Review of cameras

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Announced

UWPG News
Olympus brings advanced 5-axis stabilization to their entry level mirrorless E-M10 camera

 

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Announced


Olympus brings advanced 5-axis stabilization to their entry level mirrorless E-M10 camera

By UWPG News, August 25, 2015

 

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

Olympus has just announced the brand new OM-D E-M10 Mark II mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The previous E-M10 is Olympus' entry-level interchangeable lens camera, and the E-M10 Mark II brings some new features from more sophisticated models down into this more budget-friendly camera.

Olympus mirrorless cameras have become extremely popular with underwater photo and video shooters by delivering high-quality images in a compact size, and the OM-D E-M10 Mark II is sure to create further appeal. Several housing brands are available to suit different budgets, while a range of kit and pro lenses ensure the right compositions, whether topside, in the pool or in the ocean.

 

New for the O-MD E-M10 Mark II

The most important update for the E-M10 Mark II is the upgrade to the Olympus 5-axis image stabilization system (previously only available in high-end OM-D cameras). This in-camera stabilization technology allows for less camera shake at slow shutter speeds as well as smoother video.

The OM-D E-M10 Mark II kit also comes with a new kit lens - the Olympus 14-42mm EZ lens.

 

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Specs

  • 16.1 Megapixel sensor
  • RAW file recording
  • Full HD video recording
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  • New Large OLED electronic viewfinder
  • LCD screen touch autofocus
  • 8.5 fps burst mode
  • Compatibility with M. Zuiko Pro lenses

 

E-M10 Mark II Underwater Housings

We expect to see several underwater housings for the OM-D E-M10 Mark II, including housings from Olympus, Ikelite and Nauticam.

We'll be updating this announcement page as housing details are announced.

 


Purchase the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II from Bluewater Photo

Available now!


 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

The NEW Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is a surprisingly sophisticated camera that’s a joy to use. Whether you’re a novice just snapping shots of your everyday life or a photo enthusiast looking to maximize your creativity, the E-M10 Mark II delivers perfection with every shot.

 

MOST SOPHISTICATED FORM OF IMAGE STABILIZATION ON THE MARKET 

The OM-D E-M10 Mark II is the first entry-level interchangeable lens camera with the 5-Axis Image Stabilization made popular in Olympus' critically acclaimed high-end OM-D models.

 

 

FAST SHOOTING FUNCTIONS FOR CAPTURING SHARP IMAGES 

The OM-D E-M10 Mark II’s high-speed sequential burst shooting function has a maximum speed of 8.5 shots per second, allowing even a fast moving subject to be rendered in a series of sharply detailed images. The E-M10 Mark II is also equipped with Touch AF, with which you are able to focus and release the shutter simply by tapping the area of the screen you want to zero in on, with virtually no time lag.

 

BEST-IN-CLASS, BUILT-IN WI-FI 

The OM-D E-M10 Mark II offers best-in-class Wi-Fi connectivity and the free Olympus Image Share app to help you send your best shots directly into cyberspace, all of which you can control remotely from you phone.

 

CREATIVE FEATURES FOR HIGHLY-SHAREABLE CONTENT 

The E-M10 Mark II is equipped with 14 Art Filters, Photo Story and Live View allowing you full creative control over your shooting experience.

 

 

UNCOMPROMISING DESIGN & EXPANSIVE LENS LINEUP 

The E-M10 Mark II sports a sophisticated metal body with a prominent thumb pad for firm grip and comfortable handheld shooting. The E-M10 Mark II is the perfect match for the 20 and growing M.Zuiko digital lenses allowing you to find the best lens for every shooting style and budget.

 

 

###

 

 

Further Reading

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Camera Review

Kelli
Detailed impressions using the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera underwater

 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Camera Review

by Kelli Dickinson

 

The newest release for Olympus' popular OM-D line of mirrorless cameras is the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Instead of continuing the tradition of adding a new model number to the line up, Olympus has returned to the original, ground breaking OM-D E-M5 and updated it, creating the Mark II version. While this may seem confusing it is a very common practice, and helps to keep the different classes of OM-D camera organized.

The biggest change in the new E-M5 Mark II is the improved image stabilization and increased movie recording frame rates. This puts the camera in better competition with the Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras. Sony has always included a choice of frame rate with thier cameras and finally Olympus has stepped up to the plate. In addition the shutter has been improved to work more quietly and it also features a full silent operation mode like the high quality Panasonic GH4, an excellent choice for video, to eliminate excess noise from the camera.

 

E-M5 Mark II Quick Specs:

  • 16 Megapixels
  • Micro 4/3 Lens Mount
  • Flash Sync Speed: 1/250th
  • Max ISO: 25,600
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/8000
  • 81 Auto Focus Points
  • New FL-LM3 Flash included, ability to control flash intensity down to 1/64th power
  • Video recording at 1080 / 60p, 30p, 24p and up to 77Mbps bitrate
  • Improved 5-Axis, Sensor Shift Image Stabilization
  • Dust, Splash & Freezeproof Construction

 

E-M5 Mark II vs. E-M1:

The E-M5 Mark II has a variety of upgrades from the original OM-D E-M5, and even puts some competition on the OM-D E-M1 (the top of the line for the OM-D cameras). In general the body styling, deeper buffer and higher flash sync of 1/320th are the biggest benefits to choosing the E-M1.

The E-M5 Mark II has the same increased level of customization, including the very useful 1/2 switch. While you lose a couple of physical buttons from the E-M1 (ie: the dedicated viewfinder button and a dedicated AEL/AFL button) I found that all the needed controls can be programmed to one of the four Fn buttons, the record button and even the Preview button the front of the camera body.

A return to the original slim body styling keep the E-M5 Mark II body smaller, although the new FL-LM3 accessory flash is much larger, making the overall camera size taller. The control dials have been redesigned making them a very easy to turn. In addition the E-M5 Mark II adopted the larger electronic viewfinder from the E-M1.

I found when using the cameras on a recent trip to the Sea of Cortez that the E-M5 Mark II focused extremely quickly, possibly even a little better than the E-M1 with the Olympus 60mm Macro lens, a lens that is often slow to lock on focus, or prone to hunting. I had little to no focus hunting with the E-M5 Mark II, a huge improvment from the original E-M5.

In general - for underwater shooting choose the E-M1 for the higher flash sync speed, better for getting those great sunbursts, or if you like to shoot rapid fire since the E-M1 has a deeper buffer. Go with the E-M5 Mark II for improved video performance and improved image stabilization.

 

 

Recommended Lenses for E-M5 Mark II:

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II features a standard Micro 4/3 lens mount, allowing it to use lenses from all popular brands in this category. In addition to the popular Olympus and Panasonic lenses, Olympus has recently released several new lenses, which give underwater photo and video shooters more professional options for capturing wide-angle and macro shots. Below are our recommendations.

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!

 

Macro Lens

The best option for shooting macro with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 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.

 

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.

 

 

First Impressions Overall Use:

I was impressed with the general functionality of the E-M5 Mark II. The camera performed excellent underwater. It was extremely easy to set up the camera for underwater as with previous Olympus OM-D models. The variety of customizable functions is nearly limitless.

81 auto focus points allowed me to easily dial in my focus based on the composition, and even underwater without a focus light when shooting with a 60mm Macro lens focus was quick and accurate.

The LCD on the back is bright and displays movement extremely smoothly, an improvement over the LCD on previous OM-D cameras which still showed a bit of jitter when panning. In addition just like the E-M1 the improved electronic viewfinder gives 100% view and includes dioptric adjustment so you can perfect it for your eye.

Video quality is excellent, with the image stabilization working really well, even underwater. I was able to handhold the camera while shooting a nudibranch with very limited camera shake that you often encounter when trying to shoot video on a macro lens without a tripod. The one downside I have not been able to sort out is not being able to refocus in the middle of a video shot. With the E-M1 using S-AF focus, I can press the shutter half way to refocus while the camera is recording. This was not possible with the E-M5 Mark II (at least that I have been able to discover so far). You can utilize the C-AF (Continuous Auto Focus) which will refocus automatically during video recording, but I found it too slow, and sometimes it would refocus when it should not have which would mess up a shot.

Shot with the E-M5 Mark II and Nauticam Housing, lit with a single Sola 800 Photo

The one issue I had when shooting underwater was with the new accessory flash. I found on occaison it would disconnect, possibly it was slightly jarred from bouncing on the little panga, and I would be unable to use my flash, despite positive test shots prior to getting on the boat. I have never had this happen with previous OM-D cameras, and was unable to get it to work without opening the housing and jiggling the flash attachment. Out of 19 dives on the trip it failed on 2 of them.

 

Underwater Housings

So far both Olympus and Nauticam have produced underwater housings for the E-M5 Mark II, here are our thoughts on the use and design of these housings.

 

Olympus

Brent Durand recently had the opportunity to use the Olympus PT-EP13 housing for the OM-D E-M5 Mark II on a trip to Key Largo. Here are his thoughts on the overall use of the Olympus housing:
 
The Olympus E-M5 Mark II housing (PT-EP13) is a pleasure to use underwater. It is very lightweight and all the buttons are wide and clearly labeled. Button and knob locations are well-placed for intuitive use of the camera in the housing by those who are familiar with controls on the camera body itself. A coldshoe mount on top of the housing lets you attach a focus light or other accessory, while mounts on bottom let you set up the housing with an Olympus or third party tray/handles (for strobe or video light attachment). The port mount supports a wide range of ports from Olympus and Zen, allowing you to use all the best lenses for underwater photo and video.
 
Overall, the PT-EP13 has really nice value for the money spent.
 
The biggest change for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II housing is that they reverted the housing style back to the PEN housings. The orginal E-M5 housing (PT-EP08) offered a new port release system which is much nicer than the PEN housings. It allowed for much easier port changes and expanded the line of ports and compatible lenses available for the E-M5 camera. We are not sure why Olympus reverted to the PEN style for the E-M5 Mark II camera, but it's definitely a disapointment for Olympus housing users, especially anyone wanting to upgrade from the E-M5 to the E-M5 Mark II.
 
Other than that the housing is very similar to all other Olympus housings. Contructed of polycarbonate plastic, it is rated to 60m / 130ft. It offers full camera control, however buttons are not shifted as in other housings, so single handed operation is difficult.
 
