Unified Team Diving

I am interested in getting started in Underwater Photography.  Since all of my diving is in Mountain lakes, the visiability and light varies so much.

Any ideas on what a good "starter" camera would be?

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That depends on your experience with a cameras and your goals. Is this camera to document the dive, or is the dive to get specific photos? Do you have any more specific goals? If not, what do you like to photograph on the surface? Do you want a camera that will take care of most settings for you, or do you want the ability to get full control over every parameter?

I'm partial to Canon cameras, there are other good brands. Currently the Canon S90/S95 or G-series are top choices for smaller UW setups. Personally, I use a full-sized dSLR. Each have pluses and minuses.

If your lakes are much like the local lakes here in Michigan, there isn't much small stuff to look at (as compared to an ocean reef for example), so wide angle photography may be more suitable. In this case some of the smaller cameras may need a accessory lens. The dSLRs would need a dedicated wide angle lens and port.
I am just starting out myself so I don't have much to add, but I recently purchased a Canon T1i and have been very happy with it. It takes great pics and video. I was actually very surprised by the quality of the video. Of course there are some limitations (depending on your point of view I suppose) by shooting video on a dslr - like poor autofocus; but there are cool tricks that you can do with manual lenses.

I have yet to get it in the water but hoping to soon. Lights are very important.

I just got into photography this past year myself and my advise would be to buy inexspenive second hand system to start with in order to learn the camera settings and what kind of photos that you would like to take without having to spend a lot of money. Then once you know what you want to do and would like for a setup, spend the money on a good system.

I had purchased a Canon powershot A620 with Ikelite housing for $200cdn off craigslist. This camera has full manual settings. I already had a strobe so I am doing lots of learning without a big set up cost.

So my 2-psi

I agree with Matthew regarding the goals and your existing experience with cameras even above water. 

You can go point-and-shoot with the S95 and the G11/12 and get fantastic results provided you learn your settings with a variable fixed lens plus adapters and get to spend a lot of time playing with light. 

If you're the type who looks to control more settings, such as changing your lenses (and your domes which can cost a whole lot as your setup grows), then you'll definitely want a dslr setup, second hand or otherwise.

Most of the people I've spoken to who are heavily into U/W photography have started with a point-and-shoot.  Then they eventually "graduated" to the larger rigs of the dslr world as their capabilities started feeling constrained by point-and-shoot rigs.

To follow Mike Barrass, my half bar. 

Hi Andy,

I've used Sealife DC series with their flashes and got great results, also in the relative dark murky conditions here in Denmark, the DC1400 is a fantastic 14mp camera rated to 60meters and shoots video in HD. Together with the new videolight they have is a good bet. Let me know if you have trouble getting hold of them. We sell them in the shop aswell. sealife-cameras.com


Hi Andy,

take a look at http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/

Generally speaking, given the lake conditions (green water, low-light, limited macro opportunities, etc.), you might consider adopting black&white UW photography, to take hard-hitting pictures. For this you need a wide-angle lense.

DSLR or compact? Given that you do not have luggage weight issue as when flying, I recommend the former, though costs are more than double for a whole set (camera, wide-angle lens and housing), but if you opt for B/W photography you do not need flash lights: maximum aperture, maybe a tripod, and you can shoot terrific photos. 



Olympus 5050 will offer all you need in order to learn the basics...Full manual control most importantly...Cheap and good solution for every beginner... See the shots in my profile for your reference... :::---)))))

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