Review of cameras

Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera Hits the Shelves

New Olympus TG-4 brings RAW capabilities into a Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof Compact Camera


Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera Hits the Shelves

New Olympus TG-4 brings RAW capabilities into a Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof Compact Camera

By UWPG News, April 14, 2015

Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera Review


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.


Purchase the Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera & Housing Bundle from Bluewater Photo

Available May 2015 - pre-order now!


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


Olympus TG-4 Highlights (from the TG-3)

  • RAW photo capture allows for the highest ressolution capture and maximum creative control
  • New Underwater HDR shooting mode (when not using strobe)


Olympus TG-4 Underwater Housing

The Olympus TG-4 underwater housing 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, 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


Olympus TG-4 First Impressions

In reviewing the specs of the new TG-4 compact camera, we think it will be a nice camera for those who want a small and affordable vacation camera. 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 two before your scuba dives. This is some great versatility.

The Olympus TG-4 is also much more desireable to more experienced photographers 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.

The TG-4's WiFi ability also makes it easy to send your images to a table or mobile phone for editing and posting to your social networks, or directly sharing to your social network - no need to lug a heavy computer around with you.

Stay tuned as Bluewater Photo gets a TG-4 once they are available in May 2015 and takes it into the ocean for some real-world underwater photography tests.

Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera black

Olympus Tough TG-4 Camera back



Further Reading



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Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera Announced

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




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







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. 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


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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




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.





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.


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



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Canon EOS T6s and T6i DSLRs Announced

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




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.





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.


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


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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


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




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



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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



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)



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. 



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
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.


A horn shark poses for a photo on a typical Malibu reef.


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.


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.



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.


Sharp detail on a California spiny lobster.


This hermissenda nudibranch stands out even without the use of a black background.


Corynactis with urchin spines in the foreground.


Beautiful color and sharp detail in a kelp bass.


The 7D Mark II's autofocus had no trouble tracking the eye of this passing sheephead.



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:  Canon 7D Mark II Best Settings for Underwater.

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


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!


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




Canon G7X Review

Scott Gietler
Canon G7X review for underwater photography, including macro capability and housings


Canon G7X Review

Review the Canon G7X for underwater photography

By Scott Gietler


The Canon G7X "super compact" enters the scene for underwater photography. For almost 3 years, the Sony RX-100 series has reigned unchallenged as the king of compacts, particularly for underwater photography. Tiny in size, great in image quality - it quickly became a popular choice. Now the Canon G7X is challenging the RX-100 III as a potential choice for aspiring photographers. Find out if it is right for you.

The Canon G7X has a 1-inch sensor, the same sensor as the Sony RX-100 II & III, and is about the same size as those 2 cameras. It is 20% lighter than the Canon G16, and smaller. It is quite a pleasure to hold and operate, and it features the easy to use and understand Canon menu system found in their other compact cameras.

Canon G7X key specs for underwater:

  • 20 Megapixel sensor
  • 24-100mm F1.8-2.8 lens (very bright!)
  • Aperture range F1.8 - F11
  • ISO Range ISO 125 - 12,800
  • 2 inch min. focal distance at wide focal lengths
  • Weight with battery, 304 grams
  • Full manual controls, shoots in RAW
  • Flash power can be set to TTL or manual power level
  • Dimensions 103 x 60 x 40 mm (4.06 x 2.36 x 1.57 inches)
  • Battery life is CIDA rated 210 shots, 310 shots in "eco" mode


Canon G7X - key comparisons for underwater photography

Compared to the Canon G16, the G7X offers almost as good of macro capability, but in addition offers a larger sensor, more megapixels (20 vs 12), and TTL capability with strobes in manual mode, which was definitely missed by many G-series users.

Compared to the Sony RX-100 III, the G7X offers slightly faster shot to shot times when using the flash to trigger the strobes, and better macro capability - while producing the same high quality images.

DxoMark sensor tests give the Canon G7X a score of 71, with color, DR, and low-light coming in at 23bits, 12.7evs, and 556 ISO respectively. This is slightly higher than the RX-100 III score or 67, 22.4, 12.3evs, 495 ISO.


Canon G7X video review

Underwater Photography Guide and Bluewater Photo owner Scott Gietler reviews the Canon G7x on video, along with a couple of underwater housings available for it.



Canon G7X - macro capability

The macro capability is almost as good as the Canon G-series cameras, and noticeably better than the Sony RX-100 III, with or without a macro lens. It is recommended to shoot at F11 for maximum depth of field when using a wet macro lens.

MACRO - with no macro lens, showing the smallest width of a photo the camera can take. A smaller distance is better.

  • Canon G7x - 1.5 inches (you are getting very close to the subject)
  • Canon G16 - 1.5 inches (you are getting very close to the subject)
  • Sony RX-100 III - 3.5 inches


MACRO - with the Bluewater +7 macro lens, showing the smallest width of a photo the camera can take. A smaller distance is better.

