Camera Reviews

Detailed camera reviews for underwater photo and video, including specs, key features for u/w photography and camera comparisons.
Preview of the newly announced Nikon D7500 camera specs and best lenses for underwater photography
By Chino Mendoza

Nikon D7500 Camera Preview

Chino Mendoza
Preview of the newly announced Nikon D7500 camera specs and best lenses for underwater photography

Nikon has just announced their new addition to their mid-range line, D7500.  From the specs that was released, the camera is built to perform.  

It is built around a 20.9 MP DX-format image sensor and EXPEED 5 processor; same as the award-winning D500. Aside from that, the camera is packed with features such as  wide ISO range up to 51,200, 8 fps, rugged design, 3.2 inch tilting touchscreen, 4K video to name a few.

Truly this would be a game changer for its class whether for topside or for underwater.

Below are the specs for the new Nikon D7500.

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

Retail Price: $1,249.95 USD

Nikon D7500 Specifications

  • 20.9 MP DX-Format Image Sensor 

  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor

  • Wide ISO Range up to 51,200

  • Fast Write Speeds

  • 8 fps Continuous Shooting

  • 51 Focus Points

  • 180,000-pixel RGB Sensor

  • 3.2 inch Tilting Touchscreen

  • 4K Video

  • Rugged Design

  • Up to 950 Shots in One Battery

  • Built-in WiFi

  • Bluetooth


Best Lenses for the Nikon D7500

The Nikon D7500 multiple lenses available in the market that would best suit the Nikon D7500, we would focus on lenses for underwater application. Underwater photography generally falls into two categories, wide-angle and macro. The lenses below are best for shooting in these styles.

Fisheye Lenses

This Tokina fisheye lens is dubbed 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 Nikon version and not the Canon version, as these are two different mounts. Read our review of the Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye Lens.


Wide-Angle & Versatile Lenses

Divers who will be shooting sharks, whales or schools of fishes that may be further away may opt for a mid-range zoom lens like the  Nikon 10-24mm, Sigma 17-70mm or  Nikon 16-35mm. Many divers also use the Sigma 17-70mm OSM HSM for it's great flexibility between wide-angle and macro.


Macro Lens

There are two options main options for macro lens, Nikon 60mm and Nikon 105mm VR. The Nikon 60mm Macro lens is great starter lens and it is easy to use. The other option is the Nikon 105mm VR, it is great for macro and super macro. 


Underwater Housings Options

Since the camera has just been announced, we are still uncertain with what housing will be available. We will be updating this article as soon as we receive any information on what housings will cater to this wonderful camera.  But we are expecting to seee housings from these manufacturers.


Nauticam D7500 Underwater Housing

Aquatica D7500 Underwater Housing

Sea & Sea D7500 Underwater Housing

Ikelite D7500 Underwater Housing



The Nikon D7500 will surely be an excellent camera for underwater photo / video. Sensor and processor same as the D500, wide selection of lenses, excellent dynamic range and high ISO performance, fast autofocus, 4K video and versatility will set the bar high. We expect to see housings announced several months after the camera begins shipping. Check back for more updates on the Nikon D7500.  

Additional Resources


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


In-depth review of the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 micro 4/3 mirrorless camera, with video tests, comparisons, still photos and more
By UWPG Editors

Panasonic GH5 Camera Review

UWPG Editors
In-depth review of the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 micro 4/3 mirrorless camera, with video tests, comparisons, still photos and more

The much anticipated Panasonic LUMIX GH5 micro 4/3 mirrorless camera is here! We've been eagerly awaiting the successor to the LUMIX GH4, which quickly became popular for its high-quality video, customization, small size and great price.

The Panasonic GH5 is packed full of carefully thought-out features designed to let videographers of all levels record what they need with the new system. The body is larger and the price tag increased as a result, but the video produced speaks for itself. Oh yea, and did we mention that the GH5's still photo capability holds it's own against the best from Olympus and Sony?

We shot with the GH5 for several days pre-release to create the tests and reviews below. Once we get our first production model in late April we'll continue adding more tests, sample videos and shooting guides... especially once the first underwater housings are released.

Preorder the Panasonic GH5 at Bluewater Photo.


Jump to Section:

Specs   -   Firmware Upgrade Path   -   GH5 Sample Footage & Test Video

Kelli Dickinson:  Detailed GH5 Comparison with Olympus E-M1 Mk II and Sony a7R II

Specs   -   Physical   -   Battery Life   -   Electronic Viewfinder / EFV   -   AF Speed   -   ISO
Image Detail   -   Kelli's Conclusion

Bobby Arnold:  Detailed GH5 vs. GH4 Video Comparisons

First Impressions   -   Video & Photo Comparison   -   GH5 vs. GH4 Comparison Video
Image Stabilization   -   GH5 Test Drive Video   -   Final Thoughts

Brent Durand:  General Shooting and Features

GH5 In the Field   -   Setting Custom White Balance   -    Post-Focus   -   6K Photo   -   Burst



Panasonic LUMIX GH5 Specs

  • 20MP Four Thirds sensor (no OLPF)

  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization system with 'Dual IS 2' support

  • All 4K footage taken using full width of sensor (oversampled from 5.1K footage)

  • Internal 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture

  • 4K/59.94p and 50p shooting with 10-bit 4:2:2 output or 8-bit, 4:2:0 internal recording

  • 1080 video at up to 180p, enabling 7.5x slow-motion

  • 225-area Advanced Depth-From-Defocus AF system

  • 4K and 6K Photo, 18MP stills at 30 fps using HEVC or 8MP stills at 60 fps using H.264

  • 12fps (AFS) or 9fps (AFC) burst shooting

  • Advanced DFD autofocus

  • Dual UHS II card slots (V60 ready)

  • Autofocus point joystick

  • 5GHz Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth

  • Pre-configurable rack focus mode

  • Waveform and vectorscope monitors

  • 3.2" RGBW free-angle touchscreen LCD 


Notes on Firmware Upgrade Path

The Panasonic GH5 will ship with firmware version 1.0. Those who have been following the first reviews know that some features will become available only after two scheduled firmware updates. Below is the schedule as we understand it.

Upgrade Available at Launch:

  • V-Log Color Profile ($100). Note that if you previously purchased this for the GH4 that you will need to buy it again.

April Firmware Update:

  • 4:2:2 10bit update for 1080p (v1.0 includes 4:2:2 10bit for 4K and UHD)

Summer 2017 Firmware Update:

  • High Resolution Anamorphic (4992x3744 pixels, 4:3, 18MP)
  • Full HD 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra (200Mbps)
  • 4K  4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra (400Mbps)


Panasonic GH5 Sample Footage and Test Video

Panasonic GH5 Sample Footage. Note that 60fps comparison is slowed to 50% speed. Video by Bobby Arnold.



