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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Underwater Photography
Thread started 04 Oct 2015 (Sunday) 14:02
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Scuba Dive Camera Suggestions??

 
MonkeyGurl
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Oct 04, 2015 14:02 |  #1

Heya,

So I have taken an interest in Scuba Diving. I need Scuba Dive camera suggestions! Please don't say Digital SLR + Housing (I have a D70 - and the housing would alone cost over $400 + I need a light source + other stuff etc etc). Also - a gopro won't cut it

My budget is $1000 +/- depending on what's out there.

In March, I plan on travelling with a group to Bonaire. I plan on diving mainly between 40-60 feet. I'm assuming the biggest problem is light and then there's colors fading the deeper you go (which I assume would be corrected with a light source).

My PADI shop suggested a Sealife Micro HD (http://www.amazon.com ...keywords=sealife+mi​cro+HD (external link))

But... I want to know what the experts here think. I would prefer a camera that is both decent at movie+picture taking.

Any suggestions are appreciated!!!

Thanks




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scsurfdad
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Oct 05, 2015 15:52 |  #2

I won't bite into the debate on what's best, but as a scuba diver and photographer (as a hobby) I will give some hopefully helpful insight.

The first thing I will say is get comfortable diving and controlling your breathing before taking a camera underwater. When I first started taking pics my air was used up much faster because I was breathing faster and focused on getting the shots. It just takes a little practice.

You will also swim differently when holding a camera, the first couple dives should be more focused on you and the safety of the reef...not the pictures you're gonna get. I was diving with a small group in Cozumel when one of the guys braced his foot on a large coral head and his hand on another coral just to get a shot of a toadfish..coral reefs are very delicate. I swear I could have killed him when we got back to the boat but luckily our dive master saw him and laid into him and wouldn't let him dive with the camera for the rest of the day.

This should be common sense but have the camera tethered to your arm/wrist. If you're diving a wall and drop it, it wont stop at your diving limits...it will be long gone.

I'm assuming you are fairly new to diving so have fun and get as much practice in as you can before your trip, you've got plenty of time.

Cheers!


Mike
7D + a bunch of other stuff

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phantelope
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NorCal
Oct 05, 2015 16:26 |  #3

you could also rent the housing and light(s) I think? Just an idea. If you go diving a lot then buying makes more sense, but if it's a once a year thing, maybe not?


40D, 5D3, a bunch of lenses and other things :cool:

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seaninsa
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Oct 05, 2015 17:42 |  #4

MonkeyGurl wrote in post #17732513 (external link)
Heya,

So I have taken an interest in Scuba Diving. I need Scuba Dive camera suggestions! Please don't say Digital SLR + Housing (I have a D70 - and the housing would alone cost over $400 + I need a light source + other stuff etc etc). Also - a gopro won't cut it

My budget is $1000 +/- depending on what's out there.

In March, I plan on travelling with a group to Bonaire. I plan on diving mainly between 40-60 feet. I'm assuming the biggest problem is light and then there's colors fading the deeper you go (which I assume would be corrected with a light source).

My PADI shop suggested a Sealife Micro HD (http://www.amazon.com ...keywords=sealife+mi​cro+HD (external link))

But... I want to know what the experts here think. I would prefer a camera that is both decent at movie+picture taking.

Any suggestions are appreciated!!!

Thanks

As another poster stated first learn to dive. Learn your buoyancy and how to be a good diver and then get into UW. For $1000 you are not really going to get much of a setup. For a new diver to take up photography I would not even suggest. When you are diving and doing photography you are task loading and as a new diver I would not recommend this at all.




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MonkeyGurl
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Oct 06, 2015 06:52 as a reply to seaninsa's post |  #5

Heya,

Thanks for the advice - I have done 2 dives, and plan on doing another 4-5 dives (because I paid extra to redo my first 2 dives) for open water - I am kinda scared because it will be in Ohio - so temps will be LOOOOW, it's fresh water... and not sure where the thermocline is. So I'll have 6-7 dives before my Bonaire trip.

I am aware of NOT touching anything and having to fine tune my buoyancy. From my first two dives in Jamaica I can tell you I had my GoPro Camera/another Wal-Mart underwater Camera with a wrist/chest strap (I will have to buy a strap of some sorts if I dive deeper). I didn't have a hard time taking pictures/not touching underwater life/structures. But in all honestly my buoyancy control wasn't the greatest so I do know I have to work on that.

That aside - I'll have a better idea in the next month.

If let's say I do want a camera - any suggestions. I know my budget isn't high.. but I still have to purchase a wet suit + dive compute... already spend about $1000++ on OW Course + Equipment and then there's the trip for $2500 so I'm kinda bleeding money here. I can go slightly higher depending on what's out there

Anyone have any experience with the sealife micro hd - it seems like a "budget friendly" camera and it comes with light oO

Thanks!

