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beginner question

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Aug 17, 2002
i saw a nikon coolpix 3200 plus a wp-cp1 housing in a shop recently. the whole thing looks appealing to me, but i have absolutely no clue about digital cameras and uw-photography. my intentions basically are to a)shoot little 15 min clips uw (in 160 resolution, whatever that means) on a 128mb stick, and b) some basic uw photography. mainly, though, i plan to use it on land.

does anyone have any comments or experiences with this type of camera and housing?

any info would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Roland.
I have the nikon coolpix 4300 (for above water purposes, can't afford a housing), which is supposed to be more advanced than the 3200, not sure what the PLUS stands for.
If the 3200 has the same options, then your max video time would be about 40 SECONDS, not because of card space, but because that's the camera's built in limit (probably the data trasnfer rate to the card). Regarding resolution, 160 doesn't say much, but assuming it's one of the pixel numbers (width or length) or lines of resolution, it's pretty low on quality, and for udnerwater it might leave you with just a blurry indecypherable movie.

For UW stills photos the 3200 might be enough (you'll have to ask someone who knows more about UW photography), but for videos clips I'm quite sure you can forget about it.

I don't know anything about that housing though.

The most praised digital stills camera in these forums was the Olympus C-5050, and since Olympus themselves make the housing, it's supposed to be the cheapest UW setup (with normal quality). I don't think it has any limit on movie length but the memory size, and there were a few movies posted here that were shot with that camera, and it's seems like a decent quality for a stills camera. The 5050 was taken of most stores because a newer model (the 5060), so I think you might get it at much under it's real price on e-bay, when I checked olympus america were selling it there at 200$ starting price (without the housing ofcourse).

Maybe shadowkiller or Jon or Unirdna (on his honeymoon?) can help you with that.
alison, thanks for the link. is quite helpful.

michael, the filming time is indeed 4 min on the highest resolution, which, as i just found out, is 640x???. there are 2 other resolution settings, one is 320x??? and then 160x???. in the lowest res, with the 128mb card i get around 15 min. i´ll use the vdo capability only for training purposes. filming sequences uw and then having a look at it afterwards to study technique. and for that the res doesn´t need to be wicked, i suppose. question still is wether that is ok. and of course i don´t need a full screen frame to view that.

i´ll also check on that olympus. just spent some time in the search here and found this one mentioned a bit.


Some earlier models of digital camera have time limits on video, so make sure you ask about that.

The Oly 5050 doesnt, and I'm pretty sure the Coolpix 5000 doesnt either, but I maybe wrong. Those two are the most recommended cameras around here (Oz).

IF you do get a coolpix, check out this site:


Dave is a top class photographer, having recently been "banned" from some comps :D
He shoots the 5000, and has a review, usage guide, and the much sought after blackbackground guide as well.

Some other advice, if you buy a package, get a second card included, a 256 or 500M is good, a 1Gb Micro drive is best. Learning to shoot involves taking a lot of photos, which is why digital is so good. I shoot SHQ size pics, which allows me 200 pics per micro drive.

Below is a pic showing how well the Oly5050 captures the blues, and other natural colour. The CP5000 has similar colour capture.


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thanx for all those references. will spend some time reading now.

shadowkiller: shop said the filming can be done in one go. not in 30 sec intervalls, so that is ok. will also contemplate a bigger card (512, maybe even 1 gb).

thanx again


btw: how do you get banned from a comp??? must be a funny story...
What lovely fish! Wish we had them over here. Did you use a strobe or was it natural lighting?

Another advantage of the Olympus C 5050 Z i s that the lens is really fast (allows for less light) and that you can use 2 memory cards at the same time, meaning lots of filming time.

adrian, i don´t understand that. if you use a short (fast) shutter speed, then you would need more light, no? or maybe i got you wrong there??


The term "fast lens" means that the lens can open up a lot, in this case f1.8, lettting a lot of light in, making it useful in low light situations. It's not referring to the shutter speed. In another camera I have, the largest f stop is f4, meaning that I am limited by a couple of stops when compared to f1.8. I'd need to have 4 times as much light to take the same picture.

