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Ergonomic engineering and new flash triggering system meets Nikon's new flagship pro DSLR camera body
By Brent Durand

Nauticam Nikon D5 Housing Preview

Brent Durand
Ergonomic engineering and new flash triggering system meets Nikon's new flagship pro DSLR camera body

The Nikon D5 is the new flagship in Nikon's DSLR camera line. It is a robust pro-level body with the features and build quality to support the most demanding of photographers. The camera features a 20.8 megapixel FX sensor, 4K video resolution recording, 153 focal point AF, 12fps burst and many other high-performance features. You can check out full specs of the Nikon D5 here.

Nauticam has just announced their NA-D5 underwater housing, which combines the best features of the previous D4 housing with the latest advancements in housing technology. Nauticam is known for highly engineering the housing controls to improve ergonomics, which moves most camera controls to the housing sides for fingertip access. This attention to detail, combined with a wide range of ports and accessories make the Nauticam housings a very popular option for serious photo and video shooters. The Nauticam NA-D5 will be no different.

Nikon D5 MSRP is $6,499.99 USD. This prices out many casual underwater photographers who may opt for cameras like the new Nikon D500, Sony a7R II or Canon 7D Mark II. Serious photographers and pros know the high-performance of the Nikon D5 and that it will make or break certain shots. Paired with a Nauticam housing, the Nikon D5 is a very powerful underwater photo and video tool.  Let's explore the housing in more detail.

Product:  NA-D5 (17219)

Availability:  April 15, 2016

MSRP:  $5,200



Purchase the Nauticam NA-D5 and view recommended ports & lenses at Bluewater Photo

Nauticam Nikon D5 Housing


 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Introducing NA-D5

Nauticam NA-D5, Model Number 17219
Available April 15, 2016

 

Nikon pro series bodies are the cameras that can go anywhere, withstanding unbelievable punishment in the field, and bring back images bordering on the fringes of what is possible from current imaging technology.  Nauticam is pleased to announce the NA-D5 underwater housing, an ergonomic, rugged, and reliable underwater housing ready to take the camera underwater to the ends of the earth in search of these photographic fringes that make rarest and the most memorable images.

The Nikon D5

 

Pro body performance is difficult to quantify on paper, but immediately evident when holding the camera in hand.  Metal construction inspires confidence.  The 12 fps continuous shooting speed (with AF) and a 200 shot RAW buffer keeps ups with the fastest action.  A large, bright viewfinder offers a clear view of the shooting scene, and Multi-CAM 20K tracks focus with incredible accuracy.  The D5 is capable of 3,780 shots per charge (according to the CIPA rating).  We called the D4 a Professional Performance Powerhouse, and the D5 is even better.

Nikon has upped the resolution count in D5 from 16 to 20.8 megapixels, but that is far from the most exciting news for most users.  More interesting is the launch of the Multi-CAM 20K.  This new autofocus system features 153 focus points (up from 51), of which 99 are cross-type sensors (up from 15).  D5 has more cross-type focus points than the D4s had total focus points, and they are spread wider across the frame.  The autofocus system in the D4s was already one of the best available, and the improvements offered by D5 will elevate performance even further.  The D5 introduces a new, 180k pixel RGB metering sensor.  This metering sensor drives the advanced Nikon exposure system, and is also used to provide scene data for 3D focus tracking, improving accuracy.

In total, this is an extremely significant upgrade from Nikon.  D4s was already one of the best pro bodies in overall low light performance.  D5 increases the high ISO range to ISO 102,480, capable of being pushed to 3,280,000.  The D5 camera has a better 3.2" LCD review screen with touch capability, and the most advanced auto focus system ever released.  It is also the first Nikon DSLR body capable of 4K video capture.  High frame rate capability allows more captures, and Multi-CAM 20K Focus ensures more in focus captures.

 

Nikon D5 Key Features:

 

  • 20.8 Megapixel Resolution FX Format CMOS Sensor

  • 4K UHD Video Capture at 24/25/30P

  • Multi-CAM 20K Autofocus with 153 focus points

  • 180,000 RGB Metering Sensor

  • 12 fps Continuous Shooting with Autofocus

  • ISO 100-102,400 (expandable to 3,280,000)

  • 3.2" 2.36 m-dot XGA LCD Screen with Touch Functionality

  • 3,780 Shots per Battery Charge (CIPA Rating)

  • Dual XQD or CF Memory Slots

 

The Nauticam NA-D5 Underwater Housing

 

Nauticam housings are evolutionary marvels, with advancements from previous systems providing the foundation that new models are built on.  The new Nauticam NA-D5 housing incorporates advances from the NA-D4 that came before it, but features enhanced ergonomics, a more sophisticated flash triggering system, and reduced size / weight thanks to cutting edge manufacturing processes.

NA-D4 was a significant elevation of the Nauticam DSLR housing game.  Key controls, such as ISO, Video Record, and Playback, and Info were dramatically routed out to the housing grips.  Nauticam recognizes that advanced DSLR cameras, and advanced DSLR users, rely on these functions more than ever to realize the full potential of advanced imaging systems.  

