Camera Reviews

Detailed camera reviews for underwater photo and video, including specs, key features for u/w photography and camera comparisons.
Andy Sallmon shares his first impressions of the Canon 5D Mark IV, best lenses, new Aquatica A5DMKIV housing and comparison with the 5D Mark 3
By Andy Sallmon

Review: Canon 5D MK IV in Aquatica Housing

Andy Sallmon
Andy Sallmon shares his first impressions of the Canon 5D Mark IV, best lenses, new Aquatica A5DMKIV housing and comparison with the 5D Mark 3

Canon’s remarkable 5D lineup has proven to be a very successful lineage over the years. Every iteration of the 5D spawns great new features and the new 5DMk4 is no exception to this, hitting new highs with a host of refinements. Most notable are a 30.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, faster and more accurate autofocus, increased dynamic range and 4K video capture that utilizes Canon’s latest phase detection AF system, called “Dual Pixel” (in the Live view mode). It seems that Canon has been listening to its shooters and has included all of the most important upgrades, especially the ones that underwater photographers want.

 

The Aquatica A5DMKIV Housing

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to shoot this amazing new camera inside the new Aquatica 5D Mark IV housing. It’s arguably the toughest housing on the market and often found in use by professionals the world over. Military, law enforcement, technical divers and professional underwater photographers value the Aquatica design and durability. Made in Montreal, Quebec Canada, Aquatica Digital is one of the longest running and most successful underwater housing manufacturers serving the industry today and with the A5DMk4 they add another winner to their extensive line of successful models.

 

 

I found the Canon 5D Mark 4 and Aquatica A5DMk4 housing to be a perfect pairing of high tech, robust build quality and superb ergonomic function. In other words, the camera was a vast improvement over my 5DMk3. The housing is produced from the highest grade of USA produced metals, then Mil-Spec anodized and powder coated to be tough as nails. Most important of all, it features a control set that is easy to reach without taking my eye off of the viewfinder. And speaking of viewfinders, the Aquatica 180 was my choice for this testing and it performed perfectly, giving me a vivid 1.2x magnified view for both fast and accurate compositions.  

 

5D Mark 4 Lens Choices

To really see how well the 5D Mk IV worked underwater I used two of my favorite lenses: the Canon 8-15 f4L fisheye zoom and the Canon 100 f2.8L IS macro lens. Both push the limits of modern lens performance and because they are Canon L (Pro) glass, they are able to get the most out of the Mk4’s autofocus system, especially in low light situations. Additionally, the 8-15 f4L offers either a rectilinear fisheye view or circular fisheye format. It is the only zoom lens with this capability.

 

 

Underwater Photo Tests

As soon as I shot my first burst of frames it was apparent that the 5D Mark 4’s real potential improvement is in speed. Both frame rate and autofocus. Boasting 7fps and coupled with a Digic 6+ processor and the same AF system used in their Pro model 1DX Mk II, it easily locked on to every subject quickly, even under the most demanding situations, including the typical low light environment that I am so often faced with under California’s kelp forests. The center AF sensor will focus down to -3EV in single-shot AF-S mode and down to -4EV in the Live View mode, which further expands the camera's AF capability while shooting static subjects. With the higher frame rate and the precision autofocus, the Mk 4 was much faster than my 5D Mark 3, even with fast subjects that are constantly changing direction, like sea lions, and that defy even the fastest autofocus systems. The Mk4’s fast autofocus allowed me to capture a much higher ratio of in focus “keepers”. In fact all the images that I shot were in acceptable focus and many were just plain tack sharp.  So if you “feel the need for speed” this camera will earn its keep.

The 5D Mark IV image quality is excellent. Tonal gradations were smooth and even the dreaded sun balls that so frequently aggravate underwater photographers (by causing cyan colored gradient rings) were subdued and less harsh. This is likely due to the wider dynamic range of the 5Dmk4. The fine detail and resolution provided by the 30mp CMOS sensor was crisp and clean, much sharper than my 5DMk3 and almost reminded me of the detail that I get from my 5DSR, even though this model has 20 fewer megapixels. And it definitely showed less noise than either the 5Dmk3 or the 5DSR.  I am a fan!

 

 

The Canon 5Dmk4 has undergone a huge evolution over its predecessor Mk3. It has incredible high res still capability, precise autofocus response and is now equipped with 4K (1.64x cropped) video capture.

The Aquatica A5DMK4 housing matches the camera very well with a logical control layout. All the vital controls were in logical places right at my fingertips and easily reached without ever taking my eye off of the viewfinder. Their dual coated anodized and powder coated exteriors are tough enough to withstand the daily abuse and heavy usage that both pros and divers that are in the water frequently dish out (after 20 dives the test unit still looked brand new). This is a winning combination for pros and serious amateur alike. 

 



Learn more about the Aquatica A5DMKIV housing at Bluewater Photo


 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Sallmon is a freelance underwater photographer specializing in marine wildlife, scuba diving and ocean natural history. His images have been published in numerous magazines and books, some even gracing the walls of notables such as the Smithsonian Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

When not on assignment Andy stays busy as a manufacturers representative for several leading brands of underwater photographic equipment including Aquatica Digital, Beneath the Surface, Light & Motion and Sea and Sea.

His website is: www.seait.com

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.

 


Detailed review of the GoPro HERO5 for underwater photo and video, plus best settings, how to use new features and more
By Brent Durand

GoPro HERO5 Review for Underwater

Brent Durand
Detailed review of the GoPro HERO5 for underwater photo and video, plus best settings, how to use new features and more

The GoPro HERO5 Black is a powerful tool for shooting underwater video. GoPro's new flagship action camera, it was released alongside the smaller HERO5 Session and HERO Session. While these models are great above water, we focus on the HERO5 Black for shooting underwater, whether snorkeling, freediving or scuba diving.

The beauty of the GoPro HERO5 Black is that it delivers professional-level video in the right shooting situations, is small and easy to travel with, and comes at a great price point compared to compact camera and housing kits. The HERO5 is also the first GoPro that holds its own in underwater photography, aided greatly by the built-in screen and RAW file format.

I used the GoPro HERO5 Black as my only camera during Bluewater Photo's La Paz small group photo workshop in October 2016 and finished the weeklong trip with nice results and a much, much lighter camera bag.

Be sure to update your HERO5 to the latest firmware version, as GoPro has addressed several issues with earlier firmware versions.

