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Underwater Housings/Digital Photos


Johnsonclan

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Considering purchasing a housing for my Olympus C-3040Z digital camera. Anyone have any experience with underwater housings for digital cameras?

-Has it been reliable?

-How is the quality of your photos?

-Hassle factor; I understand that you must basically turn on your camera, seal-up the housing and your done. Changing batteries, etc appears to be a hassle.

-Any other expeirences you can share would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

 

Grand Princess - W. Caribbean - Feb 02

Caribbean Princess - E. Caribbean - July 3/04

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I have an Olympus C5050 5MP camera with an Olympus PT-015 housing. I love it and have not had a single problem with it.

 

Be sure to rinse the housing free of all saltwater deposits after every use. I do this even between dives. If there is a freshwater tank onboard, I just drop the camera and housing into the tank and only remove it before the next dive. After the second dive I just leave it there until I get my equipment packed up and it's the last thing I pack.

 

After snorkeling, I put it in the shower, unopened, after getting back. When it's thoroughly rinsed, I'll dry it before opening and changing batteries, downloading the pictures, etc.

 

It's important when using an underwater housing to follow the directions for cleaning and lubricating the o-ring seal. Any speck of dirt or a hair on an o-ring will cause a leak when subjected to underwater pressures. Saltwater will ruin your camera instantly so you must do this religiously. It's a hassle but not difficult.

 

Use 2200mah, or greater, batteries for your camera. They will last for a two tank dive and maybe even a three tank dive before needing to be replaced. That way you won't have to change batteries when on a dive boat. You only really need 2 sets for your camera. I use Powerex, available from Thomas Distributing, who also sells them on eBay for cheaper than their web site.

 

I've never needed more than one set of these batteries for any snorkeling trip I've ever taken.

 

Depending on your camera and housing, is how you must handle your camera in the water. With mine, every camera feature is available on the housing. I put my camera in the housing and don't turn it on until I'm underwater. I usually leave it on the entire length of the dive. I turn it off when exiting the first dive and turn it back on when underwater for the second dive of the day. Using the housing underwater isn't any different than using the camera on land, just a little more bulky. It just depends on what features are built into your housing.

 

I HIGHLY recommend you buy an Olympus housing for your camera, if one is available. The cheap, one-size-fits-all housings are not worth your effort. My housing cost me about $150 +/- $20.

 

If an Olympus housing is not available, and you are serious about underwater photography, I would recommend buying a C5050 refurb off eBay and buying a PT-015 housing.

 

As far as quality of the photos, look here:

 

http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=4074962&a=31166402&f=

 

These were taken in Hawaii in January/February this year. Some were taken while diving and others are while snorkeling.

 

If you're going to take underwater photos, remember to get as close as possible to your subject. Water filters out the red light spectrum very quickly, which is what causes the blue hue you see in many underwater photos. Eliminate the space between the camera and the subject and you eliminate most, if not all, of the blue.

 

In one of the above photos I left the blue hue in place because I think it added to the photo. However, you can remove this.

 

Use a top notch photo processing program for your photos. With these you can eliminate some of the blue and enhance the colors underneath. Many people use Photoshop CS, a very expensive program of which you will not use most of the features. More reasonable popular options are Photoshop Elements and JASC Paintshop Pro. I use Paintshop Pro and used it on many of the photos you looked at from the above link. I think I paid about $110 for this, downloaded directly from the JASC web site.

 

I'm no expert but this should give you an overview. I'll be happy to try to answer any specific questions you may have.

 

A good spot for expert advice is:

 

www.scubaboard.com

 

There are people here that use Olympus cameras almost everyday and truly know what they are talking about. There is even an "Oly Corner" for Olympus users.

 

Dennis Willing

shoot3gun@yahoo.com

 

'89 Commodore/Caribe I

'92 NCL/Westward

'96 NCL/Seaward

'99 RCI/Rhapsody Of The Seas

'00 RCI/Legend Of The Seas

'01 Princess/Ocean Princess

'02 RCI/Vision Of The Seas

'03 Princess/Sea Princess, back-to-back

'03 Princess/Sea Princess

'04 Hawaii, 2 weeks on land

 

TAHITIAN PRINCESS 02/11/05

 

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Johnsonclan:

Considering purchasing a housing for my Olympus C-3040Z digital camera. Anyone have any experience with underwater housings for digital cameras?

-Has it been reliable?

-How is the quality of your photos?

-Hassle factor; I understand that you must basically turn on your camera, seal-up the housing and your done. Changing batteries, etc appears to be a hassle.

-Any other expeirences you can share would be greatly appreciated.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

You want this for diving, right? Then do it.

 

I have 2 housed digital cameras. Digital is WAY better than film for underwater used. You can take so many more photos before you have to open the housing. With film you only get 36 shots and you don't know how they will turn out until you develop. With digital, instant feedback.

 

I have a housed Olympus C5050. The housing is excellent. It has double o-ring seals for reliability. It is rated to 130ft. You do NOT turn on the camera before you put it in the housing. Every control is accessible thru the housing.

