Technique/Tutorial

Underwater photo tutorials, techniques and tips for all types of underwater photo and video, including macro, supermacro, wide-angle, composition and best camera gear.
The best photo and video settings for shooting the Canon G7 X Mark II underwater, including depth of field, shutter speed for strobes and more
By Brent Durand

Canon G7 X II Best Settings

Brent Durand
The best photo and video settings for shooting the Canon G7 X Mark II underwater, including depth of field, shutter speed for strobes and more

The Canon G7 X Mark II is a powerful compact camera capable of creating some exceptional underwater photo and video... with the right settings, of course.

It's one of our favorite compact cameras, built around a large 1" image sensor and a great lens. A fast processor enables lighting-quick autofocus for both photo and video shooting. The small size of the compact system is the perfect compromise between easy travel and excellent image quality.

This guide discusses the best settings for capturing traditional underwater imagery, and while these settings can bring home award-winning images, we also encourage you to experiment with new settings and adjustments.

If you haven't yet, be sure to read our complete Canon G7 X II Review for Underwater.

 

Jump to section:

Canon G7X Mk II Specs     |    Menu Setup

Best Photo Settings     |     Best Video Settings

Underwater Housings

 

Canon G7 X Mark II Specs

  • Bright f/1.8 (w) - f/2.8 (t), 4.2x (24-100mm equivalent) optical zoom lens with IS and 9-blade iris diaphram
  • 1-inch 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • New DIGIC 7 image processor
  • Multi-angle 3.0 inch capacitive touch panel display
  • 1080p Full HD video recording
  • In-camera RAW conversion/editing (customize and view edits prior to sharing from camera)
  • WiFi and NFC built-in
  • U.S.A. retail price: $699.99

 

Canon G7 X II Menu Setup

*Note: These are settings we suggest changing from the camera default as shipped. If we have not mentioned it, then the default setting is where it should be for basic underwater photo and video.



Shoot Menu

Note that advanced menu items are not visible in Auto mode.

TAB 1

  • Image Quality:  RAW. If you do not post-process your photos, then set this to JPEG with the L / smooth icon.

TAB 2

  • Face ID Settings -> Face ID:  Off. We haven't tested how well this works with marine life, so leave it off for now. Certainly turn it back in if tracking (human) subjects topside.

TAB 3

  • The default is single AF and 1-point AF, which I recommend as a general default. This means that the camera will find and lock focus and shoot each time you push the shutter. Alternatively, you can experiment with Continuous AF and ;-)+Tracking AF.

TAB 4

  • AF-assist Beam:  Off. Underwater, we use a focus light instead.

TAB 5

  • Flash Settings -> Red-Eye Lamp:  Off.

TAB 7

  • Movie rec. size:  For advanced video shooters only, you can change the default from 1080p30 to 1080p60 in order to open up the possibility of slow motion during post-processing.

  • Auto slow shutter:  For advanced video shooters only, turn A-SLOW to OFF. Because you are editing multiple clips together on one timeline, you do not want the camera to automatically slow down the framerate during some shots and not others. Beginners will enjoy leaving A-SLOW ON, as it will enable brighter video shooting in dark conditions.

 

Setup Menu

For most shooters, the setup menu does not need to be adjusted. All the settings accessed here are specific to individual shooter preferences or local region (i.e. NTSC vs. PAL). Tab 4 contains Wireless settings, which are very useful if you're syncing to your mobile device for faster online sharing of images/video. Copyright info is also useful, but I add all copyright info during import into Lightroom.

 

MyMenu

This green star menu allows you to move commonly used menu items into one single folder. When I shot Canon compacts and DSLRs underwater, I would put all my common settings here and then leave the camera on this menu when diving. Then, if you need to adjust a deep menu setting, you simply tap the menu button and everything is right there. Very fast, very efficient.

 

 

Best Underwater Photo Settings

There are many photo effects we can create through different settings combos, along with infinite room for experimentation. Changing settings to create an effect underwater can quickly become a daunting and even frustrating task (we're underwater, after all), so I always recommend that divers have a default settings combo to fall back on as starting point when things get confusing. These settings are a starting point for shooting with the Canon G7 X II, so write them on the back of your hand, tape them to the housing or simply memorize them.

We are also assuming use of one of two strobes. If you're shooting with a dive or video light, be sure to read our article on Underwater Constant Lighting.

 

Macro Settings

  • Mode:  Manual
  • ISO:  125
  • Aperture:  f/9
  • Shutter Speed:  1/250

These settings are a great starting point for shooting larger subjects like fish down to small subjects like nudibranchs. The small aperture (f/9) creates enough depth of field to ensure that most of the subject will be in focus, while the shutter speed blocks out all of the blue/green ambient light in favor of the powerful strobe light. The low ISO ensures best image quality with minimal noise (graininess).

Strobes:  Your strobe(s) should be positioned close to the housing, near the subject. Read more about underwater strobe positioning. If you are shooting strobes on manual power, try starting at 1/2 power and then adjust from there. You will find that lighter subjects will require less strobe power than darker subjects, and vice versa. If you are shooting your strobes through TTL (automatic) then you're already set.

Read our Easy Ways to Eliminate Backscatter.

Diopter:  Are you shooting with a macro diopter like the Bluewater +7 or Nauticam CMC? If so, use these same settings, except stop your aperture down to f/11. You may need to increase strobe power by 1/3 stop.

 

Wide-Angle Settings

  • Mode:  Manual
  • ISO:  200
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed:  1/125

These settings are a solid starting point for shooting wide-angle underwater, including reefscapes, divers and big animals. The aperture creates the depth of field we need while creating a nice blue color in the water, while the shutter speed lets enough ambient light into the camera to properly expose the scene. The ISO is also slightly more sensitive than for macro in order to pick up more ambient light without introducing much visible noise.

Note that specialized settings combos are required for scenes like sunbursts, split-shots and fast action.

Strobes:  If shooting with a single strobe, position this at a diagonal above the housing, ensuring the front of the strobe is at least several centimeters behind the housing port. If shooting with two strobes, these should also be behind the port, but extended to the side of the housing. Manual shooters should start with their strobes on 1/2 power and adjust from there. If the subject is more than 2 meters away, then turn off your strobes to minimize risk of backscatter (since the strobe light won't travel that far anyways). Read more about strobe positioning.

Wet Lenses:  No need to adjust settings when shooting with a wet wide-angle lens.  If your housing/lens combo requires zooming in slightly to avoid vignetting, then always remember to do this when setting up these defaults.

 

Phew - that's a lot!  Join me on an underwater photo workshop to learn how to apply these settings, the photography concepts behind them, and how to react in changing shooting conditions. Great photos go beyond just the settings.

 

 

Best Settings for Underwater Video

The Canon G7X II allows you to start recording video at any moment. It's as simple as pushing the red button. That's it! I recommend this automatic video method for everyone except the very serious video shooters who really want to control the effect of each shot. If you fall into this latter camp, then the settings below are for you.

 

Macro Video

  • Mode:  Movie
  • Shutter Speed:  1/125 (*assuming 1080p60fps)
  • Aperture:  f/8
  • ISO:  200
  • Video Light(s):  Close to housing and subject.

 

Wide-Angle Video

  • Mode: Movie
  • Shutter Speed:  1/60
  • Aperture:  f/5
  • ISO:  400
  • Video Light(s):  Behind port, out to side of camera.

 

How to Set Manual White Balance

Manual white balance is an important setting for serious underwater video shooters. While the Canon G7 X Mk II doesn't have one-touch white balance, it is still a simple process to set a manual white balance. Practice this a few times and it will become second nature.

  1. Take a photo of a white or neutral gray subject that fills the frame: palm of hand, white sand, white coral, white balance card, dive slate, white fin, etc.
  2. Press Menu and navigate to: Shoot Menu tab 6.
  3. Click Custom WB and navigate to your white balance image.
  4. Click Set, then Ok.
  5. Exit the menu.
  6. In your camera settings, make sure you have changed the default Auto WB to Custom WB.
  7. Shoot away.

 

Great Accessories

These are some accessories that will take your Canon G7 X II photo and video to the next level.

 

Bluewater +7 Macro Diopter

 

 

Nauticam Compact Macro Converter (CMC-2)

 

 

 

Dyron Super Wide Angle Lens

 

 

 

I-Torch V10 Focus Light

 

 

 

Dual I-Torch Video 2000 Video Lights

 

 

 

 

Underwater G7 X II Housings

Interested in the best underwater housing options for the Canon G7 X Mk II?  Visit the Best Canon G7 X II Housings section of our in-depth camera review article.

 

 

 An ornate ghost pipefish poses for a portrait with the Canon G7 X II in Fantasea G7XII housing in the Lembeh Strait, Indonesia. ISO 125, f/8, 1/200. Shot with a single SeaLife Sea Dragon flash. Photo: Brent Durand

  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide, an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Join Brent on a workshop:

Interested in another workshop? Email Bluewater Travel to let them know!

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Camera and menu settings for getting the best underwater video from your Panasonic LX100 camera, including sample 4K videos
By Basil Kiwan

Panasonic LX100 Settings for Underwater Video

Basil Kiwan
Camera and menu settings for getting the best underwater video from your Panasonic LX100 camera, including sample 4K videos

The Panasonic LX100 is a very capable camera for underwater photography and videography, as well as a small but advanced compact camera that is great to carry around.