  • Canon G7x - 1.2 inches
  • Canon G16 - 1 inch
  • Sony RX-100 III - 1.75 inches

Canon G7X - wide angle wet lenses

Because of the 24-100mm lens, the housing does not work well with many wide-angle lenses that were designed for 28mm cameras. Lenses such as the Dyron Super-Wide lens and the Inon UWL-H100 lens will work but may require zooming in slightly, depending on the housing. Results with both the Recsea and the Recsea CW housing in the pool were quite good, the image was about 2.5 times as wide with the Dyron lens than without. It was necessary to zoom in 2 clicks to eliminate a small amount of vignetting in the corners. Results with a wet lens will be a little wider on the Sony RX-100 III, and even wider on the Sony RX-100 I or II.


Canon G7x Review
Canon G7X, Recsea housing, no wet lens at 24mm


Canon G7X underwater photo wide-angle wet lens
Canon G7X, Recsea housing, Dyron super wide-angle, zoomed in 2 clicks


Canon G7X - auto-focus speed

I tested the auto-focus speed on the Canon G7X in both low-light conditions, and in macro mode. I found the results to be quite good for a compact camera, at least as good as the Sony RX-100 III, or perhaps slightly better. Shooters upgrading from a G-series or S-series Canon compact will definitely notice a difference. However, the camera still does not match the focusing speed of the more recent mirrorless cameras.

Canon G7X - TTL and flash recycle speed

The Canon G7X can do TTL with Sea & Sea and Inon strobes via fiber optics and using its internal flash. The flash setting on the menu must be set to "auto", which is the default. The flash can also be set to manual power, and has a min, medium, and max power setting. 

Flash recycle time is fairly good when the flash is on the minimum power setting, about 1 second in between shots. However, on max power, there is a noticely delay in between shots, about 5 seconds long. 

Canon G7X low light performance

Low light performance is great, better than a regular compact and on par with many mirrorless cameras. Check out the great looking photo I took inside my place at ISO 1600. Extensive "lab" results of high ISO performance can be found on sites such as dpreview.

Canon G7X
"Tree of decals", F4, 1/40th, 24mm, ISO 1600

Canon G7X high iso results
Canon G7X ISO 1600 test - 100% crop taken from the photo above it


Canon G7X underwater housings

Housings are currently available from Ikelite and Recsea, with underwater housings from Nauticam and Fantasea expected soon. The Recsea CW, Fantasea and Ikelite housings are less expensive, polycarbonate housings, while the Recsea aluminum & Nauticam housings are more expensive, finely crafted aluminum underwater housings with precise controls.

We tested both the Recsea G7X housing, and the less expensive polycarbonate Recsea CW GX7 housing, and found both housings excellent in quality and controls, offering great options at two price points and good wet lens options for both macro & wide-angle.

The Nauticam G7X housing will be announced soon, and will feature a changeable port so a "short port" can be added on land.

G7X underwater housings from Ikelite, Nauticam and Fantasea will be tested soon upon arrival.



Recsea G7X housing

This is a well-made aluminum housing.

Purchase the Recsea Canon G7X Housing on Bluewater Photo




Nauticam G7X housing

Another well-made aluminum housing.

Purchase the Nauticam Canon G7X Housing on Bluewater Photo





Purchase the Ikelite Canon G7X Housing on Bluewater Photo





Recsea G7X CW housing

This tiny polycarbonate housing at $550 is a best buy.

Purchase the Recea Canon G7X CW Housing on Bluewater Photo




Fantasea G7X housing

This polycarbonate housing at $499 is a great value.

Purchase the Fantasea Canon G7X Housing on Bluewater Photo






The Canon G7X will be a popular choice for photographers who are fans of the G-series or S-series Canon compacts, but are looking for a little better image quality & focus speed, while maintaining a very small setup underwater.

Its main "cons" are a shorter battery life than its competitors, and the lack of ability to use a fisheye lens.

The Canon G7X will excel in macro, fish and ambient light shots, while also being able to take decent wide-angle underwater photos. Overall, we highly recommend you take a serious look at this newcomer in the underwater photography field.


About the Author

Scott Gietler is the owner of the Underwater Photography Guide, Bluewater Photo & Bluewater Travel 


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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!


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GoPro Hero4 Review for Underwater Video

Brent Durand
Review and guide to underwater video with the GoPro Hero4, including specs, shooting tips, maintenance, filters and accessories.


GoPro Hero4 Review for Underwater Video

Review and guide to underwater video with the GoPro Hero4, including specs, shooting tips, maintenance, filters and accessories for scuba diving.

By:  Brent Durand

GoPro Hero4 Video Review



The GoPro Hero4 is another feature-packed, ultra HD video camera that will be a very popular underwater video camera for scuba diving. The camera boasts several upgrades over the GoPro Hero 3+ and comes in two models: The Hero4 Black and the Hero4 Silver. In short, the black model is 2x as powerful as the Hero 3+, while the new silver model comes with a built-in touch display so that you can better-compose and review your shots.

