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uw photo w/o tanks?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Just visiting...
Aug 26, 2001
anyone here experienced in uw photography while freediving?

i was considering the nikonosV, but that 15mm is running $1500. so, i'm considering uppgrading my land based equipment and just getting a housing for it. so far ikelite's my slr housing of choice. my camera's an N90 and i guess i'll be getting a 20mm for it.

i'll be shooting strobeless because of the bulk, but really have no need for lighting up subjects. i'm thinking ambient light will suffice, and that's just because of the other point and shoot photos i've taken.

i know the scuba section would probably be a better place to prod, but i'm interested to see if any other freedivers are into it.

Right up my alley...

Ready for this???

I just dumped ALL my film camera gear including 2 Nikonos II's and have gone completely digital for my work now. I have been a photographer for over 20 years, having worked in newspaper and magazine for the last 12 years.

Olympus has a nice series of digital camera's that fit a nice little housing being imported here into the states.

I bought a couple of C2000-Z 2.11 megapixel cameras for $340 and $200 respectively off of eBay. Bought the housing new from Marine Camera Dist. for $250.00/. I will also be getting the Inon 100 degree U/W detachable lens for all my wide angle work from them as well - cost $370.00

If you want specifics - let me know on this. I am about to start shooting freediving stock images as well as shooting stories for deeperblue and print publications. I will be doing a review specifically for deeperblue in the near future on this set up.
specifics! specifics!


definitely! i've been talking to Mike Hurley who lives out here in colorado now. he's out of the picture(pun intended) because he has injured his lungs and can no longer dive. yeah, he was a bubble blower with more time than Rolex to take shots of stuff, but he was still very insightful as to what things i should consider.

i've been to so many websites, it's not funny. found the personal ones to be the most informative. some of the digital ones seemed pretty good, but how about printing? i'm an electrical engineer working with a company who helped build the hubble, so i do know the technical side on ccd's and resolution. just don't know the commercial market and how easy it would be to have prints done off a card.

i think it would be nice to not have to lug around an slr housing while freediving. i'd have to believe that your setup is pretty compact. are you diving w/ strobes?

please let me know what you've found through your ample years of trial and error! i'd love not have to cough up a couple grand for this.

much appreciated,
A good friend of mine who owns a commercial studio here in town ( I use to be his custom B/W printer) switched to all digital a couple of years ago and invested over $50,000 in the switch over. I was talking with him and he recommended the Olympus cameras. This from a guy who owns Nikons, Hassleblads and Horseman cameras. He said that he hasn't shot film in 2 years, save when a client absolutely insisted that he shoot with his 'blads a couple of months ago.

He and I are getting together so he can show me the ropes of Photoshop 6 and it's color management capabilities. Prints from these cameras are outrageous. I have seen prints that are as good as traditional silver based images come from an Epson 880 printer using photo paper - up to 16x20 (newer 4040 model)

I know that Ilford and some other companies are now producing archival inks for printers as well.

It is important to use at least 64mb memory cards and best to use 128mb cards so that you can shoot in uncompressed TIFF format. They are typically 5-9 megs in size, hence the need for the large memory cards.

I will be getting at least 1 - 2 more on top of the one I have along with the 64 mb card.

Finally - Ikelite now is making an u/w strobe specifically for work with digital cameras.

For a good site on info about underwater digital imaging, visit Wetpixel.com


That enough to start thinking about??? :D
20MM lens


I have a 20MM Nikon lens you can use on your N90, provided that you convince me your watertight case is actually watertight.

I'll take a picture of you in the cockpit of the plane at the bottom of Aurora Res. Of course it will be a little blurry, as you thin-blooded Florida types have trouble with water under 85 degrees F, and you'll be shivering your A$$ off.

I use a sea &sea MM II with a 16 mm lens on it. It wasn't super expensive- but all I could afford in college. It is nice and small and works great- like with the whale shrks we were just diving with in Utila.
I had a friend with a Nikon F-4 in a housing with dual strobes who wanted me to try his set up while freediving- I almost died. The thing was SOOOO big and bulky I had a hard time swimming it up from depth. Next to that thing I felt almost naked with my little mmII.
After this last trip I saw the advantage of digital. You can show your footage at the bar that night, developing gets expensive, it's easier to post on a web site and you can crop or "fix" them much more easily.
Now I just have all of this 35mm stuff to dump.

thanks for the offer nate, but no housing yet.

Cliff,... i'm a photoshop freak and just love it's new 6.0. i guess everything is pointing me in that direction.

i normally pick my stuff up on B&H but see no 2000's there. i'll have to look elsewhere. i'm totally naive when it comes to the digital market so i guess i'll be hopping in the apprentice seat for a while.

i'll take a look at that site today. have you shot with your equip yet? if so, show me the blenny! or whatever you've shot.

please keep feeding me if you've got time.