Detailed GH5 Spec Comparison

with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II and Sony a7R II



Panasonic GH5

Olympus E-M1 Mark II

Sony A7R II






Micro 4/3rds

Micro 4/3rds

Full Frame (35mm)

Max Resolution

5184 x 3888

5184 x 3888

7952 x 5304

Effective Pixels

20 MP

20 MP

42 MP


Auto, 200-25600 (Expands to 100)

Auto, 200-25600

(Expands to 64)

Auto, 100-25600

(Expands to 50)

Custom White Balance

Yes (4 Slots)

Yes (4 Slots)


Image Stabilization Info

5 Axis, supports Dual IS 2

5 Axis, up to 5.5 stops shake reduction

5 Axis, up to 4.5 stops shake reduction


Contrast Detection

Contrast & Phase Detection

Contrast & Phase Detection

Number of Focus Points




Flash Sync Speed




Burst Shooting

12 fps

60 fps* / 15 fps

5 fps

Video Formats

MPEG-4, AVCHD, H.264

MPEG-4, H.264


LCD Screen Size




Screen Dots




Touch Screen




Electronic Viewfinder Coverage




EVF Magnification




Viewfinder Resolution




Storage Types




Memory Stick Duo/Pro/Pro-HG Duo

Environmentally Sealed




Battery Life





725 g (1.60 lb / 25.57 oz)

574 g (1.27 lb / 20.25 oz)

625 g (1.38 lb / 22.05 oz)


139 x 98 x 87 mm (5.47 x 3.86 x 3.43)

134 x 91 x 67 mm (5.28 x 3.58 x 2.64)

127 x 96 x 60 mm (5 x 3.78 x 2.36)

*E-M1 Mark II features and electronic burst mode allowing for up to 60fps capture (in RAW or .jpg format), although with a limit of 50frames. Standard mechanical burst rate is 15 fps.



Panasonic GH5 Physical Comparison

The benefit of mirrorless cameras is that they offer the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, with a higher quality and better focusing than compacts in a smaller, lighter package than their DSLR counterparts. As the mirrorless cameras are becoming more robust, we’ve seen the sizes of these cameras begin to increase, almost getting close to the same size as DSLR cameras. Luckily we’re not quite there yet, and the Panasonic GH5, which the largest of the mirrorless options so far, is still smaller than a DSLR. Compared to other mirrorless cameras, it is slightly larger both in height and thickness, and weighs more by nearly a third of a pound. The Panasonic GH5 sits taller and is much thicker than the E-M1 Mark II and A7R II, especially when you take into account the larger eyecup around the electronic viewfinder. It also weighs the most, coming in at 1.6lbs, compared to the E-M1 Mark II’s 1.27lbs and the A7R II’s 1.38lbs. All three of these cameras are smaller and weigh much less than popular DSLR options, such as the Nikon D500, which comes in at 1.9lbs.



GH5 Battery Life Comparison

Battery life is also a big question for underwater photographers because we have no way to change a battery mid dive, should we run out of juice. Mirrorless cameras have long been known to have mediocre batteries, often needing to be changed one or more times during a multiple dive day. Panasonic is usually on the higher end when it comes to battery life, and the GH5 is no exception. The new battery for the GH5 is rated to 410 shots. With the way many people shoot this means it will last you between 2-3 dives. Compared to the E-M1 Mark II it’s good, though the E-M1 Mark II has a slightly more powerful battery, rated for around 440 shots. Both of these blow the Sony A7R II out of the water, which only comes in at 290 shots, often needing to be changed after each dive in order to not run out of battery life during the next dive. It’s also pretty easy to see how the E-M1 Mark II could have a better battery life than the others, look at the size of the battery, especially compared to the Sony!!




Electronic Viewfinder and EFV Comparison

Before checking out the specs on the cameras we did a simple, “by my eye” test to get a feel for the LCD and EVF on each of the three cameras. We asked, which looked best to our eyes, which offered the smoothest view when panning, did any cut off the image?

It was a hard choice between the Panasonic and Olympus cameras, but the Panasonic appeared to have the clearest and highest resolution LCD. Both the Panasonic GH5 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 were clear, and super fine. The Sony LCD seemed a little rougher, as if you could make out the pixel grid when looking carefully. All three were extremely smooth and fast acting, there was no image delay or issues when panning (jumpy / jittery playback, etc).

For the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), Olympus and Panasonic came out tied in our tests. Resolution wise the Panasonic was a bit sharper and brighter, but when you start to move the camera around, the EVF stutters much more than the Olympus, creating a blurry and jittery image, especially in low light. The Sony quality does not look as good as the Panasonic and Olympus, however it does react better in low light, creating the most natural looking image when you move the camera around.



GH5 Autofocus Speed Comparison

When it comes to Auto Focus Speed, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II appears to be the winner, with the Panasonic GH5 hot on its heels. Sony performs well in good light, but is dismally slow in low light. We tested the Olympus & Panasonic with the 60mm macro and the Sony with 90mm macro. The goal with using the macro lens, was to really push the cameras focus speeds by using the lens that offered the greatest range in focus.

The Panasonic GH5 is extremely fast focusing. It averaged around 1.3s to change focus from infinity to near the minimum focus distance in low light. Going back out to infinity from minimum distance usually took around 1.7s. These tests pushed the camera to its limits, so for most shooting focus speeds would be faster than a second! When we tested refocusing at similar focus distances, the results were so fast, we could not stop the timer quickly enough (less than .5 seconds!). (improvement over GH4??)

In comparison, the Olympus E-M1 Mark II matched, and sometimes beat the GH5. In low light, the Olympus would focus from infinity down to its minimum distance on average of 1 second, and from minimum focus distance out to infinity in about 1.3s. When refocusing the camera at a similar distance from the previous shot, the E-M1 Mark II averaged around .7s. There was little to no hunting for focus, and we only saw that happen when trying to focus on an extremely low contrast subject. In good light, focusing was nearly instantaneous, a huge improvement for this camera over the older bodies.

The Sony A7R II, while impressive with its 42mp and full frame sensor, lost the focus tests by a long shot. It’s well known that the 90mm macro lens is a bit clunky and very slow to focus, and our tests confirmed that. When moving from infinity to near the minimum focus distance in low light, it took 4 second to focus on average. In good light, this was drastically improved to around a second or less. General refocusing in low light conditions also took a long, 3 seconds on average, however when the light was good, focus was nearly instantaneous. If you choose the Sony – make sure you have a good focus light for macro!



Panasonic GH5 ISO Comparison

In continuing the comparison, we looked at the image quality against all three cameras as we progressed through the ISO range. Each shot was taken to match exposure as we increased the ISO, with the same settings for each camera. We found that all three produce great, clear photos at low ISO, as to be expected. As we progressed through the higher ISO’s the Sony maintains high quality, with low noise as we knew it would from previous tests. The full frame sensor, and high megapixel count along with Sony’s innovative backside-illuminated sensor, which allows for more light gathering, resulting in high quality, high ISO photos.

However, we were pleasantly surprised with the performance of both the GH5 and the E-M1 Mark II. In the past, mirrorless camera quality degraded very quickly once you began pushing the ISO, but that is no longer the case. At ISO 1600 image quality on the GH5 is still excellent, as is the E-M1 Mark II. Even when pushed to the max at ISO 25600 the image is still useable for some. The noice and breakdown of image quality is significantly less than previous mirrorless cameras, resulting in great photographs, even in low light conditions.


ISO 400


ISO 400 - 100% Crop



ISO 1600



ISO 1600 - 100% Crop



ISO 6400



ISO 6400 - 100% Crop



ISO 25,600



ISO 25,600 - 100% Crop




Panasonic GH5 Image Detail Comparison

Both the Panasonic GH5 and Olympus E-M1 Mark II use the same sized micro four thirds CMOS sensor (17 x 13mm). They both feature 20 MP and use a high end processor. With all this in mind, we expected detail levels to be very similar between the GH5 and E-M1 Mark II. After a few test shots, we confirmed, both cameras offer a very nice level of detail for the smaller sized sensor. In the 100% crop examples below you can easily make out all the fuzz on the flower stem for both cameras.