One of the major upgrades is faster video frame rates for 4K and 2.7K video. Recording video at this resolution is very resource-intensive, and the faster frame rates require even more computer processing power and hard drive storage space. Make sure to read our recommended settings below to make sure you’re using the best settings for your underwater video with the GoPro Hero4.

The GoPro Hero4 also has some big menu / navigation changes, making it much easier to switch modes and change camera settings in the midst of the underwater action.

The experts at Bluewater Photo can also help answer any questions about using your GoPro Hero4 underwater, accessories and much more.


GoPro Hero4 Video Review

Wave shot with the GoPro Hero4 Silver.


Jump to Review Section:


GoPro Hero4 Video Review



  • 4K, 2.7K, 1440p, 1080p and 720p HD video resolutions
  • 12MB Camera with burst mode up to 30fps, time lapse and more
  • Stunning clarity, low light performance and audio recording
  • New long exposure Night Photo and Night Lapse modes
  • New HiLight Tag feature to tag a moment in your video to find easy during post processing
  • Waterproof to 131 ft (40m) in GoPro housing
  • Protune mode for custom control of settings that allow flexibility in post-processing
  • Record Video + Still Photos
  • WiFi and Bluetooth control


Difference Between GoPro Hero4 Silver and Hero4 Black

The Hero4 Black features faster video frame rates, used primarily for creating incredible slow motion and for pulling sharp still images from the video. The Hero4 Silver features a built-in touch display for easy composition of shots (this is sold as an add-on accessory for the Hero4 Black) and image/video review. Note that you can't touch the screen while inside the housing, but you get the same functionality via button control.


Video:  Bluewater Photo compares the Hero4 Black and Hero4 Silver


Hero4 Black Tech Specs

  • Video Resolutions & FPS

o   4K (30fps, 25,24), 4K SuperView (24), 2.7K (50, 48, 30, 25, 24), 2.7K SuperView (30, 25), 2.7K 4:3 (30, 25), 1440p (80, 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24), 1080p (120, 90, 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24), 1080 SuperView (80, 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24), 960p (120, 60, 50), 720p (120, 60, 50, 30, 25), 720p SuperView (120, 60, 50), WVGA (240)

  • Video Format

o   H.264 codec, .mp4 file format

  • Photo Resolution

o   12MP (default) Wide Field of View: 4,000 x 3,000 pixels

  • Protune Settings

o   Manual control of: White Balance, Color, ISO Limit, Sharpness, Shutter and Exposure Value Compensation

  • Ports

o   Mini USB, Micro HDMI, microSD

  • Storage

o   microSD memory card with Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required

o   Up to 64GB capacity supported

o   Read our 'Guide to Choosing a Memory Card'


Why Upgrade from the Hero 3+ Black?

The Hero4 Black has 2x the performance as the Hero 3+ Black. It has improved image quality, a processor that is 2x faster and faster video frame rates.

The GoPro Hero 4 is also easier to use. The function of the side WiFi button of the Hero 3 and Hero 3+ has been changed. Now you can access camera settings for the camera mode you're using (Video, Photo or Multi-shot) - no need to scroll through the 1st and 2nd menus to make the changes.

The Night Photo and Night Lapse modes are also new, and while not used for underwater video, open up many creative photo possibilities with the Hero4.


GoPro Hero4 Night Review

The Hero4's new Night Photo mode opens up the doors for creative shooting at night. Add in a mobile workflow and you can post great images anytime.

- GoPro Hero 4 Night Photo mode. Protune On (Shutter: Auto, WB: Auto, Color: Flat, ISO: 100, Sharpness: Med, EV Comp: 0)

- Composed and Shot with GoPro App on iPhone 5

- Edited on Lightroom Mobile & ready to share




The GoPro Hero4 defaults to video mode when turned on. For most divers, this is exactly what we want, however the camera can also be changed to turn on in Photo or Multi-shot mode.

The GoPro Hero4 default video setting is 1080 - 30, which is a great setting for underwater video beginners. It delivers a video resolution of 1080p (full HD video), which makes you look like a pro when uploading to Facebook, YouTube, etc.

The Hero4 default camera setting is 12MB. Again, this is perfect for shooting still photos and will only be adjusted by more experienced shooters, who might use the camera in Protune mode (requires post processing) the new night modes, etc.




For most underwater video shooting, we recommend the below settings: 

  • Mode:  Video
  • Resolution:  1080p
  • FPS: 60
  • FOV:  W
  • Low Light:  Off
  • Spot Meter:  Off
  • Protune:  Off


This is depicted as '1080 - 60' on the camera. This resolution/framerate is regarded as a standard digital video setting that balances full HD resolution with ability to process the video and upload/view on sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook.

