Recent Blog Articles Recent Blog Articles

Equipment Reviews

Reviews of various products, and comparisons between them. Includes hardware and software used for underwater photography.

Want to Light up a Whale?

Can a single very powerful continuous underwater video light work well for stills of large animals? As the quality and output of video lights have increased, I’ve been asking myself that question.

We know that many continuous lights can work fine for macro and closer up images, although they tend to give a softer look than strobes. Strobes output a single, very high and very short energy burst of light at high intensity, this freezes detail and gives better color saturation. Lights simply can’t to do that as well. But many still photographers find that they do work well, especially when shooting both video and more casual stills.

Shining a ray of light on this new small light.

Kraken’s new Macro Snoot Light is an easy way to get into the use of directed light for underwater macro photography.
Snooting refers to the control of light through a cone, or light shaper, so that it’s used as just a small beam for more dramatic, lighting solutions.

 

Nauticam's innovative new MWL-1 is a game-changing wet mount wide angle lens. Designed to be used in front of a housed macro lens, it allows for an approximate 150° field of view with excellent sharpness and quality. Using a specialized double lens flip holder, you can now switch to three lens lengths; shooting close-up macro with a diopter, shooting standard macro with the 60mm lens or a moderate fish portrait type shots), or a wide angle lens with a 150º field of view. The ability to shoot wide angle and macro on the same dive is now a reality - even for full-frame DSLR systems!

Nikon’s new D850 full-frame camera is proving to be one of their most popular cameras ever, and what’s not to like? A massive 46MP sensor with resolution that matches or exceeds film, fast autofocus (AF) borrowed from the pro-level D5, low base 64 ISO to better capture bright scenes and a fast 7 fps frame rate with an electronic front curtain shutter, for just a start. Matching that are improved flash electronics, TTL protocols and 4K video. For those D800 and D810 underwater photographers who fell in love with shooting full-frame images, the upgrade is intriguing. As I now have around 60 dives on this new Nikon rig, I can offer a comprehensive review.

I love shooting underwater macro – specifically super macro. One of the challenges of this discipline is deciding on which diopter to bring along on a dive. Inevitably I choose one strength lens and wish I had brought along something different. Enter the Saga Dive Trio. This innovative lens from Spanish optics manufacturer Saga Dive, combines a +5, +10 and +15 diopter in one unit, giving you the ability to shoot anything from a fish portrait to a pygmy seahorse on the same dive.

The latest offering from Kraken Sports is the Kraken WeeFine Ring Light for macro illumination. This innovative light attaches to any threaded port. It features a constant-on 1000 lumen light and is small, lightweight and self-contained.

Underwater photographers have always debated their cameras and  there are always questions and continuing debates about the virtues and performance of various formats. We cover all of their pros and cons in our free Handbook: Choosing an Underwater Camera & Housing, but here's my experience.

For my next trip to Cabo Pulmo and the Socorros Islands in Mexicos, I decided to take the new Nauticam E-M1MKII housing. Although there was a strange dearth of large animals, I did get good shots.

The new Olympus OM-D E-M1 MKII has been the darling new camera lately, with high reviews from all corners for its improved feature set. The combination of a wide range of superb PRO lenses, fast speed, and incredibly rugged build quality has everyone thinking about this m4/3rds camera as the answer for a smaller, high performance underwater platform.

We came, we saw, we took photos, and more and more photos of an amazing variety of small underwater critters at Lembeh Straits, Indonesia October, 2017 With 8,000’ deep drop-offs nearby, pumping huge amounts of plankton into the area, it harbors and fosters one of the highest bio-diversities of marine life found anywhere on the planet.

My first impression when seeing the Kraken 10,000 lumen Solar Flare Max underwater video light was how nicely crafted they are. The light is incredibly durable with metal construction and a strong glass dome for the LED lights that spreads the light underwater.

Divers and underwater photographers are being inundated with a dizzying array of new and different lights. Some of these have similar features like a single button for both mode and power, single lith-ion batteries instead of more reliable battery packs and chargers. Most less expensive LED arrays that have hotspots. In other words, buying lights strictly on the basis of lumens for dollars doesn’t always yield the best results.

Subscribe Now!

Enter your email address to receive special offers and promotions.