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Water Photography


Ikelite Water Housing for 5Dii
If you thought regular photography was expensive, scuba photography takes it to a whole other level. To add to the fun, if you have a break in your seal, you can kiss your dSLR and lens good-bye, and yes I have seen this happen. (Not to me).

There are a number of different scuba diving rigs available, the more expensive ones (in the $4-5K range) are machined out of solid blocks of aluminum. That is before you purchase any lens ports or strobes.

Ikelite makes a variety of very thick plexiglass housings for many different cameras and is one of the more affordable alternatives to the very expensive metal housings.

When you shoot in water, you will experience a 1.3x multiplication factor on your lens due to the diffraction of water, and because of this, I wanted to shoot full frame when scuba diving.

The rig handles will accept a strobe each, which is also absolutely necessary to get any quality shots. Different ports will allow the rig to accommodate different lenses, and these can range from $100-$500 each.

There is also a limit to the types of lenses you can use with the housing and I find I use mostly primes, including the Canon 100 mm Macro L , but I also use the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye set to 15mm (essentially acting as a prime in the housing).

To be honest, the rig I purchased had some issues at first, with an irregularity that was pushing the hot shoe sync cord out of the hot shoe mount under pressure rendering the flash system useless. (Very frustrating when diving as there is no way to trouble shoot in the water and now Im lugging around this useless 30 pound weight.) Sent it back to Ikelite and they eventually figured it out. Solid customer service, its been working since.

Great way to start dSLR scuba photography if you can afford it .
Purchase Ikelite Underwater Housing for Canon 5Dii
 
Ikelite 161 Underwater Strobe / Movie Light
While very, very similar to the "stills" only Ikelite 160 Underwater Strobe, the 161 also allows for continuous LED video light. Everything else is pretty much the same. While this may seem like quite the stretch, I cannot tell you how many times I have recorded video with the 5Dii, or even shot stills using the video lights, it makes a huge difference.

In fact, if for whatever reason you are having strobe misfires, you can shoot with the video lights if you are close enough. With the 160, if you have an issue with the strobes on the dive, its just dead weight.

The video lights greatly help with focusing and and invaluable for night diving photography. The Ikelite Rig has 2 handles, each of which can mount a single strobe arm, which can be purchased with the light itself as a kit. I always use both.

Highly Recommended, once you have it configured and working the way you like. (Not so easy to do in the beginning.)
Purchase Ikelite 161 Strobe/Video Light - $1250
 
SPL Water Housing
When a scuba diving rig such as an Ikleite is submerged 5 or more feet, the water pressure helps hold the port and rig together.

Shooting on the surface, like surf photography for example, requires a completely different type of housing. With crashing waves, shallow surf and the likelihood the photographer is going to get tossed around, the housing needs to be very durable and tuff. While you will not have all the controls of a scuba rig, SPL housings are customizable and are made of welded metal. They are as tough as anything else you can find on the market. Not really made for deep water shooting, they shine on the surface in aggressive conditions.

While the your SPL Housing will come with a single port, additional ports are available for different size lenses.
SPL Water Housings
 
SPL Extension Pole
While I have only shot with it a few times, it is well worth the investment. You won't be able to aim when using it, but it allow you to get a completely different perspective on your subjects, as well as duck under a wave while you shoot which can save your tail from being unnecessarily slammed,
Purchase SPL Water Housing Extension Pole
 
GoPro Hero3
I've been getting a lot of questions about getting started into water photography, and honestly, one of the most affordable ways to test the waters so to speak is with a GoPro Hero3. It shoots HD video as well as 11mp stills, has a timer and most importantly, GoPro has a complete arsenal of accessories that will allow you to attach it to just about anything.

Great way to start your water photography career.
GoPro Hero3 - $299.99
 
Backscatter Housing for GoPro Hero2
So you want to use your GoPro for deep water shooting. I have a bit of bad news for you. The housing that comes with it doesn't really work very well for deep water shooting due to the round shape of the lens port. In order to get focused shots, you are going to need a flat port on that little housing. Still good all the way down to 130', the Backscatter Housing will also accept different types of filters. If you are diving with your GoPro Hero 2, this is a necessity.
Purchase Backscatter Housing for GoPro Camera
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