September 22, 2023


How Art Works

Underwater Picture/Video Purchaser’s Information – Summer season 2023

17 min read

We’re proper within the throes of summer season, and from America to Europe to Asia, we’re all sweltering by record-breaking temperatures. With our cooling dives offering the one respite, it’s the proper alternative to deal with ourselves to some sizzling new gear! Yup, it’s time for the summer season version of our Underwater Picture/Video Purchaser’s Information!

In fact, DPG’s complete information to the perfect gear for underwater shooters has a everlasting dwelling that you may dip into anytime, however right here we current a roundup of the most recent and biggest imaging gear to hit the market. Whether or not you’re simply beginning out, seeking to transfer as much as mirrorless, or simply fancy a brand new accent, we’ve bought a suggestion for you!




1. Interchangeable-Lens Cameras

Nikon Z8

With its 45.7MP stacked CMOS sensor, 8K/60p RAW video seize, and skill to shoot 20fps RAW bursts for 1,000-plus frames, Nikon’s flaghip Z9 made hybrid shooters drool and weep on the identical time: This was the digital camera of our goals, however the price ticket—a cool $5,500—was the stuff of nightmares. After which one thing extraordinary occurred: Nikon put the identical digital camera in a a lot smaller field and knocked a wholesome $1,500 off the worth. Behold, the Z8! Basically, it’s a Z9 with round half the battery life, and one of many two CFexpress card slots downgraded to an SD card slot. Wow! $4,000 | |

Who Ought to Purchase It?

In our current evaluate of the Z9, reviewer Nicolas Remy recommended many individuals would discover it “arduous to beat.” However Nikon fairly probably did that themselves: The smaller, lighter, and far inexpensive Z8—learn: “child Z9”—will probably be, for a lot of execs and fans, the last word all-round software for underwater imaging.

Housing Choices


  • Ikelite: The Z8 might prevent some critical cash in comparison with its pricier sibling, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not precisely low-cost, so if you need a full-featured however reasonably priced housing, Ikelite is the way in which to go. The brand new 200DL housing provides the same old Ikelite advantages, together with a transparent view of the digital camera, so you possibly can test that your funding is secure and safe inside, in addition to out-of-the-box digital triggering of strobes in guide mode, with the choice of including a TTL converter for on-the-fly switching between guide and TTL. This housing can be among the many fashions that may be fitted with the corporate’s new USB-C Charging and Knowledge Switch Bulkhead (see Accessories), so that you by no means must take the digital camera out of the housing once more! $1,895 | |

  • Nauticam: Severe hybrid shooters with deep pockets will wish to contemplate the NA-Z8 housing, because it comes outfitted with a large-bore M24 port for hooking up an exterior monitor/recorder such because the Atomos Ninja+, which is able to capturing each 8K/30p and 4K/120p in ProRes RAW. Apart from the sturdy aluminum building and ultra-ergonomic controls, Nauticam’s housing additionally provides full compatibility with the corporate’s vary of high-end water-contact optics, together with the WACP-1 and WACP-C wide-angle conversion lenses, and the SMC-1 and SMC-2 close-up lenses. $4,832 | |

Sony a7R Mark V

To not be outdone by the likes of Nikon and Canon, Sony has upped its full-frame sport with the fifth iteration of the favored high-resolution mannequin within the Alpha 7 vary. With the a7R V, not solely do you get extra megapixels than anybody else (61MP), however there are additionally important enhancements in key areas: The brand new Bionz XR processor powers a brand new “deep studying” AI focusing system, the EVF will get a lift to a staggering 9.44 M dots (as discovered within the Alpha 1), and the digital camera now information 8K/24p and 4K/60p. $3,900 | |


Who Ought to Purchase It?

If poster-sized prints is your factor (or maybe dramatic crops of blackwater critters), the a7R V’s 9,504×6,336-pixel pictures received’t disappoint. Simply as impressively, you may also shoot 10fps at that loopy decision for as much as 500 uncompressed RAW pictures. In different phrases, that is very a lot a digital camera that fits nearly any taking pictures state of affairs.

