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U/W Digital Camera's (again)

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New Member
Aug 16, 2001
I'm slowly getting all the parts together to take pictures under water. Now I have a question for the diving Camera Elite:

What kind of lighting system works best? I was pricing the bolt on flash assemblies and they are rather expensive so I got to wondering if I could just mount an HID canister light to the camera instead (well, not necessarily mount the canister to the camera, but use the light head as the illumination source).

Does this sound feasible? I'd rather spend the $$ building myself a nice canister light than spend it on a flash or a strobe.

Oh, for the Camera I took Cliff's advice and found a decently priced Olympus C 3030. The Olympus line of camera's seem to have the best selection of U/W housings; though again rather expensive (especially when I take into account converting from Canadian to US dollars.. ouch!).

I'd really like the Ikelite housing so I could take Eric Fattah's picture when he breaks the 100m barrier :) (Though how I'd get to 100m is another question)


that's the best thing about the digital setup. i have a low power video lite from ikelite that i use as a fill light for some shots, but i'm at close range. the digital exposure works great with the video lite. i also have the olympus C3000 w/ the olympus housing(rated to 100'). next to buy the w/a lens.

i think the only problem you may run into is the heat of the canister(how powerful, not actually getting hot). remember most flashes are limited to about 5 feet (effective range) max. lites are much less for wide dispersion.

anyways, if you're opting for the ikelite housing, take a look at sea&sea's digital strobe YS90DX . your olympus C3030 has a sync chord output that will work on this strobe. anyways, it's probably the most affordable strobe setup for the type of quality/flash range. the strobe will work w/ a # of housings, i was just thinking if you were opting for a porsche, you might as well put pirellis on it. ;)

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I use a Diverite HID light for wreckdiving. They just came out with a new battery pack that uses NIMHI batteries. The battery pack is the size of a coffee mug and the burn time is rated at over 4 hours. You cloud easily strap it onto the housing.
I haven't been able to get into digital yet, because all of my money is tied up in 35mm equipment. When I wreck dive I strap the HID light head onto my strobe. That way it lights up everything that I want to see as I swim through the wreck. If I point the light at something I know that the strobe is pointed at it too.
For freediving I just take the camera and a wide angle lens. I like to keep it as small as possible. A friend let me use his Nikon F-4 in an Aquatica housing with dual Ikelite strobes last summer. I think the whole set up weighed about 20 pounds. I though that I was going to kill myself as I kept swimming up and down 70' to shoot pictures of this wreck we were diving on. My camera is so much smaller that it just fits into my slip-stream as I decend.
Hmmm, so pending further researh on my part a dive lite isn't necessarily the best as a soul source of illumination for taking pictures under water. A strobe/flash would be better.

That said I guess I should get the less expensive camera housing (Olympus PT-012 ? $300 US) and purchase a good flash/strobe ( YS-90 DX http://www.underwaterdigital.net/ssys90dx.htm only $500 US/$800 CAN).

The Ikelite housing ($600 US), while the best and something to aspire to, is probably to expensive for my budget.

It's going to be interesting chasing fish lugging something as bulky as a camera around :) (I swear that goldfish was at *least* 3 feet long!)

I had hoped to get some cool ice dive photo's before spring but nothing is freezing around here.... not normal at all.
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