Not surprisingly, the Sony A7R II, with a full frame (35 x 24mm) CMOS sensor and 42 megapixels offers not only the ability to crop in further to an image, but also a higher level of detail. If high detail reproduction is the most important aspect of your photography, then looking at a full frame camera is the way to go.

One more thing to note, is that both the Panasonic and Sony produce much warmer colors on default. All test images were shot under the same lighting conditions using each camera’s “Auto White Balance”. The Olympus results have much cooler colors, none of the photos have been color corrected.


Image Detail


Image Detail - 100% Crop



Kelli's Conclusion

All in all, I am very excited for the new GH5. With the specs it offers, the video should be incredible, as has always been the case with Panasonic’s GH series. In addition to that, they have really crafted an excellent still camera. The increase to 20MP makes a huge difference with image quality and ISO performance compared to previous models. The camera is lightning quick to focus, and easy to use with dedicated buttons for many key controls.

When compared against other top of the line mirrorless cameras, the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the full frame Sony A7R II, the Panasonic holds its own. Of course, the backside-illuminated full frame sensor of the Sony, with 42 MP is going to return higher detail, but the level of detail between the Panasonic and Olympus is nearly identical and vastly improved from previous versions. ISO tests were fantastic, with very little noise apparent until extremely high ISO’s on both the Panasonic and Olympus. In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Panasonic to any avid shooter that want’s the best out both video and still photo options.




Panasonic GH4 vs. GH5

Having used the GH4 for 2 years, and the GH2 before that, l was very excited to try out the new GH5. I compared the GH5 to the GH4, and also to the GX85 a camera offering some of the features that have been vastly improved on the GH5.


First Impressions of the GH5

My initial observations were that the GH5 seemed a little heavier and larger than the GH4, but they layout of the controls was very similar to the GH4 and my muscle memory kicked in right away. The most noticeable change to the controls was the addition of a joystick control. While use of the joystick is not required, I can definitely see where this will be the preferred method of menu (and on-screen) control for many users. To review the differences better, I set the camera up on a tripod next to the GH4, this confirmed the size differences, but not drastically so. Turning both cameras on revealed another difference, the image on the LCD of the GH5 appeared flatter than that on the GH4. I later dug into the menu and found that the LCD controls were vastly improved over the GH4. This is great news for the underwater shooter and the video professional. You have many more options to adapt the LCD to the shooting conditions as well your shooting style (Picture profile, use of external recorder etc). Wrapping up my initial impressions of the GH5 was the menu itself. The GH4 already had a plethora of options and settings, and the GH5 greatly expanded on that. To combat the sheer volume of menu controls, the GH5 now organizes much of the menu using categories. The GH5 also delivers a custom menu you can add their favorite settings to for quick access.


GH5 Video Comparison

The GH line, including the GH5, while appearing to be a dSLR style camera, is targeted at the person primarily shooting video.  The GH4 was targeted at the consumer, but included features aimed at “prosumers”. The GH5 continues that trend, and will likely also be the choice for B-roll and even main camera work by video professionals. While the GH4 was the first consumer camera offering 4K, the GH5 is still offering firsts this time in the form of 4K video at 60 frames per second (4k 60p). This will allow for improved slow motion footage in 4K. Bit rate offerings have been increased to 150Mb/s in the first version of the firmware. Panasonic believes in continual improvement for their cameras and is already planning an update offering a 400Mb/s All-Intra format later this year. Another big change is offering up to 190 frames per second (the GH4 had 96fps) in regular HD (1080p) mode.

The GH5 also offers more picture modes aimed at the prosumer, including flatter picture profiles that lend themselves to applying color correction in post-production (including the use of custom LUTs – Look Up Tables). I was happy to see the Cinelike profiles are also still available on the GH5. My favorite on the GH4 is the Cinelike-V profile, which I used on the GH5 and produced beautiful results with minimal color correction required. Finally, due to the implementation of a new 20 megapixel (20MP) image sensor (prior versions of the GH series and most micro-four-thirds cameras utilize a 16MP sensor). The main benefit of this new sensor for video shooters is the fact that the GH5 utilize more of the sensor to capture a video image. This results in less of a crop factor (2.0 on the GH4 vs 2.4 on the GH5). This is great news for wide angle shooting as more of the camera lens is utilized resulting in a wider shot.


GH5 Photo Comparison

While the GH line is primarily targeted at Video shooters, the photo qualities and features have continued to improve greatly in recent versions of the camera. The GH5 continues in this trend by offering the improved 20MP image over the previous versions which only offered 16MP. I shot mostly video with the pre-production GH5 I got to try out for the weekend, but also took some photos using the new 12-60mm f2.8-f4 lens. The results were impressive to say the least. Another big improvement was the removal of the anti-aliasing feature on the sensor. The feature was needed in past versions of cameras to minimalize the moire resulting in video footage. Due to improved processing power, the need for this filter has been eliminated. The result is a sharper, more detailed image.


GH5 vs. GH4 Comparison Video

Panasonic GH5 vs. GH4 Comparison Video. Note that 60fps comparison is slowed to 50% speed. By Bobby Arnold.


GH5 Image Stabilization

While Olympus has primarily focused on in-body stabilization (aka in-body image stabilization or IIS), Panasonic has focused on lens stabilization (aka optical image stabilization or OIS). Panasonic has recently upped the ante offering both image stabilization in addition to the lens stabilization. For supported lenses, the two are combined offering 5-axis stabilization known as Dual-IS. The feature really appealed to me and last year I purchased the first Panasonic camera offering Dual-IS for both photos and 4k video, the GX85. This feature has proved tremendously valuable, both on land and underwater. While the water column tends to buffer some of the “shake” that can make video footage less desirable, the sensor image stabilization can further help to stabilize the image, even when shooting with a tripod. The sensor image stabilization also helps to stabilize prime lenses and other lenses that do not feature OIS. The GH5 offers the second generation of Dual-IS from Panasonic and was very impressive with pre-production GH5. Finally Dual-IS also helps still photography by allowing the photographer to shoot at slower shutter speeds producing crisp images with no-noise. According to Panasonic, the Dual-IS offers up to 5 full stops of light over OIS. The GH5 also offers electronic stabilization, which works similar to the “Warp Stabilizer” in Adobe Premiere. This will appeal to those wishing to minimizing their time in post-production (and wouldn’t you rather be shooting more video then staring at your computer?). 


GH5 Test Drive Video

Pansonic LUMIX GH5 Test Drive Video. By Bobby Arnold.


Final Thoughts on the GH5

Panasonic won me over from using traditional video cameras with the GH2. While the GH3 didn’t offer enough for me to upgrade, but the GH4 hit a home run in features, video quality and photo quality. The GH5 continues in that trend and will likely attract many video professionals over cameras costing many times price of the GH5. The increased image quality, improved slow motion capabilities, image stabilization and continued improvement in shooting options will also greatly appeal to the underwater photographer and videographer and is definitely worth the upgrade over the GH4. 


- Bobby Arnold

-->  View More of Bobby's Videos on his Vimeo Page




Panasonic GH5 In the Field

The GH5 feels nice in your hands and is easy to carry. The button layout is ergonomic and easy to use while shooting photos, videos and reviewing content in the LCD. The many custom function buttons mean you can program your favorite features at your fingertips. The menus, while different from the brands I'm used to, were straightforward and easy to set up for photo and video shooting, although I did need to look up a few Panasonic tricks like activating VFR mode and setting a 180d shutter angle (more on this later).

