My Grandfather's Legacy and Guest Blogger, Rachel Stinson on Things to Consider Before Choosing the Best Underwater Digital Camera

July 6, 2018

Intro by Sarah Teveldal

 

Underwater photography has been around probably longer than you think - the first underwater images were taken in the mid to late 1800's by William Thompson and Louis Boutan .

 

picture by Louis Boutan: Emil Racovitza as diver at Observatoire océanologique de Banyuls-sur-Mer, 1899

 

Today, the art of underwater photography is becoming increasingly popular and as technology develops, there are many options to choose from when considering buying an underwater camera or housing for your camera.

 

When I decided I wanted to start an underwater photography business, I had no idea what type of equipment I would need and how I was going to afford it.  At that time, I was 23 and had just returned to the states from traveling New Zealand and Australia.  I was broke. During that time my grandfather, Lester Fitting, passed away and willed me what ended up being just enough to buy the newest Canon camera, a 5DMarkii and the best housing for it - a corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy Sea and Sea housing.  I was able to purchase the accessories, too - a wide angle lens, strobes, carrying case and a new computer for editing.  

 

My grandfather was a hard-working man who raised cattle and four, strong independent daughters on a ranch up in South Dakota–one of them being my mother.  That hard-working ethic and entrepreneurial spirit was passed on to me and I am ever-so-grateful for these gifts that he gave me to now live out my passion of doing underwater photography.  I think of him often, many times right before I get in the water to shoot and it makes me so happy to know that I'm able to pass on his legacy little by little in each click of the shutter.  I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him.

 

Photo: Grandpa Lester and my mom, Carolyn on the left, my beautiful grandmother Mary Jane and aunt Kathy on the right

Guest blogger Rachel Stinson covers some topics that may be helpful when "taking the plunge".

 

Things to Consider Before Choosing the Best Underwater Digital Camera

 

Choosing an underwater camera is really not a simple task for a novice. As you say right now, there is not a better dive camera to buy, but many that will best fit your needs and especially your budget. With the growth of underwater photography, manufacturers have been forced to respond to a wide range of desires and demands, resulting in a wide choice of models for each level of underwater photographer.

 

The best advice for choosing a scuba camera is to select your dive camera based on the waterproof housings available on the market and shooting options. If you already have a camera and are comfortable with it, be it a DSLR or DSLR camera even spy and hidden camera you just have to find the right waterproof case to start your underwater adventure.

 

 

Compact camera or DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera)?

 

If you're a beginner in underwater photography and you want to buy a new camera, you have to start with a compact camera because of its ease of use, price, and versatility. While there is no doubt that the image quality produced by SLRs is on average much better than that of a compact camera, understand that this is NOT just about equipment, but about photographer. Equipment alone will not help you produce better images. Never forget that. The SLRs offer interchangeable lenses of superior quality, without shutter lag, and generally possess better looking sensors. These benefits translate into higher cost and weight than compacts. The handling and complexity of the menus will also require a longer learning time.

 

 

Main factors in choosing a scuba diving camera

 

 

To find the right underwater camera, you need to find the right combination of these three factors to suit your personal preferences and photographic intentions. The first step is to determine which features are most important to you.

 

 

1. FUNCTIONALITIES

 

The more requirements you have with your images, the more options you will need for your underwater camera.

It is therefore important to prioritize the features that matter most to you.

 

Features of the waterproof case

 

For each camera, there are several models of waterproof case. Before placing an order, check carefully:

  • - The different controls of the case and their ease of use.

  • - The types of connections.

  • - Additional external lenses that will allow you to shoot with wider angles or macro shots.

 

Manual checks

 

Surely the most important decision to make before buying, would you like to take your underwater photo in automatic mode or in manual mode. How much do you want to control the rendering of the image? It is important to know that the automatic mode does not work as well under water as on land.

 

Manual white balance

 

White balance mode is important if you plan to shoot underwater without a flash and only using ambient light. Due to the properties of water, images using only natural light will appear in blue. Manual white balance is an effective way of eliminating this color cast.

