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No of the gear & no idea!

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by Mermaid, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Mermaid

    Mermaid Member

    I've wanted to get into photography for a while, but I've been put off by the cost of equipment and the complexities once I start to read about it. I'm particularly interested in underwater shots as I love snorkelling.

    I have no idea where to start. Camera, lenses, online course, photo editing!

    All I have right now is my iPhone, I did have a waterproof compact (Olympus TG-870), but it just broke. Thinking of getting a starter level DSLR and then a GoPro for the water with a dome, as waterproof housings for SLRs plus dome lenses are $$$$$

    Any tips on how to get into it with out hurting my brain or my wallet? Where to start?? Good places to learn and good photo editing software?

    Many thanks
  2. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    If you have a photography shop near you, go in and ask to try out things. Explain what you are after and what your knowledge base is.
    Consider buying used or end of line models - they will be every bit as good as new stuff for a considerable saving.
    How big are your hands? DSLR's can be a bit on the large side. Think about a mirrorless, something like a Fuji X-T10 or an Olympus micro 4/3's. Or you can get one of the "tough" cameras from Olympus or others. Drop them, take to 10m depth or more without a housing, still use them perfectly well as a normal camera on land.
    Think about a basic book. Doesn't matter if it is old and about film, the basics haven't changed. It still helps to know about aperture, shutter speed and focussing. Forget ISO speeds for the time being.
    Take out a subscription to Amateur Photographer...

    RogerMac and Gezza like this.
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome. Underwater photography for a beginner sounds like going in at the deep end. You need some expert advice. Generally an underwater housing is used with an ordinary camera. There have to be connections so I would imagine there is a limited number of options available. You have to be very close to whatever you photograph and probably artificial lighting is important.

    Second hand equipment from a specialist store would be the cheapest way forward.

    Editing comes down the line really. Most cameras today give very good results out of the camera. Learning to operate a camera within the limits of a housing will be the main challenge.
  4. Mermaid

    Mermaid Member

    Oh god, I didn't realise that Mirrorless cameras were up there with DSLRs now.... now even more confused.
    I had an Olympus TG... it broke on Friday, not so tough apparently.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Mermaid likes this.
  6. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Don't worry, the only real difference between mirrorless and DSLR from a user point of view is size. Mirrorless tend to be smaller and a bit more discrete.

    Have a look at this site for basic information about - well, most things on how to use a camera - https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/

    How much do you want to spend? Second hand is probably the best place to start.
    Something like https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equi...ueapaeQ4fa16TZslyxxoCPhMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
    You would need a lens, probably 18-55mm to start. Don't worry about different lengths of lens for the moment.

    Aperture and shutter speed are basically about how much light gets into the camera.
    Both will have other effects as well, but don't worry about them at the moment. Once you have the camera, you can play with adjusting them. And I mean "play"!

  7. Mermaid

    Mermaid Member

    I was looking at the Nikon d3500 with a 18-55 & 70-300 for £500. But worried now that DSLR will become obsolete, and that I will want a mirrorless in future and the lens system is different. Was thinking it's best to be able to carry the lenses to a better camera if and when I wish to upgrade. But mirrorless more expensive, Hmmmmm.
  8. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Don't worry about obsolescence.
    I still use a now-ageing X-T10 and it still takes better pictures than I will ever need.
    In fact, I still occasionally use my dad's old Kodak No 2 Autographic [1926 if not older]. And that isn't the oldest I use.
    The camera may be surpassed in features, but it will still work for many years.

    I still have my Pentax Kr 12 megapixel. Now considered well past its sell-by, still takes perfectly good pics.

  9. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Just posting to agree with Steve about obsolescence - my main cameras are both 2008 vintage, 10 & 12 megapixies, and still do the job quite adequately. My oldest user is 1911... though obviously that doesn't have any megapixies at all.

    If you don't have one already, now might be a good time to dig a pond?
    (sorry - being facetious! Next on my list of garden projects...)
  10. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    My usual question when anybody asks about which camera to buy: what will you do with the images?

    If they will only be viewed on a PC monitor or device with a small screen, then one of the specialist 'bombproof' compacts is probably what you should look at (although one you can't easily break may cost more than you expect).

    If they will be printed to a decent size and displayed on your wall, then a camera with a larger sensor and better lens(es) will give better result, but at a much grater cost because you will probably have to buy an 'ordinary' camera body and lens and a specialist underwater 'housing' for it. And perhaps a specialist underwater flash unit too ... All this will add up to a lot of money.

    In your case, the best 'bombproof' compact is probably where to start. usually I would advise looking for something secondhand from one of the reputable dealers who advertise in AP, but I've just looked at a couple of websites and not found much. Perhaps, after some research, you could look at their websites and search for specific models.

    And it's always worth looking at the AP website too. Searching on 'underwater' produces this list:


    From which this entry might be helpful:


    Watch out for the jellyfish.
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    We are talking about using cameras in an underwater housing, under (in) the sea!
  12. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Nikon d3500 is what she is looking at.

  13. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

  14. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Well-Known Member

    There are lots ho wouldn.t agree with you there.
    I've heard many claim that an EVF is useless, I suspect this is often based on trying pre 2010 models, but I do still find mt DSLR works maginally better for airshows.
    For most shooting I find mirrorless is better. Miles ahead for; manual focus (especially with adapted lenses), Infra red, low light & macro.
  15. Mermaid

    Mermaid Member

    Thanks all!
    Interested in under and over water options.

    Husband bashed it on a rock whilst getting out of the water. Still turns on and takes video, but won't take stills, from any of the shutter buttons. Frustrating.... apparently not so bomb proof after all. Also had shitty battery life or i might consider getting it repaired.
  16. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I know absolutely nothing about underwater photography I would therefore support the idea of visiting a specialist in the field.
    If you have been looking at the D3500 then you might want to consider the Z50, which is pretty much the mirrorless equivalent.
    Mermaid likes this.
  17. Mermaid

    Mermaid Member

    Yes I'd prefer the Z50... just a bit more pricey tho!
  18. Mermaid

    Mermaid Member

  19. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    You need to consider handling, if the camera isn't a comfortable fit in your hand and the controls aren't where you need them, you won't want to use it.
  20. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Well-Known Member

    Indeed but handling isn't the only difference, from a quick glance the Nikon is weather sealed, shoots at higher ISO, & higher fps...
    Looking a bit further down it also throws in eye AF, more focus points, better battery life, bigger sensor, more powerful flash...

    In many respects the Nikon is 'better' in fact it's only really the MP value that's better on the Canon.
    Most purchasers will already be either Nikon or Canon users, and will consider the other system irrelevant.
    I probably won't ever go with either lens mount, the 15+ mounts I already use are probably enough and M & Z mounts don't offer any advantages to me.

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