The first feature I noticed was that you can start/stop video recording with the shutter button, which is nice underwater since the shutter lever on most housings is easiest to depress/pull without much shake.

Autofocus performance was very fast in different lighting conditions: silhouettes in the sun, fast action, low contrast fog, and a low-light night scene. The continuous autofocus tracked well for both photo and video, and I didn't have any instances where the camera shifted focus from the subject to background (note that this happens more when shooting macro underwater).

The new Venus Engine image processor is largely responsible for this great speed, although I did experience some lag when jumping quickly between shooting modes and menu, and especially when pushing playback after shooting an image (using a Delkin SD HC card with write speed of 80MB/S). This won't stand out if you shoot a mirrorless or compact, but if you are coming from a DSLR you'll need to adjust.

Lastly, the image on the rear LCD screen flutters slightly when autofocus is actively tracking; which, however, seems to be the norm with EFV and LCD displays on mirrorless cameras using phase detection AF (* The GH5 uses DFD autofocus, which is very similar).

All-in-all, I really enjoyed shooting the Panasonic GH5 and truly look forward to shooting a production model once released.


How to Set Custom White Balance

The first question I receive from video shooters on new cameras is whether there is one-touch white balance and how it's set. So here's a quick guide to setting manual white balance on the LUMIX GH5.

  1. Push WB button on top of camera

  2. Navigate to Custom WB1 (icon of two opposing triangles)

  3. Push rear control dial up

  4. Fill the box on the LCD screen with a properly exposed white surface (i.e. white card)

  5. Push Set button. Screen then displays Completed.

  6. Start recording!

Note: Pros will love that there are 4 different custom white balance modes, plus 4 different custom kelvin temp settings.


Special Features

These special features on the Panasonic GH5 are very cool, but the end result is a .jpg file instead of a .RW2 (RAW) file. They'll be fun for some people while others likely will not use them.


Post-Focus Function

The GH5 autofocus performed quickly and accurately during our tests, proving that Panasonic's Depth From Defocus (DFD) AF technology can hold its own in the high-end mirrorless category. But what if you don't get the focus just right on your supermacro shot? No need to worry. If you are shooting with Post-Focus, you can literally change the focal point of the image in-camera during image review. Just remember - you need to capture the image using Post-Focus, which takes 1-2 seconds, meaning you cannot use underwater strobes.


6K Photo Function

The 6K Photo function on the GH5 is great for those who want to ensure they capture the best moment in a sequence. While the GH5 shoots an impressive 9fps burst with RAW image files, sometimes that's not enough. If you set the top left control dial on the camera to 6K Photo, then the camera will essentially record a 30fps movie. To record this movie, you can simply hold the shutter down, set the camera to start/stop or set it to PRE.

You can then create a 18MP .jpg file from any point in that 6K Photo file (4992x3744). Need more frames? Set the camera to 4K at 60fps, although this limits you to a 8MP .jpg file (3328x2496).

Why would you use 6K Photo instead of taking a still image from regular 4K footage? When recording video, the camera's shutter speed generally doubles the framerate. As a result the subject in scenes with motion will suffer from motion blur. This isn't really noticeable when playing a video but will make a still image useless. 6K Photo records the file at your selected framerate, allowing you to freeze motion in each frame. When you pull the still image it will be nice and sharp.


Panasonic GH5 Burst Shooting

The Panasonic GH5 shoots an impressive 11fps burst in single autofocus mode (AFS), or 9fps in continuous (AFC). This is, of course, if you're not using the 30fps 6K Photo function. I shot some skaters in Venice Beach and the camera had no problem tracking the moving subjects. See sample below.


Additional Panasonic GH5 Sample Images





Panasonic GH5 Underwater Housings

Panasonic GH4 Resources



The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


In-depth look at the Nikon D500 for macro and wide-angle, including comparisons to the D300s and D7100, plus detailed MDX-D500 housing review
By Mike Bartick

Nikon D500 Review with Sea & Sea MDX-D500 Housing

Mike Bartick
In-depth look at the Nikon D500 for macro and wide-angle, including comparisons to the D300s and D7100, plus detailed MDX-D500 housing review

At last, Nikon has finally released the successor to its series of pro-consumer sensor cameras, the D500. A clean jump over the cloud of mid-consumer grade bodies that were released in the interim, the D500 is a solid and robust camera that will surely function at a higher professional level for many years.

I have to admit, I was waiting for the D400 to materialize, but when it never came I felt I had to settle with the D7100. I used that system each day and logged more than 1200 dives on my Sea & Sea MDX-D7100 housing without any rebuilds, which is a true testament to durability and reliability. Looking back on that system, overall I was very pleased with that decision and will continue to use that setup as a backup.

It’s also important to disclose that I am not being paid by Nikon, Sea & Sea or Bluewater Photo for this review, and while I'm not a technical writer, I’ll be honest and as thorough as possible.

I dive 20+ days a month logging 500-600 dives a year, and I rarely enter the water without my rig. I’m not easy on my gear but do daily rinses and regular O-ring maintenance. 

This quick review of the Nikon D500 will be in comparison to the D300s and D7100 camera bodies - both APSC sensors. My choice for shooting on an APSC sensor comes from the style I shoot the most, which is macro. And while I enjoy shooting wide, my biggest use for the D500 will be the small stuff. I also shoot fully manual strobes using sync cords and rely on autofocus for most shots.


Supermacro view of a Cryptic sponge shrimp

Nikon D500 with Nikkor 105mm macro lens, INON CL67 diopter, Retra Snoot, Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe

The subtle details of the shrimp were picked up well in this image. I used the AF lock lever to secure the critical focus point and standard shutter release to capture the image. Selecting the proper focal point is faster and more precise using the “4-key” command dial on the MDX-D500 housing verses the single round selector found on the 7100 housing.



Nikon D500 Feel and Form:

Out of the box the D500 body feels solid in the hand, ergonomic, and like the others in the series (D200, 300, 300s), it’s easy to function with small or larger hands. It’s weather sealed and will withstand water droplets, mist and other natural environmental challenges.

The D500 comes with a reduced amount of megapixels (20.9 million) packed into its 24x16 DX CMOS sensor without the low pass filter, offering a very suitable dynamic range. The video function shoots at 4K resolution, plus alternative choices, and provides memory slots for fast XQD and SD memory cards.

I purchased the camera while in the US and tested the body right away shooting butterflies and other terrestrial subjects while waiting for the housing to be manufactured, and I had a hard time setting the camera down. The camera really is fun to shoot. When shooting at 10 frames per second, the shutter sounds like a machine gun and is sure to turn some heads when shooting shoulder to shoulder with other photographers! While this capability might not be used everyday underwater it will certainly make any sports photographer happy, and with its expandable ISO ranges, capturing action from a distance or in low light conditions should never be an issue.

The most significant drawback for the D500 camera body is the lack of pop up flash. For me it’s a non-issue, but it does force the underwater shooter to purchase a flash trigger to use fiber optic cables (instead of sync cords), which means an added expense if he/she chooses to shoot with that method.

I have seen the largest improvement in the D500 over the D7100 and D300/300s in the image quality. The images seem sharper and cleaner - even in the RAW files, which is particularly evident when I shoot fluoro images at high ISO (1600) and in a darker environment. The D7000/7100 series failed miserably here, so I was quite pleased to see the difference. I’m also excited to say that I have not seen any sensor diffraction from shooting at accelerated F-stops of 22 or greater. This is really good news if you like to shoot super macro or need to stop down to the extreme.

