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Olympus TG-5 versus SeaLife DC2000

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by DougieG, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. DougieG

    DougieG Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Wisconsin
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    My 15 year old daughter and I have only been diving for about 1 and 1/2 years and have done about 50 dives. We are looking for a first underwater camera that is easy to use, but can "grow" with us as we gain more experience. We go on about 2 or 3 dive trips per year. I was considering the TG-5 or DC2000 and was hoping to get people's advice on these 2 cameras, or perhaps another camera that I have not considered. Thank you very much!
     
  2. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
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    Both have pros and cons. TG-5 has an excellent macro mode, but its sensor is small, its lens has only two aperture settings (f/2.8 and f/8, I believe), and a limited control set - for instance, it does not allow you to control shutter speed. DC2000 has a much larger 1" sensor (the same, as far as I know, as Sony RX100M3) and a full set of controls, but its lens is fixed focal length (i.e. no zoom capability) necessitating the use of add-on lenses for wide-angle and macro shots, and while it's capable of shooting RAW (a highly desirable characteristic for underwater photography), it takes several seconds to write each RAW file. Both are waterproof only to 15-18 meters, requiring a housing for most dives, which makes them not particularly different in that regard from non-waterproof compacts. The waterproofing can come in handy in case of a housing flood, but vacuum systems are quite effective at preventing those from happening in the first place. You can use them bare while snorkeling, or on shallow dives, but bear in mind that they use very thin and fragile o-rings to maintain their seals, which makes them more prone to flooding than a normal housing.

    For an alternative, you can look at Sony RX100 series. The M5 model is one of the very few compacts to offer phase-detection autofocus, and the release of M5A and M6 models has depressed its price on the used market to sensible levels. It's still more expensive than DC2000 or TG-5, but you also get access to a free version of Capture One Express for Sony, whereas with other cameras you'd need to pay $10/month to Adobe for Lightroom CC, or $300 once to Phase One for Capture One Pro. Besides PDAF, RX100 will give you a full set of controls, 24fps burst rate, 4K video, etc, etc. Housings are available from Sony, Meikon, Fantasea, Ikelite, Recsea, Nauticam and others. You could find a good deal on a used package (camera + housing + accessories) if you shop around. It's more camera than a beginner needs, strictly speaking, but it definitely has room to grow into.
     
  3. npole

    npole Barracuda

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    TG5 is the perfect camera to start with, you may have incredible results at a fair price (especially because the housings are cheap, the one from SeaFrogs/Meikon is priced around 180€), when you feel the need of having something more controllable you may switch and be sure that you will sell the TG5 in days (I guess a TG6 won't come before the end of the next year).

    I also own a RX100M5, it is the (almost) perfect camera underwater (light, full manual control, amazing autofocus), but there's something it lacks of, the manual WB is limited to 9900K that is barely enough underwater and it's 4-5 buttons away (really annoying for continuous uses). This is not a concern if you're only interested in pictures (and especially if you use a strobe) coz you gonna shot RAW, but it's very concerning for whoever does videos. I've obtained mixed results with the manual settings, and I'm OK by doing color correction in post production, however I would love to have something better on that regard.

    In theory there's something better than the RX100 for underwater usage, and it is the Panasonic LX10/15, cheaper than the RX100M5 and with similar specs and controls, but it comes with a more accurate WB and easier to use (hotkey). I believe it's the top choice camera (quality wise) in the "compacts" segment at the moment.

    For your personal use (first camera, auto settings.. learning curve), I suggest the TG5 coupled with a SeaFrogs housing (60 meters), the money you'll save will be invested in a strobe (ie: a sea&sea ys-03 ..it'll come handy even if you'll change the camera one day).
     
  4. DougieG

    DougieG Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Wisconsin
    37
    1
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    Thanks for the input. Based on the above, is it true the TG-5 has a continuous zoom (i.e., you can zoom in and out continuously like on an iPhone), and the DC2000 does not? Just want to make as this is a feature I would want to have. Thanks again!
     
  5. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    517
    184
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    Right. TG-5 can zoom between 25mm and 100mm FF-equivalent focal length (4x), while DC2000 has a fixed 31mm-equivalent lens - no zoom at all. Note that iPhone doesn't actually have a proper zoom capability either - at best, on the high-end models, you have a wide-angle camera and a separate telephoto camera (28mm and 56mm respectively on the iPhone XS, for example), with software capable of combining the output of the two. TG-5 has proper optical zoom.
     