Purchase:  GoPro HERO5 Black

Availability:  Now

U.S. MSRP:  $399

 


Shop GoPro on Bluewater Photo for all the housing, accessory and shooting tips you need to bring home excellent underwater video.


 

Jump to section:

Specs   |   New Features & Upgrades   |   Compatibility with Previous Models

Recommended Settings   |   Super Suit Housing & Maintenance   |   Capture App & GoPro Studio

Underwater Review   |   Hero 5 Accessories   |   Conclusion

Full GoPro Tutorial Series

 

 

GoPro HERO5 Specifications

  • Waterproof camera with a depth rating of 33ft (10 meters) *without housing, sold separately
  • 2 inch touchscreen display
  • Simple 1 button control
  • Wifi + bluetooth
  • Advanced wind noise reduction
  • New voice control
  • New EIS Video stabilization
  • Auto Upload to cloud and devices
  • GPS - location capture
  • Raw + WDR photos
  • Timelapse
  • 30fps Burst 
  • Video resolution:
    • 4K Video @ 30fps
    • 1440p Video @ 80fps
    • 1080p Video @ 120fps

 

New Features and Upgrades from the HERO4

One Less Button

Simplicity of operation is essential, and GoPro has done a great job simplifying the camera menus, making big strides between the older HERO3+ and HERO4. The HERO5, naturally, takes this one step further by eliminating the front control button, leaving just two buttons for camera operation.

The side button is now devoted to On/Off as well as switching camera modes (video, camera, burst, timelapse) while the top button starts and stops recording. Camera settings are best adjusted through the rear LCD touch display or the GoPro mobile app, ‘Capture’.

So how do you adjust camera settings underwater? Simply push the side mode button and then the top record button to open the hidden camera settings menu, which appears on the front display. This is where you'll be able to update settings like Field of View while diving (see below). Once the menu is open, you can press the side mode button to navigate to each setting. Pushing the top record button moves through the options for each setting.

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to update the HERO5 firmware to the latest version. The early firmware versions don't allow you to access the hidden settings menu.

 

LCD Touchscreen

The display is very clear and intuitive to use. The screen incorporates gestures that we’re used to making on other devices, like swipes. It’s also great to have the screen built in to the flagship model, not the Silver edition like with the Hero4. Naturally, the LCD screen makes framing your shot much easier.

 

RAW Photo Format

That’s right! Serious photographers will be very pleased to record in GoPro’s proprietary RAW file format, .GPR, which saves more data and creates more leeway during post-processing. Note that the HERO5 does not record RAW when shooting in burst or timelapse modes. Adobe Lightroom is already reading the .GPR files at time of publishing.

 

WDR Photos

Turn this on to better record the highlights and dark shadows of your image through a wider dynamic range.

 

Voice Control

New to the HERO5, shooters can start and stop recording, turn the camera on/off and highlight tag a video frame though specific voice commands commands. Unfortunately, “That was sick” will sound like “blub blub blub” underwater.

GOPRO VOICE COMMANDS

GoPro Turn On  -  Powers on camera

GoPro Start Video  -  Begins video capture

GoPro HiLight  -  Adds a HiLight Tag to video clip

That was Sick  -  Adds a HiLight Tag to video clip

GoPro Stop Video  -  Stops video capture

GoPro Take a Photo  -  It dances! Just kidding, Captures a single photo

GoPro Shoot Burst  -  Starts photo burst

GoPro Start Timelapse  -  Begins timelapse capture

GoPro Stop Timelapse  -  Stops timelapse capture

GoPro Turn Off  -  Powers off camera

 

EIS Video Stabilization

Another great feature as we continue to see new stabilization features across many new cameras these days. Electronic Image Stabilization helps you record smooth footage, even underwater.

 

Auto Upload to Cloud

Configure this to automatically upload your underwater video and photos to your laptop, mobile device or the GoPro Plus cloud (with subscription). The idea here is quicker access to your content for quicker enjoyment and sharing.

 

 

 

Compatibility with Previous GoPro Models

Battery:  No. The GoPro HERO5 uses a new battery, so batteries for the HERO4 and previous GoPro models will not work.

Filters:  No.  The new GoPro Super Suit housing lens is slightly smaller than previous models, so your old filters will not work.

 

Recommended GoPro HERO5 Settings for Underwater

Beginners

The GoPro HERO5 factory settings are a great starting point for shooting underwater video and photos: resolution of 1080p, 60fps and a Wide field of view. The GoPro records great video out of the box that doesn't require post-processing. The default settings don't need to be adjusted until you really understand what you're adjusting and why, due to the learning curve of using and post-processing with manual settings.

Resolution and Framerate:  We recommend shooting at 1080p. This is full HD resolution and the maximum that your TV and computer monitor will display (unless you have a 4K TV, of course). 60fps is the standard for digital video and even allows you to add some slow motion (during post-processing) if desired.

Field of View:  A wide field of view is best for wide-angle shooting, but if you're trying to really fill the frame with a subject, try switching to Medium or Narrow. Superview is useful only if you will be very close to a large subject without critical details near the edges (think whale shark or sea lion). Also skip over Linear, which was designed with drone shooting in mind (we prefer the fisheye perspective in underwater video and photo).

EIS:  Turn that image stabilization on if you're not using a tripod!

Protune:  Unless you plan to dig into each clip during post-processing, your GoPro will deliver best results with Protune turned off.

Note:  While the GoPro HERO5 has a lot of great sharing features, if you're not recording at 1080p (or lower) then you may run into compatibility issues playing your video clips on various devices. If that happens, you would then need to run them through GoPro Studio to convert them to an appropriate format.

 

Advanced

Advanced underwater video shooters will want to be changing settings depending on the diving and subject, mixing clips in with other camera footage, incorporating slow motion and many other factors. Our recommendation is as good as yours at this point, but I've shared my settings from La Paz with a few thoughts on why I chose those settings.

Resolution:  I chose 2.7K in order to have extra pixels from which to zoom in on a subject while still maintaining full 1080p resolution.

Framerate:  I shoot mostly at 60fps. I'll then edit on a 60fps timeline and export at 30fps. Recording at 60fps also allows me the ability to slow down a scene 50% for slow motion before it gets jumpy, but for that I would need to edit on a 30fps timeline. (note: in GoPro Studio you can select Advanced Settings and choose clip framerate before adding to conversion list. In Adobe Premiere Pro you can adjust timeline settings as desired). Long story short, recording at 60fps provides me the most flexibility during post-processing, which is important since I'm not shooting with any specific project in mind.

