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Messages - Stewart Sy

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Canon General / Re: In need of a "walk around" camera
« on: March 06, 2014, 10:56:03 PM »
I have a full range of Canon's lenses, from the 15mm fish to the 500f4L, but on a recent trip to Disneyland, I brought my Sony NEX-6 and the 18-105 E-mount as my main lens and I also had the 16mm pancake lens with the fisheye adapter.  I also have the Speedbooster adapter so I can use (and have) my Canon lenses. The 85mm f1.8 is a great walkabout portrait lens.  The NEX-6 has dropped significantly in price since the release of the A6000.


Underwater / Re: Cheap underwater flash
« on: March 04, 2013, 10:37:56 AM »
Canon OEM housings while rated to 30-40meters don't do well at that depth.  The housing body flexes and the controls sometimes lock up.  Other flashes to look for are by Intova, Bonica or Ultramax.  Get the ones that have a fiber optic cable that covers the camera's small flash.

Good luck.

Underwater / Re: Advice on inexpensive underwater system
« on: December 19, 2012, 06:10:07 PM »
If you can dive below 15' then you will need strobes.  You can get some colour correction filters that help in the shallower depths but you will of course need to shoot with the sun behind you and you loose about 2 stops of light.


Underwater / Re: Advice on inexpensive underwater system
« on: December 19, 2012, 04:51:22 PM »

I'm a dealer for underwater cameras and also shoot underwater a lot, I'll try to answer you questions point by point and promise not to sell you anything!  8)

"I am looking for a decent underwater system and could use advice in what to choose.  The following is what I am looking for.

    I do not plan to take underwater photos very often - mainly on vacation."

Someone already recommended that likely the cheapest option is the Canon G Series with the OEM Canon Housings.  However, there are severe limitations, but if snaps are what you want, then this will deliver.
    I do not need a high depth rating.  The vast majority of my photos will be in the pool and snorkeling.

OEM Housings as per above.

I am interested in taking photos where part is above water and part is underwater

You will need to use a DSLR with a fisheye lens and a big dome port, this is where your requirements start deviating from what you have listed as your budget.  This shot: was taken using the 7D, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom at 10mm and an 6" Dome.  A larger dome would make it easier as the dome flattens out the ripples in the water and helps delineate the water line.

My budget is not very high. I did look into a sport housing for my 5D3 but that was running about $3k.  I would really like to keep my budget for the underwater part under $1k

Don't forget that you will need lighting for underwater as well, not even shooting RAW will let you fix the blue cast you get as you go deeper.  A half decent strobe system plus the arm required to hold it to your housing will run you at least 5-600 bucks.

My current thought is to buy a compact camera and put it in a housing.  The housings for these cameras are much less expensive

Very true, as per answers above

I have high standards on image quality.  I have an X10 and that is about the minimum in terms of quality that I can tolerate.  I imagine though that underwater I would have to use it at an unacceptable ISO

Then most inexpensive point and shoots won't be enough, you can get good images with a G-Series etc, but to keep under your limit, then you won't likely be satisfied.

If I buy a new camera for this, it would be nice if the camera is usable above ground too

I will greatly appreciate any recommendations

Maybe consider housing the Sony NEX-5n, given that the camera and kit lens sells right now for just around $400.  You then need a housing and port for the kit lens and that would be about $ 1900, then you'll have to budget in for at least 1 strobe etc...  this is the setup my wife is shooting and what I consider my "Backup" unit to my 7D setup.

Most P&S cameras do well in the macro realm of slow moving subjects such as nudibranchs and coral.  Throw a darting, weaving clownfish into the mix then you'll use up all your air swearing at the camera's slow AF.  This answer may have (pardon the pun) muddied the waters a bit more, but where we think Photography is expensive, adding the word "Underwater" to the front of it just took it up quite a few notches. 



p.s.  To see more of my UW imagery: &

Contests / Gura Gear Giveaway!
« on: December 06, 2012, 06:25:55 PM »
I've got so much Canon gear that I'd love to win so I have a lighter pack to carry all this stuff! =)


EOS Bodies / Re: 6d for underwater photography?
« on: September 28, 2012, 12:17:04 PM »
Very nice shots Stewart.

I apologize for stealing the thread a bit, but for the photos where part of the frame is underwater and part above water, did you use a strobe?

Not all required strobe, but the one with the trees and blue sky had no strobe, I had the benefit of a light coloured bottom and very shallow water (3 ft) so light was able to penetrate and the bottom acted as a fill card.


EOS Bodies / Re: 6d for underwater photography?
« on: September 28, 2012, 10:38:04 AM »
If you actually are diving, strobe lit shots will be a lot more useful than natural light shots.  If you are shooting for the classic Reef with Sun Ball/Rays, then a good (powerful) strobe with a fast sync speed is highly recommended. In fact, when shooting vertical, the 7D will actually sync at 1/320th due to the lower effect of gravity on the shutter blades.  Most of the time, you'd be shooting at the lower ISO (100-400)  ranges, rarely ISO 800 and up.

Listen to what Otara and Steve tell you, both are extremely experienced underwater photographers and respected contributors on Wetpixel.  I used to shoot both the 5dmk2 and the 7D underwater.  I eventually sold the 5dmk2 mainly for the phenomenal Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye zoom.  There is no Full Frame lens that comes close to what this lens does.  The Canon 8-15 only goes from a circular fisheye to diagonal fisheye while the Tokina goes from a diagonal fisheye to a 17mm rectilinear.   My other favorite UW lens is the 100 EF Macro.  You can see some images on my site: & (this site is also my site for selling underwater camera gear...I'm an Aquatica dealer).

Low light focusing isn't really a big deal as well, most experienced shooters mount a focus light on their system.  As an experienced diver, you know that there are lots of cool critters in the nooks and crannies of the reef, having a light on any dive is handy to spot them, so just transfer it to your housing.

The housings...  :o As of today, no one has announced that they are supporting the D600 or 6D.  Ikelite likely will but since they're a competing company to the one I represent, I won't say anything about their housings. But, regardless, you will want a good housing with proven ergonomics, as mentioned earlier, you don't want to have to go fumbling for with knob controls f-stop when the whale shark is heading your way.  ;D  Aquatica currently makes the 5dmk3 and is only beginning to ship the D800 housings next week.  Figure on at least 5-6 months from camera release to a housing being released. 

Best of luck, this is a slippery slope that you're going down on should you proceed.


Stewart L. Sy
SLS Photography
Your Source for Quality UW Photo Equipment in Western Canada
Aquatica/TLC , Sea & Sea, ULCS, Magic Filters
When Your Image Matters.....

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