In summary this is an excellent option for photographers with a budget, you still get the same incredible quality from the E-M5 Mark II camera without as big an expense as the aluminum housings.
 

Nauticam

The Nauticam housing is machined from aluminum and depth rated to 100m / 330ft. The design is very similar to the original E-M5 design, and ships without built in handles like the E-M1. 

Since the E-M5 Mark II does not have a dedicated AEL/AFL button like the E-M1 does, Nauticam did not move or redesign the housing to create a new lever for those of us who prefer to split out our Auto Focus Lock. However, just like with the original E-M5, they official movie record button has been turned into a lever, located perfectly at the back of the housing. It is very easy to reassign the movie record button to AEL/AFL and use that lever as your focus lock. I found, especially when holding onto the housing directly that this was very comfortable and a great way to shoot, especially for macro.

Shutter speed and Aperture control dials are easy to manipulate, and when well balanced for bouyancy, single handed operation is not difficult. The zoom control is the new style, larger and fully rubberized making it easy to control as well. As always the housing layout is ergonmically designed with tiered buttons placed within reach (when holding directly to the housing).

Nauticam now includes the nice silver handle brackets that incorporate with their Flexitray system and also allows for easy lanyard attachment. These brackets add stability to the handles when using strobes or larger video lights. I did appreciate the added stability, however the initial set up and subsequent tray adjustments can be time consuming. The Nauticam Flexitry utilizes multiple small screws for all its adjustable parts, so plan to set this up on a well lit, clear table.

I found when using the housing, that is was more comfortable to hold directly to the housing, versus holding onto the right handle. This is also nice for those looking to keep the housing small and streamlined, as you can attach the Nauticam handstrap to the right side to add comfort when holding the housing in this manner and not using a right handle.

On the left, holding directly onto the camera body put my fingertips right at the controls and made changing settings much easier than shooting while holding onto the handle as shown on the right.

Port changes are easy with the improved DSLR style port release lever, and with Nauticam's straightforward push on system there is very little risk of pinching or twisting an oring. The housing latch is the same as all previous mirrorless and compact latches, a large rectangle which you spin backwards to open.

Added accessories for the Nauticam add to the enjoyable user experience, such as the vacuum check system, which gives you a second security check that you o-rings are properly sealed and includes visual and audible monitoring throughout the dive with the included leak detector alarm. Flip adapters for the macro ports make adding a diopter for super macro a breeze. There is also an option to upgrade the rear LCD window to allow for the attachment of Nauticam's impressive external viewfinders.

In summary I would definitely recommend the Nauticam housing for the OM-D E-M5 Mark II, it makes using the camera underwater practically seamless compared to using it topside. With full functionality and well thought through design, in addition to the high quality aluminum construction and a full line of ports and accessories, this housing performs excellently.

 

Sample Images from the Sea of Cortez:

 

 

Sample Images from Key Largo, Florida:

 
 
Reef scene shot with Olympus 9-18mm. Photo: Brent Durand
 
 
 
Reef scene shot with Olympus 9-18mm. Photo: Brent Durand
 
 
 
Reef scene shot with Olympus 9-18mm. Photo: Brent Durand

 

Reef scene shot with Olympus 9-18mm. Photo: Brent Durand

 

 

Featured Articles

 

 

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 Tough TG-4 Review

Brent Durand
A review of the TG-4 and housing for underwater photo and video, including new RAW recording and Microscope Mode

 

Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera Review


A review of the TG-4 and housing for underwater photo and video, including new RAW recording and Microscope Mode

By Brent Durand

Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera black

SHARE THIS STORY

The Olympus Tough TG-4 compact camera sits in a class by itself. The 16MP camera is waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof and dustproof.... oh, and it even has a dive housing for serious underwater photography. This combination makes the Olympus TG-4 a great camera for those who put their cameras through demanding topside and underwater use but don't want the bulk and expense of larger systems. Highlights include microscope mode, which lets you shoot scary-close to your tiny subject, and RAW image recording for complete post-processing control.

 


Purchase the Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera & Housing Bundle

on SALE at Bluewater Photo


 

Goliath Grouper. TG-4, no housing with fisheye converter. Lit with Sola 2000.

 

Jump to Review Section:

 

Olympus TG-4 Camera Specs

  • Waterproof:  Down to 50 ft / 15 m
  • Crushproof:  Up to 220 lbf / 100 kgf
  • Shockproof:  Up to 7 ft / 2.1 m
  • Freezeproof:  Down to 14°F / -10°C
  • Dustproof:  Yes
  • Sensor:  16 MP BSI CMOS Sensor with RAW capability
  • Lens:  Fast f/2.0 lens - great for low light shooting underwater
  • Fisheye converter and tele converter for TG-4 body
  • Underwater housing (PT-056) rated to 150ft (45m)
    • For use scuba diving, attaching tray/handles for strobes and/or video lights, as well as macro and wide-angle wet lenses.
  • WiFi (and GPS) that can be paited with the Olympus Share app

 

 

Olympus TG-4 Key Upgrades (from the TG-3)

  • RAW photo capture allows for the highest resolution capture and maximum creative control
  • New Microscope feature allows you to focus with the lens virtually on the subject.
  • New Underwater HDR shooting mode (when not using strobe)

 

Sea Fan polyps. TG-4, no housing using macro mode. Lit with Sola 2000. Camera was about an inch from the sea fan in order to light, with no zoom.

 

Jet ski split-shot. TG-4, no housing using the fisheye converter. Yes, the Olympus Tough is... tough.

 

A great snorkeling/freediving camera. TG-4, no housing with fisheye converter.

 

Olympus TG-4 Underwater Housing

The Olympus TG-4 underwater housing (PT-056) can be purchased with is sold separately from the TG-4 camera, and we highly recommend it for anyone planning to take the TG-4 scuba diving. The housing is small, lightweight and a great value. And although the TG-4 is technically waterproof to 50ft, the housing will allow divers to use strobes, more wet lenses for wide-angle and macro, handles and other accessories in shallow water or much deeper depths.

 

TG-4 Housing Specs

  • Depth Rating:  45m
  • Filter Thread Size:  52mm
  • Weight:  Approx 1 lb (430 g)
  • Includes:  O-ring, silica gel, silicone grease, LCD hood, lens cap optical cable adapter, anti-reflective ring

Olympus TG-4 Underwater housing

Thoughts from the Lab

In reviewing the specs of the new TG-4 compact camera, we think it will be a nice camera for those who want a compact, versatile camera that takes high-quality images. Take the camera on your dive trip and bring it in the pool, in the river on your hike, toss it in your daypack and then put it in the Olympus housing with a strobe or a video light before your scuba dives. This is some great versatility.

The Olympus TG-4 is also much more desireable now that it shoots 16 MP RAW images. Recording images in RAW format saves more data, allowing for custom post-processing in your computer photo software.

Underwater shooters will be very interested in the new Microscope Mode. How close is the minimum focus distance?  I don’t know – the camera focuses on the lens cap… can’t get closer than that!

The TG-4's WiFi ability also makes it easy to send your images to a tablet or mobile phone (via the Olympus Share app) for editing and posting to your social networks - no need to lug a heavy computer around with you. There is also built-in GPS for keeping track of your adventure.

Simple camera controls make the TG-4 easy to use. You can record video with a press of the red button on back of the camera, which is indented so that it doesn’t start recording unintentionally. All other controls are positioned for easy access with your right thumb.

The housing is actually the same as the TG-3 housing, which is great for those who would like to upgrade for RAW and Microscope Mode. Housing controls are clearly labeled and easy to press. Replace the pop-up flash diffuser with a flash mask when using a strobe(s). One of the best housing features is the cold shoe mount on top, which allows you to mount a video and/or focus light on top of the housing, which is a great solution for bringing light to your photos without investing in a tray/handles and strobe(s).

Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera back

 

Preparing to dive. TG-4, no housing using the fisheye converter.

 

 

Thoughts from the Water

I tested the OlympusTG-4 on one exciting scuba dive and one snorkel, using the camera without the housing (the dives were shallow). These are the underwater photos and video you see in this review, with details included in each caption.

The TG-4 was really fun to use. Normally I shoot with at least one strobe, but the TG-4 produced some great photos using only a video light. I handheld the light, however the light could also be mounted to the housing cold shoe, creating a very compact system – it’s really all you need.

Underwater, the TG-4 was very intuitive to use. I shot in Aperture Priority mode, allowing you to shoot f/2, f/2.8 or f/8. For those without a firm grasp of aperture, you can shoot in P mode, which is full automatic.

While the camera isn’t fully manual (good for entry-level photographers), it does allow more experienced users to get the shot. Reviewing images was easy when working on precise lighting, and when I wanted to shoot quick action while swimming, I turned off the preview (after each shot), enabling me to shoot a rapid sequence.  (note that I shot each frame – there are also high-speed shooting modes that capture many frames per second, but this delivers jpg files, not RAW).

The Olympus TG-4 housing allows use of wide-angle and macro wet lenses, but there is also a fisheye (wide-angle converter) wet lens for the camera itself, which I used to capture the split shots in this review.

Switching from photo to video is super easy: push the shutter to shoot photos, and push the red record button for video. This is great for those who enjoy shooting photos and videos.

You can read about recommended lights, wet lenses, and filters here.

 

Eagle Ray. TG-4, no housing, ambient light.

 

Grouper. Olympus TG-4, no housing with fisheye converter. Lit with Sola 2000.

 

Nurse shark. TG-4, no housing, ambient light.

 

 

 

Olympus Tough TG-4 Underwater Video

Filmed with TG-4 without housing, ambient light only, except for Goliath Grouper scene (using handheld Sola 2000).

 

 

 

Additional Olympus Tough TG-4 Photos

Ready for adventure with the TG-4. Photo from a burst mode sequence.

 

Snorkeling. TG-4, no housing, ambient light.

