Review of cameras

Canon G1X Review

Scott Gietler
Review of the Canon G1x for underwater photography, including auto-focus speed and macro tests

Canon G1X Review

Review for underwater photography

by Scott Gietler



The Canon G1X is Canon's first attempt to put a larger size sensor in a compact camera body, with a fixed lens. The camera appears to be designed for G-series enthusiasts who may want better image quality and low-light performance. The controls and menus are very similar to a G12, but in a slightly larger body. Let's see how it performs topside, and underwater - and how it compares to the Canon G12.


Canon G1X key specs

  • 18.7 x 14mm sensor, 14.2MP. 4352x3264 jpegs; sensor is slightly larger than a micro-four thirds sensor
  • Fixed lens, 4x zoom, 28-112mm, F2.8-F.5.3 lens
  • Aperture range F2.8 - F16
  • Video - 1080p @ 24fps, optical zoom during video
  • Shoots RAW, has image stabilization, full manual controls
  • No GPS, no 3D. Includes an HDR shooting mode
  • Battery rated for 250 shots (without flash), not great
  • Articulated 3-inch LCD screen
  • $799 retail price
  • Weight with battery about 1.17lb (531gr), versus around .87lb (395gr) for a G12


Handling & Body

The G1X handles very similar to the G12. It has a swivel 3-inch LCD screen, which is slightly larger than the 2.8 inch LCD screen on the G12. The G1X does have a viewfinder but it's just ok - it doesn't show the entire image you are about to take, so it is not very useful for composing photos.


Canon G1x review for underwater photography


Canon G1x and G12


Canon G1X is on the left, Canon G12 is on the right. The Canon G1X has added a popup flash, and did away with the ISO dial. The exposure compensation dial is now under the mode dial. Other than that, the controls are pretty much the same, with a couple minor changes.

The build quality feels very good, and all of the controls worked flawlessly. The menu was very familiar, almost identical to the G12 menu system.


Image Tests

Here we see a 100% crop of an outdoor photo of a mural, taken with a G1X and a G12 at two different ISO's. The images look almost identical at ISO 200, but at ISO 1600 you can see quite a difference - the G1X is much better at higher ISO's.


Canon G12 with ISO 200, 100% crop


Canon G1X with ISO 200, almost 100% crop



Canon G12 with ISO 1600, 100% crop



Canon G1X with ISO 1600, almost 100% crop



The folks at DxoMark have already tested the sensor of the G1X and the G12. In their results, the G1X does much better in the high-ISO tests, but surprisingly does not do better in the dynamic range test. We'll post our own dynamic range test here shortly to see if we can replicate these results.


Canon G1X Macro Tests


Macro tests - no diopter

The Canon G1X does not have any true macro capability. Zoomed out at 28mm, I could only take a photo 8.5 inches wide. The G12, on the other hand, allows you to get as close as you want to the subject. Using the G12, I could easily take a photo 2 inches wide, although at that point I am very, very close to the subject. If you want more magnification that that, it is best to use a diopter (macro lens) and zoom in, so you can get some more working distance.


G12 - smallest photo widths

Macro mode, zoomed out: 2 inches or less, if i want to get really, really close
Macro mode, zoomed in: 4 inches

G1X - smallest photo widths

Macro mode, zoomed out: 8.5 inches (disappointing)
Macro mode, zoomed out: 13 inches

G1X focus distances

Macro mode, zoomed out: 6.0 - 40 inches
Macro mode, zoomed in: 46 inches - 72 inches
Normal mode, zoomed out: 12 inches - infinity

G12 focus distances

Macro mode, zoomed out: .5 inches - infinity
Normal mode, zoomed out: 2.0 inches - infinity


Macro tests - with a diopter

We tested the Canon G1X and the Canon G12 with a Dyron +7 macro lens, with the camera zoomed in all the way. With the G1X, we could take a photo 1 5/16th inches across. With the G12, it was 1 1/16th inch across, noticeable better macro performance. So you can get good macro performance with the G1X, but use of an external macro lens is essential.

When using a diopter, the focus range is extremely limited, so getting the magnification you desire may not be easy. Zooming the camera back out allows you to reduce the magnification to some degree.


Canon G1X and Wide-angle wet lenses

It can be quite difficult to use wide-angle wet lenses with the Canon G12, and the G1X will be no different. Placing a fisheye lens up against the G1X showed slight vignetting in the corners, but there was no vignetting with the G12. This means the lens element in the G1X appears to be back just slightly more than the G12 lens. This does bode well for the use of wide-angle lenses with potential housings, but of course we must wait and see what the innovative lens designers and housing manufacturers come up with.


Canon G1X shutter speed tests

The Canon G12 can shoot at 1/2000th at F2.8, and 1/4000th at F6.3 - F8.0. The Canon G1X shoots at 1/1600th at F2.8, 1/2500th at F6.3, and 1/4000th at F11 - F16.

The G1X can take an exposure as long as 60 seconds, this is an improvement over the 15 second limit on the G12.


Canon G1X Video mode 

The Canon G1X will shoot 1080p video at 24fps. This is an improvement over the 720p video that the G12 takes. You can optically zoom during video, and re-focus, but you do not have any control over exposure.


Canon G1X Auto-Focus Tests

For our auto-focus tests, we tested the G1X against the Canon G12, and a few mirrorless cameras, in low-light conditions. The shutter was pressed on 2 cameras at the exact same time, without pre-focusing the camera. We did 4 tests at 4 different focusing distances - taking a photo of a stopwatch running on an iPhone. Results are cropped.


Canon G12


Canon G1X, both shutters pressed at the same time.




Canon G12


Canon G1X




Canon G12


Canon G1X




Canon G12


Canon G1X


The Canon G12 beat the G1X in 3 out of our 4 low-light auto-focus tests, but just by a small margin. I'd say for practical purposed, they are pretty equivalent in auto-focus speeds. Mirrorless cameras like the Olympus E-PM1, E-PL3, Panasonic GF2 & GX1, and Sony Nex-5N and Nex-7 focus noticeably faster.


Canon G1X


Olympus E-PM1


The Olympus E-PM1 beat the G1X by almost a second, and the performance of other mirrorless cameras was similar.



With poor macro capability without a diopter, and no huge  auto-focusing improvements over the G12, there are probably better options available for underwater photography at $799.95 (not including the cost of a housing).

Although I have no doubt that the G1X is capable of taking some incredible underwater photos, at this price point I'd probably look at a faster-focusing mirrorless camera like an Olympus Pen E-PM1 / E-PL3, Panasonic GX1 / GF2 or Sony NEX-5N, or sticking with the Canon G12 and put the cost savings towards a good housing, strobe, wet lens, or focus light.


Further Reading:


Support the Underwater Photography Guide

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo and Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


SeaLife DC1400 Review

Scott Gietler
A look at the new SeaLife DC1400 underwater camera and housing.

