Underwater Photography Question

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ChadHarrison
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Underwater Photography Question

Post by ChadHarrison » February 19th, 2016, 1:31 pm

Bottom line, full underwater housings are expensive. I am wondering if an accessory exists that allows you to cover house just the lens to break the surface of water and shoot aquatic scenes without fully submerging the camera. I have no idea if something like that exists, but if it does, I would like to know what it's called. If not, I'll just have to save my ideas until I can buy an entire underwater housing. Problem is, all the housings for the Sony A99 have been discontinued. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places, I don't know. Help a brother out if you can!

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El Garia
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by El Garia » February 19th, 2016, 1:43 pm


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Hadar
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by Hadar » February 19th, 2016, 1:45 pm

Hey Chad,

How deep are you trying to shoot and how much control of the camera do you want? You could cheat with the use of glass and mirrors like these guys, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OubvTOHWTms. Two of the best underwater photographers I know are Jeremy Monroe and Dave Herasimtschuk. They are the guys who produced The Last Dragons https://vimeo.com/108512185, the documentary about Hellbenders. They also have been working on a project on amphibian deformities with Dr. Pieter Johnson at the University of Colorado, http://freshwatersillustrated.org/link/ ... eformities. If you are talking deeper water or saltwater, I can talk to some of the SCUBA videographers/photographers I know but I believe they all buy the expensive systems. Hope that helps!

Cheers, Heather

ChadHarrison
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by ChadHarrison » February 19th, 2016, 3:01 pm

Hadar wrote:Hey Chad,

How deep are you trying to shoot and how much control of the camera do you want? You could cheat with the use of glass and mirrors like these guys, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OubvTOHWTms. Two of the best underwater photographers I know are Jeremy Monroe and Dave Herasimtschuk. They are the guys who produced The Last Dragons https://vimeo.com/108512185, the documentary about Hellbenders. They also have been working on a project on amphibian deformities with Dr. Pieter Johnson at the University of Colorado, http://freshwatersillustrated.org/link/ ... eformities. If you are talking deeper water or saltwater, I can talk to some of the SCUBA videographers/photographers I know but I believe they all buy the expensive systems. Hope that helps!

Cheers, Heather
Not deep. I'm talking stream and vernal pool, shallow river type stuff. The link posted above is close to what I'm looking for. But I don't trust myself with a DIY project. I'm too poor to risk drowning a Zeiss lens. I would really just like to know if there is something I can buy to just house a lens so that I can stick my lens in the surface of the water.

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chrish
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by chrish » February 20th, 2016, 10:47 am

A relatively inexpensive solution if you don't want to risk a DYI project is a DiCAPac camera housing which cost under $100.
I have used mine down to about 20 feet below the surface while snorkeling.

I reviewed it here - viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12476

Here's a more recent picture using that housing -

Image

I might also suggest that there are now a bunch of really nice "relatively inexpensive" point and shoot cameras that can be used in/under water down to about 16 feet with no housing.

I used to have a Sealife DC-1200. It was OK while it lasted, but I wouldn't buy any more of their cameras since it failed me mid-trip due to a leaky seal.

Image


I have used the Olympus TG-3 while snorkeling as well and was pretty impressed with the quality you got straight out of the camera and the ease of use.
The problem with this camera (and other underwater point and shoots) is that you can't focus very close with them. But they are really easy to use since you just stick them in the water without having to worry about housings, etc.

Image


I haven't used any of the newer Olympus Underwater P&S or any of the Nikon AW series which are also submersible. When using such cameras, I have had an issue with slow shutter response and that can be tough underwater since everything is moving. I think the newer ones are better about this and maybe some of them will focus close enough for herp work? And their low light (high ISO) image quality is inferior to that you can get in a modern DSLR.

But the DiCAPAC housing really is pretty good since you can put a camera in there that has good low light capability and use a good macro lens. For just sticking a camera into a stream, they would be perfectly adequate.

Of course you are better off with an Ikelite or other such housing but they can cost more than the cameras themselves. :shock:

ChadHarrison
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by ChadHarrison » February 21st, 2016, 12:04 pm

chrish wrote:A relatively inexpensive solution if you don't want to risk a DYI project is a DiCAPac camera housing which cost under $100.
I have used mine down to about 20 feet below the surface while snorkeling.

I reviewed it here - viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12476
Chris, I'm really liking the looks of that case. Which size do you think would fit the Sony Alpha A99, if any?

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chrish
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by chrish » February 21st, 2016, 8:01 pm

ChadHarrison wrote:
chrish wrote:A relatively inexpensive solution if you don't want to risk a DYI project is a DiCAPac camera housing which cost under $100.
I have used mine down to about 20 feet below the surface while snorkeling.

