09 Jan 2006 22:05:35
David Inada
Camera dedicated vs enclosure

I am thinking about getting a new underwater camera. I currently have a
Nikonos IV with strobe and close-up kit, which I bought from a friend
years ago. My wife [my current dive buddy] does not like it because it
is big/cumbersome and I don't like it because I can't see my results
until the film is developed and the costs of development. The quality of
the shots has always been pretty good. I currently have a Kodak
EasyShare Z740 digital camera and I can't find an enclosure for it.

My assumption is that going with something like the SeaLife Reefmaster
DC500 would be better than getting another digital camera and an
enclosure? I assume that a dedicated uw camera is better than a
camera/enclosure? I want to keep my budget to around $500 but can
stretch that some if need be.

I also assume that getting the external flash would be a good idea if I
want to shoot close up shots. Otherwise it is not necessary?

This is in preparation for a run to Hawaii this summer.

David




09 Jan 2006 23:24:22
Dan Bracuk
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

David Inada <dinada1@comcast.net > pounded away at his keyboard
resulting in:
:I am thinking about getting a new underwater camera. I currently have a
:Nikonos IV with strobe and close-up kit, which I bought from a friend
:years ago. My wife [my current dive buddy] does not like it because it
:is big/cumbersome and I don't like it because I can't see my results
:until the film is developed and the costs of development. The quality of
:the shots has always been pretty good. I currently have a Kodak
:EasyShare Z740 digital camera and I can't find an enclosure for it.
:
:My assumption is that going with something like the SeaLife Reefmaster
:DC500 would be better than getting another digital camera and an
:enclosure? I assume that a dedicated uw camera is better than a
:camera/enclosure? I want to keep my budget to around $500 but can
:stretch that some if need be.
:
:I also assume that getting the external flash would be a good idea if I
:want to shoot close up shots. Otherwise it is not necessary?

SeaLife Reefmasters are digital cameras inside housings. It is Sea
and Sea that makes the dedicated underwater cameras.

I have a Sealife up for auction on e-bay right now. It's the 1.3
megapixel model, you probably don't want it. I replaced it with a
Sony 4.1 megapixel cybershot, with a Sony housing, and no strobe. I
don't take photos at night, but I have taken some under ledges, in
shadows, and so forth, and have always had enough light.

What you might want to do is to sell your Kodak and get a new camera
and housing. Companies that make housings for their cameras include
Nikon, Sony, Canon, and Olympus.



Dan Bracuk
If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.

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10 Jan 2006 09:37:08
Lee Bell
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

"David Inada" wrote

> My assumption is that going with something like the SeaLife Reefmaster
> DC500 would be better than getting another digital camera and an
> enclosure?

Depends on the camera and what you plan to do with it. Housed systems are
usually more versatile.

> I assume that a dedicated uw camera is better than a camera/enclosure?

See above.

> I want to keep my budget to around $500 but can stretch that some if need
> be.

You've just eliminated most quality housed cameras.

> I also assume that getting the external flash would be a good idea if I
> want to shoot close up shots. Otherwise it is not necessary?

Opinions vary. Most of us believe a strobe is essential for almost all
underwater photography. It's the only way to se true colors. Dan Bracuk
will show you nice pictures taken without a separate strobe, and they really
are nice, but they weren't taken without a strobe, just without an external
one.

Your choice of camera largely depends on what you want to do with it. If
you're looking for the equivalent of snapshots, buy the equivalent of a
shapshot camera. If you plan on taking publication quality photos, even if
you never expect any to be published, get ready to spend more money, a lot
more money.

Lee




10 Jan 2006 19:35:50
Dan Bracuk
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

"Lee Bell" <pleebell2@bellsouth.net > pounded away at his keyboard
resulting in:
:Opinions vary. Most of us believe a strobe is essential for almost all
:underwater photography. It's the only way to se true colors. Dan Bracuk
:will show you nice pictures taken without a separate strobe, and they really
:are nice, but they weren't taken without a strobe, just without an external
:one.

On the topic of semantics, why is it that land cameras have flashes
and underwater cameras have strobes?

Dan Bracuk
If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.

