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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My old school Olympus Mju has done me proud, but I've got photo envy - everyone else's photos look better than mine!

My current set up is all Olympus. The camera is 4mp, with a 1.5" screen. Its about 7 years old. The housing is rated to 40m.

Can you help me choose a new camera please?

I want a compact camera, with manual white balance, a large screen, the ability to record video in HD - hdmi output would be convenient but isn�t essential. I want a camera that is simple to put in its underwater case.

Things I like about my current camera and case:
It's never leaked
Simple to use
Compact
Easy to put into the housing

Things I want to improve with my next set up:
Bigger screen - so I can see what I'm taking photos of
Manual White balance
Longer battery life that lasts more for more than one dive
Ability to record long bursts of video - my Olympus does 15 seconds at a time!
I want something that records video in a normal file format that can be edited easily.
My Olympus produces .mov files - its hard to edit .mov files.


My budget is hundreds, rather than thousands. I look forward to your suggestions. Thanks
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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Give a realistic max budget (as 100's could mean £900 ;) ) and the sort of photography you want to do (fish, wrecks, scenery) and does your budget include a strobe?

You will then get a better answer...

Regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok Thanks for the tip

£400-500. But if someone says 'this set up is amazing for £600' then i'll find the money.
The budget doesn't include a strobe, im not sure if i'll ever get that serious.
The photography i'll do is tropical rather than UK. It's mainly fish and a bit of scenery, the odd poor photo of my buddy and if i ever remember i may even take take a couple of shots on land!

Thanks

Paul

Give a realistic max budget (as 100's could mean £900 ;) ) and the sort of photography you want to do (fish, wrecks, scenery) and does your budget include a strobe?

You will then get a better answer...

Regards
 

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Canon S95 in the Canon or Ikelite housing. Both housings are good value for what they offer.
Big Sensor, 30mins HD video, big screen, good in low light, good MWB. Ticks all the boxes.

SWMBO had an Ike ultracompact housing for her Coolpix and it was 'drop in' simple. As was my old Canon housing, and an old Olympus housing. Nothing really to line up, just drop the camera in and go:)

Choice of housing will depend on what accessories you plan on using.

I just got SWMBO a G12 with Canon housing. The camera and housing is towards the top of your budget (Around £575) - but she prefers it to the S95 as it has dials rather than being almost entirely menu driven. It's also a bit bigger than a compact, which she prefers.
 

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Check out loads, read lots of reviews, have a peruse of the Cameras underwater site so you can see what is available. No point in finding a camera you like if you can't house it.

Bristol cameras tend to be a bit cheaper for the actual housing.

Do bear in mind if you want to add any accessories in the future, some housings (such as the canon housings) make it a bit harder than others. They might have a funny shaped port, or no threads, or something like that, although you can usually get an adaptor to sort something out.

TBH digital cameras a ten a penny, and a lot of them have housings available. Ikelite are a better housing, in that you can get spares etc. for them, the 'own brand' housings seem to be throw aways, with it being very hard to get any spares for them. That said, if you upgrade every few years, then there is a lot less chance of needing spares:) It also comes to how often you are going to be using it, and under what conditions. What you describe in the OP is pretty light use.

Just remember to dive it empty the first time (well, apart from some tissue) - if the F-word happens, at least you have not wrecked a camera:)
 

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If you're in the £500 budget range (including housing) suggest you look at the panasonic Lumix range (tz20). Great photos, great HD vids. My only concern with the setup is that it's not much of a barrier to large inquisitive shark's mouths. For that ikelite or comparable housing is better. But your budget will spin out accordingly.

J
 

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definitely Canon. They have the best compacts imo. Also, you can get a g12 and Canon housing for under $1000

I'm looking at the Patima housing for my g12, it is rather expensive, but I'm looking for deeper than 40m
 

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I'm looking at the Patima housing for my g12, it is rather expensive, but I'm looking for deeper than 40m
The depth rating for Patima housings seems to be between some 80 and 120 metres (the S95 housing is rated to 120 metres). That's from looking at their website, where the English pages are, shall we say, somewhat scarce, for example the G12 housing page elicits no information at all.

Ikelite housings are rated to 60 metres - in either case, and in fact for pretty well anything below some 20 metres, you're really going to need an artificial light source (or two) if you want to shoot colour.
 
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I've got photo envy - everyone else's photos look better than mine!
The inference being that a newer, more modern, camera will automatically provide better pics? Not so, it's always up to the photographer behind the camera.

