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SpAtZ
Feb 3, 2006, 09:54 AM
I am going to the Galapagos in the middle of March and I am looking into getting the Canon 20d, I currently have a 300d. However, I have heard several rumors of an update at the end of this month, but it would not be availible to april. I am leaving on the March tenth. Should I go ahead and buy it now? Would there be a large discount on the 20d immediately after the announcement of the upgrade to the 20d at the PMA? Or would I have to wait till April when the new cameras are in store for that discount to come in to affect?



-hh
Feb 3, 2006, 10:30 AM
I am going to the Galapagos in the middle of March and I am looking into getting the Canon 20d, I currently have a 300d. However, I have heard several rumors of an update at the end of this month, but it would not be availible to april. I am leaving on the March tenth. Should I go ahead and buy it now? Would there be a large discount on the 20d immediately after the announcement of the upgrade to the 20d at the PMA? Or would I have to wait till April when the new cameras are in store for that discount to come in to affect?

Good question. I think the short/simple answer is that as of right now, you only have ~5 weeks to get a new camera, familiarize yourself with it, sort out any bugs, figure out your packing arrangements, etc, etc, so you really can't afford to wait. As such, if you want to take it on the trip, I'd buy it right now.

BTW, I went to the Galapagos a couple of years ago and found two fairly "big" surprises from a (land) photography perspective.

The first was that I used my telephoto a lot more than I was expecting. Since I was shooting film at that time, this resulted in me having too much ISO 100 and not enough ISO 400 speed film for the conditions (BTW, the same also applied for Underwater photo ... the lighting conditions were surprisingly dark at ~80fsw, so my default UW slide film of ISO 100 should have been ISO 400).

The second was a smaller-than-expected *minimum* focus distance. It was very common to have critters of interest at 6ft or less. For my proverbial 'next time', I'd shoot for being able to focus any lens down to around 3ft.

FWIW, here's (http://www.huntzinger.com/galapagos.html) some example photo's, and if you look down through these, my recollections are that I had min focus challenges with the 6th image (blue footed boobie) and 10th image (Sally Lightfoot crab)...for both of these, I had to "UNzoom" with my feet to move away from the subject to get it in focus.


-hh

SpAtZ
Feb 3, 2006, 10:48 AM
Thank you for the responce. Is renting an option?

Zeke
Feb 3, 2006, 12:08 PM
My recommendation would be to wait until the successor is announced and pick up a cheap 20d then. You could always get lucky and find a cheap used 20d (I got mine for about $750 used very gently) but that's not guaranteed. The things to get used to on the camera are mainly the ease of control over the menu control of the 300d. I still haven't gotten used to everything but you'll still be able to take great pictures with it.

-hh
Feb 3, 2006, 01:22 PM
Thank you for the responce. Is renting an option?

Renting is always an option ... its just that it might not necessarily be a cost-effective one.

For example, I just quickly found one company (http://www.pictureline.com/product.php?id=12419&rent=1)that offers rentals on the 20D - - they're $70/day, or $280/week. I'd suspect that this price is fairly typical.

For a Galapagos trip, you're probably going on a 1 week cruise, plus you're going to use at least 2 days en route (gateways of Quito or Guayquil) on the way there, plus at least one more day on the way back, so you're in for at least a 2 week rental, which would be around $560.

As such, it would probably work out to be cheaper for you to just buy it outright and then resell it afterwords on Ebay.


-hh

SpAtZ
Feb 3, 2006, 02:29 PM
Also, What should I use for underwater?

Edit: What is reccomended for lenses? I have 70-300 D0, 100mm Macro, and 18-55 (all canon)

Zeke
Feb 3, 2006, 08:37 PM
Tamron 28-75 2.8
Tamron 17-35 (unless you have a lot more money, Canon 10-22)

As far as underwater, you can probably buy and then sell an underwater housing for the camera.

Also, What should I use for underwater?

Edit: What is reccomended for lenses? I have 70-300 D0, 100mm Macro, and 18-55 (all canon)

SpAtZ
Feb 3, 2006, 09:23 PM
Is it possible to get an educational discount on any of this equiptment?