Shooting at 60fps has become the norm for online video (cinema is traditionally 24fps). Shooting at this framerate allows the camera to use a faster shutter speed, which is great for capturing fast action and for pulling still images from your video. 60fps also allows you to create smooth slow motion scenes during post processing. Imagine a shark swimming by or sea lion acrobatics.

If you experience jumpy playback when watching the video clips on your computer (even after a fresh restart) then you will want to reduce framerate and/or resolution... or upgrade computers. A simple switch from 60fps to 30fps will often allow your computer to play the video smoothly.

As you get more comfortable with video workflow from your GoPro Hero4:


Try 120fps. The GoPro Hero4 can shoot 1080p at 120fps.  Experience incredibly smooth slow motion!

Try SuperView.  Shooting in GoPro's Superview mode creates a widescreen effect, stretching the aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 by adding pixels to the sides of the frame. There will be some warping on the sides of the image, but for most underwater video use this is acceptable. An easy way to think of it is that SuperView opens the field of view for more "pulled back" shots. Same idea as crop sensor vs. full frame DSLR.

We recommend using SuperView in certain underwater video scenes. The first is anytime you will be close to a very large subject (i.e. whale shark or fast-moving sea lions). With SuperView, you'll be less likely to cut off part of the subject. The second is anytime you're shooting a selfie and want to show the scenery around you. The wider field of view will allow your audience to see more than your beautiful face! Don't forget to shoot underwater selfies with your still setup also.

Try recording in 2.7K. While 4k is quickly increasing in popularity among amateur videographers (most pros are already using 4K video cameras), 2.7k delivers incredible resolution that you will notice when viewing videos on YouTube or Vimeo.




Expirienced video shooters will enjoy shooting 4K video with their GoPro Hero4. While the Hero 3+ Black was limited to 15fps at 4K, the Hero4 can shoot 30fps. This means that 4K is now a very nice option for those who are looking for maximum screen resolution. Combine this with GoPro's Protune custom settings and you're able to fine-tune each shot in-camera while also having more leeway during post processing to match footage shot in different conditions or even with different cameras.

The Hero4 also increased the frame rate at 1080P to 120fps. This will provide even greater slow motion footage at this full HD resolution, which would be very cool with many fast wide-angle subjects.

Lastly, Protune mode is a necessity for manual control of your shots. See below.

*Frame rates listed are NTSC. The Hero4 has comprable PAL fps settings.


**Update 2/4/15:  GoPro has announced NEW features for the GoPro Hero4 Black and Hero4 Silver, including faster video frame rates, a longer burst interval and more.

Learn more about the New GoPro Hero4 Features


GoPro Hero4 Video Review




Protune allows you manual control of camera settings. This recording mode is designed for experienced video shooters who have a creative vision for their shot, which is often captured with post-processing adustments in mind.


White Balance:  Adjust the color tone of videos and photos.

Color:  Select the color profile. GoPro Color applies the same color correction you would see with Protune turned off, while Flat is a neutral color profile that allows for more adjustments during post processing.

ISO Limit:  Higher ISOs help deliver brighter video/photos in dark environments, however the higher the ISO, the more graininess to the image. This setting lets you choose how much brightness vs. graininess you would like in your low light shots (i.e. underwater).

Sharpness:  Customize the sharpness of your videos and photos.

Shutter:  Customize the time the shutter is left open (up to 30 seconds) when using Night Photo and Night Lapse modes.

Exposure Value Compensation: Manually adjust exposure by up to 2 stops (up or down) - useful in contrasting lighting conditions when you'd like a different exposure than produced by the camera's metering system. Useful underwater when shooting up.




Housing & Filters:

The GoPro Hero4 uses the same housing as the Hero 3+. This is great news since underwater video filters designed for the 3+ can be used with the 4. Be sure to check out our 'Guide to Filters for GoPro' article.


The GoPro Hero4 has a new battery, so batteries from previous GoPro versions cannot be used.

LCD Display:

The GoPro Hero4 will work with the Hero3+ and Hero3 LCD displays. If you haven't purchased one yet, you may want to wait a couple weeks since GoPro will be releasing a brand new LCD display for the Hero4 in November.


All your mounts from previous GoPro models with work with the Hero4 housing, this includes trays/handles, selfie poles, suction cup mounts and everything else. 




Maintaining your GoPro Hero4 is easy, and will not likely flood if properly cared for. Here are our top maintenance tips:

  • Rinse the GoPro (while still inside sealed housing) in freshwater immediately after use. This will rinse the salt water off before it has a chance to evaporate and leave crystal buildup inside the buttons, making them hard to push.
  • When opening and closing the housing, it is CRITICAL to inspect the white o-ring and the o-ring groove on the opposide side of the housing for debris (hair, lint, sand, etc) before closing. The o-ring must also be properly seated, with no twists, in its groove (with proper use, the o-ring will not fall off).


