Camera Reviews

Detailed camera reviews for underwater photo and video, including specs, key features for u/w photography and camera comparisons.
A preview of the newly announced Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with specs and best lenses for underwater photography
By UWPG Editors

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Preview

UWPG Editors
A preview of the newly announced Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with specs and best lenses for underwater photography

The long wait is over for the heavily rumored Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.  Olympus as officially announced their new addition to their O-MD line and their new flagship mirrorless camera.  This was made during the Photokina in Germany.

The original OM-D E-M1 made a big impact with underwater photographers when it released late 2013.  With this new OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus has truly proven to surpass our expectations.  The camera packs a 20 megapixel live MOS sensor, advanced 5-axis image stabilization, 121 point dual fast autofocus with 4K video.

In addition, one of the features the camera boasts is the speed of sequential shooting.  It surpasses the shooting speed of a DSLR camera.  Camera is capable to capture 18 fps in C-AF Tracking mode and a whopping 60 fps in S-AF mode.

Below are the specs for the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

Availability:  Not yet available for purchase (we'll update this as soon as we know)

Retail Price: TBD

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II Specifications

  • 20 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor

  • Advanced 5-axis Image Stabilization

  • 121-Point Dual Fast Autofocus

  • Focus Bracketing and Stacking

  • 50 megapixel Hi-Res Shot Mode

  • 15 fps Sequential Shooting (Mechanical)

  • 60 fps Sequential Shooting (Electronic)

  • 4K Cinema Video

  • 1/8000 High Speed Mechanical Shutter

  • Lightweight and Weatherproof Body

  • 3 inch Fully Articulating Touchscreen Monitor

  • Built-in Wifi

 

 

Best Lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II features a standard Micro 4/3 lens mount, allowing it to use all Olympus 4/3 lenses, plus those from 3rd parties like Panasonic. Below are our recommendations for fisheye, wide-angle and macro lenses.

Fisheye Lenses

There are two choices for fisheye lenses, ideal for capturing reefscapes, big animals, wrecks, close-focus wide-angle and other large underwater scenes. The new Olympus 8mm Pro fisheye offers the best image quality and fast speed of f/1.8. The Panasonic 8mm fisheye lens has long been our go-to lens, delivering great photos with a full 180 degrees of coverage and widest aperture of f/3.5. Both lenses have a very close focusing distance, you can practically focus on the dome port!

 

Wide-Angle & Versatile Lenses

The E-M5 Mark II has many different wide-angle and mid-range zoom lenses to suit every underwater photographer. For wide-angle shooting, helping capture subjects like whales, sharks and sea lions, the new Olympus 7-14mm Pro lens and the classic Panasonic 7-14mm are your choices. Similar to the fisheye lenses from these brands, the Olympus will deliver slightly better image quality, but at a higher price. Wide-angle shooters will love the Olympus or Panasonic 7-14mm, choose Olympus for the best possible optic quality. The Olympus 9-18mm lens is a great choice for those on a budget who want a good wide-angle lens.

Kit lenses are an affordable way to get your camera in the water while also providing mid-range focal lengths ideal for shooting models in a pool. The Olympus 12-50mm is a great choice for ocean shooting, with a nice zoom range as well as built-in macro mode for capturing those small subjects. The Olympus 12-40mm Pro captures nice images with a f/2.8 aperture and professional level glass.

 

Macro Lens

The best option for shooting macro with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, is the Olympus 60mm macro lens. This lens delivers sharp 1:1 macro images and can be used with wet diopters outside your port in order to magnify your smallest subjects into great supermacro images. If that lens is too much, or you like shooting slightly larger macro, we recommend the Panasonic 45mm macro. This lens is a bit more money than the 60mm, but offers more flexibility in larger subjects, however it is not ideal for super macro.

 

Underwater Housings Options

Olympus E-M1 Mk II underwater housings are on the horizon, but we won't have specific info until a few weeks after the housing availability is officially announced.  We expect to see housings from the following manufacturers.  More info to come as we receive it.

 

Nauticam Olympus E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing


Aquatica E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing


Sea & Sea E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing


Olympus E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing


Ikelite E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing


Conclusion

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II will be an excellent camera for underwater photo / video and will become one of the top choices for those purchasing a mirrorless camera. A wide selection of lenses, excellent dynamic range and high ISO performance, fast autofocus, 4K video and versatility will set the bar high.

We expect to see housings announced several months after the camera begins shipping.

Check back for more updates on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.  Bluewater Photo will be preordering the camera, so we'll have a detailed review published as soon as we get our hands on the camera.

 

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Olympus has just announced the new E-PL8 mirrorless camera with 16.1 megapixels, 81 autofocus points and more
By UWPG Editors

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Preview

UWPG Editors
Olympus has just announced the new E-PL8 mirrorless camera with 16.1 megapixels, 81 autofocus points and more

After all the rumors and leaks that has been flooding the internet, Olympus has finally announced the new addition to the PEN Lite series. Olympus PEN E-PL8 at Photokina in Germany. 

At the first glance, the look of the E-PL8 is great and is similar to their iconic 35mm cameras.  Olympus has also designed it to be more compact.  Price point of this camera is also afforable.  According to Olympus the body would retail for $549 and with kit lens (14-42mm) would be $649.

For the specifications of the camera, it is similar to the predecessor E-PL7.  It still has 16.1 megapixel sensor, a 3 axis image stabilization, 81 autofocus points and 8fps continuous shooting.

Below are the specs for the new Olympus E-PL8 mirrorless camera.

 

Available: October 2016

U.S Retail Price: $549 for the body and $649 with kit lens

Colors Available: Black, Brown and White

 

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Specifications

  • 16.1 Megapixel Sensor
  • 3 Axis Mechanical Image Stabilization
  • 81 Autofocus Points
  • 8 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Viewfiner
  • Weather Resistant Body
  • 3 inch LCD Touch Flip Down Screen

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Canon USA introduces the latest member of the EOS Family
By Chino Mendoza

Canon EOS M5 Preview

Chino Mendoza
Canon USA introduces the latest member of the EOS Family

Canon USA has just announced two products to add to their EOS line, the new Canon EOS M5 interchangeable lens digital camera and the Canon compact EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens.  EOS M5 boasts a 24.2 Megapixel with DIGIC 7 image processor.  This makes the fastest autofocus speed for the EOS M line.  Aside from the autofocus feature, the camera also provides clear and crisp images and videos. This also has a built-in electronic viewfinder.

 Aside from the EOS M5, canon also announced the new Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens. Lens is very versatile with high zoom ratio with image stabilizer.  It is also very lightweight to make it easy to bring anywhere.

 

PRESS RELEASE

CANON U.S.A INTRODUCES THE LATEST MEMBERS OF THE EOS FAMILY 
THE EOS M5 DIGITAL CAMERA AND ITS FIRST EF-M HIGH POWER ZOOM LENS
EOS M5 Camera Provides The Fastest Autofocus (AF) speed of EOS M-Series and a built-in Electronic Viewfinder 

 

MELVILLE, N.Y., September 15, 2016 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the latest additions to its EOS M series system - the new Canon EOS M5 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera and compact EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens. The EOS M5 camera features a 24.2 Megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, DIGIC 7 Image Processor and the fastest AF speed in the EOS M-series , enabling photographers to capture clear, sharp, high-resolution images and Full HD videos. It is also the first in the EOS camera line to include the low energy Bluetooth® Smart  feature that can maintain a constant connection  with your compatible smartphone or tablet when you use the Canon camera connect application and both applications are active. The versatile EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens is compatible with all Canon EOS M series digital cameras, and is a great option for photographers looking to capture scenic landscapes while traveling to close-up shots from afar.   

“The new capabilities found in the Canon EOS M5 Camera and  EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens set a new standard for our EOS M series of cameras and lenses, showing that Canon is constantly incorporating performance enhancements desired by our customers,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “When paired together, the new EOS M5 camera and EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens  provide image-makers of all levels with powerful tools that enable them to capture a variety of remarkable images and videos.” 

In addition, advanced photographers will appreciate the improved operability of the EOS M5 camera. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) and Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF for capturing stills and shooting video with smooth and precise autofocus. This allows for Touch and Drag AF so users can easily switch the subject of their focus by dragging the AF frame directly on the LCD panel, even while looking through the camera’s EVF. Focus peaking allows users to highlight the area of the image that is in focus from within the EVF or LCD monitor. In addition to its touchscreen operability, the EOS M5 camera also has easily accessible dials that allow you to quickly adjust your settings on-the-go. 

