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Best digital for diving? (S1 or ??)

 
 
Michelle
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      04-06-2004
I am looking for a new camera for my husband, and was hoping to get
some recommendations. I am very interested in the new Canon S1 because
of the 10x optical, IS built in, the movie mode (though I don't know
practically how much this would be used), compact size, and that it
has an available underwater housing. Diving would not be the main use
of the camera, but one of the uses. So, I'd like something that would
be good for everyday use as well. I know the camera just came out so I
don't know if anyone has any input on it (I've read the Dpreview and
Steve's Digicams reviews).

I'd like to stay in that general price range ($400-$600). I know the
underwater housing will be extra, but I don't want to spend the money
on the super expensive housings that you can get for any camera..so
something that has a housing already available would be preferable.

Does anyone have any input on the S1 OR any camera suggestions that
might fit my needs better?

Thanks!
 
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Dan Birchall
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      04-07-2004
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) (Michelle) wrote:
> I am looking for a new camera for my husband, and was hoping to get
> some recommendations. I am very interested in the new Canon S1 because
> of the 10x optical, IS built in, the movie mode (though I don't know
> practically how much this would be used), compact size, and that it
> has an available underwater housing. Diving would not be the main use
> of the camera, but one of the uses. So, I'd like something that would
> be good for everyday use as well. I know the camera just came out so I
> don't know if anyone has any input on it (I've read the Dpreview and
> Steve's Digicams reviews).
>
> I'd like to stay in that general price range ($400-$600). I know the
> underwater housing will be extra, but I don't want to spend the money
> on the super expensive housings that you can get for any camera..so
> something that has a housing already available would be preferable.
>
> Does anyone have any input on the S1 OR any camera suggestions that
> might fit my needs better?


If you're going to really use the 10x and all that topside, I'd say sure,
go for it.

Underwater, you're going to want as little zoom as possible; wide-angle
is more useful. Being underwater makes your focal length longer, so you
want a _short_ lens. I'd say the things to look for in something you'll
use underwater are overall resolution, widest (i.e. fewest mm) lens setting,
availability of an underwater enclosure, and ability to use a flash that's
at a different angle than the lens (i.e. externally mounted strobe). The
last one is actually pretty important if you're gonna do it seriously, but
unfortunately doesn't come cheaply!

-Dan (skindiving with Canon S20, 3mp, 32-64mm eq. zoom, Ewa-Marine D-MM bag)

--
Dan Birchall, Hilo HI - http://dan.birchalls.net/ - images, words, technology
 
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Pat
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      04-07-2004
I have a decent solution that really works for me. Get a Kodak 3.2
megapixel CX4300 available at Walmart for $99 (this takes super pics
on land too) and try the universal case from Camerashield
http://www.fuertecases.com/CameraShield.html
for $49. I don't work for them and have taken thousands of underwater
shots with the case with no leaks! It even is awesome to use at rainy
sporting events! Tell them Pat Cook sent you. I have 2 of their
kits.

Here are some of my sample pics. Note: they are way smaller sized for
this web page. The originals look great! I have since done a lot of
retouching in Photoshop but these show what the camera can do right
"out of the camera". http://spectregunner.freeservers.com/

I can't think of any way to spend only $150 total and have this much
fun and success in underwater photography.

-Pat


On Wed, 07 Apr 2004 00:38:38 -0000,
(E-Mail Removed) (Dan Birchall) wrote:

>(E-Mail Removed) (Michelle) wrote:
>> I am looking for a new camera for my husband, and was hoping to get
>> some recommendations. I am very interested in the new Canon S1 because
>> of the 10x optical, IS built in, the movie mode (though I don't know
>> practically how much this would be used), compact size, and that it
>> has an available underwater housing. Diving would not be the main use
>> of the camera, but one of the uses. So, I'd like something that would
>> be good for everyday use as well. I know the camera just came out so I
>> don't know if anyone has any input on it (I've read the Dpreview and
>> Steve's Digicams reviews).
>>
>> I'd like to stay in that general price range ($400-$600). I know the
>> underwater housing will be extra, but I don't want to spend the money
>> on the super expensive housings that you can get for any camera..so
>> something that has a housing already available would be preferable.
>>
>> Does anyone have any input on the S1 OR any camera suggestions that
>> might fit my needs better?