I reviewed it here - viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12476
Chris, I'm really liking the looks of that case. Which size do you think would fit the Sony Alpha A99, if any?
I would suggest the largest. I think I have the WS-5 and it is a bit tight even when I try to put the Alpha 100 in there. I would get the WS-10.

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jason folt
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by jason folt » February 22nd, 2016, 7:48 pm

I'm a housing guy, but understand they aren't practical. I think a POS is your best bet for vernal pool and stream work. Having a small rig in shallow water is helpful. I lugged my housing out to a couple vernals last year and it was too big and cumbersome to do anything.

J

ChadHarrison
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by ChadHarrison » February 24th, 2016, 7:58 am

jason folt wrote:I'm a housing guy, but understand they aren't practical. I think a POS is your best bet for vernal pool and stream work. Having a small rig in shallow water is helpful. I lugged my housing out to a couple vernals last year and it was too big and cumbersome to do anything.

J
Thanks Jason. You ought to give these non-camera-specific underwater housings a look. The ones that Chris mentioned, and those similar. It's actually looking like a pretty solid idea for shallow water shots. Especially pools and streams where you wouldn't even have to fully submerge the housing. I'm a huge fan of the wide angle close-up herp shots that are half in, and half out of the water; showing both perspectives. I think that is super neat, and really what I want to try to work with. So I think I may give that a shot once salamander time rolls around here in Illinois.

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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by Stohlgren » February 24th, 2016, 8:28 am

I have the same underwater case Chris mentioned, but in the WS-10 size. It fits my A77 well. I haven't used it a lot, but it is a bit clumsy and takes some getting used to. It does get the job done, though, and as others have mentioned, real housings are even more clumsy in shallow water. A waterproof P&S will be the simplest option, but the cheap ones don't have great image quality. One thing I noticed is that because the case is designed to house lenses up to 6", if you are using a wide-angle, you have to hold the front lens port back up to the lens when shooting or it will show in your photos.

Image
The half-in/half-out shots don't work quite as well as the real underwater housings do because it doesn't have the large domed port, but it can certainly be done better than my attempt here.
Image

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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by Antonsrkn » February 24th, 2016, 4:49 pm

Cool stuff, there was a question in the initial review of the Dicapac that Chris posted which caught my eye.
I think one of these could be a lot of fun for shooting calling frogs with the camera half way submerged, so you get above and below the water at the same time. I’m wondering if the built in flash on Nikons could be popped up in the bag and used in commander mode to trigger an external flash while the camera was in the bag? The external flash could be mounted on a tripod above the water I suppose. Don’t know if it would work, but for only $75 it might be worth buying one and trying it.
I don't imagine this would work, but has anyone tried? Is an external flash still able to receive the signal of the commander flash from within the bag?

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Stohlgren
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by Stohlgren » February 25th, 2016, 4:28 am

I've thought about trying this, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I think it might work, though. There is more than enough room in the bag to pop up the flash, and most of the bag is clear so I think it should be able to trigger an external flash, but I could see the bag and/or water causing some firing issues. It would also help to have an extra pair of hands to help hold the flash, and of course it would be best to have the flash in something waterproof as well, but something as simple as a ziplock back would work.

ChadHarrison
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by ChadHarrison » February 26th, 2016, 8:10 am

Kevin, that hellbender shot is SERIOUSLY dope. That was all I needed. Went ahead and ordered that housing. Thanks!

DarwinsBulldog
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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by DarwinsBulldog » February 28th, 2016, 7:20 pm

Any of you looked into the Outex system at all? I have come SO close to pulling the trigger on this setup a few times. The setup offers great quality pics and I believe a good price for what it can do. Although I want it for my 10.5 nikon fisheye lens and the domed hood for that lens is $450. The domed port is also really recommended for doing half and half shots.

https://photographylife.com/reviews/out ... r-housings

https://fstoppers.com/originals/fstoppe ... sing-77142

http://www.outex.com/

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Re: Underwater Photography Question

Post by MonarchzMan » March 3rd, 2016, 1:53 pm

I've seriously given thought to Outex, but when I was looking (probably nearly a year ago), I couldn't find much in the way of reviews. Now that there seem to be some reviews, it seems like the major concerns I had were addressed or confirmed.

The nice thing with Outex is that it does accommodate on or off camera flash, although you'd have to get different housing if you wanted different options, but I guess the latex portion is the cheapest of the outfit.

Looking at it for my purposes, though, having the ability to half-in/half-out shots with the option of being on a tripod and having a flash would cost nearly the same as a dive housing (though, not with strobes).

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