[Coral-List] underwater camera

John Ware jware at erols.com
Fri Feb 3 09:34:36 EST 2006


I would guess that you are going to get dozens of replies and end up 
just as confused as before.  First question back to you is: How much 
money do you have?  Next would be: Why natural light? (and let me tell 
you why later).

As you have noted, the thing that limits the number of UW pictures you 
can take in one dive is usually power.  So having come to that 
conclusion let me point out that:

1- The primary camera battery drain is the LCD (or whatever) display. 
 Therefore, if your need is to take 100+ pictures per dive or per 
excursion (e.g., on a small boat and can't
change batteries) go with an SLR (single lens reflex) and set the camera 
so that it only displays on the LCD for a few seconds after the picture 
is taken (to assure that you have actually got a decent picture.  Using 
my Nikon D70, I have taken hundreds and hundreds of pictures over the 
course of a week on a single battery charge.

2- The strobe.  I know you wanted to use natural light, but that doesn't 
always work depending upon depth and the screwing around underwater with 
white balance.  If you use a strobe that
holds 8 AAs (e.g. Sea&Sea YS90) and use NiMH batteries rated at 2000+ 
Ma, you should get at least 200 full strobe flashes.  Since you won't 
need full strobe for most pictures, the actual number will be much

My only experience is with the Nikon D70 in a Sea&Sea housing.  However, 
I have friends who use a EOS rebel in a Ikelite housing with the new 
digital TTL in the housing.  I seem to recall that Yossi Loya was not 
too happy with his at first, I don't know about now.

Nikon makes 2 very good, and reasonably priced, digital cameras, the D50 
and the D70.  About the only difference from a practical viewpoint is 
the storage media.  I prefer the D70 because the compact flash storage 
is sturdy.  Only 6 MegPix but that is plenty because of what appears to 
be superior interpolation scheme.

Also, Nikon has a zoom lens, often part of the purchase package, 28 to 
80.  This gives reasonable wide angle and still allows sufficient close 
ups.  However, you must make sure that the housing will allow adjusting 
the zoom as Nikon has a couple of different but very similar lenses, one 
that doesn't quite fit.

But now the price.  The camera is not too bad, its the housings that 
kill you.  I suspect that, as with most research, money is limiting. 
 The set ups I have been describing will probably cost about US3000 for 
everything, maybe even a little more.

Having said that, my long experience in UW photography is that, whenever 
I have tried to go cheap I eventually end up so dissatisfied that I end 
up buying twice.


Trees Seas wrote:

>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
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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