SeaLife DC1400 Review

A look at the underwater camera that replaced the popular DC1200

By Scott Gietler


The SeaLife DC1400 upgrades the popular DC1200 camera, with additional features for beginner and intermediate level photographers. The price is right, at $499 USD for the camera + housing, $829 with a strobe. Read on to find out what exciting new features this camera has.



DC1400 Overview

The camera and housing are designed to be easy to use. There's not too many dials on the camera. You have the following controls:

  • The mode button switched between video and still modes. On the housing, this is called "video".
  • The play button lets you review images
  • The menu button is for the menu.

Taking photos, reviewing photos and changing modes is all fairly easy.


SeaLife DC1400 underwater housing specs

  • Housing depth rated to 200ft / 60 meters
  • Housing has a single standard-size tripod mount (same size as Canon & Olympus housings)



Front view of the SeaLife DC1400 underwater housing.


Rear view of the SeaLife DC1400 underwater housing, showing the "piano key" design.



SeaLife DC1400 camera specs

  • 14 megapixel camera, 4288x3216, 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 26mm -130mm lens, F2.8-F6.5
  • 720p HD video (1280x720) at 30fps
  • 1/2.33" CCD sensor, about 2/3rds the area of a Canon S95/G12 sensor
  • 3 inch LCD, 230K pixels
  • Takes SD memory cards
  • Camera has built-in image stabilization


Front view of the SeaLife DC1400 camera.


Rear view of the SeaLife DC1400 camera.


What's in the DC1400 box?

Lots of good stuff. You get the standard cables and well-written manuals, along with a couple desciccants, a lens cloth, cleaning brush, international plug adapters, a diffuser for the internal flash, and an adapter for adding a strobe. Nice job, SeaLife!


Focusing Modes

The SeaLife DC1400 has several focusing modes, including 2 "macro" modes. Which mode you use effects the allowed focusing distance, and how quickly the camera can focus.

Here's the modes to use underwater:

  • Infinity mode - very fast focusing, basically there is only shutter lag. But subject should be at least 3ft away. Best when shooting sharks, pelagics, or anything that won't come too close.
  • Auto - pretty fast focusing, but won't focus closer than 1ft - which will be frustrating if your subjects gets closer than 1ft. Good for fish swimming nearby.
  • Macro - the camera focuses a little slower in this mode, but it is best mode to use for static subjects 4 inches to 1.5ft away
  • Supermacro - focusing can be slow, but it allows you to get as close as you possibly can. Zoom is disabled


Scene Modes

There are 33 scene modes, but you really only need a couple of them.

Dive and Snorkel mode both seem to add the same amount of red back into the photo, for ambient light underwater photography. However, it's best to learn how to use a white dive slate and manual white balance.

When using a strobe, external flash manual mode is the way to go.

When using the internal flash, none of the modes seemed to give me control over my settings, and some of them wouldn't even let me set the ISO. Av and Tv mode gave strange ISO or shutter speed settings.  "P" mode seemed just as good as any, defauting to F2.8, 1/60th -  not ideal for underwater though.


DC1400 Macro capability

I like to measure the smallest area width a camera can photograph. Here are the measurements:

Macro mode, zoomed out: 11.5cm (4 1/2 inches)
Macro mode, zoomed in: 8 cm (3 1/4 inches)
Macro mode, zoomed in 2/3rds of the way:   6.5cm (2 1/2 inches). Not sure why, but this is the "sweet spot" in macro mode.

Supermacro mode (zoom is locked to 1/3 of the way in supermacro mode): The DC1400 can photograph an area as small as 2.5cm (1 inch) across, but you will be very, very close to the subject - which means your working distance is tiny, and you may have a hard time lighting the subject. Taking a photo 3cm (1 1/4 inches) across gives you a little bit of working distance. One thing to note - in this mode you can't fire the internal flash unless you are in external flash mode.


Sealife Wide-angle lens options

There is a nice fisheye lens available for this housing, and also for the DC1200. While not a super-wide lens, it is much better than not having one, and at $280 it is an excellent value. Look for sample photos coming soon!


SeaLife DC1400 Quick Start Guide

  • Understand that inside the housing, you'll use the zoom control to move left and right in the menus, and the shutter release instead of the "select" button. If you don't know this, using the camera in the housing will be very frustrating!
  • Go into the menu and change "ISO" from AUTO to ISO 100
  • Change image stabilization on "ON"
  • Go to 2nd menu, turn "AUTO-OFF" to "OFF"


SeaLife DC1400 Pros

  • Rugged, durable easy to use housing
  • Several underwater modes make it easy for beginners to start taking shots underwater
  • Fast focusing in infinity and auto modes
  • Good price point, add a SeaLife strobe and you are at a great price point
  • Great macro capability in supermacro mode 
  • HD Video support
  • "Full manual" mode allows for adjustment of aperture & shutter speed, this is very nice. Shutter speed can be adjusted in one-stop increments, from 1 second to 1/2000th. Aperture can be set to 2 different values, which are 3 stops apart.


SeaLife DC1400 Cons

I don't consider any of these issues to be show-stoppers for the beginner underwater photographer. They are just minor issues that I felt were worth pointing out.

  • Only 2 levels for aperture, for example F2.8 and F7.9 when the lens is wide open
  • No threads on port for adding external lenses
  • No zooming in on images during image review
  • No zooming in/out during video
  • No access to exposure compensation via the housing
  • ISO and focus modes are sometimes set back to the auto settings, especially when the camera is turned off in some modes, or you switch modes.
  • No RAW support



For beginner underwater photographers who want a good quality housing at a good price, the SeaLife DC1400 is a good value. The ability to change aperture and shutter speed means that photographers who want to take their photography to the next level can do so, especially when the wide-angle lens comes out. The supermacro capability, and the fast-shooting infinity focus mode gives it some advantages over camera/ housing combinatons that cost much more. The SeaLife strobe is highly recommended when getting this camera.


Purchase the DC-1400 on Bluewater Photo



Further Reading

Great underwater photos without a strobe

Sony RX-100 underwater review



Support the Underwater Photography Guide

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice! Here is their Sealife DC1400 page.



Nikon D7000 Review & Settings

Scott Gietler
Nikon D7000 review inlcuding settings, sample photos, and reasons to upgrade.

Nikon D7000 Review

A great camera for underwater photographers to consider

Settings, sample photos, and reasons to upgrade

By Scott Gietler



I really like the Nikon D7000. The ergonomics top-side are great, the body is fairly light, and it has incredible high-ISO performance, great dynamic range and great colors. If you want to get top-notch underwater photos, seriously consider the Nikon D7000. Of course,  now the Nikon D7100 has just come out, which I'll probably upgrade to.