 

Key Features of the Canon EOS M5 Camera Include:

  • 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, ISO 100–25600.
  • Fast and smooth Dual Pixel CMOS AF helps you capture stills and shoot video with quick and precise autofocus.
  • High-speed continuous shooting at up to 7.0 fps (up to 9.0 fps with AF Lock) and new DIGIC 7 Image Processor with improved AF tracking performance.
  • Full HD 60p helps capture fast-moving subjects and brilliant results in MP4 format.
  • Digital IS with 5-axis image stabilization when shooting movies plus increased image stabilization with both lens optical IS and in-camera digital IS when shooting with an IS lens.
  • Built-in high-resolution EVF (approx. 2,360,000 dots) with new Touch and Drag AF lets you manually move the AF frame displayed for more precise focusing in different shooting situations.
  • Intuitive touch screen 3.2 tilt-type (85° up/180° down) LCD monitor (approx. 1,620,000 dots) enables flexible positioning and clear viewing.
  • Easily customize functions while shooting using the Main Dial, Quick Control Dial, Dial Function Button and Exposure Compensation Dial.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi®  and NFC  allows for easy sharing and transferring of images and videos.
  • Equipped with Bluetooth®iii Smart for smooth pairing with a compatible smartphone by powering on both devices for easy photo sharing and remote control possibilities.
  • Shorter camera startup time  and interval time between each image capture for a more efficient shooting experience.
  • Compatible with EF-M lenses as well as the full line of EF  and EF-Sviii lenses and Speedlites for expanded creativity.

 

The Canon EOS M5 also features Combination IS with in-camera 5-axis image stabilization, while capturing video, a first in the Canon EOS series. With a compatible lens attachediv, Combination IS leverages optical IS and in-camera digital IS to help create tremendously smooth videos. The DIGIC 7 Image Processor makes the 5-axis IS possible even with lenses that do not contain IS, because the in-camera image stabilization functions independently to help reduce camera shake when shooting videos. 

Additionally, the EOS M5 camera shoots impressive time-lapse videos. The EOS M5 camera also allows for easy panning by setting the optimal shutter speed after analyzing the camera's panning speed and how fast the subject is moving. 

The new Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens offers a high-zoom ratio, expanding the range of photographic possibilities for EOS M digital cameras.  Its image stabilizer helps with reducing image blur and making image and video shooting easier at longer focal lengths. Along with the enhanced performance, the EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens is compact and lightweight, making it a versatile and convenient lens to carry.   

 

Key Features of the Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Include:

  • Canon’s first EF-M high-zoom power lens covering a broad range of shooting scenes with a high-zoom ratio of up to 8.3x (29–240mm equivalent).
  • Compact and lightweight design allows for easy portability.
  • Optical design helps provide excellent image quality across a broad zoom range comparable to the EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS USM lens.
  • Maximum magnification of 0.31x at focal length 150mm.
  • Image Stabilizer effect at up to 4 stops of shake correction helps capture sharp images.

 

Pricing and Availability

The new Canon EOS M5 camera is scheduled to be available through authorized Canon dealers or through the Canon Online store at http://shop.usa.canon.com/ in November 2016, for an estimated retail price of $979.99 for the body only. It will also be sold as part of body-and-lens kits with EF-M 15-45mm/F3.5-6.3 IS STM zoom kit lens (estimated retail price of $1,099.00, scheduled to be available early November 2016 ), and with the new EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens for an (estimated retail price of $1,479.00x, scheduled to be available early December 2016x)

In addition, the new Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens, available in graphite and silver colors, is scheduled to be available in December 2016 for an estimated retail price of $499.99x. 

Additional optional EOS accessories include a Body Jacket (EM-E2) and Neck Strap (EH29-CJ) that come in black or brown. 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chino Mendoza , is an avid diver and underwater photographer and tries to go everytime he can.  He is based in Manila which is a few hours Anilao which is the “critter capital of the Philippines”  He likes to shoot macro and his favorite subjects are nudibranchs and frogfishes.

Get in touch with him via email at lorenzo@bluewaterphotostore.com

View Chino's work:  Facebook     |     Instagram

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GoPro has just announced their new addition to their Hero line - GoPro Hero 5 Black
By UWPG Editors

GoPro Hero 5 Preview

UWPG Editors
GoPro has just announced their new addition to their Hero line - GoPro Hero 5 Black

Finally, the wait is over for the new addition to the GoPro Hero line, GoPro Hero 5 Black.  GoPro has released the details of the new Hero 5 Black.  There are lots of improvements from its predecessor and the features are very interesting.

From the get go, one nice feature it boasts is the 2 inch touchscreen display.  All manipulation of functionalities would be done via the screen; to preview and playback your shots, changing the settings, and a lot more.  In addition, a simple one button control is a clear difference from the other GoPro Hero products. Pressing the shutter button powers the camera and can start the recording automatically. 

With regards to video, the new Hero 5 Black has advanced video stabilization.  It captures smooth videos whether camera is handheld, mounted on your helmet, chest or even on a drone.  Another feature is that it records 4K videos at 30fps.  For shooting photos, it now has timelapse feature and also a 30fps burst.

Below are the rundown of the features of the new GoPro Hero 5 Black.

Purchase: GoPro Hero 5 Black

Available: October 2, 2016

U.S. Retail Price: $399.99

 

GoPro Hero 5 Specifications

  • Waterproof camera with a depth rationg of 33ft (10 meters)
  • 2 inch touchscreen display
  • Simple 1 button control
  • Wifi + Bluetooth
  • Advanced wind noise reduction
  • Voice control
  • Video stabilization
  • Auto Upload to Cloud
  • GPS - Location Capture
  • Raw + WDR Photos
  • Timelapse
  • 30fps Burst 
  • Video resolution:
    • 4K Video @ 30fps
    • 1440p Video @ 80fps
    • 1080p Video @ 120fps

 

 

 

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An in-depth review of the Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR with specs, autofocus tests, sample pictures, housings and thoughts for underwater photo and video
By Brent Durand

Canon 5D Mark IV Review

Brent Durand
An in-depth review of the Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR with specs, autofocus tests, sample pictures, housings and thoughts for underwater photo and video

The much anticipated Canon 5D Mark IV is finally here!  Canon USA made the announcement early on August 25th, and pre-orders are now being accepted by official dealers.

The new pro-sumer DSLR is built around a brand new 30.4 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, and incorporates Canon's dual-pixel autofocus technology (thanks Canon!!). In short, this delivers quick, reliable autofocus when shooting video in live view mode, and of course, lighting quick AF when shooting through the viewfinder. Additionally, the Canon 5D Mark IV boats a DIGIC 6+ processor, 4k video at 30fps, Full HD video at 60fps, 61 AF points (41 cross-type), touch panel LCD, and enhanced high ISO performance.

The much anticipated Canon 5D Mk IV has a big legacy to step into, and with specs like this the camera will perform for both underwater photo and video shooters.  We'll dive into the specifics in the camera preview below.

Status:  Limited shipping now - we have received our pre-order

MSRP:  $3,499 USD (body only)

 

Jump to section:

5D Mk IV Specs   |   Full Frame or Crop Sensor?   |   Field Tests & Sample Images

Thoughts for u/w Photo & Video   |   Best Lenses   |   5D Mk IV Housings   |   Conclusion

 

 

Canon 5D Mark IV Specifications

  • 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 6+ image processor
  • Dual-pixel AF sensor and continuous servo AF for stills
  • AF point: 61 points (41 cross-type)
  • Dual Pixel RAW recording (image microadjustment & bokeh shift capabilities)
  • ISO: 100–32,000; expandable up to 50–102,400
  • Continuous shooting: 7 frames / sec.
  • 4K video recording at 30fps (motion jpeg, DCI standard), Full HD at 60fps (All-I), HD at 120 fps (All-I)
  • 150,000-pixel RGB + IR metering sensor
  • 1.62M dot 3.2" touch LCD
  • Anti-flicker mode
  • Interval timer (finally, thank you Canon! :- )
  • Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi · NFC connection
  • Media: SDXC / SDHC / SD  (UHS-I enabled), CompactFlash 
  • The main terminal: USB 3.0, Mini-HDMI
  • Size: 116mm X 151mm X 76mm 
  • Weight: 890g

 

Do you Buy a Full Frame or Crop Sensor?

Full frame cameras are becoming more and more popular among underwater photographers.  Many photographers are upgrading systems to full frame and many brand new photographers are purchasing full frame as their first camera system.  But even with the popularity of large sensors, the crop sensor has a strong place in the mirrorless and DSLR market, and actually excels in many areas of undewater photo and video.

