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Old 11-03-2012, 17:01   #61
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Re: Underwater Cameras

The old Nikonos underwater cameras were really good, but the repair parts are not available for them anymore and film is almost completely unavailable. If you do not do your own processing, you are out of luck as well.
It just doesn't make sense to use film anymore with the cost and availability of digital.
Underwater photography has reached a point where everyone can do it.
At the low end the GoPro and companies who make flat port housings for them have opened up video to people who never even considered underwater video.
The mirrorless cameras such as the Olympus Pen system have a price point that is less than some DSLR lenses, and take very high quality photos. The Canon Powershot line , is high quality and compact, as well as simple to use.
My personal rig is a Canon xTi in a SeaTool housing and 2 Inon Z-240 strobes. I shoot the Sigma15mm, Canon 60mm and Canon 100mm lenses underwater, and the 17-70mm topside.
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Old 15-03-2012, 11:43   #62
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Re: Underwater Cameras

For a cheap solution you cannot beat the GoPro HD Hero 2. Its good to 60m and takes high quality photos and full 1080p video. You won't have all the settings some of the other cameras but the average person will be plenty happy with the results.
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Old 15-03-2012, 12:28   #63
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Re: Underwater Cameras

You are correct. The GoPro is amazing. However, for underwater use you will need a flat lens housing. The standard housing will not focus underwater. There are several housings out there, but my personal preference, and the two I own are Backscatter Housings. They have a number of advantages, but filters that can be changed underwater and a deeper rating are two of the main benefits for me. There is also no vignetting in any mode.
It also has an available polarizer for topside video.
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Old 15-03-2012, 12:31   #64
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Re: Underwater Cameras

I don't know why the GoPro seems to get so much more name recognition, but the Contour line of cameras is on par with them and in my opinion a much better form factor. Their newest line also has some very cool features.

Definitely worth a look if considering a GoPro.

My other favorite is Canon's vixia line of HD Camcorders. More expensive, but great cameras and with Canon's underwater case, probably one of the few HD Camcorders you can get with under water housing for under $1k.
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Old 15-03-2012, 13:00   #65
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Re: Underwater Cameras

I have a Olympus 1030SW. It has gon from the Med to the BVI to snow fields in Washigton to hot springs in Oregon with almost no trouble (the black paint came off in the hot spring).

I highly recommend this type for the casual snorkeler, water lover and all around adventure photographer. It is almost indestructable. But it is no dive camera, for that you need protective housings and other expensive equipment.
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Old 15-03-2012, 13:55   #66
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Re: Underwater Cameras

I agree the Canon handycams are a good option. I am partial to the HF-G10. Put that in a Gates housing with a couple of Sola's and you have a very compact high quality video rig. That said, for those who do not want to spend $4000, I stand by the GoPro.
Compared to the Contour, to meet an equal price point you would go with the Contour GPS and housing. The GoPro shoots stills and video, and shoots in 720p, 960p and 1080p. The Contour shoots only in 1080p. THe GoPro has 3 resolutions and two fields of view in still mode as well as High Def and standard def, wide medium and narrow resolutions in video. The GoPro with the aftermarket housing have the option of filters. There are split filters for topside and split video, a circular polarizer for topside, and, most importantly, a red filter for shooting ambient light. There are no filter options for the Contour that I could find.
I am not bad mouthing the product, but to answer the question Why the GoPro gets so much more name recognition, there are a few of the reasons. It really is a superior product. For underwater use the GoPro takes very good quality video for the price point. It does like light. An 11Mp sensor that small is not good for low light and there is no way to control the white balance so it does have limitations. You can add lights to it. The GoPro with a pair of Sola 4000's looks awsome even on a night dive in 10' vis.
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Old 15-03-2012, 14:05   #67
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Re: Underwater Cameras

I think the comparison between Contour and GoPro may have been more valid in the past, but the current models do all 3 video modes, plus 3 of the Contour models will do stills.

Filters are the only difference I can see. I think the slim form factor of the contour makes up for that. You can also apply filters post processing as well.

The bulky form factor of the Gopro is why I never considered it. he contour mounts to the side of my snowmobile helmet perfectly. Haven't taken mine in the water since its only good for 30', but the new models will go deeper with the underwater housing.

Their newest model which isn't cheap has a very cool viewfinder feature when coupled with a phone too.
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Old 15-03-2012, 14:46   #68
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Re: Underwater Cameras

The price point is a big issue. As are filters when you are talking about underwater. Here is a video that shows the difference a red filter makes
Go Pro Backscatter Custom Housing and Magic Filter Test on Vimeo
For topside, I would agree the Contour is a little more streamlined, but I have had the GoPro helmet mounted at over 100mph on a motorcycle as well as physically mounted on the bike and had no issues. The mounting accessories available for the GoPro are pretty versatile as well, and many are designed specifically for underwater. Ultralight makes mounts to install them on Scooters, as well as ball mounts that allow them to tie into strobe arms and any number of other accessories.
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Old 15-03-2012, 15:07   #69
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Re: Underwater Cameras

You can achieve the same look in post processing as well. Anyway, I'll admit having the filter options is nice. My preference was just the form of the contour. Perhaps its because the camera I had previously was very similar in form, although was wired.. (it was old!)

I do think GoPro was really the only choice for certain applications a few years ago, but Contour has come a very long way and has probably pushed beyond GoPro in some features of their newest line.

Anyway, I don't think the Contour is right for everyone, just like I don't think the Gopro is right for everyone. Just wanted to point it out so others can take a look at both and choose which is better.
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Old 15-03-2012, 15:40   #70
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Re: Underwater Cameras

Agreed. Mostly
I always appreciate a good discussion to compare products.
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Old 25-03-2012, 08:19   #71
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Re: Underwater Cameras

I got a Canon A-80 in 2006 with an underwater housing because it has an 'underwater' setting that corrects the blue. I have had it down to 25m SCUBA but mainly use it snorkeling on its max zoom. What it really needs is a viewfinder on top of the camera so I can turn off the LCD to save battery - it is difficult to see fish in the LCD through a mask even with the rubber shade. Even better would be a (green?) laser that one could aim with but would cut out when the shot was made. I think I could have bought an external viewfinder when I ordered the housing but didn't know I would need it.

When the Canon had a problem with either the lens or LCD (a white cloud appeared in the LCD when the viewer via he lens was active but was not there when a picture from memory was displayed - I felt that this meant that he LCD was OK and the problem was with the lens, while Canon tech support felt the problem was the LCD). Eventually Canon replaced the LCD and cleaned the lens assembly and it works again. In the meantime I bought an Olympus micro-tough with no underwater housing which does OK snorkeling, around the catamaran and at the beach.
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Old 25-03-2012, 09:33   #72
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Re: Underwater Cameras

I feel REAL ancient, I have a Nikonos III. It was really great in it's day. When Nikon went electronic with metering, the Nikonos III was worth even more. Now, probably valuable only to a collector, to put next to his double hose regulator.

I have a Canon 300 hs with a Canon underwater case, and it is wonderful. I like it so much that when the 300 hs price went to $129 I bought a second one. The camera is less than the case. My wife has an older Canon point and shoot, with a Canon case, and same thing, works great. Use them kayaking, sailing in weather, and grandchildren in the pool, besides all the salt water fun stuff.
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Old 25-03-2012, 10:31   #73
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Re: Underwater Cameras

Here ya go...
Underwater Digital Camera - Electronics - Compare Prices, Reviews and Buy at Nextag - Price - Review
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