Advanced high iso and video functionality in modern DSLR cameras has redefined what “essential controls” are really essential.    Buttons that seem like an afterthought in the D5 camera control layout, such as Info (which displays shooting data on the 3.2" color lcd screen), are critical for use in the housing.  This button is routed to the left handle for convenient access.  AF-ON, Movie Record, Playback, ISO, Pv, Fn1, Fn2 and Live View are all handled similarly.  Considerable design and manufacturing resources go into this ergonomic reshuffling, but the benefit to the user experience makes is worth the effort.


External Flash Triggering

 

The entire external flash triggering system has has been reworked from the ground up in NA-D5, increasing ease of use, setup convenience, and reliability.  A new LED flash triggering system is standard in every housing.

The Nikonos style bulkheads included in NA-D4/NA-D4s have been replaced by an integrated LED flash trigger.  This optical flash trigger can fire at the full 14fps of the camera (mirror locked up). Optical systems, with fiber optic cables linking the external flashes to the housing, are far more reliable than any electrical sync cable system.

The LED trigger circuitboard is mounted inside the housing, and connected to the camera with a hotshoe cable.  This new system is more powerful than the hotshoe mounted LED triggers used in the past, and is compatible with all currently available optically triggered flashes!  Powered by two CR2032 batteries, battery life is measured in the tens of thousands of flashes, driven by incredibly efficient electronics.  With good batteries, we expect 3-5 years of service, up to 50,000 exposures.

Users of legacy flashes without optical triggering are able to add accessory Nikonos (26074) or Ikelite (26075) style bulkheads for electrical flash sync.  These bulkheads plug into the LED trigger board for clean cable routing, and reliable connection.

 

Accessory TTL Converter


NA-D5 will also be the first Nikon DSLR release from Nauticam compatible with our accessory TTL Converter.  This optional upgrade provides accurate automatic TTL flash exposure with a number of popular flashes, and offers both optical and electrical strobe triggering!  Optical triggering works well with modern flashes like Inon Z-240, while electrical triggering supports Ikelite DS- and Sea & Sea YS-250 strobes.

Accurate automatic TTL flash exposure has been a favorite feature of Nauticam photographers using cameras with pop up flashes, and we are excited to bring this advanced flash control functionality to the NA-D5 housing!
  • TTL Converter for NA-D5, Sea & Sea YS-D and Inon Series Strobes (26307)
  • TTL Converter for NA-D5, Ikelite Strobes (26308)
  • TTL Converter for NA-D5, Sea & Sea YS-250 Strobes (26309)

 

Extensive Customization for a Tailored Ergonomic Experience

 

Professional Nikon cameras are known for to be extensively customizable.  NA-D5 offers access to more of these functions than any previous Nikon DSLR, with the ergonomic treatment that have made Nauticam housings legendary.

Pv is routed from the lens mount, and placed just under the right handle.  Fn1 & Fn2 are moved all the way to the left side of the housing to avoid crowded right hand grip.

These custom functions can be overwhelming at first, but the creative options they unlock can be incredibly valuable in the field.  In short, these assignable buttons mean less time digging through camera menus to change camera functions, and more time capturing the scene as it unfolds.

There isn't a right way configure these systems.  Every photographer and shooting scenario has unique demands.  Some ideas are listed below! 

  • 1 Step Spd / Aperture, allows changing exposure settings in full f-stop increments.  Think about changing from a wide angle scenic mode with relatively open aperture and slow shutter speed to a close focus wide angle shot that requires a closed aperture to shrink a sunball.

  • My Menu, a customized panel with frequently accessed menus settings

  • Access Top Item in MY MENU, actually jumps into a frequently accessed sub menu structure for the top level My Menu selection, saving at least two button presses.  (ie min shutter speed in auto iso mode, or quickly define a preset white balance)

  • Quickly access another metering mode, toggling between the selected metering pattern and an alternate that more appropriately mesures the current scene.

  • Flash disable / enable, this is a big one!  Toggles external flashes on and off, allowing a switch between artificial light shooting (continuous shooting speed limited by flash recycle, and shutter speed limited by the strobe max sync speed at 1/250) to silhouette mode using only ambient light (full 12 fps continuous shooting speed, unrestricted flash sync speed). 

  • AF-area mode + AF-ON – very cool functionality, for a quick way of accessing a focus mode other than the mode currently assigned and activating it while held down.  Placed at the right thumb via the re-positioned PV lever, the current focus mode be overridden with something like auto area focus for quick grab shots where there isn't time to move the selected autofocus point.

 

Key Features

 

Patented Port Locking System

Unveiled on the very first Nauticam DSLR housing in 2009, this locking lever has become a signature of the Nauticam brand.  No twisting or threading action is required to mount a port,and it locks securely in place with this lever.  Nauticam also offers locking extension rings, meaning a dome will never twist, even when used with a long extension ring.

Housing Locking Latches

The industry's easiest to use housing closure system, requiring very little hand strength to close, secures the housing back in place. The latches are securely closed, but easy to open for a quick battery or memory card change.


Multi Controller Pad

Located within easy reach of the right thumb, virtually recreates the Nikon D5 multi selector allowing full multidirectional use of this powerful tool, including diagonals. No other manufacturer has it.