 

 


Purchase the Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera & Housing Bundle

on SALE at Bluewater Photo


 

 

 

Further Reading

 

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Best Cameras of Summer 2015

Scott Gietler
UWPG owner Scott Gietler looks at the best cameras of Summer 2015, including the Sony RX100 IV, Olympus TG-4, Canon 5DS R, Sony a7R II, Nikon D7200 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

 

Best Cameras Summer 2015


UWPG & Bluewater Photo owner Scott Gietler looks at the best cameras of Summer 2015

Including the Sony RX100 IV, Olympus TG-4, Canon 5DS R, Sony a7R II, Nikon D7200 & Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

By Scott Gietler

 

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

Underwater photographers looking to get a new setup this summer have several excellent options that are either coming out soon, or already on the market.

In this article we take a look at some of the newest cameras out there that excel for underwater photography.

UWPG top picks - Cameras marked with a ** are top UWPG picks.

 

 

** Olympus TG-4

Specs: 16meg, 25-100mm lens

 

Pros: Good macro, works with the UWL-04 fisheye lens, shoots in RAW, the Olympus TG-4 housing is also well-priced

 

Cons: No manual controls, small sensor, slower auto-focus

 

Summary: Top choice for a budget setup, $650 for camera + housing is a steal, and as a bonus it works well with wet lenses. The camera does not need the housing for snorkeling, but we do highly recommend the housing for diving. See recommended TG-4 housings, lenses & strobes here.

 

 

 

Sony RX100 IV

Specs: 20 meg, 24-70mm lens, 1-inch sensor

 

Pros: Decent size sensor in a tiny camera, should fit in the same housing as the RX-100 III, 4K video, super slow-motion video, high-speed shooting with the new stacked CMOS sensor

 

Cons: Sony RX-100 II has better macro & wide-angle options, the camera is pricey at $950

Summary: A solid camera that may attract users who want to shoot high-quality video + stills; Still shooters who love wet lenses may still gravitate towards the Sony RX-100 II - which works well with a fisheye lens. People who only do macro might go for a Canon G7X housing, and dedicated video shooters may go for a Panasonic LX100 - especially since the LX100 has a sensor twice the size, and also shoots excellent 4K video.

Housings Links:

 

 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

Specs: 16 meg, 14-42mm or 12-50mm kit lenses, micro-four thirds sensor

 

Pros: Excellent lens selection, almost dSLR-like image quality in a smaller package, 5-axis image stabilizaiton

 

Cons: LCD / Viewfinder not as crisp as a dSLR, less dynamic range than a dSLR; competes with similar bodies such as the E-M10 and E-M1; Olympus E-M5 II housing doesn’t have the easy port change system that the E-M5 housing has

Summary: The E-M5 Mark II produces excellent pro-level images with the right lens. It excels for users really looking to take advantage of the improved video functions and mode options over the E-M5, however users really into video may choose the more advanced Panasonic GH4, which also shoots 4K video. Those more interested in shooting still images might not see as many improvements over the popular E-M1, so they may choose the E-M1 because of the additional customizable controls, as well as better quality housings available for the E-M1. Those on a budget will find the E-M10 camera a great option at nearly half the cost, and when money really matters the special Olympus Housing, Port and Camera bundle for the original E-M5 is an excellent choice.

Housing Links:

 

 

** Sony a7R II

Specs: 42 meg, full-frame sensor, 4K video

 

Pros: Huge sensor, amazing resolution, very good high ISO performance, 5-axis image stabilization, great stills & video

 

Cons: Pricey at $3,200 USD, lens selection still needs improvement

Summary: Pros will flock to this “super-camera”, which boasts a large number of technological capabilities and features. The camera is not out yet, but Sony claims to deliver faster shooting speeds and better high ISO performance than other high-resolution cameras, due to its innovative sensor. The a7R II is also rumored to have better auto-focusing with Canon lenses, which makes the 8-15mm fisheye lens a viable option. The dimensions are exactly the same as the a7 II, so fingers crossed that it fits in the Nauticam a7 II underwater housing.

 

 

** Nikon D7200

Specs: 24 meg, 1.5x crop sensor

 

Pros: Amazing camera at its price point, great dynamic range

 

Cons: It is not a D810 - meaning you only have the "center" area of an image the D810 would take; housings noticeably larger than E-M1 housings

Summary: This is Nikon's flagship cropped sensor dSLR, and for many serious underwater photographers, this is the camera for them, with great controls, excellent lens selection, and an improved sensor over the D7100. It has a higher DxoMark sensor rating then any other cropped sensor dSLR camera, and has very good focus in low-light. Some consider the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye on a cropped sensor camera the perfect wide-angle lens, and the Nikon 105mm VR the perfect macro lens. There is also a great selection of Nikon D7200 underwater housings.

 

 

Canon 7D Mark II

Specs: 20 meg, 1.6x crop sensor

 

Pros: Improved auto-focus for both stills and video over previous Canon models

 

Cons: Lags behind Nikon in sensor ratings

Summary: A serious choice for Canon lens owners who don’t feel the need to go full-frame - it offers improved auto-focusing over the T6i or 70D. However, many people will find that the less expensive 70D meets their needs, or for $700 more they can get the 5D Mark III. There is a great selection of housings for the 7D Mark II.

Housing Links

 

 

** Canon 5DS / 5DS R

Specs: 50 meg, full-frame sensor

 

Pros: Offers unsurpassed resolution, great macro and wide-angle capability for a Canon shooter, and excellent video quality

 

Cons: Lags behind Nikon D810 in sensor ratings

Summary: Many owners of Canon lenses will be tempted by the abiltity to have 50 megapixel images to work with; we recommend the 5DS R for underwater photography, for maximum resolution. The 5DS and 5DS R will work with the existing Canon 5D Mark III underwater housings.

 

 

** Nikon D810 (editor's pick)

Specs: 36 meg, full frame sensor

 

Pros: Excellent auto-focus, resolution and image quality. Great image quality at higher ISO's than a D7200, and the ability to significantly crop and/or make very large prints.

 

Cons: One of the larger, heavier setups you can get; auto-focus during video not on par with Sony or Canon

Summary: For the serious photographer focusing on stills, the D810 does everything a D7100/D7200 can do and so much more, it is the ultimate choice. For details, read our complete Nikon D810 review, and then check out the D810 underwater housings.

 

 


Purchase underwater housings for all these cameras at Bluewater Photo

 


 

Learning how to use your new camera

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

 

Further Reading

 

About the Author

Scott Gietler is the owner of Bluewater Photo, the Underwater Photography Guide, and Bluewater Travel, a new full service dive travel agency. He also founded the world-reknowned Ocean Art underwater photo competition. He is on the board of ReefCheck.org,  and has volunteered at the Santa Monica Aquarium. He is also the author of the Guide to the Underwater Flora and Fauna of Southern California.

 

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography

Scott Gietler
Nikon D810 review for macro, wide-angle and supermacro

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography

A look at macro, wide-angle, lenses, focus & more

By Scott Gietler

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

With 36 megapixels, lightning fast auto-focus, and one of the best sensors on the market, the Nikon D810 is a formidable camera. How does it stack up for underwater use? Pretty darn good! I've shot the camera on about 30 dives these last 2 weeks during my 5th annual Anilao underwater photo workshop for Bluewater Photo / Underwater Photography Guide, and I'm in love with the camera.

All of the following photos had minimal processing in Lightroom, usually adjustments in contrast, clarity, blacks, cropping, etc.

All photos were taken with either the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, or the Nikon 105mm VR lens.

This review covers:

  • NIkon D810 wide-angle performace
  • Focusing speed
  • Macro
  • Supermacro
  • Nikon D810 colors underwater
  • Nikon D810 bokeh
  • Cropping with the D810
  • File sizes
  • Info for cropped sensor upgraders
  • Nikon D810 underwater lens selection
  • Nikon D810 underwater housings

 

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Ribbon Eel, F10, 1/250th, ISO 100, Nikon 105mm VR lens

 

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Cuttlefish, F14, 1/250th, ISO 125


100% crop of above cuttlefish photo, with part of the eye in the lower left corner
 

Nikon D810 - exceptional wide-angle underwater

Using the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens and the small 4-inch Zen glass dome port, I found the image quality & sharpness to be exceptional, and getting close for close-focus wide-angle was a breeze. I just left the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens at 15mm.

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Starfish & sun, F16, 1/320th, ISO 100, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens
 

 

NIkon D810 review with lenses, auto-focus, underwater housings
Crinoid & sun F18, 1/320th, ISO 100


100% crop of Crinoid/Sun photo above

 

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Lionfish & boat, F14, 1/320th, ISO 100

Nikon D810 review
Clownfish & sun, F16, 1/320th, ISO 100

 


Trumpetfish, photo by Helen Brierley

 

Nikon D810 - wonderful auto-focus for behavior

The auto-focus on the D810 was nothing short of a miracle. Huge improvement over my NIkon D7000. None of my wide-angle photos were ever out of focus, for wide-angle I never had to think about auto-focus.

Using the Nikon 105mm VR lens, endless hunting was mostly a thing of the past. Even squid floating by at night were easily focused on - and I remember my lens hunting endlessly with my D7000.

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Cardinal fish with eggs brooding in mouth F10, 1/250th, ISO 200

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Coral banded pipefish, focus on eye F16, 1/250th, ISO 200

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Cardinal fish with eggs brooding in mouth F14, 1/250th, ISO 250

 

Nikon D810 underwater macro - a brave new world

Using the 105mm VR lens on the D810 is like using both the 60mm and 105mm lenses at the same time on the D7200. Use the entire image to get the angle of view you would have with the Nikon 60mm lens on a D7100/D7200, or crop to get the image you would have had with the D7200 + 105mm VR lens with absolutely no loss of pixels or image quality.

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Phyllodesmium nudibranch F18, 1/250th, ISO 200

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Tiny pink-eyed goby F14, 1/250th, ISO 160

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Crinoid shrimp F22, 1/250th, ISO 100

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Gobies on tunicates feeding in current F16, 1/250th, ISO 100

 

Nikon D810 - Supermacro and beyond

Supermacro with the Subsee +10 or the Nauticam SMC was a breeze, just flip, move the lens forward, aim and shoot. Detail and sharpness was incredible - no, mind blowing.