The image sensor is a 16MP micro four-thirds sensor that Panasonic has used in a number of its interchangeable lens cameras. It is a multi-aspect design (see aspect ratios below) with an effective resolution of 12.8MP.

The lens, designed for Panasonic by Leica, is fast with a maximum aperture of F1.7 – 2.8 depending on the focal length, which is handy in low-light or when you want to isolate your subject with a shallower depth-of-field. The lens also has optical image stabilization, which is useful but not as powerful as the in-body image stabilization in Panasonic’s most recent cameras.

The color and image quality produced by the LX100 are really pleasing, and there is a lot of detail because of the larger sensor (for a compact camera) and the very high quality lens. The camera shoots 4K video, using the same software engine as the well-regarded Panasonic GH4, and the video quality is superb.

 

 

Key Video Features

Video Formats

 The LX100 records in 4K: UHD (3840x2160) at either 24p (cinema frame rate) or 30p (TV standard) recording at a bitrate of up to 100MBs.  It also records full HD at up to 60p.  Even if you only intend to view your video in HD, you should capture in 4K because the resulting HD video will be more detailed, and because recording in 4K gives you some great video editing options. The color and resolution really pop compared to regular HD footage shot in HD. The noise also gets compressed, resulting in cleaner footage.

 

Video File Formats

MPEG-4 or AVCHD (just choose MPEG-4)

 

Lens

The LX100 has a fixed lens, with maximum aperture of F1.7 – 2.8 over the zoom range.  The lens can close focus, particularly at the wide end, where the minimum focus distance is just 1.18 inches.  (very useful for close focus wide angle shots)

 

Autofocus

The side of the lens has a switch for manual focus (MF), autofocus (AF), and macro autofocus (AF with a flower) – for close focus situations.  I generally use autofocus with video, except when shooting macro shots, where I would try out manual focus.  I generally find manual focus underwater to be very challenging, particularly with current and surge.  That said, it is worth experimenting to see what works best for you in various shooting situations.

The LX100 has a contrast detect autofocus, using Panasonic’s proprietary DFD (depth-from-defocus) technology.  Single autofocus (AFS) is very quick and accurate, but the continuous autofocus (AFC) can sometimes focus hunt in low light situations.  

 

Other Features:

The camera offers focus peaking for manual focus, and/or magnified (Picture-in-Picture) view (also available in pinpoint autofocus, something I found useful).  The LX100 also has available zebra patterns to warn of over-exposure, although I don’t generally use them.

Key Physical Camera Settings

Although the LX100 is a very capable video camera, its body design is biased towards still photography, with a somewhat retro feel.  Despite its small size, the LX100 has several buttons (including 3 function buttons (Fn1, Fn2, Fn3) on the back of the camera) and dials as physical controls that make it easy to manipulate your exposure variables, setting them as you wish.

The camera menus are pretty clear and easy to navigate, and you can reconfigure most of the physical controls on the camera in myriad ways.  It is worth spending a bit of time before the dive to customize your settings, because it will enable a much faster response underwater to photo & video opportunities.

 

1.  Shutter Speed

The LX100 has a retro-style dial on the top, making it simple to set the shutter speed.  The general rule for video shutter speed is to double the frame rate in order to have a more natural motion cadence in your video. If you are shooting 4K at 30fps, then set your shutter speed to 1/60.  If you are shooting 4K at 24fps, then set your shutter speed to 1/50 (since there is no 1/48 shutter speed).  Keep in mind that those are relatively slow shutter speeds, so you will find that in many lighting situations (even underwater), that you need to close down your aperture and/or lower your ISO in order to keep your shot from being overexposed.

 

2.  Aperture

 The LX100 has a very bright lens for a compact camera, with a maximum aperture of F1.7 to F2.8 (depending upon the focal length).  A ring around the lens controls the aperture and is very intuitive to use.  Shooting at a wider aperture provides more light, allowing you to shoot clips at a lower ISO with less noise (grain) in your video. 

Aperture also controls depth-of-field, and the LX100 lens has a bright enough aperture to shoot a fairly shallow depth of field, particularly in close focus situations.  However, LX100 uses a micro four-thirds sensor, with a crop factor of 2.2x in comparison with a full-frame camera.  Shoot at F2 will give you a depth of field equal to about F4.5 on a full-frame camera.  The advantage of a crop sensor for shooting video is that the greater depth of field (relative to a full frame camera) is actually useful as it makes it easier to maintain focus and sharpness (particularly on moving subjects).  The LX100’s lens is exceptionally sharp throughout its focal range, even with the aperture wide open, so I never hesitate to shoot with a wide aperture, to keep my ISO low (for less noise), stopping to achieve my desired depth of field.

 

3.  ISO

The ISO button on the LX100 is the top control button on the back control dial.  Sometimes I set the ISO to Auto ISO, but underwater I generally pick an ISO manually and leave it there to help control noise.  The LX100 has a large sensor for a compact camera, but in comparison with a full frame camera the noise performance suffers. I generally don’t shoot beyond ISO 800 if I am shooting scenes with a lot of blue water in the background, and ISO 1600 if I am shooting scenes with a coral reef or rock in the background (however, I am a bit zealous when it comes to trying to control noise in my video). 

 

4.  Aspect Ratio

Panasonic has configured the sensor with a multi-aspect ratio sensor, with a switch at the top of the lens for setting the desired aspect ratio.  This arrangement gives more flexibility in terms of composition of your image at a small cost in maximum resolution (though this allowed Panasonic to design a more compact lens for LX100).  The camera can shoot images with a 4:3 ratio (using 12.8MP of the 16MP in the sensor), a 3:2 ratio (more common to SLRs, using 12.2MP of the 16MP), a 16:9 aspect ratio (wider ratio, common in video, using 11.3MP out of the 16MP in the sensor), or even 1:1 aspect ratio (for those Instagram photos, using 9.5MP out of 16MP).  It is ultimately a matter of preference, but I generally shoot still photos with the 4:3 ratio (for maximum resolution), and video with the 16:9 ratio (for the wide cinematic look).

 

5.  Custom White Balance

The white balance (WB) is set using the right button on the back control dial.  It is important to set a good custom white balance, particularly when shooting video in ambient light, and to adjust the setting at every 10-20 feet change in depth.  Fortunately, the LX100 can reliably set a custom white balance. I carry a white plastic card and was able to get a good white balance at pretty much any depth (at least down to 60 feet – I don’t tend to shoot video at depths beyond that as there too little light).  The camera can bank up to 4 custom white balance settings, which speeds up changing your white balance.  The ease with which you can change and adjust white balance is particularly helpful.

 

6.  Reconfiguring the Function Buttons

The Panasonic LX100 has 5 sets of menus that are accessed through the “menu/set” button on the back control dial.  These menus are:

a)  “Rec” – the small camera symbol

b)  “Motion Picture” – the video camera symbol

c)  “Custom” – the wrench with the “C” next to it

d)  “Setup” – the wrench symbol

e)  “Playback” – which has the (triangular) play button symbol next to it. 

Select the Custom Menu, which has 9 screens of options, and go to screen 7 to “Fn Button Set” where you can reassign options for the 3 function buttons.  I strongly recommend reassigning “Utilize Custom Set Feature” to one of the Fn buttons.

 

7.  Utilizing Custom Settings

The LX100 allows you to store 3 separate sets of custom camera profiles (C1, C2, C3).  Once you establish your desired settings on the camera, you can save them by going to the first page of the Custom Menu and then saving those settings as “C1”, “C2” or “C3”.  These can then be recalled at an instant as long as you have reassigned the “Utilize Custom Set Feature” to one of your function buttons. (You can also turn off the custom setting, effectively giving you a fourth custom profile.) 

I set my Fn1 button “Utilize Custom Set Feature” so that when I press it I see my custom profiles as follows:     

  • C1 settings for Still Photos
  • C2 settings for 4K Video
  • C3 for 4K photo (allows you to use the shutter button to shoot video)

 

Specific Custom Video Settings

These settings can be saved into one of your custom profiles (#7 above) as a quick starting or reference point when setting up the camera or reconfiguring for a different shot.

 

1.  Photo Style

Located on page 1 of the Motion Picture Menu.

The LX100 does not have a log profile or other flat video profile (like the Sony RX100 V).  The LX100 only has various “photo styles” which apply to both still images as well as video. The best you can do is to shoot with a “Natural” or “Standard” photo style, modified as follows to lower the contrast and flatten the picture:

  • -3 on Contrast
  • -5 on Sharpness
  • 0 (unchanged) on Noise Reduction
  • 0 (unchanged) on Saturation

You can experiment with the photo styles to see what yields the most pleasing results for your eye.

 

2.  I-Dynamic

Located on page 2 of the Motion Picture Menu.

I turn this off for shooting video because it introduces a bit more noise in the shadows, though the difference is probably marginal (so it’s worth experimenting).

 

3.  Using Contrast Curves

Located on page 2 of the Rec Menu.