So which is the right camera for you?  Here's a quick breakdown:

 

Pros of a Full Frame Sensor

  • Larger sensor is more sensitive to light.

  • Better performance at high ISOs, specifically with electronic noise and color.

  • Less depth of field at the same apertures results in smoother bokeh.

 

Pros of a Crop Sensor

  • Cheaper than full frame camera body.

  • The standard 1.6 crop factor (1.5 on Nikon DX) essentially magnifies the image, bringing you closer to that shark swimming in the distance or to filling the frame with a small nudibranch.

  • You can use a lower aperture to achieve the same depth of field as a higher aperture on a full frame sensor. This is beneficial for three reasons:

    • Most lenses deliver their best image quality in mid-range apertures.

    • Higher apertures become prone to diffraction.

    • Lower apertures allow more light to hit the sensor, which helps bring more vibrant color from video lights (when shooting video), while maintaining necessary depth of field for the shot.

Have more questions?  Contact the experts at Bluewater Photo, who can guide you to the perfect camera setup for your shooting style and budget.

 

Quick Field Test & 5D MkIV Sample Photo

Below are some impressions from handling the 5D Mark IV in the office for a few minutes on Friday afternoon.  I'll be doing more tests after our Bali and Lembeh photo workshops.

 

5D Mark IV Control Updates from Mk III

The control layout is very similar to the 5D Mk III. The smaller upgrades are the new graphic on the top mode dial and the new thumb-controlled AF Area Selection button. The new AF Area Selection button (located to the right of the Q button) allows the shooter to change area modes with the thumb in addition to the previous method of the forefinger on M-Fn button.

The major update is the touch LCD monitor. The monitor works as you would expect it to. During viewfinder shooting the touch is disabled by default, but once you press the Q button (Quick menu) then you can tap any touch menu item and then adjust those properties with touches or swipes. The return (exit to main screen) touch button appears in the lower right hand corner. During live view shooting, you can touch an area of the screen and the camera will autofocus at that point. The Quick menu button is displayed ergonomically in the upper right corner of the screen, along with the return (exit to main screen) when inside a menu. All-in-all a nice system for topside shooters, but it's unlikely the housing manufacturers will take much notice of the touch LCD monitor since all these controls can be accessed through regular control buttons and dials.

 

General Autofocus

Viewfinder autofocus on the Canon 5D Mk IV is fast.  I didn't have my 5D Mk III as a comparison the afternoon I tested the 5D Mk IV, but it feels slightly faster than the 5DIII. The 5D Mark IV still uses 61 AF points (41 cross-type), and since the 5DIII also used phase and contrast detection, we didn't expect the dual-pixel AF to blow the doors off viewfinder AF speed.

Tracking AF is visibly better by feel, but I will still be shooting several different motion bursts in the various tracking modes to compare "keepers to keepers" between the Mk III and Mk IV. Stay tuned.

 

LiveView Autofocus

This is where Canon's dual-pixel AF technology blows the competition (Nikon, Sony, Panasonic) out of the water. LiveView autofocus on the 5D Mark IV is FAST, just like we report on the Canon 1D X MkII, both in +Tracking and Single modes, making it useful for shooting underwater video.

When shooting topside, you can press the screen and it focuses without hesitation. Underwater, we'll be using the shutter half-depress or back-button focus, which should deliver extremely fast and precise autofocus as well.

 

Sample Photos

 

Thoughts for Underwater Photo and Video

The Canon 5D Mark IV is going to be one of the best pro-level choices for underwater photo and video shooters. I shot a 5D Mark III for years and loved it. The 5D Mark IV has addressed the issues that were outdating the previous version, so look for this camera to become popular quickly. Let's break it down into the photo and video camps.

 

5D Mark IV for Underwater Photography

Canon's 5D series has a long (digital) history making game-changing full-frame DSLRs. The 5D Mark III bridged the gap between the 'landscape only' 5D Mark II and the 'sports only' 7D with a sophisticated autofocus system. The 5D Mark IV builds on this shooting versatility with dual-pixel autofocus. As underwater photographers, we need exceptional AF capabilities (sea lions, dolphins, darting gobies) plus the aspects of image quality where full frame cameras excel: maximum dynamic range, color depth, bokeh, etc.

New in the 5D Mk IV is dual-pixel RAW recording, which uses data from the dual-pixel sensor to allow for minor adjustments in focus point, bokeh and ghosting/flare. Will these features be worth adjusting your workflow to send images through Canon's Digital Photo Professional software before or after Lightroom?  We'll be testing this as soon as we have the camera.  Maybe for supermacro, where crisp focus and nice bokeh is uber critical...?

The Canon 5D Mark IV will be a great camera for shooting wide-angle with strobes, but also in ambient light with high ISOs (think orcas or whales in dark water). The autofocus will perform well in either situation.

Canon's lens selection for full frame is unparalleled, with several different fisheye and wide-angle lenses to choose from. The single macro choice (Canon 100mm) is an exceptional lens, so no worries there.

The 30.4 megapixel sensor is a nice compromise between having enough pixels for big crops (for those tiniest of subjects) but not so many that you need a top-of-the-line computer to process. Nicely done, Canon.

 

5D Mark IV for Underwater Video

Canon revolutionized the digital video game with the 7D and 5D Mk II. They still reigned supreme with the 5D Mark III until the upstart Sony alpha Mark II cameras hit the scene, along with cameras like the LX100 and GH4. The Canon 5D Mark IV has some pros and some cons.

Pros:

Dual-pixel phase detection AF with continuous Servo AF in Live View. Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras don't have quick or reliable autofocus when shooting video, so Canon's dual-pixel AF has really upped the game in this regard, making autofocus something that video shooters can start to rely on for certain scenes. (The 7D Mark II and 80D both also feature dual-pixel AF sensors).

Second, the 4K recording uses DCI standard aspect ratio (4096 x 2160) instead of 16:9 UHD standard (3840 x 2160). This is similar to the Canon 1D X Mk II, which has been delivering excellent video quality.

Cons:

Canon's new 4K recording uses the Motion JPEG compression instead of All-I or IPB.  This is excellent for pulling 8.8 MB .jpg stills from the 4K recording, but needs to use a bit rate near 500Mbps.  Those shooting in 4K will be investing heavily fast, large CF cards to handle the files, and opening their housings as much as needed to swap them out.  Canon elected to use compact flash storage (along with an SD slot) instead of the new C-Fast like in the Canon 1D X Mk II.  For Magic Lantern users recording RAW in-camera this is a bummer, but it doesn't change anything for those recording externally.  If you're shooting at 1080 All-I, then it's business as usual.

Second, 4K recording only uses a portion of the 5D Mk IV's full frame sensor, essentially making it a 1.6 crop persective (similar to Super 35 on the Sony a7R II). What does this mean?  Well, if you're switching back and forth between photos and videos, you'll also be switching between full frame and 'crop' focal distances, which use very different lenses. On land it's a quick lens swap, but underwater you're going to have to commit to one lens in your housing. Will it be the wide-angle for full frame photos or the ultra wide-angle for 'crop' video recording? Maybe this is your excuse to buy the Canon 11-24mm f/2.8L (provided the housing manufacturers plan for this)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Canon 5D Mark IV - side views

 

Best Lenses for the 5D Mark IV

The Canon 5D Mark IV uses a full frame sensor, making it compatibly with Canon's EF lenses plus compatible 3rd party lenses. Underwater photography generally falls into two categories: wide-angle and macro. The lenses below are best for shooting in these styles with the Canon 5D Mark IV (and all Canon full frame DSLR bodies).

 

Macro

 

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

This smooth and fast lens should be in every experienced (Canon) underwater photographer's bag. It provides the magnification needed for shooting small macro subjects and the tiniest subjects when combined with a diopter on the outside of the housing port. It also happens to be the only Canon macro lens for the 5D Mark IV.  View some photos shot with the Canon 100mm Macro lens on full frame bodies.

 

Wide-Angle Fisheye

 

Canon 8-15mm Circular Fisheye

This is one of several fisheye choices for 5D Mk IV shooters. A sharp fisheye at 15mm, you can also shoot this lens at 8mm without a dome port shade in order to produce circular fisheye images. Check out some examples in Wide-Angle in Bunaken or read or full Canon 8-18mm Lens Review.

 

Alternative Fisheye Lenses

Other great fisheye lens choices for the Canon 5D Mark IV will be the Sigma 15mm and the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens (between 15-17mm since this is an APS-C lens).

