ::Mirrorless Housings :: Olympus Housings :: Olympus E-PM1 Camera + Housing +Gear Bundle -

    This is a really great deal and you should be able to add a tray/arm and astrobe and still be around $1500.

    If you want to stay with a compact I would look at these cameras.....

    http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/nauticam-rx100-ultimate

    http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/olympus-xz-1-package

    http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/recsea-s100-housing-camera-package

    DevilDiver

  5. #5
    Grouper
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    The compacts you linked all lack a built-in flash. Is that the new trend now? I haven't bought a compact camera in a while.

    The main reason why I would stay away from the housing + strobe setup is the bulk. So if I can get away with a built-in flash option, that'd be preferable. However, if the built in flash is going to be detrimental to the pictures that I'll be taking, I'd rather just deal with the bulk. What's your take on built-in flashes DD?

    That E-PM1 bundle is looking really tempting. I'd still like to do some research and see if I can find some other bundles to compare the specs and the price.

    Are all of these housings, strobes, attachment arms pretty standard size? Or am I committed to a particular brand once I choose?

    Thanks to all for your responses.

  6. #6
    Guppy
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    i have the xz1 and i love it with two manual strobes ys-02

  7. #7
    Dominus Diabolus Urinatoris ST-Forum Mod DevilDiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by db83 View Post
    Thecompacts you linked all lack a built-in flash. Is that the new trend now? Ihaven't bought a compact camera in a while..
    Actually these have a popup onboard flash. A onboard flash is needed if you use fiber optic cables to trigger external strobes unless you use a hard wired sync cable connected through the cameras hot shoe (if available).

    Quote Originally Posted by db83 View Post
    The main reason why I would stay away from the housing + strobe setup is thebulk. So if I can get away with a built-in flash option, that'd be preferable.However, if the built in flash is going to be detrimental to the pictures thatI'll be taking, I'd rather just deal with the bulk. What's your take on built-inflashes DD? .
    A built in flash is usable for close up and macro shots, at a distance of more than 12-24" the power is insufficient to help light your photo and only illuminate the backscatter in the water between the lens and your foreground. If close up/macro is your goal you may be happy without an additional strobe oryou could put the purchase off until later. If you lean toward macro/close up photos you may be happy with just using the on board flash and could look into options using a red filter, custom white balance settings and post processing for any portrait and scenic shots outside of the range of the cameras flash.

    Considering the bulk of the system you may be happier with a single strobe setup that would give you more options with your photography depending how much bulk you are comfortable with. If you are considering this I would suggest looking into either the Sea & Sea YS 01 (or YS 02 if you are comfortable with only manual controls) or the Inon S1000.

    Quote Originally Posted by db83 View Post
    That E-PM1 bundle is looking really tempting. I'd still like to do someresearch and see if I can find some other bundles to compare the specs and theprice.

    Are all of these housings, strobes, attachment arms pretty standard size? Or amI committed to a particular brand once I choose? .
    The E-PM1 bundle is a great deal and about 1/3 the original cost of when it first came out, most camera/housings at this level are in the $1000-1500 range on the combination. The rumor is that Olympus over produced this housing model and are now clearing out existing inventory so this will be a limited deal.

    If you are considering M4/3's there are definite quality and longer term flexibility advantages vs. a compact system you may be purchasing this camera body and housing now BUT the investment is really in the lenses and ports that should be able to move to future systems. The M4/3 standard allows the use of a great selection of lenses right now with more coming out all of the time and while Olympus and Panasonic have the most we are seeing more and more from other manufactures that have adopted the M4/3 standard, also great ports produced by companies like Zen, Nauticam and Precision. Of course additional lenses and ports are a considerable investment that adds to the overall cost so this needs to be considered into your long term goals along with the added bulk and complexity of the system.

    As far as the tray/arms, almost all are a standard size (1 ball) and interchangeable, there are many brand options but one of my preferred brands right now is the i-Das Pro, I have found them to be great quality and around 1/2 the cost of the ULCS product.


    DevilDiver

  8. #8
    Grouper
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    I don't suppose you know if the pop-up flash is functional while in the housing?
    DD, I've read on other threads that you use the YS-01 and that it has a focus light. I also know that they just came out with the YS-D1. How do the two compare? Is the YS-D1 a replacement for the YS-01? Does the D1 have a focus light? And is it that much better to have a dedicated focus light? Again, the added bulk vs the added functionality.

  9. #9
    Dominus Diabolus Urinatoris ST-Forum Mod DevilDiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by db83 View Post
    I don't suppose you know if the pop-up flash is functional while in the housing?
    Yep, should be good to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by db83 View Post
    DD, I've read on other threads that you use the YS-01 and that it has a focus light. I also know that they just came out with the YS-D1. How do the two compare? Is the YS-D1 a replacement for the YS-01? Does the D1 have a focus light? And is it that much better to have a dedicated focus light? Again, the added bulk vs the added functionality.
    Both strobes do have modeling lights but I would suggest looking into a separate focus light as the on board lights are not very powerful and can only be pointed the same direction as the strobe and that is not always the best position.
    The YS-01 is a great strobe (I would compare it to Inon's s2000) small and light weight, good recycle time and battery life. Great strobe for compact systems except in ultra wide angle where you would need 2 units for coverage.
    The YS-D1 is a larger more powerful strobe (I would compare to the YS-250pro). This is a fantastic strobe, very fast, powerful and great control but the investment is almost double the YS-01.
    Last edited by DevilDiver; 04-19-2013 at 07:46.
    DevilDiver

  10. #10
    Grouper
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    Once you start down the path of the dark side there is no turning back. Budman has a really nice post where he discusses getting into a used dslr.

    Also check out Wetpixel.com you can get a complete 4/3 system for around 1k if you keep an eye out.

    If you think diving is a money pit; you ain't seen nothing yet!

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