Set Up For Snorkeling With Humpback Whales

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Postby MandyH » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:54 am

I'm planning a trip early in 2014 to get snorkeling with Humpback Whales down in the Dominican Republic. I've been a huge fan of whale watching since 2001 and finally decided to make the journey south where the whales go so I can see them on their breeding grounds. This trip is already costing me a small fortune so I don't have that much extra to spend on camera equipment. I do need to buy something to use (I'm looking at $500-$700) which is where your help is being needed.

I currently have a Canon Xti with only the kit lens, 75-300mm non IS, and the 55-250mm IS lenses. This camera is already old in camera world so finding an underwater housing (which I can't really afford anyway) is a problem unless I go with one of the bag type ones you can get for about $100 off of Amazon. I can't even find a place to rent a housing because it's been discontinued. So at this point, my options are pretty limited.

I was thinking of buying the Canon 15mm F2.8 Fisheye lens along with the bag type of housing to use, but I'm nervous about doing that. I realize even with the sturdiest of housings a leak is still a possibility so I'd still feel nervous either way about submerging my gear under the water. Again, this is snorkeling so the camera itself wouldn't be more than 2-3 feet under I wouldn't think. Would you risk trying one of those bag type of housings?

Another idea I had was to get the Sealife DC1400. I like the sample shots and videos I've seen on this camera and it's in my budget, BUT I don't like how the close range is 26mm. That means if a whale gets to close to me my pics would look like extreme close ups when I'd like to get full body shots as well. I'm also not sure how much less the quality would be using this camera as opposed to my Xti.

Any other ideas are definitely welcome! I've looked at so many cameras already that my heads spinning. There are so many out there. I just don't know which way to go!
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Postby tswinner » Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:38 pm

I wouldn't suggest the bag style housings. You're probably going to be doing a lot of climbing in and out of small boats and your camera is probably going to take a beating. I would either look at some of the compact setups or a used housing for your body if you can find one. You don't need to be concerned with strobes for the humpbacks so that will save you some money. I would contact the guys at www.bluewaterphotostore.com and ask them what compact has the best wide angle lens in your price range.
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Postby douglasjhoffman » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:31 pm

Look for a used DSLR camera in a housing, however be prepared to spend more than you have budgeted. If you cant swing that buy a GoPro. This system fits your budget. You can turn it on and have it take a still every few seconds or shoot HD video. ITs very versatile.

Check out the video clip I got with whales in Tonga on my website www.douglasjhoffman.com go to the video page.
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