Guidelines Compact camera
You will be surprised by the quality of the images a compact digital system produce today. And even better news is that the compact cameras also shoot video. This guide will help you to get an idea what you need to make it work.
Start small: Camera + underwater housing
If you want to start small then you simply buy a compact camera and UW housing. It can be that easy. In the perfect world your compact camera rig includes; camera, UW housing, external strobe kit, wide and macro wet lenses, focus light and a case that fits everything inside.
It can make a difference what compact camera you choose for underwater use. First thing is for you to choose a model that has an existing UW housing on the market. The wider lens the compact camera has to start with the better for you. The nearest possible focus distance is also an important feature. The closer the better.
Housings are made of plastic while others are made of high-end aluminum. Important features on a housings are; access to the camera controls, ergonomics, depth rating, fiber optic connections, material and accessories available for the housing.
Building a complete compact camera system
External strobe kit including strobe, stay, arm system and cable. Additional wet lenses like a wide angle or macro to boost the perspective. Focus light and focus light holder. Second strobe kit including strobe, arm system and cable. Case or box [for safe transport and storage]
Focus light makes your camera perform
In low light conditions you will find that the camera has more problems to set autofocus. Add a focus light and you will notice the dramatic difference. There are smaller focus lights that mount well on compact UW-housing.
2nd strobe for a professional touch
What about a second strobe? The second strobe will make it possible to control shadows, spread light over a wide scene and to imitate natural light in an even better way. The overall impression of the image will be more professional.
Case or box for safety
A box or case is used to protect your camera system. Many of the better boxes can handle great impact and endure drops from 1 meters hight, and it can be locked with a padlock while in transit. Rigid boxes also float if they would end up in the water.
A common question is do I really need a strobe?
The answer is very simple - yes! The strobes add high quality and fast light on your subject making it possible to capture the true colors in a razor sharp image. Having a strobe you will most likely use it on 90% of your images. Most compact users start off with one strobe, but two strobes will enable you to eliminate shadows, and it gives you more power and wider coverage.
When adding a red filter in front of your cameras lens you can get better colours in your videos. For still photography it is not as good as having a strobe but it will help the camera to perform if there is a lot of light.
Wet lenses for big and small subjects
Wet lenses can be put on the cameras underwater housings while underwater making it possible for you to change lens while diving. A wide angle lens helps you to picture bigger animals and whole reef scenes in high sharpness. The original lens on your compact camera can’t do this, but with the help of a wet wide angle it can. An external macro lens will boost the cameras macro capabilities even further making it possible to photograph the amazing world of small animals.