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Canon Powershot G9 - Underwater

by insane192 / October 23, 2007 6:25 AM PDT

I've now been persuaded by family and review to instead of getting a compact camera get a slightly larger camera that is a lot more expandable with a lot more room for growth. I've now selected the Powershot G9 as a prime candidate and would like to ask a few questions.

- What is the video recording like at the highest resolution?
- Does it support SD HC cards up to 8gb?
- How many minutes of video (at highest resolution) or full quality photos can you fit on an 8gb card?
- I would probably buy a canon wp-dc21 housing to use underwater whole scuba diving. How would I go about lighting my scene using it if the inbuilt flash is not enough?

Thanks in Advance

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Underwater photography
by hjfok / October 23, 2007 10:16 AM PDT

I have given you some info regarding PS camera in the other thread.
If you are interested in a more advanced compact like the Powershot G9, then you probably should consider spending a little bit more to get the Ikelite underwater housing with their TTL compatible UW strobe system.
The advanced compact gives you more manual control. For many of the underwater photography and for optimal operation with some strobes, you will usually set the aperture to f/2.8. The G9 comes with IS and has easy access ISO and shooting mode adjustment dials, which are nice and convenient features to have. It also accepts SDHC and can shoot in RAW. But like all small cameras, the image quality is not that great in low light (and this is true for pretty much all non-DSLR compacts). And if you want to take advantage of a better strobe system with TTL, then you will need to get a more expensive housing (like the Ikelite) and TTL strobe system. If you just get the cheap strobes I mentioned in the other thread for PS cameras, you probably won't notice a big difference compared to a PS camera. But this may push your spending over $1000 US, and you will still get subpar images compared to D-SLR. So then you have to think about whether you should upgrade to an entry level D-SLR which is just a little bit more than the G9, with significantly better low light performance. The D-SLR underwater housing is also just a little bit more than the G9 housing.
The choices are confusing at times. But to put things in perspective, let me say what I think. For a lot of scuba diving enthusiasts, we spend a lot more money in the scuba equipment than photography. Most people own their diving equipment for many obvious reasons. My scuba diving equipment (including mandatory certification courses) costs more than $12,000 US for non-decompression type of diving. And unless you do a lot of local beach diving, diving trips cost thousands for a week per person if you want full service with an expert lead diver in the local area. So the camera is a small expenditure compared to diving. Your choice of cameras are PS camera, advanced compacts or D-SLR if you want digital. PS cameras are easy to handle and operate, and relatively cheap when using just the manufacturer housing and cheap strobes. If you want better image quality, then D-SLR with a good TTL strobe system is superior. The advanced compact is something in between in terms of price but the quality is quite a bit short of D-SLR, especially when you are mostly shooting in low light condition underwater. On land with optimal daylight, the advanced compact probably looks pretty close to D-SLR. But in low light condition, the D-SLR will shine way over the compacts. So to me, the choice is basically going for a cheap PS camera for fun, or a D-SLR with quality strobes if you are serious about UW photography.

But if you want the Canon G9 for your general use, it is a good and power packed compact camera. You can certainly use the G9 like a PS camera for diving, and use the cheaper manufacturer housing and 3rd party strobes. But the image quality will probably not significantly better than a PS camera. Here are the specs of the Canon G9:

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Underwater photography with a Canon G9
by Delphi76 / September 27, 2008 8:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Underwater photography
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More underwater photography...
by hjfok / October 23, 2007 10:31 AM PDT

And as I have mentioned in the other thread, the digital camera video quality is not good (most are mediocre). But they are usually good enough for your own enjoyment and for podcast or upload to internet.
The best way for you to decide which one to get is to go to your local diving shop and ask them for advice. And some diving shops even lend you or let you rent their photographic equipment for testing before purchase. Go to a specialty diving shop, where there are professionals who really know their stuff. Don't waste your time in those mega sports shops that sell scuba diving equipment. The specialty diving shops cost more, but they let you try out the equipment before purchase, and spend time teaching you how to use them. And they can custom fit and service your equipment with pro qualities.

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Canon G9 Housing
by insane192 / October 23, 2007 5:17 PM PDT

I think I probably am going to go with the canon G9 but haven't decided on housing.
I can get the canon housing over twice as cheap as the ikelite one and actually liked it better as it fits the camera closely and then will be lest cumbersome for using when surfing, skiing etc. If I can get a good strobe that fits the canon housing is there any other benefits of having an ikelite over the canon?