Nikon D7000 impressions

To start off with - the battery life is amazing, even with using the internal flash to fire the strobes, the battery lasts at least a couple of days of 4 dives a day.  I also like the dual-card slots, although compact flash cards are considered superior to the SD slots the D7000 has.



New sensor

The new 16 megapixel sensor was great, and I noticed even more detail in my macro photos. Still, if you are just displaying photos online, I think you will be hard pressed to notice differences between a new dSLR and a body a few years old. Subject selection, composition, and lighting will still make the different between a good shot and a great shot. The Nikon D7000 has more megapixels than any other Nikon dSLR except for the D3x, not a bad thing.


Changes from the D300

In changing from the Nikon D300 to the D7000, I lost some focusing points, I only have 39 instead of the 51 on my D300. More is definitely better, I like to move my single focus point around. The max sync speed remains the same as the D300 at 1/320th, the best of any current dSLR out there. Having a fast sync speed is nice when you are shooting into the sun, to help you gain a little bit more control over all that ambient light and not blow-out the photo.


ISO on the D7000

The ISO on this camera goes up to ISO 25,600. I hardly notice any noise at ISO 3200 if the image is properly exposed, which is quite remarkable. DPReview says in their review that the D7000 may have the best high ISO performance of any current APS-C dSLR. The base ISO on this camera is ISO 100, which is a change from the ISO 200 base that the D300 & D300s had.

The Nikon D7000, like other Nikon models, has an amazing auto ISO function - which is great when shooting ambient light. The ISO will automatically be adjusted, if a certain minimum shutter speed is not reached, up to a max ISO that you set. A very nice feature! The values are set in the shooting menu, and it is pretty self explanatory. I highly recommed turning auto-ISO off when using strobes.


Shooting Video

Having the option for video underwater is really nice. Although they claim the camera can auto-focus while taking video, don't expect it to be very useable, especially underwater - it is a little clunky. The underwater video is best taken with a wide-angle lens, using a larger depth of field (if you have enough of light) to get the entire image in focus. I've posted a sample video from a blue-water dive further down.

In summary, in terms of images - I'd say this may be the best cropped-sensor camera out there right now. The Canon 7D and Nikon D300/D300s bodies still have more of a "pro feel" to them, and slightly more controls. But Nikon has really upped their game with this camera - you can't go wrong. Right now it costs $1199 in the USA.


Using the Sea & Sea housing

The beauty of the Sea & Sea D7000 housing is that it just works great out of the box. Aperture and shutter dials worked perfectly, and it was easy to get a half shutter press - Sea & Sea housings are known for having the best shutter-release controls on the market. I often change ISO, and the ISO control was quick and easy to use.

My ports bayonetted on and off the housing easily, and I didn't have to do anything special to insert the camera into the housing. Sea & Sea designs their controls to be ergonomic, but not convoluted - so that they will work now, and years from now, which to me is very important in a housing.

Using this camera underwater, it just worked flawlessly. The entire setup is lighter than my S&S D300 setup. With a couple Stix floats and a couple ULCS buoyancy arms, the entire setup is just slightly negative in my hands.

I used fiber optic cables with my Ys-110a strobes, and they worked great. By setting my flash power to 1/100th, the internal flash had instant recycle time, and I could shoot as quickly as I wanted to. It was nice not to have electrical sync cords that I had to worry about flooding or corroding.


Video going over the Sea & Sea MDX-D7000 housing


Nikon D7000 compared to other dSLRs

  Nikon D7000

Nikon D300s

Canon 7D Canon T3i
Megapixels 16 12 18 18
Focus points 39 51 19 9
Sync speed 1/320th 1/320th 1/250th 1/200th
shooting speed 6fps 7fps 8fps 4fps
Price (USD) $1,200 $1,500 $1,600 $700
Storage SD card (dual) CF card (dual) CF card SD card
Shutter rating 150K 150K 150K 50-100K
Dxo Sensor Score 80 70 66 62
2 Control Wheels yes yes yes no
Weight with battery 780g 925g 860g 570g
RAW Buffer size 10 17 15 5


Nikon D7000 underwater settings


Initial Settings for the beginner dSLR underwater photographer

Aperture (F-stop): For macro, you can start at F16, and adjust for the depth of field you want.  But see what happens when you forget to "dial down" in this thread. For wide-angle, I start at F8, but I can shoot at F11 or F16 if I'm doing close-focus wide-angle and want the background to be sharp.

Shutter Speed: 1/320th. Check your E1 custom menu setting, see the bottom of this article. For wide-angle, slow down your shutter speed until you get the ambient light looking correct.

ISO: I like to set it to ISO 100 or ISO 200 for macro, or bright wide-angle shots. But in darker water this can perform great at ISO 400 or ISO 800, no problem.

Strobe power: Set it manually for best results. It's easy, and you'll quickly learn how to vary the power differently on your 2 strobes for best results.

Understanding the finer points of adjusting Aperture, Shutter-speed and ISO are best covered in an in-person underwater photography class. But we will talk about changing these settings in a future article.


Quality:   I like to shoot in RAW + small fine JPEG, on a Delkin or SanDisk Extreme memory card. This doesn't take up much more space than shooting only in RAW, but I have a jpeg ready for a quick posting. Read about choosing raw or jpeg


Nikon D7000 focus mode:

Press the AF-mode button on the side of the camera; rotate the main command dial
choose AF-S (single-servo) or AF-C focus mode (continuous mode).


Nikon D7000 focus-area:

Press the AF-mode button on the side of the camera; rotate the sub-command dial
choose “single-point AF” or “auto-area AF.”

Shooting menu:

  • Role played by 2nd card - your choice
  • NEF (Raw) bit depth - 12 or 14bit, your choice
  • active D-lighting - off if shooting raw, on if shooting jpegs
  • shooting menu, ISO sensitivity settings, set AUTO ISO control to on to get auto-ISO exposure (note this does not work in movie mode)
  • movie settings - movie quality - set it to what you want
  • microphone - you may want to turn this off
  • manual movie settings - turn “on” to be able to set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO yourself
  • destination - pick the correct card
  • white balance - auto
  • RAW/JPEG - I like to shoot in RAW + small fine jpeg; YMMV

Playback mode

  • image review  - ON
  • rotate tall - you may want this ON


Nikon D7000 Custom settings:

A4* - on
A5* - wrap
A7* - off
A8*  auto-focus area for movie mode - wide area or normal area
D1 - beep - change volume to your preference
D2 - turn on grid if you prefer
D6 - continuos low shooting speed - change to your preference
E1 - flash sync speed 1/320th
E3 - flash control, set to manual flash power, 1/100th if you want to use your strobes on manual power
F6 - reverse command dials - you may want shutter and aperture controls to be reversed, this is a personal preference.


