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Thread: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

  1. #1

    Default UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    Hi guys, I'm a UW photography newbie and I'm considering the following Olympus DCs and UW cases:

    (1) SP-700 + PT-031
    (2) SP-310 + PT-030
    (3) SP-350 + PT-030
    (4) mju 600 + PT-029
    (5) mju 500 + PT-026

    I'm prefer a DC that takes good pics in low-light situations and has effective image stabiliser (important for my diving). Which of the above combination is recommended?

    Please feel free to give comments or even recommendations for other brands! Budget is around $1k. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    I do UW photography too...somewhat can be consider a newbie too.

    I have a few pts to add:

    I'm prefer a DC that takes good pics in low-light situations and has effective image stabiliser (important for my diving). Which of the above combination is recommended?
    In low light conditions....ur camera will need to have a focus light...most cameras have it. To make things better, u'll need a torch to help your camera focus beter...it helps tremendously.

    Contrary to common belief, image stabiliser is not a requirement for UW photography as there is practically no "hand shakes"...but if u stay at the shallows and affected by the swell...i doubt image stabiliser helps too.

    You may want to consider models which are able to take on add-on macro lens, filters etc...or may even consider macro mode as a requirement...as i personally like critters and macro stuff.

    Have u went www.dpreview.com yet? Go on have a good read.

    If u just looking for a starter set, 1 forumer in www.finsonline.com is selling his A70 with UW case...A70 is a rather capable camera...i still enjoy using it very much

    Just my 2 cents
    Last edited by yzr500abe; 7th February 2006 at 11:59 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    Thank you so much yzr500abe for your post! The info are indeed very useful for me.

    I'm still kinda lost between buying a new or used DC+UW Case set. It would be a nightmare if I made a mistake during a dive and my new DC drowns! On the other hand, I'm not experienced enough to be able to judge whether a used UW Case is potentially leaking or not.

    So would you say a DC with the following functions would be good for UW usage?

    - Low light conditions
    - Image stabiliser
    - Super Macro Mode


  4. #4

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    Hi am a UW oly user also. here's my say:

    low light condition capabilities is very important. but the built in AF assist light is practically useless when doing macros. especially in super macro mode. personally i dun like super macro coz of the ridiculously short working distance. moreover internal flash doesn't work with supermacro so you'd need an external light source.

    image stabilizer is nice to have but not required. might be good for shutter speeds ard 1\60.

    try to find a cam with good shutter lag timings. the faster the better. but this is may not be an option if you are using a consumer or prosumer cam. i was previously using the c8080. good optics but the shutter lag was a real pain in the butt.

    full manual mode should also be considered coz firstly more room for growth. secondly, allows you to have better control over your camera's behaviour underwater.

    my opinion is get a cheap second hand setup first. get use to UW photography first den upgrade to DSLR.

  5. #5

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    Just things to I like to share.

    Its important to have competency in your buoyancy and familarity of the reg and BCD you use. For an added device like even a sausage can complicate things for some divers.

    I would suggest you opt for a physically small camera. 5Mpix would suffice as one would rarely print poster size. If you into small stuff, its best you get a cam with at least an F2.0 for night dives ... that's when most of the small critters come out.

    Mju series works well. My wife used hers for a number of dives and the pics came out pretty decent.

    Not to forget. Get a camera with the built in function of filter adjustment (red to blue). Gets good almost natural pics in the day.

  6. #6

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    oh forgot to mention one more thing,

    try your best to get a camera with custom white balance capability. may come in useful for wide angles where your flash can't work. good for ambient light shooting too

  7. #7

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    Thanks all for your kind posts! Really useful for me

  8. #8

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    well...the guys have pretty much said what i need to say...so i've nothing more to add

  9. #9

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    More stuff to add if I may.

    Weight and balance
    Get a camera that has a bottom weight system so that its not only neutrally buoyant but also stays upright. This way you do not end up fighting to position the camera especially if there is a current cause you'll probably be more focused in positioning yourself relative to the flow of water to get the shot.

