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  1. #1

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    Camera for surfing / beach photography?

    It's been a long while, but I am finally in a position to consider purchasing a camera again and taking up photography ... and now I live right on the water- at the beach in SoCal.

    I was just going to get a Maxxum 7 again, as that was always my favorite back in Alaska. However, I just got to thinking...with the sand and the saltwater down here at the ocean, how important is a sealed all-metal pro type body, say more along the lines of a Maxxum 9 or Nikon F5 type body?

    Will it make any difference or even be worth the added cost of the body?
    Thanks for any thoughts on this one.

  2. #2
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    These are the best to use in the conditions you describe ordinary SLR s are not sand and salt-water proof and won't last very long The Nikon Nikonos will http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-Nikono...item3cbb183e27
    Ben

  3. #3
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Don't laugh, http://www.ecamerafilms.com/product_p/8957052.htm.

    Vacationed in Hawaii a month ago and developed them today, absolutely great in the water or out.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #4

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    Thanks guys. I will take a look at the Nikonos system. Would have to work for above water shots though too, for what I'm thinking. Also, those disposable ones don’t look too bad if I was willing to use 800ISO print film. Too bad I'm not, that route looks nice and cheap.

  5. #5
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    The guys I've seen who do this stuff in Hawai'i are usually using SLRs from the major manufacturers and big lenses. I love those classic B&W surf shots from the 1960s.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  6. #6
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    A couple of things--

    1) Consider whether it makes sense to get in the water for these shots. Whether from the beach or pier you can get a better vantage point with a long lens.
    1b) If the surfers don't know you, you may not be welcome in the water like this. I grew up near Huntington. I wouldn't go into the better waves with a boogie board (considered a kiddie toy) much less a camera. These were not people who were into sharing. Heck, they were pretty aggressive with other surfers. Can you get out of their way if they catch a wave near you?

    2) Nikonos: great camera. Has some major limitations. The only two lenses which work in air are the 35mm and the 85mm (as I recall). Neither particularly long. The Nikonos is a viewfinder camera. It isn't even a rangefinder. You set the focus distance on the lens and aim with the viewfinder. No autofocus. No rangefinder. They are wonderful cameras and dirt cheap these days. But know the limitations.

    3) As to the lifetime of a camera by the beach: film bodies are cheap. You can get an N90s for next to nothing, and an F100 in bargain condition for <$150. (I'm putting things in Nikon framing because that's what I know). Depending on your means, consider the body disposable. You are taking a camera off the shelf and putting it to use. Glass might be a different matter. Consider whether you need autofocus. Are your subject essentially at infinity? If so, why worry about AF lenses. Could make for cheaper glass, and, again, the ability to consider the glass disposable.

    I don't know Maxim styles, but most of the bodies I see at KEH are dirt cheap. Top of the line is still under $200. Most of the glass (with a couple of notable exceptions) is under $200, and much cheaper than that. If this is the system you know, you could be in for cheap and, then, who cares if this is your beach camera? Save it from collecting dust. Run it into the ground. You'll probably get a few years at least.

  7. #7

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    Minolta weathermatic


  8. #8
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Way cool, I just bought one! There's more on eBay.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  9. #9

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    Thank you all for the good advice, especially Matt's detailed post there. Some very good things to think about. I only know two surfers personally - a guy and a gal. Everyone else would be "a stranger", so I was already thinking I'd have to make some friends doing this! Very good points about whether or not I could pull it off getting in the water. Maybe standing on shore or waist deep or something would be better for starters.

    I think I will stay with the Minolta gear because that is what I know ... I like the idea of just dedicating a beach body - that's probably the best way to handle it. Then when it gets all scratched up I won't cry. hehe...

    I'll have to think about the lenses. Thing is, with Minolta it's either old, manual bodies and MF lenses; or newer AF bodies and AF lenses - there really is no "good" way to interchange the two systems.
    I shot old manual focus Minolta gear for a long time, and really loved some of the cameras. But the lack of a built-in spot meter really puts me off to getting into them again. Perhaps they would be best for this kind of thing, though? I just got spoiled when I owned Maxxum 9 and 7 bodies, that is for sure!

    Thanks for all the great advice, and please keep it coming if anyone has any more, because I'm just re-entering the hobby after a couple year break, and I'm going to have to buy cameras and glass again, so it's not like I'm dead set on anything...yet.
    Sincerely,
    Jed

  10. #10

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    Canon WP-1
    "Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
    "Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"

    Me

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