Setup menu

LCD brightness - you may want to make the LCD a little brighter


Nikon D7000 Underwater Photos

All photos processed only in Adobe Lightroom


nikon d7000 underwater

Yellowchin Fringehead, "Bad Hair Day". F20, 1/320th, ISO 100


nikon d7000 underwater

Shallow kelp scene in the Channel Islands. F8, 1/125th, ISO 200 @12mm with a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens.


nikon d7000 underwater

Salp on a blue-water dive. F8, 1/250th, ISO 160 @12mm


nikon d7000 underwater

Starfish close-focus wide-angle. F16, ISO 200, 1/320th @10mm. By shooting at F16, I was able to get the entire photo sharp. Focus point placed on the starfish. I just started using YS-110a strobes and I really like the color that I get out of them.


nikon d7000 underwater

Black-eyed Goby. F13, 1/320th, ISO 250


nikon d7000 underwater

Sea lions, F8, 1/320th, ISO 400 @12mm


nikon d7000 underwater

Porter's chromodorid. F18, 1/250th, ISO 200. Nikon 60mm + 1.4x teleconverter. Focus point placed on the rhinophores.


nikon d7000 underwater

Cabezon hiding in a sea fan. F11, 1/60th, ISO 400. See next image for 100% crop. Focus point placed on the eyes.


nikon d7000 underwater

100% crop of the Cabezon's eye, showing nice detail in the photo


Nikon D7000 sample underwater video

This is from a bluewater dive off the coast of Los Angeles, California. 




Further Reading



Support the Underwater Photography Guide

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!



Olympus E-PL3 and E-PM1 Camera Review

Scott Gietler
Scott compares the Olympus E-PL2 with two of the new Olympus models: the E-PL3 and the less expensive E-PM1, aka “the mini."

Olympus E-PL3 and E-PM1 Camera Review

By Scott Gietler



My friendly Olympus rep stopped into Bluewater Photo today, bringing with him some new cameras. Between the two of us, we had 5 different Olympus micro-four thirds models on the counter. You know what means - time for some testing!


I compared the Olympus E-PL2 with two of the new Olympus models, the E-PL3 and the less expensive E-PM1, aka “the Mini”. I also tested out the new Olympus 45mm F1.8 micro-four thirds lens. There is also a more expensive E-PL3, but there is no Olympus underwater housing for it.


Carmen, our friendly Olympus rep. Here are the backs of the Olympus E-PL2, E-PL3 and the E-PM1.


Fronts of the E-PM1, E-PL3 and E-PL2. All are similar in size. The E-PM1 and E-PL3 come with a small external flash that easily slides on top of the camera.


Back of the Olympus E-PL3. It's similar to the E-PL2 back, with the buttons slightly re-arranged.


Back of the Olympus E-PL2. I find the Olympus cameras quite easy to learn in just a few minutes.


Back of the Olympus E-PM1. The "mini" lacks many buttons, which means you have to use the menu to do things like change modes. But it is cheaper.


Photo taken with the 45mm F1.8 lens. The F1.8 lens produced a nice creamy bokeh in the background. The lens was small, but not tiny, certainly not a "pancake" lens.


Photo taken with the F1.8 lens, my meager attempt to blur the background. The background is blurred, but not as much as it would be with my dSLR.


Camera Differences

The E-PL3 is very similar to the E-PL2. Images taken with both cameras will look the same. The E-PL3 focuses more quickly than the E-PL2, and adds an auto-focus assist light, and a new tilting LCD screen.

Here are the main improvements over the E-PL2:

  • New sensor, claiming better high ISO performance
  • 35 auto-focus points instead of 11
  • 1080p video instead of 720p
  • Faster shooting speed
  • Faster focusing
  • AF assist light
  • Built-in Flash changed to a removable flash
  • E-PM1 has 3D capability

Olympus E-PL3 specs

  • 12 megapixel four-thirds sensor. View sensor sizes here.
  • In-body image stabilization
  • 1080p HD video
  • RAW + full manual controls supported
  • 35 auto-focus points
  • Sync speed 1/160th
  • max shutter speed 1/4000th
  • capable of 4fps with IS on, 5fps with image stabilization off
  • ISO range 200-12800, but I wouldn't go over ISO 1600

Handling, size, and weight

All 3 cameras felt about the same size and weight. The E-PM1 was difficult to hold single handedly due to the lack of a good grip. The memory card / battery compartment of the E-PL3 and E-PM1 is a pain to use - E-PL2 users will be longing for the old design for sure.


Focus Speeds

I tested the E-PL2 against the new E-PL3 and E-PM1 in bright light and in low light. In bright light the new models focused significantly faster, it was quite a noticeable improvement. In very low light all models struggled, but with the AF-assist light the E-PL3 and E-PM1 could quickly achieve focus.


Shooting speed - multiple shots

I tested all 3 models in single shot mode, with the flash on a fixed 1/16th power, similar to how the camera might be configured in an underwater housing. I was able to take 5 shots with the newer models, in the time it took to take 3 shots with the E-PL2, it was a noticeable difference.


Macro capability of the 14-42mm kit lens

Olympus has come out with a 3rd version of the 14-42mm kit lens. The first version, which shipped with the E-PL1, could take photos of images as small as 2 inches wide. The 2nd and 3rd versions lost some macro capability, and can take photos only 3 inches wide.

The most recent version of the 14-42mm lens has a silver, almost metal look to it, but it is still a plastic lens.

We tested all 3 lenses with and without the Dyron +7 macro lens, and the results were similar. Using the macro lens gave almost triple the magnification, allowing a photo 1.125 inches across to be photographed. I'd expect similar improvements with the Subsee +5 or +10 diopters.


Testing video

Video performance was similar between all models. The newer models improves the video resolution from 720p to 1080p.


Underwater Housings

Olympus will not be making a housing for the more expensive E-P3. The E-PL3 and E-PM1 housings will be similar to the E-PL1 and E-PL2 housings, but slightly more expensive at $799.95 USD. 

The housing costs more than the E-PL2 housing because it comes with a target/focus light built into the port. This is a nice feature which can help improve focusing speeds, although the light is not very strong.

The housing for the E-PL3 is the PT-EP05L housing, and the one for the E-PM1 is the PT-EP06L housing. There is also a Olympus PT-EP06 E-PM1 housing that does not have any lights, which costs $200 less than the EP06L housing. I'd go for the housing without the lights, unless you want to use a wide-angle wet lens, in which case you'll need the version with the lights because it also has a threaded port. However the version with lights will not support the 60mm macro lens, which is a drawback.

There is also a great Nauticam E-PL3 housing, which is very small and made out of aluminum. Port changing is much easier with this housing. This housing is more expensive though.



The E-PL3 is a nice replacement for the E-PL2. You get faster focusing, although at higher price.

Getting the Olympus E-PM1 saves you up to $200. It is pretty much the same camera, although you need to use the menu instead of controls for changing modes and lose 3 of the buttons. You also lose the flip-LCD.

