1 Cell Phone Camera Kit Lens Wide Angle/Macro Lens Camera Underwater Photography: Does the Camera Really Matter?

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Underwater Photography: Does the Camera Really Matter?

The camera does NOT matter. Many times I get asked if I should buy Nikon, Canon, this model or that model… what you should be asking is what kind of lenses you need for the type of photography you want to take. Yes, I’m talking here about DSLR cameras (more about point and shoot below). Spend less money in the body that has the features you are looking for, and spend the rest of your money in good lenses. A very good expensive camera with cheap lenses will deliver low quality photos; revert the order and you have a great combination.

When it comes to brand; it really doesn’t matter either. Most photographers buy one brand over the other because they have some lenses already or they like the colors of the advertising. The reality is that all cameras these days can deliver great photographs if used with high quality lenses… so pick your brand and go buy a body that can get you good easy control over shutter speed, f-stops, ISO, white balance and has a decent photometer (which is not as important underwater as it is above the water). When it comes down to sensor size then you have to decide between Full Format (FX – sensor size equals to 35mm) or crop format (DX – which is 1.5x on a Nikon and 1.6x on a Canon). FX is much more expensive that DX and to me it does not make sense to spend the extra cash… I rather spend the difference in good lenses.

Don’t get caught in the Mega-pixel marketing campaign! More mega-pixels don’t mean better photos. Better lenses means better photos; again: spend your money in good quality lenses and forget the mega-pixel and camera features scheme. Some of my favorites Nikon D3100, 5100, D7000 or Canon Rebel T3, T3i or 60D. Don’t discard older cameras that are awesome like the Nikon D40 with a flash sync speed 1/500 which you can get on eBay cheap these days (same goes for older Canon).

Of course I’m new in underwater photography, but I researched a lot of lenses before buying a system. I absolutely love my Tokina 10-17mm fish-eye which is considered a great DX lens that has incredible sharpness. Every underwater system should have this lens for wide angle and of course if you would like macro a 60mm 2.8. If you have some some spare money go for a 105mm as well, but definitely have those two lenses in your underwater camera box. I’m also a fun of wide angle photography on land and I truly believe that if you need zoom lenses is because you are not close enough to your subject, but that is just a matter of preference.

Now how about point and shoot cameras? Most point and shoot camera have no interchangeable lenses. If you have to settle for a point and shoot camera, buy a camera that allows you to control shutter speed, aperture (f-stops), ISO and custom white balance manually. If you have the budget go for one that allows you to change lenses, but If I have to spend $1000 for a point and shoot, I would rather buy a DSLR and one good lens which is possible in that budget. Some of my favorite point and shoot cameras are the Canon S95 and Canon G12; now keep an eye on your budget as a Nikon D40 body can be bought for $250 on eBay and a Tokina 10-17 fish-eye for about $600 which will get you very close to the high end point and shoot cameras and you would have a killer setup.

If I would have to buy a camera for underwater use, I would choose DSLR. Brand and Features doesn’t matter. I would spend the money on lenses. If my budget is getting to high after including housing and strobes, then I would buy a point and shoot that has full Manual mode. I buy my equipment from Sink or Swim scuba here in Nanaimo; they can really give you a great deal in many underwater housing, strobes and arms systems out there.

Here are some packages for you that I like (change the housing for your brand and/or lens)

Point and Shoot camera – Canon S95 (single strobe)

Ikelite Housing – Part #6242.95

DS51 Substrobe – Part #3944.49

Single Tray with Release – Part #9523.61

Point and Shoot Advanced – Canon G12 (dual strobes)

Ikelite Housing – Part #6146.12

DS51 Substrobe X2 – Part #3944.49

Dual Tray with Release – Part #9523.62

DSLR – Nikon D3100 with Tokina 10-17 fisheye lense (dual strobes)

Ikelite Housing #6801.31

Ikelite 8 Inch Port Dome – Part# 5510.45

Ikelite Superwide Mounting Body – Part# 5510.11

Ikelite SubStrobe DS-161 Strobe w/ Single Sync Cord & Ball-Joint Arm – Part# 3945.01

Ikelite SubStrobe DS-161 Strobe w/ Dual Sync Cord & Ball-Joint Arm – Part# 3945.02

If you want to read more about underwater photography and my experience in this waters and how to transition from land to liquid under our conditions, please visit http://underwaterphoto.baires.ca/.

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