 

I wouldn't say it is a hassle to open the housing to change batteries. If you start your first dive with fresh, just from the charger, batteries, you should be good for at least 2 dives. I have batteries from www.thomas-distributing.com, and they have a high capacity. You also want a very large memory card so you can avoid the hassle of changing cards between dives.

 

As for quality of photos, you be the judge. Here is one of the photos from my Cozumel underwater gallery:

 

goby-on-coral.jpg

 

Check out:

www.wetpixel.com and

www.digideep.com

 

<font color="FF6600">

if there's a way to construe my post as non-argumentative, please do so.</font>

Cruise photos on my Home page <font color="990066">

Spring Break was on the Grand Princess </font>21, March 2004

So when is the next cruise?

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Thank you both for all the valuable information. I'm not a diver (yet) but do love snorkeling when in port. Attempted to get some shots on our first cruise with a throw-away 35mm camera without much success. So I have been pondering taking the next step. I too use Powerex batteries from Thomas Distributing and have been very satisfied. The one question remaining is if I will get my $250 worth out of it. Your pictures are amazing amazing by the way, which makes me think I will.

Did you purchase your housings retail or over the internet?

If you purchased them via the net, from whom?

 

Thanks again guys...

 

Grand Princess - W. Caribbean - Feb 02

Caribbean Princess - E. Caribbean - July 3/04

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I got my housing on Ebay. The prices there are usually just a bit under the best price I could find else where on the internet. Sometimes they are more, so you have to know before you actually bid.

 

If I didn't get it on ebay, I would definitely buy on the internet over a local retail store. The prices are that much better.

 

<font color="FF6600">

if there's a way to construe my post as non-argumentative, please do so.</font>

Cruise photos on my Home page <font color="990066">

Spring Break was on the Grand Princess </font>21, March 2004

So when is the next cruise?

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Thank you Brucejr...

I've been watching eBay and the only one for my camera is way overpriced at $299. I will continue to watch. The best price I have found is $225 from seashooters.com. Trying to decide if it's worth it for how much use I expect to get from it. Have you ever used yours at the beach, lake, etc. Protection in 'hostile' environments was another way I thought perhaps I could justify the expense in my mind. Do you find it cumbersome to use out of the water?

 

You have been a HUGE help...

 

Grand Princess - W. Caribbean - Feb 02

Caribbean Princess - E. Caribbean - July 3/04

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I bought my camera on eBay and my housing online from a retailer. It's worth it if you just bite the bullet and go for it.

 

If expense is a problem, you can take a step down on the camera to a C4040 or a C3040, which you are looking at. These cameras have fewer megapixels so are a little cheaper, yet take great underwater photos. Olympus makes underwater housings for them too. Do a search on the Internet for the housing, I think it's a PT-010 for the 3040. You might find a better price, that's how I got mine.

 

My camera is a breeze to work out of the water. It's not any bigger than most point and shoot type cameras. However, it's not shirt pocket size.

 

'89 Commodore/Caribe I

'92 NCL/Westward

'96 NCL/Seaward

'99 RCI/Rhapsody Of The Seas

'00 RCI/Legend Of The Seas

'01 Princess/Ocean Princess

'02 RCI/Vision Of The Seas

'03 Princess/Sea Princess, back-to-back

'03 Princess/Sea Princess

'04 Hawaii, 2 weeks on land

 

TAHITIAN PRINCESS 02/11/05

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I currently own an Olympus C-3040Z camera and have been looking at the PT-010 housing for it. So you do use your camera in the housing while above water, say at the beach? The added protection is what I'm interested in for certain 'land-based' activities.

 

Thank you again for your assistance...

Blessings,

Todd

 

We sail into the sunset aboard Caribbean Princess

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=ff0000&cdt=2004;7;3;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

Grand Princess - W. Caribbean - Feb 02

Caribbean Princess - E. Caribbean - July 3/04

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I remove the camera from the housing when on land. The housing is way too bulky to be carrying around and using on land.

 

However, it will do you a lot of good to practice on land while the camera is in the housing. That way you can get some practice at using the housing and accessing the camera's features, so you'll know how to do it when you finally get in the water.

 

I try to keep the housing out of the sand, etc., because if sand gets onto an o-ring and you don't clean it off, your housing will flood when you get in the water, ruining your camera. When at the beach, the camera/housing are in a separate bag and are never exposed directly to the sand. When I'm done snorkeling, it goes back in the bag. It is then thoroughly rinsed in the shower before drying and opening the housing to access the camera.

 

'89 Commodore/Caribe I

'92 NCL/Westward

'96 NCL/Seaward

'99 RCI/Rhapsody Of The Seas

'00 RCI/Legend Of The Seas

'01 Princess/Ocean Princess

'02 RCI/Vision Of The Seas

'03 Princess/Sea Princess, back-to-back

'03 Princess/Sea Princess

'04 Hawaii, 2 weeks on land

 

TAHITIAN PRINCESS 02/11/05

 

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I did a little checking for you on some of the sites that scuba divers use for their underwater photo equipment.

