> I'm fairly happy with the Sealife Reefmaster. It costs about $200, and
> the 3X macro lens costs about $40. It is essentially a cheap point and
> shoot in a *** casing, but it is light, and can take good pictures
> once you know its limitations.
This is not a problem if you're only interested in snapshots, but
if your a shutterbug on land, you're probably going to outgrow
the system and sell it off and buy something "Real" in a few years.
Obviously, from an economics standpoint, if you suspect that this
is going to happen, it may be worth skipping this stage. This is
especially true when you start to look at strobe requirements.
Another factor with these cameras is that often, the factory is
your only source of service should anything go wrong. I've
seen repairs on "cheap" Sea&Sea cameras cost significantly more
than the same type of repair on an "expensive" Nikon Nikonos.
Part of it is technology & design, but its also competition:
there's several high-quality non-factory Nikonos service providers.
In the "real UW camera" department, generally a Nikonos is
going to be the smallest camera, for you'll be comparing it
to housed 35mm SLR camera systems, but for the PhD types, I
like the Ikelite Aquashot the best because it has a respectible
number of accessories if you want them, plus if (err...when.
Its always "when") you flood the camera, your losses are minor
(just a $10 disposable camera) and you can fix it by yourself
that afternoon in your hotel room or whatever instead of it
being a sent-out-in-the-mail-gone-for-a-month that's going to
run you a couple of hundred.
9. dive camera