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
X-mas tree worm closeup, F22, 1/250th, ISO 320

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Face of shrimp on anemone F29, 1/250th, ISO 160

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Mantis shrimp eyes, slightly cropped, taken with the Nauticam SMC diopter F20, 1/250th, ISO 320

 

Nikon D810 - great colors underwater

Using my dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes, I got great colors with the D810 as long as I was close to the subject and not shooting through too much water. Since I like to keep my subjects just a few inches away, this was generally not a problem. Increasing the vibrance in lightroom often resulted in a more pleasing image without additional noise, unlike using the slider with my D7000.

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
X-mas tree worm closeup F13, 1/250th, ISO 100

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Soft coral crab F25, 1/250th, ISO 200

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Janolus nudibranch F14, 1/250th, ISO 125

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Parrotfish, photo by Helen Brierley

 

NIkon D810 - great bokeh underwater

The shallower depth of field of a full-frame camera means you can get great "bokeh", or background blur, in your underwater images.

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Jawfish with eggs switching holes F13, 1/250th, ISO 100

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Small goby F16, 1/250th, ISO 100

 

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Male Anthias fish F9, 1/250th, ISO 100

 

Nikon D810 underwater - crop until you drop

Cropping is almost mandatory with the D810. With 36 megapixel images, 40 megapixel RAW files, and JPEG 7360 pixels wide - you have a lot of data. Unless you are Ansel Adams, you probably don't need it all. You can crop without fear, without shame, without losing detail.

Nikon D810 review for underwater photography
Hairy squat lobster, heavily cropped to 1/4 the original image size, but this image is still 1800 pixels wide and very sharp when viewed at 1:1.
F20, 1/250th, ISO 160

 

Nikon D810 file sizes

At first, I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the large file sizes of the D810. However, I quickly found out that a single 32 GIG card easily held a full day of 4-dive shooting in 14-bit RAW + small JPEG for myself, and loading RAW images into lightroom was not any slower.

Regarding storage, I don't have the need to store thousands of images I never look at, each day I scan my jpegs, select 10 - 20 of the best images, load the RAW files into lightroom and delete the rest.

 

Info for D200 / D300 / D7000 / D7100 upgraders

Can I use my lenses?

Yes you can, including the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye, 60mm macro, 105mm VR macro. However, "DX" lenses like the Nikon 10-24mm, 12-24mm, or Sigma 17-70mm will put the camera in "DX mode' which will only (ha ha) give you 15.4 megapixels. However, you will dislike the smaller viewfinder image that DX mode gives you.

How will macro be different?

It will be better, totally awesome. When I use the 105mm on the D810, I have almost the same angle of view of the 60mm on a D7000, but with 36 megapixels instead of 16 megapixels.

I also have the exact same image as a D7000 shooter using the Nikon 105mm lens (if I were to crop the center of my larger image), but I also have all these extra pixels they don't have around that image, which gives me extra compositional options. So in effect, it is like I was shooting with the 60mm and 105mm macro lenses at the same time.

Can I use my existing ports?

Absolutely! Please note that wide-angle images will be slightly softer in the corners at the same aperture. You can either stop down more, or use a slightly larger dome port.

How will the viewfinder be different?

The viewfinder on a Nikon D800 / D810 is larger than the viewfinder on a cropped sensor camera. How much larger? I will try to quantify this an update this section shortly.

 

Compared with the Nikon D800

Images taken with the Nikon D800 and Nikon D810 are going to be very similar. The D180 does have many advantages -  differences are in the better video capability, improved auto-focus speeds, faster shooting speeds (5 fps vs 4 fps), expanded ISO range (64 - 12,800 vs 100 - 6,400), longer battery life (33% better), much larger buffer capacity (up to double the size), quieter shutter and better LCD resolution (33% higher resolution).

With regards to sharpness, at 100% crops the D810 will be slightly sharper than the D800, although differences between the D810 and the D800E will be harder to detect.

If you don't own either camera, the D810 is the clear choice - especially for people like myself who will also use it for wildlife and therefore will take advantage of many of the improvements. But like I said - no perceivable differences in image quality.

 

Nikon D810 underwater lens selection

Wide Angle

  • Tokina 10-17mm fisheye - excellent choice - all wide-angle photos in this article were taken with the Tokina 10-17mm lens
  • Sigma 15mm fisheye - excellent choice
  • Nikon 16-35mm F4 - good choice, esp. for sharks, whales, dolphins
  • Sigma 12-24mm - good choice, esp. for sharks, whales, dolphins

Pool work

  • NIkon 24-70mm - good mid-range option

Macro

  • NIkon 105mm VR - awesome! All macro shots in this article were taken with the Nikon 105mm VR lens
  • Nikon 60mm - will work great, but I never feel the need to use it, the 105mm worked well for all my macro/fish shooting

 

Nikon D810 underwater housings

There are several excellent underwater housings for the Nikon D810. All of the housings are excellent, as the housing manufacturers have really stepped up their game in recent years.

Ikelite D810 underwater housing

Polycarbonate housing, includes built-in TTL converter for Ikelite strobes, great value. See recommended lenses, ports and strobes

Aquatica D810 underwater housing

Aluminum housing, holds up excellent in extreme conditions. See recommended ports, lenses & strobes

Sea & Sea D810 underwater housing

Aluminum housing, optional internal TTL converter, smaller size. See recommended ports, lenses, & strobes.

Nauticam D810 underwater housing

Aluminum housing, optional flash trigger for faster shooting, great ergonomics. See recommended ports, lenses & strobes.

 

Nikon D810 for underwater - conclusions

I had several concerns about moving to full-frame - I would lose the flexibility of the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye; I would have less ability to do supermacro; fill sizes would be unwieldly. It turns out none of these concerns were valid - I can do equal or better supermacro as a cropped sensor camera, and I still have the same flexibility with wide-angle as cropped sensor users - just via cropping instead of zooming, but with no less resolution. File sizes were not more difficult to store/process.

Although the Nikon D810 costs more, and the setup is slightly heavier, the pros are huge and I give it a huge 2 thumbs up.

 

About the Author

Scott Gietler is the owner of Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel and the Underwater Photography Guide. Please feel free to email him at scott (at) bluewaterphotostore.com with any questions about your underwater setup, or join him on a photo trip.

 

 

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera Announced

UWPG News
Upgrades include better low light AF, 60p video, larger buffer, WiFi and more

 

Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera Announced


Upgrades include better low light AF, 60p video, larger buffer, WiFi and more

By UWPG News, March 2, 2015

 

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

Nikon has officially announced the D7200 camera. A successor to the wildly popular D7100 for underwater photography, the Nikon D7200 features a 24.2 MP DX format sensor, improved low light autofocus, larger buffer for burst shooting, 60P video and WiFi.

Nikon focused on sharpness with this camera, opting not to include an optical low pass filter over the sensor. What does this mean? It means that the images will be sharper but could be subject to moire when shooting certain patterns. (Most DSLRs include an optical low pass filter). My thought is that Nikon sees this camera as its prosumer DSLR for shooting sports (up to 7 FPS) and sharp digital video.

The D7200 features a wider ISO range, allowing the camera to shoot better quality images at higher ISOs, as well as a new EXPEED 4 processor, claimed to be 30% faster than the D7100's EXPEED 3 processor. Lastly, a new 'Flat' picture control, which allows for the recording of more dynamic range when shooting JPGs or video.

Nikon D7200 Highlights:

 

Improved Low Light Focusing

The Nikon D7200 is using the new D750's autofocus system, however with one significant upgrade for underwater photographers. The AF sensor detection range begins at - 3 EV instead of - 2 EV, meaning focus can be achieved in darker shooting situations. This should be helpful in low light, low contrast situations that underwater photographers often find themselves in.

 

Nikon D7200 May Fit in D7100 Housings

Based on camera body dimensions and body layout, we think this camera may fit in current D7100 underwater housings. There do not appear to be any significant changes in the body dimensions or the layout of the controls. We will update this section once we hear back specifically from manufacturers such as Ikelite, Nauticam, Aquatica, and Sea & Sea.

 

Release Date:  March 19, 2015

 

With these upgrades, we expect the Nikon D7200 to be a popular option for underwater photo and video, and will be publishing our D7200 review in coming weeks.

 

 

Nikon D7200 Comparison with D7100

 

  Nikon D7200 Nikon D7100
Sensor Resolution 24.2 MP CMOS (no OLPF) 24.1 MP CMOS
Processor EXPEED 4 EXPEED 3
ISO Range ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 6,400
AF Sensor

Multi-CAM 3500 II DX, 65-point (15 cross-type)

EF detection -3EV (more sensitive in low light)

Multi-CAM 3500 DX, 65-point (15 cross-type)

EF detection -2EV 

FPS 6 FPS in DX, 7 FPS in 1.3x crop mode 6 FPS in DX, 7 FPS in 1.3x crop mode
Buffer Capacity (e.g. NEF 12-bit) 27 shots 7 shots
WiFi Yes, with NFC No
Dimensions (WxHxD) 135.5 x 106.5 x 76mm 135.5 x 106.5 x 76mm
Weight (approx) 765 g 765 g

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

March 2, 2015

Equipped with the latest high-performance AF system, and offering for continuous capture of decisive moments with shooting of up to 100 JPEG*1Digital SLR camera D7200, which achieves the superior image quality and more advanced functions that will inspire users to be more creative with their photography

The Nikon D7200 equipped with the new AF sensor module so well received when it was first adopted with the D750 and EXPEED 4 high-performance image-processing engine is a high-performance DX-format camera that offers greater focus-acquisition performance, such as the ability to capture up to 100 shots with a single burst of continuous shooting, and even better image quality.TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the D7200, a DX-format digital SLR camera that expands possibilities for shooting and expression with the latest autofocusing system and the ability to capture up to 100 shots*1 with a single burst of continuous shooting.
Nikon will also release the new ME-W1 Wireless Microphone for off-camera recording of movie sound.

It is equipped with an NFC-compatible*2 Wi-Fi® function that allows users to instantly and easily share photos they have taken with the camera with many people via social media using a smart device. The D7200 is also equipped with enhanced movie-recording functions, including a time-lapse photography function that supports exposure smoothing, as well as functions that enable enhanced control over audio recording.
The D7200 enables full-scale imaging expression with superior still-image and movie quality through the combination of the compact system afforded by the extremely agile Nikon DX format and the durability of high-end models.

