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Thread: Underwater options

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    Underwater options

    Next year is going to involve a couple of weeks in Fiji and I'm looking at options for underwater photography. I'm not looking to spend loads, but I do want to be happy with any shots I get and I'd like something that isn't going to take up too much room in my camera bag or luggage. It looks like my options are:

    a waterproof basic point & shoot
    a slightly better point & shoot with a housing
    a housing for my canon 650D
    a Dicapac bag for my 650D

    I'd really love some feedback or suggestions from anyone with any experience or who has faced a similar situation. I like the idea of something small so that I don't lose the space needed to take the 650 (plus I'd have to make sure the one of the lenses fit in the housing or bag), on the down side I would have no option to shoot in RAW. I'm undecided whether that is a deal breaker or not. Help!

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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    I am giving my daughter an Olympus TG-2 for a trip to One Tree Island, apparently these are pretty good for under water photos.

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    I'd be interested in hearing how it goes and what she thinks of it. The TG-3 is one on my short list, along with a Lumix and a Nikon in the point & shoots.
    Last edited by RJD; 27-12-2014 at 7:46pm.

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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    My daughter will return in ten days time, will keep you posted.

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    Thanks Nick, much appreciated. I have recently heard about CHDK for Canon compacts, which would give me the ability to save RAW files. This has made the Canon D30 suddenly look more appealing than it was before.

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    Have you thought of using a GoPro?
    I went to Vanuatu last year and used my Canon for above water shooting, and my GoPro when we went snorkelling etc. Was very happy with the results.

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    Ausphotography Regular kwaal's Avatar
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    Hi, My first question would be are you diving or snorkeling? This will greatly influence the type of camera or housing you go for. Housing will be rated for depth as will the 'waterproof' cameras that you now see on the market. Many are only suitable for a few metres as are some soft housings. If you are diving I would go for housing at least suitable to 30m.
    I opted for the Canon G12 (with the approp housing) as a reasonable compact that could be used above and below water - at the time of my purchase this was a popular compact before moving on to the DSLR. It offers great presets incl underwater mode plus the ability to set your white balance and save custom settings. You can also shoot in RAW. If you want to use your DSLR there are added costs with housing (can't comment on the bag). Strobes may also be more expensive. I haven't looked into this as cost has been prohibitive to date and I don't dive enough to justify. There are lots of cheaper cameras around now - just be aware that there is often a significant shutter lag. This is problematic when you are are moving in currents and trying to take a photo of a moving object. Can be very frustrating!
    Re Gopro - I have the 2 (I think). I found it difficult to use as you often don't know if you are capturing the picture you want. Difficult for macro. Really just used it to capture some general video footage. The G12 though also has video option. I found the clarity of picture was OK in good conditions but get some plankton in the water and it struggles (this may have been improved in later models...).
    Sites I have found useful are: scuba.com and adorama.com

    I have included some photos taken with my G12 (but please bare in mind I am still novice at this).... Cheers Karen.

    IMG_3548e.jpg

    IMG_5739e.jpg

    IMG_2892e.jpg

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    Fabulous shots, Karen!

    Definitely nothing more than snorkelling for me - and no guarantees of that either! But I do want the option of taking a camera if I do. I don't think it's something I will do very often so I was reluctant to spend what I'd prefer to spend on something that's higher on my wish list. As it turned out, I bought a new Canon camera body and the double cashback deal meant I could pick up the Canon D30 for about $160 after cashback. Not my first choice, but cheap and with CHDK loaded I can shoot RAW. If I get hooked, I'll look at better options.

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    Ausphotography Regular kwaal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJD View Post
    Fabulous shots, Karen!

    Definitely nothing more than snorkelling for me - and no guarantees of that either! But I do want the option of taking a camera if I do. I don't think it's something I will do very often so I was reluctant to spend what I'd prefer to spend on something that's higher on my wish list. As it turned out, I bought a new Canon camera body and the double cashback deal meant I could pick up the Canon D30 for about $160 after cashback. Not my first choice, but cheap and with CHDK loaded I can shoot RAW. If I get hooked, I'll look at better options.
    Sounds like a sensible choice. I am impressed to see that the D30 is waterproof to 25m! Technology is improving so quickly. I would be interested to hear your thoughts as to any shutter lag. In Fiji the viz should be good so I would anticipate you should have some good opportunities for photos. And be sure to get in the water... it opens up a whole new world. I have a friend who is a photojournalist, works world wide and is published in a number of dive mags. He uses a compact and runs courses on their use so don't underestimate the quality you might obtain. I have also seen comparison pictures of compacts and DSLR's on dive trips I have been on and would pick the compact as giving the better photo.... My hint to you is to think about stability at the time you take the shot. There is a lot of movement in the ocean, Hope to see some pics from your holiday. cheers Karen

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    Thanks for the tips, Karen, it's going to be something completely different for me! I think I'll have to experiment with it before July - I just need to get near some water.

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    Not being able to add to this, but I think this thread has some really useful info in it for us all.
    So good thread and I think it will help a few more here.

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    I've had a quick play using the macro settings to see what I think - I think I'm going to have to use it a bit to get used to it so I don't swear at it all the time I'm glad I have put CHDK on there, the RAW files I process are better than the native jpegs, but I was surprised by the amount of distortion that needed correcting - easy to fix in ACR though. Naturally the quality isn't brilliant, but it isn't dreadful either and I think will be fine for my purposes. The biggest drawback is definitely the shutter lag. It's slow. Very slow. I assume that is partly due to saving in RAW as well as the jpeg (both file types are saved, there is no option to only save in RAW), I did notice in the CHDK menus that it is set to only save the first shot in RAW if you take a series of quick shots to speed things up, but I can't imagine even trying to take a series of quick shots in the first place. I wouldn't recommend this camera to someone who was intending to use it regularly though, if I decide it's something I want to do more of I think this one will be making an appearance on ebay and I'll be looking at better options.

    Here is one of my test shots - the dng file with no editing before converting, the native jpeg and my processed shot.

    DNG


    Native jpeg


    Processed DNG


    Now to try it underwater one day!

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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Just an update re the Olympus TG-2. My daughter returned from the Barrier reef with excellent photos taken in and out of the water. She was involved in photographing corals and fish etc. on a grid pattern using the GPS for future monitoring of the reef. Apparently some of the sponges and corals photographed were only millimeters across with superb detail. I was impressed with this little camera, the settings used were mainly Aperture priority and Macro, the colours were very accurate I am told, regards Nick.

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