Picture yourself scuba diving in Kota Kinabalu. You drop into the water. Suddenly the world becomes a magical place as you begin your open water dive. Fish, marine plants, and coral reefs overwhelm your senses with their bright colours. You hear the sound of water and life moving about you. It is an experience you never want to forget, an experience that needs to be recorded, relived, and shared. You need the right camera. What type of camera do you need? Is it better to rent or buy a camera? How do you get the perfect shots?
Do You Want to Buy For Repeat Use?
Do you love to go diving and snorkelling and are always looking forward to your next dive? You know an underwater camera will get used on every dive. You are already imaging all of the experiences and scenes you can record to share your love of diving. Does your family go diving with you on your holidays? Owning a camera gives you more flexibility and allows anyone in the family to use it on their next dive.
The Olympus Tough! TG-5 is the ideal camera for divers who have a little extra room in their budget. Pair it with the waterproof housing and you have a camera that takes beautiful pictures and video. It is priced around £620. The camera works to a depth of 45 metres, so is great for most divers. This camera is rugged and durable, so it can take the abuse of normal diving. The camera features superior colour processing and noise control.
Do you need to save a few pounds, but still want a great camera? The Nikon Coolpix W300 is only £390 and does not require the addition of a waterproof case. It works to 30 metres in depth, so not quite as deep as the Olympus. It provides a high-resolution screen so you can see what you are shooting. The wide zoom range allows you to get up close pictures, even when you’re not close. This camera is so good, that we often choose it above the Olympus when we rent.
How cheap can you go and still take good underwater pictures? How does £99 sound? The Fujifilm FinePix XP130 takes high-quality pictures at a bargain price. It is the simplest camera to use in our group but does not provide as clear of pictures. We love this camera for handing to the kids. They can use it to record their dives and we don’t worry about damage. It is good up to 20 metres in depth.
Underwater Photography Tips
Getting your camera is just the start of the adventure, you need to know how to get the best shots to capture those incredible dives. The quality of your pictures takes both a good camera and a photographer who knows how to use it. Here are a few tips to help you get great pictures.
You have to practice to get the best shots possible. If you want to practice before going on holiday, drop by a local swimming pool and practice. You want to practice your skills at focusing the camera, keeping object framed in the photo, and being able to move with the camera in the water. The fastest way to get these skills is to take our PADI Digital Underwater Photography training. You must be PADI Open Water Diver qualified before you can take the class. This class is great for snorkelers, who do not need the diving qualification.
It is easy to get pictures at shallow depths because you have natural lighting to produce great pictures. In our experience, you get the best pictures with morning light. You will want to get as close as possible to the subject when using natural light.
Taking pictures in deep water is a little more challenging. You will need to use a flash or strobe to provide proper lighting. Make sure you do not disturb the ocean habitat, or interfere with other divers while taking your pictures.
Proper lighting is one of the key elements in getting good colour in your pictures. Another important element is using a camera with a white balance option. The white balance feature adjusts the blue hues in your underwater pictures, so you don’t have to mess with settings.
If you want to capture a larger piece of the underwater world, use an ultra-wide lens and low aperture. You may need to do a little tinkering with colour when you edit your pictures.
Even if you have the perfect camera and have practiced your skills, there will be times you need to edit. Today’s editing software allows you to sharpen the image, enhance colours, crop scenes, and make many other adjustments. You take many pictures when you take our Level 2 PADI Digital Underwater Photography course. We send you a copy of every picture you take on our equipment. You can then spend a little extra time using image editing software to bring out those important details and make your photos go from good to incredible.