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Is Canon exiting UW photography? Needlessly.

Discussion in 'The Canon Corner' started by CheeseAndJamSandwich, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. CheeseAndJamSandwich

    CheeseAndJamSandwich Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: East Sussex, UK
    Canon used to rule underwater compact cameras...
    Literally everyone i knew had them, and anyone with the competition's cameras was crap by comparison.

    1) Once-Click Custom white balance... Gone!
    2) The SXX-S1XX line... Gone!
    ...with the compatibility with wide angle domes... Gone!
    ...and the usability of the internal strobe... Gone!
    3) Underwater White Balance... Gone!
    4) Their Underwater Housings... Gone!

    1) The original killer feature... Gone!
    Canon compacts had true One-Button Custom White Balance... You didn't have to look what you were doing!
    Unless you were shooting exclusively raw, it's awesome if you could get pretty decent colour jpegs with almost no effort. Custom white balance enabled that.
    With Custom White Balance set up on the Shortcut button, you could simply point your camera at the palm of your hand, press the shortcut button, and it would sample the white balance at the depth you were at... Something you needed to do whenever you changed depth... So many, many times during a dive. It was effortless. And using the palm of your hand was 'white enough'... when comparing it with the WhiBal grey slates i later bought, it was essentially the same.
    So swimming over to any action or fish you like the look of, you'd set the custom white balance off to your side, using your hand, without taking your eye off the subject. Killer.
    But with the G7X MK II, that feature has been nuked, with the introduction of the dSLR style menu system...
    Now you have to take a photo of a white card, slate, then go to the menus and tell it to sample that. This demands you study the camera menus, take extra photos, press lots of buttons... So it's a massive ball ache. And a task loader... UW photography is 'dodgy' enough as a distraction away from your diving, but adding this concentration on a camera menu system is needless and unwanted.
    The change to Canon's underwater white balance when the S100 & G12 came out, did revolutionise the need for custom white balance... up to the S95, and other compacts of that time, the Underwater scene and white balance was lovely in the shallows, down to 5m say... Below that it was just bluuuuuuuuuuuuuue. So custom WB was absolutely necessary. And worked amazingly, and easily, as detailed above. The S100 & G12 had an awesome overhaul of the UW WB. Basically, you could get decent results down to 25-30m... which is most diving. Below this, you would often choose to revert to the trusty custom WB, as it was better. I spent quite a while shooting both UW WB and Custom WB of the same scenes and this is what i found.
    So this new UW WB reduced the need of Custom White Balance, but certainly didn't remove it. At all.
    It would have been amazing to have both the 'Classic' UW WB, and the new UW WB available, as the classic one was nicer in the shallows, especially shooting upwards, into the sun, etc. But yeah, that's being greedy! lol.

    2) The SXX-S1XX line... Gone!
    The S90, S95, S100, S110 & S120 line were killer models... They were true compact size, which meant they had fairly small UW housings, and their lenses didn't extend much, which meant that the housing's port didn't extend out the front too much, which meant two things... first, that this enabled the use of the camera's own internal strobe for so many common shots. Only extreme macro, where the subject was right infront of the port did a shadow get cast over the frame. And much of the time you could just zoom in a bit in macro mode and the shadow is out of sight.
    Allowing the use of the internal strobe was a killer feature.
    And then, there was the fact that this short lens movement, and therefore the port being close to the front of the lens when zoomed out, this allowed the use of very wide angle dome wet lenses. With little or no vignetting, or need for zooming in much, if at all.
    Those that had any of the G10-16 cameras were always sad about how long their ports were, and how not very wide wide angle any dome ports were when fitted... Needing lots of zooming in t remove the vignetting. Oh and the big shaddows too, so the internal strobe was almost useless.
    The ability to use either the lens normally, with a super macro wet lens OR an ultra wide angle dome wet lens, that can be changed at leisure, any time during any dive... Not a pre-dive decision, that you regret when the whale shark swims past and you've got your macro lens on... This was a killer feature.

    3) Underwater White Balance... Gone!
    Now we have the new G7 X MK III... It simply doesn't have an Underwater White Balance, and not a single mention of it in the manual. Eh????
    I can't see any listings of housing either.
    OK, if you're shooting with strobes exclusively, this has no relevance. And if you shoot exclusively raw, the same. But if you're shooting natural light shots and in jpeg, this is essentially broken. Also, if you're shooting video underwater, with natural light. This is broken too. It used to be excellent with the UW WB. Especially if you were panning and tilting and changing depth, as it would deal with the changes excellently.
    Without an UW WB, everything is just going to be greeeeeeeeeeeeen or bluuuuuuuuuue.

