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Camera upgrade advice

Discussion in 'Sony Snappers' started by divefordays, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Hoag

    Hoag Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
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    @divefordays have you considered the A6500? It has IBIS since you indicated that you may be interested in that. It might provide you with a good option especially if paired with the Zeiss 16-70mm lens.
     
  2. divefordays

    divefordays Angel Fish

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    I considered it. Correct me if im wrong but IBIS doesn't matter that much if im using a stabilized lens? If thats the case I didn't think I could justify paying a few hundred more for the option to use non-stabilized lens.

    I bought the A6400 today with the 16-50mm kit lens. I dont want to overcommit to a shooting style (Macro, wide angle) and am pretty limited on funds. I think the kits lens with a 67mm port will provide a bit of versatility for the future. Would putting a diopter on the kit lens for super macro be a decent Idea? I also see the people on UWPG shooting with the UWL-09F wet lens, which could be a cool addition.

    The next question is strobes, which I havent even begun to research. Any suggestions? If they are more than 350 or so I would probably buy them one at a time or consider buying used.

    Any other tips for shooting the a6400 are greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks
     
  3. Hoag

    Hoag Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    1,382
    991
    113
    First of all, congrats on you purchase. Any Idea which housing you plan on using?

    Next, IBIS will work in conjunction with the lens' OSS to provide even more stability. It is not a simple arithmetic relationship, but the two systems (in camera and in lens) help each other out.

    You are right in assuming that if you get a port with a 67mm thread, then you will be able to add wet lenses to it and you may get some very good results.

    I have an A6000 and I put it in a Nauticam housing with a pair of Inon S2000 strobes. Is it a perfect set up? Heck no, but at this point, it does meet all of my needs. As for strobes, in general, the more light, the better. Another general rule of thumb (not a law of physics) is that light dissipates so quickly underwater that if you can not reach out and touch your subject, then your strobes can not effectively light it. There are exceptions of course, but that is a good Rule of Thumb. I personally would opt for good strobes. (I tend to prefer Inon, but there are other good brands out there.) Photography is all about the light and as an underwater photographer, you get that from your strobes. I would rather get one good strobe (and a 2nd at a later date) and acknowledge that until I get the 2nd strobe, my light will be directional than to try to deal with 2 poor quality strobes. If I were buying a strobe today for an A6400, I would seriously consider a pair (even if you buy them one at a time) of Inon D200 strobes. If that is a bit out of reach, then I would look at a pair of Inon S2000 strobes as a second choice.

    FWIW, there are a number of extremely reputable store where you could buy your housing & strobes. I highly recommend Mozaik. It is a family run business with outlets in both Canada and the USA so you won't pay duty on you purchase if you live in one of those two countries. Ran & Tal, the owners are more than willing to chat online or over the phone to ensure that you get what suits your needs.

    Once again, congrats on your new A6400.
     
  4. mi000ke

    mi000ke Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Massachusetts & Grand Cayman Island
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    I am about to pull the trigger on an A6400 as well. I looked into housings (Fantasea and Ikelite), but the Ikelite does not support the 16-50, 16-70 or 18-135 zoom lenses, and the Fantasea supports them with their flat port, but does not support changing the focal length on the 16-70 or 18-135 once the camera is in the housing (defeating most of the reason to have a zoom lens). I assume the 16-50 PZ does allow for zoom using the power zoom function. Does anyone here know of a housing for the 6400 that would support the ability to zoom one of the two longer zoom lenses while underwater? Also, would a dome port give better results than the flat port, and if so any recommendations?
     
  5. mi000ke

    mi000ke Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Massachusetts & Grand Cayman Island
    755
    778
    93
    Answering my own questions - looks like the Seafrogs A6xxx housing with a 4" dome port supports manual zoom for the 16-50, and the 6" port supports the 16-70.
     
  6. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
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    SeaFrogs Salted Line housing comes with zoom gears for 16-50mm and 10-18mm lenses in the box (although 16-50mm is a power zoom lens, you still need to use the lens control ring to operate it - you can't access zoom from the camera body except on A5000/A5100 which has a rocker switch for it around the shutter button) and a zoom gear for 16-70mm/18-135mm (same one for both) is a $40 add-on. That said, the utility of 18-135mm lens underwater is quite limited - it's more of a surf photography lens while housed.

    Dome port is important for wide-angle, because when incoming light hits the water/glass/air boundary at an angle, it refracts - and the sharper the angle, the more it refracts. This causes significant distortion and loss of image quality away from the center of the image, as your lens is effectively 'looking' through the flat port glass sideways. With a properly placed dome port, every ray of light that passes through the port glass to reach the lens entrance pupil does so perpendicularly to its surface, eliminating the refraction factor. Google 'dome port theory' for in-depth explanations and illustrations. I've done a bit of comparison testing with different lenses and ports where you can easily see the difference between flat and dome ports at the same settings, you can see it here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AupWSggdlFYKjtRFu-IIxyopM8fvAA

    Edit: Aaaah, ninjaed! Anyway, forgot to mention the part that flat ports reduce your angle of view by about a third - you can readily see that effect in my gallery, in addition to the distortion. The advantage of flat ports is that most of them allow you to mount wet lenses and gain flexibility, as you can switch those underwater, going between wide-angle and macro. Note that not all flat ports are capable of this - most have 52mm or 67mm threads for wet lenses, but some are too wide for that, as necessitated by the lens that's mounted behind it needing a wider field of view - some of these are even rectangular rather than circular. In these cases, you can sometimes get a wet lens adapter that clamps onto the port or a bracket that screws into the housing base, but again, not always - some, like the SeaFrogs default bundled flat port, don't take any attachments.
     
    mi000ke likes this.
  7. jgttrey

    jgttrey ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    572
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    I have an A6500 with a Nauticam housing. I haven't really bothered to keep up with the A6400 and housings, so I'll limit my chipping in to the observation that if you're using the onboard flash to trigger strobes, battery life will be a real issue. Typical underwater use is worst case: you're firing the flash and, unless you spend the dough on a viewfinder for your housing, you're spending a lot of time running the LCD.

    The Nauticam housing has provision for an offboard battery. It's a very useful feature.

    Also, one of the rumors about the forthcoming successor A____ camera is that it will have a larger grip and use a larger battery, which would be a welcome change.
     
    Hoag likes this.
  8. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    575
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    This is somewhat counterintuitive, but on mirrorless cameras, the EVF tends to consume more battery power than the LCD.
     
    jgttrey likes this.
  9. jgttrey

    jgttrey ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    572
    682
    93
    That is surprising. Thanks for pointing it out. Looking at the A6500 specs, it's 40 fewer shots on the EVF, so I stand corrected.

    Even more reason to prefer a housing that lets you add some offboard power.
     
  10. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    575
    215
    43
    Yeah, it's smaller, but it uses an OLED rather than an LCD, and it has a higher refresh rate - these things add up.

    Regarding battery power, I carry a spare battery and replace it every two dives. On a liveaboard or a longer day boat, this usually coincides with lunch. On a 2-tank day boat, this lasts the trip. I could probably rig a single 18650 cell plus a USB adapter inside my housing - there is ample room above the camera, where the flash pops out - but I don't really see the point.
     

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