Friday, November 02, 2007

New Camera.... Canon G9 with housing for underwater photography....

Well, I done did it. I've been debating about sending my camera back to Olympus to see if they could repair the flash, buying another camera, or just living with manual white balance 'til I could afford a new camera in the spring.... then Pat said the magic words... "Bill me later". I was unaware of this, but many of the big photo/electronics companies contract out with to offer 6 months free interest for their goods. That's about perfect timing for me, so it was done after two days of research.

Here's the camera I chose...

I also picked up the housing for it. The Amazon link actually has pretty good pricing for both the camera and housing (which is available as an accessory), I paid a few extra bucks at the time getting it from a company that had the delayed billing options.

One little story on shipping... very fast and efficient through UPS, however we tracked it and for some reason it actually spent a day in Taiwan after it first reached Honolulu. A couple of years back we brought in something that made it to Honolulu within 12 hours of ordering, somehow went back to the mainland, then back to Honolulu before getting to Kona on time. Gotta wonder about that Honolulu office, neither Taiwan nor the mainland are in a direct line between Honolulu and Kona.

Now I have to figure out how to use the Canon menus and the darned software they send with the camera. I accidently took this photo in RAW and had to figure out how to convert it to JPEG, which I somehow did but can't repeat as it was more or less a random accident that I managed it on this photo. Once I recover from my little bug that's gone to my lungs I'll dive and give a full report on the camera.




Peter said...

any problems with fogging with this underwater housing? I was looking for reviews on this and found one 1-star review; user complained the housing kept fogging up. I also read that the internal flash won't work well in this housing and that there's no support for an external flash. What's your opinion?

Steve said...

I need to get the camera in the water a few times before I can really comment too much on some specifics.

Between my wife and I, we've had 6 digital cameras with OLY, Canon or Ikelite housings and the only time they've ever fogged up is when we've left them sitting in the sun or a very warm camera bucket and taken them on a dive, that'll do it on most housings. I can't see whey this one would be specifically any different.

I'll know more about the internal flash in a few outings, I'm just now starting to learn the menu and figure out how to force the flash. The flashes on most point and shoots are only good to maybe about 18 inches or so and generally won't work when you get so close to the subject the lens compartment blocks the flash. They're basically good for macro work. I've only got a couple of pics worth keeping so far, but I've found the flash to be stronger than that of my previous point and shoots that I was able to use the flash on just fine for my purposes. I'll post a pic of an eel I took from maybe 20-24 inches away, it was lit up just fine by my standards.

If you want TTL flash capabilities I think you'll have to go to the Ikelite housing, but you should be able to add a fiber optic linked or slave flash just like most other point and shoots if you don't just have to have a TTL flash setup.


Pam said...

I've been watching your blog with interest. Have you had any more experience with the G9 housing. I am actually traveling to Kona next month and plan to do a lot of snorkeling. I am in the market for a new camera and housing and the fogging problem concerns me.

Steve said...

The only time I've had a problem with the fogging was the time I had a hair in the o-ring. Once I removed the o-ring, cleaned it, and put it back in place it was fine and hasn't fogged since.

It's been my experience that fogging and leaks have been due to user error - generally involves material on the o-ring, or sitting things in the sun so the housing warms up.

Steve in Calif. said...

I just bought the G9 & Canon WP housing. I'm heading to Maui in 4 days. Do you have any suggestions to improve the white balance for underwater photography. I read somewhere else that the SCN underwater (WB)setting didn't quite cut it.

Steve said...

If you've got Photoshop with the appropriate RAW converter for the G-9, shoot RAW. I assume Canon has a RAW converter that comes with the camera but I haven't tried it.... a good converter will allow you to change white balance after the fact.

Before I bought this camera I used to shoot with manual white balance. At the top of my blog is a search bar, type in manual white balance and search the blog and you should find a long post on it a few posts down. You can set the white balance against sand in a pinch and it'll get you quite close. I've found the underwater pre-set to be pretty OK in relatively shallow water, but deeper or in cloudy conditions it'll need some help.

Have fun.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know what external flash to buy for this camera? And how do you keep the flash waterproof?

Steve said...

I've had the camera for a year now, pretty much all of the posts after this one were taken with it. I did pick up an Ikelite AF-35, which is a self contained underwater flash unit, but I haven't had much opportunity to use it as I don't carry anything big when I'm leading dives. I'm thinking two, maybe three, of the pictures I've posted in the last year on this blog are with an external flash, the rest are just using the onboard flash.

I've seen tremendous results by divers using an external flash with this camera, but you'll have to learn what works and that's likely going to take some practice. There are many underwater flash units avaialable from Ikelite, Inon, Sea and Sea and other manufacturers. I went with the Ikelite AF-35 because it was relatively inexpensive and easy to set up. I haven't used it enough to really figure it out, but I did get a couple of very nice super macro shots with it that were close enough that the onboard flash won't work.

Good luck. The camera does great without an external flash. Check thought the blog archives for posts following this one and you can see some of what it can do.