EIS: Absolutely, why not?

Protune:  I shot with the Protune settings above, planning to post-process any clips before sharing them on social media.

 

Pros

You know who you are. Tap that Protune button and customize away!

 

Super Suit Housing & Maintenance

The GoPro HERO5 is waterproof down the 33ft (10m) without the housing, due to a more robust build than previous GoPro models. New waterproof features include a new removable lens cover and rubber seals to protect the battery / Micro SD card compartment and the HDMI / USB compartment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is great for snorkeling, but as scuba divers and freedivers, we will want to use the Super Suit housing, which is rated down to 197ft (60m).

To insert the HERO5 into the Super Suit dive housing, you need to first remove the waterproof lens cover by twisting to the left and popping off. Then just drop the camera in and lock the latch.

 

GoPro Super Suit

The new Super Suit has moved away from the latest iteration of the GoPro latch (which opens in one step) in favor of the 2-step latch found in the Hero 3 housings. This is more secure for use underwater.

Maintaining your GoPro super suit is easy. Rinse the unit in fresh water after salt water dives, pushing both buttons several times to flush the area behind the buttons with fresh water. Before closing your housing, inspect the o-ring on the housing back and the o-ring groove on the housing to ensure there is no sand, lint or hairs. Any of these things could cause the housing to flood, which is a bad thing below 33 feet.

That's about it for maintenance. I use a wrist sweat band (think 80s exercise party) over the housing to protect the lens from scratches when not in use. It also turns into a great sea lion toy...

 

Capture App & GoPro Studio

The GoPro Capture app allows you to update settings on your GoPro, view videos and photos, and control the camera remotely. While the HERO5 has a great touchscreen, the camera is best used through the Capture, since it provides easier navigation through settings and a much larger screen (your mobile phone or tablet) for viewing footage. If you're not using Capture, I highly recommend you download it for iOS or Android.

One great benefit to Capture is that you can view footage and change settings without removing the GoPro from the housing. That said, you may want to change batteries, inwhichcase you'll still need to pop open the housing.

Syncing your GoPro HERO5 to the Capture app is fairly simple. Power on the GoPro and then open the Capture app on your device. The app will prompt you to open your device WiFi settings and log on to your GoPro's WiFi network (bluetooth needs to be on as well). After that, you simply Start Preview for the GoPro you're using.

 

GoPro Studio is GoPro's free video editing software. It provides a powerful tool for editing clips (trimming, framing, color, white balance and more) and creating movies through standard timeline workflow. The software is intuitive and uses similar workflow patterns as professional level software like Adobe Premiere Pro, so the functions you learn will easily translate if you step up into the pro software world.

Read our full GoPro Studio 2 Review for Underwater Video.

 

GoPro HERO5 Underwater Review

Underwater Video

The HERO5 is a great tool for shooting underwater video. GoPro has addressed many of the issues that have made some serious video shooters hesitate to rely on the Hero as a primary camera. Two highlights are the built-in LCD in the Black edition and the deep customizations now possible in Protune mode. 

The HERO5 is also very small and easy to use underwater. I set my demo up on an Ultralight Control Systems tray with handles in order to provide stability while holding the camera and moving through the water. A selfie stick is nice for, well, selfies, but is going to be subject to vibrations when trying to film steady shots underwater.

Video captured on the GoPro is sharp and in focus. Since recording settings are chosen before the dive, all you need to worry about is starting and stopping the recording. The secret to capturing great GoPro footage underwater is knowing when to use the camera. The sensor is much smaller than that of a compact, mirrorless or DSLR, so naturally will have much less dynamic range. Look for the scenes without a huge amount of range and you'll really see the quality of the video.

Battery life feels improved on the HERO5 and would last me two dives in La Paz with regular photo and video use (screen powering off after 1 minute). If you shoot a lot, then one battery per dive is the way to go.

[Sample video coming soon]

 

GoPro Underwater Photography

La Paz was my first serious foray into still photography with the GoPro (aside from waves with there Hero 3+). In fact, it's the only camera I shot with during a week of diving in La Paz. GoPro's new .GPR (RAW) file format was the inspiration here. After all, $400 is a great price for a camera if it performs as well as systems ranging from $1000 - $10000.

In line with Heros past, the HERO5 has several different burst and timelapse settings. Burst is great for quick action, like holding the camera in the barrel of breaking waves (read our surf photography tutorials). Timelapse is great for moments when you want to capture the frame but can't keep reaching out to the camera to press the shutter: selfies, swimming with fast subjects, etc. It's also good for, well, timelapse video clips! Note that the HERO5 doesn't record RAW files when shooting Bursts or timelapses.

When shooting timelapse, the GoPro does miss a fair number of frames: maybe 5 in a row from every 30. Below is a screenshot from a 0.5s timelapse series that clearly shows the recording errors. (*NOTE: This issue appears to be fixed through the upgraded firmware!)

 

The GoPro HERO5 records RAW files in single photo camera mode. It actually records both a .jpg and .GPR file, and takes about 4 seconds to process and write to card, which is pretty slow. We hope GoPro improves on this in the next version while also fixing the writing issue in the image above. That said, the greater latitude during post-processing provided by the RAW files is worth the slow recording - just be patient.

Macro shooters are still subject to the 12 inch minimum focus distance of the HERO5 lens. We look forward to seeing macro lenses like the PolarPro Switchblade for the new super suit housing.

In my opinion, the GoPro is now a nice tool for underwater still photography. Like recording underwater video, your best results will come from shooting the HERO5 in ideal conditions. All the photos in this review are shot with the HERO5 in La Paz.

 

GoPro HERO5 Accessories

 

Micro SD Card

GoPro recommends using a Class 10 memory card. For underwater video, we recommend a card with 64GB memory so that you can record video all day without changing cards. The Max-Flash Hyperspeed Micro SD cards are fast enough to capture 4K at fast framerates and a great companion to your HERO5. They come with a SD Card mount so that you can insert the card into your computer or card reader.

Max-Flash Hyperspeed 64GB Micro SD Card

Max-Flash Hyperspeed 32GB Micro SD Card

 

 

Spare Battery

GoPro Hero4 Battery

The battery in your GoPro HERO5 will last one to two dives, depending how much you're shooting. Buying one or two extra batteries allows to you change it out during your surface intervals.

