Looking for a full featured compact camera.
Looking for a camera to take spearfishing with me, I have been considering a few but find it hard to find a perfect match. Any suggestions would be great.
Less then $500 USD (Although the Leica M8 is nearly a perfect match it is just to much)
Compact to ultra compact.
[b]How many megapixels will suffice for you?[b]
Less then 10mp.
What optical zoom will you need?
A focal length starting at 28mm would be best. A standard amount of zoom would be fine.
* How important is “image quality” to you?
Great image quality is important, but it is not essential.
Do you care for manual controls?
Yes, Custom White balance is essential.
What will you generally use the camera for?
Taking photos underwater while free diving. Would also use out of the water for the standard kind of photos. Bit of low light.
* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
Probably not. If I would it would be very rare.
Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
Low light could be a issue deep underwater, but the lost of same of the spectrum would likely be a larger issue.
Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
Schools of fish swimming around.
[b]Are there particular brands you like or hate?[b]
Are there particular models you already have in mind?
Olympus Sp-350 (Good match but poor shooting performance)
Canon SD800IS (Lacks filter support, Raw, and hot-shoe)
Canon A710 IS (Lacks Raw, Wide angle and hot-shoe)
Canon S70 (Lacks hot-shoe, quite dated ISO ability)
Fuji F30 (lacks filter support, Raw, Hot-shoe, wide lens)
Fuji E900 (Lacks Hot-shoe, wide lens)
Pan LX2 (Lacks hot-shoe, filter support, image quality not best)
Canon G6 (too big)
(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features?
Wide angle, Hot-shoe, Waterproof Case (essential), Ability to add filters, Raw mode.
Last edited by Militaris; 10-22-2006 at 06:26 PM.
You have been advising people to choose camera for a while now so you should know your requirement as such budget hasn't existed yet.
Nikon D90, D80
Nikkor 16-85mm AF-S DX F/3.5-5.6G ED VR, Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) macro, Nikkor 50mm F/1.4D, Nikkor 50mm F/1.8D, Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6G IF-ED, Sigma 105mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro ||| 2x SB800 | SB600 ||| Manfrotto 190XB
OP, I'm in a similar boat you are. I'm also looking for a good camera to get into UW photography with. Mind you I'm a total novice at digital photography, and what little I know I've learned in the last few months of my free time while searching for the perfect camera.
Since you're mostly spearfishing, I'm guessing you'll be mostly freediving. In which case you're not going to have time on to compose a shot, deal with manual adjustments and shoot it saving it in raw. Now if you do want to shoot on scuba and have more time, then lots of features can be more useful and I'd rule out right away anything laking at least aperture priority (ideally you'll want the full selection (AP, Shutter priority and full manual). So that means strike the SD800 off the list.
The hot shoe is good if you're going to be getting real strobes, but if you're mostly free diving you won't need (still plenty of light around) nor want them (too bulky, especially if you've got a spear gun in one hand). For when you're on scuba, there are plenty of UW slave strobes around, so I still wouldn't make a hot shoe a main priority, unless you want to get into serious photography, in which case you'd be looking for dSLR anyways.
I've heard questionable results about the processing on the panasonic cameras, and I didn't realize that there was a housing for the LX2, so I never really considered it. I'd love to know where you found one (if you did) as some of its features look very interesting. If it shoots raw, then the in camera processing becomes irrelevant.
I've pretty much narrowed my search down to the F30, the A710 and the Canon G7 since I want something for mostly scuba, plus the occasional freedive, but also compact enough to carry around with just about everywhere. I'm a noob and want something to get me in the water that I can learn with and will keep me satisfied for quite some time.
I've heard that the F30 has heavy purple fringing problems, which worries me, and I can't stand the thought proprietary memory cards (like the xD cards). On the other hand, its excellent high iso abilities have made it all the rage on the diving forums I've been visiting.
I still haven't seen any good reviews on the G7 (the "successor" to the G6), but it's looking like it'll be a solid performer. If it had RAW, it would be a done deal for me as a perfect camera to grow into. But without it, it's just too expensive and a bit bulky to carry around (at least it's bigger than I want), especially if something like the a710 is another option. I'm still waiting for a review of it to come out so tht I can see how the new DIGIC III processor in it hold up at high ISO's.
That leaves the A710 and this looks like the one I've decided on. It's got everything I need to get me going and have a decent all around topside shooter. Raw would be nice, but I don't see it happening in a sub $400 PnS camera. Plus the canon UW housing is nice and small. The only drawback is the wide end of the lens is not that wide (35mm in 35mm equivalent).
For now there are no add on lenses or filter options for underwater But there's a lot of talk by people complaining about the lack of these for the oval ports on the newer canon housings, and it's quite possible that Inon might come out with a solution soon. On the other hand the Ikelite housing will take lenses and filters (and strobes and all), but it is insanely bulky compared to the canon housing and costs more than twice much).
If I decide to get more heavily into UW photography, then I'll be looking into a better camera with a good housing (like an ikelite) that has all the add on options (lenses, strobes etc). For now the bottom line is that I'd go with the F30 or the A710IS in your situation. But, If there's a housing for the LX2 that could be the winner right there.
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