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10 Jan 2006 20:49:06
Lee Bell
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

"Dan Bracuk" wrote

> "Lee Bell" <pleebell2@bellsouth.net> pounded away at his keyboard
> resulting in:
> :Opinions vary. Most of us believe a strobe is essential for almost all
> :underwater photography. It's the only way to se true colors. Dan Bracuk
> :will show you nice pictures taken without a separate strobe, and they
> really
> :are nice, but they weren't taken without a strobe, just without an
> external
> :one.

> On the topic of semantics, why is it that land cameras have flashes
> and underwater cameras have strobes?

Good question. I consider the terms are interchangeable, which is probably
part of the problem. If I were to try to define the difference, I think I'd
say that a flash consumes the light producing element produces all the light
it can in a single destructive use. A strobe produces varying amounts and
duration of light depending on the controlling system. In this context,
pretty much everything in use these days is a strobe.

Then again, I could be wrong.

Lee




10 Jan 2006 22:49:29
Dan Bracuk
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

"Lee Bell" <pleebell2@bellsouth.net > pounded away at his keyboard
resulting in:

:Good question. I consider the terms are interchangeable, which is probably
:part of the problem. If I were to try to define the difference, I think I'd
:say that a flash consumes the light producing element produces all the light
:it can in a single destructive use. A strobe produces varying amounts and
:duration of light depending on the controlling system. In this context,
:pretty much everything in use these days is a strobe.

Before I started diving, a flash was a light on a camera, and a strobe
was a light that kept going on and off very quickly.

Back to diving, what do they call those really annoying lights that
keep going on and off very quickly?

Dan Bracuk
If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.

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11 Jan 2006 12:07:42
Lee Bell
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

"Dan Bracuk" wrote

> Back to diving, what do they call those really annoying lights that
> keep going on and off very quickly?

Those are called strobes too.

Lee




12 Jan 2006 17:07:19
-hh
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

Dan Bracuk <NOTbracuk@pathcom.com > wrote:
>
> On the topic of semantics, why is it that land cameras have flashes
> and underwater cameras have strobes?

Flashes were developed from flashlights, whereas strobes were developed
from torches? :-)



I don't know a definitive answer, but I would be personally inclined to
say that its probably because land cameras came about long before
underwater cameras, and as such, the "illumination technology" of when
the Land-vs-UW cameras were popularized was a factor in their names.


Recall that in the earliest days of photography, the creation of
illumination was pyrotechnically based: the burning of flash powder.
Hence we get "flash" into the lexicon.

BTW, there was also "spark gap" technology that was used by the movie
industry, commonly called "Carbon Arc". It was basically a high voltage
arc that used a carbon rod as the sacrificial element (and put out a lot
of heat). Carbon Arc was used in part because it could deliver a "point
source" of light which optically was good for film image projection, and
also because reliable high voltage electrical bulbs were uncommon and
expensive by comparison.

In the 1930's, one of the pioneers of high speed photography
illumination was Harold ("Doc") Edgerton (1903-1990), an MIT professor
who was the inventor of the Stroboscope. This which was essentially an
all-electrical device that had fast rise time and fall time (which froze
perceived motion), but as importantly, it didn't contain any
self-destructive "one shot" components that needed to be replaced after
each use.


In the 1950's, Edgerton went on to collaborate several inventions with
Jacque Cousteau, where his nickname became "Papa Flash". As such, from
essentially the beginning of the popularization of UW photography, the
illumination hardware in use was based on Edgerton's strobes, hence a
plausible explanation for the UW Photo naming convention of "strobe".

In the meantime in the land camera consumer photography market, by the
1950's, they had evolved to an electrically based lighting system, but
it utilized a charging capacitor and a consumable ("one shot") bulb,
which means that they were continuing to follow the paradigm of flash
powder. As such, it shouldn't be surprising that the old name didn't
change much: hence, "flash powder" was replaced by the "flash bulb".

And for land photography, flash bulbs were still in common use up until
the 1980's, where they finally died out, partly because the computer
revolution finally made the strobes' electronics finally become cheap
enough to compete at the consumer level. But by then, the "flash" name
had become firmly entrenched in the lexicon for land camera consumers,
so instead of it being replaced by strobe, it merely evolved again, with
descriptors such as "internal flash", "flash unit", "pop-up flash", etc.