  6. Xavier Berges

    Xavier Berges Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Dominican Republic
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    I had a DC2000 for over a year and used it extensively (about 175 dives with it). I sold it and bought a TG5. the DC2000 had major deal breakers for me:

    - Fixed lens full frame equivalent of 31mm vs. tg5 with 25-100mm, so you get much more types of shots with the TG5. You can use a diopter or external lens for macro, but the results are far apart.
    - Each photo in raw take a couple of seconds to process. When taking action shots it's horrible, you might get a couple of seconds with an interesting subject and you'll only get one shot. The TG5 can shoot 10-20 frame bursts, for the perfect shot.
    - The SeaDragon accessories are expensive, have an inferior quality to comparable and only work in their own environment. TG5 has many third party accessory providers which have attractive prices and are cross comparable and standard. They have different connectors and are relatively expensive for what you get, for example their connectors only work with their hardware. With other providers you basically get standard fixings which have better quality and better resale value.
    - I feel the construction of the housing and lights to be flimsy, I had to replace the shutter, flash cap, would get fog on the camera (i troubleshooted it a couple of times) and other minor inconveniences.

    I feel the only good part is the manual mode and a larger sensor, but as it's limited in other factors it's not as useful. For a new photographer I'd recommend wholeheartedly the TG5. When you get ready to use full manual mode, the DC2000 will have many limitations that would make it a camera you wouldn't want to use.

    I'd say when you're at the next level, instead of getting a dc2000 you can get a cheap mirror less which will be much better.

    As someone told me once, Sea Life has excellent marketing and it's a Dive Shop camera, not really as useful for someone who wants bang for their buck...
     
  7. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
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    The TG-5 can give very nice results working inside its limitations. The main limitations are no manual mode and no manual flash. What this means is the shutter speed keeps dropping to try to balance the ambient light. If you put it in forced flash mode it causes the shutter speed to bottom out at 1/30 sec which is quite slow and you may have motion blur under some conditions. Normal way around this is to use an external strobe to ensure that the lighting is mainly from the flash which will freeze motion for you. It's at it's best for macro. Keep in mind it's a really small sensor and at its best at low ISO (preferably ISO100). Also the wide end is not that wide which limits it when shooting reef scenes and big things as you can't get as close as you would like without an accessory wide wet lens.

    Have a look at this Instagram page shot on a TG4 : Azusa.A_uw (@uwlover___aa) • Instagram photos and videos it's all in Japanese but the images speak for themselves and shows what it can do - I would guess this in mounted on a tray with twin strobes - the strobes are what you need to get the picture quality, also shot in Raw and well processed. At the other end of the spectrum, pointing and shooting from a distance : myles dives on Instagram: “Helicopter wreck in front of Aquaventure. This is probably the best viz I've had at this site. There isn't a reef at this spot so the…” is what happens if you're not close in ambient light. The onboard flash can produce passable images if you are in really close but quite prone to backscatter.

    If you want something more capable, the RX100/ Canon G7X mkII/Panasonic LX10 1" sesnor cameras are great. This link details the pros/cons of these models: Best Underwater Cameras of 2018: Compacts & Mirrorless Cameras - Underwater Photography - Backscatter. I think though the biggest improvement over the bare TG5 would be one or two external strobes.
     
  8. hilljo88

    hilljo88 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: nyc
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    TG5 and sealife obviously each have their supporters. You can get some good shots and have fun with either. Here’s a few thoughts: you can get good used earlier models of each for cheap. You say you do 2 or 3 dive trips a year: many full service shops will rent you a camera and you can see if you like it. And keep in mind that both these systems are transitional in that most people get hooked and step up to a more sophisticated (and expensive) system within a few years.
     
  9. FezUSA

    FezUSA Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Hiram, OH, USA
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    If there's no to only a little existing photography knowledge I would recommend the TG camera. It can get great results quite easily that you will be very satisfied with. You can use it snorkeling and paddleboarding etc. without the UW housing and it is a quite capable camera. The macro ability is just outstanding! Once you get to the point where you are not able to capture pictures because of camera limitations, then I would look at stepping up. I have a TG-4 and I am still happy with it's results, even though I also use an E-5 top side. If you're looking for as close to a PnS (point and shoot) camera then this certainly fits the bill. Scroll down my IG feed for UW examples shot with my TG-4. Just note that I also have an external strobe with it. Marc Ferraby (@mferraby) • Instagram photos and videos
     
  10. JackConnick

    JackConnick Optical Ocean Sales ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    One other point about the Olympus TG-5 is that it's far more extendable that the SeaLife. ie you can add many, many third party products to it easily; strobes, trays, arms, ringlights. SeaLife is pretty much closed to using their products, they don't use industry standard mounts, etc. Personally I think the Olympus quality is much better from what I've seen from customers' rigs after using them for a while.
     
    krukster86 and FezUSA like this.

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