 GoPro HERO5 Spare Battery

 

 

Dual Battery Charger

GoPro Hero4 Dual Battery Charger

If you're shooting a lot on dive trips, don't hesitate on this. The alternative is to charge the batteries one at a time through the GoPro, which isn't always ideal or easy on tight schedules packed full of diving. 

GoPro HERO5 Dual Battery Charger

 

 

SeaLife Aquapod

SeaLife Aquapod

Capture your best selfie yet with the extendable Aquapod. Made by SeaLife, the Aquapod is designed for underwater use. Not only can you capture that selfie, but you can get the camera closer to your subject, whether it is something small or something skittish that you can't approach.

SeaLife Aquapod

 

 

GoPro Multigrip Handle

GoPro Multigrip Handle

Adding a handle like the Beneath the Surface Multigrip handle adds stability and is an easy way to hold your GoPro while diving, or any other activity. Often, if handholding your GoPro, you'll see your fingers wrap around into the picture. This problem is solved with the handle.

GoPro Multigrip Handle

 

 

GoPro Tray and Handles

GoPro Handles and Tray

Attaching your GoPro Hero4 to a tray and handles will make the camera easier to hold on to and much, much more stable underwater. In addition, the handles serve as a mounting point for video lights. Below are a few of our favorities:

Ultralight Tray & Handles for GoPro

R Innovations Tray & Handles for GoPro

Beneath the Surface Angled Double GoPro Tray

 

 

GoPro Underwater Filters

Polar Pro Switchblade Filter for GoPro

We hope to see filters coming soon from popular manufacturers. Stay tuned for updates or contact Bluewater Photo for pre-order.

Detailed Article:  'Guide to Filters for Underwater Video'

 

 

Video Lights

i-torch fishlite video light

Bring color back into the picture with use of video lights. Even a high-powered light will only illuminate a subject a few feet in front of you, so these are most useful for macro and close focus wide-angle video. Adding a video light to your GoPro setup will allow you to shoot professional-quality video on your next dive! Below are a few of our favorites: 

Kracken Sports Hydra 2800

Light & Motion Sola 500

FIX Neo 1200 DX

Be sure to visit Bluewater Photo to learn about more video lights, whether professional high-lumen or small and affordable.

 

 

 

Conclusion

The GoPro HERO5 is a nice upgrade from the HERO4. The HERO4 made big strides in terms of image quality and sharpness, and the HERO5 builds on this even further. Add in RAW files for single image recording, and the GoPro brings professional editing capability. The LCD screen helps framing for both underwater video and stills.

Battery life feels better with the HERO5 as well, but if you're shooting all dive long or running the display constantly, then you will still want a new battery for each dive.

In short, I highly recommend the GoPro HERO5 for both underwater video and photography. The price is right, and once you understand the shooting conditions where it excels, you'll be bringing home shots that rival $10,000 DSLR systems (at least for online / social media purposes).

Have fun out there!

 

Complete GoPro Tutorial Series

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads occasional trips for Bluewater Photo.  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com or email Bluewater Travel about Brent's custom photo workshops.

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.

 


David Fleetham shares first impressions of the Canon 5D Mark IV for macro and wide-angle with Ikelite's new Dry Lock Port System
By David Fleetham

Review: Canon 5D Mk IV with Ikelite Dry Lock Port System

David Fleetham
David Fleetham shares first impressions of the Canon 5D Mark IV for macro and wide-angle with Ikelite's new Dry Lock Port System

In case you are short on time I will start with the ending; Canon’s new professional digital SLR camera, the 5D Mark 4, is an impressive step up the ladder in this endearing line. The 30.4 megapixel CMOS sensor creates amazing files, and of particular interest to the underwater world is the improved gradation of blue water and drop in the noise found here. The 5D Mark 3 made a larger leap in this area, but I still note an improvement in this latest model.

I recently shot a longnose hawkfish on the shaded side of a wreck at 90 feet with Canon’s 100mm macro lens, without using a modeling light, and was amazed at the speed and accuracy of the autofocus. This species will often shy away from bright lights and can be difficult to keep in the viewfinder when using one. The new 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type sensors is the most noticeable improvement from the previous model and will be most welcome in many underwater situations.


I have been shooting in Ikelite’s latest housing (for the Canon 5D Mk 4), utilizing their new Dry Lock port system. The macro port for the 100mm lens ends with a 67mm thread to enable the use of a close-up lens to bring in a view greater than 1:1 (supermacro). I picked up an Inon UCL-330 close-up 67mm macro lens and have been impressed with the sharpness of the results.



The smaller opening in Ikelite’s macro port makes it unsuitable for a 50mm macro lens. As you move back from your subject, the corners of the frame begin to vignette in the smaller opening. As 50mm lenses go, I prefer Sigma’s 50mm macro lens to Canon’s for the full frame cameras because Sigma’s will focus down to 1:1 without adding an extension tube. I ended up shooting this behind Ikelite’s new compact dome with some fabulous results. Firstly, there is no vignetting and as an added bonus this combination creates the least chromatic aberration of any system I have ever shot, even right to the corners. I was able to focus down to 1:1, although the subject is then so close to the front of the port it may prove challenging to properly light.



I have Canon’s 16-35mm f4 “L” series IS USM zoom lens, which I shot behind Ikelite’s big 8” dome. No surprises here. Nice corners at f11 and a smooth zoom connection from housing to lens. The 5D  Mark 4’s autofocus again came through decisively nailing down the front of the subject in the frame. As with the 5D Mark 3, I prefer to turn the focus off at the shutter button and utilize the rear AF button, setting the camera to SERVO (continuous focusing). With this setting I turn on all 61 focusing points and let the camera do the job. If I need to fine tune the exact plane of focus I will release the AF button to lock focus where I want it to be. With the marked improvement in autofocus I intend to play with some of the other focus options for moving subjects.


The fourth lens I have shot is a 15mm full frame fisheye. This again is a Sigma lens, which is my choice for the fact that it can focus slightly closer than the Canon. Behind Ikelite’s big dome, with the shortest extension, this lens unfortunately vignettes at the corners. Ikelite is working on a solution for this, but at the moment Photoshop’s content aware fill is my fix. The corners are typically not my favorite part of a composition with a fisheye lens. The focus tends to fall away drastically here, especially at wider F stops. The few frames I have played with have been improved by filling them with content aware. Not an ideal situation, but not entirely impractical.

