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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not knowing a great deal about underwater photography,i wonder if anyone has any recomendations as to a system that would accomadate the following requirements
1 Price £1,000-£1,500
2 Digital
3 Depth 100mtrs
4 user friendly

Cheers
Paul
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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SLR or compact?

You will be hard pushed to find a compact housing to 100m, most are 60m rated (Ikelite)

Do you have a camera already?

If SLR you are talking big bucks.

SLR ~ £500-800
Housing (Aquatica or other aluminium housings) ~ £1200-2000
Domes/Ports ~ £250-500
Strobes ~ £300-1500

Need a little more detail Paul...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SLR or compact?

You will be hard pushed to find a compact housing to 100m, most are 60m rated (Ikelite)

Do you have a camera already?

If SLR you are talking big bucks.

SLR ~ £500-800
Housing (Aquatica or other aluminium housings) ~ £1200-2000
Domes/Ports ~ £250-500
Strobes ~ £300-1500

Need a little more detail Paul...
I dont have a camera already,as i said,dont know a great deal about it :) I was looking at the gates housings,must admit I got lost in all the technical
spec,SLR,domes,ports ? Help i,m lost :) :)
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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About to sit down for dinner, but I will put up a pretty comprehensive reply after that.

However, in most cases you can kiss goodbye to your credit card!

Few more questions though.

Have you used a camera underwater before?
What sort of shots are you looking for?
Not knowing your diving history/background, how often do you go to 40m/50m-70m/100m?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
About to sit down for dinner, but I will put up a pretty comprehensive reply after that.

However, in most cases you can kiss goodbye to your credit card!

Few more questions though.

Have you used a camera underwater before?
What sort of shots are you looking for?
Not knowing your diving history/background, how often do you go to 40m/50m-70m/100m?
yes i have used a camera underwater before,poor results:)
What sort of shots are you looking for? what sorts are there :)
Dives in the 70-85 range/ 30 or so a year.

Although i do a great deal of diving in the 30-50 mtr range,its images of the more exclusive sites i want to capture,hence a 100mtr rated housing.

Paul.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Macro or wide angle, sounds like you're after wide angle... wrecks and the like rather than tiny things that you want to take close up pictures of.
Wide angle,well thats a start :) ,not looking for macro shots.
Looked at your profile seems you are just up the road from me in Stortford.
 

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Wide angle,well thats a start :) ,not looking for macro shots.
Looked at your profile seems you are just up the road from me in Stortford.
Excellent! I can borrow your fancy camera when you get it! ;)

I've just got a Nikon D80.... Not got the cash for the housing at the mo though. Think it'll probably be next year when my bonus comes through!
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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Okay, here goes.

There are a couple of conflictions with what you have wished for and they are: never used a camera underwater and the depth rating you are looking at.

To start off with, taking nice shots underwater isn't something that is particularily easy (practically I am talking about, not necessarily creatively - that's your problem :) ). I thought when I started that UW photography would be the same as top-side when it came to SLR work! How wrong could I be. However, point and shoot with a compact is pretty much the same though!

The depths you are looking towards pose 2 problems; firstly I have just been through the Cameras Underwater site and the deepest that you can get a compact housing to is 60m using one of the Ikelite housings for one of the many compacts out there, secondly there is bugger all light down there. Below 30-40m in the UK you are definitely going to need strobes and these don't have enough power to light a wide angle scene so you are limited by the noise from the camera sensor.

If you want to go deeper than 60m, you are going to need an SLR and housing to go with it. I will cover compacts in a sec. For an SLR set up you will need an SLR body. I have kept my topside Fuji S2 body which is around £350 secondhand on Ebay atm but was £1100 when I bought it 3 yrs ago. The housing for it cost me £400 and that was a bargain. If you get a new body you are talking in the region of £500 for a body and for a housing down to 90m you are looking at somewhere around £1300-£2000. You will also need a wide angle zoom lens which will set up back somewhere in the region of £200-300 for something useable.

