Cameras and travel photography forum

Underwater photography

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    I actually just checked out SBE's photos and saw some awesome underwater photos.

    I honestly don't know too much about photogrpahy in general but am always interested in starting new hobbies.

    Can anyone suggest a good underwater camera? Mainly for snorkeling.

    I often go snorkeling here and would love to capture some underwater photos!

    #1 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 16:19

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  • furneburner

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2009
    Posts: 180

    I just looked at them myself, damn they look purdy.

    I noticed alot of them werent labled, are you trying to keep some of the places secret SBE?

    #2 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 16:23

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    Hah, wouldn't blame he if he was!

    #3 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 16:25

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    Ahem... I think you will find that 'he' is a 'she'! ;-)

    I also agree that these are great photos - noticed them awhile back. The underwater cameras are very good these days.

    #4 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 17:38

  • furneburner

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2009
    Posts: 180

    Oh i see, maybe that's why SHE is so terse with me in her replies...

    jk

    #5 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 18:33

  • furneburner

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2009
    Posts: 180

    Cuz i'm just an inexperienced young man is all...motherly figure etc...

    #6 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 18:36

  • cybervlad

    Click here to learn more about cybervlad
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
    Posts: 182

    mattocmd,
    for taking pictures while snorkeling you can use your favorite camera and one of inexpensive "soft" cases (i.e. "Eva Marine", "Aquapac" etc) which are waterproof till 5-7 meters.
    This is a cheap option. But you can also buy P&S camera (< $300) and "hard" (plastic) waterproof case for it (< $250). With this set you can take pics not only while snorkeling, but also while scuba diving (or free-diving) till 30 meters (100 feets).
    I can suggest Canon PowerShot series.

    #7 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 19:22

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    cybervlad - I haven't seen you on here since you responded to my "thai toilets" post in 2007.

    How the heck are ya?

    #8 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 20:50

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
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    Location Global Village
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    Furnerburner, I think there must be a chronic shortage of terse mother figures in SE Asia because I'm so surprisingly popular with young men....I'll put you on the (long) waiting list though. ;-)


    OK cameras. I took those underwater pictures with three different Olympus cameras in the mju series. It's often a question of luck getting a decent underwater shot because there's no viewfinder and you can't always the image on the screen underwater. Nearly all my underwater pictures needed some post processing to correct the exposure but that's quite easy to do with a program like Picasa or ACDSee (Photoshop is a bit too complicated for me)

    I originally bought my original Olympus in 2007 when it was the only underwater camera of its kind on the market. Although it is capable of taking OK pictures once you get the hang of it, there is a major problem with this camera. Inadequate waterproof seals I've had three cameras replaced under the guarantee so far because of faulty seals wrecking the camera. If you check user reviews online you will see I'm not the only one with this problem.

    The model I have now is the tough 8000. I haven't tested it in the water but it's got exactly the same flimsy seals as all the others so I'm pretty resigned to it not being very waterproof either. I'll be binding it with electrical tape as an extra precaution before doing any snorkelling with it. That kept the worst of the water out of my last mju but it still malfunctioned anyway... frequent error messages preventing it from being used and getting the battery out for recharging was a right pain because the release clip was also faulty.

    I've taken a few test shots with the Tough 8000 ... conclusion ...it has worse image quality than its predecessors. The super macro mode with a LED light was a very good feature on the 1030 but it's unusable on the 8000. It's totally impossible to focus using this mode. There's also a new "beauty" mode which basically seems to be very aggressive noise reduction and removal of fine detail.

    IMO the mju 8000 is a piece of crap...a definite step down in image quality from the earlier 1030 and still nothing done to improve the seals. I'm stuck with it unfortunately but I'd strongly advise anyone thinking of buying an underwater camera to avoid it. Or I can sell you mine... practically brand new, never been in the water... then I can buy the Canon D10 instead.

    Check out dpreview ..they've done a very useful comparative test of underwater cameras in this category.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q209waterproofgroup/

    #9 Posted: 20/9/2009 - 22:55

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    Thanks for the helpful post.

    I think I'm leaning towards the Canon D10. Looks to be practical for someone like me. On Amazon it gets an overall very favorable rating but a few people did comment that water leaked into it.

    I am trying to figure out where I would need to mail it if it leaked and broke. Hopefully they would have somewhere in Asia because I would hate to pay all of that shipping if it breaks here.

    #10 Posted: 21/9/2009 - 08:53

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  • bronzedwarr-
    ior

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2007
    Posts: 41

    Mattomcd - Have you considered the Panasonic FT1 ( FS1 in certain countries )?

    This has similarly decent reviews as the D10 but has a better zoom, HD video recording ( Only 1280 x 720-pixels apparently - So not full HD ) and you won't need an extra backpack to store it in...

    Seriously, have you seen the size of the D10? Its chuffing enormous and certainly wouldn't fit into any pocket of mine.

    In the D10's favour, obviously, is the fact that it can go to 10 metres depth as opposed to the FT1's meagre 3. However, my understanding is the D10 is not shockproof, the FT1 is...

    Admittedly from reading reviews and having a quick play with both of these models, I think the D10 wins on pic quality but only just.

    I'm heading off for six months of pottering about on beaches in South East Asia on the 31st Oct and am purchasing the Panasonic before I go ( For snorkelling and the like ), If you can hold on, I'll give you a report on what its like to actually own/use once I've bought it!

