Underwater Cameras For Professional Results
There comes a time when most all aspiring underwater photographers realize that they’ve got to make a serious investment toward upgrading their underwater cameras and accessories in order to consistently get professional results.
And if they haven’t already gone digital, then they need to do so right away because that’s the first step to shorten the learning curve. Don’t misunderstand, film cameras have their place, and can certainly produce stellar results. But because they can’t offer the instantaneous feedback of digital, they take lots longer to become proficient with.
So the first step is to get rid of that cheap, $90 ring camera setup underwater film camera, or worse the $20 u/w disposable version. It was fine for generating interest but now you need an underwater digital camera that you can get serious with. No need to break the bank starting out, but be prepared to spend several hundred dollars at a minimum.
If that sounds like a lot, get over it fast because that’s just the price of entry. Either that or find a cheaper hobby. You’ve no doubt already figured out that scuba diving isn’t a cheap sport, but its cost will eventually pale in comparison to what you’ll likely spend on indulging in underwater photography. The upside is it’s incredibly fun and satisfying, plus potentially profitable if you choose to pursue that angle.
That being said, you can grow into more expensive gear over time as your skills improve, but to start out, a decent digital camera and housing can be had for around $500 and a good strobe for at least $300 for a single. Don’t forget an external media storage card – about $30.
Now don’t go shortchanging yourself and skip getting a strobe or external flash. It doesn’t matter that the camera has a built-in flash, you still need the strobe. In fact you’ll end up rarely using that built-in flash.
The reason is the cameras flash is responsible for the backscatter in your pictures. That’s all that snow looking stuff. It’s not just from sand or silt being kicked up by the diver ahead of you, it’s the reflection off tiny suspended particles in the water and it’s almost universally present, even in water that appears totally clear.
You probably noticed that virtually every shot you take with open water in the background has little fuzzy circles all over it. That’s backscatter which is caused by your camera flash reflecting off those little particles right directly back into the lens.
It’s likely been there all the time but blends in with the background of macro shots. Of course you can turn off the flash, but you know you need it to bring out any kind of color at depth, or else all your shots will be shades of blue or green.
So don’t skip out on the external flash or strobe. Altogether you’ll spend around a thousand bucks to get started. And this doesn’t consider filters, ports, extra lenses for macro, wide angle, or telephoto work, or additional strobes for various lighting effects.