Housing Choices


  • Isotta: When your digital camera is about as horny as a slab of coal, you want… a fiery pink Italian housing to cover it in! Built-in adjustable handles, twin O-ring seals on all buttons, and the corporate’s signature single-handed open/shut are all a part of the package deal. There’s additionally a built-in moisture detector, twin fiber-optic ports for guide strobe triggering, and an M24 port to deal with HDMI 2.0 cables for connection to exterior monitor/recorders. Eccezionale! $3,390 | |

  • Seacam: Milled from a saltwater-proof mild metallic alloy that’s twice hardened and anodized, Seacam’s Silver housing supplies a high-quality dwelling for the Sony a7R V. High quality Austrian craftmanship is the order of the day, with top-grade supplies used all through, together with stainless-steel and anodized aluminum buttons and dials. You’ve got the choice of configuring the housing with S6 or N5 bulkheads for electrical strobe triggering, and there’s additionally provision for connecting a monitor/recorder through HDMI. Seacam’s leak detector is commonplace gear. $5,100 | |

  • Sea&Sea: Externally, Sony’s full-frame cameras all look just about similar, which has allowed Sea&Sea to provide you with one thing relatively ingenious: a “common” housing. With simply minor {hardware} tweaks, the MDX-αU helps a formidable six totally different fashions, together with the a1, a9 II, a7S III, a7 IV, a7R IV, and naturally, the brand new a7R V. When you’ve executed the mandatory customization, you possibly can totally benefit from the ergonomic controls, fiber-optic strobe triggering in TTL or guide modes, and peace of thoughts with the as-standard leak alarm. Oh, and never forgetting these beautiful yellow accents! $4,500 | |

Panasonic Lumix S5II/S5IIX

Whereas Panasonic has an honest slice of the Micro 4 Thirds pie, their full-frame cameras have struggled to compete—not helped by the corporate’s adherence to underwhelming contrast-based autofocus. With the arrival of the S5II and S5IIX, which make use of part detection AF, Panasonic has lastly rectified this. These midrange fashions provide 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensors, 6K/30p and 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording from the total sensor width, and as much as 30fps burst taking pictures in AFS/AFC with the digital shutter. 5-axis sensor stabilization, a full-size HDMI port, and twin UHS-II card slots full the packages. The “X” mannequin, which prices simply $200 extra, provides a couple of extra video perks, together with RAW video output and recording onto an connected USB-C SSD. $2,200 (S5IIX) | | | $2,000 (S5II) | |

Who Ought to Purchase It?

With their up-to-date autofocus system and really first rate spec sheet for cameras on this value bracket, the S5II and S5IIX stand a preventing probability in opposition to The Huge Three—Canon, Nikon and Sony. Take into account that the choice of appropriate L-mount lenses is a bit of restricted, so Canon EF-mount lenses through the Sigma MC-21 mount converter might typically be the one choice.

Housing Choices


  • Nauticam: The NA-S5II housing has good help for L-mount lenses from Panasonic, Sigma and Leica, but in addition accommodates the Sigma EF-to-L adapter in addition to using the prevailing focus and zoom gears for EF-mount lenses. There’s Nauticam’s traditional hybrid focus as nicely, with a large-bore M24 port for connecting an exterior monitor/recorder through HDMI 2.0, and help for rapid-fire strobe triggering utilizing fiber-optic cables with the addition of the corporate’s Mini Flash Set off. As at all times with Nauticam, vacuum test and leak detection electronics come as commonplace. $3,479 | |

  • Ikelite: The U.S. firm concentrates on the S5II and S5IIX as picture-taking instruments, with full help for automated strobe publicity through their devoted Panasonic/Olympus TTL converter, which, being externally mounted, provides you the flexibility to modify between guide and TTL throughout your dives. You can too set off strobes electronically in guide mode out of the field. There’s intensive help for Canon EF-mount lenses with the Sigma MC-21 in addition to help for some L-mount lenses from Panasonic and Sigma. $1,795 | |