 

5D Mark IV for Video

One of the reasons I jumped on this camera is the upgrade to 4K video. Although I have only shot a couple of short tests, the quality here is going to set a new standard for SLR shooting. Most notable is the addition of dual-pixel autofocus, which allows the camera to continuously focus while shooting in Live View mode. This is a huge leap forward for the 5D series. One note on the 4K video shooting that could prove challenging is the fact that it utilizes a region of the sensor that is 4096 x 2160. This effectively crops your lens by a factor of 1.64 and will prove prohibitive for those out to capture extreme wide-angle vistas. On the plus side, this will take care of the vignetting on my full frame fisheye. The volume of information captured while shooting video will mean that you will need a fast CF card. It is unlikely current SD cards will keep up with this.

 

Additional Thoughts on the 5D Mk IV

There are a few new bells and whistles that are not necessarily big advances for underwater, but will be advantageous out of the housing. GPS has been added for those who like to have this information in the metadata of each frame. The 3.2 inch screen is now a touch screen. This means you can tap the screen to work your way through the many menus. I already have noticed an ease at getting to the format card menu and worry that one day I will erase images without wanting to. For reviewing photos on the camera you can now use some of the multi-touch gestures that we are used to on our phones and tablets like pinching and swiping. The camera also has WiFi built in and a Canon App that works with the camera. This will enable you to view/download the images on the camera without removing it from your housing.

In conclusion, you can just go back and read the first sentence again.

 

 


Check out the Ikelite Canon 5D Mk IV housing with Dry Lock port on Bluewater Photo


 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Fleetham is one of the most published underwater photographers in the world.  He began diving and photographing underwater in 1976 and has been in Hawaii since 1986.  David's photographs have been published around the globe, with over two hundred magazine covers to date. In 1991 his photograph of a sandbar shark appeared on the cover of LIFE. It is the only underwater image to ever be published on the cover. His award winning work has been published by National Geographic (he has done several assignments for The NGS), The Cousteau Society, and every North American diving publication.

Website:  DavidFleetham.com

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 powerful mirrorless camera
By Brent Durand

Sony a6300 Mirrorless Camera Review

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

The a6300 is Sony's flagship APS-C (crop sensor) mirrorless camera. (update: the Sony a6500 was announced early October '16).  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 meets and beats that impressive performance.

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.

I took the Sony a6300 to back-to-back photo workshops in Indonesia, putting the camera and available lenses through about 50 dives for this review.

U.S. Retail Price:  $999 (body only)

 


Purchase the Sony a6300 from Bluewater Photo and view all the best housing options


 

Jump to section:

Key Features     |     Video Review     |     a6300 for Underwater Photography

Best Lenses     |     Underwater Housings     |     Related Articles     |   Conclusion     |     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

 

Video by Bluewater Photo owner, Scott Gietler.

 

 

Sony a6300 for Underwater Photography

I had a chance to shoot the Sony a6300 with both a wide-angle and a macro setup during recent Bluewater workshops in Indonesia, learning how the camera performs in a variety of shooting situations.

The Sony a6300 is a solid option for those who want professional image quality without the additional costs and size of a DSLR camera. 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 Sony a7R II.

The a6300 mirrorless camera has many sellings points, but primarily: excellent image quality, fast 4D autofocus with 425 AF points and 4K video. All that for a body priced under $1,000 USD - wow! The 4D focus also incorporates phase detection technology, which is finally filtering down from being only available in DSLR viewfinders.

Battery life proved much better than expected. I was comfortable doing three wide-angle dives with occasional shooting on one battery, or two macro dives with regular shooting.

 

 

Sony a6300 for Wide-Angle

Sony has a reputation for the dynamic range of their sensors, and the a6300 can produce some nice tones between the dark and light points.

My wide-angle dives in Bali were using the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens on the a6300 with a Metabones adapter. The adapter leads the camera to hunt forever before locking focus... if it can lock focus. I found that the scene would either need be very light with strong areas of contrast or above about 20ft to focus. Otherwise you're lost hunting forever. The solution for bringing home the photos you see here was to switch to back-button-focus, pre-focus at the approximate focal range somewhere the AF could lock, move the camera in and out manually until the image looked sharp in the viewfinder, then push the shutter. That said, I was able to use regular AF (with tracking!) on a couple manta shots at around 15-20ft depth.

Recommendation:  Use native Sony wide-angle lenses!!!  (see lens recomendations below)

The LCD screen also takes some getting used to if you have a DSLR background - it just looks a bit fake. I enabled the highlight alerts during image playback (which blink to show areas of overexposure). On Canon, these areas match up with the .CR2 file as read by Lightroom, but on the Sony a6300 .ARW files, the highlight alert would be on for areas that were not overexposed when opened in Lightroom. This is nice as a buffer against overexposure, but I often like to push the high-end of the range in wide-angle images as far as possible and prefer the real information.

As expected, image quality is excellent.

 

 

Sony a6300 for Macro

I shot the a6300 with the Sony 90mm macro lens in the Lembeh Strait. This is a very sharp lens that delivers great color, contrast and detail, although it's very big and heavy. Sony recently announced a 50mm macro lens, so this may also become a nice option for macro shooting.

The autofocus is very fast or is infinitely slow when shooting macro. I generally try not to use a focus light, but found myself always using the I-Torch v10 in order to give the a6300's AF all the help I could. Sometimes it was impressively fast on stationary subjects, but it simply did not perform for moving subjects. I tried on several different occasions to shoot shots I could have nailed with the Canon 100mm (i.e. clownfish with tongue parasite), but the a6300 AF tracking just couldn't lock on the fast-moving fish through the 90mm macro lens. Flasher wrasse... forget it. The autofocus also had some challenges singling out tiny subjects against a distracting background - like a shrimp on a whip coral. The camera constantly wanted to focus on the background, so I would need to pre-focus the camera on the sand at approximate distance then recompose and focus on the shrimp. This shooting challenge is more common in compact cameras (using contrast detection AF), but not something that happens often with more advanced DSLR phase detection AF systems.

Like for wide-angle, the Sony a6300 LCD screen takes some getting used to when shooting macro. When shooting manual settings and manual strobes, the LCD screen displays the ambient light. The result is a very noisy image that lags, so if you move the camera sideways to recompose, it takes a split-second for the displayed image to shift. During the times I tried to shoot moving subjects I would compose and shoot, then see a totally different image appear in playback on the screen.