Zeke
Feb 3, 2006, 10:41 PM
Tamron has educational pricing but only if you're in a photography program.

SpAtZ
Feb 3, 2006, 10:48 PM
Tamron has educational pricing but only if you're in a photography program.
What about Canon? I couldnt find anything.

-hh
Feb 4, 2006, 07:19 AM
Also, What should I use for underwater?

A) What's your budget?

B) Are you looking for a camera for UW scuba, or for UW snorkel?


FWIW, on my Galapagos trip, I did 2 weeks. The first week was the standard tourist "island visit" itinerary, and the 2nd week was onboard one of the dedicated Scuba liveaboards that goes all the way out to Wolf and Darwin. As such, in addition to a land camera SLR system, I also had my (35mm) UW Photo Nikonos V system too. Here's a photo of my Nikonos V system, to give you an idea of its size:

http://www.huntzinger.com/photo/2004/brac/HH_elf_Dec04.jpg

Note the two big, bulky, heavy (and expensive) strobes.

Overall, this not a system to go snorkel with, so what I did for snorkeling was to ditch the strobes. Keeping just the Nikonos V body with with my 15mm WA lens and viewfinder, its a compact (albeit heavy) system.

With the 15mm WA lens, when set it to f/8 and a ~2ft focus distance provides a DOF from 1ft to Infinity...this makes things easy when breath-holding :) The electronics figured out the shutter duration; with ISO 100 film, it was typically around 1/45sec at snorkeling depths, and partly because there's no autofocus sytem, it has effectively no shutter lag.


To put any SLR into a waterproof housing is expensive. The least expensive housing manufacturer is Ikelite...the strobes on my Nikonos system are Ikelite SS-200's. Here's their webpage on their 20D housing. (http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/2d20canon.html). Also note that it alone eats up 8lbs of your baggage allowance.

As per B&H, this housing's a bit over $1200, plus you'll need to add to that at least one "lens port" (no, they're not included), which will set you back another $100-$400, depending on the lens you want to use. You now have a 20D for snorkeling and have only spent $1400 or so, in addition to the camera and lens. Now you know why my first question was budget.

To upgrade this to use it for deeper than snorkeling depths, you'll need to add lighting; figure another $900 for a single Ikelite DS-125 strobe w/cord & arm, or double that for dual strobes. BTW, my SS-200 strobes aren't digital compatible, so now you know why I'm still using my Nikonos.


Overall, I think the frugal alternative for a waterproof snorkeling digital system is to put a housing around a point-n-shoot. Canon makes them for several of their P&S cameras, and they sell for under $200 complete. I recently did this for a Canon A80, but have less than an hour in the water with it...what I found is that it can have *horrendous* shutter lag because you can be "sloshing around" and changing your distance to subject, which really messes up its attempts to auto-focus.

What I've not yet found firsthand on this particular system is how bad its backscatter is going to be.

For all photography, think about the path that light from a strobe has to take: it goes from the strobe head outwards to the subject, bounces off the subject, and then back to the lens.

What this means is that anything along that path will be illuminated, and for land photography, we usually don't think too much about this because air is clear. But water often has "stuff" floating in it. Here's an example:

http://www.huntzinger.com/pic/barryl-eagleray.jpg

A technique to minimize this backscatter problem is, in simplest terms, to not illuminate the water between your strobe and your subject. What is done is to move your strobes away from your camera lens, so as to change the "light path" geometry and thus, the light comes in more from the side to the subject, instead of from effectively the lens...to get really fussy about this, you don't want to illuminate "your side" of the particles in the water, because that's what turns them white. That's why my camera system (at top) has those octopus arms on it. The problem with a housed P&S camera is that they can't move their built-in strobe...at best, they have a piece of plastic that will block it off. This is a system limitation with housed P&S's and merely something to be aware of when taking your UW photos.