In the Rec Menu, look for the “Highlight Shadow” setting.  There are different default options, plus 3 different custom settings that you can create (using the back control dial to scroll).  The LX100 does not have a log or flat profile, but you can compensate to a degree with a custom curve.  I recommend turning down the highlights (-5), but leaving the shadows unchanged, since raising the shadows can introduce more noise in the video. But with that said, you can experiment and revise your settings.

 

4.  Video Autofocus

Located on page 1 and page 2 of the Motion Picture Menu.

On page 1, under “AFS/AFF/AFC”, you might want to set this to AFF or AFC for continuous autofocus.  On page 2, set “continuous autofocus” to “on”.  The LX100, like other Panasonic cameras, uses a contrast detect autofocus system.  It uses Panasonic’s proprietary DFD technology, which is very snappy for single autofocus.  I usually used AFS, but found that my better video clips were when the camera was set to AFC.  However, like other contrast detect autofocus systems, it can hunt in low light.

 

5.  Live View vs. EVF

Located on page 9 of the Custom Menu.

I usually use the camera’s EVF, as the image is brighter and more detailed than the live view monitor on the back of the camera.  There is a small sensor next to the EVF that automatically moves the image display to the EVF when you hold the camera up to your eye.  In underwater situations, it is nearly impossible to use the EVF through the camera housing and my scuba mask; you must rely upon the live view monitor on the back, which is of decent quality.  To keep the camera set on live view, open the Custom Menu, go to the 9th page of options, select “Eye Sensor” and set the “LVF/Monitor Switch” to “MON”, to force the camera to stay on live view.  Otherwise the camera housing will usually trip the sensor, moving the display to the EVF.

 

6.  AF/AE Lock

Located on page 1 of the Custom Menu.

Set the AE/AF button to AF in order to enable back button autofocus. It is handy for both video and still photos.

 

7.  iA Button Switch (Intelligent Auto (iA)

Located on page 8 of the Custom menu.

The LX100 has an “intelligent auto” button on the top of the camera (marked “iA”), I would recommend taking manual control of your exposure variables.  Unfortunately, the iA button cannot be reprogrammed to a more useful function.  However, you can go into the custom menu and set the iA button to “press and hold” in order to invoke intelligent auto (as opposed to single press, which increases the likelihood of using it accidently).

 

Once you are done with the above settings, go ahead and save them as one of your Custom profiles.   

 

 

Sample Panasonic LX100 Underwater Video

Caribbean Blues Interlude by Basil Kiwan. Originally filmed at 4K in the Turks & Caicos. Be sure to increase the playback resolution by clicking the HD button.


Diving the Red Sea by Basil Kiwan. Originally filmed at 4K in the Red Sea. Be sure to increase the playback resolution by clicking the HD button.

 

 

Conclusion

The LX100 is a small but very capable compact camera, pairing a comparatively large sensor with a really nice Panasonic-Leica lens. The 4K video quality is excellent, with great color and resolution, and is a lot of fun to work with. The above settings will help you get started on shooting some incredible video.  As always, you can contact the team at Bluewater Photo for full details on shooting with Panasonic cameras.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Basil Kiwan has been hooked on diving since 1997, and is an enthusiast photographer on land and underwater.  He enjoys capturing the beauty of both the natural and human worlds, and when he gets a chance, he loves to work as volunteer photographer with his favorite hometown animal rescue.

More of his photographic work can be found online at: www.visualartsdc.com.

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

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Quick tips to ensure that you are picking your best and most creative photos when entering underwater photo competitions
By Martin Toole

How to Choose Photos for a Competition

Martin Toole
Quick tips to ensure that you are picking your best and most creative photos when entering underwater photo competitions

It's the end of the year, which means one thing in photography, finding your best shots and photos to enter in to a competition. In a few weeks, the underwater photography competition at In-Water Photographer of the Year will be closing its doors for entry. So now is the best time to have a look through this years photographs you have taken and to see whether any could be entered in to this in-water comp.

In this post, we'll have a look at how you can choose your best and most unique photos as well as looking at how you can improve the photos or the dive spots you frequent to get more out of your photograhy.

 

Something Unique

When taking underwater photos, you want to be looking for something unique, something that either hasn't been photographed before, or something that you've seen before, but with a fresh twist on it. A photo I love which was entered in the competition last year, is of a freediver swimming perpendicular to the shot and against the lines of this beautiul pool in France.

 

The few things I like about this photo and that make it stand out to me are as follows:

-It's a normal 25m swimming pool, nothing new going on here, but this time, it's empty, but for one freediver at the opposite end of the pool. It's very rare you ever get to see an empty pool when you're swimming or training, especially one which has a freediver in it. They add to the symmetry, they're literally swimming against the flow of the lines. But this is how it works, the pool markers and lanes take your eyes to the freediver who is sat in the middle of the shot. When you get there, your visual journey is complete, as the top half of the photo, because of it's symmetry, is also the same as the bottom with its stunning reflection.

What I love about this photograph is that the photographer, Alex Voyer has managed to get so much more out of a scene that is seen daily by hundreds of thousands of people. It's just a swimming pool, but it's been asked a few questions and out of it is a lovely artistic photograph.

 

Rare Interaction

Are there any rare spectacles in the surrounding waters? Even if you don't live near tropical waters, you can still find something rare and interesting. With this one it is important to ask around, local fisherman, spearo's, the local scuba diving club or a freediving club. Someone will know of some underwater spectacles, things you can get involved with and see for yourself. Here in Wales, we have a few things we can see from the shore and even more when we head out on a boat. Once a year there is the spider crab migration in to the shallows and in Pembrokeshire you can see hundreds, if not thousands in a few certain spots. If you time it right, and find the right shoreline, you could see something really special. 

There are also organised trips around the world to see particular fish, sealife, whales etc and here in the UK is no different, there are basking shark trips, blue shark and other shark species offshore trips, whale watching boats and one of our favourite is the seals at Farne Islands.

This was an organised trip, but it's still something quite rare to be able to play and hang about with these grey seals. We dive all year round, freediving and scuba and we have had many wild interactions with harbour and grey seals but have never some this close as we did at the Farne Islands. Above you can see a sea lion, they are playful animals and this photo depicts a rare interaction perfectly. A freediver swimming with the sea lion as they look at each other, both in shot and well framed showing the close proximity to each other.

 

Artistic Vision & Framing

Do you have any photos or ideas you are yet to take which involve a familiar seen, but would like to enhance? Or do you wish to mix up things that you are involved with in your daily life within your photography? There are many ways you can create a more visually appealing and artistic photograph. 

Last years winner and my personal favourite from the competition is of the Colombian U21 Underwater Hockey Team. There coach stands forefront in the shot whilst the players have all jumped in to the scene from outside of the pool. They've created another form of action, expressed this underwater sport in a unique way. The photographer, Camilo, could have taken a well framed action shot from the game, but he decided to tell a story instead, with a single photo. It's very powerful, you get drawn to the lone person at front but immediately taken away by what is going on around him. To me, it's very much like playing underwater hockey, you have to be focused (just like the front figure is) whilst there is splashing, bubbles, kicking, knocks, apnea, co2 increase and lack of oxygen all going on under the surface.

 

In-Water Photography

All the photos mentioned have minimal, if any post processing, most of the work was done before the photo was taken and then framed well. This sort of philosophy, mixed with water and a minimal of diving gear is what In-Water Photographer of the Year photography competition is trying to promote. If you take photos on one breath? Whilst our snorkeling, surfing, swimming with friends? In-Water Photographer of the Year is the perfect photo competition for you.

Click here to learn more about and enter the In-Water Photographer of the Year contest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Toole:  I'm an avid freediver, scuba qualified and love spending most of my spare time in open water, lakes, rivers or the ocean.  There are new angles, new perspectives, sports being seen in a new light, all from the perspective of the ocean lover with fins on. I found a lot of the photos I wanted to take I could do without any scuba gear on, so now I take all my photos whilst freediving and snorkeling and there are plenty of other people doing this too. I created In-Water Photographer of the Year 2 years ago to celebrate all that is photography in-water, with a minimal of gear on.

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

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Improve your underwater wreck photography with these essential tools and tips for lighting, composing and shooting different scenes
By Brook Peterson

5 Tips for Creative Wreck Photos

Brook Peterson
Improve your underwater wreck photography with these essential tools and tips for lighting, composing and shooting different scenes

Every scuba dive brings a new adventure, and there is something about diving on a shipwreck that awakens the little kid in me.  Maybe it is the mystery of the ship's sinking, or maybe the fantasy that there will be a hidden treasure chest, or maybe it is even a sense of the wandering spirits who are forever trapped in their watery grave. Whatever I am feeling as I explore a shipwreck, I want to capture that moment in my photography.  But photographing shipwrecks can be challenging, and how do you convey your experience to others?  It all starts with having a good foundation of photographic tools to draw from.

 

 

One of the most apparent challenges of wreck photography is how to light the wreck.  Most shipwrecks are much bigger than our strobes can cover, so we are limited to either shooting with ambient light, (which we can leave natural or turn to black and white in post processing) or we can shoot just a portion of the wreck.