If the a6300 is your first camera or an upgrade from a compact system, it will be impressive and I highly recommend it. You likely won't notice the gripes with the 90mm macro lens I mentioned above. After all, the a6300 is one of the fastest-focusing cameras in the world topside. If you area DSLR shooter looking for a smaller system, know that you will be making some performance sacrifices.

 

 

Sony a6300 for Underwater Video

The Sony a6300 is a great underwater video camera, performing across a few different macro clips with the 90mm macro lens. The Center Lock-on autofocus worked very well with moving subjects, including tracking a wonderpus as it moved quickly towards me.

Serious video shooters will appreciate the S-Log2 gamma, no pixel-binning, 4K resolution and Sony's XAVC compression for more room with creative post-production. I didn't have a memory card fast-enough to record sample 4K clips, but we'll be testing that soon.

 

Best Lenses

Macro:

  • Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro - this native lens offers 1:1 magnification and has been the go-to for macro

  • Sony 50mm F2.8 Macro Lens - a great choice for all Sony APS-C sensors

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

Fisheye:

  • Sony E 16mm F2.8 with Sony Fisheye Conversion Lens - this is a nice, wide fisheye setup for APS-C sensors like the a6300. The fisheye converter also works with the Sony E 20mm F2.8 lens.

  • 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. Note that using just the 28mm on the a6300 will be a tight focal length for wide and not enough for macro, so we recommend always using the Fisheye Converter.

  • 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  

Details coming soon.

 

 

Related Reviews and Articles

 

Conclusion

If the a6300 is your first camera or an upgrade from a compact system, it will be impressive and I highly recommend it. You likely won't notice the focus gripes I mentioned above. After all, the a6300 is one of the fastest-focusing cameras in the world topside. If you area DSLR shooter looking for a smaller system, know that you will be making some performance sacrifices. I would recommend sticking with Sony lenses unless you're heavily invested in DSLR glass. The image and video quality is excellent, however, and you'll be hardpressed to single out photos from the a6300 compared to much more expensive systems.

With ample housing choices across many different brands, the Sony a6300 will suit the beginner to advanced underwater photographer and all underwater video shooters.  The low price point makes it that much easier to pull the trigger on this great system. 

 

Sony a6300 Underwater Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Purchase the Sony a6300 from Bluewater Photo and view all the best housing options


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads occasional trips for Bluewater Photo.  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com or email Bluewater Travel about Brent's custom photo workshops.

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.

 


Sony unveils the RX100 V with fastest compact camera autofocus, a new processor, new sensors and other big updates
By Brent Durand

First Look at the Sony RX100 V

Brent Durand
Sony unveils the RX100 V with fastest compact camera autofocus, a new processor, new sensors and other big updates

Sony has just announced the latest in a long line of exceptional compact cameras, the Sony RX100 V. The RX100 camera series has proven extremely popular for underwater photography and is one of our go-to recommendations for divers researching compact camera systems. The RX100 V takes it to the next level.

The Sony RX100 V will begin shipping this month (next month in Europe). The body is nearly the same size as the RX100 IV, so it should fit in many RX100 IV underwater housings.

The RX100 V boasts some major upgrades as well. These are all focused around speed, speed, speed, as we'll discuss below.

Availability:  October 2016 (November for Europe)

U.S. Retail Price:  $1,000

 

Sony RX100 V Key Upgrades

  • New 20.1-megapixel 1-inch Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor
  • New BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSi (faster camera operation and image processing speed)
  • 315-point phase detection autofocus system
  • 24 fps RAW burst with AF tracking for up to 150 photos. Wow!
  • New AF-A mode allows camera to switch between single and continuous AF (usually found on DSLR AF systems)

 

Sony RX100 V Complete Specs

  • 20.1-megapixel 1-inch Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor
  • 315-point phase detection autofocus system: focuses in 0.05-sec
  • AF-A autofocus mode in addition to AF-S and AF-C
  • New BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSi (faster camera operation and image processing speed)
  • ISO range 125 - 12800
  • 24 fps RAW burst with AF tracking for up to 150 photos. Wow!
  • Anti Distortion Shutter minimizes rolling shutter effect when recording video
  • ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar® T* 24-70mm, f/1.8 - 2.8 Lens with 10 elements in 9 groups and a 0.17 ft (5 cm) minimum focusing distance
  • Adjustable LCD screen - 2.95 inches (3.0type) (4:3) / 1,228,800 dots
  • 100% coverage viewfinder
  • WiFI and NFC connectivity
  • Dimensions: 4 x 2 3/8 × 1 5/8 inch (101.6 x 58.1 x 41.0 mm)
  • Weight: Approx. 10.5 oz (299 g) (Battery and Memory Stick Duo are included) / Approx. 9.6 oz (272 g) (Body Only)

 

Thoughts for Underwater Photo and Video

The Sony RX100 V is going to be a great choice for shooting underwater photo and video. Combine the great performance, functionality and image quality of the RX100 series with the new features in the RX100 V and we have a winner. The Canon G7 X II is the closest rival in the compact camera world.

The steep price tag matches the performance, and those who want a compact system without sacrificing image quality will be very happy with the Sony RX100 V. Video shooters will also enjoy the RX100 V with 4K recording, super slow motion (at 720p), S-Log2 gamma, and the ability to extract 8MB still images from 4K video.

Fast autofocus is very important for underwater shooting, and we're excited to test the autofocus speed on the RX100 V, which claims to be the world's fastest (among fixed lens cameras). The new processor speeds up camera operation and the revamped front-end LSi speeds up image processing. And while not essential for underwater photography, we can't wait to test the 24 fps burst. Fun fact: cinema film is shot at 24fps, so you'll be able to play back these burst photos as smoothly as film... until you reach the 150 shot limit.

All in all, Sony did a great job taking this camera series to the next level.

Underwater Housings

The RX100 V fits in select RX100 IV housings, so be sure to consult Bluewater Photo with any questions if you're thinking about an upgrade. They've conducted a basic compatibility test in the shop, finding the results below. Note that this is preliminary and that the camera / housing combos haven't been put through real world testing yet.

Fantasea Housing:  All functions seem to work well.

Nauticam Housing:  RX100 V does NOT work in RX100 IV housing.