GoPro Hero4 Video Review




GoPro App:

The GoPro app serves many functions for your GoPro Hero4, however they (obviously) can't be used while underwater. The app allows you to control the camera, view what you're recording, change settings, use the built-in WiFi to transfer photo/video to your device and more.

The GoPro app is perfect for those who find navigating the settings menus difficult - you can adjust the settings via app and then only need to worry about on/off on the camera itself.

I like to use the app in shooting situations where I want to see what the GoPro is seeing. I don't have the LCD so relied on the app to compose the night shot with the pier above.


GoPro App

GoPro App screenshot from iPhone 5


GoPro Studio 2.0:

GoPro Studio 2.0 is GoPro's free video editing software. It's free to download and very easy to use. Workflow is similar to that of Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut, so it's a great way to start editing video before investing in professional software.

Check out our tutorial on Editing Underwater Video with GoPro Studio.


gopro studio

GoPro Studio editing software





Hero4 Setup

While the default photo and video settings out of the box are perfect for new GoPro users, I immediately wanted to dig into the settings for our in-pool test. GoPro has simplified navigation of the menus making it easier and faster to change settings.

There are three main modes (Video, Photo, Multi-shot) accessed through the front button. But instead of scrolling through the main menu to enter the secondary menu for customizing these modes (like in the Hero 3 and 3+ models), you enter the settings for the mode you're on with a push of the side button. Voila. This button still serves to turn WiFi on and off, however it must be held for a couple seconds.

One negative is that the display is small and the settings are abbreviated, so make sure you get to know the camera in a relaxing setting before heading out to film your video. Alternatively, you can adjust all the settings through the GoPro App, which is a much easier interface.


GoPro Hero4 Video Review


The battery compartment door is now spring-loaded and placed on the bottom of the camera. This is nice for three reasons:

  • You can replace batteries without removing the LCD display
  • It's easier to open the compartment and swap batteries
  • It feels cool to open the spring door


GoPro Hero4 Video Review



Hero4 In the Water

Using the GoPro Hero4 in the water is nice. Everything remains the same as previous GoPros, especially the need for a tray/handle setup or selfie pole to help stabilize and hold onto the camera.

GoPro changed the housing buttons on the Hero 3+, and since the Hero4 uses the same housing, it's much easier to push the buttons than on the Hero 3 and older models.

The 32GB Max-Flash MicroSD card handled all the data with no problems, even 4k at 60fps.


GoPro Hero4 Video Review



Video:  Slow Motion:  30fps vs. 120fps

The video below demonstrates how faster frame rates will deliver smoother slow motion in your underwater video. These scenes were shot at 1080p resolution and slowed to 25% of normal speed during post processing.

You can see how the first dive (at 30fps) in the video is choppy while the second dive (at 120fps) is much smoother when slowed down.


Video:  SuperView Comparison Test

SuperView expands the field of view of from the GoPro Hero4 by dynamically stretching (adding pixels) the sides of the frame. The concept is similar to the difference in field of view between a crop sensor and a full frame DSLR, the full frame being SuperView. 

In the video below you'll see that the SuperView shots appear more "pulled back" than the non SuperView shots. See our Recommended Settings above for more details.






Micro SD Card

GoPro recommends using a Class 10 memory card (or better). For underwater video, we recommend a card with minimum of 32GB, so that you can record video all day (with normal recording) without changing cards. We recommend 64GB of memory. The Max-Flash Micro SD cards come with a SD Card mount so that you can insert the card into your computer or card reader.

Max-Flash 64GB Micro SD Card

Max-Flash 32GB Micro SD Card


Spare Battery

GoPro Hero4 Battery

The battery in your GoPro Hero4 will last about one dive. If using accessories like the LCD screen (with Hero4 Black) it will last even less time. Buying one or two extra batteries allows to you change it out during your surface intervals.

 GoPro Hero4 Spare Battery



Dual Battery Charger

GoPro Hero4 Dual Battery Charger

You can charge your batteries in the camera (one at a time) or use the dual battery charger to charge two batteries at once while still being able to use the camera.

GoPro Hero4 Dual Battery Charger



SeaLife Aquapod

SeaLife Aquapod

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

SeaLife Aquapod



GoPro Multigrip Handle

GoPro Multigrip Handle

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

GoPro Multigrip Handle



GoPro Tray and Handles

GoPro Handles and Tray

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

Ultralight Tray & Handles for GoPro

R Innovations Tray & Handles for GoPro

Beneath the Surface Angled Double GoPro Tray



GoPro Underwater Filters

Polar Pro Switchblade Filter for GoPro

Read our detailed filter guide, which explains why you need to use filters, which colors to use in different types of water and different models available, including PolarPro's popular SwitchBlade filter.

Detailed Article:  'Guide to Filters for Underwater Video'



Video Lights

i-torch fishlite video light

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

I-Torch Fishlite V24

Light & Motion Sola 500

FIX Neo 1200 DX

Be sure to visit Bluewater Photo to learn about more high-powered video lights.