Now an SLR housing is just that. Unlike compact housings which (mostly) include the port where the lens shoots through, an SLR housing is just the metal bit. To this you need to add a (in your case), a dome port (£300-500) and potentially an extension tube (~£100-200) to make sure the lens is at the focal point of the dome. I personally don't use one with my S2, Sigma 10-22 and Aquatica 8" dome. To zoom the lens you also need gearing which will set you back £100 or so.

Strobes are applicable to both compacts and SLRs, so I will cover these next. For wide angle shots, they are unlikely to have enough power to light the area, so you are only going to be able to light the foreground and hope you have enough ambient light which below 50m will be almost non-existent. Strobes are going to cost you around £350 each including sync cables (to join the camera to the strobe). You are also going to need arms to mount the strobe to the housing. For the setup I recently bought for 2 x Ikelite SS200 strobes, the arms were £200 for the pair! Sync cables were another £100 for 2.

So, for an SLR setup, you are talking in the region of:

£500 body
£300 lens
£1500 housing
£350 dome port
£350-700 strobes
£150-300 arms and cables

£3150-3650 depending on 1 or 2 strobe setup!

The other thing to bear in mind is the size of an SLR setup. On land it probably weighs 10kg, in the water it is about 1-2kg negative. The rig, when fully stretched out, is over 3ft across to ensure that the scene is lit well without burnout. If you are on OC, this is a pain in the arse as getting it unfurled at the bottom of the shot takes up valuable BT.

Therefore, I would recommend getting an enhanced compact which will fit into an Ikelite 60m housing. Don't have enough experience of what is out there, but off the top of the my head something like the Olympus SP500 and Ikelite housing and Wide Angle Adaptor should cover your needs.

This will allow you to work out whether UW photography is for you without destroying your credit card.

There are downsides to compacts though.

1. Noise in images where you have to raise the ISO to around 800-1600 to enable you to take ambient light shots.
2. Depth rating.

Thats about it. If you want to go for it, I would thoroughly recommend dropping into Cameras Underwater in London or Alan James Photography in Bristol for a chat, and take your credit card! AJ run mini-courses for those who have bought cameras from them to get the most out of their new purchase.

HTH, and if you have any more questions, just ask away.
 

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Now thats a great answer from Gloc.
As for the strobe bit, you will be better off with a tripod.
I have never dived beyond 40m ( well 43 to be precise ), So setting up a tripod and all the rest could be too much task loading for me.
This photo melarky ain't easy :teeth:
Ken
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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Now thats a great answer from Gloc.
As for the strobe bit, you will be better off with a tripod.
I have never dived beyond 40m ( well 43 to be precise ), So setting up a tripod and all the rest could be too much task loading for me.
This photo melarky ain't easy :teeth:
Ken
Hadn't thought of that for myself as I dive OC. Talk about extra kit though. I have a project in 52m of water later this year and that might be an option.
 

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Hadn't thought of that for myself as I dive OC. Talk about extra kit though. I have a project in 52m of water later this year and that might be an option.
I am toying with trying it my self on the Laurentic. But I will dive it a few times first, to get comfortable with the dive before I take the camera :embarassed:

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, here goes.

There are a couple of conflictions with what you have wished for and they are: never used a camera underwater and the depth rating you are looking at.

To start off with, taking nice shots underwater isn't something that is particularily easy (practically I am talking about, not necessarily creatively - that's your problem :) ). I thought when I started that UW photography would be the same as top-side when it came to SLR work! How wrong could I be. However, point and shoot with a compact is pretty much the same though!

The depths you are looking towards pose 2 problems; firstly I have just been through the Cameras Underwater site and the deepest that you can get a compact housing to is 60m using one of the Ikelite housings for one of the many compacts out there, secondly there is bugger all light down there. Below 30-40m in the UK you are definitely going to need strobes and these don't have enough power to light a wide angle scene so you are limited by the noise from the camera sensor.

