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Recommendations for starter video cam

Discussion in 'Underwater Videography' started by AussieNSW, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. AussieNSW

    AussieNSW Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Florida USA, soon to be Australia
    38
    0
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    Hi! I love underwater photography and think I will start getting into videography as well. I'm no professional and can't afford the professional stuff anyway, but I certainly can edit to make it look close to professional!

    Currently my camera is just the old Olympus 1030sw with Ikelite housing, just the basic setup no external lights or lenses. The video on it is terrible since it's such an old model.

    Can you recommend either a video camera or camera with good video option for me? I've been looking at the reviews for a GoPro 2, it seems like a decent option but the quality still isn't as good as I want I don't think. Is there another camera with HD professional looking quality but amateur price?? I guess that's what we all want haha.

    I'd rather not go with Olympus again due to their poor customer service, but I guess I would if I had to.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    6,354
    968
    113
    If you are truly a beginner diver, 0-24 dives, then I say wait until you get another 50 dives under your belt before you invest in a video camera. Just my opinion, but beginners need to focus on safety and bouyancy, not trying to capture video or still photos. I am guilty of buying a camera as soon as I got certified, and I probably shouldn't have.

    If you do buy, I can recommend the NEW GoPro Hero 2... get the Backscatter underwater housing, red filter, tray and arm like I just did. I have been shooting underwater photos and video for 12 years now so I think I can give a good evaluation on the quality and ease of use. I would also invest in the monitor back for it, and a backup battery and wall charger. You are looking at $700 approx for total cost.

    It will give you some pretty good HD video, and it easy to use, even for a beginner because it is just turn on or off simple. And ScubaBoard is a great place to get tips from users on how to refine your skills with it once you start shooting video. Just post here and we will critique.

    robin:D
     
  3. amoses

    amoses ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Keene, Texas
    129
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    Robin - Did you consider the Blurfix housing kit and their filters? I just purchased the GoPro Hero2 and was going to get the Blurfix, had not heard of the backscatter till now. Have you seen any comparisons?

    Aaron
     
  4. Hetland

    Hetland Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
    2,671
    411
    83
    I'll probably be murdered for saying this here, but gopro sucks. I'm sorry, but it's true, for underwater video, the gopro just can't cut it. If you're looking for something that you can duct-tape to the side of your speargun, then the gopro may be your best option, but you'll have to spend a lot of extra money "fixing" a camera with poor low-light performance, and an apparent inability to focus, much less focus with any sharpness.

    You would be much, much, much better off buying a Canon s95 or s100 and a Canon housing, Nikon is a good choice too, and I've even seen compact JVC cameras that put out pretty good HD video. I recommend Canon for two reasons, one, I prefer Canon controls, and two, Canon manufacturers their own housings, which are pretty decent for the price. You can probably pick up a nice camera, and housing for $600 or so.

    If you want a REAL video camera, I can't help you, but I will say that every component of a real video camera seems to run $1000 minimum, and you may have trouble with wet lens compatibility if you ever upgrade your video camera. Wet-lens compatibility is significantly better for compact digital cameras, which means you can update your camera without having to buy new lenses every few years too, the same for strobes and lighting. Your camera is obsolete before it's even shipped to the store you buy it from, but strobes and lighting will be useful for generations of technology. If you decide not to scrimp on anything, make sure it's strobes and lighting. As an example, I purchased a used Inon strobe four years ago. I paid almost retail for it despite the fact that it was used. I can re-sell my strobe today, and get exactly what I paid for it. Good lighting gear retains it's value.

    ---------- Post added May 3rd, 2012 at 04:22 PM ----------

    Here's a good example: Spiegel Grove Dive - YouTube!

    I don't know this guy, but in his post he indicates using a Canon S95 with a wide angle lens, and a red filter. I don't particularly care for red filters (or any filters for that matter) because the decrease the amount of light hitting the lens. Pay close attention during the last part (5:00 until the end). See the detail in the crusty stuff that's growing all over the ship, how it's sharp? Even in the parts where they are doing the swim-through, and light is very limited.
     
    divergal65 likes this.
  5. ronscuba

    ronscuba Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    2,302
    294
    83
    Depends on what you are comparing it to. Agreed it's not for serious UW video shooting. But for someone just starting out, at $300 and the small size, it's perfect in my opinion. The thread starter is new to UW video and also a new diver.

    If your budget is $600 or $1000, I agree, there are better options if you don't mind a larger camera.
     
  6. Hetland

    Hetland Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
    2,671
    411
    83
    The base unit is $300. With that you get blurry underwater images 100% of the time, and flare from reflections in the base housing. What do you have to spend for a housing or lens port that corrects these deal-breaker defects? At least another $100, so now you're up to $400. For $157 more ($557 you can get a Canon S100 and a Canon housing. I guarantee there is 157 dollars worth of difference between the video quality of these two systems, plus, with the Canon, you have a camera that takes exceptional still photos both above and below the water. And for a measly $7 more ($407) you can get the easier to operate PowerShot A2300 and an Ikelite housing... IJS
     
    Napoleon_wrasse likes this.
  7. ronscuba

    ronscuba Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    2,302
    294
    83
    You don't have to spend anything additional. Mako includes their flat port for free when you buy the GoPro from them. Get their drop in filter for $2 and you have spent a total of $302 for blur free video with a filter to help the colors. I have not run into any flare reflection problems.

    I'm not looking for an argument. I agree, the video I have seen from the Canon looks great. But for some, the extra $257 matters. There is plenty of UW GoPro video for people to watch and judge for themselves if it is good enough for their uses. If it's not good enough, then yes, move up to the next level. But for many, the GoPro is a perfect fit.

    Don't get me wrong, the GoPro definitely has it's limitations. I used to shoot with a Gates housing and Sony FX7 camcorder, so I know very well how the GoPro compares to higher quality cameras. But for it's size and $300 price, it's pretty impressive.
     
  8. Hetland

    Hetland Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
    2,671
    411
    83
    This was a problem with the original gopro's, and may have been solved with either the base hero (pretty sure I've seen it with the standard hero II case) or the newer flat port from GP (which I've NOT seen in action).

    I was not aware that the GP flat port was now shipping with their cameras. A dive buddy got a Hero II at DEMA, and they were not available at the time. That being the case, I would spend the extra $257, but I certainly wouldn't argue as hard against someone else making that same leap, at almost double the cost.
     
  9. divingpyrate

    divingpyrate Barracuda

    306
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    gopros are perfect for beginers, and i get the feeling sometimes, they just tick people off that spent more
    We own higher more expensive land cameras, but for under water risk and just basic capturing our dives
    Dollar for dollar you cant beat a flat lensona gopro

    Sent from my A500 using Tapatalk 2
     
  10. ronscuba

    ronscuba Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    2,302
    294
    83
    GoPro the company is not shipping a flat port with the housing. Mako is a retail company selling the GoPro, a flat port, filters, etc.. Their main business is selling spearguns. Mako sells the flat port by itself, but if you buy the GoPro from them, they include a flat port for free. I bought my GP1 from them and would buy a GP2 from them if I was in the market.

    Your option is definitely worth looking at for those considering the more expensive GoPro flat port solutions. Each of the flat port options from the various retailers has their own pluses and minuses, but in my opinion, the end results of the video footage are basically the same.

    I hear ya. An extra $257 is not that much in the big picture of mid level or semi-serious UW video shooting.
     

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