UWPG's GoPro Tutorial Series




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 at and some of his GoPro videos at



Support the Underwater Photography Guide:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photog 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 E-PL7 first impressions review

Scott Gietler
Initial impressions of the Olympus E-PL7 camera, and comparison to the E-PL5 & E-M10

Olympus E-PL7 Review

By Scott Gietler & Kelli Dickinson



The Olympus E-PL5 mirrorless camera, with it fast-focusing and great image quality, has been a very popular camera for underwater photography, especially when combined with the economical Olympus E-PL5 underwater housing.

The E-PL6 was released in Japan, but some of the other distributors balked at releasing the E-PL6 in their country because the differences between the E-PL5 were so minor.

Now the Olympus E-PL7 has been announced. None of the upgrades are earth-shattering, they are all very minor but they do help make it a slightly better camera versus the E-PL5. Let's take a look at the key upgrades:


Olympus E-PL7 Features:

  • 16MP Sensor (Same as E-PL5)
  • Improved TruPic VII Processor (better than E-PL5, same as the OM-D E-M10)
  • 1/250th sync speed (same as E-PL5, better than the OM-D E-M1)
  • ISO LOW for ISO 100 support  - the E-PL5 lowest ISO was ISO 200
  • Improved Tilting LCD screen (flips down 180 degrees)
  • 3 axis image stabilization (vs E-PL5 dual-axis - which is also now used for video)
  • 24Mbps bit rate for video, vs 20Mbps on E-PL5
  • 81 auto-focus points vs 35 auto focus points on E-PL5
  • Wireless support


Be sure to check out Bluewater Photo's Best Settings & Shooting Guide for the Olympus E-PL7.


Olympus E-PL7 for wide-angle sunballs

The new changes on the E-PL7 means that we can now photograph sunballs at F22, 1/250th, ISO 100. This is a nice improvement for photographers who want to do serious underwater wide-angle photography.


Olympus E-PL7 versus OM-D E-M10

The E-PL7 and the E-M10 actually have very similar specifications, with the biggest differences between that the slightly more expensive E-M10 has an electronic viewfinder and a built-flash, both of which are nice features. I recommend getting the E-PL7 if you want to get the money-saving Olympus brand underwater housing, and the E-M10 if you want to use the much better quality Nauticam E-M10 housing.


Olympus E-PL7 PT-EP12 underwater housing - BIG CHANGES!

The Olympus PT-EP12 underwater housing is available in the US for $750, buy it here. Olympus surprised everyone by making some big changes to the PT-EP12 housing.

The new housing is definitely smaller, easier to hold and has a larger shutter release. Buttons are tired and labeled nicely as they have been in the past, and a new control knob on the front of the housing corresponds to the new control dial on the top of the camera making exposure changes quick and easy.

New Standard Port

The most apparent change is that they've redesigned the front port. No longer does the housing include the large standard port which worked with the 14-42mm II R, 9-18mm and 60mm macro lenses. Olympus ignored the usefulness of these lenses and redesigned the port for the newer, smaller 14-42mm EZ lens. As always they continue to stand behind the idea that this port is "not removeable" and thus will not be offering the older standard port as an option to purchase for the housing. This is a huge disappointment for many people.

In addition, in the USA the E-PL7 is only being sold as a kit with the original 14-42mm II lens or body only. So users who buy this kit and the housing will be disappointed. To use the camera in the housing users will also have to purchase the 14-42mm EZ lens which is being sold separately for a whopping $350 USD.

Using Third Party Lens Ports

Luckily Olympus did not change everything on this housing. The new port maintains the same diameter and design as the original standard port, which means that all third party ports will still work great with the PT-EP12 housing. What we recommend is to purchase the E-PL7 camera as body only, then purchase the lenses you plan to use underwater, such as the Olympus 60mm Macro, the Olympus 9-18mm or Panasonic 8mm Fisheye. You can get third party ports for all these lenses and they work great with the E-PL7 underwater.

Wide Angle Port Options

For the Olympus 9-18mm and Panasonic 8mm domes from Precision and Zen already exist allowing for perfect, sharp results. Use the Precision or the Zen 4" dome for the 8mm Fisheye Lens. For the 9-18mm, 12-50mm or standard 14-42mm II kit lens the Zen WA-100-EP dome is perfect. Tests with the housing confirm that the zoom gear for 14-42mm / 9-18mm still work perfectly.

Olympus E-PL7, Panasonic 8mm FE ISO200, F4, 1/60

Macro Port Options

To use the Olympus 60mm underwater with great results you'll want to purchase two pieces from Zen. You'll need the FP-100 port designed for the 45mm macro lens and the ER-EP-25 Extension Ring, which extends the FP-100 port so it works with the Olympus 60mm Macro. You can also use the 12-50mm lens behind the flat port. Olympus' UW mode controls allows you to shoot at Wide and Tele, not full zoom control or the dedicated macro mode.