    4) Their Underwater Housings... Gone!
    It used to be the cheapest and a very decent setup to go and buy.
    Get a canon compact camera, it's canon underwater housing for it, and you were set! The were capable of 40m officially, with 50+ in real world use (buttons don't spring back out, is the 1st 'problem' you get with going too deep, long before it leaks). They were fairly small, so you could often stick them in your BCD pocket, or just let it float above your shoulder, off you arm. And they had the low profile ports, so on the S line, and other compacts, this meant that the internal strobe was perfectly usable, as above.
    Their only real issue, was their choice of chromed brass pins for their buttons... They would get scored by sand, mineral deposits over time, with use and misuse, etc... leading to small leaks of a few drops of water appearing in your housing, which would then get 'sucked' up by capillary action into the joints and buttons of the case. This could have easily been resolved by using stainless steel pins, as found on the Nauticam and other good housing. Only a few cents difference in prime cost. Doh. There were lots of people that blamed these housing for being bad and leaking... But every example i saw, and i saw many, lol, were almost certainly lack of attention and care when closing the housing... A bad workman always blames his tools.
    So, with the G9X a couple of years ago, which was the kind of 'successor' to the S line, this simply didn't have a housing. And also didn't have the underwater scene or white balance.
    Oh, and that G9X removed most of the buttons... Essentially changing it from a 'pro' style compact, to a consumer compact. 'Pros' like buttons... as they learn them and use them and want the positive feedback of pressing them. Touchscreens should be in addition, not a replacement. Doh.
    OK, Fantasea, Nauticam, Ikelite, etc, etc, etc... They all started making better housings, but the canon ones were not bad. If you looked after them... And they were cheaper and smaller. So i can see that Canon might not bother making them, as their sales must have shrunk. Which is sad.

    You don't then strip out all the underwater features of your cameras, the features that made you cameras the unrivalled best choice for an UW compact setup...
    Removing these features, just because you're not manufacturing a housing for that model, is strange... stupid... or spiteful.
    Please Canon. Restore your killer features!
    Bora_Horza, Pearlman and CamC like this.
  2. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    The S-series entry-level compact market has been consumed by smartphones, and a few thousand underwater photographers are not enough to sustain it. If you're looking for a pocketable setup for use without strobes, a Weefine/Kraken Smart Housing with your phone and Dive+ app should be an adequate replacement.
  3. CheeseAndJamSandwich

    CheeseAndJamSandwich Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: East Sussex, UK
    They might have taken consumer compact cameras... But i don't think they've taken over the 'pro' models like the SXX were and the G7X etc, are... as these have always had the full manual controls, shutter speed, aperture, etc. modes, which anyone that knows how to use a big camera wants in their compact camera... As they use these modes, features. These are exactly the features smartphones do not have... They're the absolute worst thing to consider taking underwater. They're ok for selfies, and a few scenery shots. But absolutely limiting when it comes to basic photography controls.
    The model segment i'm talking about still exist, and are doing well... G7X, RX100, etc. etc. But canon have had their UW capabilities stripped out of their's. This is the complaint/observation.
  4. DiveFlyDive

    DiveFlyDive Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Earth
    Not sure what the big panic is. Taking photos underwater in RAW is the sensible option, then you can correct white balance at your leisure, why take JPG? You can buys excellent housings for reasonable money, so why would Canon bother making their own? There is not a single capability "stripped" out of the G7X mk 3 for example. You can do exactly what you want with a Fantasea housing and RAW image shooting.
    mi000ke likes this.
  5. dhaas

    dhaas Manta Ray

    UW imaging is a tiny market. Canon (and others) are trying to hang on to this ever shrinking market. Cell phones with AI software all continue to push compacts down to smaller sales for both above and below the surface shooting.

    I see compacts hanging on for a few years. Advantages of a larger sensor than cell phones, ability to use a flash (stills) and video plus still small for easy travel with airline weight / cost restrictions.

    As to shooting RAW more and more traveling divers want what I call "iPhone shooting". Frame, click, share wherever.

    Editing MAYBE on the phone with Snapseed or whatever if your camera can transfer selected shots over to it (Canon works pretty well.) I question if I should even bring my Macbook Air 11" computer many trips.

    This means less and less computer adjusting except for a small group of folks. I understand the RAW advantages but 90% or more people likely shoot JPEG.

    Just one old guy's opinion!

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    2ndjetty likes this.

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