The E-PL3 is $800 in the USA, the E-PM1 is $600.


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your cameras or underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


Further Reading

Guide to Mirrorless Cameras

Panasonic 8mm fisheye lens review on the Olympus E-PL2

Olympus E-PM1 Underwater Review



Sony A77 DSLR Pre-review

Scott Gietler
A look at the Sony A77 24mp DSLR camera, with a translucent mirror, phase-detection focusing and high-speed shooting at 12fps

Sony A77 Pre-review

A new type of DSLR, Sony's SLT-A77

By Scott Gietler



Sony has decided to compete with the big boys - the Canon 7D and Nikon D7000, with a new type of dSLR, the Sony A77. Technically it does not have the "R" in DSLR, the reflex, but most people are calling it a DSLR. 

By using a translucent mirror instead of a conventional mirror, the Sony A77 is able to use faster phase-detection focusing in conjunction with live-view mode, as opposed to the slower contrast-detection focusing. It offers a 24 megapixel sensor, and offers high-speeding shooting at a shockingly fast 12 frames per second. All these exciting features are creating a lot of buzz around this camera.

sony a77 underwater

Front of the Sony A77 camera


Sony A77 and the pellicle mirror

The translucent mirror in the Sony A77 is called a pellicle mirror. A pellicle mirror does not flip up and down like a conventional mirror. It is translucent and remains in place, with 70% of the light going to the sensor, and 30% going to the electronic viewfinder. This makes the camera almost vibration free, which is ideal for macro and long telephoto photography. Pellicle mirrors have actually been around since the 1960's, and one was used in the Sony SLT-A55. You can read more about pellicle mirrors here and here.

Although it sounds like a lot, losing 30% of the light going to the sensor is not that big of a deal, it is just 1/3 of a stop, which you can easily get back by adjusting your ISO, shutter speed or aperture 1/3 of a stop.

By implementing a pellicle mirror, the Sony A77 can use the superior phase-detection method of focus during high-speed shooting, live view and video, unlike most other DSLRs which must switch to the slower contract-detection, currently used by compact cameras.

Innovative shutter allows 12 fps

By implementing an electronic first-curtain in the shutter, the Sony A77 can acheive shooting speeds of 12 frames per second, and a shutter lag of only 50 milliseconds. Most dSLR cameras shoot at 4-8 frames per second in the high-speed shooting mode, and have a shutter lag of 45 - 85 milliseconds.

New OLED electronic viewfinder

The new OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) electronic viewfinder in this camera sure has people talking. It offers a 100% view, and is considereably larger than optical viewfinders on competing cameras. Electronic viewfinders do have nuances that make them different from optical viewfinders, and I highly suggest you try it out for yourself to see how you adjust to it.

24 Megapixels - is it too much?

Some people think 24 megapixels is a lot to cram onto an APS-C sized sensor. One thing for sure, that many megapixels may test the resolving power of some lenses. Diffraction will limit the resolving power also if you use smaller apertures. Stick to high-quality F2.8 lenses to get the best resolutions.

One thing to remember, 24 megapxiels is only a 22% increase over the 16 megapixels in the D7000, and a 16% increase over the 18 megapixels in the Canon 7D, looking along one axis. Not as big of a jump as it seems.

Sony A77 in a nutshell

The Sony A77 offers live view + a high-quality electronic viewfinder, very fast focusing using phase-detection (even during video), an amazing 12fps shooting, 24 megapixel sensor, and continuous autofocus during video.

sony slt-a77 camera underwater photography

Back of the Sony ALT-77

Key features of the Sony A77:


  • $1400 USD for the body, available Oct 2011. $2000 with a 16-50mm F2.8 kit lens.
  • 24 megapixel APS CMOS sensor, same crop factor as NIkon D300s / Nikon D7000; 6000 pixels x 4000 pixels. This is a lot of megapixels, and it is not clear if most users will need this many megapixels. In comparison, even the Canon 7D is only 18 megapixels.
  • 2.4 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder. The big question is - is this as good as a optical viewfinder? Probably not, but the verdict so far is that it is fairly close, and better than any other viewfinder out there. This is very high resolution for an EVF. Users report the EVF as “big” compared to a standard DSLR optical viewfinder
  • Live view, shown via a 921,000 dot articulating LCD, which is reported to be good in bright light & low light. The tilt-and-swivel feature of the LCD allows you to take photos and videos from many different angles.  This is a really nice tool for both video and live-view photography.
  •  ISO 50 - 16,000, which is quite a good range.
  • 12 frames per second still shooting (one of the fastest cameras out there), RAW buffer size of only 13 photos (not good). So after taking 13 shots, you must wait for the buffer to empty to the SD card
  • Phase detection focusing during video & stills. Phase-detection focusing is much faster than contrast-detection focusing, which is what compact and micro-four thirds cameras use. In video, this is ONLY in “P” mode; when taking video in P mode, and FYI the lens aperture is usually kept wide-open
  • Full 1080p video at 60fps in  the AVCHD 2.0 format, with continuous autofocus, but only in P mode. 28Mbps data rate for video, comparable to the Nikon D7000, but less than the 48Mbps data rate for the Canon 7D.
  • 19 auto-focus points
  • Max shutter speed 1/8000 sec shutter speed, 1/250 sec flash sync
  • Built in GPS. Great feature, but I hope it can be turned off.
  • Built in image stabilization, 2.5 to 4 stops supposedly gained
  • Only a single slot for SD memory cards is supported. Compact flash cards are faster.


Here is a size comparison with D300, D7000, Canon 7D. As you can see, it is slightly larger than the D7000, slightly smaller than the Nikon D300 & Canon 7D

Videos showing the Sony A77

If you ignore all the acronyms and hyped-up Sony marketing terms, this video gives a nice overview of the Sony A77. They even pour water over the camera in the video.



In this short video below, you can see the articulated LCD of the Sony A77:


High ISO Noise

I downloaded the full-size ISO 6400 sample from DPReview, and it looked quite good to me at 100% magnification. Other technical reviews reported the high ISO performance to be close to, but not as good as, the high-ISO performance of the Canon 7D and Nikon D7000.

Here's a photo at ISO 6400, 1/40th, F8. There's a link at the bottom of the page for a full-res version you can zoom in on.

Can Sony cram 24 megapixels on an APS-C sensor and not have excessive noise? They appear to have used generous noise reduction. As of now, the jury is out regarding how acceptable the noise is on this sensor. Sony tends to use fairly heavy noise reduction in their jpegs.

The sensor is only getting 70% of the incoming light, because the translucent mirror is reflecting the other 30%.

One thing for sure - the amount of noise in a photo is in the eye of the viewer.