 

Rectilinear Wide-Angle

 

NEW - Canon 16-35 f/2.8 III Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens

This lens has just been announced alongside the 5D Mark IV.  It's safe to say that this will be the best choice (above the now-older 16-35 f/2.8L II) for those who are buying their first wide-angle lens for the 5D IV.

 

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

The most popular rectilinear wide-angle lens for Canon full frame DSLRs is the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 Mark II. This lens sits at the top of the selection in terms of corner sharpness, speed, and price. Most underwater shooters use this type of lens for shooting subjects that don't come close enough to fill the frame with a wide fisheye lens: sharks, whales, sea lions, dolphins, etc.

 

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

Want the widest lens you can buy? The Canon 11-24mm offers a much wider field of view than 16mm. This perspective is great for reefscapes, massive wrecks and very wide shots where you do not want the distortion of a fisheye lens. The downside is that this lens is larger, heavier and more expensive than the other wide-angle lens choices.

 

Alternative Rectilinear Wide-Angle Lenses 

Underwater photo and video shooters on a budget will be looking towards the Canon 16-35mm f/4L or the Canon 17-40 f/4L USM wide-angle lenses. And unless you're a pixel-peeper with critical details in the corners of your images, it will be hard to tell the difference in IQ between these lenses and the popular 16-35mm f/2.8L II (we haven't tested images with the new 16-35 III yet). The quality of the dome port you are shooting through will make a much more significant difference. These lenses are also much lighter and sport 77mm filter threads instead of 82mm.

 

 

Canon 5D Mark IV Housings

We expect to see Canon 5D Mk IV housings available towards the end of the year, beginning with Ikelite and Nauticam and followed quickly by Sea&Sea and Aquatica. The specs for the 5D Mk IV show the body as slightly smaller than the 5D MkIII, so we're going to assume that it will not fit in your current 5DIII housing. That said, sometimes the bodies do work without access to all camera controls. That will vary depending on housing brand. We'll be updating this page and the Bluewater Photo housing pages below with information as it becomes available. 

Want to be the first to know about new housing availability?  Send an email to sales@bluewaterphotostore.com and they'll let you know as the housings become available for pre order.  Otherwise, check this page for updates!

 

Aquatica Canon 5D Mark IV Housing

 

Ikelite Canon 5D Mark IV Housing w/ Four Lock Mount

 

Ikelite Canon 5D Mark IV Housing w/ Dry Lock Port Mount

 

Nauticam Canon 5D Mark IV Housing

Update 9.7: Nauticam will have a 5D MkIV housing available in October, as well as upgrade kits for 5DIII and 5DS housings to make them compatible with the 5D Mk IV. Stay tuned for more info.

 

Sea&Sea Canon 5D Mark IV Housing

 

 

Conclusion

The Canon 5D Mark IV will be an excellent camera for underwater photo / video and will become one of the top choices for those purchasing a DSLR. A wide selection of lenses, excellent dynamic range and high ISO performance, extremely fast autofocus, 4K video and versatility will set the bar for full frame prosumer DSLRs.

We expect to see housings announced in the next couple months, with the first becoming available by end of year.

Bluewater Photo has preordered the camera (I'm geeking out on getting to try it), so we'll have a detailed review published as soon as we get our hands on the camera.

 

 

Further Reading

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

La Paz Big Animal Photo Trip (Oct '16)   |   Sri Lanka Wrecks & Reefs OR Whales & Dolphins Workshops (Feb '17)   |   Alor, Indonesia small group Photo Trip (Oct '17)

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.

 


First camera to feature Canon's new DIGIC 7 processor, plus faster autofocus, increased noise performance, better RAW capture and more
By Brent Durand

Canon G7 X Mark II Camera Review

Brent Durand
First camera to feature Canon's new DIGIC 7 processor, plus faster autofocus, increased noise performance, better RAW capture and more

The Canon G7 X Mark II is a powerful camera in a compact body. An upgrade from the G7 X, the Mk II incorporates the same sensor and lens but is the first camera to use Canon's new DIGIC 7 image processor to support new performance improvements.

The Canon G7 X Mark II has a faster startup, better autofocus tracking, enhanced image stabilization, longer battery life and faster continuous shooting. The G7 X Mark 2 also records 14-bit RAW files instead of 12-bit like the G7 X. In simplest terms, this means more data, which means more room for advanced post-processing.

Bluewater Photo didn't hesitate to buy a G7 X Mk II to add to their rental gear, so I had a chance to shoot that in a few different situations. Insights and sample photos from these tests are included in this review.

If you haven't yet, be sure to read our detailed comparison of the Best Compact Cameras of Summer 2016.

 

Jump to section:

Canon G7X Mk II Specs    |   Thoughts for Underwater Photography   |  Changes from G7X   |   Body and Controls

Comparison with Compact Cameras   |   Sample Photos (high ISO, 100% crop)   |   Underwater Housing Options

Conclusion   |   Underwater Photos

 

 

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

 

Thoughts for Underwater Photography

The Canon G7 X Mark II is one of the best choices for underwater photo and video with a compact camera. The Canon G7 X has been very popular, although it faces stiff competition from the Sony RX100 IV, which also has a 1-inch sensor and more robust video capabilities. The one-touch white balance on the G7X Mark II is extremely convenient for video shooters, while manual white balance on the RX100 IV requires some menu navigation. In short, ambient light video shooters may look towards the G7 X Mk II, while those whose style incorporates video, high resolution and slow motion may look to the RX100 IV.

Canon has a long reputation for excellent image quality, and with the new DIGIC 7 processor and resulting performance upgrades, we expect this camera to have the edge among still shooters.

On white balance: Underwater videographers will find that the Canon G7 X Mark II has no one touch custom white balance. Videographers looking to record with a custom white balance must take a photo at depth, then enter the camera's menu (camera menu tab 6), select Custom WB, and then follow instructions to set the WB off the desired image (2 more clicks). The white balance mode can be adjusted through the Quick menu (in 2 clicks) or through customizing the Ring Control button (1 click), but note that this simply provides access to the menu for selecting the WB mode (auto, cloudy, tungsten, etc.).

The G7 X Mark II will be supported by a number of housing manufacturers, which means that accessories like wet diopters for macro and wide-angle wet lenses will be readily available for capturing any underwater scene.

From Bluewater Photo owner Scott Gietler:

"With stunning image quality, TTL in manual mode, and great video & white balance features, the Canon G7X has quickly become one of the top two choices for compact camera underwater shooters, and we expect the Canon G7X II to continue in the same vein. Although it is not a "major" upgrade, we recommend the G7X II over the G7X due to its claim of 25% better battery life and improved low-contrast focusing, which will of course need to be tested."

 

Changes from the G7 X

The Canon G7 X Mark II has the same control layout as the original G7 X, but in a larger body. This means that the Mk II camera will likely not fit inside the older housings. It's a bummer but just the way it is with new cameras.

The major physical differences are highlighted below:

  • Front Control Ring:  New switch to allow click or smooth action (smooth action is great for manual focus).
  • LCD Screen Articulation:  Now pulls away from the body, allowing for 45 degree downward view (i.e. used when holding the camera in the air in a crowd).
  • Exposure Compensation Dial:  This has been reversed. Maybe it's more intuitive now?
  • Top Control Dial:  Creative effects mode has been removed from the control dial.

In addition to the physical differences above and the spec upgrades we highlighted earlier, the G7 X Mark II has other new features to be discovered. One is a new timelapse mode that video shooters will find useful. Another is new in-camera RAW file editing. The theory behind this is that you can edit your photos before sharing with your mobile device (and then social media) via the camera's WiFi or NFC. I prefer to transfer the image, edit on my mobile device (using Lightroom Mobile or other apps) and then share the content. There's no right or wrong workflow though.

 

 

G7 X Mk II Body and Controls

Like the G7 X, the Canon G7 X Mark II has a great set of controls and is easy to hold and shoot. Of primary importance is the front control ring, which controls aperture when in manual mode, but can be changed quickly through a dedicated button. The rear control ring defaults to controlling shutter speed but can also be custom programmed.

The red video record button is tucked under the flared thumb grip on the back of the camera, which makes it easy to access but also difficult to hit accidentally. The quick / set button, playback and menu buttons are also tucked under the thumb so that they are out of the way but easy to press when desired.

Lastly, the LCD touchscreen works very well. You can quickly access the Quick menu by pressing the Q in the top right corner, or adjust settings by pressing the aperture or shutter speed. My personal preference is to access these controls via the physical controls, but the nice thing is that every shooter can use the camera as they wish.