Ikelite Housing:  Some controls work intermittently, but none work reliably. Need more testing when we receive another RX100 IV housing.

Recsea Aluminum Housing:  All functions seem to work well.

Recsea Polycarbonate Housing:  All functions seem to work well.

 

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.

 


Sony reveals the new a6500 mirrorless camera, with more robust video shooting, image processing, and in-body 5-axis image stabilization
By Brent Durand

First Look at the Sony a6500

Brent Durand
Sony reveals the new a6500 mirrorless camera, with more robust video shooting, image processing, and in-body 5-axis image stabilization

Sony has just announced the a6500 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. This announcement comes fairly soon after the recently released Sony a6300, which we just put through 3 weeks of testing underwater (review coming shortly).

The a6500 will feature several important updates from the a6300, discussed below. The camera will be available for pre-order starting next week (per B+H) and will be shipping starting in November.

The Sony a6500 specs indicate that the body will be more thin than the a6300, so as of now we do not think it will fit in a6300 housings.  We expect to see the first a6500 housings shipping in early 2017.

Availability: November 2016

U.S. Retail Price:  $1,499

 

Sony a6500 Key Upgrades

  • 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • Touch Screen Focusing
  • Newly Developped Front-End LSi (image processing algorithm)
  • Higher quality 4K video recording (Super 35 feature now uses 6K of data before recording at 4K)

Sony a6500 Complete Specs

  • 24.2-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor 

  • 425-point phase detection autofocus points

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

  • BIONZ X™ image-processing engine delivers blazing speed and performance, combined with new front-end LSi

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

  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization

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

  • Touch screen focusing

  • Electronic XGA OLED Tru-Finder™

  • 4K video recording with no pixel binning (sampling from full sensor for increased detail)

  • 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.

Thoughts for Underwater Photo and Video

The Sony a6500 will likely prove popular with underwater photographers. One of the best aspects of the a6300 is the great image quality and camera features in a body that costs less than $1,000. The a6500 will retail about $400 more, but the increased still image and video quality will likely prove worth the additional cost. The touch screen focus and 5-axis image stabilization will prove really useful for those who shoot topside as well. Fun features from the a6300, like Slow & Quick (slow motion and fast motion), remain in the a6500.

The a6500 will be a great camera for those who are upgrading from a compact or buying their first underwater system. The a6300 doesn't perform in the same league as a DSLR, so the only reason to switch from DSLR to the a6500 would be if the slightly smaller size is critical.

I'm excited to see the image quality coming from the a6500, as the a6300 can produce some very crisp shots with vibrant color. The 1.5 crop factor helps fill the frame with small macro subjects (when compared to full frame) providing more detail, while the Super 35 video recoding mode combined with S-Log2 and S-Log3 gamma settings will deliver the video quality, and post-processing latitude, that pros are looking for.

All in all, this will be an excellent camera for both underwater photography and video.

 

Sony a6500 Underwater Housings

We expect to see the first housings announced when the camera starts shipping in November. Ikelite and Nauticam housings will likely be the first to ship in early 2017, followed by Aquatica, Sea&Sea and Acquapazza. Because the a6500 body looks to be more thin than the a6300, we don't think it will fit in the older housings. The team at Bluewater Photo is always available to answer questions on Sony a6500 housings.

We'll update this section as we learn more!

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.

 


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 PT-EP14 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.

 

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.

 


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

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.

 


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

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.

 


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 Canon 5D Mark IV is one of the hottest DSLRs for serious underwater photographers and videographers. Many pros had their hands on the camera as soon as it was made available, and now that housings from the major manufacturers are available, the camera is being taken on dives around the world.

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 Canon 5D Mk IV has a big legacy to step into. So does it live up to the hype? Find out in our detailed camera review below, as well as auxillary reviews by pro underwater photographers.

Status:  Shipping now

MSRP:  $3,499 USD (body only)

 

Jump to section:

5D Mk IV Specs   |   Highlights for Underwater Use   |   Body and Controls   |   Full Frame or Crop Sensor?

Underwater Image Quality Tests   |   Dual-Pixel RAW Tests   |   DSLR Spec Comparison

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

Pro Photographer Field Reviews

 

 

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

 

Highlights for Underwater Use

  • Fast and accurate Live View autofocus (great for video)
  • Exceptional full frame image quality
  • High ISO performance allows more creative settings options for wide-angle video
  • Wide range of Pro (L) EF lenses for all shooting situations, underwater and topside

 

5D Mk IV Body and Controls

The control layout of the 5D Mark IV is very similar to the 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 not too much use for underwater shooters (note that all these controls/menus can be accessed through regular control buttons and dials).

 

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.

 

Underwater Image Quality Tests

Wow, wow, wow. I've been shooting mostly compacts over the last year, and after a few frames underwater with the Canon 5D Mark IV I could already see what I've been missing in terms of image quality. Opening the raw files in Lightroom is just as much a treat. Below are my thoughts on image quality after 5 quick dives with the camera.

Before diving into image quality, it's important to note that you can have the best image quality in the world, but if you put a cheap lens in front of it you won't see the true quality. It will be a waste. So invest in nice lenses if you're splurging on a camera body like the 5D Mark IV. Dome ports follow the same principal, so make sure to use the right dome port with the right extensions for your lens in that particular shooting situation.

 

Dynamic Range

DxOMark gives the Canon 5D Mark IV the highest dynamic range rank of any Canon sensor (13.6 Evs). This ranks below the Sony a7R II (13.9 Evs) and Nikon D810 (14.8 Evs), but keep in mind that this is a very technical sensor test. When evaluating overal image quality, we need to look at what the camera's proprietary RAW file format does with that data.

In the sample image below you can see the full range of the Canon 5D Mark IV, which holds detail in the brightest overexposed water (upper left corner) all the way down to the dark underexposed shadows in the lower left corner. In the subsequent image I've recovered the highlights and the shadows 100%, which brings back a significant amount of detail and even nice color from the shadows.

 

Color Tonality

Canon has a reputation for beautiful color and the 5D Mark 4 appears to really deliver. Just look at the smooth gradation in light intensity, and minimal banding, as the blue transitions from just below the white point down to the black point in the image below.