  • *1When a 16-GB SanDisk SDHC UHS-I memory card (SDSDXPA-016G-J35) is used, and an ISO sensitivity setting of ISO 100 is applied.
  • *2Supported only by the Android OS.

http://nikon.com/news/common/img/bg_disc.png) 0px 0.3em no-repeat !important;">
Nikon D7200 Primary Features

  1. A new 51-point AF system that demonstrates the outstanding in autofocusing performance

    The new 51-point AF system, for which the same Advanced Multi-CAM 3500 II autofocus sensor module built into the D750 has been adopted, offers the same 51 focus points available with the D7100 while achieving a broader detection range that begins at just -3 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F). This enables overwhelmingly better AF performance when shooting dark or dimly lit scenes and when capturing subjects or scenes exhibiting little contrast. Certain capture of the intended subject, even in dark situations, is possible.

  2. Certain capture of decisive moments with shooting of up to 100 JPEG*1 or 18 14-bit RAW images with a single burst of continuous shooting

    A larger buffer enables capture of up to 100 shots*1 with a single burst of continuous shooting at approximately 6 fps*2. Up to eighteen 14-bit RAW (lossless compressed) images can also be captured with a single burst of continuous shooting. (at an image area setting of DX (24x16) and an image quality setting of JPEG fine) For faster continuous shooting, setting image area to 1.3x (18x12) enables shooting at approximately 7 fps. This, along with increased AF performance, ensures certain capture of the best moments.

    • *1When a 16-GB SanDisk SDHC UHS-I memory card (SDSDXPA-016G-J35) is used, and a ISO sensitivity setting of ISO 100 is applied.
    • *2Measured in accordance with CIPA guidelines.
  3. The EXPEED 4 image-processing engine for even better image quality

    The D7200 is equipped with the same EXPEED 4 image-processing engine adopted for high-end models. This enables use of a broad range of standard ISO sensitivity settings, from ISO 100 to 25600, with both still images and movies, for sharp and clear imaging with which noise is effectively reduced, even at high sensitivities. In addition, the absence of a low-pass filter maximizes the superior resolution of the high effective pixel count of 24.2-million pixels and the excellent rendering capabilities of NIKKOR lenses for sharp rendering of even the finest details in subjects.

  4. An NFC-compatible*1 Wi-Fi® function*2 that enables image transfer and remote shooting with smart-device collaboration (NFC support)

    With a built-in Wi-Fi® function, users can easily transfer images to smart devices such as smartphones and tablets. Still images can be downloaded to a smart device immediately after they are captured for sharing with others via e-mail attachment or upload to a social networking site. In addition, as the NFC*1 is supported, a Wi-Fi® connection can be easily established by simply touching the D7200 to an NFC-compatible smart device, enabling remote shooting from a smart device using the camera's live view display shown in the smart device's screen*2.

    • *1Supported only by the Android OS. Connection may be difficult to establish depending upon the smart device used or environmental conditions. In such situations, use normal means to establish a Wi-Fi connection.
    • *2The Wireless Mobile Utility app must be installed on the smart device before the Wi-Fi function can be used (the app can be downloaded free of charge from the smart device's app store).
  5. Full-scale movie recording with a variety of functions

    The D7200 is equipped with a number of full-HD movie functions that are nearly equal to those of high-end models. It is the first Nikon DX-format camera to be equipped with a time-lapse photography function capable of exposure smoothing, which smooths abrupt changes in exposure between frames. It also offers features such as a dedicated Movie Shooting menu and Auto ISO Sensitivity Control, with which exposure is controlled with adjustment of sensitivity only with movie recording in M mode. The Flat Picture Control, effective for color grading, and functions for recording sound with movies have been enriched with the addition of Frequency Response and Wind Noise Reduction settings. The D7200 offers two movie formats, one that uses the DX (24x16) image area and one that uses the 1.3x (18x12) image area. The 1.3x (18x12) image area produces a telephoto effect that brings distant subjects closer, and also enables selection of the 60p movie frame rate.

  6. Additional Features
    • A Picture Control system with which support for the Flat Picture Control and the Clarity adjustment item (for still images only) have been added, as has the ability to apply adjustments in finer increments
    • An optical viewfinder with approximately 100% frame coverage, and for which an OLED has been adopted at the bottom of the viewfinder
    • A 1.3x image area (uses 15.36-million pixels). As the 51 focus points cover the full range of the 1.3x image area, superior focus acquisition performance is demonstrated even with subjects exhibiting great movement
    • Built-in flash equipped with a commander function
    • Continuous shooting with no limit on the number of images that can be captured, enabling creation of beautiful star-trail photos and the like (in CH and CL release modes at shutter speeds of 4 s or slower)
    • Use of a magnesium alloy ensures an highly durable body that is effectively sealed for superior resistance to dust and water drops
    • A highly precise and durable shutter that has passed release testing for 150,000 cycles after incorporation into the camera
    • Designed for low power consumption that enables capture of approximately 1,110 still images*, or recording of approximately 80 minutes* of movie footage with a single charge
      • *Still images: Measured in accordance with CIPA standards. Movies: Measured with actual recording in accordance with CIPA standards. Both values apply to use with a EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery inserted in the camera.
###

Nikon D7200 Camera Product Tour Video

 

 

 

 

Further Reading

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Canon 5DS and 5DS R DSLRs Pack Huge Megapixel Count

Brent Durand
Medium Format Comes to Canon 5D Series with 50.6 Megapixel Full Frame Sensor

 

Canon 5DS and 5DS R DSLRs Pack Huge Megapixel Count


Medium Format Comes to Canon 5D Series with 50.6 Megapixel Full Frame Sensor

By Brent Durand, February 6, 2015

 

 

SHARE THIS STORY

Canon has announced a new mega megapixel camera available in two models, the Canon 5DS and 5DS R, which will be available in June 2015. The new cameras were announced today along with the new Canon T6s and T6i DSLRs.

These new 5D camera bodies are aimed at professional photographers who need an alternative to very expensive medium format cameras. While the 5DS and 5DS R are a great addition to the Canon DSLR lineup, most underwater photographers will be more interested in the Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 7D Mark II or Canon T6s / T6i.

Most noteable about the Canon 5DS is the 50.6 Megapixel sensor with dual DIGIC 6 processors. This means that the camera will deliver stunning ultra-high resolution images with the processing power to handle the large files. The most practical use for this many megapixels is printing in large format or cropping significantly while still maintaining exceptional image quality.

The Canon 5DS R is Canon's first EOS camera that cancels the low pass filter effect (similar to the difference between the Nikon D800 and D800E). What does this mean? Well, most DSLRs contain a low pass filter (aka anti alias filter) over the sensor, which softens the image slightly but avoids any appearance of a moire pattern appearing in the image. Suffice it to say that removing the low pass filter (5DS R) is not important unless you shoot intricate patterns in studios, bridal dresses, etc. As underwater photographers and videographers, we choose the Canon 5DS over the Canon 5DS R.

 

What's New in the Canon 5DS

 

The Canon 5DS has several 'firsts' for EOS DSLRs.

  • 50.6 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor
  • Ability to shoot 30.5 megapixels at 1.3x crop factor, or 19.6 megapixels at 1.6x crop factor
  • New Arbitrary Release Time Lag Setting in Mirror Lock mode (great for tripod shooting
  • Advanced auto exposure system that can attempt to counter the flickering of tungsten lighting when shooting indoors (also found in 7D Mark II)
  • New customizeable Quick control screen for quick access to your most-used camera settings

 

 

 

Canon 5DS back view looks identical to the 5D Mark III.

 

Canon 5DS top view.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

MELVILLE, N.Y., February 5, 2015 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to introduce the Canon EOS 5DSi and Canon EOS 5DS Ri Digital SLR cameras featuring the world’s highest resolution* among 35mm format DSLRs. Providing photographers with uncompromising image quality, these new EOS models incorporate a newly designed Canon 50.6 megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor and Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors for superb image quality and processing speed. Perfect for commercial, studio, portrait, landscape and architectural photography, or anyone looking for an affordable alternative to medium format, the ultra-high resolution of these new models allow for large-format printing and extensive cropping capability while maintaining fantastic image quality.

Maximizing the potential of the new 50.6 megapixel sensor – for the first time in an EOS camera the low-pass filter effect in the EOS 5DS R model is cancelled. The cancellation of the low-pass filter helps deliver sharp images, squeezing the most out of every pixel. Both models provide attractive options for medium format shooters especially when coupled with a wide array of over 70 creative Canon EF lenses to choose from.

“Canon is always looking to deliver the absolute best in image quality and push our technology to the limits. These cameras deliver on that pledge, providing photographers with two new incredible tools that will enable them to make the most out of every shoot,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “As photography becomes more specialized and more images are captured than ever before, the burden is on the photography equipment to keep up with the demands of today’s artistic talents. These new camera models will provide many photographers with new options to deliver their vision to clients, fans, and the world.”

Built to Maximize Sharpness

In addition to the 50.6 megapixel full-frame image sensor and Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors, both cameras include a 61-Point High Density Reticular AF array including up to 41 cross-type AF points and EOS iTR AF for high precision autofocus. They also include the EOS Scene Detection system featuring a 150,000-pixel RGB+IR 252-zone metering sensor that provides enhanced precision and performance.

In support of such a high-resolution imaging sensor, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras were designed to minimize camera shake and significantly improve stability via a reinforced chassis, baseplate and tripod lug to improve rigidity. Canon also re-designed the mirror vibration control system to help reduce mirror bounce and camera shake. To help maximize stability and minimize vibrations, Canon added a new Arbitrary Release Time Lag Setting in Mirror Lock mode in both models. In addition to the standard setting (press the shutter button once to lock the mirror, then again to release the shutter), the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras offer new setting intervals of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, one and two seconds, releasing the shutter after the selected preset delay, allowing potential camera vibration to dissipate before shutter release.

A new Picture Style called “Fine Detail” has been added to enhance the sharpness of JPEGs and EOS Movies with three new settings: Strength, Fineness and Threshold. With such abundant resolution on each sensor, both models also provide two cropped shooting modes, while still delivering high-resolution images 30.5 megapixels for the 1.3x mode and 19.6 megapixels for the 1.6x mode. The available crop options are visible as a mask or an outline in the viewfinder; so shooters can know exactly where to frame their subject.