>
>If you're going to really use the 10x and all that topside, I'd say sure,
>go for it.
>
>Underwater, you're going to want as little zoom as possible; wide-angle
>is more useful. Being underwater makes your focal length longer, so you
>want a _short_ lens. I'd say the things to look for in something you'll
>use underwater are overall resolution, widest (i.e. fewest mm) lens setting,
>availability of an underwater enclosure, and ability to use a flash that's
>at a different angle than the lens (i.e. externally mounted strobe). The
>last one is actually pretty important if you're gonna do it seriously, but
>unfortunately doesn't come cheaply!
>
>-Dan (skindiving with Canon S20, 3mp, 32-64mm eq. zoom, Ewa-Marine D-MM bag)


 
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Michelle
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      04-07-2004
(E-Mail Removed) (Dan Birchall) wrote in message news:<(E-Mail Removed)>...
> (E-Mail Removed) (Michelle) wrote:


> >
> > Does anyone have any input on the S1 OR any camera suggestions that
> > might fit my needs better?

>
> If you're going to really use the 10x and all that topside, I'd say sure,
> go for it.
>
> Underwater, you're going to want as little zoom as possible; wide-angle
> is more useful. Being underwater makes your focal length longer, so you
> want a _short_ lens. I'd say the things to look for in something you'll
> use underwater are overall resolution, widest (i.e. fewest mm) lens setting,
> availability of an underwater enclosure, and ability to use a flash that's
> at a different angle than the lens (i.e. externally mounted strobe). The
> last one is actually pretty important if you're gonna do it seriously, but
> unfortunately doesn't come cheaply!
>
> -Dan (skindiving with Canon S20, 3mp, 32-64mm eq. zoom, Ewa-Marine D-MM bag)


Thanks for the tips!! Your photography is really beautiful. If you
were shopping for a new digital to use underwater as well as a good
everyday camera...what would you buy if you had a budget of up to
about $600? Would you stick with the S20 line (not sure what model
they're up to now) or would you get something different?
 
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Pat
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-07-2004
I would rebuy my Kodak/Camerashiled for $150 for underwater only and
buy what I use on land...The Panasonic FZ10. I have had this since
Christmas and LOVE it!

Better to have the right "tools" for the jobs. Just my 2 cents...have
fun Michelle!

-Pat

On 7 Apr 2004 13:31:14 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) (Michelle) wrote:

>(E-Mail Removed) (Dan Birchall) wrote in message news:<(E-Mail Removed)>...
>> (E-Mail Removed) (Michelle) wrote:

>
>> >
>> > Does anyone have any input on the S1 OR any camera suggestions that
>> > might fit my needs better?

>>
>> If you're going to really use the 10x and all that topside, I'd say sure,
>> go for it.
>>
>> Underwater, you're going to want as little zoom as possible; wide-angle
>> is more useful. Being underwater makes your focal length longer, so you
>> want a _short_ lens. I'd say the things to look for in something you'll
>> use underwater are overall resolution, widest (i.e. fewest mm) lens setting,
>> availability of an underwater enclosure, and ability to use a flash that's
>> at a different angle than the lens (i.e. externally mounted strobe). The
>> last one is actually pretty important if you're gonna do it seriously, but
>> unfortunately doesn't come cheaply!
>>
>> -Dan (skindiving with Canon S20, 3mp, 32-64mm eq. zoom, Ewa-Marine D-MM bag)

>
>Thanks for the tips!! Your photography is really beautiful. If you
>were shopping for a new digital to use underwater as well as a good
>everyday camera...what would you buy if you had a budget of up to
>about $600? Would you stick with the S20 line (not sure what model
>they're up to now) or would you get something different?


 
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Dan Birchall
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-07-2004
(E-Mail Removed) (Michelle) wrote:
> (E-Mail Removed) (Dan Birchall) wrote:
> > (E-Mail Removed) (Michelle) wrote:
> > > Does anyone have any input on the S1 OR any camera suggestions that
> > > might fit my needs better?