You can find many more technical specs to in UWPG’s Nikon D500 First Look article.


Rare hard coral pipefish

Nikon D500 with Nikkor 105mm macro lens (*cropped), dual INON Z-240 strobes

Clean, sharp and good on noise. The D500 eats macro subjects for lunch and the housing is small enough to squeeze into tight spots. This small coral head took a bit of yoga maneuvering to gain access. The sensor doesnt seem to have the diffraction issues of the D7100.



The Sea & Sea D500 Housing Feel and Function:

Finally, after much anticipation and patience, I've been able to pair my D500 with the new Sea and Sea MDX-D500 housing and get it in the water. The MDX-D500 housing is a small, simple and rugged housing system.

Stark improvements and subtle details can be seen inside of the housing and out, starting with the main selector dial. The MDX-D500 has shifted back to the 4-key main dial that controls the camera’s main wheel from the outside. The subcommand dial is located on the right. Thumb access allows for very quick AF point selections to be made, which helps you create stronger compositions while shooting.

A slightly larger rear window provides greater visibility of the LCD screen – useful for reviewing images, checking your histogram and shooting video. The OK button remains in the same place, which might confuse the D7000 line of shooters (that button is located in a different position). The ISO control is a lever at the index finger tip just behind the shutter release and with just a few dives becomes highly functional in its new location.

The Sea and Sea camera mount ensures a consistent and solid fit each time you slide your camera body into the housing. The mount also allows 3D tracking to be enabled using the lever located on the left of the housing just above the AF/MF lever.

The levers on the right side of the housing - AF lock, ISO, Video - seem a little cramped, but with the smaller housing size it’s a fair trade-off. Using the levers is a simple task when making adjustments or toggling to video and back. The review lever, located on the left thumb, provides quick reviews when pushed up and zooming into the reviews image when pushed down. I use this new function frequently and love it.

The MDX-D500 housing has changed the back to a dual latch locking system, securing the housing together. Water channels near the housing O-rings and grooves direct droplets of unseen water away from the open back. This is handy when changing lenses on the boat from the front of the housing or the rear. Bulkheads are in place for electronic modular strobe connectors, auxiliary video screen or vacuum systems.

Underwater, the housing might feel a bit heavier in the hand since the smaller housing doesn’t hold the same volume of air as some of the bulkier housings on the market. I recommend using float arms to counter balance the system to your liking. One key benefit to the small housing size is that the buttons are easy to access for small hands.


Feeding Lizard fish

Nikon D500 with Nikkor 105mm macro lens, Kraken 1000 lumen light

Testing the sensitivity of the white balance wasn't the idea when I shot the image. My strobe cable had failed and i quickly switched to using my 1000 lumen torch. It worked well enough to pull out a decent shot. I'll use this technique a little more down the road to see how far I can run with it.


Shooting Underwater

Macro:  60mm, 105mm, 105mm + diopters

Macro is always going to be the easiest shooting style for controlling color balance, and as expected the D500 is a monster for macro. Quick AF point selections and compositions are fast, focus is quick, and access to the back-button focus mechanism, seamless. This is vital to gain critical focus on super macro subjects and for rapid firing. The D500 continues to be a bit fussy to fire at times but I've overcome that using the focus locking function. The 3D focus tracking is also a great tool for tracking subjects within the frame. Once the focus point has been selected, recomposing within the frame is a snap.


Shooting Underwater

Wide-Angle:  Tokina 10-17mm fisheye with Zen dome port

I like to shoot with the sun either entirely in the frame or completely out of the frame, rarely overlapping the edge of the frame. This seems to be the best way to get the full force of the sun onto the camera sensor, control it, and create a “bright and tight” orb in the frame. The D500 handled the sun without any issues and with very little effort. I shot fast and slow shutter speeds and could see the difference on the smoothness of the surface while retaining the same light qualities from the shadows to the sun.

I also shot in the shallows to capture sunrays. This was easier than I had anticipated and I was able to do so very easily with higher shutter speeds. Without any large creatures or any significant reef fish for this test, I selected a couple of well-formed coral heads that cooperated by not swimming off.


Dynamic Range Test, Dark to Light

Nikon D500 with Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, Zen mini dome, dual Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobes

Changing the port and lens from the front of the housing is a fast and easy task with the MDX-D500 housing.  Accessing the shutter speed dial and f-stop dial is simple on the housing, although the levers do feel a bit cramped. ISO is easy to adjust on the fly, which I use when shooting W/A quite often depending on my depth.


Nikon D500 Noise Test:

Blackwater diving is part of my routine and ISO speed is usually set to 650. This is very helpful when cropping very small subjects during post processing. I’ve even used the cropped DX function in the D500 and it seems to add a slight magnification to the macro images, allowing me to fill the frame a bit more.

I did see some noise in my fluoro images shot at ISO 1600 and expanded to 100%. But this is probably an extreme example of searching for digital noise rather then noticing it take away from image quality. For everyday use and publication on the Internet, the noise at these ISOs will never be an issue.


Fluoro Lizardfish

Nikon D500 with Nikkor 60mm macro lens, Kraken 2800 torch on blue, 1 Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe with blue diffuser

When we check for noise at ISO 1600 it's apparent, although the image is still of high-enough quality for print publication and digital dissemination.


Learn more about underwater fluoro photography.


In Conclusion

Overall, I am happy with the D500’s performance after 20 days of diving. It’s a powerhouse of a camera that will perform well for underwater shooters and topside shooters alike.

The Sea and Sea MDX-D500 housing is the ultimate fit for the D500 and I highly recommend it.

Ease of use, durability, function, button access and price point make the Sea and Sea housing a definite buy. The wait is over, get out there and buy one - you’re going to love it!



Mike Bartick is an avid and experienced scuba diver and Marine Wildlife Photographer. He has an insatiable love for nudibranchs, frogfish and other underwater critters, and is the official critter expert for the Underwater Photography Guide. Mike is also one of the UWPG trip leaders. See more of his work at


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


Canon reveals their new addition to the PowerShot Series, the G9X Mark II with new processor, improved stabilization and lots of new shooting modes

First Look at the Canon G9X Mark II

Canon reveals their new addition to the PowerShot Series, the G9X Mark II with new processor, improved stabilization and lots of new shooting modes

It has been a couple of years already since Canon released the G9X.  Now Canon will be releasing a follow up with the Canon G9X Mark II. It is a sleek and compact camera packed with features and comes in two colors, black and silver. It has some similaries with its predecessor but with few updates which might rise interest to photographers.  The important updates will be discussed further below.

The body of the G9X Mark II is very similar with its predecessor, so it might fit in many of the underwater housings from G9X.  

Availability:  March 2017

U.S. Retail Price:  $599.99


Canon G9X Mark II Key Upgrades:

  • New DIGIC 7 Image Processor - improved performance, less noise on higher ISO, faster continuous shooting performance especially when shooting RAW.
  • Improved Dual I.S. Image Stabilization - Capable of up to 3.5 stops of correction compared to the 3 stops with the G9X.
  • More Shooting Modes 
  • Battery Life - Slight improvement


Canon G9X Mark II Complete Specs

  • 1.0 inch, 20.1 MP High-sensitivity CMOS Sensor
  • Digic 7 Image Processor
  • Full HD (60, 30, 24 fps) / HD (30 fps) / VGA (30 fps)
  • Optical Zoom: 3.0x
  • Lens (in 35mm format): 28–84mm, f/2.0(W)–f/4.9(T)
  • ISO range 125 - 12800
  • Continuous Shooting: Up to 8.2 fps
  • 3.0" Capacitive Touch Panel LCD
  • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (PictBridge compatible); AV Output (NTSC, MP4, Stereo Audio); Micro-HDMI Connector, SD Memory Card Slot
  • Built-in WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 in
  • Weight:  Approx. 7.3 oz. / 206g

Comparison Between Canon G9X and Canon G7X Mark II:

You can also read our Canon G7 X II Review.