Capturing the Action

Like the EOS 7D Mark II, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras feature an advanced AE system that can detect and compensate for flickering light sources such as sodium vapor lamps that are often used in gymnasiums and natatoriums. When enabled, this anti-flicker system automatically adjusts shutter release timing to help reduce disparities in exposure and color especially during continuous shooting. And new Auto White Balance settings include Ambience Priority and White Priority (for use when shooting under tungsten lighting).

Photographers and cinematographers will appreciate improved custom controls including a built-in intervalometer and bulb timer to enable the capture of time-lapse images and long-exposure images. These features are ideal for recording fireworks, star trails, sunrises and more.

Both models feature Intelligent Viewfinder II providing approximately 100 percent field of view, while adding the ability to display cropped shooting frames and superimpose a customizable selection of camera settings and data such as dual-mode electronic level display and grid, as well as exposure, white balance, metering, drive, image quality and AF modes. A new Customizable Quick Control Screen, another first for EOS cameras, allows photographers to quickly change frequently used camera settings and functions.

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras continue the EOS Movie tradition with the ability to shoot in 1080p Full HD up to 30p or 720p HD video up to 60p. A creative Time Lapse Movie function, a first for EOS cameras, takes a continuous series of still photographs and automatically combines them in camera into a Full HD movie file. Interval adjustments can be set from one second to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. The number of shots possible range from 2 to 3,600 with a maximum of two minutes and 30 seconds of playback time. In addition, high-speed continuous shooting up to five-frames-per-second (fps) at full 50 megapixel resolution allows users to capture fast action.

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras feature dual card slots for CF and SD memory cards, including Ultra High Speed (UHS-1) SD cards. Built to last, the cameras also feature a shutter durability rating up to 150,000 cycles, the same as the EOS 5D Mark III.

Availability

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R Digital SLR cameras are scheduled to be available through authorized Canon dealers in June 2015 for estimated retail prices of $3,699.00 and $3,899.00 for the body only, respectively.

These devices have not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. These devices are not, and may not be offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.

 

###

 

 

Underwater Canon 5DS Housings

The Canon 5DS and 5DS R will fit in housings designed for the Canon 5D Mark III, which is very convenient for those who have both DSLR bodies. Below is Bluewater Photo's selection of housings.

 

The Ikelite Canon 5D Mark III housing (fits the 5DS) is full-featured yet affordable and includes built-in TTL conversion circuitry that puts perfect exposure at you fingertips.

Read our Ikelite Canon 5D Mark III housing review.

For more info and recommended ports and accessories, visit Bluewater Photo's Ikelite Canon 5D Mark III housing page.

 

The Aquatica Canon 5D Mark III housing (fits the 5DS) is precision built with smooth knob and button operation that will feel like new no matter how much you use it.

Read our Aquatica Canon 5D Mark III housing review.

For more info and recommended ports and accessories, visit Bluewater Photo's Aquatica Canon 5D Mark III housing page.

 

The Nauticam Canon 5D Mark III housing (fits the 5DS) is intricately engineered to re-position camera controls to the most ergonomic and convenient locations on the housing, plus converter for fiber optic cable use.

For more info and recommended ports and accessories, visit Bluewater Photo's Nauticam Canon 5D Mark III housing page.

 

The Sea & Sea Canon 5D Mark III housing (fits the 5DS) is a compact and popular housing. This Version II housing features a built-in converter for fiber optic cable use and TTL shooting.

Fore more info and recommended ports and accessories, visit Bluewater Photo's Sea & Sea Canon 5D Mark III housing page.

 

 

 

Further Reading

 

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Canon EOS T6s and T6i DSLRs Announced

UWPG News
Canon's Robust New Autofocus System is Passed Down to Entry-Level DSLR Line

 

Canon EOS T6s and T6i DSLRs Announced


Canon's Robust New Autofocus System is Passed Down to Entry-Level DSLR Line

By UWPG News, February 6, 2015

 

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

Canon has just announced two new additions to its entry-level DSLR line - the Canon T6s and Canon t6i. These cameras follow the successful T5i, however inherit some powerful new features from higher-end cameras like the EOS 70D and 7D Mark II.

Both versions of the new Canon T6 boast a 24.2 MP CMOS sensor with DIGIC 6 processor, an advanced autofocus system for photo and video, plus WiFi and NFC (near field communication) for easily sharing photos. Other great features passed down to this camera include a top LCD screen, Quick control button and built-in HDR capabilities.

The Canon T6s is aimed at photographers who have used DSLRs before or plan to be dedicationed photographers (we see people buying semi-pro DSLRs as their first camera all the time), while the T6i packs less features and remains the entry-level Canon Rebel DSLR at a more affordable price.

 

Upgrades in the Canon T6s and T6i

The Canon T6s and T6i will be the flagship cameras in Canon's Rebel DSLR line, and with these new features will be very competitive with more expensive cameras like the 70D and 7D Mark II. Below are some of the key upgrades and features in the new T6 that are not present in the current T5i:

  • 24.2 MP sensor (T5i is 18MP)
  • New Hybrid CMOS AF III image sensor-embedded autofocus system for ultra-fast autofocus
  • Servo Autofocus provides hybrid AF in Live View mode (great for underwater video)
  • Quick Control button allows for easy settings changes underwater, including exposure compensation and focus modes
  • 19 point, all cross-type autofocus points (T5i has 9)

 

Difference between Canon T6s and T6i

Below are the features included in the T6s and not in the more basic T6i.

  • Info screen on top plate with control dial on top left of camera body (control dial is top right on T6i. The T6s ergonomics will feel more like Canon's higher-end DSLRs.
  • Quick control dial for quick settings adjustments normally accessed through the camera menu.
  • Servo AF in Live View. This is the incredible AF system we've been testing in the Canon 70D and 7D Mark II, which makes autofocus useable (performing well enough to rely on) when using Live View for underwater video. If this is important to you, choose the T6s over the T6i.

 

Canon T6s and T6i have a 3" Touch Panel LCD

 

The Canon T6s features a top plate info screen seen here, with ergonomics similar to Canon's higher-end DSLRs.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

MELVILLE, N.Y., February 5, 2015 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the addition of two new DSLR cameras to its popular EOS Rebel lineup: the EOS Rebel T6s Digital SLR camera, and the EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR camera. Featuring a newly developed 24.2 megapixel Canon CMOS imaging sensor, both cameras deliver the highest resolution available amongst EOS models with an APS-C format sensor. Additionally, the cameras feature built-in Wi-Fi® and NFC™ capabilities – a first for the Canon EOS Rebel system – making snapping and sharing high-quality, treasured images seamless.

“The Canon EOS Rebel series is one of the most popular lines of DSLR cameras on the market, and we are proud to continue to innovate and upgrade this line with features such as wireless connectivity and improved image capture capabilities,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “As the popularity of this line grows with consumers, we’re excited to launch the EOS Rebel T6s as our new flagship camera in the Rebel line, as well as have another budget-conscious offering in the line with the Rebel T6i.”

With multiple features most commonly found in advanced amateur cameras, the EOS Rebel T6s is designed for photography enthusiasts, or those who are already experienced with entry-level cameras who want to take high-quality photos and videos, and look for more advanced features and functions. For more casual photography needs, or for users looking to purchase their first DSLR camera, the EOS Rebel T6i camera prioritizes affordability, without sacrificing basic SLR performance attributes like quick shutter response, and compatibility with Canon’s impressive line of interchangeable lenses and accessories.

Outstanding Image Capture Features

The new EOS Rebel cameras have an extensive ISO range of 100-12800 (expandable to 25600) to accommodate shooting situations ranging from bright sunny days at the beach to dimly lit indoor dance recitals. The high-performance DIGIC 6 image processor helps provide outstanding image quality and speed, so pictures are clear and sharp.

Building on the image capture functionality of their predecessors, the EOS Rebel T6s and EOS Rebel T6i cameras feature Canon’s new Hybrid CMOS AF III image sensor-embedded autofocus system, which allows for high levels of speed and accuracy when capturing Full HD video or high-resolution photos in Live View. This is particularly useful when capturing children playing sports, or animals in the wild, when it’s imperative to get the shot at the exact moment action is happening. Helping photographers capture those special moments, the cameras have high-speed continuous shooting up to five frames-per-second (fps). For photographers who prefer to compose their images through a viewfinder, the new EOS Rebel T6s and EOS Rebel T6i cameras have a 19-point all cross-type AF system that allows for superb autofocus, as well as focus area selection modes.

Brand-new to the EOS Rebel line, the cameras feature built-in wireless capabilities, which allow users to wirelessly transfer images and videos with ease to compatible smartphones and tablets through Canon’s newly updated and free Camera Connect app.2 Images and videos can also be shared wirelessly to a wide range of popular social networking sites through Canon iMAGE GATEWAY. 3 The camera’s built-in NFC (Near Field Communication)4 allows quick and simple pairing to a compatible Android device, or devices that support NFC like the new Canon Connect Station CS100 photo and video storage and sharing device. The built-in Wi-Fi functionality also allows users to wirelessly print their images to any compatible printer, like the PIXMA MG7520 or PIXMA iP8720.

With an intuitive design that allows for an optimal photographic experience, the new EOS Rebel cameras have a three-inch Vari-Angle Touch Screen Clear View LCD monitor with approximately 1,040,000 dots. This design enables flexible positioning for high or low framed shots, as well as clear viewing even when outdoors in the sunlight. Additionally, the cameras feature the latest version of Canon’s EOS scene analysis system, which helps photographers capture beautiful images in a wider range of situations by detecting near-infrared light and flickering light sources. Also new to the entire EOS system, both models feature color tone detection, which helps ensure individuals in photographs are properly focused and/or exposed by adjusting both autofocus and exposure metering.

Full HD Video Capture

The EOS Rebel T6s and EOS Rebel T6i cameras feature EOS Movie mode which captures Full HD 1080p resolution video up to 30 fps in MP4 format for high quality shooting and easy movie sharing on select social networking sites. Manual exposure control, digital zoom and an external stereo microphone jack are provided for advanced users using the EOS Rebel T6s.