    Button Layout and orientation
    This might sound silly as well but its also good to bring along your dive gloves and test the set with gloves. Gloves numb the feel of the camera and sort of screws up your mental orientation of your finger tip positions. Thus closely positioned buttons might pose a problem for ham fisted folks particularly those compact camera series.

    Check to see if the commonly used buttons are in easy reach and ergonomical to your hands. Marine life will never pose for you and significant movements may scare them away.

    Reduce risk of leaks
    Get cameras with good battery life and memory cards with big memories, for you would not want to fiddle with the camera to change batteries or cards whilst on a trip.
    Its best to take your time on a Thurs nite to carefully clean the case, ensure the rims are lint free, carefully grease the O ring (in a bag), apply it onto the casing, pop in the cam and carefully closing it checking to make sure the O ring sits well. Also do a gradual leak test in phases starting by running water, surface immersion then bottom of the pail immersion.

    Casing's Integrity
    Some earlier models (talking in general here) had weak spots that were prone to crack when impacted at a certain angle. But I trust that you rarely will have this problem today.
    Take a close look at the O ring seat. If they have a demo unit with the O ring in place, gently rub a finger or 2 across the rim to see if the O ring jumps out. a fairly well recessed or seated O ring will not have this problem. This minimises the risk of O ring mis-seating that causes leaks. Also test the lock and catch system. Some casings have 2 and its always good to be comfortable and familar with them lest you resort to violence or use force cause you put yourself at risk of having the setup dropping.

    You may also want to check out the range of accessories available like add on lens, strobes for future expansion. Sometimes compacts can take better pics simply cause they simple easy to handle. They just need better lighting or accessories. When you're comfortable with your cam and have mastered its settings I am sure you'll take great pics.

    Security
    As not to lose your investment ..... invest in a lanyard type device.

  10. #10

    Default Re: UW Photography - Which Olympus model?

    Quote Originally Posted by raycsk
    More stuff to add if I may.

    Weight and balance
    Get a camera that has a bottom weight system so that its not only neutrally buoyant but also stays upright. This way you do not end up fighting to position the camera especially if there is a current cause you'll probably be more focused in positioning yourself relative to the flow of water to get the shot.

    Button Layout and orientation
    This might sound silly as well but its also good to bring along your dive gloves and test the set with gloves. Gloves numb the feel of the camera and sort of screws up your mental orientation of your finger tip positions. Thus closely positioned buttons might pose a problem for ham fisted folks particularly those compact camera series.

    Check to see if the commonly used buttons are in easy reach and ergonomical to your hands. Marine life will never pose for you and significant movements may scare them away.

    Reduce risk of leaks
    Get cameras with good battery life and memory cards with big memories, for you would not want to fiddle with the camera to change batteries or cards whilst on a trip.
    Its best to take your time on a Thurs nite to carefully clean the case, ensure the rims are lint free, carefully grease the O ring (in a bag), apply it onto the casing, pop in the cam and carefully closing it checking to make sure the O ring sits well. Also do a gradual leak test in phases starting by running water, surface immersion then bottom of the pail immersion.

    Casing's Integrity
    Some earlier models (talking in general here) had weak spots that were prone to crack when impacted at a certain angle. But I trust that you rarely will have this problem today.
    Take a close look at the O ring seat. If they have a demo unit with the O ring in place, gently rub a finger or 2 across the rim to see if the O ring jumps out. a fairly well recessed or seated O ring will not have this problem. This minimises the risk of O ring mis-seating that causes leaks. Also test the lock and catch system. Some casings have 2 and its always good to be comfortable and familar with them lest you resort to violence or use force cause you put yourself at risk of having the setup dropping.

    You may also want to check out the range of accessories available like add on lens, strobes for future expansion. Sometimes compacts can take better pics simply cause they simple easy to handle. They just need better lighting or accessories. When you're comfortable with your cam and have mastered its settings I am sure you'll take great pics.

    Security
    As not to lose your investment ..... invest in a lanyard type device.
    Thanks raycsk for your finer points! Appreciate them This is one great place to learn

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