If you have the chance to go on vacation this summer, you may want to try underwater photography. You may not be willing to spend thousands of dollars on the best underwater camera, but no matter what your budget, there are plenty of options to choose from.
We asked Diver magazine editorial consultant Saeed Rashid about his ultimate underwater photography kit bag, and if you can’t commit to a fully waterproof camera setup, an action camera and a sense of adventure are all you need.
What’s so special about underwater photography?
You never know what you’ll see every time you dive into the water, which makes every dive really exciting. In land photography, you are more likely to start with an idea of what you want to shoot and the kit you need, and you have a 9 in 10 chance of getting it.
For diving, there is no such guarantee. You have to be prepared for every situation and do each dive.
But there is something very special about being underwater and seeing things that most people cannot see. not.
What is the biggest challenge for underwater photography?
I can’t afford to use a tripod like a land photographer. So when capturing macro shots of him that require a steady hand, I often use one finger to stabilize my body on a rock. That’s all.
Also, they don’t stay long. The average time he dives is 1 hour. With good weather and visibility, you might be able to get off four times in one day, but that is never the case as conditions can change quickly.
In addition, there is the difficulty of light. We tackle the sun as much as possible, but at depth you will need a strobe to illuminate your subject. It’s like taking a mini photo studio with you!
How have your kitbags changed over the years?
My first was with a very cheap underwater camera I bought at duty free on my way to Australia in the late 1990s. I can take 36 pictures of her on film at once, and I go over the film over and over again just to get a few shots I like.
Currently, I shoot with a Canon 7D Mark II (see below) and typically use one of the three lenses. A Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens for wide-angle and a Canon 60mm or Sigma 105mm for macro photography. You also need a waterproof housing (mine is Nauticam) and a strobe for lighting.
Not cheap. Top-of-the-line systems cost him £10,000 for the most part, but even a decent entry-level underwater camera setup can cost upwards of £2,000.
So how can people get started?
It depends on how seriously you want to take it. A good action camera is a great place to start, and you can get pretty decent shots for hundreds instead of thousands of pounds.
Then, if you run into any bugs, you can start setting up your underwater compact camera from there. I always recommend buying second hand to begin with, as you’ll always find someone selling your old setup at a good discount with the kit upgraded. .
Need to be proficient in Photoshop?
absolutely. As with all photography, it can be captured accurately by a camera, but is less likely and much more difficult when you are in water. .
Being able to remove all deposits (something called backscatter) in your edit is essential to getting the most out of your shots.
Where is the best place for underwater photography?
No need to travel. Seals and blue sharks are one of my favorite photos, both of which can be found in waters around the UK. Just five hours away, Egypt is a diver’s playground, and further afield, the reefs of Indonesia are breathtaking.
But for all the beauty we have, I am also very aware of what we are missing. I feel obligated to do so. That way people not only know how great the ocean floor is, but also what we do underwater.
What is the best underwater camera to buy?
Olympus Tough TG-6 Action Camera
The Olympus Tough TG-6 isn’t the most stylish camera, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in features.
Despite its relatively affordable price, this Olympus camera is waterproof to 15m, shatterproof, frostproof and shockproof.
It has double-glazed protective glass construction and anti-fog protection image sensor, temperature sensor and GPS.
You might think that just being built to withstand the apocalypse stands out enough, but it’s also a great camera.
GoPro Hero 11
GoPro has been a popular brand of action cameras for years. The GoPro Hero 11 is the culmination of years of experience from the brand, offering a camera designed to make an impact.
It’s waterproof up to 10m and can withstand whatever you throw at it – snow, mud, dirt.
The GoPro Hero 11 offers 5.3K video recording capabilities, allowing for excellent images even in the most shaky situations thanks to image stabilization technology.
Insta360 One X2
Insta360 quickly became one of GoPro’s biggest competitors.
The Insta360 One X2 is waterproof up to 10 meters and features a technology known as ‘AquaVision’. When turned on in the brand’s app, it can auto-adjust colors to correct watery shots.
You can take 360-degree videos and photos, and if you use a selfie stick, you can use the camera’s AI technology to make it inconspicuous.
DJI Osmo Action 3
The DJI Osmo Action 3 is waterproof up to 16m, making it one of the best cameras for divers. It also has a battery life of 160 minutes, giving you plenty of time to complete your dive and resurface.
If you plan to use this camera for other adrenaline-pumping activities, DJI’s “HorizonSteady” technology balances your footage, completely eliminating any arm tremors you may be facing.
Need more gadgets?
This is just our selection of the best underwater cameras and should give you a guide on what to look for, no matter what your camera budget. How do you like it? From cool gadgets to camping gadgets, we’ve got all the gadgets you need right at your fingertips for new tech.