I think it's time to invest! 📷

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Nico-ITA

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I'm a Fish!
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum, I was looking for a place to get some opinion/ advice for the future investment that I would like to do in terms of underwater photo-video equipment and I think this is the right place to get some feedback.

I am a technical diver who has developed a passion for underwater video and photos since he bought his first GoPro some years ago.
The Gopro limitations quickly emerged and I decided that is time to upgrade.
I regularly dive on lakes with cold waters and poor visibility, but when I can, I go to the sea (Italy/ Croatia).
My favorite dive, and also the one where I will use the camera the most, is wreck diving, with depths ranging from 40m to 75m (130ft to 246ft).
Right now I am still on Open Circuit, even if a JJ would be my goal.
I usually do also DPV dives with a Suex XJs and the Gopro attached on it.

Important consideration: with the GoPro I prefer to make videos, also because it is more suitable for this, but when I have to do post production it is a tragedy because of the time and effort it requires. More and more my videos now remain in some SSD and are forgotten.
Out of the water I really enjoy taking pictures (I had a Sony A6400, but I sold it) and I feel that this is the route I should also take underwater when I will decide to invest.
In order not to be mistaken, would be nice to find a camera that allows me to take good pictures, but also decent videos let's say.

I will have to start from scratch and then buy everything, from the camera body, to the lenses, to the housing and the lights. I estimated a budget, so I'll have to figure out if it makes sense to invest more in certain parts of the equipment at an early stage, or if it's better to spread the costs equally (Advices?!)
Let's say that I can consider to spend 4/5K€ to start and I certainly also evaluate used equipments.

My dream would be a Mirrorless Full Frame, but looking at the latest Sony, Canon and Nikon models, 5K€ is the minimum for the camera body-only, plus the housing (if you are lucky and you find a good offer), so definentely out of budget bacause I need also lenses and lights I suppose.

So I'll have to scale back expectations and probably think about an APS-C, maybe Sony A6xxx or Nikon Z50 (I did not check the equivalents from Canon, Panasonic and Olympus).

DSLR and Micro Four Thirds are options in which personally I would not want to invest because I do not consider them future proof and with high resalability(you never know).
In any case I will be more than happy if someone will make me change my mind as I am not an expert.

For the moment I'll stop here.
I haven't studied the housing part well yet, although I have noticed some good brand as the ISOTTA which hold up to -100met (329ft).
The lights part just have not even touched and I am completely ignorant.

I hope someone can give me his opinion and maybe some advice.
Many thanks
N
 

bvanant

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For wreck and other wide angle pursuits, you could easily get by with an APS-C system and the Tokina 10-17 or with the Micro 4/3 system (OLY EM1 Mark II or Pany GH-5) and say the Laowa 7.5 mm or the OLY 8 mm or Leica 8-18. I shoot micro 4/3 and really like the size, particularly the ports which are significantly smaller than larger formats mostly because the lenses are smaller too.
Lighting wrecks is another story, you will need quite powerful strobes unless it is really clear
Bill
 

Nico-ITA

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I'm a Fish!
Thanks for your reply.
In the next few days I will try to simulate some possible configurations with prices, then I will come back here
 

Nemrod

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You might like the Oly TG6 as a starting point. Get some good strobes that can carry forward (YSD2 or Inon S2000/ Z330 for examples). My problem with the TG6 is that while it is a fantastic little macro machine, it has the smallest of sensors, limited dynamic range, no real manual controls and only two f stops plus a ND filter.

The Sony RX series, might be a better starting point but with the upcoming Nauticam price increase I would say if you really want a ICL camera then best go ahead and get it rather than buying twice. I am currently shooting a Sony A6400 with the Nauticam housing. Nauticam housings fit the cameras like a glove and in some ways the camera is easier to use in the housing that not!. I love the vacuum system and the build quality is extraordinary as is the functionality.

Yes, a Nauticam or similar housing will cost more than the camera and my answer to that is that the camera is no more important than the housing because the two work together as a unit. If the housing is not easy to use, to configure and does not support all of the features and capabilities of the camera it is a non-starter for me.

At this time I would still probably go with the Sony A6400/Nauticam NA6400. My Inon D2000 strobes are old and working at near full power, I need to upgrade to Z330s. I would look at Olympus carefully, again, but the future of said company is in doubt with the imaging portion having been sold to an investment holding company (?). Sony, to my knowledge, is the only imaging company that makes money on consumer imaging.

Negatives of the Sony cameras, at least some of them:

1. No manual flash control with pre-flash cancel
2. battery life (well, it is equal to or better than most similar cameras)
3. Flash sync limited t o1/1604. Weird menu and sub menus system
4. Lens choices for fisheye and super wide angle

I am runnign my strobes in sTTL so the pre-flash is not a problem and I just dial the camera strobe down to -3 f-stops. Not ideal but it works. And the 1/160 sync is not a big deal really vs 1/200 or 1/250. The RX series BTW does not have that limit. And, Nauticam supplied me with three booster batteries that allow me to run my camera for four hour long dives and it is still shooting at the end of dive four! But, I understand that thanks to supplier issues post-C-pandamonium the batter booster packs are not currently available?

Olympus, better lens selection, better menus, betterflash control and pre-flash cancel. Negative is possible future support, the smaller M4:3 sensor.

If you can afford an aluminum Nauticam or similar level housing, do yourself a favor and splurge. They are on a different level when you think of your outfit as a SYSTEM rahter than components.

James
 

stuartv

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A Sony a6x00 setup would serve you well. I would suggest to watch the various forums - WetPixel in particular - to watch for a used rig. At least, a used housing.

New housings are so expensive, I don't think it makes financial sense to pay for a new housing if it is to hold an older model of camera. If you are going to pay for a new housing, then you should look at a reasonably modern camera body. Which still could mean a Sony a6x00.

Another factor to consider is not just the cost of the housing and camera body. You should look at what lenses, ports, and wet lenses you will need in order to do the shooting you want. No point in saving yourself a bunch of money on a camera body and a housing if you're going to end up blowing your budget paying for the lenses/ports/domes that you will need.

I say that to point out that, as one example, a Sony full frame rig can be used with the new Sony kit lens (28 - 60mm) which is very inexpensive. And with that one lens and the associated port, you can then use a Nauticam WWL-1 to achieve excellent wide angle (up to about 130 degrees FOV) and the Nauticam CMC-1 and CMC-2 wet lenses to achieve excellent macro shots.

The Sony FF body and housing will not be cheap. But, the overall package, with one lens, one port, and 2 wet lenses, might do everything you want and be overall just as affordable (with better image results) as a crop sensor camera and the lenses/ports/etc that you would need to work with that.

All that said, you might be able to do the same thing with an APS-C camera. I.e. one lens and port and a WWL-1 and CMC macro lens. I can't say, on that, as I haven't looked into it. I shoot a Sony a7rIV and use the setup I described and I am VERY happy with the results and the flexibility it gives me.

Bottom line: Figure out your WHOLE plan (including lenses, ports, wet lenses, domes) before you invest in part of it.
 
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