When we photograph a wreck using ambient light, we must adjust the camera settings to let in as much light as needed so that the background is a nice blue, and the wreck is properly exposed. I would suggest you test shoot several images to get the exposure right.  Start by using a shutter speed around 1/80 - 1/125 and adjust the aperture and ISO.  Remember that if you want good depth of field you will need a higher aperture, so ISO is the most likely adjustment you will make.  With today's newer digital cameras, you should be able to adjust the ISO to a fairly high number without too much noise. Look on the LCD to see if there is good detail in the wreck.  You will want to see a range of shadows and highlights.

 

It is also important to note which direction the natural light from the sun is coming from.  If the sun is behind you, you can expect more detail in the subject.  If the sun is behind the wreck, you can expect it to be in silhouette. In the image above, the sun is behind me.  This image also works well processed as a black and white photograph because of the detail and contrast in the image.

 

Another tool you can use to light a large wreck is a filter.  Magic Filters™ are developed for underwater photographers and help compensate for the lack of reds in the water.  They work best without strobes, with the sun at your back and your camera angled slightly down.  You will need to set your camera to manual white balance, so that the image is processed in camera with the correct colors.  The advantage to using filters is that you have good color throughout the image, including the blue water, which often looks washed out without them.

 

If you are using strobes, then it is important that you capture areas of the wreck that are identifying elements, and that they are small enough to be covered by the strobes.  Popular elements are propellers, ladders, winches and rudders.  The image below is of a locomotive that lies in 100 feet of water next to the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea.  You can see that only the very front of the car could be captured by the strobes.

 

The next image is of the steering quadrant on a ship called the SS Perseus which was sunk by the infamous vessel "The Wolf" during World War I.  This element of the ship is important because it helped to identify the ship as being from the WWI era, and ultimately identify which ship it was, as only two vessels from that time period are known to have sunk here.  Taking images of significant elements such as these is artistic because it illustrates the story.

 

Another tool that is always present in good underwater photography is a sense of depth.  We often take images of a fish, with a reef behind them, and perhaps a diver in the background to give a sense of depth.  On a wreck, it is important to give that same sense of depth.  But if you are photographing something inside, that can be a challenge.  A way to overcome this is to look for ways you can use ambient light in the background.  In the image below, you can see a cargo hold filled with stacks of Italian tile.  The ambient light in the background helps convey the vastness of the space.

 

Sometimes there is no possibility of bringing in ambient light, and you still want to convey a sense of depth. A tool you can use for this would be a remote strobe, or 'off camera' strobe. This is an additional strobe that is triggered remotely by the light from your strobes. You can place it wherever you want to create dimension to a closed space. This truck is in a closed portion of the cargo hold of the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea. There are several trucks in this space, so I put the remote strobe in the cab of the second truck giving depth to the area.

A remote strobe can also be used to light something in a room such as the boiler, or steering wheel, or some other interesting element. The image below shows a lot of dimension with the use of a remote strobe to light the back room, and blue water and fish in the background.

 

Light beams from the sun give moodiness to an image so if they are available, use them to create atmosphere.  Beams of light can be difficult to capture, especially in a dark space.  In this image I am using an ISO of 1250, f/5, 1/60.  There is enough particulate in the water that the sunbeams are captured by it, even with a slow shutter speed.

 

Using different lighting techniques goes a long way when you are trying to transfer your underwater experience to your audience.  Don't be afraid to experiment with your strobes as well as ambient light, filters, remote strobes, and sunbeams.  They are all tools that you can use to improve your underwater photography, and give value to your images.

 

This column originally published on Brook's blog, Waterdog Photography.

 

Be sure to read all of our Shipwreck Photo Tutorials.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brook Peterson is an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer who enjoys capturing the beauty of the under water environment throughout the world. She is an original member of the SEA&SEA Alpha program. Her work has been featured in both print and online magazines.  She is the owner of Waterdog Photography and authors a blog on underwater photography and techniques.  More of her work can be found at:

www.waterdogphotography.com  |  Facebook  |  instagram@waterdogphotography_brook.

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The best settings and menu selections for shooting pro-level video with the Panasonic GH4 mirrorless camera
By Bobby Arnold

Panasonic GH4 Underwater Video Settings

Bobby Arnold
The best settings and menu selections for shooting pro-level video with the Panasonic GH4 mirrorless camera

The Panasonic GH4 captures incredible 4K video quality and color, rivaling cameras costing many times more. Having shot underwater video with the GH4 since it was released in 2014, I want to share with you what I have learned to get the most of this camera to be able to produce the best possible underwater films.

 

GH4 Basic Video Settings

Format & Quality

The first setting to make in the GH4 menu is the recording format and quality. Either MP4 or MOV should be selected for the format, and 4K-100MB/30P should be selected for the record quality. This mode actually records 3840x2160 pixel Ultra High Definition (UHD), which is the format and resolution of nearly all 4K TVs sold today. The GH4 is also capable of shooting Cinema 4K (4096x2160 pixels) for those who have a specific requirement for shooting at this resolution. Note that if you shoot in Cinema 4K but play the footage on your home 4K TV or display, you will either need to crop the footage or have black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. The framerate of 30p allows for the best capture of motion of aquatic sea life.

Photo Style

The next setting is Photo Style. The GH4 has many preset Photo Styles, each geared toward a specific style of filming. With a very capable camera like the GH4, I try to get the best possible image in camera at the time that I am filming. For this I choose the Cinelike V Photo Style. While delivering a very useable clip, it also allows for making adjustments in post without deteriorating the quality of the footage.

Exposure Mode

The final basic setting is Exposure Mode. I choose to shoot video in the full manual (M) mode. This allows me to control all aspects of exposure, and match it for each shot. This also ensures that your exposure will not fluctuate as slight changes to ambient light occur. The one exception I have for shooting in this mode is when I’m trying to film a fast moving subject (like a sea lion). For that situation, where the background and ambient light is constantly changing the shutter priority (S) mode may be a better option.

 

Panasonic GH4 Focus Settings

After much experimenting with the focus modes on the GH4, I have settled on using manual focus much of the time. Two of the lenses I shoot with regularly, the Olympus 60mm macro and the Panasonic 7-14mm allow for manual zoom control. Whether I’m using these lenses or the Olympus 12-50mm lens (my go-to lens when I can’t make my mind up on shooting macro or W/A), I always start with using the camera’s autofocus to get me as close as possible, then make any fine manual adjustments needed using the manual focus knob or distance to the subject (for the 12-50mm lens), before finally framing my shot and recording. The focus peaking feature of the GH4 helps with this (more on that below).

One “trick” I’ve learned to get the most out of manual focus on the GH4 is utilizing back button focus. Most DLSR/M4/3 cameras allow for back button focus. This essentially turns off the autofocus that occurs when partially or fully pressing down on the shutter button. Instead, focus is assigned to another button on the back of the camera. To set up the GH4 for back button focus, follow these steps:

  1. Change the “Shutter AF” custom menu option to OFF. This stops the auto-focus from engaging when pressing the shutter button.
  2. Change the AF/AE Lock custom menu option to AF-ON. This causes the camera to auto-focus when the AF/AE LOCK button is pushed. The Nauticam NA-GH4 housing has a large thumb-controlled lever for pressing this button. My thumb rests on this lever most of the time I’m filming so that I can engage back-button focus as needed.

Now you have the ability to autofocus with the camera while in autofocus or manual focus modes. I shoot in manual mode when I want to lock focus for the entire shot. If I have a slow moving subject, or one that I can keep the camera centered on, I use autofocus mode, and hold down the AE/AF lock button to keep refocusing on the subject. When in autofocus mode, push the Fn3 (AE Mode) button to select either Pinpoint or 1-Area. The cursor for the focus can also be moved to anywhere on the screen depending on where you would like your subject to be framed. This also allows you to hold down the AE/AF LOCK button to track focus for you while you are shooting, with less of a chance of the camera hunting due to an ever-changing background.

 

Important GH4 Menu Settings/Tips

Three other menu settings are a MUST when shooting video with the GH4. The first is (focus) Peaking in the custom menu. Changing this setting to ON causes your display to highlight (using yellow, blue or green) the areas of the image that are in focus. Next is the Zebra pattern. This shows the areas of your frame that are likely to be overexposed. Two zebra patterns are available, and the sensitivity can be manually selected. Finally, the Histogram custom menu setting should be set to ON. This displays a histogram while filming.

While the GH4 does a great job at displaying the various icons for your current settings and exposure controls, sometimes all of that information can get in the way. Pressing the DISP (display) button cycles through various LCD display modes, including one that removes all icons/text, and only shows what the camera is capturing (plus any grid lines for composition, if you are using them).

 

GH4 Underwater Video

My hope is that these settings will improve your underwater video footage from the Panasonic GH4, and also challenge you to think of other settings that the GH4 offers that will help in your style of underwater videography.

 

2014-September-2 Day Northern Channel Islands with BlueWater Photo from ScubaBob on Vimeo.

 

Oil Rigs: Thriving Life from ScubaBob on Vimeo.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bobby Arnold starting shooting underwater video in 2001. In 2004 he made the switch to HD using the first available consumer HD video camera. 8 years later he moved from traditional video cameras, to the mirrorless Micro 4/3 cameras, opting for the ability of full manual control in a compact package, with a large selection of lenses to match the needs of each dive location. Bobby lives in Orange County, Southern California and enjoys dives locally as much as possible.

