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870 is beginner camera?

Discussion in 'The Canon Corner' started by NorCaldvr, May 22, 2008.

  1. NorCaldvr

    NorCaldvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Northern California
    I am considering the 870 for my first camera. I think the large display and ease of use are real benifits. I did not find any information about external strobes. I will be diving in northern california waters where 10ft vis is the norm. I think I might need a flash.:confused:
  2. Mel Moncrieff

    Mel Moncrieff Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Southern California
    I think the 870 would be a very good choice. I have a 640a and like it a lot except that it doesn't go as wide as the 870. I would gladly trade my 2 more megapixels for a camera that would go to 28mm wide, like the 870. It's great to be able to do video, macro and wide angle all on the same dive. You might consider the Sea and Sea YS 27 strobe. I have one and it works well for that type of camera.

  3. bperrybap

    bperrybap Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Dallas, Tx
    While not the sd870IS, I think that most if not of all this will apply.

    I bought my wife the SD850is last year along with the Canon housing.
    I don't like and would not recommend the Ikelite housing because it doesn't support
    the "print" button which can be assigned to other functions like manual white balance.

    Below is a link to some photos. Most but not all of these were taken with the
    SD850is with the canon housing and no external flash.
    A few were taken with a DC500. (The DC500 ones are the few with bluer/greyer tones)
    One thing to note is that this is her first camera and prior to this trip she didn't
    take many photos. So these were taken by a beginner.

    The SD850is blows away the DC500. The focus clarity, color balancing, and exposure
    control are much better.

    SD850is sample photos

    Take a look at the macro of the Peterson Shrimp or the mooring line with the purple
    The Arrow crab she took at night in the dark using the built in flash.
    The DC500 would not be able to take those pictures.

    The key to good exposure it to assign the "print" button to be a manual white balance.
    Then just before you shoot just point it at some white sand or a white slate and
    then take your photos. This gives you perfect white balance for beautiful colors every time.
    The built in "underwater" mode isn't very good and I wouldn't recommend using it.

    My wife said she would never use the manual white balance but after 1 dive
    of using the "underwater" mode and then seeing how much better the manual
    balance shots looked, she became a believer, especially when I showed her
    how easy it was to do - just a single button to set it.

    The flash diffuser on the canon housing works really well. As long as you aren't
    too far from your subject or are shooting macro, you will not need an external flash.
    Close range photos make the best shots underwater anyway.

    The camera can control the flash intensity and duration. This is really nice because
    it ensure you don't overexpose macro shots. Some cameras can't do this and
    simply blast out the full strength flash. By not doing this not only do you get
    better exposures, but you can save on battery life because you only use the
    energy necessary rather a full flash all the time.

    Contrary to what some folks will say the IS does help. You have to remember
    it won't help deblur moving objects, thats not what IS is for, but it will help if you
    are slightly unsteady from something like minor surge.

    Battery life is 2 dives if you take a bunch of photos. You can stretch it to 3 but
    thats about it. (Our dives tend to be about 60 minutes each)

    For my wife, she wanted a point and shoot with an optical view finder
    (870 doesn't have this) and a small form factor that could work on land and underwater.
    She loves it. For us we decided it was better to have the optical view finder on
    the 850is and the slightly closer macro than to have the larger LCD and slightly wider
    field of view of the 870is.
    She considered an optical view finder mandatory, and having owned a camera without
    an optical view finder, I have to agree. We do alot of outdoor stuff and when
    outdoors, you really need an optical view finder.

    I must say that after playing with it and using it, especially the macro. I'm tempted
    to get one for myself.

    --- bill
  4. H2O Photo Pros

    H2O Photo Pros Instructor, Scuba

    The 870 is a a very nice camera. Are you looking at going with a Canon or Ike housing? If Canon, Id recommend going with an Inon strobe, like the D2000s, or if going with the Ike housing, I would consider the DS51.
  5. NorCaldvr

    NorCaldvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Northern California
    :DThank you all for great information. I think I will buy the canon housing as well.
  6. mle_osu

    mle_osu Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: DFW
    Word of Caution with the Canon Housing... from experience ... be very careful with it. The Canon housings are built with a hinged door. If you even barely get the hinge out of whack, your housing will flood. If you buy the Canon Housing, also put your equiptment on a personal insurance plan with your insurance provider. They will cover if it floods. I use Ikelite now and wont ever go back to Canon (had 2 canon housings). Cant wait for them to make a housing for the 870IS! I use the 870 for all my pictures except UW - which I am still using my A630

    Just keep it in mind. Love the 870 though!
  7. JessicaKan

    JessicaKan Guest

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Malaysia
    My mum just bought a 870. Am thinking of just buying a case for it so that I can take some photos when I dive. Budget is a constraint, so am thinking of getting the Canon housing. However, if there is a strong enough reason to go Ikelite, I probably will save for a while more and get the Ikelite.

    Any advice?


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