First Impressions Underwater with the Canon 7D

By Todd Winner, UWPG Techniques editor

 

 
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I recently had the opportunity to try out a Canon 7D in a Nauticam housing for a day of diving and underwater photography. Thanks to fellow Underwater Photography Guide contributor Bill Van Antwerp who generously loaned me his kit for the day. I've been a lifelong Nikon shooter but recently have been seriously considering switching to Canon for their video capabilities. Unfortunately, the current Nikon dSLR video capabilities - 720p at 24fps, is not what my clients require. Please do not consider this a proper review. I literally spent a few minutes with the setup on land before I went diving. I didn't even handle the camera outside of the housing until it was time to download images. The following is just my first experience with the Canon7D underwater.

 

 

canon 7d underwater photography

Metridium anemone. Canon 7D, Nauticam Housing, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, dual Inon Z240 strobes. 1/30th, F/6.3 ISO 160

 

Canon 7D Nauticam Housing

 

I thought the camera and housing felt very well made. I didn't spend a lot of time with the camera out of the housing but it felt good in my hands. It's much smaller than the D2X I currently shoot with, but it still had enough mass and weight that I think it would feel good with a long lens on it. Inside the housing it functioned flawlessly. The Nauticam housing was easy to use and the gears and buttons were very responsive. I did find the aperture and shutter controls a little hard to get at with gloves, but I think this would not pose a problem if you were familiar with the housing. The only feature that I would have liked to see on the housing would be a window to view the info screen on the top of the camera. Not being familiar with the setup, I was trying to switch focus modes and having a hard time with it. There are probably redundant displays in the menu or viewfinder so having that window may be unnecessary. That being said I did think the auto focus was fast even with the dimly lit conditions that day.

 

canon 7d nauticam housing

Sea lion at the California Oil rigs. 1/100th, F/5.0 ISO 160

 

Switching to the video mode was extremely easy and the controls are really laid out well. I was quite happy with the image quality from the camera. The dynamic range is much better on the Canon 7D than the camera I have now. I only wish we had some sunshine that day to really test it out. I felt the raw files required very few adjustments from the default settings in lightroom. I did use the raw profiles for Canon on most of them.

 

I wasn't thrilled with the sharpness of the images but I don't think this is the fault of the camera. I was trying out a new port / extension ring combination and I don't think it was quite right for the lens. I also never got the focus mode dialed in so who knows what I was actually focusing on.

 

Overall I was very pleased with the set up and would recommend it highly especially if you don't already own thousands of dollars worth of Nikon lenses.

 
canon 7d underwater photography
1/50th, F/5.0, ISO 160
 

Canon 7D Quick Specifications

 
  • Replaces the Canon 50D, competes with the Nikon D300s
  • 18 MP APS–C CMOS Sensor
  • 1.6x crop factor
  • 8 frames per second image capture
  • 19 point auto-focus
  • Full HD Video
 canon 7d underwater photos

View of the oil rigs from below. ISO 160, 1/13 sec at f/4.5 Two Inon Z-240 strobes on low settings with diffusers

 

Where to Buy

Support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your Nauticam 7D housing at our sister site, Bluewater Photo

 

Further Reading

 


Support the Underwater Photography Guide

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!