Online pre-reviews on the Sony A77

DPReview also reports that the image is cropped even further in movie mode. This sounds a little strange to me. Rumor has it the battery only lasts for about 450 shots, which isn’t great. Comments on the DPReview test images are mixed, so check them out for yourself.

There is an in-depth review on Imaging Resource, who says "Making a major leap in the camera market, the Sony A77 reaches into pro territory, able to capture 12 frames per second with a 24.3-megapixel camera that feels great and handles like your typical enthusiast digital SLR. Its optional 16-50mm kit lens also delivers excellent quality for the money".

Luminous landscape says "This along with the fact that the A77 has continuous Live View, and no moving mirror because of its Translucent Mirror technology, means that the A77 will likely be one of the most vibration free cameras ever made. This will make it ideal for macro, microscope, long telephoto and telescope work."

Sony SLT-A65

Sony also introduced the SLT-65, which we are not a huge fan of, due to the 1/160th sync speed, making wide-angle shots into sun more difficult. However, some people may be attracted to the $900 price for the body.

Key differences with from the Sony A77:

  • Plastic body. and missing weather seals
  • Shoots at 10fps
  • 15 auto-focus points instead of 19
  • 1 control dial instead of 2
  • 1/4000th shutter speed instead of 1/8000th
  • Sync speed of 1/160th instead of 1/250th

Lenses for the Sony A77

A complete list of lenses for the Sony A77 can be found here. There is a fairly complete set of lenses available for underwater photography.

Sigma, Minolta and Tamron all make a wide-range of lenses, including macro, wide-angle, and fisheye lenses. Lenses like the Sigma 10-20mm, Sigma 17-70mm, Sigma 10mm fisheye and Sigma 15mm fisheye will work well for underwater photography.

For macro photography, you have the Sigma 70mm F2.8 macro, and the Sony 100mm F2.8 macro as good choices, that are full-frame lenses with autofocus motors built-in.

However, there is no Sony mount for the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens.

For wildlife and sports photography, Sigma makes a consumer grade 120mm-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens, and Tamron, Sony and Sigma all make 300mm F2.8 prime lenses. There are also a couple discountinued 400mm, 500mm and 600mm prime lenses for those with larger budgets.


Further Reading

Pixels and Sensor size

Lens basics

Understanding ISO


Olympus XZ-1 Review

Scott Gietler
A complete review of the new Olympus XZ-1 compact camera, and its potential for underwater photography

Olympus XZ-1 review

A complete review of the new Olympus XZ-1 compact camera, and its potential for underwater photography

By Scott Gietler



The Olympus XZ-1 is clearly a winner in the class of high-end compact cameras, with very few negative aspects. It's excellent F1.8-2.5 lens makes it stand out about the small crowd of competitors. I've been using this camera for several days, and wanted to share my personal thoughts. Here's the Olympus XZ-1 review.


Olympus XZ-1 quick specs:

  • Sensor size: 1/1.63 CCD, 10 megapixels, 3648x2739 (4:3). Same equivalent sensor size as Canon S95/G12
  • Focal length: 28mm-112mm
  • F1.8 - F2.5 aperture Zuiko lens
  • Full manual controls, RAW
  • 11 auto-focus points, with moveable focus point
  • shoots in RAW or JPEG at 2fps
  • Built in image stabilization
  • 1280x720 HD video, 30 fps, AVI motion jpeg, auto-focuses in video mode
  • ISO 100-6400, 3 inch LCD with 610,000 dot resolution
  • max shutter speed 1/2000th
  • Has an internal flash and hot shoe, allowing control of remote strobes
  • Built-in 3 stop ND grad filter
  • Long exposures, up to 60 seconds
  • Lithium ion battery, good for 325 shots without flash

Olmypus XZ-1 review

Build quality & handling: Excellent. Unlike other compacts, this camera was simple to figure out how it use it in seconds. Small is size, it is closer in size to the Canon S95 than the Canon G12. Controls are very similar to the S95, except the body is slightly larger and has a dedicated video button. The camera is very comfortable to hold and use, and very intuitive. The body is a combination of aluminum and plastic.

Zuiko F1.8-2.5 lens - superb. This lens is F2.5 when fully zoomed in. Most other compact camera lenses are F5.6 when fully zoomed in. This lens is the highlight of the camera, and is in my opinion a better lens than the 14-42mm kit lens that comes with the Olympus E-Pl2. The large maximum aperture offers some depth of field control, a first for a compact camera. This is the first F1.8 camera from Olympus since the C5050Z, and the first lens to have the Zuiko brand on it. Shooting at 112mm, at F2.5 will actually allow you to slightly blur the background -see the photos below.

olympus xz-1 blurred background

olympus xz-1 camera review

Top photo taken with the Olympus XZ-1 at F2.5, 1/40th at 112mm (fully zoomed in). Bottom photo taken at F5.6, 1/10th. Most compact cameras will shoot at F5.6 at a 112mm focal length. As you can see, the background is somewhat blurred in the first photo - and you can shoot at much faster shutter speeds than at F5.6. Keep in mind that 112mm is not exactly a long zoom, you won't be shooting small birds with it.


Startup time: almost instant

Control dial: A front contol dial changes either the aperture or shutter speed in aperture or shutter priority mode. In manual mode, the rear control dial changes shutter speed.

Menus: easy and intuitive to use. However - some functionality, like setting macro for example, takes more button presses than on other cameras.

Focusing speed: consistently good, not as quick as the E-PL2 but a little faster and more consistent than most other compacts

Image quality: Great, comparable to other high-end compacts

olympus xz-1 review, image quality test

olympus xz-1 image quality test

This outdoor photo from the Olympus XZ-1 is a 100% crop of the above photo. F4, 1/500th, ISO 100, zoomed in to 35mm. Detail looks great!


Internal flash: Good, even coverage that lights an entire room without a problem.

Olympus XZ-1 Video performance: The Olympus XZ-1 does 720/30p Motion JPEG AVI video. Clip lengths are limited to 7 minutes. This camera has a nice one-touch video button, which means you don't have to change modes to do video. Also, it auto-focuses in video mode, unlike many other compacts. The auto-focus is slow, but it does work. Large exposure changes are dealt with quickly. Zooming is slow, like in other compacts. Overall, a thumbs up!

Macro & Supermacro functionality: Fair in macro mode. In supermacro mode, the camera can focus right on the lens port. However, the camera is stuck at 28mm focal length, which limits the effectiveness of supermacro due to the tiny working distance. Also, the flash will not fire in supermacro mode. In macro mode, the camera will take a photo 4.25 inches wide at 28mm, 3.75 inches wide at 112mm. In supemacro mode, because of the short working distance, taking a photo less than 1.5 inches wide is quite difficult. At these distances, you will also lose 1-2 stops of light.

olympus xz-1 review supermacro

Shooting supermacro at an angle. Here I am too close to the subject.