Integrated Vacuum Monitoring and Leak Detection

Circuitry included as standard equipment provides constant monitoring of water tight integrity when combined with an optional Nauticam M16 Vacuum Valve II (PN 25625).

 


Stainless Steel Handle Brackets

Stiffening handle brackets are included with the housing.  These brackets eliminate any flex or wobble when using big strobes, and provide multiple attachment points for lanyards or other accessories.


Ergonomic Rubberized Grips

Another legendary Nauticam feature, these rubberized grips have been used every Nauticam DSLR housing release, and are some of the most comfortable in the business.

 


Clear Control Labeling

All camera controls are clearly labeled, allowing easy identification.



 

 

Integrated Vacuum Check and Leak Detection System

The Nauticam vacuum check and leak detection system is shipped with NA-D5 as standard equipment.  Combined with an accessory vacuum valve (PN 25625), this monitoring system provides constant updates on the water tight and safe-to-dive status of the housing.  A simple color coded LED lighting system lets the user know that the vacuum is solid, or that the housing is losing vacuum. Leak detection is built into the same circuit, so if there is water intrusion, an audible and visual indication will occur. 

The Nauticam system is temperature compensated, eliminating false alarms caused by a change in outside temperature, or from a camera heating up on an action packed dive.

 

 

Ease of Use

No system is easier to assemble or break down.  The camera drops into the housing with a quick release camera tray.  The camera tray has an extending bracket that allows the AF-M selector to be easily positioned to match the camera.  No controls need to be preset, as housing functions for dials and switches align automatically (on/off, af-m, still photo/video).   The large 120mm housing port opening allows even the largest popular pro Nikon wide angle lens (14-24 /2.8G) to be used, and the camera can even be mounted in the housing with this large lens attached.

Viewfinders

The standard optical glass viewfinder is very good and travel friendly, but many photographers prefer the ease of a magnified viewfinder with adjustable diopter. Nauticam produces a “straight” 180º enlarging viewfinder and a 45º angled enlarging viewfinder to enhance the ease of close quarters work often associated with macro shooting. Both viewfinders have high quality optics, and allow bright viewing of the entire image. A patented external dioptric adjustment allows personal adjustment to a sharp-as-a-tack standard underwater and viewfinder changes can be executed in less than 30 seconds without using tools. Exceptional composition and focus accuracy have never been more accessible.

Premium Professional Optics

Experienced shooters know a camera is only as good as the lens in front of it, and the same is true when choosing optics for an underwater camera system.  Four optically coated glass dome ports (250mm, 230mm, 180mm, and 140mm diameters) and a series of acrylic ports support popular lenses from Nikon, Sigma, and Tokina.  Port configurations are extensively tested at Nauticam to determine the ideal extension ring length for best performance.

For macro and super macro shooting, the Nauticam Super Macro Converter is a revolutionary accessory. This is an entirely in house design, optimized for use in water.  The water contact correction offers the highest overall sharpness, free from chromatic aberration and purple fringing, with reproduction ratios exceeding 2:1 when used with a Nikon AF-S 105mm /2.8 VR Lens.

 

Recommended Accessories

Magnifying Viewfinders

  • 180º Enhancing Viewfinder (32201)
  • 45º Enhancing Viewfinder (32203)

Optical and Electrical TTL Converter

  • TTL Converter for NA-D5, Sea & Sea YS-D and Inon Series Strobes (26307)
  • TTL Converter for NA-D5, Ikelite Strobes (26308)
  • TTL Converter for NA-D5, Sea & Sea YS-250 Strobes (26309)
  • M14 Nikonos 5-pin Bulkhead II with Red Micro-Match Connector (26074) 
  • M14 Ikelite Style Bulkhead II with Red Micro-Match Connector (26075)

Other Accessories

  • Patent Pending Super Macro Converter (81201), providing 2.3:1 reproduction ration with the popular AF-S 105mm /2.8G VR Macro Lens
  • M16 Vacuum Valve (25612)
  • Complete line of flat and dome ports for all major lenses, available in acrylic and glass
  • Locking port extension rings from 10mm to 90mm
  • Monitor/Recorder Housing for Atomos Ninja2 (17902) or Shogun (17904)
  • Monitor Housing for SmallHD 502 Monitor (17906)
  • Fiber optic cables for Inon (26211) and Sea&Sea (26212)
  • Full line of mounting accessories for lighting, including mount balls, strobe adapters, arms, clamps, and specialty items
  • Multiple styles of lanyards
  • Lens holders, including flip-up 
  • Focus and Zoom gears for many Nikon, Tokina, and Sigma lenses
  • Port Adapters for Aquatica, Ikelite, Inon, Nexus M5 & M6, Sea & Sea NX, Seacam, Subal Version 3 & 4, and Zillion
  • Handle accessories including smaller handles, handle extensions for cold water diving
  • Spare Housing O-Ring (90134)
 
 
 

Details and Specifications

  • Depth Rating:  100m
  • Weight: 3.67 kg
  • Dimensions: 357mm x 224mm x 148mm (W x H x D)

Model Number: 17219
USA Retail Price: $5200

Available April 15

More information is available at:

Nauticam NA-D4 Housing at Bluewater Photo

 

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SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

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

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


Thousands of predatory Cobia have escaped pens in Ecuador and are swimming their way up to California
By Brent Durand

Predatory Fish Invasion Heading to California

Brent Durand
Thousands of predatory Cobia have escaped pens in Ecuador and are swimming their way up to California

Tens of thousands of predatory Cobia fish are making their way towards California, where scientists on unsure of impacts on the local marine ecosystem. Pete Thomas of GrindTV reported the news, which is interesting and scary at the same time. On one hand, you have a group of non-native fish who have escaped and are swimming wildly north, presenting great fishing opportunities for those anglers who find them. On the other hand, Coiba are a large predatory fish and non-native to California's eastern Pacific waters, which means they have the potential to disrupt a very delicate food-chain balance.

California is no stranger to strange creatures the past couple years, with warmer El Nino waters bringing rare guests like pacific seahorses, smooth hammerhead sharks and warm-water nudibranchs, but the appearance of a voracious predator is scary.

Coiba (Rachycentron canadum) can grow up to 2m (6ft) in length and weigh up to 78kg (172lbs). They are distributed through a wide range but are not native to the eastern Pacific, even though they can tolerate a wide-range of temperature. Coiba feed on crabs, squid and fish, and will not be bashful about following other predators in order to feast on their scraps. *

 

 

Scientists have reported Coiba as far north as Panama and Columbia, with reason to believe that the fish are headed to California where water conditions may be ideal for aggregation and spawning.

What happens next?  Will the Cobia make it to California?  We'll find out in coming months.

 

Read the full story, including a quote from marine biologist Dr. Milton Love, in the GrindTV article 'Thousands of Cobia Escape Pens in Ecuador' or on Pete Thomas Outdoors.

 

* source: Wikipedia.org

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

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

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


New Ikelite a6300 housing with TTL, front loading tray and fingertip control will begin shipping mid-April
By Brent Durand

Ikelite Sony a6300 Housing Available to Pre-Order

Brent Durand
New Ikelite a6300 housing with TTL, front loading tray and fingertip control will begin shipping mid-April

Ikelite has released info on their brand new Sony a6300 underwater housing and it's looking very nice.

Sony's a6300 is sure to become a very popular camera among underwater photographers, with incredibly fast 4D autofocus paired with BIONZ X processor, built-in flash, 4K video with no pixel binning, and 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor in a small mirrorless camera body. If you haven't yet, be sure to read our Sony a6300 Initial Thoughts Review.

The relative affordability of the Sony a6300 compared to the full frame a7 II series, paired with the affordable Ikelite housing is going to be a sure winner for underwater photographers. I wish I could get my hands on one already!

Availability:  Available for pre-order. Ships mid-April

Product:  6910.63

U.S. MSRP:  $975

 


Pre-order the Ikelite a6300 Housing today!


 

Ikelite a6300 Housing Key Features

  • Integrated TTL circuit.

  • Accepts fiber optic cables or sync cord. Sync cord is required for TTL, offering benefits that use of popup flash does not have: no waiting on camera flash to recycle and less drain on battery. Con is more maintenance.

  • Lightweight acryllic port system supporting popular lenses like the Sony 16-35mm and 24-70mm.

  • New ABS polycarbonate blend for front, with clear back for easy inspection of camera and o-rings.

  • Front loading camera tray.

  • Clearly labeled controls matching placement on camera.

  • Depth rated to 200ft (60m).

  • Weight 3.1lbs (1430g), not including port.

  • Dimensions 6.3 x 7.5 x 5.2 in (160 x 191 x 132 mm) including projections

Sony a6300 Recommended Lenses for Underwater

  • Sony 16mm pancake + fisheye conversion lens for reefs, mantas, whale sharks, whales

  • Sony 10-18mm wide-angle lens for sharks

  • Sony 16-50mm for fish, marine life portraits

  • Zeiss 50mm macro lens for macro

 

Ikelite Port Options for Popular Underwater Lenses

  • Ikelite Dome Port 5516.11 for the 16mm pancake lens solo, or with the fisheye conversion lens

  • IkeliteDome port with zoom 5516.15 for the Sony 10-18mm wide-angle lens with Zoom Sleeve 5515.43

  • Ikelite Dome port with zoom 5516.15 for the 16-50mm lens with zoom sleeve 5515.41

 

Thoughts for Underwater Photography

The performance the dollar value of the Ikelite a6300 housing will make this a very popular option for underwater photographers. We know that autofocus on the a6300 will be fast, and Ikelite presents two options for firing strobes to keep up with the action: TTL with sync cord or manual via fiber optic cable (and yes, you can shoot manual with sync cords). This flexibility will make this kit a great option for both divers who want simplicity and demanding photographers who want full manual control and fast strobe recycle times. Check out this test of the a6000 strobe recycling with sync cords.

Ikelite's unique housing design allows you to see the camera inside the housing, which helps those who don't yet operate the housing by feel. The controls are in the same positions as the camera itself so that is a seamless muscle memory transition from operating the camera to the housing - another bonus when shooting fast action. The transparent housing back allows easy inspection and maintenance of the o-ring. These are all great benefits, especially for those who are buying their first housing.