 

Bobby's video productions can be viewed here:

https://vimeo.com/user786715

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Explore a creative technique to get the most from wide-angle color when shooting with a single strobe and video light
By Brent Durand

How to Combine Strobe and Video Light

Brent Durand
Explore a creative technique to get the most from wide-angle color when shooting with a single strobe and video light

Sometimes our creative inspiration comes from difficulties with gear in the field. This is the time when a solid understanding of the principals of photography might help save the shoot, the dive, and even the trip. During the recent Bluewater Photo workshop in Bali, Indonesia, the bulb on one of my YS-D1 strobes bulbs blew on day one. I heard the pop and was immediately bummed thinking of all the diving left in the trip, plus my desire to get some great shots with the new Sony a6300 mirrorless camera.

Luckily, Bluewater Photo put a rental YS-D2 strobe in the mail that next day, but I still had a week of single strobe wide-angle shooting to do while the replacement strobe was in transit. Challenge accepted!

 

Ambient Light vs. Artificial Light

Before trying to combine our strobe and video light sources into one frame, we need to understand a little bit about light sources and the camera settings required to capture light from those sources. We work on this during photo workshops but have summed the principals up below.

Ambient light (aka available light) is light that the camera sees. Generally we think of this as sunlight shining through the water from above, but for shooting photos we can also include video light as ambient light. Why? Because the settings to capture the light from the sun and the video light will be the same. The ambient light illuminates the mid-ground and back-ground of the composition, while the video light illuminates the subject in the foreground.

Artificial light will come from our strobe. And yes, a video light can be viewed as artificial, but that's a different line of thought from this discussion.

 

Settings to Combine Light Sources

Now that we understand the light sources we can figure out the best camera settings for combining them. To do this, we start with ambient light. Keep in mind that we're close to the subject, but not shooting close focus wide-angle. A good starting point is a low ISO (100 on compact, 100-200 mirrorless/dslr), 1/100 shutter speed, and aperture of f/5.6 (compact) or f/8 - f/11 (mirrorless/dslr). Check the histogram to make sure that the exposure is metering where you want it, and that you're seeing the ambient light from your video light illumating the foreground from that direction. Usually 1/125s is a great starting point for wide-angle with strobes, but when we want to include video light, we slow down the shutter at least 1/3 stop to let in more ambient light. These shots all were all using 1/100 or 1/80s at depths of 50-75ft (15-23m).

Next, we add our artificial strobe light. The strobe will generally be set to 1/2 - 3/4 power (preferably on manual, otherwise on TTL with no flash exposure comp). When we push the shutter, the strobe should illuminate most of the foreground, the video light should fill in the shadows, and the blue water and structure in the background should be a nice blue color. Bam!

 

Finding the Right Composition

So why do we want to combine strobe and video light in the first place? Because a single light source will deliver very strong shadows on the subject when shooting wide-angle, even with a diffuser.

The lumen rating of your video light will determine how much water the light will shine through, and with my I-Torch Venom 38 (3800 lumens) I liked to stay within a couple feet for my shots. At this range the video light would appear in the images, filling in the shadows of the strobe.

Ideally, you will find a foreground that is not too large, which would be difficult to light completely.

 

Learn More, Shoot More

Want to improve your underwater photography technique and composition?  Join me for a workshop in 2017!  You can email Bluewater Travel or look at the spots left on our Sri Lanka Wrecks and Reefs liveaboard trip in February '17.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide, an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Join Brent on a workshop:

Interested in another workshop? Email Bluewater Travel to let them know!

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

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Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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Keep these tips in mind to create crisp, engaging underwater macro photos on compact, mirrorless or dslr cameras
By Brent Durand

3 Tips for Better Underwater Macro

Brent Durand
Keep these tips in mind to create crisp, engaging underwater macro photos on compact, mirrorless or dslr cameras

Underwater macro photography takes us deep inside the reef, exploring the nuances of a complex, symbiotic ecosystem that many divers swim right past. The inhabitants of this world display the shapes, colors, patterns and textures that inspire even the most radical of sci fi junkies, and it's our priviledge to document those critters and show them to the world.

There are many macro diving hotspots in different corners of the globe, each with a deep lineup of photo-friendly critters. It's easy to pause, snap a photo and then move on. But is that the best photo you could have taken? Are you making the most of that expensive camera gear?

Below are three tips for shooting better macro photos. The first two will bring the best results from your gear while the third helps make photos a bit more engaging.

 

Shoot at Minimum Focus Distance

Most macro lenses (or built-in lenses on compacts) have a wide range of focus, and it's easy to simply point the camera at the subject and push the shutter. By inching the camera forward, you will keep focusing at a closer distance - at least until you reach that minimum focus distance. This will create a crisper image since there is less water between port and subject, will fill the frame more, and create more depth in your image. If you've joined me on a photo workshop, you may still hear my voice in your head saying get it right in the camera and try not to rely on cropping!

On the flip side, some larger subjects must be shot from farther away, and some tiny subjects may require some cropping.  But in general, try to shoot at the minimum focus distance.

 

This whip coral shrimp fills the frame at the minimum focus distance. Shot in Anilao, Philippines with Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100mm macro lens.

 

We see crisp detail on this crinoid shrimp shot at the minimum focus distance. Anilao, Philippines with Canon 7D Mark II.

 

Reposition the Focus Box

We all probably know that critical focus on the subject's eye is paramount in capturing an intriguing macro photo... unless you're shooting a nudibranch! There are two ways to achieve this. The first is to leave that focus box in the center, focus on the eye, and then recompose the image before pushing the shutter the rest of the way down.  This is fine for some situations, but isn't ideal when you have a brief moment to capture a macro critter in just the right position. As you move the camera there are several variables subject to change: distance to subject, habitat movement, shadows & strobe position.

When we move the focus box to the point in the frame where the eye (or rhinopore) appears, we can push the shutter in one movement, eliminating the movement of the variables above and capturing a sharper image.

 

A pinkeye goby swims just above some coral. While close to center, I made sure to position the focus box right where the closest point of the eye would appear in the frame. Shot in Anilao, Philippines with Canon 7D Mk II.

 

Shooting a crinoid shrimp is often a fast endeavor since the crinoid continues to move its arms once disturbed. By placing the focus point precisely where I wanted it in the frame, I could press the shutter the second everything looked right.

 

Tell a Story

Photojournalists are constantly striving to tell a story in a single image, and I believe this translates well into macro photography. Telling a story with the image doesn't always need to fall into the 'marinelife behavior' category either - something like swimming can tell a story but isn't very interesting behavior (unless you really, really like swimming!).

Try to find something unique about your subject and how it interacts with the environment around it and you'll find yourself shooting a more engaging image that people spend more time viewing.

 

A juvenile spotted sweetlips moves fast, erratic patterns around it's home. Slowing down the shutter allowed me to capture some motion blur, portraying this fast movement. 

 

This porcelain crab is sitting on the top of a soft coral at night, moments away from releasing eggs. By clearly including the eggs and soft coral polyps in the frame, we spend an extra moment with the photo to absorb the scene.

 

 

These tips for underwater macro photos apply to any type of camera in many different macro shooting situations. You can always practice on land before your next dive trip so that you maximize your time shooting in the water, or join one of our workshops for a week of intensive photo instruction. Be respectful and have fun out there!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide, an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Join Brent on a workshop:

Interested in another workshop? Email Bluewater Travel to let them know!

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

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Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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How to use Diopters to shoot supermacro photos, including best aperture, strobe position and best camera lenses
By Mike Bartick

Tips for Shooting with Diopters

Mike Bartick
How to use Diopters to shoot supermacro photos, including best aperture, strobe position and best camera lenses

Macro photography has always been my first love for shooting underwater. Taking time to find just the right subject can force me to slow down and enjoy the dive, explore a little more and concentrate on just one thing: making an image. Once that special subject is found, the next task is to photograph it in just the right manner. For this there could be a myriad of options depending on my camera set up. As an SLR shooter, I prefer to use my Nikkor 105mm macro lens on almost every macro dive. The nice thing about shooting with a longer lens like the Canon 100mm or Nikkor 105mm is the option to use a diopter for supermacro photo opps. Sure a 60mm lens will work in a pinch but having a diopter with my longer lens is a true luxury.

The market for diopters has been saturated with some very good wet lenses and some not-so-good wet lenses, and trust me - I have used many of them, including some DIY diopters in days gone by.

Diopters come in variable strengths (magnification factors) and are designed for a variety of camera systems including compact, SLR and mirrorless. And while the strength of magnification varies, we can also stack multiple diopters in order to further increase magnification.

 


This screenshot of a very rare white hairy shrimp is right out of my RAW files and illustrates a good example of a "bullseye" image composition. The illusion of being off-set comes from working the subject into the frame from back to front and is a great place to start with composition when using a diopter.

(Nikon D7100; 105mm macro lens + Nauticam SMC;  F25 @ 1/200; ISO 360; Single Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe at medium power)

 

Making small things big isn't always what macro shooting is all about. Of course, this is a major aspect of underwater macro photography, but there is so much more that goes into creating an image, specially when using diopters.