High ISO performance: photos are great up to ISO 400, good at ISO 800, and quite useable at ISO 1600. At 100% crop, you can notice loss of detail at ISO 800 due to the built-in noise reduction. At ISO 1600, you can notice the loss of detail when viewing the photo full screen. ISO 3200 shows significant noise. This performance is comparable to other higher-end compact cameras. However, the ultra-fast F1.8/F2.5 lens means that a lower ISO is needed than other compact cameras.

olympus xz-1 review, test photo at ISO 100

XZ-1 photo, hair of one of Raphael Sanzio's angels. ISO 100, 100% crop

olympus xz-1 review, test photo at ISO 400

XZ-1 photo,ISO 400

olympus xz-1 review, test photo at ISO 800

XZ-1 photo,ISO 800

olympus xz-1 review, test photo at ISO 1600

XZ-1 photo,ISO 1600

olympus xz-1 review, test photo at ISO 3200

XZ-1 photo,ISO 3200


Overall comments: The Olympus XZ-1 has all the features you would expect in a high-end compact - scene modes, art modes, high-speed USB interface, RAW file format, AF illuminator light, full manual controls. The one-touch video capability, USB charging, auto-focus tracking mode and the 3-stop neutral-density filter are nice touches. The ND filter means that the shallower depth of field of F1.8 can be used in brighter light. An optional electronic viewfinder, microphone, or macro light can be added via an accessory port - basically any accessory the E-PL2 can take. It also has custom modes.

Cons to the Olympus XZ-1: Macro capability not great, unless you are using supermacro mode, which is stuck at 28mm & no internal flash. Use macro mode and a diopter to get around this.

The rear control wheel is a little clunky and takes some getting used to. In manual mode, the LCD is dark when the settings are underexposed, like when using an external strobe for underwater photography. I prefer an LCD to always be bright. 

Other very minor cons that don't bother me but I should mention- the camera has no dedicated ISO dial, no noise reduction settings, no ability to customize controls (although it does have custom modes), no highlights flashing in the image playback, no AEL/AFL button (you can press the shutter halfway and recompose), no grip, and no 24fps video (only 30fps).

Olympus XZ-1 versus Canon S95:  The image sensor, video capability, high ISO noise, and control dials are comparable. If you don't consider the supermacro mode, the macro on the XZ-1 is not as good as the macro on the S95. The F1.8-2.5 lens of the Olympus XZ-1 is much better, and the moveable focus points is nice. At 112mm, the XZ-1 is almost 2 stops brighter than the Canon S95. The fact that supermacro won't fire the flash means a strobe can't be fired via fiber optics, a drawback.

The XZ-1 consistently focused and took the shot slightly faster than the S95 in my low-light tests, at all ranges. But remember - it's still at compact speed, not "dSLR" instant. The internal flash of the XZ-1 has wider, more consistent coverage than the S95 internal flash. For live view, I prefered the LCD screen of the S95, I thought it showed better color and more detail. The Canon S95 does not have a hot shoe for external flashes. The XZ-1 is bigger and more expensive. The mode dial is much easier to turn on the XZ-1, and the video on the XZ-1 autofocuses (it does not on the S95), and responds to exposure changes more quickly.

Looking carefully at DPReview's image tests, the XZ-1 to me looks slightly sharper than the S95, with a little bit more detail, but a little noisier at higher ISO's.

Compared to the Olympus E-Pl2: The XZ-1 clearly has a better lens (than the 14-42mm kit lens), allowing you to use faster shutter speeds and having a longer zoom range. The E-PL2 has much better high-ISO performance, and a much larger sensor, which will correspond to less noise and greater dynamic range. You can change the lenses of the E-PL2, which can be a benefit (more lenses), or a drawback (more money).

I think the macro capability of the E-PL2 lens is a little better, being able to take a photo 2.8 inches wide at 42mm (84mm equivalent), with use of the internal flash. In my "focus shootoff" tests, the E-PL2 focused slightly faster than than the XZ-1 all the time, although the XZ-1 was never too far behind. The XZ-1 LCD seems to be sharper with more color and contrast.

Other competitors: Panasonic LX5, Samsung EX1.


Implications for underwater photography with the XZ-1:

This camera is sure to be popular in underwater photography, with a sharp, fast-focusing lens, full manual controls, raw, the ability to slightly blur the background, and an excellent image quality. TTL in full manual mode is supported, unlike the Canon S95 or G12.

Cons include poor macro performance in normal macro mode, a supermacro mode that does not support zooming or use of the internal flash, and an LCD screen that is a little dark when the manual settings underexposure the image. Keep in mind that for supermacro mode, you can't fire strobes via a fiber optic cable. However, I don't consider this a huge issue, because you can simply shoot in regular macro mode, and use a 67mm threaded diopter on the housing, which will allow for closer focusing and more magnification. Also - on the plus side, the Olympus underwater housing will support the control dials.

Wet Lens support: 

For good macro, this camera will benefit from one or two strong diopters, such as the Dyron 67mm dual-element diopter. 

The fact that this camera has a similar zoom range to the Canon S95 implies there is very good chance wide-angle lenses, such as ones made by Dyron and Inon, will be supported, depending on how the housing is built. The lens travel distance on the camera is fairly short. The PT-050 underwater housing does have a 67mm threaded port for wet lenses. I've been told the housing supports both control wheels, but I haven't yet got my hands on the housing.

If the underwater housings do not support a fisheye lens, then the Canon S95 + Recsea housing will most likely still hold the edge for preferred underwater compact camera setup.

XZ-1 Underwater modes

The XZ-1 has 2 underwater scene modes, and one underwater white-balance mode. These modes appear to have no effect on settings or white balance, so I'm not sure what they do. I'll do some further testing though.


A close look at the Olympus PT-050 underwater housing



Where to purchase the Olympus XZ-1 & PT-050 housing:

The camera can be purchased for just $439 from our sister site Bluewater Photo & Video, with free shipping. They also carry the housing, macro and wide-angle wet lenses.

Check out the Ikelite underwater housing for the XZ-1


Further Reading

Review: Olympus EPM-1 Underwater



Support the Underwater Photography Guide

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!



DX 2G Conclusions

Sea & Sea DX-2G Underwater Camera Review

Conclusions about the sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera


Front iew of the DX-2G

Front view of the DX-2G



With all of the great advanced point and shoot cameras and underwater housings available on the market now it is hard to say that any one system or combination of camera and housing is right or better for everyone. All that I can say about the Sea & Sea DX-2G is that I have been very happy with the results and functionality of the system and would have no problem recommending it or suggesting it is heavily considered by anyone in the market for getting into underwater photography, upgrading a beginner system or looking for a smaller, lighter alternative to a DSLR system.