 

Compact Camera Comparison

For detailed comparison tables with the Canon G16, G5 X, G9 X, Sony RX100 IV, and Olympus TG-4, view our article Best Compact Cameras of Summer 2016.

You can also learn about Bluewater Photo's recommended compact camera and housing combinations in Best Compact Cameras and Housings for 2016.

 

Canon G7 X Mark II Sample Photos

Image Quality at 100% Crop

 

Image Quality at 100% Crop

 

High ISO at Night

 

Canon G7X Mark II Underwater Housings

Canon G7 X Mk II housings are now available from several leading manufacturers. Unfortunately, the larger size of the Mk II means that it will not fit in the original G7 X housings.

Canon G7X Mk II (approx: 105.5 x 60.9 x 42.0 mm).  Canon G7X (approx: 103.0 x 60.4 x 40.4 mm).

Below are some great housing choices from our sister company, Bluewater Photo. Check out the housings and contact them for the best recommendations for accessories like macro and wide-angle lenses, lights and strobes.

 

Recsea Canon G7X Mark II CW Polycarbonate Housing - $599 (Available)

This tiny housing fits the G7X II like a glove. The material is vey high quality, you will even think it is an aluminum housing. Easily fits in your BCD pocket.

 

Ikelite Canon G7X Mark II Housing - $550 (Available)

This compact and lightweight underwater housings provide full operation of the camera up to depths of 200 feet (60m). Large, easy-to-reach controls are provided for all camera functions including the front and rear dials. Rear controls are marked with easy-to-see laser engraved symbols which never fade or fall off.


Ikelite Canon G7X Mark II Action Housing - $299 (Available)

Action Housings are designed for water sports and travel. It is built for toughness yet compact and lightweight. Housings depth rating of 200 feet (60m).

 

Fantasea Canon G7X Mark II Housing (coming late August for $399) 

Although inexpensive, the polycarbonate Fantasea Housings give you access to all of the important camera controls and dials. Stay tuned for a complete housing review in late August!

 

Nauticam Canon G7X Mark II Housing $1100 (Available)

The Nauticam Housing is one of only two housings to offer an optional short port option for better wide-angle wet lens options. Also has an optional vacuum check system, and includes a shutter release extension.

 

Recsea Canon G7X Mark II Housing $1100 (Available)

Very small, high quality housing with precision controls rated to 100 meters. Optional vacuum check system and LCD viewfinder. Short port options for several wide-angle lenses including the UWL-04 fisheye lens.

 

Conclusion

The Canon G7 X Mark II delivers excellent image quality in a very small camera body. While it faces tough competition from the Sony RX100 IV for underwater video, the G7 X Mk II holds its own for still photography. 'Shutter Lag' (actually focus lag) is barely noticeable, even when shooting in low light.

The 1" sensor delivers great color, and the speed of the DIGIC 7 processor is readily apparent when powering on the camera, shooting in burst mode and focusing. Pair the G7 X Mk 2 with some of the better underwater housings and you have an excellent, and versatile, photo rig for macro and wide-angle.

 

  

Canon G7 X Mark II Underwater Photos

Update September 6:  I've had a chance to take the G7 X II into the water using the Fantasea G7X II housing.  These are the first photos.  Stay tuned as I thoroughly test the camera during our Bali and Lembeh workshops over the next few weeks and then add the insights to the review.

 

 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

La Paz Big Animal Photo Trip (Oct '16)   |   Sri Lanka Wrecks & Reefs OR Whales & Dolphins Workshops (Feb '17)   |   Alor, Indonesia small group Photo Trip (Oct '17)

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.

 


We compare the best compact cameras for underwater photo and video, including specs, photos
By UWPG Editors

Best Compact Cameras of Summer 2016

UWPG Editors
We compare the best compact cameras for underwater photo and video, including specs, photos

For underwater photographers looking for a compact camera setup, there are many different options to choose from. And with so many similarities between camera names and specs, the comparison process can be a bit confusing.

In this article, we will look into the compact cameras that we recommend for underwater photography, weather they are available now or coming later this summer. We consider things like image sensor size, megapixels and lens specs. To find specific housings and Bluewater Photo's complete underwater kit recommendations, you can check out the 2016 Compact Camera Buyer's Guide.

 

 

Skip to:

Olympus TG-4   |   Sony RX-100 IV   |   Canon G16

  Canon G5x   |   Canon G7x Mk II   |   Canon G9x

 

Camera Comparison Charts   

 Summary of Strengths and Weaknesses 

 Underwater Housing Availability 




Be sure to check out Bluewater Photo's Compact Cameras Buyers Guide to learn which camera and housing is best for you


 

Olympus TG-4

The Olympus Tough TG-4 is a tough camera that is waterproof down to 50ft even without the housing. RAW photo recording (new for the TG-4) allows for greater post-processing options while a new Microscope mode lets shooters capture intricate macro details. Read our complete Olympus TG-4 Camera Review.

Quick Specs:

  • Size: 112 x 66 x 31 mm

  • Weight: 247g

  • Sensor: 16MP - 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS Sensor

  • Processor: TruePic VII

  • Lens: 25–100 mm F2.0 - F4.9 Zoom Lens

  • Video: 1080P, Timelapse feature

  • Wifi: Yes

  • Battery Life: 380 Shots

  • Other features: Waterproof upto 50ft. (15m), Sensor-shift Image Stabilization, Face Detection Focusing, Built-in GPS

Olympus TG-4 Housing $299
Recsea TG-4 Housing $690
Nauticam TG-4 Housing $800 


Sony Rx-100 Mk IV

The Sony RX100 Mk IV is a versatile and advanced compact camera with 1 inch sensor that produces high resolutions photos.  It also excels on capturing videos, with 4k and slow motion high bit rate capabilities. Read our complete Sony RX100 IV Camera Review.

Quick Specs:

  • Size: 102 x 58 x 41 mm

  • Weight: 298g

  • Sensor: 20MP - 1" BSI-CMOS Sensor

  • Processor:  Bionz X 

  • Lens: 24–70 mm F1.8 - F2.8 Zoom Lens

  • Video: 4K (3840 x 2160 video resolution)

  • Wifi: Yes

  • Battery Life: 280 Shots

  • Other features: Image Stabilization, Articulating Screen, Electronic Built-in Viewfinder, Face Detection Focusing,1.229k dots LCD Resolution, Viewfinder

Sony RX-100 Mk IV Underwater Housing Options

 

Canon G16

The Canon G16 features a 12.7 MP sensor and delivers excellent image quality, even in low light. It is able to shoot in RAW with full manual mode and comes equipped with a fast and high-quality zoom lens.

Quick Specs:

  • Size: 109 x 76 x 40 mm

  • Weight: 356g

  • Sensor: 12MP - 1/1.7" BSI-CMOS Sensor

  • Processor: Digic 6

  • Lens: 28–140 mm F1.8 - F2.8 Zoom Lens

  • Video: 1920 x 1080 video resolution

  • Wifi: Yes

  • Battery Life: 360 Shots

  • Other features:  Image Stabilization, Face Detection Focusing, Timelapse Recording, 1/4000s High Shutter Speed

Canon G16 Underwater Housing Options

 



Be sure to check out Bluewater Photo's Compact Cameras Buyers Guide to learn which camera and housing is best for you 


 

Canon G5x

The Canon G5X features 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder, large 1 inch sensor and fast zoom lens. It is also fitted with numerous physical controls, including a dedicated exposure compensation dial, front dial, control ring and control dial for quickly customizing various shooting settings.

Quick Specs:

  • Size: 112 x 76 x 44 mm

  • Weight: 353g

  • Sensor: 20MP - 1" BSI-CMOS Sensor

  • Processor: DIGIC 6

  • Lens: 24–100 mm F1.8 - F2.8 Zoom Lens

  • Video: 1920 x 1080 video resolution

  • Wifi: Yes

  • Battery Life: 210 Shots

  • Other features: Image Stabilization, Articulating Screen, Touch Screen, Electronic Built-in Viewfinder, Face Detection Focusing, Timelapse Recording, 2360kdot Viewfinder Resolution

Canon G5x Underwater Housing Options

 

Canon G7x Mk II

The Canon G7x Mk II is notable for imaging qualities; camera has a 20.1 MP sensor, new DIGIC 7 processor with faster startup, less noise when shooting at higher ISOs, better autofocus tracking, enhanced image stabilization, longer battery life and faster continuous shooting. It records 14-bit RAW files which have more data and more room during post processing. Read our complete Canon G7 X Camera Review.