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Ikelite housing
by hjfok / October 24, 2007 2:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Canon G9 Housing

If you choose the Canon or a manufacturer's housing, it is less expensive and is generally the best choice for a PS camera. But you are limited to optically activated strobes (that fires when your camera flash fires). If you buy the Ikelite housing, then you have a choice of better TTL compatible strobes. The Ikelite strobes are very good. These are some articles that you can read about different kinds of strobes:

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by hjfok / October 24, 2007 2:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Canon G9 Housing
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Start simple
by travelmedic / October 28, 2007 4:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Canon G9 Housing

You've gotten a lot of good advice from other users which I wish I had gotten when I first got an UW camera.

When I decided I wanted to do UW photography, I already had a Sony DSC-V1 camera, and the only housing I could find for it was an Ikelite. I ended up buying the Ikelite housing and one of their strobes and arms. The Ikelite housing is virtually bomb-proof, it's very heavy duty and could take a lot of punishment. Unfortunately, it's heavy and a pain to carry through airports and what-not. (Actually got stopped by security one time who wouldn't believe me when I told them what it was) Housing and strobe also negatively buoyant (already discussed).

What I found is I used a lot more air and got shorter dives carrying this thing through the water with me. It was almost like learing to dive all over again too. Decreased air consumption was partially due to swimming all around trying to get good pictures instead of enjoying my dive though. Something for you to consider. Picture quality could be decent though, but the setup was maybe more than what I needed and the manual controller for the strobe was a pain for someone who isn't an expert photographer.

My last diving trip last week the resort let me use their little PS Canon in a Canon housing without additional strobe. A lot lighter and more compact, easier to carry around. I was able to preview the pictures in the camera and they looked OK but I'm waiting for the resort to (hopefully) send me a CD with the picture files.

My advice, start sort of simple and work your way up. The G9 may be a good choice (never tried it personally though) with the Canon housing (less than $200). If you decide you like underwater photography (and it can be addicting) then it's easy to upgrade with a better housing like the Ikelite, and/or add external strobes. Or just upgrade to a DSLR if you really want to be serious about it. If you decide you don't like it, you've got less money invested.

Because I'm looking to upgrade my camera and also because I don't dive as much as I'd like, I'm actually looking at going this route myself now (G9 with Canon housing and cheap strobes).

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Canon G9 housing fogs every time
by Gillbreather / November 3, 2007 5:09 AM PDT

Canon discourages any card over 2 GB. Beyond that, the WP DC-21 housing fogs shallow or deep. I GOT INDICATOR DESSICANT & STILL FOGGED EVERY TIME--3 dives at 60-85', 20 snorkel outings on shallow reefs in Tahiti. Extremely disappointing--great shots, all fogged. Canon shrugs & sends lengthy instructions on proper loading. Chronic condensation will kill the camera & the warranty won't cover--this from Cannon.
I tried turning the camera off every few minutes so it could cool its battery, but that hardly works with great shots coming up.
Besides that, using the camera flash at depth or shallow will most often generate back scatter, because the light is parallel to the aperature.
The ikelite housing is much more money, especially with the strobe, but then you can either get some great shots or chase this pooch around the block with the Cannon housing--which, by the way, does not allow access to the macro focus screen.

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Macro focus screen?
by insane192 / November 3, 2007 5:25 AM PDT

What do you mean by macro focus screen? The button to put it in Macro mode?

Also how many silica packages did you put in to stop condensation? I've also heard sealing it in an air conditioned room, keeping it in a tank of cool water until before the dive, using anti condensation fluid and using options e.g. turning of lcd after a period of time are all good ways of stopping condensation.


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avoiding camera fogging
by joeb178 / December 10, 2007 9:47 PM PST
In reply to: Macro focus screen?

The problem you're having has nothing to do with it being a Canon. I got a great tip from a professional photographer on a liveaboard dive in Australia. A few hours before the dive, put the camera in a bucket of clean water and just take it out when you're ready to dive. That way the interior and exterior are equilibrated to the same temperature. You still need a bit of antifog on the inside of the cover (put on prior to soaking the housing with the camera inside).

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Inaccessible macro focus screen
by Gillbreather / December 11, 2007 2:02 AM PST
In reply to: Macro focus screen?