Key points:

  • Great wide-angle capability with the FIX UWL-04 fisheye lens
  • Great macro ability without a wet lens, compared to other compacts. Optional wet lens makes it even better
  • RAW, full manual controls
  • Ricoh Gx200 is a great camera with RAW, full manual controls, and a wide 24mm lens. Only negative is noise - don't try bumping up the ISO on this camera.

Comparison to Canon S90, G11 - by Scott Gietler

Although the Canon S90 and G11 have a reputation as the best compact choices out there, Shawn's photos with the FIX wide-angle fisheye lens clearly shows this camera can produce great photos. In addition, it's macro capability out of the box is much better than the Canon cameras with respect to close-focus. 



Sea & Sea DX 2G main review page

Main characteristics of the Sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera

Some technical features on the sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera

DX-2G Wide Angle & Macro capability

Sea & Sea DX 2G underwater photos


Best place to purchase the Sea & Sea DX-2G

You can get purchase ths camera from our sister company, Bluewater Photo. The staff at Bluewater know this camera and its accessories inside out!



Underwater photos

Sea & Sea DX-2G underwater photos

Part of the Sea & Sea DX 2G review

All photos copyright Shawn Rener, all rights reserved.


Great quality images with the DX-2G

Great quality images with the DX-2G


Sea & Sea DX-2G Underwater photos

Arrow Crab from Cozumel


Sea & Sea DX-2G Underwater photos

Barrel sponge in Cozumel, using the fisheye lens



Great backlit shot with the DX-2G

A versatile lightweight camera capable of great shots



A close shot with the DX-2G by Sea&Sea

A colorfish fish underwater photo by the Sea & Sea DX-2G



A closeup with the DX-2G

A closeup wide-angle shot well taken with the DX-2G


Sea & Sea DX-2G review intro

Main characteristics of the Sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera

Some technical features on the sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera

DX-2G Wide Angle & Macro capability




DX-2G Macro capability

Sea & Sea DX-2G Underwater Camera Review

DX-2G Macro capability


The Sea & Sea DX 2G has the ability to focus a 1cm (1/2”) to capture small subjects making this a great camera for macro and super macro photography, with the optional Sea & Sea 125 coated glass multi element close up lens you have the ability to capture the really small opportunities at almost a 2:1 magnification or to really focus in close on a subject to isolate it from a background. The 125 close up lens requires a ring adapter that cost extra to mount to the front of the DX 2G housing.

The focus distance is so small that you may need to back off of your subject and use the cameras zoom to give your self enough distance to position your strobes to light your subject. If using the cameras onboard flash Sea & Sea makes a macro diffuser that attaches to the front of the camera but you still need to allow enough space for lighting or you will get a shadow form the barrel of the lens.


Topside Photography

The actual camera that is used in the Sea & Sea DX 2G system is manufactured a Ricoh (GX 200). This is a fantastic and fun camera for topside photography when you find that you can’t be in the water. Ricoh has available add on lenses, a 19mm ultra wide conversion lens DW-6 and a 135mm telephoto conversion lens TC-1, you will need the HA-2 adapter to use either of these options.

DX 2G review intro

Who would buy this camera?

Main characteristics of the Sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera

Some technical features on the sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera

DX-2G Wide Angle capability


Sea & Sea DX-2G Macro & Wide Angle options

Sea & Sea DX-2G Underwater Camera Review

Macro & Wide-Angle capability


The Sea & Sea DX 2G has a wider lens (24mm) than most other advanced compact cameras on the market and with the available Sea & Sea bayonet mount wide angle (19mm) conversion wet lens you have the ability to get very capture larger subjects at closer distance allowing for better color and detail and scenic reef and wreck photographs. If wide angle is important to you the DX 2G gives you fantastic wide angle capability, other comparable camera systems can only offer 24mm even with the addition of accessory lenses.


Wide Angle Third Party Options

The best option that I have found so far to increase the wide angle ability (the camera lens WA is 24mm) for the DX 2G to a super wide 16mm is the addition of the FIX UWL-04 Fisheye lens. The only way to use other manufacture's lenses is to make an adapter because the DX 2G housing have a priority bayonet system designed to fit their products. When using the FIX UWL-04 I had to bump the cameras zoom 1x to get rid of the dark corners (vignetting) though but the results are still make a major difference over the Sea & Sea 19mm wide angle wet lens.

By using the adapter ring for the Sea & Sea 125 close-up lens with a 62mm-52mm step-down ring I was able to create lens custom adapter that allowed a Sea & Sea bayonet mount to be added to the FIX UWL-04 Fisheye wet lens. Because of the bayonet mount the lens is easily removed or added underwater as needed. A Sea & Sea lens caddy attached to the systems tray or arms keeps lens safe and out of the way when not attached to the housing.

sea sea dx-2g underwater camera with fisheye lens

Sea & Sea DX-2G with Fisheye lens attached


sea sea dx-2g underwater camera with fisheye lens

Sea & Sea DX-2G with no wet lens attached


sea sea dx-2g underwater camera with fisheye lens

Sea & Sea DX-2G with Sea & Sea wide-angle lens attached


sea sea dx-2g underwater camera with fisheye lens

Sea & Sea DX-2G with Fisheye lens attached - best option!


Sea & Sea DX-2G Macro capability


The Sea & Sea DX 2G has the ability to focus a 1cm (1/2”) to capture small subjects making this a great camera for macro and super macro photography, with the optional Sea & Sea 125 coated glass multi element close up lens you have the ability to capture the really small opportunities at almost a 2:1 magnification or to really focus in close on a subject to isolate it from a background. The 125 close up lens requires a ring adapter that cost extra to mount to the front of the DX 2G housing.

The focus distance is so small that you may need to back off of your subject and use the cameras zoom to give your self enough distance to position your strobes to light your subject. If using the cameras onboard flash Sea & Sea makes a macro diffuser that attaches to the front of the camera but you still need to allow enough space for lighting or you will get a shadow form the barrel of the lens.


sea sea dx-2g underwater camera with fisheye lens

Sea & Sea DX-2G at closest focus distance, zoomed out


sea sea dx-2g underwater camera with fisheye lens

Sea & Sea DX-2G macro, closest focus, zoomed in 2x


sea sea dx-2g underwater camera with fisheye lens

Sea & Sea DX-2G macro test, closest focus, zoomed in 4x. These tests results are great, much better close-focus capability when zoomed in than the Canon compacts - good when you need extra working distance.


Topside Photography

The actual camera that is used in the Sea & Sea DX 2G system is manufactured a Ricoh (GX 200). This is a fantastic and fun camera for topside photography when you find that you can’t be in the water. Ricoh has available add on lenses, a 19mm ultra wide conversion lens DW-6 and a 135mm telephoto conversion lens TC-1, you will need the HA-2 adapter to use either of these options.

DX 2G review intro

Main characteristics of the Sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera

Some technical features on the sea & Sea DX 2G Underwater Camera



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