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Compact Cameras, Another Choice :)

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Over on the fading Wetpixel someone asked why no one ever recommends, talks, whatever about compact cameras as an option. People continually recommend only ILC (Interchangeable Lens Cameras) at all price points to anyone asking about compacts. I think it's despite the fact many divers do own and use them few stretch the limits and strive to get the best out of them.

So with that thought in mind here's a 2023 Christmas present I posted over there :)

No one needs to agree or disagree either! Just one more perspective on what I hope people coming to Waterpixels will find helpful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

POSTED on "another forum" LOL.......

Since around 2016 I've been using nothing but compact cameras:  A Canon G7X II and a Sony RX100 VII  in Fantasea housings. The Sony was challenging as my housing fixed port allowed 24-66mm focal range. The Sony RX100 VII has a 24-200mm optical lens, slower f-stop range though. I didn't care for Sony menus and other complications so went back to the Canon and it's all I use today.

The Canon G7X II fixed lens is 24-100mm equivalent focal length with a fast variable aperture of f1.8 - 2.8. It works well with the 1" sensors on these compacts. 

I've used 67mm thread on wide lenses a couple times but mostly just use a pop on "Air Lens" that restores the 24mm focal length UNDERWATER. It floats and I can pop it off and let if float on my arm with a lanyard for fish or close up shooting.

Many say a corrected 24mm is not wide enough but I tend to shoot "tight" filling the frame and for me it's been fine.

The trade off of lighter weight and physical size traveling at lowest ISO of 125 I try and keep has been worth it.

I've made some big prints and with editing capability continuing to evolve think compacts are sadly bypassed on the way to larger (more $$$$) systems. I think people don't just use them enough to get the best out of them.

Your mileage may vary :)

David Haas

A few photos shot Nov. 2023 on my Raja Ampat Indonesia trip.

Canon G7X II, Fantasea housing, one single Inon S2000 or a friend's borrowed Inon S220 which I now own a pair of. All of these were also taken with the strobe simply mounted in the cold shoe of my housing. I use an Inon Shoe Base II and YS mounts allowing up and down plus some swivel aiming. 

I'm an extremely lazy traveling UW photographer these days in case you can't tell :)




























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Same here on the Lumix LX10 for video - it's working within clear limitations, but acceptable ones, and there are some perks to the system as well.
For video uses, what I miss the most on a compact would be:

1. the option to fit an extended battery in the housing - turning off the camera between every clips to save battery life

2. 4K 60fps instead of 30fps - I don't use slowmotion a lot, but it's nice to have the option to extend some clips in some cases (I can do 1080p 60fps but...) - no compact does this at the moment, and given that it's a dying species, not much hope.

3. HDMI screen option, for shooting comfort

Then there's the subject of magnification / depth of field for macro, where you can't beat a proper macro lens, especially for super macro, but in most cases, when you're focused on catching behaviour rather than working the artistic palette options, it's enough.

Image quality would surely be better with a M4/3 sensor (which is what I would get when stepping up to an ILC), and it would open up a lot of possibilities/creative options, but in most cases you can already do quite a lot if you understand the limitations you're working with.

As a side note, a friend shooting the RX100vii hit me up a couple of days ago as he's actually considering switching to Panasonic or Canon for better white-balancing capabilities...


Edited by bghazzal
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello David, you probably had the wrong port on your RX100VII housing. I use(d*) the RX100VI in a Nauticam housing and can use the full zoom range with the standard port. Can't comment on the G7X as I don't have one, but know 1 of my scuba friends has one and is happy with it.


In analog times I used to shoot with a setup of 2 cameras - a Minolta Dynax 8000i and standard zoom or 100mm macro in a Hugyfot housing, with a Nikonos V, 28 or 15mm lenses mounted on top of the housing, and a strong Subtronic flash with integrated pilot light. This allowed me to shoot wide and macro on the same dive, up to 72 exposures on 1 dive!




But of course this was a very heavy setup, so when I switched to digital I knew I wouldn't want another system camera setup. And I also knew that 1 flash alone isn't optimal, so my new setup includes 2 very compact Inon S2000.




The biggest disadvantage of the RX100VI/VII is the limited battery capacity. If I shoot more video, it often runs out of power before the end of the dive. But its image quality is great.




* I bought the RX100VI kit in 2018 and used only this until now, but had it upgraded to RX100VII just now.


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That is a trip down memory lane when many of us figured how to get more than 36 frames per dive! LOL.....


Your small Sony set up is certainly easier to dive with and as you say image quality is great. Yes, the limit on the Fantasea housing with a fixed port they chose to make it short limiting the Sony RX100 VI / VII to the 24-66mm focal lengths.


This was a compromise but very few users would likely need to zoom to 200mm shooting tele-macro is a very small group of people. This also allowed the 67mm wide angle lenses even ones designed optimally at 28mm setting.


As mentioned I am all about small size and ease of traveling with gear.


Keep shooting and sharing ideas!


David Haas






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