-hh


19 Jan 2006 15:11:43
Art Greenberg
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

On Mon, 9 Jan 2006 22:05:35 -0500, David Inada wrote:

> My wife [my current dive buddy] does not like it because it is
> big/cumbersome

If she thinks a Nikonos is cumbersome, she will certainly think any housed
camera is unbearable.

> and I don't like it because I can't see my results until the film is
> developed and the costs of development.

That's film. I haven't made the transition to digital yet. But I've been
shooting film for 25+ years, it doesn't seem like that big a deal to me. OTOH,
the liveaboards are phasing out E6 processing. I really liked having that fast
turn on the boat.

> The quality of the shots has always been pretty good.

The Nikonos line, especially the later models, has always been capable of
taking very good photographs.

> I currently have a Kodak EasyShare Z740 digital camera and I can't find an
> enclosure for it.

Not many housings are made, and for not too many cameras. If you *really* want
to house the Z740, you certainly could find someone to make a custom housing
for you. But it would be outrageously expensive.

> I assume that a dedicated uw camera is better than a camera/enclosure?

Yes and no. "Water contact" optics (lenses) can theoretically be better than
using a lens behind a clear port, just because the extra layer of glass or
plastic wasn't part of the lens manufacturer's design, and its presence does
have an effect on image quality (though with a decent and well maintained
port, you'd be hard pressed to notice it). But I think a housed camera -
especially a "system" SLR - can be much more versatile than a dedicated UW
camera.

> I want to keep my budget to around $500 but can stretch that some if need
> be.

I don't think you'll find anything housed in that price range.

> I also assume that getting the external flash would be a good idea if I
> want to shoot close up shots. Otherwise it is not necessary?

A good UW strobe is essential for any serious undertaking. You can get clear
UW photos without one, but the colors will not be correct. Color correcting
filters are a compromise, but not a great one. And you can't always fix that
in post processing (on the computer).

Its not just close-ups that will benefit. Wide-angle reef shots look way
better with a strobe, too. But anything wide-angle and farther away than a few
inches will take a BIG strobe (or two or three), and that alone would blow
your budget.

> This is in preparation for a run to Hawaii this summer.

There's nothing wrong with starting out small. Get something that fits your
budget, and give it a go. If you like the results, you're set. If you're like
me, you might be able to live with something simple and inexpensive to start,
but once the bug bites ....

Good luck!



26 Jan 2006 01:11:28
VK
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure


David Inada wrote:
> I want to keep my budget to around $500 but can
> stretch that some if need be.

$500 or so will get you a decent compact P&S digital and a dedicated
housing for it.

I am using an S70 with a matching Canon housing, and it works fairly
well. Used to have an older Olympus C3000 camera, and a matching
housing, and that workd very well too -except for a tendency to fog up.

In general, I see a lot of pretty serious u/w shooters using Oly
cameras. We have 2 DMTs right now - one uses the C7070 and another the
C750. They are getting very good images from it.

Incidentally, I've been playing around with the Sunpak G-Flash - all
manual, but very powerful and costs $180 from Adorama. Excellent
external unit to have if you are somewhat comfortable with manual
flashes.

Vandit



26 Jan 2006 17:25:26
Dan Bracuk
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure

"VK" <vkalia_removethis@diveindia.com > pounded away at his keyboard
resulting in:

:In general, I see a lot of pretty serious u/w shooters using Oly
:cameras. We have 2 DMTs right now - one uses the C7070 and another the
:C750. They are getting very good images from it.

DMT?

Dan Bracuk
If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.

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26 Jan 2006 20:48:31
VK
Re: Camera dedicated vs enclosure


Dan Bracuk wrote:
> :In general, I see a lot of pretty serious u/w shooters using Oly
> :cameras. We have 2 DMTs right now - one uses the C7070 and another the
> :C750. They are getting very good images from it.
>
> DMT?

Dive master trainees. These guys have done a lot of diving in the
Andamans and are absolute geniuses at spotting little critters - and
photographing them.

Sorry, should have realized it wasnt evident fromt the context.

Vandit