 

Here is a site in Japan that has the housing in stock for about $170.14. I had to use a currency converter because everything on the site is in Japanese Yen.

 

http://www.uwdigitalcamera.com/English/euwdigitalindex.htm

 

The guy who owns this business is Yuzo and from everything I've read about him, he's as honest as they come and you will likely have your housing within a week.

 

He frequents www.scubaboard.com and is very popular there with the photographers.

 

'89 Commodore/Caribe I

'92 NCL/Westward

'96 NCL/Seaward

'99 RCI/Rhapsody Of The Seas

'00 RCI/Legend Of The Seas

'01 Princess/Ocean Princess

'02 RCI/Vision Of The Seas

'03 Princess/Sea Princess, back-to-back

'03 Princess/Sea Princess

'04 Hawaii, 2 weeks on land

 

TAHITIAN PRINCESS 02/11/05

 

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Wow, thank you! $170 may be within the budget. I wonder what shipping will be? I will check out the website and see. Thank you again for all your help on this...

Blessings,

Todd

 

We sail into the sunset aboard Caribbean Princess

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=ff0000&cdt=2004;7;3;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

Grand Princess - W. Caribbean - Feb 02

Caribbean Princess - E. Caribbean - July 3/04

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Okay 10X, I've taken your advice along with that of some folks in the 'Oly' thread on www.scubaboard.com and sent an email off to Yuzo asking him for a price quote on shipping. I think you have talked me into it. I'll let you know what I hear back from him.

 

Thanks again...

 

We sail off into the sunset aboard Caribbean Princess in:

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=8b0000&cdt=2004;7;3;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

 

Grand Princess - W. Caribbean - Feb 02

Caribbean Princess - E. Caribbean - 7/3/04

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Having your digital camera with you when you are underwater will add a whole new dimension to the experience and allow you to share it with others.

 

<font color="FF6600">

if there's a way to construe my post as non-argumentative, please do so.</font>

Cruise photos on my Home page <font color="990066">

Spring Break was on the Grand Princess </font>21, March 2004

So when is the next cruise?

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Johnsonclan,

I am only a snorkeler at this point also & is use my Oly 750 with it's UW housing. The disposables & cost of development are going to add up to almost what you will spend on a housing...I know!!! The difference in the photo quality is like night & day. Can't say enough about the differences! Right Brucejr & 10X?

Well, I have tried for 20 min to get one picture each from a disposable & from my 750 into this note unsucessfully...so you will just have to trust me the quality is worth every penny you spend. Besides, you have your digital for use on land in everyother situation you will need it for too!

Go for it...I did!

 

Snorkelcat

Zuiderdam 2/03

Radiance 2/04

Caribbean 1/05

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Johnsonclan,

Now that you're probably going to get a housing, you'll notice the difference in the quality of the pictures, just as snorkelcat said.

 

So, you may as well contact your local dive shop now and get scheduled for scuba lessons, because next you're going to want to get pictures of what's down there a little deeper. Sharks, Moray Eels, Nudibranches, crabs, octopus, lobster, unique formations, wrecks, and the list is endless.

 

Good snorkeling and best fishes. 10X

 

'89 Commodore/Caribe I

'92 NCL/Westward

'96 NCL/Seaward

'99 RCI/Rhapsody Of The Seas

'00 RCI/Legend Of The Seas

'01 Princess/Ocean Princess

'02 RCI/Vision Of The Seas

'03 Princess/Sea Princess, back-to-back

'03 Princess/Sea Princess

'04 Hawaii, 2 weeks on land

 

TAHITIAN PRINCESS 02/11/05

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, Firstly, 10X and Brucejr, very good pics. I've got an Olympus C5060WZ and am thinking about buying a housing for it. I'm hearing very positive feedback on Olympus housings which is very good to hear. Last time I took pictures underwater was about 20 odd years ago whilst snorkelling in the Med and I used a Minolta underwater 110 camera, not good quality at all. I'd like to try scuba before I go to the Caribbean next April so that I can get some good underwater digital pics. Guys when you took the pics did you use flash or did you disable the flash beforehand? Shug.

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First, brucejr=bruce-r I had to re-register when the board upgraded.

 

Guys when you took the pics did you use flash or did you disable the flash beforehand? Shug.

 

Not only did I use the camera's internal flash, I forced it to always flash. You need the flash to get the color to show, otherwise things tend to look mostly blue or brown.

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I too used the internal flash, but I did not force it to flash. Because so many of my pictures were taken close up, I would have washed out the subject.

 

We're taking tha Tahitian Princess in February and I plan on using strictly the manual mode, with a manual white balance setting. From what I've read, hte manual white balance setting helps remove some of the blue at depth.

 

If you do get some blue in your photos, a good photo program will help get rid of it. I use Paint Shop Pro 8, but a couple other good ones are Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CS (very expensive).

 

There is a learning curve to ridding the photos of the blue, so don't ever work on the original photograph. That way if you ruin something, you can always start over with another copy.

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