Which camera

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Which camera

Postby fireman1904 » Apr 9, 2007 5:12 pm

I want to get a digital camera to take pictures in caves. I am not into photography so much that i need on that takes really great pics. I just need something that will take a decent picture.. is durable... and not too expensive. Any help on what might be a good choice would be great.
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Postby barcelonacvr » Apr 10, 2007 6:04 am

I am sure the real knowledgeable camera people will post shortly but I will mention the camera i am using.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/p880.html

I am really enjoying this camera for underground shots as the very wide angle it shoots at works very nicely for capturing the entire formation or passage.Something I found hard to get with smaller range cameras.This camera has a lot of decent features but does not require a PHD to use or understand.Of course an otter etc case will be required.I got mine new in Canada for 400 buck so it should be about $50 your way ;)


I will appreciate the camera savvy people's remarks on this as it may not be a great camera in reality but for ME it is doing nicely.Perhaps it might suit you as well.
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Postby YuccaPatrol » Apr 10, 2007 1:21 pm

The biggest problem I had with my old digital camera in caves was my general fear of messing it up with mud, sand, water, etc. I was afraid to take it out of the case and so missed out on quite a few nice photo opportunities.

So I bought a waterproof/dustproof camera and now am never afraid to get that shot.

I have the Pentax Optio W-20. It is waterproof to 5 feet which means that I can rinse it off in the cave stream and not be afraid to hurt it.

Olympus also makes some nice compact waterproof cameras.

Since the photos are only good if you are not afraid to take them, I highly suggest getting a caving camera that can handle the environment you'll be using it in.
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Postby wendy » Apr 10, 2007 1:38 pm

YuccaPatrol wrote:The biggest problem I had with my old digital camera in caves was my general fear of messing it up with mud, sand, water, etc. I was afraid to take it out of the case and so missed out on quite a few nice photo opportunities.

So I bought a waterproof/dustproof camera and now am never afraid to get that shot.

I have the Pentax Optio W-20. It is waterproof to 5 feet which means that I can rinse it off in the cave stream and not be afraid to hurt it.

Olympus also makes some nice compact waterproof cameras.

Since the photos are only good if you are not afraid to take them, I highly suggest getting a caving camera that can handle the environment you'll be using it in.


Along these same lines, you can get whatever digital camera you want and buy an underwater housing for it, that's what I do. Just make sure that you clean the housing well after ebign in the caves if you paln on taking it underwater, dirt in an o-ring can cause a housing to leak.
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Postby mgala » Apr 10, 2007 3:07 pm

I recommend Canon A620 - it's small, cheap and quite tough. It works with slave units, you have manual focus. Do not buy model with the bigger matrix (like A640), because main limitation is the lens quality.

some shots taken with this camera:

http://speleo.pl/zdjecie257-en.htm
http://speleo.pl/zdjecie528-en.htm
http://speleo.pl/zdjecie418-en.htm
http://speleo.pl/zdjecie442-en.htm
look at our cave pictures
at http://speleo.pl
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Postby NZcaver » Apr 10, 2007 8:33 pm

Ponorplumber wrote:I am sure the real knowledgeable camera people will post shortly but I will mention the camera i am using.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/p880.html

I am really enjoying this camera for underground shots as the very wide angle it shoots at works very nicely for capturing the entire formation or passage.Something I found hard to get with smaller range cameras.This camera has a lot of decent features but does not require a PHD to use or understand.Of course an otter etc case will be required.I got mine new in Canada for 400 buck so it should be about $50 your way ;)

That's a nice looking camera! :kewl:

Looks like Kodak have stepped up. Nice wide angle lens, hot shoe, TIFF and RAW, and all those whistles and bells. For this caliber of camera, it's a pity the lens only opens to f2.8 and that it uses a proprietary Li-Ion battery instead of AA's (a pet peeve of mine).

Out of interest, has anyone tried the Canon Powershot S3 IS? It doesn't seem ideally suited to caving, but with a 12x optical zoom it might be nice for wildlife shots.
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Postby NZcaver » Apr 10, 2007 8:54 pm

wendy wrote:
YuccaPatrol wrote:Since the photos are only good if you are not afraid to take them, I highly suggest getting a caving camera that can handle the environment you'll be using it in.


Along these same lines, you can get whatever digital camera you want and buy an underwater housing for it, that's what I do.

All good advice. I also have an underwater housing for one of my digital cameras. However in the last 3 years, it's only been used snorkeling and diving. My camera lives in a hard case for caving anyway, but I guess I just haven't found a cave wet enough to warrant the extra protection when taking the photo. Plus camera housings generally double the bulk of the camera, making it more awkward to carry and use. The hard case for carrying my camera is also a bit cumbersome, but at least I can bump and toss it around in a way that I wouldn't dare do to my underwater housing.

One of my earliest caving camera setups might suit fireman1904 better. I had a basic Olympus point-and-shoot which I kept in a small top-opening Otter Box strapped to my belt. (My "belt" was actually a piece of tubular webbing with a buckle.) This camera was not water-resistant. I got it wet, muddy, gritty, dropped it several times - but somehow it survived. Nowadays for general caving shots I would suggest looking into one of those waterproof models, like Pentax and Olympus make. But unless you don't mind stopping and digging into your pack all the time, keeping your compact camera in a hard-case on your belt is pretty hard to beat for convenience.
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Postby bigalpha » Apr 11, 2007 6:39 pm

NZ -- I don't have the S3 IS but I have looked at getting it. It's basically a wanna-be dSLR. Looks like a very good, reliable camera.