Quick Specs:

  • Size: 106 x 61 x 42 mm

  • Weight: 319g

  • Sensor: 20MP - 1" BSI-CMOS Sensor

  • Processor: DIGIC 7

  • Lens: 24–100 mm F1.8 - F2.8 Zoom Lens

  • Video: 1920 x 1080 video resolution

  • Wifi: Yes

  • Battery Life: 265 Shots

  • Other features: Image Stabilization, Articulating Screen, Touch Screen, Face Detection Focusing, 31 Focus Points, Timelapse Recording

Canon G7x Mk II Underwater Housing Options

 

Canon G9x

Canon G9X has a 20.2 MP sensor and DIGIC 6 image sensor which delivers clean, clear image quality, sensitivity to ISO 12800, continuous shooting up to 6 fps and Full HD 1080p/60 movie recording. It has a notable intelligent image stabilizer which helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting in difficult lighting conditions. 

Quick Specs:

  • Size: 98 x 58 x 31 mm

  • Weight: 209g

  • Sensor: 20MP - 1" BSI-CMOS Sensor

  • Processor: DIGIC 6

  • Lens: 28–84 mm F2.0 - F4.9 Zoom Lens

  • Video: 1920 x 1080 video resolution

  • Wifi: Yes

  • Battery Life: 220 Shots

  • Other features: Image Stabilization, Touch Screen, Face Detection Focusing, 1.040k dots LCD Resolution, Timelapse Recording and offers 2 colors to choose from.

Canon G9x Underwater Housing Options

 



Be sure to check out Bluewater Photo's Compact Cameras Buyers Guide to learn which camera and housing is best for you 


 

Camera Comparison

Physical

 

Shooting Features

 

Sensor

 

Lens

 

Video 

 

Summary of Strengths & Weaknesses


 

Underwater Housing Availability

 

Aquapazza 

Best priced aluminum housing, available in awesome colors

See choices / prices

Fantasea 

Polycarbonate housing, excellent value, good ergonomics

See choices / prices

Ikelite 

Clear housing, TTL capability with some housings, outstanding support

See choices / prices 

Nauticam 

Aluminum housing, Vacuum check available,excellent options for wet wide angle lenses.

See choices / prices 

Recsea 

Aluminum housings, very small & long lasting, G16 on sale for $699

See choices / prices 

Recsea CW 

Polycarbonate housings, very very small, housing for RX100 & RX100 II also available.

See choices / prices 

 

Learning how to use your new camera

What to learn how to use your new underwater setup? Join one of our photo trips, which are perfect for people with their first underwater setup, their first GoPro, or a new underwater setup.

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.

 


16 megapixel high resolution power with Full HD video in a very compact, easy-to-use underwater camera
By Brent Durand

SeaLife Micro 2.0 Camera Review

Brent Durand
16 megapixel high resolution power with Full HD video in a very compact, easy-to-use underwater camera

The SeaLife Micro 2.0 is the flagship of a great line of fully-sealed, easy-to-use compact cameras. We have reviewed much other SeaLife gear, including shooting Sea Lions with the Micro HD+, and the Micro 2.0 earned it's position, delivering high quality photo and video.

So what's different? In short, the SeaLife Micro 2.0 is built around a new 16 MP Sony CMOS image sensor. This sensor delivers the image quality Sony is known for, plus full HD video (fun fact: Sony also makes most sensors in Nikon cameras). The Micro 2.0 also features a 130 degree field of view lens, SeaLife's trademark piano key dials, and compatibility with the SeaLife Sea Dragon line of video light accessories.

In this review, we take a closer look at how the Micro 2.0 really performs for underwater photo and video.

Purchase: SeaLife Micro 2.0 at Bluewater Photo

MSRP:  $499 (32GB)

 

Key Specs and Features

  • Permanently sealed - no o-rings to maintain

  • 16 MP Sony CMOS image sensor

  • Full 1080p HD video, including 60fps for slow motion

  • 130 degree fisheye lens (adjustable)

  • 3x piano key controls for simple operation

  • Adjustable ISO settings

  • 32 or 64GB internal memory

  • Picture in video capability

  • Various capture modes (single, continuous, HDR, burst)

  • Easy set-up mode

  • USB cable connection for transferring photos and charging

  • Compatibility with Sea Dragon lights and accessories

  • Minimum focus distance:  12"

  • Weight and size:  279g (10.1oz), 4.2" x 2.1" x 2.9" (10.7cm x 5.3cm x 7.4cm)

  • Waterproof:  200ft (60m)

 



Purchase the SeaLife Micro 2.0 on Bluewater Photo.


 

A diver passes mangrove roots in the Yucatan cenotes of Mexico. Shot with SeaLife Micro 2.0.

 

Micro 2.0 in the Lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The SeaLife Micro 2.0 is easy to hold; the body is rubber armored and shockproof, with flared right side to help hold between fingers and thumb. The shutter button is angled for optimum trigger finger ergonomics. There is a standard (1/4-20) tripod hole for mounting the Micro 2.0 to a tray/handle setup... or a tripod.

Charging the Micro 2.0 and transferring photos is easy. Simply remove a rubber plug that covers the wet USB contacts and slide in the USB adapter. You can also transfer images via WiFi, as we explore later.

The SeaLife menu is very easy to operate. You turn on the camera by holding down the Play button. A push of the center Menu button brings you to three menu categories.

Photos are recorded as .jpg files. While .jpg doesn't offer the same post-processing flexibility as RAW files, it makes the photos easy to share straight from the Micro 2.0 and SeaLife mobile app. For one-click editing, be sure to check out our review of Vivid-Pix.

 

Easy Setup

Push the shutter to enter this menu. This is where you can select a land mode or 3 different underwater modes. The difference between them is the camera's white balance setting, or how much the camera corrects for the blue/green color you often see in u/w photos.

Once in the Setup menu, just press the up or down arrow (video & menu buttons) to choose Land or Underwater modes. If you choose Land, you're done.  Woo Hoo!  If you choose Underwater, you can now select from diving, snorkeling or diving with video light(s).

 

Image Settings

Self Timer:  Off

Capture Md:  Single. The other modes may prove useful in certain situations but are for advanced users.

Scene Md:  Leave as is. This is another way to change the mode you initially set in the Easy Setup menu.

WB:  Auto

EV:  0.0

FOV:  Wide 130.  Tip: if you are shooting smaller subjects like fish, try setting this to medium 100 or narrow 80 degree field of view in order to help fill the frame more.

Picture Res:  16MP (4:3)

Video Res:  1080p-30fps

ISO(Picture):  Auto

Quality:  Super Fine

Sharpness:  Standard

Metering:  Center.  We recommend this setting for the most common shooting situations - fish, divers, corals, etc. If you are shooting things like reefscapes, try using Average.

Video TimeLapse:  Off

Color:  Standard

 

System Settings

WiFi:  Off.  Turn this on and download the SeaLife App to control the camera and view photos/videos via your phone or tablet.

System Reset:  Restores factory default settings.

Format:  This deletes all photos and videos.

Upside-Down:  Off

Shotcut:  Off

Date/Time:  Set as desired

Auto Off:  3 min.

Fimware Version:  V1.24 (as of 4.3.16)

Sound:  On

Microphone:  On

Quick View:  Off

Language:  Set as desired.

Light Frequency:  60Hz

Mem. Available:  Variable depending on how many photos/videos are stored in memory.

SSID:  Available when WiFi is turned on.

 

Most of the settings above are camera defaults, so you don't really need to dive into these menus if you are a bit intimidated. That's exactly why SeaLife created the Easy Setup!

 

Scene from the kelp forests of California's Channel Islands National Park. Shot with SeaLife Micro 2.0.

 

A moray eel and cardinalfish share a narrow crevice under a rock at Catalina Island - a shot unreachable with a bulkier camera/housing kit. Shot with SeaLife Micro 2.0.

 

Micro 2.0 in the Water

I took the SeaLife Micro 2.0 into the water on three dives:  once stuffed down my wetsuit in the cenotes, once in my drysuit pocket and once as a primary camera mounted to a tray and light system. Pictured is the Flex-Connect tray, handle and the Sea Dragon 2500 lumen light, part of the Micro 2.0 Pro 2500 kit. The camera is easy to use whether hand held with finger or gloves, or mounted to handle and tray.