Underwater Housings:

We expect to see the first housings announced when the camera starts shipping in March. Ikelite and Nauticam housings will likely be the first to ship, followed by Aquatica, Sea&Sea and Acquapazza. The team at Bluewater Photo is always available to answer questions.

We'll update this section as we learn more!





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

Get in touch with him via email at

View Chino's work:  Facebook     |     Instagram


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


Review of the 5D Mk IV for video, including HDR shooting, ISO tests, dual-pixel autofocus, dynamic range and 4K resolution image quality
By Mike Raabe

Canon 5D Mk IV Underwater Video Review

Mike Raabe
Review of the 5D Mk IV for video, including HDR shooting, ISO tests, dual-pixel autofocus, dynamic range and 4K resolution image quality

The Canon 5D mk IV is the long awaiting upgrade to the 5D mk III.  It seeks to be an all around powerhouse with many new features for stills and video. This review will focus on the video features of the 5D mk IV. The ability to shoot 4K at 24/30 fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps is a welcomed addition to the 5D line of cameras.

The Dual Pixel servo autofocus in video mode is a DSLR game changer, the first of its kind in the 5D family and second in the Canon family. Having servo AF and the ability to track focus on a moving subject is a much-anticipated upgrade from the 5D mk III. The 5D mk IV also shoots in 4:2:2 color space, allowing for greater latitude in color correction compared to the 5D mk III. The ISO settings did not increase much, but the quality of the higher ISOs is a noticeable improvement.  The 5D mk IV also boasts HDR filming in 1080p, which allows the camera to reduce highlight and shadow clipping, achieving a higher dynamic range when filming. Overall, the advancements in video mode coupled with the 30 megapixel sensor for stills makes this an awesome upgrade from the 5D mk III.

Be sure to also read our complete Canon 5D Mk IV Review for underwater still photography.


Video Autofocus

The most important and significant upgrade to the 5D mk IV is the Dual-Pixel Autofocus that allows continuous focusing while recording!  This upgrade makes the 5D mk IV the first full frame DSLR with continual focus. Movie servo AF options include; Face Detection with tracking, FlexiZone Mulit, and FlexiZone Single. Even with a dive mask on, the face detection will work underwater, though it does not work on animals. I recommend using the face detection option or the FlexiZone Multi, because the camera will focus on the dominant subject in the frame and continually track focus. The FlexiZone Single will only focus on what is in the white square on the screen.  The performance of the focusing is smooth and fast. You can even change the speed of the focusing in FlexiZone mode, allowing for more creative control. With the ability to quickly track focus while recording, the shooter can now take full advantage of a situation and let the camera roll while the AF tracks with the subject.


5D mk IV Dual Pixel Auto Focus from Mike Raabe.


This is far superior to manually focusing and having to continually change the lens focal distance for different subjects. But there are still circumstances where manual focus is better to use. One example is when there are multiple subjects sporadically moving about the frame. I was diving a sea lion rookery and had multiple babies zooming in and out of the frame and as a result, the autofocus had a tough time deciding which sea lion to focus on. This is due to the changing focal distances of the multiple sea lions in front of the camera. In hindsight, I should have turned the AF off in this situation and manually set a desired focal length for that shot.

Overall, the Dual Pixel autofocus is an exciting advancement in filming with DSLRs and has great potential to create dynamic camera movements that previously could not be achieved with manual focus.


Video Image Quality & Memory Cards

The 5D Mark IV's 4K video capability redefines the image quality of the 5D family of cameras. The detail, color, and dynamic range are far superior to what the 5D mk III could achieve at 1080p.

The 5D mk IV shoots 4K video in Motion JPEG codec at 500 mbps, creating color and sharpness previously unattainable with the 5D mk III.  There is some Ying and Yang regarding this codec, however. 4K footage will require the fastest CF cards on the market. They also need to be the largest, since 1 minute of footage is 4 GB of data. There is both a CF and SD card slot in the camera, but unfortunately, shooting 4k video to an SD card is not recommended. The 5D mk IV utilizes a slower UHS-I SD slot that doesn’t allow SD cards to write at their maximum potential, which is unfortunate since that speed is needed for the 500 mbps data rate when recording at 4K.

There has been much speculation about why Canon chose to use the outdated Motion JPEG codec, since it results in giant file sizes compared to competitors, but what the codec does have on its side is image quality. The latitude and sharpness in the files is impressive. You can even frame grab 8.8MP jpegs from the 4K footage.


Another advantage the 5D mk IV has over the 5D mk III is the latitude in the file for color correction. Whether its highlights, noise in the shadows, or the overall tone, the 5D mk IV outshines its predecessor in all aspects. The camera shoots in 4:2:2 color space, allowing for exposure and color control that the 5D mk III was not capable of achieving in post production.

If you are grading film I recommend downloading the Cinestyle picture style from Technicolor. This will render a flat image with greater detail in the highlights and shadows. You can later edit with greater detail and contrast than the standard picture styles that the camera has in the menu. Another feature the 5D mk IV has is HDR filming. You can only shoot in HDR mode in 1080p at 30/24 fps but the extra detail in shadows and highlights is a welcomed addition to the 5D mk IV arsenal for underwater shooters.


5D mk IV HDR Movie Shooting Mode from Mike Raabe.


Format and Field of View

The 4k footage is shot in a slightly wider Cinema 4K format that measures 4096x2160 pixels, so you will have to crop the sides of the frame to fit the typical output of 16:9.  Taking a 1:1 pixel crop directly from the center of the sensor makes the 4K video frame. Doing this reduces scaling artifacts, but also means there is 1.64x crop! The crop is definitely a hurdle the 5D mk IV has to jump over in regards to full frame shooters who want full lens coverage (for example, your 16mm lens will deliver a field of view of 26.2mm). This can be viewed as a disadvantage or an advantage depending on your style of shooting. Macro shooters will certainly appreciate the crop because you will achieve the same shallow depth of field as full frame, but with a 1.64 magnification. Wide-angle shooters will have to plan ahead and anticipate what they are shooting. For example, if you plan to shoot stills and motion with a wide-angle lens on the same dive, you will have to take the crop factor into consideration when shooting video. A zoom lens like Canon’s 8-15mm fisheye could be a fix for the ultra wide shots, while the Canon 16-35mm could work for medium to wide shots. That said, even at 16mm you are only getting a 26mm frame. The framing adjustment between 4K video and still shots will take some adjustments for the user, but the overall image quality is worth the headache.


ISO and Dynamic Range

The Canon 5D Mark IV ISO settings are 100 to 32,000 (100-12,800 in 4K) and expandable from 50 to 102,400. These numbers are slightly higher than the 5D mk III, but the quality of the higher ISO is definitely a jump up.  At 1250 ISO, noise begins to be seen in smooth color gradients, although it's very minimal. At 3200, noise can be seen in the shadows but still looks great.  At 6400 ISO, the noise is definitely not ideal, but with some noise reduction and consideration of the lighting environment (dusk or at night), the footage is much better than what the 5D mk III could achieve. ISOs of 12,800 and above are not really useable.