 

100% Crop

I've included a 100% crop of a gorgonian shot with the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye and a 4" glass minidome. The detail looks ok for a 6720 x 4480 pixel image, especially since we have to zoom in further to see the same number of pixels, losing detail as a result (*if you're used to smaller resolution Canon DSLRs. The 5DS R is an obvious exception). My gut reaction (clearly not very scientific) is that the Tokina just doesn't deliver the image quality we want to see from the 5D Mark IV, so if you're considering the Canon 8-15mm or the Sigma 15mm, I would encourage you to go with one of those lenses instead.

Pixel peeping like this is a dangerous game though. I didn't perform any microfocus adjustments on the Tokina prior to diving. I was also using a 4" dome, which presents more distortion than a larger dome.

I'll present side-by-side 100% crop comparisions with other DSLRs at the first opportunity, but suffice it to say that the 5D Mark IV has the potential to deliver nice crispy images when shot properly with the right lenses.

 

 

High ISO Shooting

(coming soon)

 

 

5D Mk IV Dual-Pixel RAW

Dual-Pixel RAW. There's a lot of talk about this. In short, dual-pixel RAW allows you to make microfocus adjustments, small bokeh shifts and correct ghosting/flare during post production. Currently this can only be performed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional and a 3rd party software called RawDigger. Adobe is reportedly working on adding support within their products in the near future. Additionally, Imaging-Resource.com reports that dual-pixel raw can recover up to a stop of data in the image highlights. Wow!

How does it work? The Canon 5D Mark IV sensor contains two photodiodes within each pixel, and each records an image. Your memory card will record twice as much information, but you will only see one raw file on the memory card.

How do you use Dual-Pixel RAW?

  1. First, enable dual-pixel raw recording in the camera menu.
  2. Next, shoot away!
  3. Make sure to download Canon's DDP software and use it to select and open your raw image. Notice that each .CR2 (raw) file says DPR on it.
  4. At the top menu, open Tools, then select 'Start Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer'.
  5. Make your adjustments here.

Is Dual-Pixel RAW worth it?

On certain images, absolutely. Even with microfocus adjustments on each of your Canon 5D Mk IV lenses, the AF is not always going to lock on perfectly. This is when post-processing microfocus adjustment is benefitical, as you can see in the sample image below. 

 

Spec Comparison with other DSLRs

The Canon 5D Mark IV holds its own in a crowded prosumer space. Above are some popular cameras for underwater photo and video, however be sure not to discount the strong video capabilities of the Panasonic GH5 and the impressive specs of the soon-to-come Olympus E-M1 Mark II. Below are links to our reviews of all these cameras.

 

5D Mark IV for Underwater Photography

Overview:

 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.

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.

The Canon 5D Mark IV is a great camera for shooting wide-angle with strobes or video lights, but also ambient light with high ISOs (think orcas or whales in dark water). The autofocus will performs well in either situation. Macro shooters will drool over the crisp color and incredible sharpness of the 5D IV paired with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L lens.

The Canon 5D Mark IV Underwater:

 During my 5 dives with the camera I was in heaven. It's been over a year since shooting a full frame DSLR underwater, and the image quality was stunning - even on the little LCD screen. Being able to reference the histogram puts the creative ability far above the GoPro HERO5 - the camera I shot during our recent La Paz small group photo trip.

Autofocus was quickly achieved - even in dark water (cloud cover) using the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye and back-button focus. AF will likely be even faster with Canon lenses for macro and wide-angle shooting. Changing the AF point is the same as the 5D Mark III and 7D Mark II (and 5DS R I believe), so it will come natural to those who are upgrading. Ergonomics will depend on the housing.

Most other functions are the same as the DSLRs mentioned above, making it easy to review images, navigate the menu to adjust settings like video resolution, custom controls, manual white balance, etc. while underwater).

Stay tuned as we begin reviewing 5D Mark IV underwater housings in-depth.

 

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.

Update:  We will be publishing a detailed video review by mid-December.

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 in 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). The Sigma will likely deliver better image quality, however the Tokina is very convenient if you already have it in the camera bag.

 

Rectilinear Wide-Angle

 

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

This lens was announced alongside the 5D Mark IV.  It's safe to say that this is the best choice for those who are buying their first wide-angle lens for the 5D IV and don't have a strict budget. Most underwater shooters use rectilinear wide-angle lenses 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 16-35mm f/2.8L II Wide-Angle Lens

The most popular rectilinear wide-angle lens for Canon full frame DSLRs has been the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 Mark II. This lens sat at the top of the selection for the last few years in terms of corner sharpness, speed, and price... although that will change as more new shooters purchase the version III.

 

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 - which is significant for topside filter use.

 

Canon 5D Mark IV Housings

The Canon 5D Mk IV has a slightly smaller body than the 5D MkIII. The IV fits in most III housings natually or with a modification kit. There are also new underwater housings specifically designed for the 5D Mark IV. To add even more interest, some of these new housings also work with the Canon 5DS R. Each housing is different, so we've included links to Bluewater Photo in order to get all the details.

 

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

 

Sea&Sea Canon 5D Mark IV Housing

 


Pro Photographer Field Reviews

Review & photos by David Fleetham:  Review: Canon 5D Mk IV with Ikelite Dry Lock Port System.

Review & photos by Andy Sallmon:  Review: Canon 5D Mk IV in Aquatica A5DMKIV Housing.

 

Conclusion

The Canon 5D Mark IV is a fantastic choice for Canon DSLR shooters who want a full frame instead of crop sensor (if you want a crop sensor, the Canon 7D Mark II is your best choice). A wide selection of lenses, excellent dynamic range and high ISO performance, extremely fast autofocus, 4K video and versatility will sets the bar for full frame prosumer DSLRs.

Yes, the Nikon D810 and Sony a7R II may have better technical sensor specs, but I highly advise you to look at images and video shot with all cameras instead of just this raw data. After all, we want to share the final product - not sensor data reports!

The wide range of housings fits all levels of (DSLR) budgets, and flexibility to use other backup bodies like the 5D Mk3 and 5DS R in many housings further increase the versatility of your travel kit.

Long story short, if I shot u/w photo and video seriously I'd be saving up for the 5D Mark IV as fast as possible. You should too!

 

Underwater Photo Gallery

(more images coming soon)

Have images shot with the Canon 5D Mark IV?  We'd love to see them and maybe even share them right here. Just email Brent.

 

 

Further Reading

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads occasional trips for Bluewater Photo.  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com or email Bluewater Travel about Brent's custom photo workshops.

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.

 


Syndicate content