Now that I'm working, I'm going to get a real dSLR.
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Re: Which camera

Postby Teresa » Jan 25, 2008 10:23 pm

After over a year of indecision and saving, I finally jumped for a 12 MP Canon G9 with all the trimmings -- converter tube, polarizer, wide and tele converter lenses, a Pz40x II Quantaray eTTL flash, off-camera cord, spare memory cards and battery...I also got an Otterbox for the camera, and a big non-waterproof camera sack to put it all in.

It has now been on 3 trips: two in caves and one on a day when it was about 15 degrees to take pictures of eagles on the Mississippi.

All I can say is WOW! This camera has the styling and size of late 70s/early 80s 35mm compact rangefinders like the Rollei, with a 3 inch LCD. It can do everything from full Auto to full manual exposure and focus. With a 200+ page manual, I've just barely scratched the surface of setting this thing, but the photos...EEEK!...my husband, who has been a diehard semi-pro photog for years, was jealous of my results today in a 5 second point and shoot auto snap which rivals the same shot he did with 3 hours of setup and several sherpas about 15 years ago on film.

I was impressed that mounted on a tripod with the teleconverter, I could see the ruffled feathers on eagle pics taken about 75 to 100 feet away, and 30 feet up in a tree. This is almost all the camera -- I'm decent as a photog, but not that good. So far, I haven't taken off the antishake setting, and I've only gotten about 7 blurry photos out of about 300...the blur was due to poor focus/lighting, not actual shake, and in the first cave, to lens fogging. I didn't delete the mistakes, just worked with the camera and kept on shooting.

In the cold outside , the battery does go very fast. Today, in the cave, I shot 125 pics over 8 hours, and never changed either flash or camera battery, though I did have spares. Under low light conditions, shooting at 1/60 sec and 200 ISO, images were bright, and there was no noise, up to 30 feet away. It's probably not good for a huge room shot, because it has no B setting, and max shutter of only 15 seconds. But other than that instance, the light gathering and metering capacity of this camera is enormous.

I have not yet taken it on a crawler; likely when I do, it and the off camera flash and cord are going to go in ziplocks, and then in my trusty foam lined ammo box.
Camera cost $450, rest of the kit (not including flash which was a gift) was $300. Yeah. Ouch at $750, but that's half price of a similar kit for a DSLR. (Looked at DSLRs, but they were mostly too big for my hands. This camera is about the size of 200-300 3 x5 index cards. The Quantaray fits it without being top-heavy, though the converter lenses are about as big as it is.

And the pictures are gorgeous. :banana_yay: :banana: :banana_yay:
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Re: Which camera

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 26, 2008 8:41 am

you had me until no bulb setting...but 15 sec does give you some flexibility.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: Which camera

Postby Teresa » Jan 26, 2008 9:34 am

wyandottecaver wrote:you had me until no bulb setting...but 15 sec does give you some flexibility.


I've only taken one of those classic bulb photos in my life, and one of the sherps fell off a bank into a stream in the dark on that one. Also, although I use photos for articles, I'm not a commercial photographer. The light sensitivity of this camera, and accuracy of the e-TTL so far have outweighed the lack of a B setting.

Most of the bulb photos with film I have seen have been with K64, and at F8 or shorter exposures.
This camera only goes F 2.8 to F8, but still gives mondo sharp images at normal print sizes.

Oh, and you have to remember: my other digitals have been 3.2 and 6 MP-- this is like suddenly giving one's pictures a sharpening filter, just by doubling the pixels.
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Re: Which camera

Postby NZcaver » Jan 26, 2008 9:57 am

Hi Teresa,

Thanks for taking the time to post a review of your new camera. You weren't kidding about the 70's styling - I think they call it "retro"!

Image

After reading your post, I also took a look at the favourable online review of the G9 here.

I see some functional similarities between this camera and my old faithful Olympus C-5050 zoom, although I could really do with the 6x zoom you have for a few of my non-caving shots. I do like my nice bright f1.8 lens, though. When the time comes, I doubt I'll bother paying the $200 fixed repair charge on my Olympus for a third time so this Canon may be something to consider... if I decide to make the jump to a 12MP non-DSLR camera and can tolerate switching to a custom Li-Ion pack.

Are you going to post any of your nice caving photos for us to see? :grin:
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Re: Which camera

Postby Teresa » Jan 29, 2008 11:16 am

Image

Image

Not photoshopped, taken on auto with a TTL on camera flash.
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Re: Which camera

Postby YuccaPatrol » Dec 10, 2008 5:17 pm

I have the previous version, the G7 and absolutely love it. For 99% of what I shoot, it can perform about the same as a bigger dSLR. Canon also sells a waterproof diving housing at a reasonable price, so I am less afraid to take it into a cave. . .
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Cannon G9

Postby Brian Masney » Dec 10, 2008 8:25 pm

I have a Cannon G9 and it takes nice photos everywhere but in a cave. I typically use flashbulbs or external flashes and most of the photos that I get with the G9 have an orange tint to them. I've changed the white balance settings and I cannot get the camera to reliably take a normal picture underground. I no longer use that camera for cave photography.

I have a Kodak DC7630 (6MP), with a wide angle lens adapter that I still use for most cave photography. They no longer manufacture that camera but you can still buy them on Ebay. The camera offers full manual control. I also have a Cannon Digital Rebel XTi (DSLR) that I sometimes take underground.

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