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Underwater Photography Article Center

By Margo Cavis

So, after a year of waiting and researching, I finally decided to get the Panasonic GH4 (even though it had already been out for quite some time), since I had started doing more video than photography, but still wanted the option to do both. I also liked the idea of being able to shoot 4K video...

Shortly before heading to the Philippines, customer Tor Trygstad decided to upgrade his Nauticam Sony RX100 compact system to the new, full-frame Sony a7rII MILC in a NA-A7II Nauticam housing. Although he really likes shooting macro, and housing the Zeiss 90mm macro lens was his first lens choice, he was impressed with the new Nauticam WWL-1 “Wet Wide Angle” lens system that works with the Sony 28mm f/2.0 lens.
“It was less expensive and much smaller than housing the Zeiss 16-35mm lens,” Tor said, “and having that ultra-fast Sony f/2.0 lens, coupled with the low-light capabilities of the Sony a7II sealed the deal.”
By Margo Cavis When deciding on a lens for my new Panasonic Lumix GH4 camera body, I chose the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f2.8 PRO lens over a Panasonic lens, and I have been extremely happy with my decision. I just recently started shooting Mirrorless and after years of using only high quality Canon lenses, I was a little concerned about finding mirrorless lenses that would measure up. This lens sure does!

By Margo Cavis. After years of using older and less powerful lights, or relying on filters and manual white balance, I had the pleasure to test out the new iTorch Venom c92 video lights. The results were undeniably improved, with clean, vibrant colors and far more detail. So... I will never go without good quality video lights again.

Long a major manufacturer of high-quality underwater strobes, Sea & Sea turned the world on it’s ear a few years ago with the introduction of the YS-D1 underwater strobe. Small, very powerful and adjustable, it's become a standard for many photographers. Recently Sea & Sea released a revised YS-D2 strobe model.
Underwater housings do several things besides the obvious of keeping the water away from your precious camera. They also protect from pressure, allow you to use camera controls, allow for different lens ports and gearing, and also hold other accessories like lighting in a complete system that you can swim with in an underwater environment. It is important to remember that they are only a part of that overall system and you need to take a holistic system approach when shopping for one.
Deciding on an underwater photography system to buy doesn’t have to be a bewildering experience. Cameras come in many different shapes and sizes, some are great for underwater use, some are not. Knowing the basic characteristics and classes of cameras and housings can help organize your choices. Then your personal preferences and budget can help narrow it down further to your best options.
The new Olympus MZ ED 7-14 f/2.8 PRO and MZ ED 8mm FE PRO lenses are very popular. They are sharp, fast, well-made and open up new abilities to shoot underwater in low light (see our reviews here and here). There are a number of ways to house these new lenses depending on how you shoot, or what dome ports and parts you might already own.
Last year I shot the Sony A7 in a Nauticam housing (review here). It seemed like it might be the future realized: a full-frame sensor, mirrorless camera, full of the latest technological advances. There was a huge buzz and it looked like it really might be the advanced photographer’s dream system; powerful, small and light with all the quality, sharpness, low-light and dynamic range (shades of color, particularly in the highlights and shadows) capabilities that a full-frame camera brings to the table.
In short, the 10Bar snoot with laser pointer is a big winner. It was so popular on my trip that another guest bought it from me to use for the rest of her vacation, and I ordered a replacement as soon as I returned home.

Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?

Although I had a lot of high-priced cameras along on my Solomon Islands trip, I also decided to take along the less expensive and friendly Canon G7X compact and the Fantasea G7X housing. The Canon G7X has had a lot of play in photo news sources as a “G16 replacement” and answer to the popular Sony RX-100.

The Canon G7X sports the same sort of 24mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.8 lens, and large 1” sensor that should give it the image quality of m4/3rds cameras, and a competitor to the the Panasonic LX-100 and other similar high-end compact cameras. I wanted to get a feel for how it stacked up.

Then I tried a Panasonic LX-100 out. I was impressed by it’s super sharp and fast Leica f/1.7 lens and large 1 inch sensor. The camera has direct controls for ISO, notably lacking in the Sony RX100, and a unique and intelligent way you can switch into auto aperture or shutter speed simply by moving their dials to the end of the settings. No mode dial necessary.

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