Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mirrorless Underwater Setups

Within the next three years I will likely start putting together an underwater mirrorless camera setup. So I decided to price out a few options. They are all with the Sony E mount since my daughter has a camera on the same lens system.

Sony A7rII Camera with Nauticam Housing:
Ok, I will stop pretending this is an option. This will be almost $10,000 once strobes, gopro mounts, and better lenses are included. While mirrorless camera setups have cheaper housings than DSLR cameras, the high end still costs a fortune.

Sony A7II Camera and Meikon Housing:
 The A7II would probably take the best baby photos of the plausible cameras I could get. This may make it an attractive option. Additional cost of strobes would ultimately make sense to add on to this package.

Sony A7S Camera and Meikon Housing:
It is possible that I can get a cheap A7S since the A7SII is just about to come out. If that happens I may elect to go this route. The low light capabilities of the A7S are legendary, allowing photos to be taken of things too dark to see with the naked eye.

Sony A7SII Camera with Meikon Housing:
  • Sony A7SII Camera: ~3,000 (not yet released)
  • Meikon Housing: ~$300 (not yet released)
Having the best low light consumer camera released would be a lot of fun. Risking a $3,000 loss if a $300 housing fails is terrifying however.

Full Sony a6000 setup with Ikelite housing:
This is the nicest setup I could plausibly get. While after taxes it will be something like $4,500 it could be easily bought in pieces over a fairly long time. The camera could be one purchase, the macro lens another, the housing and ports another purchase, and the strobes bought one at a time after that. Probably because of the long delay before the kit is assembled I would wait until the next version of the a6000, although I might be able to get a good enough deal on the a6000 to stick with it.

Partial Sony a6000 setup with Ikelite Housing:
This build has the advantage that it is comparatively cheap, and upgradable to the full setup if it is insufficient. At a minimum it should blow the Gopro away. There is a high probability I will start with this setup.

Sony A7S Camera and Meikon Housing
This is one of the cheapest ways to get started with underwater photography with an E-mount camera. Unfortunately it is not upgradable, and will produce worse images than the other options because of a less nice port. Still, snorkeling it probably does just fine.

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