Baz




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seaninsa
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Oct 06, 2015 09:18 as a reply to MonkeyGurl's post |  #6

Well first buy a good dive computer. I didn't take up UW photography really until i had over 50 or so dives. Before you can do UW photography you need to have good buoyancy. UW photography is nothing something I recommend to someone that is just starting out. Enjoy the ocean and later add UW photography. A lot of times us photographers miss things or don't see things because we are diving through our cameras. Sometimes I will leave my camera topside and just enjoy the dive.




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cicopo
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Ottawa, Ont, Canada
Oct 06, 2015 18:44 |  #7

I'm another diver who must stress the fact you need to master your buoyancy before concentrating on shooting photos. You need to learn how to work in the current or wave surge too & work without using your hands because they will be working the camera. I do most of my diving in Cozumel which is drift diving & both the instructors there & the Dive Masters frown on relatively new divers bringing a camera down with them.

As for a camera a good P & S that shoots RAW will serve you well and if you can add a flash great but for the first while you can get by without one while relying on the built in flash with a diffuser (which should come with the appropriate housing. I still shoot a G9 in the Canon housing with 2 outdated Sea & Sea strobes that only fire at full power & get decent results thanks to shooting RAW. When you do get a camera make sure you get a wrist lanyard AND a lanyard to secure it to your BCD too. A lot of cameras get lost while diving especially GoPro's. Put your name & contact inside the housing & on every memory card (I photograph my business card, hotel key which is like a credit card, etc). Make your camera almost neutrally buoyant allowing it to float SLOWLY toward the surface. That way you can chase it if it gets free or at least it will go to the surface rather than the bottom.


A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought.

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Luckless
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Joined Mar 2012
PEI, Canada
Oct 07, 2015 14:47 |  #8

cicopo wrote in post #17735739 (external link)
Make your camera almost neutrally buoyant allowing it to float SLOWLY toward the surface. That way you can chase it if it gets free or at least it will go to the surface rather than the bottom.

This is a point that I feel is something to be addressed on a case by case basis for location and the day's conditions. I've yet to get into diving, but I have done a bit of ROV work from the surface, and have had to go chasing after bits of kit that got away on a few occasions.

On rivers stuff that quickly popped back to the surface was generally easiest to spot, but could be hard to grab due to how quickly it could move down stream, and given that we were working in fairly fast and rough water it made things 'interesting' to go chase something down rapids.

Stuff that only rose through the water slowly was the worst, as it was hard to see but still able to move quickly with the water.

The few things that fell straight to the bottom in clear conditions were the easiest to find again because they didn't go anywhere.

One size does not fit all when it comes to dealing with working in or around aquatic environments.


Canon EOS 7D | EF 28 f/1.8 | EF 85 f/1.8 | EF 70-200 f/4L | EF-S 17-55 | Sigma 150-500
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cicopo
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Ottawa, Ont, Canada
Oct 08, 2015 07:34 |  #9

You have some very good points there & getting through the water in dive gear is slower than in snorkel gear. That said based on the many threads I've read at Scubaboard on lost cameras many are the result of either having them knocked off of the lanyard attaching them to your BCD when the crew pulls it up out of the water (you've taken it off to climb the ladder minus all that weight) & it catches the top edge of the boat or simply letting go of it to grab the ladder. It's certainly worth considering the environment you'll be using it in & adding a bit more weight once it's close to neutral. With most of my diving being in Cozumel which has a lot of wall dives I want mine to rise but many GoPro's get found on the reefs. Some find their way back to the owners which is why I recommend having your contact info inside.


A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought.

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scsurfdad
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Oct 19, 2015 12:12 as a reply to MonkeyGurl's post |  #10

Sorry, but after 6-7 dives (in freshwater) you should not even consider taking a camera down with you. Enjoy the dives and if you want pics, hire a local UW Photographer to takes pis of you/for you. You could end up spending $1000 and get down there and the dive master (if he has any experience) would most likely not even let you use it. I haven't been to Bonaire but in Hawaii, Fiji, Cozumel, Cabo, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Bart, Costa Maya, etc... I would assume Bonaire will be the same. For a couple hundred bucks you could get an experienced photographer and just enjoy the dives. Having pics of you and your friends will be much easier and you could split the cost. Ask the dive company you are going out with and I'm sure they will have a couple options for you. I've always done small private boats and they will bring a photographer at a reduced rate (which you pay) and then you pay the photographer for the pics. If you really want to do your own then get a GoPro, push record, and forget its there...I have two, they really do take amazing video and they're cheap.