5D mk IV ISO Test from Mike Raabe.


The dynamic range is also impressive jump up from the 5D mk III, as the 5D mk IV is more capable of dealing with high contrast scenes in camera, requiring less manipulation during post-processing. Highlight clipping was a problem for the 5D mk III, where in the 5D mk IV there is a significant improvement (especially in still photos).


5D mk IV Dynamic Range Test and Comparison to the 5D mk III from Mike Raabe.


Slow Motion / Frame Rates

The 5D mk IV also shoots 60 fps at 1080 and 120 fps at 720, albeit I wish it shot 120 fps at 1080 like the Canon 1DX Mk II. But the addition slow motion frame rates in the 5D Mark 4 is a big improvement for underwater shooters. Now those fleeting moments of a shark or whale that showed up for 10 seconds can be slowed down and made into a smooth (twice as long in duration) edit of an encounter that has much more impact on the viewer!  Slow motion is a great editing tool and should inspire more creativity with this addition to the 5D family.  Please note that autofocus does not work when shooting 120 fps at 720p.



Overall, the Canon 5D mk IV brings some exciting new features to the table that will allow filmmakers to achieve shots that could not previously be captured with the 5D mk III or even some of its other competitors. The best example is the dual-pixel autofocus, which delivers reliable autofocus while shooting video. If you are considering upgrading from the 5D mk III, one should also weigh in the fact that you can use your 5D mk III housing!


5D Mark IV 4K Video Sample from Mike Raabe.


Additional Canon 5D Mark IV Resources



Mike Raabe is a freelance underwater cinematographer and photographer specializing in marine life and sports media. He has shot for a variety of clients including Nike, Neutrogena, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Guy Harvey Magazine, and many more. Mike prefers shooting while free diving because of the numerous camera movements and close interactions with marine life that can not be achieved while scuba diving. He can free dive to 40 meters, and has a bottom time of up to 2 1/2 minutes.


Instagram @raabephoto   |   Twitter @sharkdiver7   |   Facebook Mike Raabe   |


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


SeaLife’s most advanced underwater camera to date, featuring a 20MB Sony sensor, manual shooting modes, raw recording and more
By UWPG News

SeaLife DC2000 Underwater Camera Preview

SeaLife’s most advanced underwater camera to date, featuring a 20MB Sony sensor, manual shooting modes, raw recording and more

SeaLiife has been known to provide the camera and accessories for years, whether for snorkeling or scuba diving. They offer an expandable camera system which allows you to add more accessories as your requirement changes.  All SeaLife underwater lighting and lenses are interchangeable with almost any SeaLife camera.

Now, they have released their newest addition to the underwater camera line, DC2000.  It features a Sony 20MP 1" type sensor with full HD video and shoots RAW and JPEG.  This camera is packed with features which makes dslr-like image results.





SeaLife’smost advanced underwater camera with Sony 20mp 1” type image sensor, Full HD video, RAW image format and 3” Hi-Res LCD display


DC2000 Features:


Sony 1” type back-illuminated 20 megapixel image sensor is more than double the size of standard 1/2.3” image sensors used in most compact cameras.  Each pixel measures 2.4 μm x 2.4 μm which is more than 3 times larger than other compact cameras and ideal for shooting in low light conditions.



RAW image format for high-resolution, uncompressed image files that allows for virtually unlimited photo editing options. The DC2000 camera uses Adobe Digital Negative (.dng) format which can be edited using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.  Camera also shoots in JPEG image file format.



Full HD movie mode shoots high resolution 1080p video at 60 frames per second with dual microphones for stereo audio recording. Fast, easy one button video start/stop operation.Features picture-in-video shooting so you can take a picture while recording video.



Rapid response auto focus lens. 0.1 second fast shutter response time. Auto focus from 4” (10cm) to infinity. 7-element fully, multi-coated optical grade aspheric lens design with mechanical 7-leaf shutter for full exposure control from F1.8 to F11.




  Waterproof / shockproof inner camera.  Ruggedized inner camera is designed to withstand 60ft/18m depths and 5ft/1.5m drops without being inside its underwater housing.




“Piano Key” controls for easy operation. 4 keys with big shutter and mode dial for easy camera control, even with gloves on. The ergonomic design makes for comfortable handling and never leaves you guessing what each of the controls are for.



3“ 920k hi-resolution color LCD display is visible in direct sunlight and razor sharp, ideal for composing the perfect shot and checking your results on the camera.




Powerful 1130 mAh 3.7V lithium ion removable battery is good for 2+ hours of operation. Shootingtests resulted in 292 pictures using CIPA industry standard. Battery capacity is about double the powerof most other batteries used in compact cameras and can be charged inside the camera via USB cable and wall charger (included).



WiFi to wirelessly preview, download and share pictures/videos to smart phone or tablet with free Link123 Plus app. Leave your laptop at home. App includes Geotagging and “Auto Send” functionality




More Features:

  • Ultra-fast shutter response of 0.1 seconds. Virtually no shutter lag.
  • 4 Underwater Shooting Modes for sharp, colorful underwater pictures under any conditions.
  • 3 built-in underwater digital color correction filters for the most common UW conditions, including
  • shallow water (snorkeling), deep water (diving) or “green” water (algae bloom).
  • 25 Land Scene modes automatically adjust camera settings for specific shooting environments.
  • Intelligent Auto mode automatically selects the optimal land scene mode for effortless shooting.
  • Continuous Burst Shooting – shoots high resolution 20MP pictures up to 10 frames per second.
  • Manual White Balance control to customize UW color correction to your specific depth and waterconditions.
  • Manual shutter and aperture for complete control over image exposure. From F1.8 to F11 in 0.3 stopincrements.
  • Auto focus from 4”(10cm) to infinity
  • Micro SD, SDHC SDXC and UHS-1 memory card compatible
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) – CCD shift technology reduces camera shake caused by hand movement.
  • Short-cut key for fast and easy access to favorite menu setting.
  • Expandable with Sea Dragon Flash(es), Photo-Video Lights and SeaLife SL975 Fisheye lens
  • Rubber armored, shock-resistant for rough handling and tough environment
  • Rugged 200ft/60m Underwater Housing.




  • 24.4 oz (691g)  UW Housing and inner camera  
  • 16.1 oz (457g)  UW Housing only
  • 8.3 oz    (234g)  Inner camera with battery and memory card 


  • 2.6H x 4.6W x 1.4D (67 x 116 x 36 mm) Inner camera 
  • 5.9 x 4.0 x 3.0 (149mm x 102mm x 81mm) UW housing 


What's in the Box:

1x Underwater Housing for DC2000

1x DC2000 Inner-camera

1x Battery (1130 mAh, 3.7V)

1x 60cm USB cable (Micro B plug type)

1x Wall Charger (5V, 1A)

1x Int’l plug adapters (US, EU, UK, AU)

1x camera case (Nylon)

1x Wrist strap for inner camera

1x Wrist strap with clip for UW housing

1x Flash Link optical cable adapter for UW housing

1x Moisture Muncher 2-capsule sample pack

1x Instruction Manual (English)


DC2000 Camera Sets:


DC2000 Pro Flash Set

Includes: Flex-Connect Single Tray, Grip, Sea Dragon Flash, Flash Diffuser and DC2000 Camera


DC2000 Pro Light Set

Includes: Flex-Connect Single Tray, Grip, Sea Dragon 2500 Light, Flash Diffuser and DC2000 Camera


DC2000 Pro Duo Set

Includes: Flex-Connect Dual Tray, 2x Grips, Sea Dragon 2300 Auto Light, Sea Dragon Flash Head, Flash Diffuser and DC2000 Camera


Sample Photos:




View all the SeaLife cameras, lights and accessories at Bluewater Photo.



