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  #1  
Old 12-16-2007
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Had anyone attempted Underwater photos...

With a point and shoot digital camera?

I bought a Canon PowerShot A630 last year, to be a decent all around digital camera. however I wanted to try taking underwater pictures while diving ( Location: BVI's) over the holidays so I bought the underwater housing (WP-DC8) that Canon makes to go along with the camera. It looks pretty freaking sweet because it sill allows access to all functions of the camera and it still allows for full zoom range. This way I can take pictures while we are sailing or while dinghing to shore and not have to worry about getting it wet. I havn't tried taking any pictures under water with it yet because the only water I have access to around here is cold and has a vis of <1ft, but can't wait to try it out. I guess what I am seeking are tricks, tips, or things to be careful about while trying to do this. I'm not expecting them to be perfect but I would like to take atleast decent shots. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 12-16-2007
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There are plastic bag type housings that be bought thru most of the New York camera shops online. My wife uses a Sony Cybershot with a Sony Housing. Unfortunately the housing cost as much as the camera - $199 list.
By the way - H2O audio makes a waterproof case for the IPODs - bought one at Faucetts in Annapolis last Summer.
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Old 12-16-2007
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try www.wetpixel.com and the photography section of the scubaboard.com forums. I'm an avid diver, but have very little experience with u/w photography.
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Old 12-16-2007
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I've done some underwater photography, but using a Nikonos, rather than a digital camera. The biggest problems you'll have with underwater photography, especially with a point-and-shoot, are:

1) The low light levels, since the sensor in most P&S cameras is very small, they tend to be quite noisy, especially in low-light, higher ISO conditions.

2) The difficulty with color balance, since the light is going to be heavily biased toward the cooler, higher color temperature spectra, since water filters out the lower end of the spectrum first.

3) Using the flash may also cause problems with glare, depending on the housing design. If it is a problem, it means that you'll be stuck shooting available light, and the light drops off quite quickly with water depth.

4) You'll find due to the different diffraction index, that you'll tend to use the wide angle end of the camera's capabilities more, and most P&S cameras don't go all that wide, limiting their utility underwater.

BTW, Otterbox makes a good water proof housing for iPods...
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Old 12-16-2007
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I shot with a Nikonos V during Caribbean dive trips back in the late '90s, but rented the rig during each dive trip. UW photography was relatively easy with the film Nikonos - since the camera was integral with the housing and external strobes were synchronized with the auto-focus shutter mechanism.

Never took any UW classes and I'm nowhere near expert status. All I wanted to do was record my underwater scuba adventures and hopefully get a few worthy shots for framing. Got quite a few decent pics and learned by reading, doing and asking questions on scuba diving web-forums.

Like you, I went digital with my land camera - about 5 years ago. After research I decided on an Olympus "Pro-sumer" digital camera. Essentially, it's a point-and-shoot, impressive automatic, but with full capabilities for manual overrides and custom exposure settings. A camera to grow with.

My plan was to initially buy the affordable Olympus housing, learn the basics and upgrade to a more durable housing. Upon learning tricks from a digital diving web forum and buying many upgrades, like digital controllers, trays, strobe arms, dual strobe units and several gigs in memory cards - the endeavor became quite expensive . . . thousands of $$$.

It seems though, from my quick scan of Amazon.com write-ups, the Canon WP-DC8 housing has good user reviews - and a great value, considering the housing costs less than 150.00. Ikelite housings start at $400., although of a noticeably higher quality. For new photographers and occasional tropical uses, it makes a lot of sense.

You will find though, that the internal flash will create what's called "backscatter" - or flash snow. This is caused by minute particles between the subject and flash that reflect the bright light - and unavoidable with a point & shoot's integrated flash due to the close proximity to the camera lens.

To avoid backscatter, seasoned UW photographers have learned to use at least one, preferably 2, digital strobe light units that are extended on aluminum adjustable arms to varying lengths - possible to several feet from the lens. This makes a huge difference in picture quality.

There is much to learn about this hobby - but be warned, it is addictive. You will want to upgrade after a few uses, but be realistic with the level of quality of your pics and decide if the investment of more gear is worthwhile.

I would recommend hanging around THESE FORUMS for a while, I did for years and learned a great deal . . . click on Forums and feel free to post questions there. You will get way more experienced responses than here.

Ask me about anything specific though and I'll try to help you out. Remember though, the most important thing you can do is check the housing's O-rings and control seals, BEFORE sealing the housing. The greatest anxiety UW photographers have is UW flooding under pressure, by improper cautions when opening/closing a wet camera on the dive boat - to change batteries, Memory cards, or for other adjustments.
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Thanks for the link TB!

There are some phenominal photographs on there. I'm not expecting to see that kind of marine life in the BVI's nor do I expect to take those kind of photos with my setup. However, I can definately see how this can become addictive.

Also the forum seems very informative. Looks like I'll be able to get some great information.

thanks again
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Old 12-16-2007
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I did UV some photographs with Sony Cybershot with a Sony Housing while diving or snorkeling.
Snorkeling: Pictures are usually no good (well, they serve as a memory photo, but usually lack real quality). You may improve it by using weights (weight belt) which would allow you to stay down and stop swimming.
Diving:
Preparation
- make sure the O ring is greased and there is no hair or sand - or you can say bye to camera
- make sure is is as dry as possible when you close the housing. Room with an AC is a good option. Else you will get condensation on the lens = no sharp pictures
Dive itself:
- Take time
- do not use internal flesh. It will magnify plankton and other particles in the water very close to the lens and ruin your picture
- do not use tele - rather come closer and use wide angles. Your lens is small, your sensor is small, there is not a lot of light, so come closer.
- Best pictures are in less then 20 feet. Deeper you loose all red color.
- only take pictures when the sun is very high in the sky.
- Use external light in any deep or morning/evening/cloudy dive. You can improvise with a divers light if you do not have external flesh, but you will need some practice. Your buddy can light the objects and you shoot. You can get some nice effects this way.

The delay of most point and shoot cameras is really annoying underwater.
I have a lot of pictures of fish tails.
Oh, and by the way: I usually decide to either enjoy the dive or to take pictures - hard to do both.
It is bed time here, but parhaps I will post some pictures tomorrow to ilistrate my points.
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Old 12-16-2007
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Underwater Photo's

I have done underwater photoography with film cameras and was very happy with equipment from http://www.ikelite.com/. I have not tried their products for digital cameras, but I expect they are very good as well. They have an extensive set of products including underwater strobes that fire off of the cameras flash.
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Old 12-16-2007
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I started with one of those disposables that can go to 95 feet. Not to bad and cost effective. I then went with an Olympus camera and a pt015 housing
and inon strobe.

Here are a couple from Nassau a couple of years ago








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Last edited by Brezzin; 12-16-2007 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007
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I quite honestly agree with Tomaz. Diving with a camera is fun but it's also alot of work. I find myself diving without my camera most of the time now. I also have started doing more and more wreck and technical diving so forget about the camera.
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