Top Underwater Photography Gear for Novice Photographers
A guide to the best equipment for beginner underwater photographers
Underwater photography is a fascinating and rewarding hobby. It requires specialized equipment to capture the beauty of the underwater world. If you’re new to underwater photography, choosing the right equipment can be overwhelming. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the best underwater photography equipment for beginners.
Having the right equipment can make all the difference in the quality of your photos. In this guide, we’ll look at the best underwater photography equipment for beginners. Here are some Top Underwater Photography Gear for Novice Photographers.
The most important piece of equipment for underwater photography is the camera. There are several types of cameras that you can choose from, but what’s important is that the camera you choose is waterproof or has suitable housing for it. With this minor limitation and the increasing number of underwater cameras available today, you can choose anywhere from high-quality point-and-shoot compact. To start you should probably get a compact.
Here are some of the popular options:
- Sony RX100 VII: This camera has a 1-inch 20MP sensor, a 24-200mm zoom lens, 4K video, and fast autofocus. It is compatible with various underwater housings and accessories and offers excellent image quality and versatility. $1300
- Olympus TG-6: This camera is rugged, waterproof, and designed for macro photography. It has a 12MP sensor, a 25-100mm zoom lens, 4K video, and RAW shooting. It also has a built-in microscope mode, focus stacking, and underwater modes. $550
- Canon G7X Mark III: This camera has a 1-inch 20MP sensor, a 24-100mm zoom lens, 4K video, and RAW shooting. It also has a built-in ND filter. It is compatible with various underwater housings and accessories and offers great photo and video quality. $750
How to choose your underwater camera?
You should consider whether or not you are willing to shoot in manual mode. It allows you to be more in control of how your images will turn out since cameras’ auto modes don’t work as well as they do on land. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take decent shots in auto mode. Some underwater modes are amazing. Underwater photography can be gear intensive, so you may want your camera to be as lightweight and compact as possible. Smaller cameras are not only more convenient to travel with but are also easier to bring underwater. Some are even small enough to fit right in your BCD pocket! But do take note that, in most cases, having a smaller system means certain features could be compromised, so it’s important to identify what’s more important to you. Remember, there’s no “best” camera for underwater photography. The best camera is the one you have with you underwater. While there are certainly more popular ones, what matters is that the camera you use suits your needs and preferences.
Your decision will mainly depend on price, portability, features, and cheaper housing.
Choosing the Right Waterproof Camera Housing for Underwater Photography
A camera housing is essential for underwater photography. Don’t skimp on quality—imagine investing in a high-end underwater camera only for it to get wet due to a cheap casing. Consider these factors when selecting a waterproof housing:
- Waterproofing Depth: Ensure it meets your desired depth requirements.
- Reliability and Precision: Look for well-machined, durable housings.
- Button Ergonomics: Easy access to control matters.
- Accessory Compatibility: Some housings allow for add-ons.
- Price vs. Quality: Remember, the housing cost is comparable to the camera’s.
- Vacuum system
- Nauticam, Sea & Sea, Subal, Marelux: Offers aircraft-grade aluminum housings, waterproof up to 100 meters, with advanced features.
- Ikelite and Olympus, Canon, Camera brand housings: Budget-friendly options, though compromising on some quality.
For personalized advice, reach out to our professional photographer. We’ll guide you toward the best system for your needs.
An underwater strobe is a flash unit that is designed to work underwater. It is used to provide additional light to your subject and to help reduce backscatter. Backscatter is caused by particles in the water reflecting the light from your camera’s flash back into the lens, resulting in a hazy image. An underwater strobe can help to reduce this effect and provide better lighting for your subject.
Budget strobes are often not the most powerful, so if you’re interested in wide-angle underwater photos it may be limited.
Here are some of the options:
- Sea & Sea YS-03: This strobe is easy to use and compatible with most cameras. It has a guide number of 20, a beam angle of 100 degrees, and a color temperature of 5600K. It runs on 4 AA batteries and has a recycle time of 2.5 seconds. It costs around $300 and comes with a flexible arm and a tray.
- Inon S-2000: This strobe is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for travel. It has a guide number of 20, a beam angle of 105 degrees, and a color temperature of 5500K. It runs on 4 AA batteries and has a recycle time of 1.5 seconds. It costs around $400 and can be attached to various mounts and arms.
- The Backscatter Mini Flash 2: is an underwater strobe that is a major upgrade to the original Mini Flash 1. It has many new features and performance improvements, such as Automatic TTL for Olympus cameras, Wireless remote control and triggering, High-speed sync for fast shutter speeds, Test mode and beacon for emergency signaling, Faster recycle time and longer battery life, Manual control for all cameras, Compatible with snoots, color filters, and infrared filters. The Backscatter Mini Flash 2 costs around $400 and is one of the best underwater compact strobes available in 2024.