Unlike most compact cameras, the SeaLife Micro 2.0 focuses just before it shoots, instead of by half-depressing the shutter. This serves to make things more simple. You can also shoot a still photo or start recoding video without changing modes, plus shoot still photos while recording video. Easy.

In each shooting situation you see in the pictures in this review, I simply chose Underwater in the Easy Setup menu and then shot away with out any changes after that. Reviewing images is easy; just press the playback button and then the up and down keys to select an image to magnify, then the shutter button to magnify the image. Press Playback again to go back a step.

One important note is that the minimum focus distance is 12". Be very mindful of this when shooting macro images as anything closer than 12" will not be in focus. The compact V10 focus light provided plenty of light to bring out vibrant colors of the reef and macro critters.

 

Underwater Video with the Micro 2.0

The SeaLife Micro 2.0 records Full HD 1080p video. It does this at 30fps, which is standard for digital video editing. In addition, it can shoot at 60fps, which allows editos to slow the footage down for slow motion! I didn't get a chance to test the Micro 2.0 video, but it is sure to perform even better than this great demo shot with the Micro HD+.

 

Recommended Accessories

 

 

SeaLife Sea Dragon 2000 Video Light

 

 

 

 

SeaLife Aquapod


 

 

 

 

Micro 10x Closeup Macro Lens

 

 

 

 

Conclusions

The SeaLife Micro 2.0 is a great camera for divers who are looking for simplicity as well as divers looking for a small and compact first camera system. The ability to add the SeaDragon tray, quick-connect handle and video lights makes the system scaleable, while the fact that you don't have to deal with any o-rings makes maintenance a dunk in fresh water (literally).

 

Pros

  • Compact with no o-ring maintenance or flood risk

  • Easy 3 piano key operation

  • Simple menu

  • Ability to add Sea Dragon or 3rd party lights

-  New powerful Sea Dragon 1500 and 2500 video lights will make video even easier - wide 120 beam angle perfect for the Micro 2.0's fisheye lens, with light color temperature dialed for precise color representation (5700K and 5000K respectively).

  • Several modes for various shooting conditions

  • New SeaLife super macro lens coming in May '16 for close focus of 3.5 - 7 inches

 

Cons

  • No manual controls for advanced photographers

  • No RAW file recording for advanced post-processing

 

The SeaLife Micro 2.0 is available with 32GB or 64GB of memory, making the pricepoint right no matter your budget.

 



Purchase the SeaLife Micro 2.0 on Bluewater Photo.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

La Paz Big Animal Photo Trip (Oct '16)   |   Sri Lanka Wrecks & Reefs OR Whales & Dolphins Workshops (Feb '17)   |   Alor, Indonesia small group Photo Trip (Oct '17)

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.

 


Review and comparison of the 80D, featuring a 24.2 megapixel dual-pixel CMOS sensor, 45-point AF system, DIGIC 6 processor
By Brent Durand

Canon 80D Review for Underwater Photo & Video

Brent Durand
Review and comparison of the 80D, featuring a 24.2 megapixel dual-pixel CMOS sensor, 45-point AF system, DIGIC 6 processor

The Canon 80D is a feature-rich DSLR for underwater photography and videography. The successor of the 70D, the Canon 80D sits in the lineup behind the iconic 7D Mark II. The 80D is built around a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, combining lighting fast autofocus with a wide pattern of sophisticated autofocus points for accurate AF when shooting through the viewfinder or Live View (i.e. for video). Divers can also now shoot 60 frames per second at full HD (1080p) resolution, instead of 30fps as on the 70D, which can be used to create a slow motion effect during post processing. A fast processor and 100% coverage through the viewfinder sweeten the deal.

The specs are impressive, and so is the price in relation to all of these features. In this review we'll take a closer look at the Canon 80D for underwater photography and video, plus compare it with the competition.

 

Jump to Review Section:

 

 

Canon 80D Key Specs

  • 24.2MP APS-C Sensor

  • Dual-Pixel CMOS AF

  • Digic 6 Processor

  • 1080p/720p MP4 video recording, both with 60fps (30fps with All-I)

  • Servo AF for video shooting

  • 45 Point "All Cross-Type" Autofocus

  • 100% coverage viewfinder

  • 7 FPS

  • ISO 100-16000

  • SD, SDXC, SDHC memory

  • Built-in Flash

  • WiFi and NFC

MSRP:  $1,199 USD


Highlights for Underwater Use

  • Advanced, fast autofocus system with more focus points for photography

  • Fast live view autofocus for video, plus Full HD recording at up to 60fps (for slow motion)

  • Increase in megapixels for more resolution than 70D and 7D MkII

  • WiFi for fast sharing to social media

  • Great price compared to 7D Mk II or 5D Mk III

 

Body and Controls

The Canon 80D feels great in your hands. The ergonomic build of the body makes it easy to hold, whether in shooting position or down at your side with a heavy lens attached. 

The control layout closely matches that of the 70D, with all essential functions right at your fingertips. The control dials for aperture and shutter speed are easy to adjust, with crisp action so that you can quickly move 3 clicks (1 stop of light if set to 1/3 stops). AF, drive and ISO are in located in Canon's standard pointer finger position. The Menu and Info buttons remain on the left back of the camera, out of the way until needed. The playback buton is accessed with right thumb, which can then roll through images with the thumb control dial. The Q button (quick menu) is easy to press with the thumb, as many shooters will use this menu to adjust all or some settings underwater. Switching between photo and video modes is also easy to control via thumb yet won't be bumped accidentally.

The 80D control dial sports two different custom (Program AE) modes (the 70D only had one), plus a new mode for creative effects. These will certainly come in handy with advanced underwater shooters.

On the left side, the 80D now features a headphone jack (the 70D does not). This is great for "serious amateur" videographers who want to record and monitor audio internally. The older 70D pushed the shooter to accept whatever audio was recorded (no monitoring via headphones) or invest in external audio recording equipment. The E3 remote trigger port has also been moved to its own position on the 80D, presumably for landscape shooters who use a trigger but want to keep the headphone and mic ports clean and weather sealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memory is handled through choice of an SD, SDHC or SDXC card, accessed through a spring-loaded door on the right side of the camera.

 

 

80D Best Lenses for Underwater Use

The Canon 80D uses a crop (APS-C) sensor and is compatible with Canon's EF-S and EF lenses, plus 3rd party lenses. Underwater photography generally falls into two categories, wide-angle and macro. The lenses below are best for shooting in these styles with the Canon 80D (and all Canon APS-C DSLR bodies).

 

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

This lens is the first lens for underwater macro photographers, with a very close focus distance to subjects. The 60mm is also much easier to use than the 100mm mentioned below, making it ideal for those without experience shooting underwater macro with DSLRs.

 

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

This smooth and fast lens should be in every experienced (Canon) underwater photographer's bag. It provides the magnification needed for shooting small macro subjects and the tiniest subjects when combined with a diopter on the outside of the housing port. Read our Canon 100mm Macro Lens Review.

 

Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X DX Fisheye Zoom

This Tokina fisheye lens is heralded as the best lens for shooting reefscapes, big animals, divers and more. It provides the best image quality on crop sensors. Make sure to get the Canon version and not the Nikon version, as these are different mounts. Read our Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye Lens Review.

 

Mid-Range Zoom Lenses

Divers who will be shooting sharks, whales or other objects that may be further away with opt for a mid-range zoom lens like the Canon 10-22mm, Sigma 10-20mm or Tokina 11-17mm. Many divers also use the Sigma 17-70mm OSM HSM for it's great flexibility between wide-angle and macro.

 

Canon 80D Spec Comparison

Read our detailed camera reviews:

 

Canon 80D vs. Canon 70D

We got the Canon 80D into the hands of Tommy Stylski from Bluewater Photo, who shoots regularly with his 70D, for a comparison. Below are his thoughts.

I’ve shot with the Canon 70D for a few years and have been looking forward to getting my hands on the recently released Canon 80D. It nearly has the same mold and button/control positions, but as with most new camera models will not be compatible with the previous model's underwater housings.

The main improvements the new Canon 80D has over its predecessor is mostly seen when shooting video. The new model has upgraded from 20.2 to 24.2 megapixels and boasts many others advantages, but when getting the camera underwater you clearly notice the upgraded autofocus. Since having doubled its cross-type AF points from 19 to 45; its auto-focus capability is extremely fast. These additional autofocus points tracked moving swimmers and kids in the pool very well when using live view for video, allowing a wider range of compositions without needing to focus and recompose.

I look forward to seeing more underwater photos and videos made using the Canon 80D once this exceptional camera catches on with underwater photographers and videographers.