Ikelite's lightweight mirrorless port system makes it easy to travel with the gear, and supports all the lenses commonly used underwater.

The Sony a6300 battery will likely last through two dives before requiring a switch. And while Ikelite's front loading tray make it easy to insert and remove the camera from the housing, they do not always allow direct access to the battery compartment, requiring removal of the tray with a coin or screwdriver. Not a big deal, but certainly a consideration for those logging many hours in the water.

Overall, the Ikelite a6300 housing is a great option for both beginner and advanced photographers looking for a compact system. For more questions, feel free to email the experts at Bluewater Photo at sales@bluewaterphotostore.com.

 


Pre-order the Ikelite a6300 Housing today!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

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

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


Bluewater Travel is offering deep discounts on upcoming u/w photo workshops and group dive trips to celebrate 3 year anniversary
By Brent Durand

Insane Dive Travel Deals: Bluewater Travel Anniversary Sale

Brent Durand
Bluewater Travel is offering deep discounts on upcoming u/w photo workshops and group dive trips to celebrate 3 year anniversary

Our sister company Bluewater Travel turns 3 years old this month. That's three years of booking divers at some of the best dive resorts and liveaboards all around the world for all kinds of budgets and interests. To celebrate, the travel agency has decided to offer some major discounts on upcoming underwater photo workshops and group dive trips.

If you're thinking about going on a dive trip this year, then definitely consider a Bluewater group trip. Why? The research has been done to get you the best deal, best timing for wildlife sightings, most savvy dive operators and friendly professional trip leaders.

These 10 travel deals are a steal, but must be booked by the end of the month.

 

These are a couple of the highlights:

  • $1,000 off Galapagos photo workshop

  • $750 off Solomon Islands photo workshop

  • $800 off Cocos Island

  • Many more, including the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Raja Ampat, Komodo, Bimini, Anilao, Tubbataha

  • Bonus:  5% off ANY dive travel booking!

 

See all the 3 Year Anniversary Sale Deals

 

There are two important conditions to note:  1)  Travel must be booked by Apri 8, 2016 (extended from March 31), and 2) deals are valid for new bookings only.

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

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

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


New sanctuary protects most abundant shark population in the world at Wolf and Darwin Islands in the Galapagos
By Brent Durand

Ecuador Creates New Galapagos Marine Sanctuary

Brent Durand
New sanctuary protects most abundant shark population in the world at Wolf and Darwin Islands in the Galapagos

Ecuador's government has announced the creation of a new 15,000 square mile marine sanctuary around Wolf and Darwin, plus several other no-take zones around the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos are known to be one of the essential "destinations of a lifetime" for scuba divers. The islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 80,000 square miles of protected areas, and the new reserve increases the ocean protection around the islands to 32%. This is critical in a time when we see world shark populations in decline and illegal fishing on the rise.

Fishing, both small scale and commercial, is now banned in the santuary, which can be better protected by Ecuador's government. This provides local sharks a place to grow and mature and healthy areas for migratory sharks to visit.

Wolf and Darwin are regarded as the crown jewels of the Galapagos by visiting scuba divers. They boast an incredible amount of shark biomass with highlights like schooling hammerheads and feeding whalesharks. This is very impressive in an archipelago that is home to over 30 different shark species.

Much credit for the new marine sanctuary goes to National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence photographer Enric Salas, who has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the waters around the islands. Last month, he met with Ecuador's president Rafael Correa to discuss findings from a recent Nat Geo Pristine Seas expedition and demonstrate the need for more protection. 

Enric Tweeted a link to the video below earlier this morning:

 

 

You can join the Underwater Photography Guide to dive the Galapagos Islands later this year.  We have spaces on two different trips, each with 10 days of diving and extra time at Wolf and Darwin Islands!  More info below:

You can also take a look at UWPG Publisher Scott Gietler's Galapagos photos in '5 Amazing UW Photo Encounters in the Galapagos Islands'.

 

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

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

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


ScubaShooters has announced the winners of Deep Visions, showcasing some amazing underwater photos
By Brent Durand

Deep Visions Photo Contest Winners

Brent Durand
ScubaShooters has announced the winners of Deep Visions, showcasing some amazing underwater photos

Our friends at ScubaShooters have announced the winners of the 1st Deep Visions UWP Awards. The contest complements the active ScubaShooters website community and eMagazine, and attracted some of the most talented underwater photographers shooting today. The rich prize list included a rich assortment offering from dive resorts, gear manufacturers and lots of photo equipment.

The Deep Visions contest categories were Black and White, Behavior, Macro, Macro-Compact, Wide-Angle, Wide-Angle Compact, and Snooted.

View all the winning photos at ScubaShooters Deep Visions Winners.

