[Coral-List] Re: underwater camera

Georgios Tsounis Georgios at icm.csic.es
Fri Feb 3 16:58:25 EST 2006

Hi Michelle,

back in 2001 when 7 Megapixels were still expensive, we used a small  
sony digital compact with great success for a population structure  
study. The only drawback of the compacts compared to a digital SLR was  
the extreme shutterlag (annoying and at times stressful, but still  
tolerable with coral work). I would rather recomend something like a  
Nikon Coolpix 5000, if 5MP are enough, as our colleagues have had good  
experience with this one. If you need a certain range from wideangle to  
macro, then the compact cameras offer more flexibility than an SLR with  
a macro lens, and are much cheaper to house. The macro ability was  
quite astonishing to me, but it is important to check it out before  
purchase. I am pretty sure the coolpix range of nikons allow  
whitebalance settings. However, I suspect whitebalance has limits when  
used at 20m (did not ry this though).

In our experience flash use under water was problematic with compacts.  
I usually switched off the build in flash, or blocked it by hand.  
Instead we used a divers light on a strobe arm to illuminate the corals  
and provide a focussing light to the autofocus. It worked fine, but  
required sufficient battery capacity. With some underwaterhousings  
(such as Sealux), you can connect an external flash. Amphibious flashes  
by Nikon are compatible with the Nikon digitals. However, you can only  
use the flash in manual mode, unless you use a pro SLR.

For our work I really think 5Megapixels are sufficient. I found this  
website helpful in this regard:

There is a wealth of information on the net about compatibility of  
cameras, housings and strobes. You can always ask questions about  
digital underwater photography on the forum mantained  
by:	www.wetpixel.com. I think there was a good article on white balance  
by Alexander Mustard stored in the archives.

You can see how we used the digicams in our work by downloading the  
results of our survey (3.6 mb document):



Dr. Georgios Tsounis
Institut de Ciències del Mar, CMIMA (CSIC)
Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49
08003 Barcelona, Spain

Phone: 34  93 230 96 07
Fax: 34 93  230 95 55
E-mail: georgios at icm.csic.es

Message: 4
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 23:34:33 -0800 (PST)
From: Trees Seas <treesandseas at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Coral-List] underwater camera
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Message-ID: <20060202073433.87687.qmail at web32705.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1


I'd like to ask for advice on a digital camera (with
an underwater housing) that takes good underwater
pictures in natural light. I generally work  in the
5-20m depth range, taking still photos of benthos, so
I usually use natural light to save on power. In my
experience not all cameras that take good pictures
above water can do the same underwater. I don't mind
having to do a little color correction afterwards but
I've had experience with some cameras whose underwater
photos canNOT be color corrected.
  Does anyone know of a good model with 7-8 megapixel
resolution? (A zoom/macro setting good enough to show
corallites in detail would be a definite bonus).Any
recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot
Michelle Reyes
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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