Fiber optic cables
To connect your strobes to your camera you’ll need fiber optic cables. Make sure that your housing can accommodate it and that you have a good adapter for it and the strobe.
It is better to have 2 strobes but you can start with 1 and get the 2nd later.
Underwater Video Lights
Underwater video lights are a valuable accessory for capturing high-quality video footage in aquatic environments. They enhance the illumination of your subject and reduce the effects of water absorption and scattering. If you are not ready to invest in a strobe, video lights can also serve as a decent alternative for taking photos underwater. They will assist your camera in focusing more quickly and accurately, although they are not as powerful as strobes. Video lights can also double as focus lights if you decide to get a strobe in the future. Moreover, they are handy for night and deep dives, where natural light is scarce
Here are some of the options for underwater video light:
- The Sola Video 2500 Flood is the base model of their newest generation of lights. This light features a 2500 white 60-degree beam, plus Light & Motion’s standard switch and battery power indicator. The battery lasts 40 minutes on full power, lower than lights at slightly higher price points. You can’t go wrong here if looking for a high-quality video light at a low price. $300
- The Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 is a versatile light for those who want one light that does it all. Shoot wide-angle video at 4300 lumens, 1300 lumens in a special macro video mode, or use it in red mode as a focus light around shy nocturnal marine life. The light is compatible with Backscatter’s color filter system and the Backscatter Optical Snoot (OS-1) for creative macro video. The dual NL2150HP batteries are replaceable, which allows you to purchase multiple sets and keep shooting all day before recharging. $499.
- OrcaTorch 710V is a model of underwater video light that has three color light sources: white, red, and UV. It can produce up to 2000 lumens of neutral white light and has a wide 120-degree beam angle. It is designed for underwater photography and fluorescent night diving. 150$
Underwater housing tray
An underwater housing tray is a device that allows you to attach your underwater camera housing to a handle or arm system. It helps you to stabilize your camera and add accessories such as lights or strobes. There are different types of trays available, depending on the size and shape of your camera housing, and the number of handles or arms you want to use. Some trays also have a shutter release trigger for easier control of your camera.
- The OceanTray by Mozaik is a sturdy and versatile tray that can accommodate different housings and accessories. It has rubberized handles and ball mounts for attaching arms and lights. It is also adjustable in width and angle to suit your preferences. You can find it on Housing Camera or Optical Ocean Sales.
- The Uni-tray by Fantasea is a lightweight and flexible tray that can be folded for easy transport. It has rubber grip handles and online arms that can be positioned in any way. It is compatible with most compact housings and can be extended with additional arms and mounts. You can find it on Housing Camera or.
- The Flexitray by Nauticam is a high-quality and ergonomic tray that can fit various housings and cameras. It has a shutter release trigger for easier control of your camera and ball mounts for attaching arms and lights. It can be used with single or dual arms and has anti-rotation features for stability. You can find it on Housing Camera or.
Wet lenses are accessories that can be attached to the front of an underwater camera or housing to change the field of view or magnification of the image. They are called wet lenses because they can be added or removed underwater, unlike dry lenses that are fixed before diving.
There are two main types of wet lenses: wide-angle and macro. Wide-angle lenses allow the photographer to capture more of the scene, such as reefs, wrecks, or large animals. They also reduce the amount of water between the camera and the subject, which improves the clarity and color of the image. Macro lenses, on the other hand, enable the photographer to focus on small and detailed subjects, such as nudibranchs, shrimps, or corals. They also increase the magnification and sharpness of the image.
Wet lenses are useful for underwater photographers who want to have more flexibility and versatility in their shots. They can also help to overcome the limitations of some cameras or housings that have fixed or limited zoom ranges. Wet lenses are easy to use and can be switched quickly depending on the situation and the subject.
Here are some examples of wet lenses:
- Nauticam WWL-1: This is a wide-angle wet lens that can restore or broaden the native angle of view of your camera. It is compatible with many compact cameras and housings, such as the Sony RX100 series, the Canon G7X series, and the Olympus TG series. It has a 67mm thread mount and a bayonet mount option.
- Nauticam SMC-1: This is a macro wet lens that can increase the magnification and sharpness of your image. It is designed for cameras that have a 100mm equivalent focal length, such as the Canon G16, the Sony RX100 IV, and the Olympus TG-6. It has a 67mm thread mount and a flip adapter option.
- AOI UCL-900 +15 Close-up Lens: This is another macro wet lens that can enhance the details and colors of your subject. It is suitable for cameras that have a 60mm equivalent focal length, such as the Canon S120, the Sony RX100 III, and the Panasonic LX100. It has a 67mm thread mount and a flip adapter option.
Lanyards and straps
You can use these to secure your camera and accessories to your wrist, belt, or BCD, and prevent them from getting lost or damaged. They also help you to handle your camera more comfortably and safely