 

 

Black & White Winners

1. Marco Gargiulo

2. Marco Gargiulo

3. Christian Schlamann

4. Tanya Houppermans

5. Geo Cloete

6. Marco Gargiulo

 

 

Behavior Winners

1. Massimo Zannini

2. Marco Chang

3. Liang Fu

4. Claudia Peyer

5. Christian Schlamann

6. Lynn Wu

 

 

Macro Winners

1. Stefano Scortegagna

2. Tony Cherbas

3. Yatwai So

4. Yatwai So

5. Claudio Zori

6. Stefano Scortegagna

 

 

Macro - Compact Winners

1. Abimael Marquez

2. Jennifer Weber

3. Amy Hung

4. Don Bouchard

5. Alex Barth

6. Comenico Tripodi

 

 

Wide-Angle Winners

1. Cedric Peneau

2. Massimo Zannini

3. Alex Rush

4. Plamena Mileva

5. Alex Rush

6. Gang Song

 

 

Wide-Angle - Compact Winners

1. Virginia Salzedo

2. Abimael Marquez

3. Virginia Salzedo

4. Domenico Tripodi

5. Stephane Primatesta

 

 

Snooted Winners

1. Franco De Lorenzi

2. Rafael Cosme

3. Violet Ting

4. Adriano Morettin

5. Marco Chang

6. Adriano Morettin

 

The judges of the ScubaShooters Deep Visions UWPG Awards were Henry Jager, Isabella Maffei, Davide Lopresti, Ivana Orlovic, Roland Bach, Fabio Lardino and Beth Watson.

 

View all the winning photos at ScubaShooters Deep Visions Winners.

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Join Cousteau and Mantello Brothers in an Indiegogo campaign to help fund this remarkable new 3D 4K film
By Brent Durand

Odyssea 3D - Experience the Macro World in 3D

Brent Durand
Join Cousteau and Mantello Brothers in an Indiegogo campaign to help fund this remarkable new 3D 4K film

Ocean lovers have a unique opportunity to combine many passions in support of Odyssea 3D. Co-directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Mantello Brothers, and produced by 3D Entertainment Films, the film is slated for worldwide release in 3D (and 2D) this summer after being premiered during the Cannes Film Festival this May.

The producers have just launched an Indiegogo campaign to help complete the final stages of the film, including editing, music, sound effects, narration and final 3D rendering in 4K. You can become a vital part of the film by contributing to the campaign, which will help finish the film and contribute to the greater movement of protecting our ocean.

 

View the Odyssea 3D Indiegogo Campaign

 

The Indiegogo page has an entertaining video with the directors and also shows a sample of some of the critters we'll see in the video, including feeding crabs, nudis, lobsters, corals and pelagic inverts.

To quote Jean-Michel Cousteau:

“Odyssea 3D is a ground-breaking feature documentary which will allow audiences to discover the ocean as never seen before. We have collaborated with the most advanced 3D filmmakers to help capture and share with you the most beautiful small creatures that are keeping the ocean alive and that need protection as much as the large ones. I personally thank in advance all the backers of the campaign for this amazing project that I’m excited to share with audiences worldwide soon.” 

 

Below are a few stills from the film:

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

Los Angeles (CA), London (UK), Paris (France) – February 5, 2016 After three years in the making, Odyssea 3D, the first 3D feature documentary directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau, is currently in post-production. The producers are now launching an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to complete the final stages of the film including editing, music, sound effects, narration and final 3D rendering in 4K.

Co-directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Mantello Brothers, and produced by 3D Entertainment Films (OCEANWORLD 3D), the film is slated for worldwide release in 3D and 2D in summer 2016.

“Since the 1950s, my father and I have dedicated our lives to the ocean. Our mission has been to explore our global ocean, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for its protection,” said Jean-Michel Cousteau. “Odyssea 3D is a ground-breaking feature documentary which will allow audiences to discover the ocean as never seen before. We have collaborated with the most advanced 3D filmmakers to help capture and share with you the most beautiful small creatures that are keeping the ocean alive and that need protection as much as the large ones. I personally thank in advance all the backers of the campaign for this amazing project that I’m excited to share with audiences worldwide soon.”

“As filmmakers and divers for over thirty-five years, working with Cousteau was our dream. And guess what? We are not only working with one Cousteau, but three! Fabien and Céline, Jean- Michel’s children, are also part of this adventure,” said Jean-Jacques Mantello, co-director of the film. “We have developed new filming techniques, in, macro 3D, slow motion, 4K that allowed Jean-Michel to capture incredible creatures. After seventy years of diving, he was blown away by the spectacular images as he discovered an entirely new world, sometimes too small to be seen by the naked eye.”

“We have been able to find partners and private investors to complete the filming expeditions and capture all the footage needed. However, as we enter the final steps of production, we need more funds to complete our film and be ready by May 2016 to show it at the Cannes Film Festival to worldwide distributors” said Francois Mantello, producer. “Moreover, as May 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the Golden Palm award that Jacques Cousteau received in Cannes for his underwater film The Silent World (Le Monde du silence), Jean-Michel will have the opportunity to present Odyssea 3D as a tribute to his father. Crowdfunding is a new experience for us, and a great way to involve our audience in the process and raise the independent funds. We found great support with the Indiegogo team and we are very happy to propose amazing perks that are all eco-friendly, supporting our quest to help save the ocean. There are also some exclusive perks autographed by the Cousteau family.”