    #11 Posted: 21/9/2009 - 17:40

  • bronzedwarr-
    ior

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2007
    Posts: 41

    Slight dyslexia in the above, sorry!

    Got two of the letters in your name the wrong way round and we can't edit now, can we?!

    #12 Posted: 21/9/2009 - 17:51

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    Bronzedwarrior - thanks! Yes that sounds great, I will hold off until you check the Panasonic out.

    The only thing that would worry me about it is the 3 meter depth. I'm trying to figure out if that would be enough depth.

    #13 Posted: 21/9/2009 - 18:27

  • bronzedwarr-
    ior

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2007
    Posts: 41

    Depends what you're planning on doing really...

    You mentioned snorkelling right at the top of the thread - For that 3 metres should be enough. That's all I intend on using mine for.

    I have heard ( As with most Panasonics ) that low light causes the FT1 issues but I figure that snorkelling near the surface of the sea in a hot and sunny country shouldn't pose it too many questions.

    I'm planning on purchasing in a couple of weeks so I'll let you know. Might have to resort to testing in the bath before I go!

    #14 Posted: 21/9/2009 - 18:46

  • cybervlad

    Click here to learn more about cybervlad
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    Location Thailand
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    mattocmd
    I haven't seen you on here since you responded to my "thai toilets" post in 2007
    Really? :)
    According my "resent activity list" i have several postings in 2009 :)
    Ok, back to issue.
    I have used Canon PowerShot A95 + Canon Wp DC-50 waterproof case since 2005 both in warm salted and cold fresh water, and experiance no problem. Of course, I carefully check o-rings and put sealing grease before each dive.
    Now I use Canon PowerShot A650IS + DC-18 waterproof case and fully satisfied :)

    #15 Posted: 22/9/2009 - 18:36

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    Cybervlad

    Do you have any photos I could check out?? I would love to see some if you have them posted somewhere.

    #16 Posted: 22/9/2009 - 19:31

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
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    Location Global Village
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    How often do you have to get the seals serviced on your waterproof case cybervlad? If the seals go on that then an ordinary camera is f*cked. A dive master once said that my Olympus would be perfect with a case ... even if the case leaked it wouldn't matter too much. He said he'd seen many clients with the same problems as me... and believe me I did all the checks before putting the camera in the water after my first camera got ruined. In fact a dentist friend of mine had a very strong magnifying glass with him... he checked the seals too. Not one grain of dust or sand yet they still leaked.

    I enquired about waterproof casing for my "better" camera (a Canon SX110) when I was in KL last year but it wasn't in stock and it cost almost as much as the camera itself anyway.

    I can't get hold of those special plastic bags you mentioned here in France and I haven't seen them in SEA, otherwise I think that would be the answer together with a "waterproof" camera. If the bag leaked it wouldn't matter too much.

    #17 Posted: 22/9/2009 - 19:35

  • cybervlad

    Click here to learn more about cybervlad
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
    Posts: 182

    mattocmd,
    of course, link to my online photo album is in my signature.
    Here is some quick links:
    Nudibranch (Siquijor, Philippines, depth 10 meters)
    Mandarine fish (Negros, Philippines, depth 5 meters, dusk)
    White tip reef shark (Sipadan, Malaysia, depth 35 meters)
    Tuna games (Sipadan, Malaysia, depth 15 meters)
    Nudibranch (Koh Tang, Cambodia, depth 8 meters)
    Nudibranch? (Koh Rong Samloen, Cambodia, depth 10 meters)

    SBE,
    I have never got serviced my waterproof cases with authorized dealer, I only service it by myself. Of course, o-ring must be replaced after some time of use.
    And I always do "check dive" with new case: put some paper inside (instead of camera), seal it and dive to at least 25 meters.
    A propos, leackage is possible (yes, sometime "**** happens" :) ), nevermind you use "external" waterproof case + ordinary camera or "solid waterproof camera" - there is sealings, o-rings, etc.

    p.s. "Soft" cases:
    Aquapac
    Eva Marine
    Personally me, I afraid use "soft" cases for immersing cameras. But they good for protecting cameras from dust and moisture on the beach etc.

    #18 Posted: 23/9/2009 - 11:26

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
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    Wow, awesome pictures of nudibranches cybervlad! I don't dive (yet) and I've only ever seen a couple snorkelling and never when I've had a camera with me. Interesting that two of them were off Cambodia.... those islands sound worth checking out.

    #19 Posted: 24/9/2009 - 06:09

  • cybervlad

    Click here to learn more about cybervlad
    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2007
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 182

    thanx, SBE!
    Diving in Cambodia very specific (IMO), "muk-diving". However you can meet some big species, like cobia :)
    Photos linked above is from my trip to Cambodia in Nov. 2008. Sometimes visibility was not good, just about 2-3 meters.
    But the most exciting dive was night dive near Koh Rong Samloen. Sandy bottom, very strong current - you can't swim as usual, instead you turn against the current and follow it, slowly stepping back. But so many intresting things! Then fresh makrel BBQ for the dinner :)
    Also I'd recommend to visit "Explosion Reef" near Koh Tang. This shallow dive site, which "explodes" with plethora of colorful corals and reef fishes.

    #20 Posted: 24/9/2009 - 12:06

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