4 best waterproof underwater cameras and gadgets – BBC Science Focus Magazine
If you get a chance to go on holiday this summer, you might be tempted to try some underwater photography. You might not be willing to spend thousands on the very best underwater camera, but there are plenty of options for you, whatever your budget.
We asked Saeed Rashid, editorial consultant for Diver magazine, for his ultimate underwater photography kit bag, but if you can’t commit to a full waterproof camera setup, an action camera and a sense of adventure are all you need.
What is it about underwater photography that makes it special?
Every time you jump into the water, you don’t know what you’re going to see, and that makes every single dive really exciting. With land photography, you’ll likely set out with an idea of what you want to capture and the kit you’ll need, and nine times out of 10 you’ll get it.
When you dive, you don’t have that guarantee. You have to try and prepare for every situation and take each dive as it comes.
But there is just something so special about being underwater and seeing what so few people get to see. Being able to capture those things in pictures and share them with others – there is no other feeling like it.
What are the biggest challenges to underwater photography?
We don’t have the luxury of tripods like land photographers do, so when capturing macro shots that require a steady hand, you’re often just using one finger to stabilise yourself on a bit of rock, and that’s it.
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We also don’t have long down there – the average time is an hour per dive. If the weather and visibility are good, we might be able to get down four times in a day, but conditions can change quickly so it’s never a given.
Plus there’s the difficulty of light. We work with the Sun as much as possible, but as you get deeper you need strobes to lighten up your subject. It’s like taking a mini photo studio down with you!
How has your kit bag changed over the years?
The first one I used was a really cheap underwater camera that I bought in duty-free on my way to Australia in the late 1990s. It could take 36 pictures at a time on film, and you would go through rolls and rolls of film just to get a few shots you liked.
Now, I shoot on a Canon 7D Mark II (see below) and generally use one of three lenses – a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens for wide angle, and either a Canon 60mm or a Sigma 105mm for macro shots. On top of that, you need the waterproof housing – mine is from Nauticam – and strobes for lighting.
It’s not cheap. A top-end system can cost the best part of £10,000, but even a decent …….