The Indiegogo campaign will launch live on February 8, 2016 on the following link:  http://bit.ly/GogoOdyssea3D

For more information, visit www.odyssea3D-thefilm.com 

 

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20.2MP dual-pixel full frame sensor, 4K 60P video, 14FPS burst - we take a first look review for underwater photo and video
By Brent Durand

Canon Announces EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR

Brent Durand
20.2MP dual-pixel full frame sensor, 4K 60P video, 14FPS burst - we take a first look review for underwater photo and video

Canon has announced the much anticipated EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR camera. The new flagship EOS camera matches many rumored specs, delivering a fast, sophisticated camera that will produce stunning images and video quality.

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II uses a new 20.2 megapixel full-frame sensor combined with dual DIGIC 6+ image processors, plus a 61-point AF system and up to 4K 60P (or Full HD 120P) video recording with dual pixel CMOS Autofocus (for fast video AF and tracking).

Retail price (body only):  $5999

Availability:  April 2016

 

EOS-1D X Mark II Highlights

  • Fastest shooting EOS-1D, capable of up to 14 fps* full-resolution RAW or JPEG, and up to 16 fps* in Live View mode with new Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors.

  • Achieves a maximum burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, and 4K movies using CFast™ cards in the new CFast 2.0™** slot.

  • Experience less noise in higher ISO images via a new 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, with an ISO range of 100-51200; expansion to ISO 409600.

  • Improved AF performance through 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system with 41 cross-type points, improved center point focusing sensitivity to -3 EV and compatibility down to f/8***.

  • Accurate subject tracking for stills and video with new EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition AF with 360,000-pixel metering sensor.

  • 4K video (4096 x 2160) up to 60 fps (59.94), with an 8.8-Megapixel still frame grab**** in camera. Full 1080p HD capture up to 120 fps for slow motion.

  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF & Movie Servo AF for high speed, high frame rate and continuous autofocus during video shooting.

  • View and control high quality stills and videos via the 3.2-inch touch panel LCD with 1.62 million dots.

  • Increased resolution and fine detail, with lens aberration correction and diffraction correction via new in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer technology.

  • Built-in GPS***** provides geotag information including auto time syncing with Universal Time Code via satellites.

  • The new optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A is compatible with IEEE 802.11ac/n/a/g/b, supporting both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi® bands.

  • Durable and rugged magnesium alloy body with dust- and-weather resistance for demanding shooting situations.

* View the full details for each of these highlights on the Canon 1DX MkII website.

Thoughts for Underwater Photographers

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II will be a nice option for those serious about underwater photography. The 1D X is a definitely step up from the Canon 5Ds and 5D Mark III, the latter having proved extrememly popular for professional and many 1st time underwater photographers alike.

The body of the 1D X is significantly larger than the 5D series, making the flagship EOS camera a true pro-level DSLR with a lot more bulk and weight to carry around on dive trips. This is a serious consideration as more photographers are turning eyes to the small full frame mirrorless Sony a7R II camera.

So what makes the EOS-1D X Mark 2 worth the extra size? It's a pro's workhorse camera. If you shoot action sports, you already know the benefit of 14FPS for 170 consecutive RAW images (some serious buffer memory!), as well as the fast and accurate autofocus. This is particularly important when shooting macro in dark conditions like the shade at the base of a reef, where the a7 II cameras and Sony 90mm macro lens struggle to focus. The Canon 100mm macro lens is lightning fast, and will be very quick with the new 1DX MkII. That said, you'll find this fast dual-pixel AF on the much more affordable Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 70D.

The 1DX MkII is also features more robust video recording capabilities than most DSLR and mirrorless alternatives. 4K resolution at 30 or 60fps provides the ability to edit slow motion footage, while 120FPS at 1080p will allow for ultra slow motion recording. Just add a monitor or use 3rd party software like Magic Lantern for uncompressed RAW video recording.

Overall, I would recommend the EOS-1D X Mark II per my usual camera shopping guideline: "If you can explain the features on the 1DX that are not included in lower models and how and when you would use them, then you can certainly take advantage of the 1DX's robust featureset to produce incredible underwater photo and video." In general, most u/w photographers looking towards full-frame will be very happy with the 5D Mark III instead of the new 1DX.

 

Best Lenses

Canon full-frame DSLRs benefit from high-quality pro-level "L" lenses. We've listed the most popular lenses for underwater photography below.

  • Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens Review

    • This is the best macro lens for Canon full-frame shooters.

  • Canon 8-15mm Fisheye Lens Review

    • The fisheye lens of choise for Canon full-frame shooters, offering traditional wide-angle shots at 15mm and circular shots at 8mm.

  • Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II Wide-Angle Lens

    • Popular wide-angle lens for Canon full-frame shooters. Other excellent options include the 16-35mm f/4L and the 17-40mm f/4L wide-angle lenses.

  • Canon 11-24mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide-Angle Lens

    • An ultra wide-angle lens for Canon full-frame shooters recommended by UWPG publisher, Scott Gietler. The lens has excellent image quality, but comes with heavy weight and price tag. 