Using the 14-42mm EZ Lens

From tests with the housing the 14-42mm EZ lens would only be recommended if you are looking for a very easy to use, simple, single lens set up with the housing. Olympus is not making a zoom gear to function with this lens. This means that you are limited to shooting at 14mm or 42mm by utilizing Olympus' built in Underwater WIDE and Underwater TELE controls, which automatically zooms the lens with a touch of a button on the camera. Unfortunately this also presets the camera to P Mode, Underwater White Balance, Flash at Fill-In and ISO Auto. You can override these settings to any others in a matter of seconds, but it does get annoying, and does not allow for quick changes at a moments notice.

In addition, the smaller flat port with the 14-42mm EZ lens does allow for the use of some wet lenses for both wide angle and marco. This makes the camera set up more similar to a compact camera, where you can change from wide to macro underwater with the use of wet lenses, like the UWL-04. However you are still limited to shooting full wide or full zoom, so do not hav the flexibility of intermediate zoom ranges for portrait type shots. Stay tuned for wet lens tests.

E-PL7 lens selection for underwater

For underwater, most people will end up using the following lenses:

  • Panasonic 8mm fisheye - for ultra-wide angle
  • Olympus 9-18mm fisheye, for general wide-angle and sharks
  • Olympus 14-42mm EZ lens - for those wanting a simple single lens system
  • Olympus 60mm lens - for small fish, macro, supermacro

For more details and lens choices, visit our guide to the best mirrorless lenses for underwater.



Olympus E-PL7 Settings & Shooting Guide

Visit Bluewater Photo to view our detailed Settings & Shooting Guide for the Olympus E-PL7.


Olympus E-PL7 conclusions

The Olympus E-PL5 has been an extremely popular and recommended camera for underwater photography, and the E-PL7 will follow in its footsteps nicely, especially when paired with the economical Olympus brand housing.

We recommend this camera for those wanting the great quality of the micro-four thirds sensors and interchangeable lenses. It works best with the lenses recommended above. Alternately this is a great option for folks looking for a higher quality single lens system as an upgrade from a compact camera, planning to shoot mostly auto mode.

Users who want a better quality housing and more port choices will want to either go for the Nauticam OM-D E-M10, or the high-end Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 4 OM-D E-M1 underwater housing choices.

The camera is available now. In the USA it will be $599 body only, or $699 with the 14-42mm kit lens.


Further Reading



Where to buy your photo gear

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Book through our sister company, Bluewater Travel

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by booking your next dive trip through Bluewater Travel. It will never cost you more, and often less. Email them any dive travel question, or call at (310) 915-6677 for expert advice!


Sony RX-100 III Review for Underwater Photos

Scott Gietler
Pros and cons of the new Sony RX-100 III and its new 24-70mm lens


Sony RX-100 III Review

Focusing on Underwater Photography and Video

By Scott Gietler




History of the Sony RX-100 III

When the Sony RX-100 was released in June of 2012, it had a huge impact in the underwater photography field. It packed a huge sensor it a tiny size (very pocketable), it did great video, it could do TTL in manual mode, and it worked great with all wide-angle lenses, inlcuding my favorite lens, the UWL-04 fisheye lens.


The RX-100 II came out in June/July of last year, but offered little in terms of new features.  It claimed a new "back-lit" sensor, although I noticed little difference in underwater photos.

Now less than a year later, Sony has announced the RX-100 III. Although it adds a better video bit-rate and adds an electronic viewfinder, it also changes the lens from a 28-100mm lens to a 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 lens, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you want to use the camera for.


With a wet macro lens, a longer focal length will always give you more working distance and more magnification, so you will see astep back in these areas. In addition, we have generally seen 24mm lenses not work as a well with wide-angle wet lenses as 28mm lenses do. We tested this in the pool, and you can see our summary of the results below.


sony RX-100 III review for underwater photography



Sony RX-100 III pros and cons for underwater photography


Sony RX-100 III Pros:

Increased bit rate for video

  • The bit rate for video increased from 28Mbps to 50Mpbs, if you use the new XAVC format. However, the Sony RX-100 and RX-100 II already took very good video, so I'm not sure if the majority of shooters will utilize the higher bit-rate offered. There is also a new 120fps mode (120fps in Europe) that can be slowed down in an editor for slow-motion video.

New electronic viewfinder included

  • Electronic viewfinder is now included. The EVF can be useful in very bright-light conditions. However, the underwater housings do not support the EVF, so this feature is not useful for underwater photos. On land, I've tried the EVF and it is bright and fairly sharp, and will be a welcome addition for certain shooting conditions.

Lens is brighter at the long end

  • New 24-70mm F1.8/2.8 lens is brighter (F2.8) at 70mm than the old lens on the RX-100 / RX-100 II. This wil be beneficial for low-light shooting indoors, but for underwater photography I actually prefer the longer lens of the RX-100 and RX-100 II. Also, I don't find myself shooting wide-open very often underwater anyways when I zoom in.