 

 

Photographic lenses

 

If you plan to buy a waterproof case, make sure that it accepts external lenses. These new lenses are additional optics that you will place on or in front of the main lens. They will allow you to take underwater wide angle or macro shots. If you are interested in diving at a wide angle, we recommend you choose a camera / camera that fit a fisheye lens. These lenses allow you to get as close as possible to the subject and results in more colorful and detailed images

 

Shutter delay

 

Compact digital cameras all have a distinct delay between when you press the shutter button and when the image is captured. This shutter speed varies according to the dive camera models. This shutter lag can be frustrating when shooting moving objects such as fish and other wildlife because the subject may have moved from the moment you pressed the shutter button until you captured the shutter. 'picture. Try to select a model with the shortest shutter speed possible. High-end compact cameras have improved dramatically and have a very low shutter lag.

 

RAW files

 

The underwater scuba cameras of the market produce different types of image files. If you do not plan to edit your underwater photos in Photoshop or another editing program, shooting in JPEG is perfect. If you plan to edit your images, consider selecting a submarine camera that produces RAW files, which are uncompressed files that retain as much data as possible, which is a valuable attribute when editing your images. .

 

Number of pixels

 

Do not fall for the hype around the million pixel race. Doubling the number of pixels does not double the resolution of your images but increases it by about 40%. Going from 8 MP to 10 MP increases your resolution by only 8%. Other aspects are more to be considered as the size of the sensor which is a much better indicator of the quality of the images. That's why a 10-megapixel DSLR produces better image quality than a 10-megapixel camera

 

Video

 

The video revolution is in progress. Diving cameras are no longer limited to taking still images. Most underwater cameras have a video mode that allows you to make movies. This mode can have a significant impact on the desired model. Video quality varies from standard HD to full HD. Some new SLRs offer impressive image quality.

 

However, if you are more interested in underwater video than photography, we recommend you to look for a versatile action camera designed for scuba diving. The Paralenz camera is probably the most complete on the market because unlike the many accessories used in underwater photography (telescopic arms, flash, waterproof case, lenses), the Paralenz camera integrates all a series of intelligent options.

 

 

2. SIZE AND WEIGHT

 

Size of the dive camera

 

For some people, the size of the camera counts the most. Already overloaded with large bags of diving equipment and clothing, adding a large underwater camera is not an option. Fortunately, there are cameras that fit into any pocket or small boxes. These cameras usually have limited features, but keep getting better. If you decide to travel with accessories like strobes and extra lenses, the size of the camera becomes almost negligible and should not be a major factor.

 

3. THE BUDGET 

 

Costs of underwater photography equipment

 

Underwater photography can require a lot of equipment to make underwater photos of very good quality and meeting the requirements of the underwater photographer. 

 

Your final choice will of course depend on your budget. Even if we all want the best, it is not all that we can afford. Underwater photography is not a cheap hobby. Enclosures, strobes, ports, focus lights, strobe lights, and other accessories and gadgets can quickly drive up the bill.


There are two main things to consider when it comes to budget:

 

Budget, and then add 50%

 

The first thing to consider is that you will probably spend more than you originally thought. You will start by buying a camera dive and then a few months later you will think to add more complex accessories to improve the result of your underwater photos.

 

Do not forget the strobe (s)

 

We strongly recommend that you consider buying a strobe in your budget. The addition of this accessory will greatly increase the quality of your underwater photos rather than going upmarket. Ideally, get a mid-range stroboscope that you can integrate into your camera and case.

 

Accessorize

 

While props often seem optional in underwater photography, they will make your underwater photos much more practical, interesting and productive. Lenses, tripods, strobe arms or focus lamps, they are just some of the accessories that will help you in your quest to become an excellent underwater photographer.

 

First aid kit and extra equipment

 

In underwater photography, you always have to anticipate the unexpected. Plan to buy additional batteries, spare parts and a small DIY kit (cable ties, tapes, ropes, etc.). Finally it is also useful to have additional memory cards, a card reader and of course a laptop or a hard disk. The last thing you want is to lose all the fruit of your work. So do not forget to save again and again.

 

In conclusion

 

As you may have read, buying a dive camera is only the tip of the iceberg of the equipment you will need. But all this is part of the fun too!

 

 

About The Author

Rachel Stinson has always had a knack for writing, food, fashion, and places. Blogging has combined all four for her with an added bonus of enthusiastic audiences. She expertly analyzes real estates, restaurants and camera stores with respect to pricing and people involved and can express her opinions in an unhesitant, engaging manner for all matters. 

 

 

 

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