The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


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

Review: Canon 5D MK IV in Aquatica Housing

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

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


The Aquatica A5DMKIV Housing

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



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


5D Mark 4 Lens Choices

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



Underwater Photo Tests

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

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



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

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


Learn more about the Aquatica A5DMKIV housing at Bluewater Photo






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

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

His website is:


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


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

GoPro HERO5 Review for Underwater

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase:  GoPro HERO5 Black

Availability:  Now

U.S. MSRP:  $399


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


Jump to section:

Specs   |   New Features & Upgrades   |   Compatibility with Previous Models

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

Underwater Review   |   Hero 5 Accessories   |   Conclusion

Full GoPro Tutorial Series



GoPro HERO5 Specifications

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


New Features and Upgrades from the HERO4

One Less Button

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

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

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

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


LCD Touchscreen

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


RAW Photo Format

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


WDR Photos

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


Voice Control

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


GoPro Turn On  -  Powers on camera

GoPro Start Video  -  Begins video capture

GoPro HiLight  -  Adds a HiLight Tag to video clip

That was Sick  -  Adds a HiLight Tag to video clip

GoPro Stop Video  -  Stops video capture

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

GoPro Shoot Burst  -  Starts photo burst

GoPro Start Timelapse  -  Begins timelapse capture

GoPro Stop Timelapse  -  Stops timelapse capture

GoPro Turn Off  -  Powers off camera


EIS Video Stabilization

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


Auto Upload to Cloud

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




Compatibility with Previous GoPro Models

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

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


Recommended GoPro HERO5 Settings for Underwater


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

Resolution and Framerate:  We recommend shooting at 1080p. This is full HD resolution and the maximum that your TV and computer monitor will display (unless you have a 4K TV, of course). We don't recommend recording in 4K as a beginner because 1) you can't instantly share it to other devices and 2) most regular-use computers are not built to play 4K video footage smoothly - they will struggle and play it back in a very jumpy manner. 60fps is the standard for digital video and even allows you to add some slow motion (during post-processing) if desired. 

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

EIS: Absolutely, why not?

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



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


Super Suit Housing & Maintenance

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










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

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


GoPro Super Suit

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

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

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


Capture App & GoPro Studio

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

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

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


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

Read our full GoPro Studio 2 Review for Underwater Video.


GoPro HERO5 Underwater Review

Underwater Video

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

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

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

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

[Sample video coming soon]


GoPro Underwater Photography

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

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

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


The GoPro HERO5 records RAW files in single photo camera mode, but only when shooting in the Wide field of view. It actually records both a .jpg and .GPR file, and takes about 4 seconds to process and write to card, which is pretty slow. We hope GoPro can improve this in future firmware updates. That said, the greater latitude during post-processing provided by the RAW files is worth the slow recording - just be patient.

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

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


GoPro HERO5 Accessories


Micro SD Card

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

Max-Flash Hyperspeed 64GB Micro SD Card

Max-Flash Hyperspeed 32GB Micro SD Card



Spare Battery

GoPro Hero4 Battery

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

 GoPro HERO5 Spare Battery



Dual Battery Charger

GoPro Hero4 Dual Battery Charger

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

GoPro HERO5 Dual Battery Charger



SeaLife Aquapod

SeaLife Aquapod

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

SeaLife Aquapod



GoPro Multigrip Handle

GoPro Multigrip Handle

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

GoPro Multigrip Handle



GoPro Tray and Handles

GoPro Handles and Tray

Attaching your GoPro Hero5 to a tray and handles will make the camera easier to hold on to and much, much more stable underwater. In addition, the handles serve as a mounting point for video lights. Below are a few of our favorities:

Ultralight Tray & Handles for GoPro

R Innovations Tray & Handles for GoPro

Beneath the Surface Angled Double GoPro Tray



GoPro Underwater Filters

Polar Pro Switchblade Filter for GoPro

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

Detailed Article:  'Guide to Filters for Underwater Video'



Video Lights

i-torch fishlite video light

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

Kracken Sports Hydra 3500

Light & Motion Sola 3000

Dual Light Value Package

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





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

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

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

Have fun out there!


Complete GoPro Tutorial Series



Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.

Brent is an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at

Follow Underwater Photography Guide on Facebook or Instagram.


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5D Mark IV for Video

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


Additional Thoughts on the 5D Mk IV

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

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



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





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



The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


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

Sony a6300 Mirrorless Camera Review

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

The a6300 is Sony's flagship APS-C (crop sensor) mirrorless camera. (update: the Sony a6500 was announced early October '16).  This impressive and powerful little camera uses Sony E-mount interchangeable lens, compatible with full-frame cameras like the a7R II.

The previous a6000 proved a very capable camera for underwater photographers, with neat tricks like rapid strobe fire with sync cords, and we have found that the a6300 meets and beats that impressive performance.

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

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

U.S. Retail Price:  $999 (body only)


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


Jump to section:

Key Features     |     Video Review     |     a6300 for Underwater Photography

Best Lenses     |     Underwater Housings     |     Related Articles     |   Conclusion     |     Sample Photos


Sony a6300 Key Features

  • New 24.2-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor 

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

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

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

  • Electronic XGA OLED Tru-Finder™

  • 425-point phase detection autofocus

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

  • 4K video recording with no pixel binning

  • 11 FPS burst

  • Built-in WiFi for easy sharing

  • Battery life approximately 350 shots using LCD screen

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


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


Video by Bluewater Photo owner, Scott Gietler.



Sony a6300 for Underwater Photography

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

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

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

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



Sony a6300 for Wide-Angle

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

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

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

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

As expected, image quality is excellent.



Sony a6300 for Macro

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

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

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

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



Sony a6300 for Underwater Video

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

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

Read our Guide to Manual White Balance on the Sony a6300.


Best Lenses


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

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

Standard / Mid-Range:

  • Sony 16-50mm - standard kit lens

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

Wide Angle:

  • Sony FE 16-35mm F4

  • Sony 10-18mm F4 wide-angle lens


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

  • Sony FE 28mm F2 with Sony Fisheye Conversion Lens - while not a true fisheye, this lens and converter combination works excellently, offering the wide field of view in a native Sony lens. Note that using just the 28mm on the a6300 will be a tight focal length for wide and not enough for macro, so we recommend always using the Fisheye Converter.

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


Underwater Housings

Nauticam NA-A6300 Housing $1650

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

Learn more about the Nauticam Sony a6300 Housing


Aquatica Sony a6300 Housing  $1,650

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

Learn more about the Aquatica a6300 Housing


Sea & Sea Sony a6300 Housing  $1,799.95

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

Learn more about the Sea & Sea Sony a6300 Housing


Ikelite Sony a6300 Housing $975


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

Learn more about the Ikelite Sony a6300 Housing


Acquapazza APSO-A6300 Housing


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

Learn more about the Acquapazza a6300 Housing


Recsea Sony a6300 Housing  

Details coming soon.



Related Reviews and Articles



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

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


Sony a6300 Underwater Photos









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



Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.

Brent is an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at

Follow Underwater Photography Guide on Facebook or Instagram.


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


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


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


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


Syndicate content