What's in the Camera Bag: Brent Durand
Our latest installment of What's in the Camera Bag looks at the gear used by UWPG editor Brent Durand.
I've been fortunate to shoot with quite a few different camera systems over the past few years. Long gone is the day when I had my own DSLR system, but I'm in a fortunate position to borrow gear when leading photo workshops.
And after using various compacts, mirrorless and even DSLR cameras, plus leading a workshop last fall with just a GoPro, it has become apparent that the small, inexpensive systems hold their own against even the most expensive DSLR sytems. Why? Because those of us who aren't working pros shoot to share online - an arena where action cam images and video can collect just as many likes and can go just as viral, or even more viral, than imagery from mid and pro-level camera systems.
The simplicity of use in small cameras allows us to be more aware in the water and to engage more consciously with marine life. Small cameras allow us to pay more attention to dive buddies. They're more streamlined and easy to swim with. They cost far less and are easy to pack. They make prep and cleanup for local diving easy. Their affordability allows more of us to share our experiences underwater with divers all over the world. In short, small cameras are proving their place in the big camera world.
Over the last 5 months most of my dives have been without any sort of camera... although occassionally with a GoPro solely for the purpose of updating my Instagram story. It's proved a very healthy experience, and one that I highly suggest. That said, I do still miss all the days of experimenting underwater at night after work, and if someone on the street handed me a $10K check I'd have another big camera kit the next day! There's always room for both kits.
And without further ado, here's a look at my camera bag for leading Bluewater Photo's back-to-back Sri Lanka photo workshops.
Redundancy is very important on a dive trip and I always make sure to roll with two cameras. For Sri Lanka underwater photography and video, this will be my mobile phone and a GoPro.
iPhone 6s Plus
I plan to pop my mobile phone into the Kraken Sports smart phone housing, pump the vacuum and be ready to go. The 67mm ring adapter allows use of any 67mm wet lens (optics tests still to come). This housing retails for just $299 USD!
GoPro's image quality is incredible for a $400 camera. If you don't believe me, just check out the still images in our GoPro HERO5 Review for Underwater. I plan to shoot the HERO5 a bit more during our second workshop snorkeling with whales and dolphins.
Lighting and Accessories
The rest of my camera kit pairs everything down to the essentials: Dual Kraken Hydra 5000 video/constant lights, Ultralight Control Systems tray/arms/clamps, homemade selfie stick (yes, tease away), the new Fantasea / AOI UCL-09 macro diopter, and the new Fantasea UWL-09F wide-angle wet lens.
This lightweight kit will deliver Full HD video and amazing images at a fraction of the cost of a camera/housing system and is much easier to travel with.
I always pack a mini tool kit for international dive travel (the box on the left in the shots below), which can help fix most basic housing problems in the field. The box is super light while the tools are the lightest versions of things found useful during underwater photo trips. Not pictured is the usual trip stuff like duct tape, aquaseal, superglue, microfiber cloths, topside camera rain cover, mini first aid kit, etc.
It's essential to be able to make basic gear repairs in the field, especially on dive trips where there likely aren't any other underwater photographers around.
Enjoy the rest of our What's in the Camera Bag series:
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