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Aspiring to the Horizontal
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2,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

due to a camera + seawater combination event :frown: I am in need of a new camera to put in a housing.

I have been using a canon powershot A640 (now obsolete) which has the following specs

1/1.8 " Type CCD
10.0 million effective pixels
35-140mm (35mm equiv)
1cm macro mode (Wide), 25cm (Tele)
ISO 80
Full manual exposure control


I have been happy with this and my snaps have improved over the last couple of years, especially macro.

I can get a erplacement A640 of ebay ( the housing is fine and I have a couple of wet lenses so this would clearly be the cheapest option ) but I wondered if now would be the time to upgrade to something with a better lens and/or sensor.

I do not want to go to the expense of a housed DSLR but wondered what other options there might be inbetween.

G9 / 10 / 11 perhaps ?


Thanks in advance, John
 

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Compact Camera Mermaid
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232 Posts
Hi John,

Can't beat the S90 at the moment, absolutely gorgeous, full manual controls and so sleek to fit nicely in your pocket too. The ring function is fabulous for changing the film speeds and aperture.

Just had one on my course today and the sharpness is beautiful and the lovely wide lens :) This is definitely on my wishlist!

If you need any more help, just let me know.

Cheers,

Maria :)
 

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Registered
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228 Posts
Hi John,

Can't beat the S90 at the moment, absolutely gorgeous, full manual controls and so sleek to fit nicely in your pocket too. The ring function is fabulous for changing the film speeds and aperture.

Just had one on my course today and the sharpness is beautiful and the lovely wide lens :) This is definitely on my wishlist!

If you need any more help, just let me know.

Cheers,

Maria :)
+1 for the S90 and Ikelike compact housing
 

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Aspiring to the Horizontal
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2,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all,

the S90 / Ikelite compact looks nice but just looked at the specs and 2 features are of concern (but they may amount to nothing)

1. Shot to shot speed with the flash on (to trigger a strobe) is 4.3 seconds if I read the report correctly (old camera was 2.6 and G11 is 2.7). Given the speed at which I can alter exposre, this is probably not a real issue

2. macro focusing is reported as 5cm compared to 1cm for the old camera and for the G11. Most of my photos (at least the ones I'm happiest with) are macro so this may be an issue. Anyone had a play yet?

Anyone know what the battery life is like on either of these?

The old A640 that I had ran off 4 x AA so could easily do several dives without having to swap batteries - a boost on a wet boat as I didn't have to open the case.

Cheers, John
 

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Dive tart, just can't say no :-)
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9,453 Posts
John I have a G9 and a G10 both have batteries that last ages, I can normally get 2 dives out of the G9 battery with no problem although cold can affect this. In your case as a wussy warm water diver it shouldn't be an issue. Having said that how often do you actually get down to 1 cm when photographing something, I'm guessing that 5cm is probably close enough. I love my G series cameras but I am very impressed with the results I have seen from the S90.
 

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Aspiring to the Horizontal
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2,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Hi PeeBee,

thanks for the reply. I think that I have been spoilt with battery life as I have been getting between 3 -6 x 1 hour dives (obviously depending on number of snaps).

Quite often have the housing port very very close to some of the smaller nudis in SE Asia.


When the manufacturers quote macro distance do you know where the distance is measured from. ie from the sensor, the front of the camera, the front of the lens etc?

John
 

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Compact Camera Mermaid
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232 Posts
Battery Life for the S90

Hi John,

The battery for the S90 lasted the whole day yesterday, from 10 am to 6 pm using it all day long, reviewing pictures, going through all the different settings, as well as using the flash.

The macro function on the camera is fantastic and even though you may not be able to focus at 1 cm range, as PeeBee said, 5 cms is still really close and the photo can always be cropped slightly afterwards. If the onboard flash was used at 1 cm, there would also be a greater risk of overexposing the subject.

Hope that this helps, I've seen one with the Ikelite Housing and one with Canon's own housing. Both are really nice.

Best of luck.

Maria
 

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Dive tart, just can't say no :-)
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9,453 Posts
Hi PeeBee,

thanks for the reply. I think that I have been spoilt with battery life as I have been getting between 3 -6 x 1 hour dives (obviously depending on number of snaps).

Quite often have the housing port very very close to some of the smaller nudis in SE Asia.


When the manufacturers quote macro distance do you know where the distance is measured from. ie from the sensor, the front of the camera, the front of the lens etc?

John
I tend to change batteries before I need to since I have had them go flat just before the dolphins turned up to play or similar and I hate that feeling that I missed the shot because I was complacent about my kit, I can always come up with other reasons for missing them. :D I've always assumed that the macro distance was from the front of the lens so if I'm right and given that you have a couple of centimetres between lens and housing anyway I'd be surprised if you could get too close with the S90.
 

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Aspiring to the Horizontal
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2,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hi John,

The battery for the S90 lasted the whole day yesterday, from 10 am to 6 pm using it all day long, reviewing pictures, going through all the different settings, as well as using the flash.

The macro function on the camera is fantastic and even though you may not be able to focus at 1 cm range, as PeeBee said, 5 cms is still really close and the photo can always be cropped slightly afterwards. If the onboard flash was used at 1 cm, there would also be a greater risk of overexposing the subject.

Hope that this helps, I've seen one with the Ikelite Housing and one with Canon's own housing. Both are really nice.

Best of luck.

Maria

Hi Maria,

thanks for the battery info. I use an external strobe (inon z240) all the time for macro as the last camera I had cast a shadow with the internal flash. Allows me to keep iso buttoned down to 80 (minimum on Canons I think) to minimise noise. Variable output of the strobe lets me keep 1/60-1/125 & f8 to maximise depth of field and just tweak required light. Seems to work in most cases. Got some decent shots (for me) without close up lens. Just emailed you a couple for a looksee.