3-stop ND filter included

  • If this is your camera for shooting creative waterfall shots, or in extremely bright conditions, then this feature will be useful.

Great Focus Speed

  • The Sony RX-100 III focuses very fast, must better than most other compact cameras

Awesome photos and video

  • The image quality of the images and video is outstanding, professional level photos and video can be taken with this camera


Cons of the RX-100 III for underwater

Slightly Larger and less pocketable

  • 10% larger and 15% heavier than the RX-100. When holding the 2, the RX-100 III is slightly heavier. Although it is still a small camera, I would consider it "semi-pocketable", instead of slim and truly pocketable like the RX-100


  • The RX-100 III is more costly than the RX-100

Less macro capability

  • The 24-70mm lens will not give as much magnification as the 28-100mm lens will. The RX-100 can take a photo 3 inches across, the RX-100 II can take a photo 4 inches across. When using the Bluewater +7 macro lens, I am able to take a photo 1.37 inches wide at maximum magnification with the RX-100. With the RX-100 III, I can take a photo 1.78 inches across. also have a little less working distance with the RX-100 III. So while you can still get good macro shots, you get more magnificaiton with the older RX-100 versions.

Less reach for shy subjects

  • 24-70mm lens gives less working distance for shy subjects. For gobies, mantis shrimp, jawfish, etc. I like to zoom in to at least 100mm, preferable 120 - 140mm. Of course, you can always just crop the photo.



Kelp forest with Fantasea Sony RX-100 III housing.



Sony RX-100 III underwater housings

The Ikelite RX-100 III housing, the Recsea RX-100 III housing, and the Nauticam RX-100 III housing are all currently on the market.


Ikelite RX-100III Housing


Ikelite RX-100 III underwater housing

The Ikelite housing is acrylic and less expensive, while the other brands are made of aluminum with more highly-designed controls.



Recsea RX100 III housing

Recsea RX-100 III underwater housing

I used the Recsea RX-100 III underwater housing in the pool, and I found the housing easy to use and the controls well made. The was a diagram showing the function of the controls, which made it easy to find the menu and play buttons when I needed them.

Read our detailed review and specs for the the Recsea RX-100 III Housing.


Nauticam RX100 III Housing


Nauticam RX-100 III underwater housing

I also briefly used the Nauticam housing in the pool. The housing is small and very well made, with a leak detector and well-labeled controls. The control dials worked well when I needed to adjust the aperture and the shutter speed. I also did some wide-angle wet lens tests that I'll be publishing this week. The Dyron super-wide angle lens worked the best, with sharp, ultra-results. The Bluewater WA-100 wide-angle lens and the Inon UWL-100 lens gave similar, less wide results (but still very sharp and much wide with no wide-angle lens).

Read our detailed review and specs for the the Nauticam RX-100 III Housing.


Fantasea RX100 III Housing

Fantasea RX100 III Underwater Housing

The FRX100 III housing introduces high standards of function, style and durability. Fantasea has several popular compact camera housings, and the RX100 III lives up to this reputation. At $499, it is the least expensive housing.



Fantasea RX100 III Housing

Acquapazza RX100 III Underwater Housing

The Acquapazza RX100 III housing is a very stylish, small aluminum housing with a high build quality and full control over all of the camera functionality. At $799, it is one of the best values of all of the aluminum housings. You have a choice of several colors.







Sony RX-100 III underwater photo

I managed to jump in the pool and take some photos with the RX-100 III, I really enjoyed using the small setup. I was very impressed by the sharpness, color and low-noise levels.

sony rx-100 III underwater photos

In the pool with a water gun. Sony RX-100 III, Recsea RX-100 III housing, ambient light. F8, 1/400th, ISO 400. Photo: Scott Gietler.

View more underwater photos from my Sony RX-100 III underwater pool session.



Additional Underwater Photos

Up through the kelp with the Fantasea Sony RX100 III housing.


Juvenile garibaldi shot with the Fantasea Sony RX100 III housing.


sony rx-100 III underwater photos

Shark in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F4, 1/250. Photo: Caryn Bing


sony rx-100 III underwater photos

Puffer in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F2.8, 1/30. Photo: Caryn Bing


sony rx-100 III underwater photos

Turtle & diver in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F4, 1/80. Photo: Caryn Bing


sony rx-100 III underwater photos

Wreck & open water background in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F2.8, 1/40. Photo: Caryn Bing



Sony RX-100 III Conclusions

We will be testing this underwater further to update our initial thoughts. If you are doing professional-level video, or using the camera extensively for creative indoor and outdoor photos, you may be interested in the RX-100 III. I recommend sticking with the RX-100 or RX-100 II if you are solely focusing on underwater photography. You can always speak with the experts at Bluewater Photo for detailed advice.



Further Reading



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