• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

?? Cameras??

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.


Dairyland diver
Apr 7, 2001
I have a question for all of the digital photgraphers out there.

Until now, all of my photography has been done with film. Right now I am looking to upgrade to a new system. I have been looking at digital video cameras that have still capabilites and digital still cameras that have video capabilities.
I know, I want it all.:D

I know that many of you are using the Olympus series of digital/still cameras with pretty good luck.
I was looking at their new C-5050 5.0 megapixel camera. It has three different types of memory and may be able to be expanded to 1 Gig by next year.
It looks like it could do the kind of video that I want. We don't have a whole lot of whales, dolphins, and sharks swimming around here to make nice long films of. We do have a lot of wrecks that don't usually move to much while your trying to take their picture.;)
I mainly want the video to do training dives with. That way my buddy and I can take turns filiming eachother to improve our dolphin kicks, descents, entries, spearing, ect. Being able to play it back, while still in the water, is very important. Do your housings let you do that now, or do you have to take the camera out of the housing to play it back? :confused:

There is also a huge price differnce between a nice digital/still set-up compared to a digital/video set-up. I know that it will cost me some cash, but I was hoping that it wouldn't be all of it.
One of the main features that I am looking for, I am not sure which set-up will do. If I want to make a photo-mozaic of a wreck, or a whale, what set-up would work better? Would they both work? Is it more about the camera or the software that you touch it up with? I could see making some really nice photos of large wrecks in dirty water if I could stich the photos together somehow. It has been almost impossible to do it with 35mm film.

There are so many different numbers, features, prices, and housings to compare that I have a huge headache right now.:head

Any suggestions or advice?

The housing must be very simple, and useless if it doesn't let you access to the menu commands on the camera. They are usually on the back of the camera, and with it, you can easily play your new videoclip in situ
With video cameras housings, it's different. As they're done to take long sequences on tape, sometimes, they have not playback commands, and just one button to start and stop recording is enough, even if nowadays they use to have most of the commands.

If all you're doing is Mosaic's and not true prints, than one of the digital camcorders might do if you're also more interested in videos longer than 1 minute. Cause, they also take digital stills, roughly 1020pixels wide, which is about 1.5-2 megapixels.

I have the olympus C3000 w/ an ikelite housing. Both for <$1k. I'm looking into getting a miniDV by sony, but the prices are pretty outrageous on both the cam and housing. :( But, the quality/benefits may be worth it. :confused:

Rod Klein did some pretty good writeups on the site, here. Read over those and email him if you have any q's. I'm sure he'll push towards high end gear, but some of us are on a tighter budget and could sacrifice some of the elite quality of functions we'll never use. He should have some good advice since he's run throughout the gamut.

My Olympus does 30sec video's in Quicktime format. They're pretty cool, but they're 8-10meg files and are quite a bitch to share w/ others. :(

My advice is to just do your homework on the web. Search ikelite, light&motion, backscatter, etc for camera/camcorder housing configurations and reviews... find one in your pricerange, check B&H for better prices(they don't carry Light&Motion :( )... and then comb through ebay to see if you can nab a good piece of digital smoothness(sven's vocab is killing me!)... and voila! C'est bon! :)

Good luck,

PS. Go to my website if you want some of those links. It's the www button right below this message. Later. :)
I was hoping that you would reply Anderson!

I have been looking at a Sony mini Dv camera too. I've been thinking about the PC101 in an Oceanhaus housing. All togehter the system runs over 2K.
This is a lot of cash for me so I got interested in checking out other things on the web.
I have been to many of the sites that you mentioned and came across the new Olypmus C5050-Z. It is a 5 megpixel camera and has many different modes of video recording. There is a high quality 2 minute version or an email quality version that can do something like 90 minutes with a 128 MB card in it.
It also has three different types of storage cards that you can use. One the them will be coming out with a 1 GIG card sometime next year.
Olympus also has a new housing for this camera called the
PT-015. The whole system would easily be half the price of the video.
If I am going to spend that I much I want to make sure that it is worth the difference in price. THe main benifit of the video would be in training in the pool and lake to try and improve technique.