Expanded Creative Functionality

Allowing for full creative control, the new EOS Rebel cameras offer creative filters available as presets for photos and movies. These filters can be displayed in real time during Live View shooting, providing an easy way for users to enhance their creative work. Users can further expand their artistic abilities right from the camera with Creative Filters such as Fisheye Effect, Toy Camera Effect and Monochrome mode.  Fisheye Effect gives images a panoramic look and feel, Toy Camera Effect adds a grainy look to soften photos, illustrating a vintage appearance and with Monochrome mode, photos can either have black-and-white, blue or sepia tones, to display a more classic appearance.

Advanced Features & Capabilities

For photographers who desire more advanced features, the EOS Rebel T6s is the first EOS Rebel class DSLR camera to feature a top LCD panel, Quick Control Dial, Horizontal Level and built-in HDR movie capabilities. The new camera is also the first model in the EOS Rebel series to feature Servo AF in Live View, allowing continuous tracking of moving subjects during burst mode shooting sequences.

Availability

The EOS Rebel T6s Digital SLR camera and EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR camera are scheduled to be available at the end of April 2015. The estimated retail price of the EOS Rebel T6s is $849.99 for the body only, and $1,199.00 bundled with an EF-S 18-135 STM lens. The EOS Rebel T6i has an estimated retail price of $749.99 for the body only, $899.99 bundled with an EF-S 18-55 STM lens, and $1,099.00 bundled with an EF-S 18-135 STM lens.

###

 

Canon T6i front view.

 

 

Further Reading

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Announced

UWPG News
New Features & Specs Promise to make the E-M5 one of the Best Mirrorless Cameras for Underwater

 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Announced


New Features & Specs Promise to make the E-M5 one of the Best Mirrorless Cameras for Underwater

By UWPG News, February 5, 2015

 

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

Olympus has announced the follow up to their popular E-M5 - the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Given the popularity of the E-M5 for underater photo and video, the Mark II will surely be a serious player in the mirrorless camera scene, especially given it's robust new video capabilities, including faster Full HD frame rates and 5-axis video stabilization. Additional controls allow for more button function customization to match your underwater shooting style.

 

 

What's New for the E-M5 Mark II?

There are two major upgrades to the E-M5 that will be appreciated by scuba divers. First, the camera will have faster video frame rates, allowing divers to shoot 60fps at 1080p. This fast frame rate at Full HD resolution is great for underwater video shooters since it can be edited at 60fps, or dropped into (let's say) a 30fps timeline for stunning and smooth slow motion.

The second major upgrade is that the camera body features some extra buttons (similar to the E-M1), allowing more customization of button functions. This eliminates the need to enter the camera menus to change settings, creating faster, more ergonomic changes while shooting.

 

Pros for Underwater Photography

  • Compact size and 16MP sensor - great for portable housing and dive travel
  • Wide selection of lenses available
  • 1080x60p video shooting - enjoy Full HD and fast framerates (ideal for slow motion)
  • Fast autofocus system

 

Additional E-M5 Mk II Highlights

  • Improved 5-axis Image Stabilitzation.
  • 16 MP Live MOS Sensor, capable of shooting a stunning 40 MP image with rich color mind-blowing detail and razor sharpness.
  • More robust video features in addition to image stabilization, including 77 Mbps recording and variable framerates.
  • Built-in toughness
  • 2.36 million dot Electronic Viewfinder

 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Specs

  • 16.1 million pixel sensor LiveMOS
  • Hi-Res composite shooting (63MP for RAW and 40MP for JPEG)
  • Video framerates of 30fps at 1080p and 60fps at 720p
  • Video max bitrate is 77Mbps in ALL-I (recommended) or 52Mbps in IPB
  • Burst of 11 frames per second
  • Silent shutter option
  • ISO range 100 - ISO 25,600
  • SD / SDHC SDXC (UHS-I compatible, Eye-Fi compatible)
  • Weight (with battery and memory card):  417kg

 

Olympus OM-D Settings & Shooting Guide

Be sure to read our article 'Best Settings for the Olympus OM-D and PEN Underwater'

 

Olympus Mirrorless Camera Comparison

 

  E-M10 E-M5 E-M5 MkII E-M1
Megapixels 16 16.1 16.1 (60 in RAW on tripod) 16
Sensor Four Thirds Four Thirds Four Thirds Four Thirds
ISO Range 200-25600 200-25600 100-25600 100-25600
Autofocus Contrast detect Contrast detect Contrast detect Contrast detect
Max Flash Sync 1/200s 1/250s tbd 1/320s
Burst 8 FPS 9 FPS 11 FPS 10 FPS
Video 1080/30, 720/30 1080/30, 720/60 1080/60, 720/60 1080/30, 720/30
Weight 396g 425g 469g 497g

 

 

 

 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 II Underwater Housings

 

 

Purchase the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II Housing on Bluewater Photo

 

 

 

More housings coming soon! Be sure to contact the experts at Bluewater Photo to find the best housing and port system for you.

 

 

 

Further Reading

 

Olympus Resources on Bluewater Photo's website

 

 

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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY

Canon 7D Mark II Review for Underwater Photography

Brent Durand
UWPG tests the 7D Mark II for wide-angle, macro and video, plus best settings and more

 

Review: Canon 7D Mark II for Underwater Photography


UWPG tests the Canon 7D Mark II for wide-angle, macro and video, plus best settings and more

By Brent Durand

 

Canon 7D Mark II body

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

We're starting to see the first underwater housings for the new Canon 7D Mark II - the perfect time to write our in-depth review of the camera. The long-awaited 7D Mark II is a great camera with some major upgrades over the original 7D. But how will it perform for underwater photo and video?

The Canon 7D Mark II has many upgrades you would expect: a 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, faster processers, higher frames per second burst, increased ISO capabilities, intervalometer (finally, Canon!) and even a new battery.

A major upgrade, and perhaps best reason to purchase this camera for underwater use, is the new Dual-Pixel CMOS AF first released in the Canon 70D. This sensor technology allows the camera to use phase detection and contrast detection AF in the Live View mode (most DLRs rely only on contrast in Live View, which is why that AF is slow and unreliable for video, especially underwater). Long story short, the Dual-Pixel AF opens new possibilities for using autofocus when recording video. 

The 7D Mark 2 also makes big improvements for shooting with higher ISOs, as this technology is changing fast in the digital camera world. While not important for underwater photos with strobes, the higher ISO capabilities will be welcome for videographers, who can push the ISO higher before image quality becomes an issue.

We'll explore these 7D Mark II features in this review and compare the camera with other DSLRs in the same class.

 

Jump to Review Section:

 

 

Canon 7D Mark II Key Specifications

  • 20.2MP APS-C Sensor
  • Dual-Pixel CMOS AF
  • Dual Digic 6 Processors
  • 1080p/720p video both with 60fps (30fps with All-I)
  • Servo AF for video shooting
  • 65 Point "All Cross-Type" Autofocus
  • 10 FPS
  • ISO 100-16000
  • CF & SD Card Slots
  • Built-in Flash
  • GPS (no wifi)
  • New, larger capacity battery

MSRP:  $1,799 USD

 

 

Highlights for Underwater Use

 

  • Most advanced autofocus system in its class, including for video
  • Built-in flash allows you to use fiber optic cables instead of sync cords
  • High ISO performance allows for more creativity in shooting underwater video
  • Excellent camera for topside use as well. Use EF-S and EF mount lenses

 

 

Body and Controls

The Canon 7D Mark II is a semi-pro DSLR and the magnesium alloy body feels that way in your hands. The button layout is similar to the original 7D but mirrors the Canon 5D Mark III exactly. The only addition in this body is an AF Area Selection Lever built around the Multi-controller pad. This allows you to change the AF area with a flick of the thumb instead of the M-FN button above the shutter button.

I've owned several Canon bodies including the original 7D, and currently take two 5D Mark IIIs on every dive trip. I love the layout of the camera. The grip is deep enough to wrap my fingers around and enough to loosely hold the camera at your side in between topside shots. It has great balance with lens attached.

All the shooting controls are easily accessed with thumb and trigger finger for quick changes, while your left thumb controls the display, image review functions and the menu button that are generally used when the camera is away from your face.

Below are some highlights:

  • The camera/movie switch is located the the right of the viewfinder, so it's out of the way but easy to access.
  • The AF-ON button (used by some for back-button focus) is ergonomically placed for thumb access.
  • The Quick Control button once again provides quick access to settings otherwise reached through the main menu (i.e. exposure compensation and custom controls)

 

Dual card slots allow you to shoot with either a CF or SD card. You can use both slots to expand capacity, record images onto two cards (backup purposes) or even shoot RAW on one card and JPG on another. Note that when two cards are in the camera, the write speed to the cards will slow down when shooting bursts. Two cards is also nice with Magic Lantern, but note that we don't recommend installing 3rd party software on your camera.

Another upgrade in the Canon 7D Mark 2 is the improved weather sealing. Canon has made this workhorse camera into even more of a "beast" with new seals and gaskets at important points. This is not only important for shooting in the rain, but also for divers traveling to humid climates. I recently had a wave crash over my 5D with no issues. Canon makes tough cameras and the 7D Mark II promises to deliver in this area as well.

We'll be testing housing ergonomics in upcoming reviews.

 

Canon 7D Mark 2 body back

Canon 7D Mark II body top

 

 

Full Frame or Crop Sensor?

Most underwater DSLR shooters will opt for a crop sensor, as the areas in which they excel deliver tangible benefits over full frame sensors. Here's a quick breakdown:

 

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 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.

 

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.

 

 

7D Mark II Best Lenses for Underwater Use

The Canon 7D Mark II is a crop sensor (APS-C) and uses Canon's EF-S and 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 7D Mark II (and all Canon APS-C DSLR bodies).

 

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

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

 

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

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

 

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

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

 

Mid-Range Zoom Lenses

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

 

7D Mark II Sensor and Image Quality

 

Performance at High ISO

There is much focus on high ISO performance with DSLRs these days. ISO is the light sensitivity of your digital camera's sensor, and the third element of the image exposure equation. In bright outdoor shooting, a low ISO (i.e. 100) is used, however darker situations (i.e. indoors) require higher ISOs in order to maintain a shutter speed fast enough to minimize camera shake. High ISO performance is important because as the ISO increases, the amount of digital noise, or grain, in the image increases, which decreases the imaze quality.

