Underwater Photography is for anyone
Can anyone do it?
Underwater photography is growing in popularity and as time goes by, more and more options are available to people from novice to professional photographers.
Yes, anyone can do it. Pretty much all the technical rules for normal photography counts for underwater as well. If you know your way around a camera you will easily adjust to the underwater scene. What makes this so accessible is that, even if you are not interested in knowing all the ins and outs of photography, you can get a smaller and less expensive setup to snap away with. You don’t have to be a professional or even an intermediate photographer to get started in underwater photography.
Why I love underwater photography
I have always loved taking pictures since I was a child, but underwater photography is what really got me into doing photography more seriously. I can really express my love for nature and animals through my photographs, this is what I always wanted to be - a nature and wildlife photographer. I’m not currently a full-time photographer. When asked, I usually say that it’s a hobby on steroids.
My passion for photography, as well as animals, makes this one of my absolute favourite topics! I love to help, teach and chat with anyone who is interested.
How I got started in underwater photography
I bought my first underwater setup second-hand from friends who showed me the ropes. It was a Canon Powershot S95 compact camera (a camera not having interchangeable lenses) with an Ikelite housing (a watertight casing). I quickly got the hang of it and soon I was itching to add a light to my setup. Since the camera’s built-in flash cannot be used underwater, all the pictures are taken with natural light. Light can disappear very quickly underwater especially on deeper dives or in lower visibility, which sometimes leaves you with underexposed (dark) images as well as very little colour since colours also disappear the deeper you go below the surface. So, I decided to get a strobe (flash) to add to my underwater housing and I got the Ikelite AF35 strobe light. This one addition to my setup completely changed my pictures, the vibrant colours of the reef was visible. I was hooked, there was no turning back.
Do I have to sell my car to get started?
Underwater photography, like most hobbies, can be expensive, although the cameras listed below this article are affordable and you don’t have to carry heavy, large and bulky gear. I guess it comes down to what you want to spend your money on. The quality of images I got with my S95 compact camera was great and more than most people would want or need.
It comes down to what you want to achieve with your underwater images. Are you a happy snapper who wants some memories of your dive travels? Or do you want to take some pictures to be able to identify the animals you encountered and have some proof for those disbelieving jealous divers who sat that dive out? Maybe you want to take some video to grow that Instagram account of yours? You can get a compact camera setup now starting at around R6000.
I also love the versatility that many setups provide in that there are lots of add-ons available, so you don’t have to buy everything at once. You can start off with your housing (watertight casing) and can then immediately start taking underwater pictures. Then you can decide for instance, that you enjoy taking macro (close up) pictures of the underwater world, then you can add a lens that can screw onto the front of your housing bringing your subject even closer. How cool is that! Or you can decide that you want to add a strobe (flash) and so on.
Some options for you
Here are the top 3 affordable and most popular Ikelite Housings and cameras:
(*Please note that the prices in this article are subject to change, please contact us for quotations on cameras and housings..)
A full-featured and durable waterproof housing for Olympus Tough TG-5 and TG-6 cameras. Suitable for scuba, snorkel, surf, pool, and any application in or around the water.
The Ikelite housing for this popular camera model has been designed for ergonomic underwater use. A side-mounted shutter lever makes shooting a breeze. Hard anodized aluminum and acetyl controls operate smoothly and are fully serviceable for many years of enjoyment.
Housing: R6 800
Canon SX620 HS
A compact, lightweight underwater housing for Canon PowerShot SX620 HS cameras that provides access to all camera functions up to 200ft (60m). Suitable for scuba, snorkel, surf, pool, and any application in or around the water.
If you're looking for a pocket-sized camera for both underwater and topside travel photography, then the PowerShot SX620 HS may be right for you. It is optically stabilized 25x zoom lens and large 20.2MP BSI-CMOS sensor provide high-quality stills. Plus you can shoot video on the same dive with 1080/30p capture.
Housing: R7 300
Canon G7X Mark III
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a great choice for underwater use. The bright 24-100mm zoom lens is ideal for use with external wide-angle lenses. A large 1"-type CMOS sensor, 4K UHD video resolution, manual exposure modes, and RAW image capture are key advantages when shooting underwater.
This housing is designed to use the full capabilities of the camera up to depths of 200 feet (60 meters). A perfectly clear back provides a view of the camera and o-ring seal.
Housing: R12 400
by Madelein Wolfaardt