-hh

Abstract
Feb 4, 2006, 07:41 AM
A) What's your budget?


http://www.huntzinger.com/photo/2004/brac/HH_elf_Dec04.jpg

Note the two big, bulky, heavy (and expensive) strobes.


.....You now have a 20D for snorkeling and have only spent $1400 or so, in addition to the camera and lens. Now you know why my first question was budget.

To upgrade this to use it for deeper than snorkeling depths, you'll need to add lighting; figure another $900 for a single Ikelite DS-125 strobe w/cord & arm, or double that for dual strobes.

Ok, but how much for the hat?

@Spatz: Don't know much about Canon lenses, but I say bring your 18-55 kit and 70-300 mm lense. Also, I say stick with your 300D. I don't see much benefit of buying a 20D at this point. It wouldn't be a smart consumer buying decision, and it wouldn't offer much benefit for your trip. If you need some of the functions available on the 350D that you don't have activated on your 300D, you can get them activated on your 300D "somehow."

SpAtZ
Feb 4, 2006, 08:20 AM
For this trip I am just going for UW snorkeling. I searched google and found this company:http://www.sealife-cameras.com/cameras/cameras.html

O and my budjet underwater is around $300. ($±100)

I also think I am going to hold back on getting the 20d since the megapixels are dont make a tremendous difference. However, I have noticed a large amount of noise in pictures I have taken outdoors with ISO below 400. Could that be improved with the 20d?

'hh,' Thank you so much for the help.

Abstract
Feb 4, 2006, 09:24 AM
That noise issue doesn't sound normal, even if you said above ISO 400. :confused:

SpAtZ
Feb 4, 2006, 09:30 AM
That noise issue doesn't sound normal, even if you said above ISO 400. :confused:
they were RAW pictures could it be iphoto doing it.

edit: here is an example for what i mean: http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/ccspatz/CRW_4966.jpg

jared_kipe
Feb 4, 2006, 11:09 AM
Thats at iso 200 or lower? You've got yourself some luminance noise there. Probably clean up in noise ninja or something similar. I wonder if aperture is that bad too. I havn't been able to use aperture for a while now (not universal). Take the orriginal raw file and put it somewhere we can all grab it with and try various meathods of raw conversion to see what is going on.

EDIT: Oh and I'm in the same boat as you, looking to offload my 300D and get a 20D or 'maybe' the new 30D that will be announced in a few weeks. I have a trip to the Antigua in march and have begun to find the 300D insuficient for what I want to be able to do. The 20D is easy to use, so just wait till you see prices dropping.

SpAtZ
Feb 4, 2006, 12:32 PM
Would shooting in a regular jpeg fix it. I should be able to get a hold of the original in a few hours.

jared_kipe
Feb 4, 2006, 12:34 PM
quite possibly

SpAtZ
Feb 4, 2006, 12:51 PM
Originals:

http://homepage.mac.com/WebObjects/FileSharing.woa/wa/default?user=cspatz&templatefn=FileSharing16.html&xmlfn=TKDocument.16.xml&sitefn=RootSite.xml&aff=consumer&cty=US&lang=en

jared_kipe
Feb 4, 2006, 02:50 PM
Do you have Photoshop CS2? Luminance noise reduction in the raw helped the buzzard picture (in the lighter feathers) a lot. But not so much help on the other. It should be noted that both are actually at ISO400 and probably exhibit closer to the normal luminance curves than I was thinking when you were saying it was shot at 200. Anyway applying luminance noise at around 50 to 70 did pretty good on both. And didn't seem to knock out too much detail.

For the small bird picture, applying photoshops noise reduction from the noise menu helped out a lot too. Some thing like keep details 80% and sharpen details 30% to the normal settings made everything grand.

EDIT: oh and PS is running like CRAPPOLA on my new imac. 2 6mp images open at 16bit color depth really hurts overall system performance.

SpAtZ
Feb 4, 2006, 03:11 PM
EDIT: oh and PS is running like CRAPPOLA on my new imac. 2 6mp images open at 16bit color depth really hurts overall system performance.