To plan on doing more than that I would need to spend quite a bit of time editing. I don''' want to end up like so many of my friends who have hours of footage and it bores the crap out of me because they have no clue on how to edit any of it!:head
Not editing the raw footage seems to be the biggest mistake people make. One of my friends who has put together a few videos for some of the local shipwreck fesitvals has descirbed his editing board as a "ball and chain". Whenever he has freetime he feels guilty if he is not editing something to make it better.
Both systems are small and easy to freedive with, which is what I consider most important. So, both of them are under consideration. I, again, just want to make sure i get my moeny's worth out of them.
Does you housing allow you to play back pictures/video in the water?? Do you know if the Olympus's does?
Also, What kind of software would you recommend for editing digital stills/ digital video?? So far I have just been shooting flim, scanningit, and sending off huge files to my dive buddies that take forever to load.


As you are aware, I don't know one damn thing about digital video cameras. But what I do know is video encoding...pick any codec in any bandwidth....I can rip or convert it all (and will show you how to do it too). When you get the camera, come to me.
I can also encode any analog video via a coax cable to my comp.

Don't ask how I got good at this....it stems from my poverty days at college.

Last edited:
hey guys,

I think that the C5050 sounds like it could be a winner. :) I assume it still does Quicktime for vids, but 2 minutes would be perfect for what I'm doing. I wonder if Tetra is making a housing for it? :confused: And yes, the Olympus cams are able to play back video in the water. It comes up in your display as a picture, you then have to tell it to play the video. It has to load the vid, then it plays. The cool thing about it is that you can step sequence it once it plays through. And you can go backwards. :D It's pretty nifty. Ted, I have Adobe Premiere, but have no clue how to use it. My photoshop skills(which, Jon, I highly recommend for stills editing) go back quite a few years and I've learned to be pretty efficient w/ it. Also, Ted, how do I rip something out of Quicktime into .rm or .mpg?

Anyways, the Sony mini DV on ebay has already jumped up way out of my pricerange, so that's bagged. :( I might have to spec out one of these 5050's. :hmm Also, a word of advice.. I have an Ikelite housing and although it's rugged as a mo-fo, the controls are a little too robust and lack the sensitivity for the cameras finer controls. So, take heed as necessary. :confused:

Our new website premieres the first of the year and it has up all our Cayman pics which are w/ the C3000's. The Olympi are pretty snazzy at snapping the stills. :cool:

Alright, gotta run.


I put in my fair share of time on Premiere and found it to be lacking in some of the most rudimentary functions (such as problems with codec plugins as well as very long encoding time). You will find that most of your encoding needs can be met by a two userfriendly programs. They are free @ www.divx-digest.com.

1. Virtualdub - The flagship of all video encoding programs (v 1.3 is best because is still has .asf codec before Microsofts lawyers decided to ruin it for us - I can get you a copy if the website doesn't have it anymore). This program can open and edit many forms of video - it can also encode a few as well (including .divx - if the codec is installed).
2. Flask MPEG - Encodes mpeg2 video (DVD) to many .avi formats.

Other useful programs:
Real Producer - encodes to .rm
Quiktime Pro - encodes to .mov
xing mpeg encoder - encodes .avi video to .mpg
DV tool - great .divx video tool.
.......and many more

Quicktime to .mpg is a little tricky. Apple codecs don't like mircosoft codecs (.mpg) very much. Your best bet would be to save quicktime files as uncompress .avi files (Premiere might actually do this if you have the QT plugin). Then use xing mpeg encoder to convert to .mpg. Real is more friendly; Real Producer will open the Quicktime file and encode it directly into .rm.......gravy.

FYI the best compression / highest quality codecs are .rm and .avi (divx). Divx is best for digital sources ; Real is best for analog.
Last edited:
Thanks Ted, we'll be in touch. ;)

Jon, I don't think the C5050 can do more than 30sec vids at 320x240. :( The Canon G3 does that res to 3mins. :) I'm still doing some research. Keep me posted on what you find, too. ;)


I was at a local camera shop on Saturday and checked into some of this stuff. The kid there was showing me numbers out of his book that showed what the different video time lengths would be when you use the various memory cards. I am not sure what the resolution was, he said "email quality" when he mentioned it, but it was 90 minutes with a 128 or a 256 MB card- I forgot which one now.

