Equipment Reviews

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

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.

Optical Ocean Sales Trip Report - Dive into Lembeh Resort, Oct. 2016

We came, we saw, we took photos, and more and more photos of an amazing variety of small underwater critters at Lembeh Straits, Indonesia last October. 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.

Over the years many customers have asked for some sort of combination of video light and strobe. With most new cameras also shooting excellent video, this need has increased. However mounting both types of lights at the same type is bulky and heavy, and they're also hard to travel with. The Symbiosis Lighting System SS-2 and SS-1 are a well thought out implementation of the combination strobe/light idea.
We just received our first Nauticam NA-6300 housing for the Sony a6300 camera. We noticed quite a few refinements and small additions over their older NA-6000 housing that we thought we’d report on.
Optical Ocean's Margo Cavis has finished up her Red Sea Aggressor Trip Video! We spent a week on this great liveaboard on the southern route to St. John's Reef.
I recently had the opportunity to try out the Light & Motion Sola Video Pro 8000 Lights while diving in the Red Sea. These 8000 lumen video lights are very close in size to a good set of strobes – bigger than the other video lights I have used – but still fairly compact for an 8000 lumen light.