Thats great hear with my macbook coming! I barely can use iphoto 6 right now. It crashes sooo much. Tons of bugs!

How different are the controlls on the 20d. The biggest difference I have noticed are the wheel thing and the information being displayed on the top. Also, if anyone could reccomend a P&S UW camera that would be great?

HH- How is the Snorkeling there? Is it worth investing in a camera just for snorkeling? Is there a lot of marine life?

jared_kipe
Feb 4, 2006, 05:32 PM
the Biggest difference is simply what the back wheel controls and what the front wheel controls. Here is a break down on both.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos20d/page7.asp

SpAtZ
Feb 4, 2006, 07:15 PM
Can anyone reccommend an underwater Point and shoot?

SpAtZ
Feb 5, 2006, 01:03 PM
Anyone? Will I be needing a strobe for just snokeling?

arogge
Feb 5, 2006, 02:42 PM
Anyone?

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=StandardDisplayAct&fcategoryid=144&modelid=10460&keycode=underwater_photo

SpAtZ
Feb 5, 2006, 03:13 PM
http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=StandardDisplayAct&fcategoryid=144&modelid=10460&keycode=underwater_photo

Thanx. Not sure if I should go one of those or the sealife ones. Now can anyone answer my strobe quesiton.?

GoCubsGo
Feb 5, 2006, 03:40 PM
If you think something is due out in April and you leave in March then you have no choice but to get the 20d. Regardless, that 20d is a nice camera and I wouldn't be sad if I had that and they came out with say a 20ds or 30d or whatever.

And this is coming from a true blue nikon user.

-hh
Feb 5, 2006, 08:17 PM
HH- How is the Snorkeling there? Is it worth investing in a camera just for snorkeling? Is there a lot of marine life?

The snorkeling is IMO quite good in the Galapagos. For the most part, the general terrain for the "good stuff" is NOT directly out in the sand, but along rocky outcropping that's the side edge of the beach...do a "sandy beach" entry, then head up the sides. You'll have shoals on one side and deeper water to the other, and this drop-off provides opportunities. Expect some non-colorful and colorful schooling fish such as King Angels. If you're as lucky as I was, you'll see turtles, sea lions *and* penguin. If its more sedate, there's "easier to hunt" less fast moving stuff such as starfish and Christmas Tree Worms.

Also, be aware that its generally only considered "safe" to swim with juvenile sea lions ... not babies and not adults. The adults are recognized by having a bigger bump type of forehead. Rely on your guides to point out the difference.

If you get a chance, go through your itinerary for where it says that you'll have "swimming/snorkeling" opportunities (ie, which island, plus a beach name if possible) and PM them to me. I'll see if any of them match in our travel diary, and what the specific site was like to see if I can offer specifics. For example, here's an image of Pinnacle Rock on "Bartolome"...almost every cruise comes here and climbs up to the top of an old vocano cone here to get this view:

http://freespace.virgin.net/tony.thompson/photo/landscape/bart_2.jpg

The beach here on the right hand side is also sometimes used for a swimming beach for the tourists...but what most of them don't know is that one of just a few Galapagos penguin colonies is very close by (caveat: or, at least as of a few years ago, there was one close by).

As you can see in the photo, it looks like Pinnacle Rock is almost separated from the rest of the island...there's just a low saddle connecting it to the rest of the island. There's two beaches visible in this photo. Both are used for tourist swims, but if you're on the (from our perspective) right side beach, this means that Pinnacle Rock anchors the one side of the bay you're in...and if you swim out from the beach along the (as you face out) left side, you'll be heading out the side that Pinnacle Rock's. My recollections are that its perhaps 150 yards and sheltered water.

If you keep going out, the water's a bit less sheltered, so you'll need to be a good & confident swimmer, but if you swim "around the back" (from this perspective) of Pinnacle Rock, its another ~150 yards or so until you get to the area where there had been penguin. In addition to this being a long swim from shore, penguins are *wicked* fast swimmers, and they skim just under the surface, which makes them hard to spot - - as such, your odds of photgraphic success are very low.