I got a demo program of photoshop with my computer, but I am not sure how to use everything on it, or if it even has all of the features as the full program. Yesterday I even tried to put in my own custom avatar character and couldn't figure out how to get the pixel size small enough to post it- I have a long ways to go on my computer skills.:duh

Ted, You weren't producing porn flicks in your college days were you? How did you get so much experience in compressing video? :D

I haven't seen a Tetra housing for the C5050 yet. The Olympus housing was to come out in November and I am not sure if it did. The kid at the camera shop was telling me January for a delivery date.

I have used the Ikelite housings before. My father-in-law is on his 4th one right now. The thing has so much extra space in it that I could store a cell phone and lunch inside the housing in case I got stranded at sea with the thing!;) He only scuba dives and has his mounted on the top of his Gavin scoooter for wreck diving. Since he is not actually swimming with it, he cares little about how big it is. I want small. Very small.

Yeah, small is more desireable in this biz. ;)

Check out steve's digicams (website). He's got specs and reviews on almost every digital cam out there.

But, yeah, email quality is crap in my book. The 320x240 seems to be small enough to keep the file size down, but big enough to produce some decent clarity. It looks like most all cams are doing this size for their "high" quality video.

We'll have to get you into a good version of photoshop. I can walk you through a lot of key things that will help w/ everything else.

I have been through the Digicam site a bunch of times. He has loads of information on the Olympus C-4040-Z and the Nikon Coolpix 5000, but nothing on the olympus C-5050Z at this time- it must be too new. He also doesn't have the new PT015 housing listed yet.

For doing the photomozaics would I have an easier time with the digital video camera, or do the stills work out better? What software would you use to edit video?

I'm with anderson on the resolution thingy. 320x240 seems to be the most "bang for the buck" resolution. Still, the unfortunate part about those digital cameras is the fact that they have no processing power. This restricts them to outdated, wimpy video compression using obsolete codecs like .mpg, indeo, and windows media (yikes). Until they can store a pentium III onboard, you will be stuck with big fat files. But fear not jungle friends, those 128 meg vids can be touched up and squeezed down to less than 10 megs - no problem.

I'll tell you how to make your own avaton tonight at hockey. We might need to sit down with a pencil and paper though, since it is a very tedious job that requires about 2.3 seconds to perform ;).
Last edited:
Ted, the Canon G3 stores in .avi and for 3min intervals.

How does that compare to other formats?

who knows???

.avi is a general video file extension for many forms of video (including the great divx codec). Some companies like microsoft feel the need to give all of their codecs (codec stand for compression/decompression by the way) their own file extension like .mpg, .wma, .asf. But if these all had the file extension .avi, they would play the same. It's all just windows games.....let's see how many different kinds of files we can make. I truth, you could name any video file to any extension you want.....such as .noneofyourdamnbusiness, and then point any program to open it (I'm sure you know all this since it is very handy for "hiding" files from system administrators).... Where was I? Oh yeah, your question ;). The answer is, I don't know. The .avi that the canon camera stores could be made with any number of codecs; it could be an uncompressed .avi (200 megs/min @ 320x240 @ 30fps), but most likely has a wimpy booktree, intel or another codec to help it a little (2-5 compression). I'd need to see the manual.
Last edited:
Thanks Anderson,

I was thinking of the "Digideep" site, not the digicam one.

How big is this Cannon G-3? Is it more like an SLR? I like the size of the Olympus and the Oceanhaus. I am not sure if I want to jump up to a larger SLR housing. The Tetra housing for the digital SLR looks quite a bit larger than anything I was interested in carrying.
So far I have been freediving with a MMII/16mm lens combo. It has worked out pretty well. The one time I tried to freedive with a housing and stobe set-up, I thought that I was going to leave the thing on the bottom because of its size.
Most of the people I have talked to lately have had me leaning toward the Digital still camera. I just want to make sure the videos from them are at least somewhat workable.

Video setup w/ digital stills....

Yeah, I'm doing research on that as well. So far, this canon G3 has the longest video recording at 3mins at 15fps. I haven't found any other at a frame speed faster than 15. :confused:
15 fps eh? That's fine if your watching southpark, but not so good if you want to film a speargun firing :D. My guess....once again, the processing power.....or possibly the bottleneck could be in the memory (data transfer/storage rate). In any event, digicameras aren't computers yet.
4 megapixels vs. 5 megapixels

Is that the camera you are looking to upgrade to?
I see that it only has 4 MP instead of the 5MP that the Olympus and the Nikon coolpix has.
Which video camera set-up were you looking at?
Thanks for the links.