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Old Sep 18, 2006, 11:16 AM   #1
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I'm new to underwater photography - but I'm looking to give it a go next time I go diving (2 weeks - Red Sea - Can't wait!).

I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 and was wondering what people's opinions where about the various housings available for it.

I count three, but if anyone knows of any others I'd really like to know.

Nikon's own WP-CP4 (this looks discontinued tho???)
Fantasea's CP-7
Ikelite's 7900

Specifically is the Ikelite worth the extra money (and why)? Which is easiest to setup/use? Is there a clear winner for good quality shots.

Typically I dive to upto 30m, normally in areas with good/very good visibility and lots of tropical fish/reef/coral. That's what I want to snap (macro stuff). I'm not (at least not yet) interested in wide angle shots of wrecks and so forth.

Finally (and slightly off topic - sorry), what do people have to say about Nikon's Underwater Scene mode? Is it good enough, or am I better using the manual mode to get the best shots and tweaking the settings myself.

Any advice muchly appreicated,


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Old Sep 18, 2006, 5:01 PM   #2
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I'd say if you can find it the Nikon housing is probably the best just due to the size. It appears to give access to all the controls, allows for extra lenses to be atttached and it's a compact size.

The Ikelite by comparison seems quite large, probably due to the fact that it's a multi purpose housing with controls installed for the specific camera, my Ikelite D70 housing uses the same principal of a one size fits all housing. The Ikelite would be my second choice based on what I see. It has all the controls (I think) and allows suplemental lens to be used.

The Fantasea appears to be larger than the Nikon housing but probaly smaller than the Ikelite. However it appears to have no access to the mode dial or the on off switch and only provides access to a limited number of buttons on the rear of the camera. This would rule it out for me. I'm sure I'd want access to some of those functions underwater. In particular the requirement to switch the camera on before putting it into the housing would be a major disadvantage. I just know at some point I'd jump off the back of the boat with the camera switched off and of course that would be the dive with the whale shark.

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Old Sep 20, 2006, 7:21 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice!

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Old Dec 8, 2006, 6:11 PM   #4
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I just bought the Fantasea CP7, and it's true that you can't access the dial and some of the other buttons (e.g., Menu, Delete, OK, some of the directional buttons and On/Off). But, just as I noticed I couldn't touch the on/off, I read in their instructions that if you hold down the Shutter button for 3 seconds, the camera turns on (surprise!). I don't really see me reviewing and deleting while underwater, so I wasn't too concerned with not having access to other things. You can review, but not delete. So, you do have to configure some things beforehand, like flash and exposure. The camera has exposure options, but I've never played with them before. I think I'll first try it with the default settings, other than setting the overall scene to "underwater". We'll see how that goes.
I'm going to use it in a couple of weeks; I'll try to write back with the results.
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