Hey, I think my camera (CP 4300) only goes till f2.8. Does anybody know how big a difference is?
2.8??? Man, throw it away!! That's junk! Or better yet, send it to me, I'll dispose of it for you! :D

Actually that's alright, and only represents around an f stop. The difference per f stops is either twice or 1/2 the amount light entering the lens depending which way you go.

Hi guys!

hi have some very nice underwater pictures that i photographed last week but they are all above 2mb!

how can i make the files smaller that I can post them here?

thank you!
After using film cameras underwater for years I switched to digital a couple of winters ago. After reading through lots of posts and listening to the advice on here, thanks Cliff, I decided to go with the Olympus 5050. I have been VERY happy with it.

Olympus has since come out with two new models, the 5060 and the 8080, but neither oneof them seems to match up to the 5050. They need special batteries and they can't use external add-on lenses like the 5050 can- due to the way the lens focuses from what I have read.

The 5050 comes with a set of double nimih batteries and I just happened to have a bunch of extra sets from my strobes off of my film cameras- which means I never run out of juice!

I don't use strobes with the digital camera as I have found that I don't need them when freediving . There are custom white balance settings you can set for deeper depths- which really is easy if you have a pair of Specialfins Pro's to set it with! You can also set the camera to 400 asa and your ready to go for lower light level stuff.

The one area I did spend extra money on, and I did this with my fil cameras as well, was in getting a wide angle lens for it. I bought an inon, and an inon dome port as well, that screws onto the outside of the housing. It lets you get REALLY close to your subject- and that's the number one rule for any kind of underwater photography.

I have a 512 mb CF flash card that I use. You can put in two seperate cards, but I stopped doing that to keep things simpler- hypoxia makes underwater photography difficult enough.;) Now you can get 1 and 2 mb cards, but I have had good luck with my 512mb. You need to double check some of the camera specs, and this is an area that Ted might know a bit more than me, as the camera can only write to the card so fast and some of the high end CF cards are just a waste because the camera can write as fast as the card can- so you end up paying extra for something you can't use.

With the 5050 you can keep shooting video until te card is used up- no 30 second limits like I've seen on some other cameras.

If you have really big files you can either switch the format you shoot in- RAX, TIFF, SHQ, HQ, ect. Or, you can just readjust them with a photo program. OYu don't need to spend $600 on Photoshop, just download IRFANVIEW of the net for free. It does a lot, but not all, of the things you need a photo program to do. It makes it very easy to resize so that you can post on here.

for more info you can check out Wet pixel or digital diver for info. Some of the guys on here also post on there. Frank O'connor seems to know quite a bit about this kind of stuff.

Originally posted by Freediver81

how can i make the files smaller that I can post them here?

Open the file in a paintshop type program. Windows has one in Accessories.

Select the Stretch-Skew or Size function and set pic size to 30-50% depending on original pic size. Then view in Internet explorer.

If the pic cannot be viewed without having to use the scrollbar, resize it again. Until you can! ;)

If for example you shoot in SHQ mode, a screen sized pic will be about 250k. So I set the pic quality to medium, to knock that down to about 125k. Anywhere between 50-150k file size is ok for dialup.
freediving in the red sea

This picture was pictured using sony Dsc-T1 with its underwater case!!
great camera!!!!


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Any idea how good or suitable would be a Canon A 70 (3.2 Mpixel)
for U/W photography?

Street price was about 360-380 USD a year ago

Pictures are good (altough I expected more from Canon)

U/W case is now 280 Euro, if I'm lucky enough to find it...

Is it worthing the expense?
Hi ripperu!

check out the sony-DSC T1

I buaght it in Japan for 530$ including a 32mb memory card and 128mb memory card!

I buaght the underwater case for 180$

great camera!!!

5.1 megapixel!!!!

Thats about the same price as the cannon you were speaking about, but this was is very small and beautiful!!!!

Its a hit in Japan and honk kong right now!
I agree with you on some points
For small budget cameras, I think Sony is better than Canon (I wonder why?)

Your photo above seems to be a little out of focus

I expected more detail for 5.1 MPixel

Can you attach any other sharp image done by you?
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