I'd go along with others and suggest that Canon's S95 is the "camera du jour" ATM, in that genre of cameras. Again like others, an Ikelite (or other "bespoke" housing manufacturer) is better, more importantly, provides spares, than the housings badged "Canon" and "Nikon" (in particular). A notable exception to that observation is Olympus BTW.
 
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I know this is suggestion is a little off what has been asked but you may want to consider a go pro hd

It is about 2x1.5x1.5 inch size so you do not know it is there, it comes with a housing rated to 60m but without a screen.

I use it's younger brother (SD quality) as a 'run and forget' video cam.

After the dive I grab photo stills from the video stream. I used to use a camera with LCD screen and found I focussed on the screen not the dive (took me half a week to see a gun in scapa I was so fixated on the LCD !!! :))

The only issue with the stock go pro hd is the lens port on the housing is domed causing distorted video underwater. You can get different housings or even a DIY flat Lens replacement for £30.

Price for the camera is amazingly cheap for what you get.

There is an optional plug in LCD screen but not sure if there is a waterproof housing for the combo, I do not find any issue using the SD one without a screen - just pause your hand on a subject to give a load of frames to grab from the stream.

The go pros can need a fair bit of light (i assume most cameras are the same) but if you are diving warm (bright?) water it is unlikely to be a problem.
 

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Panasonic Lumix LX5 or Olympus XZ1 or Canon S95 are the top contenders for full manual control but all around £300 for the camera. If you want to go to 100m we have aluminium housings for the Pany and the Oly but these come in at £700 so pushing the budget.
 

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Only partially true. A decent lens with wide-angle makes a big difference to the kind of photos you can shoot. My Lumix (~£250) has a 25mm-300 Leica lens.

It is also has AVCHD lite HD movies, which again is a bit improvement from earlier generations (although I grant that most cameras these days will have similar or better)

My little package clearly isn't in the 'Pro' category but it takes some awesome shots, great wide-angle, great video, and captures colour wonderfully. For £500, housing included, that's pretty damn good. Agree that Canon and Sony all have similar offerings in this range.

J

edit: this was a reply to ChristianG's reply above. Obviously I hit the wrong kind of reply button.
 

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Having recently done a shed load of internet research looking for my first uw camera, I have to agree that Canon is the way to go; I didn't require the HD video so went for the S90 as opposed to the S95. The 90 does everything the 95 does but has less definition on its video. It does Auto to Manual and everything inbetween. I picked up a virtually new one on ebay for just over £200, so you might want to bear that in mind. I also picked up an Ikelite housing for half price, ex demo, full warranty from UW Cameras; you might be as lucky. I'm not using a strobe atm and find the results so far encouraging, but I'm a beginner with a lot to learn; luckily I do all my uw photography in the Red Sea.
A couple of good reads about the S90:

Review – Canon S90, Part 1: First Impressions | Enticing the Light

Underwater Photography with the Canon S90 - The Digital Story

Oh, and the 90/95 does RAW too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ChristianG: I know that a newer, more modern camera won't cure my dodgy photos. But hopefully a bigger screen will at least allow me to see what i'm trying to take a photo of. Im happy with some of my shallow water shots, but my current set up doesn't have manual white balance and the photos i take at depth don't really do justice to what i see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I know this is suggestion is a little off what has been asked but you may want to consider a go pro hd

It is about 2x1.5x1.5 inch size so you do not know it is there, it comes with a housing rated to 60m but without a screen.

I use it's younger brother (SD quality) as a 'run and forget' video cam.

After the dive I grab photo stills from the video stream. I used to use a camera with LCD screen and found I focussed on the screen not the dive (took me half a week to see a gun in scapa I was so fixated on the LCD !!! :))

The only issue with the stock go pro hd is the lens port on the housing is domed causing distorted video underwater. You can get different housings or even a DIY flat Lens replacement for £30.

Price for the camera is amazingly cheap for what you get.

There is an optional plug in LCD screen but not sure if there is a waterproof housing for the combo, I do not find any issue using the SD one without a screen - just pause your hand on a subject to give a load of frames to grab from the stream.

The go pros can need a fair bit of light (i assume most cameras are the same) but if you are diving warm (bright?) water it is unlikely to be a problem.

Thanks I've seen someone use one of these when I went coasteering on a stag do. The photos were amazing, but he was a professional surf photographer. I'll check it out but most people seem to be saying Canon is the one to go for.
 
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