If you want to go deeper than 60m, you are going to need an SLR and housing to go with it. I will cover compacts in a sec. For an SLR set up you will need an SLR body. I have kept my topside Fuji S2 body which is around £350 secondhand on Ebay atm but was £1100 when I bought it 3 yrs ago. The housing for it cost me £400 and that was a bargain. If you get a new body you are talking in the region of £500 for a body and for a housing down to 90m you are looking at somewhere around £1300-£2000. You will also need a wide angle zoom lens which will set up back somewhere in the region of £200-300 for something useable.

Now an SLR housing is just that. Unlike compact housings which (mostly) include the port where the lens shoots through, an SLR housing is just the metal bit. To this you need to add a (in your case), a dome port (£300-500) and potentially an extension tube (~£100-200) to make sure the lens is at the focal point of the dome. I personally don't use one with my S2, Sigma 10-22 and Aquatica 8" dome. To zoom the lens you also need gearing which will set you back £100 or so.

Strobes are applicable to both compacts and SLRs, so I will cover these next. For wide angle shots, they are unlikely to have enough power to light the area, so you are only going to be able to light the foreground and hope you have enough ambient light which below 50m will be almost non-existent. Strobes are going to cost you around £350 each including sync cables (to join the camera to the strobe). You are also going to need arms to mount the strobe to the housing. For the setup I recently bought for 2 x Ikelite SS200 strobes, the arms were £200 for the pair! Sync cables were another £100 for 2.

So, for an SLR setup, you are talking in the region of:

£500 body
£300 lens
£1500 housing
£350 dome port
£350-700 strobes
£150-300 arms and cables

£3150-3650 depending on 1 or 2 strobe setup!

The other thing to bear in mind is the size of an SLR setup. On land it probably weighs 10kg, in the water it is about 1-2kg negative. The rig, when fully stretched out, is over 3ft across to ensure that the scene is lit well without burnout. If you are on OC, this is a pain in the arse as getting it unfurled at the bottom of the shot takes up valuable BT.

Therefore, I would recommend getting an enhanced compact which will fit into an Ikelite 60m housing. Don't have enough experience of what is out there, but off the top of the my head something like the Olympus SP500 and Ikelite housing and Wide Angle Adaptor should cover your needs.

This will allow you to work out whether UW photography is for you without destroying your credit card.

There are downsides to compacts though.

1. Noise in images where you have to raise the ISO to around 800-1600 to enable you to take ambient light shots.
2. Depth rating.

Thats about it. If you want to go for it, I would thoroughly recommend dropping into Cameras Underwater in London or Alan James Photography in Bristol for a chat, and take your credit card! AJ run mini-courses for those who have bought cameras from them to get the most out of their new purchase.

HTH, and if you have any more questions, just ask away.
Cheers for the info,plenty to think about then :)
Paul.
 

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Just to add a few things:

Have a look at Light & Motion for compact cameras - I believe there depth rating is 60m but a nice housing for the 5050 is available - it isn't as cheap as the Ike housings tho.

For a DSLR - take a look at Aquatica which are 100m rated. Also, in terms of camera choices, for good low light performance with ambient light shots (ie no strobes) you should look towards the newer Canon models which produce lower noise at higher 'light sensitivity' (ISO) settings.

Make sure that the camera that you buy does have a housing for it and the ports are available for the lenses that you wish to use.

There was a Nexus housing for D70 for sale on here a while ago, for £600! Thats a whole £1000 less than RSP price. Get a cheap D70 from anywhere and a port will cost you £400 new and then stick a suitable lens on and you could be up and running for £2000.

Thats if you want Digital - film set ups are available for peanuts these days, and if you really want to go down the ambient light route then I reckon this could be worth considering. Remember to find a decent tripod as well.

Take a look at Leigh Bishops site underwater photography - Deep techniques by Leigh Bishop
 
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