Aside from the technical challenges created by adding a diopter to your lineup, the mechanical function of being able too attach and use them should also be considered. A diopter/wet lens which is used on the outside of the camera housing needs to be immediately accessible, preferably by using a hinged diopter adapter. If you need to screw your wet lens on and off, photo ops will be lost and eventually, so will your diopter. Consider this as well; positioning the diopter so that it locks into place each time you use it. Consistency and reliability are an essential ingredient and shouldn't be overlooked.

 


A Bryozoan Goby (Undescribed) is seen with its eggs. Paying close attention to the focal plane and pushing my F-stop as much as i could allowed me to capture this "framed" subject composition. Using the focus selector to line up the shot and then locking that down with my focus lock, I waited for the subject to move in and oxygenate the eggs. Each time this occurred I was able to capture an image.

(Nikon D7100; 105mm macro lens + Nauticam SMC; F32 @ 1/250; ISO 360; Single Sea & SeaYS-D2 strobe at medium power)

 


Filling the frame with your subject and the background is another composition that I enjoy shooting with for supermacro. Because of the shallow depth of field, creating creamy bokeh is easy to achieve even at higher F-stops.

(Nikon D7100; 105mm macro lens + Nauticam SMC; F29 @ 1/320; ISO 360; Single Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe at medium power)

 

Diopter Dilemmas:

  • Magnification decreases depth of field
  • Diopter/wet lenses are usually sharpest in the center
  • Attaching them to your camera - using adapters

Depth of field can be reduced by as much as 3 stops depending on the strength of the diopter, which effects several aspects of the image that cannot be corrected in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Getting some of that depth back will be the first topic we discuss and can be achieved with some quick adjustments I like to think of as “Supermacro” mode. If your camera menu is cumbersome, then i suggest using your presets for this simple step.

F22 is the minimum aperture I'll start with when trying to achieve greater depth, pushing it all the way to F36. Lighting can become problematic at that range so I will attempt to correct that by increasing my ISO to 360. Shutter speeds control the ambient light, as usual, so getting black negative space isn't an issue.

SLR Settings:   F32 @ 1/200 ISO 360

Compact Settings:   F9 @ 1/500 ISO 300

 

Strobe angle can also become easier to manage with these settings.  I recommend using a single strobe for this kind of tight macro work.

 

 

The butterfly slugs are not only small but can be challenging to photograph due to their eratic movements. Knowing your subject helps to key into its special features like eye spots.

(Nikon D7100; 105mm macro lens + Nauticam SMC; F36 @ 1/320; ISO 360; Single Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe at medium/high power)

 

The second issue we're faced with (with diopters) is composition, and this is where the rubber meets the road for shooting supermacro. Because most lenses are sharpest in the center, adding a diopter, which is also sharpest in the center, increases that same issue. This can be overcome with the right composition. Sometimes Photoshop and Lightroom can assist you with the final adjustments in this step, however we should never shoot with the intention to use this software to fix an image.

Set your personal goal high for supermacro by reading contest rules and getting an idea of what is really acceptable in the supermacro world. This, of course, depends on how you choose to disseminate your images. The amount of “croppin and shoppin” that you do is all up to you.  

 


Opening your F-stop can produce really cool bokeh and should also be experimented with.  Composition doesnt always have to reflect the position of the subject but can also include more visual textures.

(Nikon D7100; F13 @ 1/200 + Nauticam SMC; ISO 360; Single Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe at medium/high power)

 

 

This hornet shrimp is highlighted by using a continuous snoot developed by INON. The LF800-N is quite handy and works well with video and macro shooting. I've never seen this shrimp before and nicknamed it The Hornet on the spot. The composition is a bit top-down, but in this angle I was able to pickup a little more of its unique detail.

(Nikon D7100; F22 @ 1/200 + Nauticam SMC; ISO 360; 1 INON LF-800 N - with condenser filter)

 

 

Conclusion

Diopters should be regarded as an essential tool for shooting macro images. Familiarizing yourself with the function of the lens can actually be accomplished on a workbench using a ruler to measure working distance in front of small objects. Remember that your new diopter should be regarded as a new lens purchase and will surely add another layer of image styles into your portfolio. So keep practicing and try some of the simple adjustments as recommended above on your next outing.

Good Luck!

Special thanks to Maluku Divers in Ambon, Indonesia.

 



Diopter Spotlight

View a wide selection of Underwater Diopters


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Bartick is an avid and experienced scuba diver and Marine Wildlife Photographer. He has an insatiable love for nudibranchs, frogfish and other underwater critters, and is the official critter expert for the Underwater Photography Guide. Mike is also one of the UWPG trip leaders. See more of his work at www.saltwaterphoto.com.

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

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Tutorial on how to approach big animals and shoot powerful images in blue water, including photo gear and settings
By Todd Thimios

Capture Great Photos in Blue Water

Todd Thimios
Tutorial on how to approach big animals and shoot powerful images in blue water, including photo gear and settings

 

Shooting photographs in open blue water can be one of the most challenging and yet rewarding forms of underwater photography.

For me it has always been the most exciting way to shoot underwater as it requires all kinds of patience and experience while also being full of surprises and split second opportunities. And when all the right factors come into place the encounters can be life changing.

I'm familiar with these big trips to find pelagic ocean life and know what’s at stake with each photo opportunity, so I've put together 5 topics to take into consideration when attempting blue water photography.

 

 

 

DO YOUR RESEARCH

We all want to nail that shot or be in that right place at the right time, but what does it really take to put yourself in “the spot’’? I have always been a firm believer in educating yourself about new environments before arrival. Understanding your subject’s behavior and characteristics and also understanding migratory, feeding and habitual patterns of your subjects all increase your chances of experiencing something special.

 

 

THE RIGHT GEAR AND SETTINGS 

When photographing large marine life in open blue water it is pretty fair to decide on a wide-angle lens straight away. The beauty of wide-angle lenses, on top of allowing us to frame the entire subject, is their ability of close focus and the amount of light they allow. Giving the shooter the extra pleasure of shooting with a faster shutter speed and not a crazy high ISO.

A few things with equipment setup to consider:

  • Why flash? Unless you have a shark rubbing its nose on your dome port in limited ambient light, consider removing your strobes.  You should be shooting with a shutter speed around 1/250th or more.  Most SLR strobes won’t sync beyond 1/250th and only light up an area roughly 2 meters in front of you.  On top of all this, and probably most importantly, think mobility! You’re going to be free diving and making fast movements. You want and need be agile, and big strobes, arms and clamps will slow you down.
  • Shoot in continuous shooting mode with a large memory card and a spare battery. Don’t be afraid to shoot from the ‘’hip’. It’s not every instance that you get the chance to compose through your view finder. Put that camera’s shutter to work.
  • Understand your camera's different focus options and learn about your camera's capabilities with follow (tracking) focus. Lastly, practice selecting multiple focus points on your camera and see what gives the best results.
  • I find great comfort in shooting in TV (shutter priority mode). The reason for this is you don’t always know the direction you are going to be shooting. The subject could come and go from a number of different directions with your camera reading different values of metered light.    

What shutter priority does is it allows you to fix your desired shutter speed, with the aperture chosen by the camera in real time as it calculates stops of light needed to achieve a safe exposure. I don’t want to be changing settings when Sailfish or Dolphins are darting around me from all different directions.  Don’t get me wrong, I still shoot manual in blue water, but only when I decide that the ambient light wont be changing no matter which direction I face and when I can always ensure my histogram supports the decision.

 

 

BE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Let's consider your environment when photographing Whales, Sharks, Dolphins, Mantas and so on in the open ocean.  Normally we’re looking at very deep water a long way from land. This brings me to my point; you need to be comfortable in the open water! Some of the best photographers I’ve worked with were free divers, spear fisherman or even surfers before picking up a camera. They know how to read the ocean and marine life, reserve energy and in some cases hold their breath longer than one would think possible. You can image the advantage they have.

Lastly, take note of the sun's location to you and your subject, as this will play a critical role in shooting in ambient light.

 

 

ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR

I love it when I achieve strong eye contact with my subject. I feel it just takes the experience to a new level. It gives your audience more connection with the image, and to me personally, it leaves a more definitive memory. On the contrary, learn when to back off as well. It can be easy to see in photographs that the subject is agitated or distressed, so learn the warning signs and respect your subject. 

 

 

GET CLOSE BUT RESPECT

Ok here it is… get close!!! Yes, you’re photographing some thing huge and yes your lens is wide, but wide-angle lenses also display the image further away and smaller than the natural eye sees it (due to the wide field of view). We want to see the detail and beauty of what you're photographing, so get close.

Enjoy and dive safe.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Thimios is a Dive Guide/Instructor for private cliental. A submersible pilot and expedition leader, but foremost a lover of underwater photography/cinematography and marine conservation, with a lust for remote travel and wildlife.  He has circumnavigated the globe by private yacht and includes living on a remote Pacific island for 6 years with 500 people as - “as good as it gets.”

www.toddthimios.com   |   Instagram.com/toddthimios   |   Facebook.com/toddthimios.tv

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Detailed settings information for using the Sony A7R II camera underwater
By Kelli Dickinson

Best Underwater Settings for the Sony A7R II Camera

Kelli Dickinson
Detailed settings information for using the Sony A7R II camera underwater

Quick Navigation:

The Sony A7R II camera has come on to the scene with incredible specs and delivering the highly detailed, excellent quality results we’d expect from a full frame camera. With a smaller footprint than the larger pro style DSLR cameras, it makes it a bit easier for housing and using underwater. However this small size does not hinder the camera in any way* as it still delivers top notch functionality, controls, customization and more. Everything you’d want in a larger DSLR body is available in this smaller mirrorless system. For a full look at the Sony A7R II Camera for underwater photography read our in depth review

*Except maybe battery life. :(

With the expansion of the native lens line, the A7 series is even more desirable, and with three different camera options to choose from, photographers can really hone their system specifically for their desired use. 