 

Canon 80D vs. Canon 7D Mark II

The Canon 80D is priced under the Canon 7D Mark II, so it's natural that there are some feature compromises when comparing both models. These compromises, however, are not a huge concern for undewater shooters. The bottom line? The 80D is likely the camera for you.

The 80D is smaller than the 7D Mk II (better for travel), with more megapixels, WiFi, touchscreen for topside and faster video framerate (up to 60fps).

The 7D Mk II has more autofocus points, dual memory card slots and faster burst shooting (10 vs. 7 fps) with larger memory buffer. The 7D Mk2 also uses Canon's pro level controls, the highlight being a joystick above the rear control wheel and left thumb buttons for faster image review.

Long story, short if you're not shooting fast action sports, the 80D will likely be a great choice!

 

 

Canon 80D Sample Photos

These photos were shot in RAW with some global adjustments added in Lightroom during post-processing prior to export.

 

MACRO

Example of very shallow depth of field with the Canon 80D and Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens, handheld.

Settings:  ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/60

 

 

 

 

WIDE-ANGLE

Wide-angle scene with the Canon 80D and Canon 24-105mm f/4L zoom lens, handheld.

Settings:  ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/40

 

 

 

 

CLOSE FOCUS WIDE-ANGLE

Shallow depth of field shot at minimum focus distance of the Canon 24-105mm f/4L zoom lens at 58mm, handheld. Learn more about close focus wide-angle underwater.

Settings:  ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/80

 

 

 

SAMPLE 100% CROP

 

 

Canon 80D Underwater Housings


 

 

Ikelite Canon 80D Housing

$1,599.95 - More info on the Ikelite 80D Housing

 


 

 

Nauticam Canon 80D Housing

$3,300 - More info on the Nauticam 80D Housing

 


 

 

Sea&Sea Canon 80D Housing

Sea&Sea 80D Housing coming soon!

 


 

 

Aquatica Canon 80D Housing

Aquatica 80D Housing coming son!

 


 

View all of our Camera Reviews for Underwater

 

Conclusion

The Canon 80D is an excellent camera. It is packed full of features for underwater photo and video shooters with a much better price tag than Canon's prosumer and pro DSLRs.

Underwater housings are already available, and they support all the lenses used in underwater photography. So whether this is a first underwater camera or an upgrade from a smaller system, you can't go wrong with the Canon 80D.

  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

La Paz Big Animal Photo Trip (Oct '16)   |   Sri Lanka Wrecks & Reefs OR Whales & Dolphins Workshops (Feb '17)   |   Alor, Indonesia small group Photo Trip (Oct '17)

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.

 


24.2 megapixel sensor, lightning-fast autofocus, 4K video recording, 11fps and more in this incredible mirrorless camera
By Brent Durand

Sony a6300 Mirrorless Camera First Look

Brent Durand
24.2 megapixel sensor, lightning-fast autofocus, 4K video recording, 11fps and more in this incredible mirrorless camera

Sony has announced their new flagship APS-C (crop sensor) camera: the Sony a6300. This impressive and powerful little camera uses Sony E-mount interchangeable lens, compatible with full-frame cameras like the a7R II.

The previous a6000 proved a very capable camera for underwater photographers, with neat tricks like rapid strobe fire with sync cords, and we have found that the a6300 has proven to be just as nice an option, with support from most major underwater housing manufacturers.

The headlining features of the new Sony a6300 camera are the incredibly fast 4D autofocus using an impressive 425 phase-detection AF points, a new image sensor producing the incredible image quality Sony is known for, and 4K video recording.

Retail Price (U.S.):  est $999 (body only)

Availability:  March 2016

 

Key Features     |     Video Review     |     Thoughts for Underwater Photography

Related Articles     |     Best Lenses     |     Underwater Housings     |     Sample Photos

 

Sony a6300 Key Features

  • New 24.2-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor 

  • ISO 100 - 25,600 (expandable to 51,200)

  • BIONZ X™ image-processing engine delivers blazing speed and performance

  • 2.95" wide-angle LCD monitor with brightness control for sharp vivid color in any light

  • Electronic XGA OLED Tru-Finder™

  • 425-point phase detection autofocus

  • 4D Focus picks up both space and time to capture moving subjects with new clarity

  • 4K video recording with no pixel binning

  • 11 FPS burst

  • Built-in WiFi for easy sharing

  • Battery life approximately 350 shots using LCD screen

* View the full details for each of these highlights on the Sony a6300 website.

 

Audio Commentary on the a6300
With a discussion on new features, performance, lens selection, and underwater housings

 

Thoughts for Underwater Photography

The new Sony a6300 is be a solid option for those who want professional image quality without the additional costs and size of full frame cameras (DSLR or mirrorless). With dedicated mirrorless housing ports and lenses compatible across Sony E-mount camera bodies, the a6300 could also be viewed as an advanced stepping stone for new photographers who think they will eventually upgrade to something like the Sony a7 II or a7R II.

The advanced autofocus system looks very promising for underwater photography, however we won't really know until we test it in dark conditions with the Sony 90mm macro lens. The new 4D focusing should prove very quick and reliable for tracking wide-angle subjects while shooting photo and video.

Video buffs will appreciate the 4K 30p recording with no pixel binning (to lessen compression) as well as 120p recording for ultra slow motion.

The built-in popup flash makes it easy to use fiber optic cables to trigger external strobes.

Battery life, however, is the achilles heel of the Sony mirrorless cameras. The a6000 battery can last two dives, and we expect the a6300 to be the same. Changing the battery means opening the housing during surface intervals in less than ideal conditions. By contrast, DSLR users can keep their housing closed all day. This is a big consideration if you're not comfortable opening/closing your housing on rocking dingys or the beaches during intervals.

Overall, I'm pretty psyched about this camera and the possibilities for underwater photo and video.

 

Best Lenses

Macro:

  • Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro - this native lens is great and offers 1:1 magnification

  • NEW  Sony 50mm F2.8 Macro Lens - this will be a great choice for all Sony APS-C sensors (available September 30, 2016)

  • Canon EF 100mm F2.8 Macro with Metabones adapter

Standard / Mid-Range:

  • Sony 16-50mm - standard kit lens

  • Sony FE 24-70mm F4 - higher end mid range lens

Wide Angle:

  • Sony FE 16-35mm F4

  • Sony 10-18mm F4 wide-angle lens

  • Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8 with Metabones adapter

Fisheye:

  • Sony FE 28mm F2 with Sony Fisheye Conversion Lens -while not a true fisheye, this lens and converter combination works excellently, offering the wide field of view in a native Sony lens.

  • Canon EF 8-15mm F4 Fisheye Lens with Metabones adapter

  • Nikonos 15mm Fisheye Lens with Nikonos Adapter (Nauticam) -a good option if you have one of these laying around or can find one, though not as wide as the 28mm + FE Conversion Lens.

 

Underwater Housings

Nauticam NA-A6300 Housing $1650

The Nauticam Sony A6300 housing is a high quality aluminum housing with full camera control plus unique accessories and options. Precision engineered to provide the most ergonomic control of the camera.

Learn more about the Nauticam Sony a6300 Housing

 

Aquatica Sony a6300 Housing  $1,650

Aquatica uses high quality materials and they designed the housing to be small & compact to be handled just like the camera.  They also made an ergonomically designed button placement for ease of use.

Learn more about the Aquatica a6300 Housing

 

Sea & Sea Sony a6300 Housing  $1,799.95

The Sea & Sea offers a machined, corrosion-resistant alluminum alloy housing with full camera control

Learn more about the Sea & Sea Sony a6300 Housing

 

Ikelite Sony a6300 Housing $975

 

The Ikelite housing for Sony A6300 is made from a new polycarbonate blend and delivers access to all camera functions with easy use and maintenance. This housing is a great value.

Learn more about the Ikelite Sony a6300 Housing

 

Acquapazza APSO-A6300 Housing

 

Acquapazza has recently announced their aluminum a6300 housing. This unique housing features a larger-than-normal port opening so that the lens doesn't need to be removed in order to take the camera out of the housing - a nuisance with other housings.

Learn more about the Acquapazza a6300 Housing

 

Recsea Sony a6300 Housing  

This housing will be available this August. Details coming soon.

 

Related Reviews and Articles

 

 

Sony a6300 Underwater Photos

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

La Paz Big Animal Photo Trip (Oct '16)   |   Sri Lanka Wrecks & Reefs OR Whales & Dolphins Workshops (Feb '17)   |   Alor, Indonesia small group Photo Trip (Oct '17)

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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