Yes, pushing the macro button on the Canon G-9 housing will give you macro function & show you the macro focus area, inset in the center of the LCD. HOWEVER, to change your focus in the macro mode, you need to turn the dial, which you cannot do with the Canon housing. You can turn that dial with the Ikelite housing.

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Macro focus, Memory card and guides
by insane192 / December 11, 2007 2:15 AM PST

I thought that as well for changing the scene in scene selection mode but you can change it by holding down that button in the top left (print sign) and using left and right keys. It's a bit slower but it does the job.

I've got the camera now with the canon housing and a sealife digital strobe - havent tested it all properly in a dive but so far its looking good.

Got a few issues but;

The memory card I have is a 2gb sd from some unknown brand
- I want to get a new memory card but don't know what to go for. 2gb or 4gb?
The two ones im looking at are the sandisk ultra 2 and the extreme 3. Is it worth the extra for the extreme?
- I notice in continuous shooting mode it is very slow as it seems to take quite long to write to the unbranded memory card I currently use - will a new memory card fix this?
-Does the operating temperature matter when diving - also I will be going to South Africa at Christmas so it will be reasonably hot there.

Also, I am quite a novice with cameras and until now have just used point and shoot cameras. Can someone give me a link to a site or reccommend a good book to teach myself with?


Message was edited by admin to remove personal name

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Fast memory card
by hjfok / December 13, 2007 10:08 AM PST

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what a fast memory card will do for you. Well, it does not help your camera to take faster continuous burst shots.

How fast your camera can take photos depend on your camera's ability. When you camera takes photos, these photos are temporary stored in the buffer and then transferred to the memory card. Once the buffer is full, then your camera will stop taking new photos and have to wait for the buffer to make room after transferring the data to the memory card. The speed of the memory card helps this transferring process. So a fast memory card will help to empty out your buffer quicker so that you don't have to wait as long to do the next burst. Or in some cases, it may be fast enough to keep the buffer from filling up, and you can keep shooting until the memory card is full. So the faster memory card will help you take more photos continuously but not faster photos. The shot to shot speed is determined by your camera. If you want faster speed, you need a faster camera. You also need to check your camera's specification to see if it supports the faster cards.

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Canon G9 housing fogging
by provac1 / December 26, 2007 9:20 AM PST
In reply to: Macro focus screen?

I just received a G9 for Christmas and have eight days to keep or return. I have been using an Olympus camera and UW housing for years and never experienced fogging except for the one time it leaked. Is this fogging a common occurrence with many UW housings or particular to the Canon? Anybody with any feed-back or experience will be appreciated.

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(NT) Use what you use to keep your mask from fogging.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 26, 2007 10:23 AM PST
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UW housing fogging
by hjfok / December 27, 2007 11:31 AM PST

Most people will use antifog to coat the inside and keep the camera inside the housing in a bucket of cool water as you set out to your destination. And take it out right before diving. Also make sure you air dry the housing completely the day before the dive. Trapped moisture can cause fogging.

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uw housing casting shadow ??
by jkotik / December 22, 2007 8:07 AM PST

Hi all - first please excuse my bad english, since it's not my native language. I have bought UW case for canon G9 and what a surprise - when I use a camera internal flash, it casts a massive shadow, so I guess the internal flash is completely unusable underwater?? I did not find one single information about this anywhere on the internet - this is strange, because I thougth using flash underwater is essential, so the UW housing should get many complaints for this from users I guess.. Or am I the only one experiencig this?? Here are links to the pictures ( all made without any zoom, the third one without the UW case - shows the same problem, when using flash from short distance (macro), but the problem is much worse when using UW housing:

Please help, since I dont really know if I should contact seller about this issue, or I have to use some external strobe?

Thanks for help or advice,

Jan, Czech Republic

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You should try it under the water
by hjfok / December 22, 2007 6:41 PM PST

Did you use the diffuser over the flash? Keep in mind that this type of camera and housing are intended for people doing day time diving where there is a lot of ambient light. The on camera flash will work okay during daytime down to probably about 60 feet provided there is good visibility. And you need to have the diffuser on for the flash to work properly. So try it with the diffuser under a pool during day time and see whether it works better.
External strobe works better of course, especially in deeper water or at night. Your on camera flash will NOT work in a underwater cave or at night, unless you have a diving light like the Niterider HID lights.

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