The C2000-Z is discontinued - I picked mine up on eBayas a factory refurbished. All these cameras allow you to use the same accessories, housing etc: C-2000Z, C-2020Z, C-2040Z, C-3000Z, C-3020Z, C-3040Z

Only difference being the newer ones have larger CCD chips for imaging. The best deal is gettting the C-2020 or C-2040. They have USB cables instead of Serial like my C2000, but I bought a Zio SmartCard Reader.

Also get NiMH batteries - these cameras eat Alkaline AA's for lunch!

Just woke up, not too fresh yet, but I will update you as I go along with my new tools.

You can see the housing on Marine Camera Dist Website
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Hey Baby... wanna look at my pics?

yeah, great way to meet girls in a bar! Good idea Jon.

Cliff, i love the size of that housing! i found the C3000 to be w/in my budget, and B&H has it. i just need to find out how to get the wide angle lenses/ports. also, 60s videos seem pretty killer too! especially w/ my spearfishing habits!

i'm still trying to figure out why some pieces say that 64mb is the largest card accepted in the camera.? that would suck if it were true. i guess i'll have to price the smart media too.

All these camera's take the 128mb SmartMedia Cards - just hasn't caught up with the printing.. ;)

The Inon Lenses for u/w can be had thru MCD. I am looking to get a Tiffen w/a lens for above water shooting as well...

Pricing SmartMedia - Go to Ebay - I am getting cards for 1/2 of the retail price, maybe more.

And remember - no more film processing and printing... YEAH!

Although the ideal setup is to get a laptop, or at least a digital wallet to download images to so that the cards can be reused if on a long trip.
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You can also get a "Minidisk" made by IBM, its not as fast as a RAM card but it holds more pictures. It comes in two sizes, 340Mb and 1 Gig. I can fit 245 shots at maximum size with my CASIO QV-3000 EX on my 340MB mini disk.

The down side is that if you take a lot of pictures it starts getting slower and slower (around 100 I find). It also doesn't work at higher altitutes because of lack of air pressure (its in the manual, I guess the hard drive needs air to spin?)

Here's a link to IBM's info on it

I wonder how well it would work at depth?
OK Cliff... here goes

i'll be purchasing most of my gear tomorrow. i've been speaking w/ quite a few people on this and it's gone back and forth b/w a housing for my n90 and the digital setup. it all comes out to be around the same price, but i've sided w/ the digital.

i'm going w/ the Olympus C3000Z and the u/w housing from MCD. i'm not going with the wide angle just yet; i want to see how it works w/o it first. i'll also be getting ikelite's Super-C video lite, and my reason being is that i don't always want a strobe on the camera, but would like to fill in some things when need be. i can just clip this lite onto my belt w/o it getting in the way while diving and it can be continuous for movies.

i'm anxious, yet relieved. i've been pondering this decision for about 3 months now and it seems as if i did a 180 in the past 24hrs. i think it's for the better, don't you?

many thanks for your help,

Initial Anxiety Attack on my Decision...

I did very much the same thing - I was even standing in the shower last week thinking "What am I doing???"

But I went through this in the past - first with going from all manual cameras (Canon F-1's) to automated Canon T-90's (Which I feel is still the best camera Canon ever made - PERIOD) and then from T-90's to Autofocus EOS.

The skills are the same, the tool is the only thing that has changed.

Want to see what someone can do with a digital camera after having shot Leica's for years? Check out George Lauterstein's web site - He has owned 85 Leica's in his life and all the images on his site have been shot with the Olympus Digital Cameras. He told me he has quit shooting film altogether.

Very impressive to say the least. My having worked in B/W for years, it was quite astonishing to see the quality of work being done with this medium.
Just waiting


i'm waiting on MCD to get back to me w/ a quote on the housing. other than that, it's all going down at high noon.

nice work on George's site.

i feel good about the decision, and am curious as to how much the digital is going to fade out my film work. que cera, i guess.

thanks again, and i'm sure you'll be one of the first to see my new work in binary.

Let Tom or Lee know that I pointed you in their direction about the housing...

I am patiently waiting on the Inon W/A lens as they sell out as fast as they get them...
on it's way...


Tom says hello. No one knew you at B&H ;)
:D hehe - No one should at B&H...

Just got a message from Tom that the Inon lens is in - am ordering it right now...

I am so pumped to get in the water with this stuff...
A blind referral?

What?! you haven't even shot w/ it yet? c'mon now, i thought you had an entire portfolio of all your years of digital work!? :D

yeah, i'm stoked too.

I am one of those guys who will not shoot without a purpose... old habits die hard.

Had a photo editor ream me once for shooting excess film when I should have gotten the assignment done with half as much. I now am very disciplined in that respect.

But I have been playing with the camera a little - And I like what I see so far...

but of course now your fully digital you can shoot as much as you want!
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