So you want to take photos underwater - A basic guide

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Paul
Thanks for doing this! A couple of random thoughts...
If you're looking for a good deal, Olympus has a discounted package for the M5mkII for 1300 bucks. You won't be able to use the Pro zooms, but this set up is at a nice price point:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Housing & Camera Bundle

I use the Olympus housing for my M1mkI, and I'm pretty happy with it. For a while, the OMD housings had the greatest variety of available ports because of their ability to adapt 4/3 stuff. Nauticam has since come up with an adapter to even things out, and some of those old ports are a nice value. I use an Inon 170mm dome originally intended for 4/3 8mm FE and 7-14 glass; it's significantly cheaper than Nauticam or Zen stuff, and it works great with the Oly 8mm, 7-14, 12-40, 60mm, and Panny 8-18 (you just have to remove an extension ring for the fisheye). Olympus has a dedicated macro port; it's spendy, but worth it as you can get closer than you can with their regular flat port.

I started diving with a camera immediately after getting certified. That was really dumb, and I don't recommend it because of the task saturation that comes with photography. Related to that, the best UW photographers are also the best divers. I feel that my results improved only after I made a commitment to improve my diving skills (not that I'm all that great at either).
 

ArcticaMT6

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ArcticaMT6

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Wanted to provide an update here on strobes. I can't recommend the brand Sea & Sea anymore. I've had 4 different strobes with issues now, and no response from trying to contact their customer service. Looking online there are a lot of others who have had problems with them. Save your money and buy Inon, Retra, or Ikelite. I wouldn't even waste money buying used ones at this point. I'm now left with 1 properly working strobe and one that only works on full power, which isn't very useful.
 

Hypilein

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Your story is a common one on online forums. My YS-02s are still working (had to send one in for repair, but went for third party repair as I bought used), but I've read many stories of failures. Did you have the D2J or the grey version?
 
Joined
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Eugene, Oregon
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Paul
Yikes. Out of 4 S&S stobes, 1 went bad for me. Better luck than what you've had, but still too high of a failure rate, especially since the cold water diving I do should minimize problems from overheating. I also recommend going with a different brand...
 

ArcticaMT6

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Wish I could afford the new Retra Strobes (+ a Retra LSD).
I have a LSD for my D2 but haven't had much chance to use it, so no real examples. We are coming up on spiny lumpsucker season so I might pull it out to practice with when that starts up around November. You can find Z240's for around $300-450 USD now if you look used. Better than the $900 Retras.
 

ArcticaMT6

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Bainbridge Island, WA
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Yikes. Out of 4 S&S stobes, 1 went bad for me. Better luck than what you've had, but still too high of a failure rate, especially since the cold water diving I do should minimize problems from overheating. I also recommend going with a different brand...
I had one that would fire randomly on it's own right out of the box brand new. Got that replaced for another one which burned out the flash tube after about a year. Got that replaced under warranty as well with a D2J. The third D2 right now still works, but only fires on full power. The YS-01 would just constantly charge the capacitor and get crazy hot, but wouldn't ever fire. And none of them have ever worked correctly with the pre-flash setting so I can use rear curtain sync.

At some point I'll tear apart the D2 that only works at full power and see if I can find a way to fix it.
 

Hypilein

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The Z240 is barely an upgrade from the YS-02 (not D2!) that I own according to the strobe test Backscatter did at the beginning of this year. My Experience with my mothers Inon S2000 mirrored that as well. It seems that Sea&Sea can't build durable strobes, while Inon massively overestimates their power on spec sheets. I'll just keep mine. They are actually serving me very well.
 

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