Underwater Photography

What Equipment do you need To Photograph Underwater?

How to take a Smartphone or a Camera to Photograph Underwater?

Like more and more divers, you want to photograph underwater. And so, immortalize your fantastic adventures in the big blue. You will be able to relive each one of your dives and share your experiences with your friends and family. But with all the Cameras and accessories on the market, you may feel, lost as to what you need.

I am regularly asked which camera should be used to photograph underwater. And people are sometimes surprised when they learn that these devices are in fact the same as those used for everyday photos. By that I mean, it is the normal cameras, even some Smartphones, that we adapt to take underwater, thanks to an underwater housing.

The Waterproof Case, aka an Underwater Housing

The Underwater Housing is the essential element to take your camera under the surface to photograph underwater. It is a robust housing, which is designed to withstand the pressure. This depth varies according to the model. What you have to understand is that each case model is only suitable for one model of camera. And all cameras do not necessarily have a dedicated underwater housing. It is simply the reputation of certain brands and the devices they manufacture that will make a case will be developed for a device, either by the manufacturer directly (this is the case of Olympus, Sony or Canon) or by specialized manufacturers. So, if you plan to take your device with you while diving, find out before choosing the model because for some cameras, you will never find a dedicated housing!

Compact Devices

The cheapest and easiest to use are compact devices. Some models are very simple – and no less powerful – like the excellent TG5 (or the previous model TG4). They are perfect for beginners, who do not want to bother with a battery of settings. Others have more settings and are called “expert”. These are for example the devices of the Sony Rx-100 series, or the Canon Powershot (G or GxX series, see the G5X test). The expert compacts allow access to all manual mode and thus to have the hand on all settings of the shooting.

These models have the advantage of being completely versatile, with an image quality that has changed enormously in recent years. You can add optical supplements such as a macro lens or a wide-angle lens, usually removable underwater.

Hybrids and DSLR’s

For those who want to be more involved in underwater photography and whose budget allows, the choice will be either a hybrid camera (Mirrorless) or a digital SLR.

Hybrids have taken a few years to democratize in underwater photography. Sales have accelerated since the appearance of certain models that have largely proved their worth (especially the Olympus OM-D Em series).

These devices are different from SLR by the absence of the mirror. These are actually digital compact cameras with interchangeable lenses. They are smaller than SLRs (between compacts and SLRs), and a complete set-up for diving is overall a bit cheaper. They have taken the lead especially on video modes, which have struggled to develop on SLR because of the constraints due to the presence of the mirror. Although SLRs benefit from a very wide range of lenses, the offer for hybrids seems to be catching up. Compatible lenses are more and more numerous. When reflexes, their evidence is more to do. But the battle against the hybrids seems to be in full swing, and it is not said that they have fewer arguments to weigh in the balance!

Hybrids and DSLRs prices are higher, since it costs about 400 for a bare housing. To which will be added the optics (porthole or dome) as well as various accessories allowing to use each objective. (extension, zoom ring, focus ring). The prices reach even tops for some brands with naked housing at more than 3000.

Whether to bring back some memories of your dives, to take wildlife photography underwater or just being artistic, whatever your level of expectation, there is the necessary equipment that will suit your needs!

ALSO CHECK:Tips for Underwater Video Recording

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