I’ve been using the A7R II camera in a couple different housings over the last months, and have dug through the menu’s to find and use the best set up I feel possible for ease of shooting and excellent results while taking advantage of the many options this camera allows.

Please keep in mind as you read there may be a few options that are not possible or differ on the other camera models - A7 II and A7S II - but hopefully nothing too different! 

 

If you are a video shooter, be sure to read Sony a7R II Best Video Settings.



Important Camera Settings

There are several settings that must be changed from the default in the camera menu before using the camera underwater. Make sure to go through your menu to properly select these options in order to maximize your A7R II underwater and have an enjoyable time shooting!

Automatic Switch Between the Electronic Viewfinder and the LCD Screen

The Sony A7R II automatically switches between the LCD and EVF when you put your eye up to the EVF. Underwater this is problematic as the housing blocks the sensor tricking the camera into thinking an eye is up to the EVF so it will not switch back to the LCD automatically. The Nauticam housing uses a light blocker to allow the auto switch to work, however I have found that it does not always work as it should. Aquatica and Ikelite need to have the auto switch shut off or you will be limited to using only the EVF. 

To turn off the automatic switch between EVF and LCD: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen #4 —> Finder / Monitor —> Select either Viewfinder (Manual) or Monitor (Manual) —> OK to confirm.

This will give you the option of selecting EVF, Auto or LCD. For manual control choose the one you will most often use (either EVF or LCD). The camera will default to that screen when you turn it on. 

To be able to switch between the EVF and LCD quickly you need to program one of the custom buttons for this function. I choose C3 as its located on the back of the underwater housings, making it not great for quick access, but easy enough to reach when you need it.

To assign the EVF/LCD switch function to the C3 button, follow these steps: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 7 —> Custom Key Settings —> Custom Button 3 —> Finder / Monitor Sel —> OK to confirm. Now when you press the C3 button it will switch between the EVF and LCD. 

Allow for Easy Image Composition When Using Strobes

The A7R II does not take into account the external strobes we’re using underwater, and the out of the box default for the EVF or LCD screen brightness is to accurately reflect the effect that the camera settings will have on exposure. This means that if you set the camera to F22, 1/250th, your screen will be black! In order to be able to properly compose your image you need to turn this function off so that the screen will always display a bright image. Just keep in mind that what you see is not what you will get! Keep an eye on the meter (which takes into account the flash) or shoot a test shot to refine your exposure. 

To turn off the setting effect follow these steps: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 3 —> Live View Display —> Setting Effect OFF —> OK to confirm

Control Your Focus Point

The A7R II comes set up with no easy way to quickly change your focus mode or choose a specific focus area. In order to change the mode or focus area you have to navigate through a few menus unless you customize the path. I recommend assigning the Center (OK) button to control Focus Settings so you gain one touch control of your focus point.

To assign this function follow these steps: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 7 —> Custom Key Settings —> Center Button —> Focus Settings —> OK to confirm.

Now when you hit the center button it will automatically bring us the focus area and allow you to move it. (Applicable for Zone, Flexible Spot and Expand Flexible Spot). To quickly change your focus mode you can assign that to one of the other Custom Buttons, or leave the cursor highlighted on the field when you press the Fn key so its ready to be selected without additional scrolling.

Turn Off the AF Illuminator

This is unnecessary in any underwater housing as it is blocked completely. Turn this off to save a little bit of battery life. 

Menu —> Camera Icon —> Screen 4 —> AF Illuminator —> OFF —> OK to confirm

Display Rotation

For whatever reason the A7R II camera defaults to no image rotation during playback. This means if you shoot a portrait oriented image when you go to review it, you’ll see the small version on the horizontal orientation and it will not change to fill the screen if you rotate the camera. To keep from going crazy, turn on the auto display rotation.

Menu —> Playback Settings (Play Icon) —> Screen 1 —> Display Rotation —> Auto —> OK to confirm

Check Your Image Format

Before shooting always check that you are shooting in the mode you want. Make sure you’ve selected RAW, or the correct JPEG option. Do the same if you shooting video to confirm your settings are correct. 

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Lillies Cenotes

 

A7R II Focus Settings

Focus Mode Options

Knowing how your camera is focusing is half the battle with getting that perfect, sharp focus in your images. The second half is properly using those focus modes to your advantage. Here is a quick outline of the A7R II’s focus modes for photography, and my recommendations of which to use underwater. 

AF-S

This is single auto focus, where a half shutter press will lock the focus and that focus will stay locked in place until you depress the shutter. The next half shutter press will lock focus again, etc. 

AF-C 

The camera will continuously focus while the shutter is held half depressed. Once you release the shutter it takes the photo. You can even specify in the camera menu whether you want the priority of the shutter release in AF-C mode to be on locking focus or on releasing the shutter. If you set it to “Release” then the shutter will release even if the camera is not 100% locked in focus. This can mean catching quick action that you would have missed while waiting to lock focus and may be useful in certain shooting situations. The default is “Balanced Emphasis” where the camera chooses the best option for that moment, although I do not know what criteria it uses to decide which to prioritize.

AF-A

This is a more advanced focus mode that is seen on many cameras and may be useful for underwater wide shooting. It effectively lets the camera decide whether to use AF-S or AF-C focusing based on how it sense movement in the frame. If the camera sense that the subject is stationary when you half depress the shutter button it will lock focus. However, it if senses that the subject is moving it will continuously focus while the shutter is half depressed. The downside here is that you may want a specific focus option but the camera may choose differently.

DMF

This is an autofocus mode that allows you to tweak the focus lock manually while holding down the focus. I personally do not feel this one is that useful for underwater as it requires alot of pressing and holding. To use this function you would half depress the shutter and hold it while manually focusing the lens. The risk of accidentally engaging the shutter the rest of the way and taking a photo is too high for me, I prefer the AF-S lock and rocking in and out method to tweak focus for macro shooting.

MF

If you have a lens that is compatible with a focus gear you can use manual focus underwater. I recommend also engaging focus peaking and or manual focus assist to aid in nailing manual focus control.

 

Focus Mode Recommendations for Underwater

Wide Angle Focusing

For shooting wide angle scenics (reefs / wrecks, etc), I tend to prefer to leave the camera set up in a standard configuration with the autofocus engaging at a half shutter press. It makes it easy to focus and shoot a photo, in addition you’ll never forget to lock focus when shooting engaging big animal action. 

The wide angle focus mode I prefer using is AF-C, as this continually allows the camera to refocus while I hold down the shutter half way which is great for moving animals.

In addition I like to select the menu option for PRE-AF (Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 3 —> Pre-AF —> On) so that the camera is adjusting focus before I take the photo. **Keep in mind this will cause more battery drain when on** 

When shooting reef scenes, wrecks or other large stationary objects you can choose any focus area you like, as nailing focus right away is not a huge deal - your subject is not going anywhere. When shooting big animals I prefer to use either the Wide Focus Area, Zone Focus Area or the Expand Flexible Spot. The Wide option will take into account all the focus areas in the frame and select the best one. It will show the green focus square around the area it selected. If you want to specify a specific area use the Zone, which allows you to select a section consisting of 9 focus areas. The camera will then choose one of those nine. Lastly expand flexible spot allows you to choose a specific focus area. If the camera cannot lock focus on that spot it will use the focus points around that spot as a secondary priority area to focus.

Socorro Manta

 

Macro Focusing

When shooting macro I find its best to work with the AF-S focus mode. This allows me to lock focus once. I also split the focus away from the shutter so that I can take multiple exposures without refocusing.

Any of the focus area options will work fine for macro, however I prefer to use the Flexible Spot so that I can pinpoint exactly where I want the camera to focus (ie: eyes). If the macro subject is quick to move I’ll use a different mode, but for most macro work I select Flexible Spot - Medium. For even more fine tuning select Flexible Spot Small!

A7R II Macro

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Macro Settings

Shooting macro typically means blocking out the ambient light so you can control the scene using your strobes or video lights. Here are my recommendations for starting when shooting with the 90mm Macro lens. 

  • Manual Mode, F22, 1/250th, ISO 100
  • Auto White Balance
  • Most systems will use manual control only on the strobes, but for Ikelite you can set them to TTL if you desire
  • Set Focus Mode to Flexible Spot so that you can easily target a specific area of the image to focus.

TIP - Watch your shutter speed! The A7 cameras do not have a max shutter speed sync stop when plugged into the hot shoe. This means you can easily dial down the shutter past 1/250th, however once you do so, you’ll start to see that black bar across your photos as the exposure is too fast for the flash!