 

Related Reviews

 

1DX Mark II Underwater Housings

 

Nauticam Canon 1DX Mark II Housing - $5,200 USD

Available Now

With recommended ports, lenses and accessories.

 

Aquatica Canon 1DX Mark II Housing - $4,849 USD

Available Now

With recommended ports, lenses and accessories.

 

 

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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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Beautiful camera body with 20MP sensor, OLED viewfinder, customizable color control, powerful image stabilization and more.
By Brent Durand

Olympus Announces PEN-F Camera

Brent Durand
Beautiful camera body with 20MP sensor, OLED viewfinder, customizable color control, powerful image stabilization and more.

Olympus has announced the latest iteration of their popular PEN line of cameras - the PEN-F. Once you get past the layer of street photographer marketing, the camera has some specs that are very impressive for underwater photography.

Most importantly, Olympus has added a 20MP Live MOS Sensor to the PEN-F, which is the largest megapixel count in a mirrorless micro 4/3 camera body today, matching the Panasonic GX8. The new Olympus PEN-F is also compatible with Olympus' full line of micro 4/3 lenses, as well as popular 3rd party lenses for underwater photography, like the Panasonic 8mm fisheye lens.

The styling of the PEN-F is reminiscent of 1960s rangefinder cameras, with metal construction and leather accents. It even has some very customizeable color profiles, which while useful for those shooting .jpg files and uploading directly to social media via the Olympus Share App, is not applicable to shooing in RAW (.ORF) format.

The powerful image processor, electronic viewfinder and wide-array of customizable controls will make the PEN-F a great camera for underwater photographers who don't want to invest in the more expensive Olympus OM-D line of mirrorless cameras.

 

Olympus PEN-F Key Specs

  • 20MP Live MOS Sensor

  • TruePic™ VII Image Processor

  • 5-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization

  • Interactive OLED Electronic Viewfinder

  • Lens Mount:  Micro 4/3 Lens Mount

  • 50 Megapixel High Res Shot Mode

  • 10 fps Sequential Shooting

  • HD 1080p Video

  • Wi-Fi for Remote Shooting & Wireless Sharing

  • SD Memory (SD, SDXC)

 

Best Lenses

You can check out our complete guide to the Best Micro 4/3 Lenses for underwater photography, or check out info on the specific lenses below.

 

Best Wide-Angle Micro 4/3 Lenses

Best Macro Micro 4/3 Lenses

 

Underwater Housings

We expect underwater housings to become available for the Olympus PEN-F in the next 2-6 months, with entries from Ikelite, Nauticam, Recsea and several other brands. As always, we'll publish news as soon as we hear it. We will also be publishing an Olympus PEN-F review and PEN-F housing reviews as we have a chance to get our hands on the gear.

 

Looking Forward

I spoke with Bluewater Photo manager Kelli Dickinson about the Olympus PEN-F, and she's excited about the new 20MP micro 4/3 sensor.  Why?  Because Olympus is expected to announce the new version of their flagship OM-D camera later this year - the OM-D E-M1 Mark II - which is sure to include this bump in megapixels, cementing its place at the top of the micro 4/3 cameras for underwater photography.

Olympus PEN-F Review: Back viewOlympus PEN-F Review: Top view

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Siren Fleet creates special liveaboard trips in 2016-2017 for Palau's unique spawning aggregations
By Brent Durand

Palau Siren Refitted and Ready for Spawning Aggregations

Brent Durand
Siren Fleet creates special liveaboard trips in 2016-2017 for Palau's unique spawning aggregations

Worldwide Dive and Sail's Palau Siren is back in the water after a 4-month drydock refit. The boat has had a thorough overhaul and is ready for action with some exciting new trips for 2016 and 2017.

Palau is known for iconic dives sites like Blue Corner, the Ulong Channel and Jellyfish Lake, which are hot on many divers' lists, but the buzz is about special trips dedicated to diving during snapper and humphead parrotfish spawning aggregations.

Siren Fleet has partnered with Sam's Tours Unique Dive Expeditions, run by Paul Collins and Richard Barnden, who are the hands-down experts on these unique spawning events. Paul and Richard will be leading 5 trips in 2016 and 4 trips in 2017, timed for the full moon, when red snappers rise from the depths to engage in their color-changing mating ritual, and timed for the new moon, when humphead parrotfish gather for a noisy and climactic mating dance.

“Both Richard and I are excited to once again be running a number of Unique trips aboard the Palau Siren. Running the spawning trips on the Palau Siren allows us to really interact with the guests and to deliver a number of presentations on the Marine Fauna and Flora of Palau in the relaxed setting of the lounge after dinner. In addition, when not diving, we will be around all day to provide insights on photography and filming and the post production so that guests with cameras get the best chances to capture the very special underwater moments we are there to witness.”

- Paul Collins

 

These dive trips will also include some blackwater night dives. If you're not sure what sort of critters you'll see on these dives, check out the 2015 Ocean Art Competition Best of Show photo by Jeff Milisen. Needless to say, underwater photographers will be very excited to join these unique Palau Siren liveaboard trips.

 

Check out the ship & trip schedule:  Palau Siren Liveaboard

Book your trip on the Palau Siren with Bluewater Travel.

 

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

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

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


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