Underwater Photography Help Needed!

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by rkn, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. rkn



    I am a newbie Scuba diver and love the idea of underwater photography! That being said I know very little about it and am hoping some of the experienced underwater photographers will chime in here and give me some advise. First, can a Canon 60D be used underwater? I realize it's now considered an older model camera, but I have one lying around in "perfect condition" and am wondering can it be refurbished to use under water? If so, what housing would you recommend? Also what lens? I am finding the simple point and shoot camera fun to use underwater but they just don't measure up the versatility of a SLR. Your assistance is greatly appreciated!
    Thank you.
  2. There is a store in Monterey called "Backscatter Underwater Photo & Video". Lots of useful info there and staffed by knowledgeable people. I'm not a Scuba diver but I've been on the mailing list from when I used to take my E6 there for processing. A fascinating place to visit.
    rkn likes this.
  3. I've used Ikelite housings for film cameras in the days before digital. Oh to not have to change film on a rocking boat with salt water dripping from your hair! Helix, outside of Chicago, has a bunch of stuff. Helix Camera & Video, 100 N Walnut St, Itasca, Il 60143 312-421-6000
    I think the 60D would be fine. I've been out of the water for years, so hopefully someone with recent experience will chime in. I think a wide lens with a dome port is probably what would be recommended except maybe for macro work. A strobe also.
    Good luck. -trumpet fish.jpg
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  4. Good underwater housings for DLSRs are often more expensive than the cameras themselves. ;) You can rent them though.

    I'm not sure how much diving experience you have but I'd recommend sticking with a waterproof point and shoot or a GoPro for awhile. Dragging along a large camera and futzing with controls that weren't designed to be used underwater may detract more from the experience than the pictures are worth. As you get more comfortable underwater (and maybe you're already there), then go ahead and experiment.
    DavidTriplett and akocurek like this.
  5. Housings are very expensive, and the least little leak will ruin both body & lens. I played with a Nikonos years ago and liked it. For a beginner I strongly recommend sticking with P&S, whether waterproof or in a housing. You can get a useful setup for a fraction of the price of a housing, dome port, UWA lens, and strobe(s). (16mm or wider, except for macro work.) You will also need to get comfortable with heavy weights and very negative buoyancy, since that's what it takes to get stable in any kind of current. I bought a small setup from Adorama and found it works quite well for my purposes.

    Keep in mind you will be making images from very close distances, a tiny fraction of normal distances. Two reasons: 1- most water contains enough stuff to severely impact visibility beyond even a few feet. 2- The light absorption of water prevents much light transmission, particularly of the longer wavelengths. You also have to shoot looking upwards to the lighter surface to avoid dark backgtounds, which means a good strobe to counter the backlight effect. There are many other tips and tricks. Get a good book, practice with gear you can afford to lose (a hard lesson for another day), and get to the point where you are absolutely comfortable with both safe SCUBA and photography , then think about spending big bucks on DSLR underwater gear. And, have fun!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
    Sandy Vongries and akocurek like this.

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