Mike
7D + a bunch of other stuff

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scsurfdad
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Oct 22, 2015 15:00 |  #11

Not necessarily on topic but maybe you can benefit from my mistakes as a diver that loves to travel. I spent over $8,000 on high end, lightweight (titanium) dive gear for my wife and I (wireless dive computers and everything). My thought was that it would last longer and titanium was lighter to travel with and it would be nice to have good gear wherever we went. My friend that we travel frequently with bought a few things but travels with nothing...I have a full extra bag with two full sets of gear (can't have my wife carry her own stuff, right?). You see where this is going... My friend gets off the boat and walks off carrying nothing but a cold drink. I get off the boat and go back to our room and begin to rinse everything off. By the time I'm done he is in the pool with another drink and I am sweaty and need a drink...but I have all this cool gear ;-)a. After about four trips like this (I'm a little slow) I got rid of everything and just use the gear on the boat and enjoy the easier travel and the dives. BTW, I sold all my gear on craigslist for under $2000 after 4/5 years.


Mike
7D + a bunch of other stuff

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cicopo
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Oct 22, 2015 16:31 |  #12

That's an easy story to follow & good advice. I bought all my gear in late 95 / early 96 including a state of the art wireless computer too but for a different reason & still have all of it plus a bit more. I bought it all knowing it was expensive enough that it would make me want to use it at least once a year & I do that. That said I've spent enough time diving & observing plus participating in the forums to recommend that new divers start by buying their own reg set & computer & rent the rest at their different dive destinations. I always recommend asking other divers why they bought what they have, what they think of it & what short comings that gear may have. Once you get an idea of what you think you like based on how well others like their gear it may be time to buy a BCD but then many are bulky to pack & travel with & in today's market most airlines want you to travel light.
One more opinion re buying your own reg is that IF you do now it's up to you to get it serviced yearly, which adds up. Rental gear gets a lot of use at popular dive destinations or you can rent from a local shop but either way regs that see constant use are very likely to work properly when you rent them but your own may sit around so long it may develop a problem. I'm fortunate enough to be able to service my own & always do before each trip plus I have a full extra reg set so that once I get on that boat I'm ready to dive.


A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought.

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uwphotoguy
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Oct 22, 2015 16:37 |  #13

I am a scuba instructor and underwater photographer. I second the great advice from others. Enjoy diving in Bonaire and work on your buoyancy and other basic diving skills. Bonaire is beautiful easy diving with lots of small to medium size fish. Save the photo experience til later and take your local dive center's underwater photo class. I would recommend a simple P&S like the Canon S120 and Canon or Ikelite housing, when you do venture into photography. You can go used/refurb on the camera and go back to the old S110 or S100. Go to www.wetpixel.com (external link) for lots of great articles and pointers on their forum. They also have a great classifieds section full of used gear. I have bought and sold several items there and never had a bad experience. Just shoot it with the diffuser at first. Add one or two strobes later. The key to UW photography is to get as close as possible to the subject and shoot on their level or slightly looking up at them. If you chase a fish, you will get shots of fish tails. If you shoot down, you will get shots of the tops of their heads. there are also some great book resources out there like "The Underwater Photographer" by Martin Edge. Be sure to get the kindle edition as the book is a monster. Good luck and safe diving!




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Lyle ­ Krannichfeld
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Joined Nov 2009
Kihei, HI
Oct 23, 2015 19:29 |  #14

The s series from Canon or slightly larger g series with an ikelite housing. If you shop used you should be able to swing those plus a strobe. Check out wetpixel.com.


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Mark ­ K
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Dec 26, 2015 03:45 |  #15

MonkeyGurl wrote in post #17732513 (external link)
Heya,

So I have taken an interest in Scuba Diving. I need Scuba Dive camera suggestions! Please don't say Digital SLR + Housing (I have a D70 - and the housing would alone cost over $400 + I need a light source + other stuff etc etc). Also - a gopro won't cut it

My budget is $1000 +/- depending on what's out there.

In March, I plan on travelling with a group to Bonaire. I plan on diving mainly between 40-60 feet. I'm assuming the biggest problem is light and then there's colors fading the deeper you go (which I assume would be corrected with a light source).

My PADI shop suggested a Sealife Micro HD (http://www.amazon.com ...keywords=sealife+mi​cro+HD (external link))

But... I want to know what the experts here think. I would prefer a camera that is both decent at movie+picture taking.

Any suggestions are appreciated!!!

Thanks

Hope this will not bee too late. The best ones should be those newer DCs with 1 inch sesnor, say RX100 series from Sony or G7X/ G5X from Canon. Inexpensive but good housings come from Meikon, either in plastic or metallic materials. You should also consider a video light and a bracket to house a stroke.


Canon, Nikon, Sony, Minolta, Fujifilm, Sigma, Tamron & Tokina

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