As to the question of "is it worth investing in a dedicated snorkeling camera?", that's a tough call. I would suggest looking at the expense versus the total sum cost of the trip...if its proverbially 0.003%, its a far easier decision than if its 10%. This might be a decent application for a couple of disposable film cameras, as these will generally be fixed-focus and won't have any shutter lag, which simplifies things quite a bit. I've really not done enough snorkel with digital P&S to get a good grasp on how to deal with the autofocus+shutter timelag challenges.

BTW, the one thing that I would *not* do is put a dSLR into an "Ewa-Marine" bag. Its simply not worth risking that much gear to a proverbial ziplock bag.

Finally, the water's chilly. If you have your own 3mm wetsuit, take it. If you don't, see if the cruise company you're using has wetsuits (I think most of them usually do). Wear one, because they provide good flotation when snorkeling if/when you get fatigued, plus the cool water temps will suck the life out of you pretty quickly. For our scuba diving, I wore a full 7mm "Farmer John" (a style that has a double-thick layer over the torso...that's a full half inch of rubber), and one of the guys onboard was actually wearing a drysuit.


-hh

-hh
Feb 5, 2006, 08:22 PM
Thanx. Not sure if I should go one of those or the sealife ones. Now can anyone answer my strobe quesiton.?


Oops! Forgot the strobe question.


Short answer is "No".

Longer answer is: "No, unless you're an above-average freediver".


Reds will disappear from your shots, but you can use the Mandrake technique in photoshop to rebalance them, because at snorkeling depths, you haven't lost all of the reds yet.


-hh

Jon'sLightBulbs
Feb 6, 2006, 01:17 AM
Anyone? Will I be needing a strobe for just snokeling?

Honestly, get a Fuji waterproof disposable film camera. None of the point and shoots are really waterproof.

HTH

-hh
Feb 6, 2006, 10:20 AM
Honestly, get a Fuji waterproof disposable film camera. None of the point and shoots are really waterproof.

I don't disagree with the advice (disposable film), but for point of clarification, there's P&S's that are really waterproof, and then there's P&S's that claim to be "waterproof", but the real world translation is that they're only good enough for the backyard swimming pool.

Personally, I'd not trust one of the "swimming pool" ones out snorkeling in saltwater, for two reasons:

1) Its probably easy to go deeper than its max depth rating

b) Over time, saltwater will damage the camera's 0-ring seals, and on all amphibious designs (including my Nikonos), there's "non user servicable" o-rings. You extend their life by faithful freshwater rinsing (but never any soap or chemicals!), but salt crystalization buildup will eventually cause them to leak, so the only recourse here is to send the camera out for service.

For reference, this service costs me around $150 for my 35mm Nikonos V, and I do it every 2-3 years. I'd not be surprised if such service doesn't even exist for digital P&S's, under the rationale that they'll be obsolete by the time its needed.

Enough about the 'swimming pool' cameras.

For the "true" (dedicated) UW amphibious cameras and/or housings for land cameras, these are good usually to 130ft deep, so they're more than enough for snorkeling. These usually cost $100-$200 (plus the P&S camera), and this is the type of system that I've used for <2 hours of snorkeling for which I made my comments about autofocus/shutter lag challenges.

The other way to protect a land P&S is with a "thick ziplock" waterproof bag. These typically are $50, and I'd probably be willing to risk a $200 digital P&S in one of them, but not a $1000 dSLR. I'd also have generally low expectations, since they're often not set up well to manipulate the controls through the bag.

Finally, all of these protective systems have to provide access to something somehow (even if its just batteries and flash media), so they're going to have to have one or more o-ring seals in them. O-rings require some basic knowledge and TLC to learn how to prevent basic operator error from flooding the camera immediately...in theory, a single human hair accidentally left laying across an o-ring can comprimise the seal enough to cause a flood. Since salt water and electronics don't mix, the reprocussions are that the camera could be a complete loss.

Hence, the bottom line is that until you really know what you're getting into, and you're ready to deal with it (time and cost), just use a disposable ;)


-hh