For underwater photography, we generally use low ISOs since we light the scene with powerful strobes.

For underwater video, however, ISO becomes much more important since your shutter speed is locked and certain apertures need to be maintained for proper depth of field.

Below are sample photos showing the Canon 7D Mark II's high ISO performance.

 

RAW image.

All crops below are unprocessed except for Lightroom's default sharpening for screen.

 

ISO 800, 100% crop (note small motion blur from hand-holding 1/160s at 70mm)

 

ISO 1600, 100% crop

 

ISO 3200, 100% crop

 

ISO 6400, 100% crop

 

ISO 12800, 100% crop

 

 

DxOMark Sensor Rating

Let's geek out a second. DxOMark is a group that provides independent image quality measurements and comparisons via RAW file. For this and the next section of the review we'll look at sensor measurements for the 7D Mk2.

Canon 7D Mark II

  • Overall Score:  70
    • (Canon 70D: 68, Canon 5DMkIII: 81, Nikon D7100: 83)
  • Portrait (color depth):  22.4 bits
    • (Canon 70D: 22.5 bits, Canon 5DMkIII: 24 bits, Nikon D7100: 24.2 bits)
  • Landscape (dynamic range):  11.8 Evs
    • (Canon 70D: 11.6 Evs, Canon 5DMkIII: 11.7 Evs, Nikon D7100: 13.7 Evs)
  • Sports (low-light ISO):  1082 ISO
    • (Canon 70D: 926 ISO, Canon 5DMkIII: 2293 ISO, Nikon D7100: 1256 ISO)

Source:  DxOMark.com

 

What Does This Mean for Underwater Photography and Video?

 

The DxOMark scores above must also be interpreted with proper context. Let's go through color depth and dynamic range:

  • Color Depth:  Color sensitivity of 22 bits is excellent, and differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.  The 7D Mark II is rated as excellent - on par with the 70D and below the 5D MkIII and D7100.
  • Dynamic Range:  A value of 12 Ev is excellent, with differences of 0.5 Ev usually not noticeable. The Canon camp sits less than 0.5 Ev below this mark and so earns the excellent rank, while the D7100 excels. 

Source:  DxOMark.com

 

This must all be taken with a grain of salt. True, Nikon sensors (actually made by Sony) rank higher in performance with DxOMark, but the sensor is only one small piece of the image-making equation.

 

 

Canon 7D Mark II Spec Comparison

 

  Canon 70D Canon 7D Mk II Canon 5D Mk III Nikon D7100
Sensor 20.2MP APS-C 20.2MP APS-C 22MP Full Frame 24.1MP DX
Processor DIGIC 5+ Dual DIGIC 6 DIGIC 5+ EXPEED 3
AutoFocus 19 point AF, all cross-type dual-pixel 65 point AF, all cross-type dual-pixel, center double-cross 61 point AF, 41 cross-type, center double cross 51 point AF, 15 cross-type
Video AF Phase & contrast hybrid  Phase & contrast hybrid  Contrast detection Contrast detection
Video Framerate 1080p/30, H.264 1080p/30, H.264 1080p/30, H.264 1080p/30, H.264
FPS 7 FPS 10 FPS 6 FPS 6 FPS
Max Shutter Sync 1/250s 1/250s 1/200s 1/250s
Bullt-in Flash Yes Yes No Yes
Storage 1 slot: SD, SDHC, SDXC 2 slots: CF, SD, SDHC, SDXC 2 slots: CF, SD, SDHC, SDXC  2 slots: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Weight 755g 910g 950g 765g

 

Canon 7D Mark II vs:

 

Canon 70D:

While the sensor measurements are comparable, the 7D Mark II offers slightly better high ISO performance. It also has a much more sophisticated AF system and shoots more frames per second - great for fast action.

 

Canon 5D Mark III:

The 7D Mark II is the much cheaper option, and offers the benefits of a crop sensor (see Full Frame or Crop Sensor? section above). 

 

Nikon D7100:

The 7D Mark II offers much better autofocus and FPS than the D7100. AF in movie mode is also superior. And while the D7100's sensor may technically be better, there are many other differences to consider. For example, do you prefer the color recorded Nikon or Canon RAW files? Do you prefer the menus, buttons and ergonomics of the 7D MkII over the D7100?  

Most importantly, can you see the differences between these camera models in photos online, printed in magazines or anywhere else you'll be sharing your images? I'm a Canon shooter, so for me the decision between the 7D Mark II and D7100 is a no-brainer. A Nikon shooter will likely prefer the D7100, hands down.

 

 

Wide-Angle Tests Underwater

The Canon 7D Mark II is a great camera for underwater wide-angle photography. I tested it in the Ikelite 7D MkII housing with the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens. While conditions were not ideal on the wide-angle dive, I was able to shoot some traditional wide shots as well as some close focus wide-angle, both delivering nice results.

The 7D Mark II's autofocus performs well for wide-angle - tracking and locking onto moving targets like fish and swaying sea palms.

 

A female sheephead inspects herself in the Ikelite 8" dome port. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens.

 

A horn shark poses for a photo on a typical Malibu reef. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens.

 

nauticam 7d mark ii underwater photo

Purple hydrocoral and gorgonian at Farnsworth Bank, Catalina Island. Shot on a different day for our review of the Nauticam 7D Mark II housing with the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens.

 

nauticam 7d mark ii underwater photo

A garibaldi greets the camera at Eagle's Nest, Catalina Island. Shot on a different day for our review of the Nauticam 7D Mark II housing with the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens.

 

 

Macro Tests Underwater

I made two macro dives with the 7D Mark II for this review, both with the Ikelite housing and Canon 100mm f2.8L macro lens. This camera and lens combo delivers sharp images with nice color and contrast, even at 100% zoom.

Autofocus works nicely here as well, both with static subjects as well as tracking moving subjects like the eyes of passing fish. The 100mm lens delivers nice bokeh with the 7D Mark II.

 

A spanish shawl nudibranch lays eggs. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100mm macro lens.

 

Sharp detail on a California spiny lobster. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100mm macro lens.

 

This hermissenda nudibranch stands out even without the use of a black background. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100mm macro lens.

 

Corynactis with urchin spines in the foreground. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100mm macro lens.

 

Beautiful color and sharp detail in a kelp bass. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100mm macro lens.

 

The 7D Mark II's autofocus had no trouble tracking the eye of this passing sheephead. Shot with Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100mm macro lens.

 

 

Underwater Video

Shooting underwater video with the 7D Mark II is a pleasure. Canon's dual-pixel CMOS autofocus is super fast when using Live View. You can tell immediately that phase detection is being used to achieve focus instead of just contrast detection like other DSLR Live View modes (which focus by hunting back and forth).
 
Older Live View AF systems (like in my Canon 5D Mark III) generally take a long time for focus to shift after you recompose a shot - even with a half depress of the shutter, and especially in low light underwater. With the 7D Mark II, Servo AF quickly shifts to your new subject when recomposing, and is very fast when aiding it with half depress. Depending on your shot, the dual-pixel AF may work well enough for a shifting AF on slow pan shots since it is so much smoother.
 
The Movie Servo AF has three different modes (L+(face) Tracking, FlexiZone - Multi and FlexiZone - Single) that allow you to fine-tune the autofocus for your shot. The L+ tracking is designed for tracking human faces, so I like to use FlexiZone - Multi for full autofocus (wide scenes) and FlexiZone - Single for shots that have a strong subject, moving the focus point onto that subject. Just remember that using AF for video does give control to the camera, which might not be as creative or anticipative as you. For example, I was drifting over a group of gorgonians and the last one was much taller than the rest. As I passed over it, the AF adjusted for the close gorgonian instead of staying where it had been, and once I passed it into blue water with lots of fish life, they were all out of focus for a second while the camera adjusted back to the longer distance between subject(s) and lens. There went that shot.
 
Adjusting basic camera settings in video mode (ISO, aperture, shutter speed) will depend on the individual housing ergonomics, but all housings will allow access to the Quick settings menu when shooting in Live View. For underwater video, this is most used for changing the AF Method.
 
 
 
 
 

7D Mark II Best Settings and Menu Breakdown

Be sure to read our companion article for wide-angle, macro and video settings, plus a full breakdown of the camera menu:  
 
 
 
 
 

Underwater Housing Options

 

Available at:

Bluewater Photo

  

 

 

Nauticam Canon 7D Mark II Underwater Housing

Nauticam 7D Mk II Housing

The Nauticam housing features great ergonomic controls, quick release port lock system and vacuum pump leak detect system.

See Nauticam Canon 7D Mark II housing recommended lenses and ports on Bluewater Photo.

Read our Nauticam 7D Mark II housing review.

 

Aquatica Canon 7D Mark II Underwater Housing

Aquatica A7D Mk II Housing

The Aquatica housing is precision-made with performance that lasts , wide range of ports and vacuum pump leak detect system.

See the Aquatica Canon 7D Mark II housing recommended lenses and ports on Bluewater Photo.

 

Ikelite Canon 7D Mark II Underwater Housing

Ikelite 7D Mk II Housing

The polycarbonate Ikelite housing offers the best performance to dollar ratio for housing the 7D Mark II, with nice controls, great port selection to get every shot and vacuum pump leak detect system.

See the Ikelite Canon 7D Mark II housing recommended lenses and ports on Bluewater Photo.

Read our detailed Ikelite Canon 7D Mark II housing review.

 

Sea & Sea Canon 7D Mark II Underwater Housing

Sea & Sea 7D Mk II Housing

The Sea & Sea housing is engineered for great housing control, with a great port selection and vacuum pump leak detect system.

See the Sea & Sea Canon 7D Mark II housing recommended lenses and ports on Bluewater Photo.

 

 
 
 

Third frame shot with the 7D Mark II out of the box.

 

Subtle pre-dawn color with the 7D Mark II.

 

 

Further Reading

 

 

About the Author

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer, story teller and professional image-maker from California. Brent is editor of UWPG. Follow UWPG on Facebook for daily photos, tips & everything underwater photography. View more of Brent's work or follow him through www.BrentDimagery.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.

 


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY
Syndicate content