> >
> > If you're going to really use the 10x and all that topside, I'd say sure,
> > go for it.
> >
> > Underwater, you're going to want as little zoom as possible; wide-angle
> > is more useful. Being underwater makes your focal length longer, so you
> > want a _short_ lens. I'd say the things to look for in something you'll
> > use underwater are overall resolution, widest (i.e. fewest mm) lens
> > setting, availability of an underwater enclosure, and ability to use a
> > flash that's at a different angle than the lens (i.e. externally
> > mounted strobe). The last one is actually pretty important if you're
> > gonna do it seriously, but unfortunately doesn't come cheaply!
> >
> > -Dan (skindiving with Canon S20, 3mp, 32-64mm eq. zoom, Ewa-Marine
> > D-MM bag)

>
> Thanks for the tips!! Your photography is really beautiful. If you
> were shopping for a new digital to use underwater as well as a good
> everyday camera...what would you buy if you had a budget of up to
> about $600? Would you stick with the S20 line (not sure what model
> they're up to now) or would you get something different?


*chuckle* I got the D-MM housing because at that point, I only had a
1.3-megapixel PowerShot A50 (2000-vintage model), and the D-MM was the
snorkel-depth housing for that. When I dropped the A50 and busted it
(oops!), I got the 3-megapixel S20 (also 2000-vintage model) because
it was the highest-resolution thing I could get that was the _same size_
as the A50 and thus didn't require a new housing.

Since I seem to recall you wanting SCUBA depths, you might end up having
to spend a bit more on a hard-shell housing than the $80-ish I spent on
my Ewa-Marine soft bag for snorkeling depths.

Any decent brand of compact camera - Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Olympus - will
have at least *some* models for which there are hard-shell housings
rated to 30m/100' or 40m/130', either OEM or third-party. The place I
bought my housing, B&H Photo in New York (www.bhphotovideo.com) has a
Fuji housing for $180, a whole bunch of Canon ones for $170-$180, some
Olympus ones for $130 and up, and some Fantasea brand third-party ones
for a few of Nikon's cameras for $100 and up.

(They also have the famous Ikelite brand that's used by a lot of pros,
but those are pretty expensive, in part because they tend to offer
access to every single button on the camera and are more likely to
offer external strobe attachments and all that. The cheapest Ikelite
compact housings start about $240.)

Since I have a compact, short-zoom Canon and a less compact long-zoom
Canon right now (a Pro90 IS, kind of the S1's ancestor) I'd be sorely
tempted to go with the compact long-zoom S1 IS, but with the WP-DC20
case for it, it'd be in the $650-700 range, and the resolution would
still only be 3 megapixels, same as my S20 (and not all that much
better topside than my Pro90's 2.6 megapixels).

If I were trying to stay under $600, I'd probably go with a 5-megapixel
S50 and WP-DC300 if I could find the S50 for under $400, and otherwise
with a 4-megapixel A80 and WP-DC900, or 4-megapixel S400 ELPH and
WP-DC800. Any of those options would be about $550-$560ish.

That said, I'm a Canon guy - I've got a Canon backpack with 3 Canon
cameras in it (S20, Pro90 IS, and an Elan 7 35mm SLR) so... I'm biased.
If I hadn't already chosen to stick with a particular brand of gear, and
just wanted to spend as little as possible on a decent camera and a
housing rated for 30-40 meters, I'd probably go with one of those cheap
Fantasea enclosures from B&H, and a Nikon Coolpix to go with it.
(There's also the "Shield" from www.fuertecases.com, which is cheaper
still, but isn't designed to fit any particular model.)

Amazon has the 3-megapixel Coolpix 3100 for $260 and the 4-megapixel
Coolpix 4300 for $345, the respective CP-3 and CP-4 Sport housings are
$100 and $120 at B&H, so you could be looking at $360 for 3 megapixels and
a 40-meter rating, or $465 for 4 megapixels and a 40-meter rating.

There _are_ underwater digitals out there from brands like Sealife
and Sea & Sea, but they tend to be fixed-focus (which is fine underwater,
but not so helpful topside) and not particularly cheap (a 2.1mp fixed
focus Sealife Reefmaster DC250 costs about $300, which isn't really a
good deal when $60 more buys you an enclosure and a better "all-around"
camera with an extra megapixel _and_ a 3x zoom.

Hope this all helps!

-Dan

--
Dan Birchall, Hilo HI - http://dan.birchalls.net/ - images, words, technology
 
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