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Camera for new diver -- digital

Discussion in 'Underwater Photography' started by SeaDragon66, Aug 19, 2008.


    LIVES4SHARKS SHARK DIVA AI ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Savannah, Georgia
    I have the Sealife DC600 elite. It has been a really easy camera to work with and as a starter, it has taken really good pictures. I definitely would go digital, for the 100 pics you take, usually 10 come out good. It's hard to have a subject hold still! I got my set up for $700. SeaLife Cameras - Underwater Digital Camera - DC600 Elite Set

    Good luck!
  2. Buoyant1

    Buoyant1 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hershey, PA
    Try used! You never know if someone is wanting to upgrade...I picked up a used Canon A80 on SB a few years back (came with a housing, cards all books, etc.) Figuring that if I was able to get into taking photos I could always upgrade myself and sel it (and have only spent $250. for the learning process...)

    I figure that after a few more purchases (dry suit...cough cough) I'll be ready to start upgrading my camera system, but I've taken some decent shots with this basic rig, but for now it suits my needs...worth a shot thumbing through the for sale ads!
  3. sberanek

    sberanek Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Champaign, IL
    i have a Nikon Coolpix L12 and just got an underwater housing for it. There are two companies (that I know of) that make the housings: Ikelite and Fantasea. The whole set up maybe cost about $350. I can't quite remember because I bought the camera before I bought the housing...acutally I bought it before I SCUBA certed.

    The camera is a good one for a non-SLR. I've been quite happy with my dry land and underwater photos from it. I can even take little movie snippets to show friends who don't even know how to swim.

  4. alcina

    alcina Missing Diva. ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Western Australia
    MOD POST - moved from Basic SCUBA Discussions.

    Great to hear you are looking for an underwater camera system! You've been given a lot of ideas so far :)

    Also check out the Sticky at the top of the UW Photo area (follow the Pink Link in my signature) as it has a whole slew of information including links to various models that may interest you.

    Personally, I really like the Canon A series cameras. If you want a little more, then the Canon G9 is a great choice.

    My list of must haves:
    - manual white balance
    - manual control of your ISO, aperture and shutter
    - an underwater housing :wink:
    Pretty much everything else is icing.

    A wider angle lens is nice to have, but the choices are pretty limited for 28mm so those in the 30s work fine.

    MP doesn't interest me as more does not mean better, despite what the nice sales person tells you. Pretty much any fairly recent camera will give you enough MPs.

    Don't be too scared by models that are "discontinued". Manufacturers release new models at least twice a year and we're coming up on another new season of models (Octoberish usually). As long as there are units available and housings for them, even a "discontinued" model can give you more than a few good years of service if you choose to keep it.
  5. Noboundaries

    Noboundaries Contributor

    I second the vote for the Casio. You can pick up new Casio cameras from 7 to 12 megapixels. 10 is plenty. Don't forget a copy of PhotoShop too for cleaning up your pictures. The pics in our gallery were shot with an older Casio EX-Z50 5mp camera and a newer EX-Z1200 12 mp camera. We still use both.

    We bought an external flash but never use it. We will some day. We generally shoot in wide-angle and macro modes. The internal flash works fine. We just leave the flash on all the time when shooting. We can get through about 250 pics in a day over three dives. We recharge every night.

    Takes great movies too.
  6. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    Well, I don't recommend cameras to :newbie:s as they can distract from learning skills and basic safety, but still...
    I've like Sealife cameras for simplicity and economy. Yeah you can add a diver housing to almost any camera (be careful to not buy a swimmer's housing like some of Canon's which are not depth rated) and later maybe add an external flash, but Sealife packages the approach well for us fumbling amaterus.

    I've never shot that one, but with no housing to mess with, I think it'd probly fit the desires of the thread originator even if it may not be as adaptable as the DC500/600/800. They are easy to find for under $200 actually, and you can add the External Flash later. Add insurance before you even pool test it tho; see suggestions in my Sig below.
    I really second that, but still...
    You bring a wealth of good advice to these photo threads, but white balance and ISO are two points I still leave on auto. :silly:
  7. Larry C

    Larry C Dive Con

    # of Dives:
    Location: SF Bay Area
    Lots of good advice here. I agree that a new diver should be VERY comfortable with buoyancy and knowledgeable of his own air use and safety procedures for both himself and his dive buddy before adding the task load of a camera. If you truly just want some family shots, as you said, I have a dive buddy who got the whole Reefmaster mini kit with strobe, and has taken some very serviceable pictures with it. It's quite cheap for what you're getting, easy to use and takes decent shots. If you are going to get all gaga over taking pictures under water like most of us here, start with a top quality camera and expect to pay a bit more than you did for the camera and housing to add a quality strobe. Otherwise, you'll be selling your rig shortly to buy a better one because you're disappointed in the images you're producing. Another choice would be if you can still find a Sea & Sea DX8000G out there at a good price. As a better grade of "kit" camera, these things take REALLY nice pictures. The macro (close-up) ability is outstanding, and with either a Sea & Sea or Inon D2000S strobe you wouldn't need anything else unless you're planning to shoot poster size. Otherwise, check out the Pink Links and various threads on this forum for great advice on top quality current model cameras.

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