I tend to change batteries before I need to since I have had them go flat just before the dolphins turned up to play or similar and I hate that feeling that I missed the shot because I was complacent about my kit, I can always come up with other reasons for missing them. :D I've always assumed that the macro distance was from the front of the lens so if I'm right and given that you have a couple of centimetres between lens and housing anyway I'd be surprised if you could get too close with the S90.

I've missed one or two shots because of battery but have also seen a freinds camera ruined becuase he has a compact camera with a short battery life and had to change onboard a boat. He didn't quite get it sealed properly (he said it was because the boat was bouncing around) and ended up with a dead box of electronics.


Either way sounds like both the S90 and G11 would be fine.


had a quick look at a G11 in a shop at lunchtime today and am going back tomorrow to compare S90 / G11. No housings here but will play with macro.

Cheers, John
 

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Sort of member - perhaps, possibly, maybe
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3,276 Posts
Seems to me that no-one has mentioned raw (uncompressed format) as yet and I don't believe that your A640 had this (oh so useful) feature.

Today I consider that as not an option but fortunately, thus far anyway, all the cameras in which you are expressing interest have the feature.

There is lots on that subject on this forum, have a look around.

You should also think carefully about the housing. The manufacturer labelled housings are made by others to the manufacturer's specs where cheap might often be best. More particularly, those housings rarely have spare parts available whereas the likes of Ikelite always back up their housings.
 

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Compact Camera Mermaid
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232 Posts
Hi John,

Thanks for sending me the photos, they were lovely to see what you achieved with your Canon.

I never shoot in RAW as my compact doesn't have this facility. Interestingly enough, the Royal Photographic Society gave me my Distinction two years ago with a portfolio of underwater photographs taken with both my DSLR (at the time) and my Fuji Compact F30 with a variety of lenses. None were shot with RAW and the panel couldn't tell which ones which were taken with a compact.

I'm sure that I will get told off here, but it really is all about positioning and a lot of luck as well as a huge dose of patience to get that killer shot. I never have time to use photoshop for any of my own images, they are all as they were taken with the camera.

Best of luck John and look forward to hearing how you get on.

Maria
 

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Aspiring to the Horizontal
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2,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Seems to me that no-one has mentioned raw (uncompressed format) as yet and I don't believe that your A640 had this (oh so useful) feature.

Today I consider that as not an option but fortunately, thus far anyway, all the cameras in which you are expressing interest have the feature.

There is lots on that subject on this forum, have a look around.

You should also think carefully about the housing. The manufacturer labelled housings are made by others to the manufacturer's specs where cheap might often be best. More particularly, those housings rarely have spare parts available whereas the likes of Ikelite always back up their housings.
Hi Christian,

you are right that the A640 didn't have have, and both the S90 & G11 do. However, I have never yet post-processed any of my photos (so perhaps don't know what I am missing) due to a combination of limted scope (with jpg) and not enough time. Perhaps once I have the raw facility I will spend some time on this but then again maybe not; I have a DSLR (not housed) and do not post process shots from this camera either.

Housing wise I will be going for Ikelite irrespective of which camera I opt for. The previous one had performed flawlessly despite some harsh treatment and the flood was due to an open catch* not a failure through any of the control seals.

* camera was boxed up and taken for a 30m dive with no problems. Put in a wash tank and checked on removal. It was then left in the shade, housing unopened, through the surface interval. On entering the water, one of the catches was open allowing a massive flood. Anyone who is familiar with the Ikeltie catches will know that they are a double action cath and can be a pain to open so I am not sure how this happened. I have suspicions but no proof so will have to chalk this to experience.

John

Cheers, John
 

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Flying in thin air
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192 Posts
G9vsG10vsG11
Some really good info but out of interest for underwater photos are there any advantages/disadvantages between the G9/G10/G11 variants? Especially since the G10 has downsized the pixal count. I'm in the hunt for a new camera and the other choice is wether TTL is worth it or not on a compact camera ie G11 vs S90?

Rgds

Pete
 

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Dive tart, just can't say no :-)
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9,453 Posts
Pete the G9 has 12m pixels, The G10m pixels and the G11 (I think) has 10m pixels I have a 10 and a 9 but so far only have a hpusing for the G9. As I understand it the general feeling is that the 9 is better underwater than the 10 but not quite as good as the 11 and the main reason for that is the processor/pixel count the G10 in many ways was a sop to all the folk who think that more pixels means better quality images. TBH unless you are intending to enlarge prints above A3 or crop a very small portion of an image to then enlarge 6m or 7m is plenty. On the G10 with the high pixel count this introduced a lot of noise into the image which the G11 doesn't suffer from.

The merits of TTL were discussed in detail very recently here http://www.yorkshire-divers.com/for...-exposure-mades-metering-modes-ttl-flash.html
 

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Sort of member - perhaps, possibly, maybe
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I'm in the hunt for a new camera and the other choice is wether TTL is worth it or not on a compact camera ie G11 vs S90?
Pete,

In the days of analogue photography TTL was highly desirable any which way you looked at it.

With the advent of digital photography manual ease of use of strobes really took over from TTL. It's still desirable but unlike in analogue cameras, no longer a must.

Daniel Taylor wrote an excellent post on this just recently and on that basis (which I happen to agree with) I'd go for the S90 and shoot the strobe/s manually.

There's actually a reason for this. As Daniel said, shooting wide angle with TTL often doesn't work in digital. Yet you will usually be shooting relatively still pics when shooting macro (except, say, clown fish - where pretty well nothing is a given anyway) so if you got it wrong, chances are that you can reshoot, even that pesky clown fish since it's so territorial anyway.
 
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