TIP - Get creative - Open up your aperture to F5.6 or lower for blurred background and shallower depth of field

TIP - When shooting fish portraits with the 90mm open your aperture to F11 to start. This will give you strobes more reach, as the camera is letting in more light. Slow your shutter speed down to allow for ambient light to come into the sensor if you don’t want black backgrounds in your portraits.

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Wide Angle Settings

The opposite of macro where you block out ambient light, wide angle needs the ambient light to capture the surrounding views. Adjust your aperture and shutter to allow more light in, while still getting sharp, detailed photos. Here are my recommended starting points.

  • Manual Mode for Reef Scenes, Wrecks, Etc, F8, 1/ 125th, ISO 100
  • Auto White Balance
  • Strobes on Manual or TTL when available
  • Set Focus Mode to Wide to capture all possible focus points, or Expand Flexible Spot when trying to isolate one area for focus, but want some added padding in locking focus.

TIP - Use Aperture or Shutter Priority when shooting big animals or faster moving subjects.

TIP - Remember, shutter speed controls your background exposure for wide angle. Slow or speed up the shutter speed to get the perfectly exposed, nice blue background in your photos. 

TIP - When shooting into the sun you’ll need to set the shutter speed as fast as possible (1/250th to properly sync), also stop down the aperture to avoid blowing out the highlights (increase strobe power)

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Video Settings

The A7R II camera really shines for video shooting, with the ability to shoot full 4K (100M bitrate at up to 30p). In addition the backlit sensor dramatically improves the low light performance, an added bonus for video shooting. The best option for shooting video if your editing system can handle it would be to shoot 4K, then down res the footage when exporting to which ever format you prefer. If you don’t have a robust editing system that can handle the 4K shooting, then our recommendation is to shoot using the high quality XAVC S HD codec (vs MP4 or AVCHD). This will give you nearly 2k resolution, which is still more than you need for online sharing and the max of what most current TV’s display. Here are the basic settings to start with for HD (not 4k) video on the A7R II:

  • XAVC S HD
  • Either 30p or 60p (allows for more control with slowing down motion)
  • Manual control so you can set the correct shutter speed and control aperture and ISO to get a proper exposure / depth of field

For a more detailed look at proper settings and camera control when shooting video, check out our video specific settings article for the A7R II

Underwater Video with A7R II, 1080 30p - Socorro Islands

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Recommended customization for the Aquatica Housing

When installing the camera onto the camera tray, make sure you pop out the LCD screen so that it sits on the tray at an angle. Take care to make sure the ON/OFF lever on the housing is in the same position as the camera (ie: both set to OFF). This will ensure functionality for turning the camera on / off after the housing is closed. In addition you will want to pull up the bracketing and mode dials so that the camera can slide in easily. If you are using a lens with a zoom or focus gear be sure to pull out the zoom knob on the housing also. 

If you have also adjusted the Important Camera Settings there is nothing else you have to change to enjoy the A7R II in the Aquatica housing underwater. However, if you want quick access to ISO or to use some more advanced options such as splitting out the focus lock from the shutter release, here are my recommendations for customizing the camera for the Aquatica housing. 

ISO Control

One great feature of the Aquatica housing is that you have access to a third control wheel, the one surrounding the center button on the back. I love this control, as it allows me to access and change my ISO on the fly when shooting video or ambient light.

To set the rear control wheel for ISO: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 7 —> Custom Key Settings —> Screen 1 —> Control Wheel —> ISO —> OK to confirm

Split Out Focus Lock

Aquatica did not extend the AF/MF button on the back of the camera, so I have found the best option for splitting out the focus when shooting macro is to use the C1 button. They made this a longer lever that you can access with your thumb.

To set this up: 

  1. Assign the focus control to the C1 button: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 7 —> Custom Key Settings —> Screen 1 —> Custom Button 1—> AF On —> OK to confirm
  2. Remove the Autofocus from the Shutter Release so you can take multiple photos without refocusing: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 5 —> AF w/ shutter —> OFF —> OK to confirm

To quickly go back the standard (focus with half shutter release) set up simply turn back ON the AF w/ Shutter option.

White Balance Access

You may want quick access to White Balance control as well. I would recommend assigning this to the either the down button on the back of the camera or the C2 button. On the Aquatica housing the C2 button is a small lever that may be easier to access than the down button, but that is your choice.

To set this up: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 7 —> Custom Key Settings —> Screen 1 or 2 —> Custom Button 2 or Down Button —> White Balance —> OK to confirm.

Aquatica Housing Review

Be sure to read our complete Aquatica a7R II Housing Review.

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Recommended Customization for the Nauticam Housing

When installing the camera onto the camera tray, make sure you pop out the LCD screen so that it sits on the tray at an angle. Take care to make sure the ON/OFF lever on the housing is in the same position as the camera (ie: both set to OFF). This will ensure functionality for turning the camera on / off after the housing is closed. 

If you have adjusted the Important Camera Settings there is nothing else you have to change to enjoy the A7R II in the Nauticam housing underwater. However, if you want to use some more advanced options such as splitting out the focus lock from the shutter release, here are my recommendations for customizing the camera for the Nauticam housing. 

Split Out Focus Lock

To easily be able to split out the focus I recommend assigning the focus control to the small button on the back of the camera - AF/MF/AEL. On the Nauticam housing they have designed the control of this button as a lever that is easily controlled by your right thumb.

To set this up: 

  1. Assign the focus control to the AF/MF button: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 7 —> Custom Key Settings —> Screen 2 —> AF/MF Button—> AF On —> OK to confirm
  2. Remove the Autofocus from the Shutter Release so you can take multiple photos without refocusing: Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 5 —> AF w/ shutter —> OFF —> OK to confirm

To quickly go back the standard (focus with half shutter release) set up simply turn back ON the AF w/ Shutter option.

White Balance Access

Lastly you may want quick access to White Balance control as well. I would recommend assigning this to the down button on the back of the camera (Nauticam agrees as they have even labeled it in parenthesis on the housing). Menu —> Settings (Cog Icon) —> Screen 7 —> Custom Key Settings —> Screen 2 —> Down Button —> White Balance —> OK to confirm.

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Recommended Customization for the Ikelite Housing

Coming soon….

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Other Menu Options

The menu of the Sony A7R II camera is very detailed and there are so many functions you can choose to use or not use which can help create the perfect shooting system for your needs. Below I’ll outline a few key settings that you may want to use underwater, however we will not be going through all the options in detail. For more information on every menu option I recommend referring to Sony’s Expanded Manual which is available online here

Camera Menu

ISO AUTO Min SS

 This is an awesome feature on the Sony A7R II and can be especially useful underwater. When shooting in Aperture priority mode, this menu item allows you to specify a minimum shutter speed. This means that you can set it to the lowest shutter speed desired, then choose AUTO ISO and the camera will bump the ISO up instead of dropping the shutter speed to get the proper exposure. When shooting big animals, you’ll never have blurry motion again! (Keep in mind, if its dark you may end up with a very high ISO which will add grain to your photos, test this function out and only use it in conditions that will allow the ISO to stay in your desired range. To make use of this function set your desired minimum shutter speed through the menu, set the camera to A mode and the ISO to auto. The camera will choose the correct shutter speed keeping ISO at 100. If the exposure is too dark and the camera reaches your desired minimum shutter speed then it will begin to bump up the ISO instead of slowing the shutter!

Settings Menu

MF Assist

Turn this on if you’re using manual focus with a focus gear. It will magnify the image so you can focus more easily.

Auto Review

This is the length of time the image review shows on the screen after exposure. 2 seconds is default and may be too short for some. Set to your desired duration.

Peaking Level

Another useful manual focus tool this shows a color along edges in the photo when they are in focus. Choose Mid for peaking level to get good results without being too distracting

Peaking Color

I prefer red, but you can also choose white or yellow, pick whichever shows up best for your preference (again only used for manual focusing)

Priority Set in AF-S / Priority Set in AF-C

Controls the emphasis on shutter release or autofocus lock for those two focus modes. Refer to the section on focus settings above and set to your preference

APC-S / Super 35mm

Here is another great tool that can get you that extra bump from your lens while shooting. Selecting this mode will effectively crop the image in camera resulting in the same field of view you’d see on a cropped sensor camera. You’ll lose resolution from 42 mp down to 18 mp but you’ll gain additional zoom. Use this for macro shots when you want a little extra magnification and don’t plan to crop in post (or are not allowed to crop for the contest you’re entering), it can also be useful when shooting video.

Custom Key Settings

As described above there are many customizable buttons on the A7R II camera. Set these as desired, or as recommended above to create a personalized camera set up.

Sony a7R II Resources:

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at kelli@bluewaterphotostore.com.

 

Sony a7R II Housing info, with recommended ports & lenses

 

     

    

    

 

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Purchase the a7R II Underwater Housing


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli Dickinson is an avid diver and underwater photographer who shoots primarily on mirrorless cameras. Familiar with a variety of cameras and housings she tries to shoot on as many different options as possible to improve her overall knowledge of underwater camera systems. In addition she is Manager of Bluewater Photo. In her spare time she can be found running, hiking or underwater. 

Connect with her on instagram @kelnkelp or at www.kelnkelp.com

She can be reached via email at kelli@bluewaterphotostore.com.

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Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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