Sony ZV-E1

Whereas the ZV-E1 is aimed squarely at critical vloggers, fanatic underwater videographers will discover quite a bit to like about this diminutive digital camera, which apparently shares a lot internally with Sony’s high-end cinematography-oriented cameras. Geared up with the identical backside-illuminated (BSI) 12.1MP sensor discovered within the a7S III and FX3, the ZV-E1 can shoot 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2 with no crop out of the field, and Sony just lately introduced a free improve that means that you can file 4K/120p and 1080/240p for capturing the motion in silky clean slow-mo. $2,200 | |

Who Ought to Purchase It?

If video is your factor, and also you don’t wish to haul round an enormous rig, the ZV-E1 provides numerous digital camera in a tiny package deal. The complete-frame 12MP sensor retains noise to a minimal whereas providing a claimed 15+ stops of dynamic vary, permitting you to maintain taking pictures in essentially the most difficult lighting situations.

Housing Choices


  • Ikelite: The ZV-E1 squeezes into Ikelite’s 200DLM/A housing, creating a particularly compact, light-weight and travel-friendly system. Including a twin deal with tray is an easy matter, with the housing accepting a shutter extension to put the file on/off management at your fingertip. The housing additionally options an M16 port, permitting you to put in a vacuum valve. Should you fancy utilizing the ZV-E1 for pictures, you possibly can even pair the housing with a hotshoe, bulkhead and strobes, in addition to hooking up Ikelite’s TTL converter for automated strobe publicity. $975 | |

  • Nauticam: Machined from a strong block of aluminum, the NA-ZVE1 housing provides the total vary of options typical of Nauticam’s videocentric housings: controls ergonomically organized arround built-in handles; an M24 bulkhead, permitting for the attachment of an exterior recorder just like the Atomos Ninja V or a monitor just like the SmallHD Extremely 5; and full compatibility with Nauticam’s vary of water-contact optics, such because the WWL-1B, WACP-C, WACP-1, and CMC-1/CMC-2. $3,251 | |


2. Mounted-Lens Cameras

Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV with 14–42mm

Their could also be a dearth of latest compact digital camera releases—blame your smartphone for that—however as an underwater shooter, you possibly can nonetheless work in a similar way: Use one strong commonplace zoom lens and fix close-up and wide-angle moist lenses when wanted. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV with the Olympus 14–42mm f/3.5–5.6 EZ is one such combo that we’re sneaking into the “Mounted-Lens Cameras” class. The fourth incarnation of this widespread digital camera is constructed round a brand new, higher-resolution 20MP sensor in addition to the TruePic VIII picture processor discovered within the firm’s higher-end cameras. You’re additionally getting 5-axis picture stabilization, 4.5fps steady taking pictures with AF (mechanical shutter), and 4K/30p and 1080/60p video recording. $800 | |

Who Ought to Purchase It?

Bundled with the 14–42mm f/3.5–5.6 EZ, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV is unimaginable worth for cash at simply $800, and with its Micro 4 Thirds sensor, it’s able to much better high quality pictures and video than even essentially the most high-end compacts—or smartphones for that matter.

Housing Choices


  • Backscatter: We don’t must let you know why that is known as the “Octo” housing, however past the enjoyable tentacle print beats the guts of a critical, full-featured digital camera housing specifically designed for the E-M10 IV. Flat port and zoom gear for the 14–42mm EZ are included, as are vacuum electronics and guide/TTL flash set off, so you can begin taking pictures instantly. If you wish to tackle the tiniest critters and the widest scenes, all it’s important to do is add a few moist lenses, or simply seize Backscatter’s Wet-Mate Lens Package, which bundles AOI’s UCL-09PRO macro and UWL-09PRO wide-angle moist lenses (plus different niceties). If that’s not sufficient, you nonetheless have the choice of utilizing different “dry” lenses and ports, and Backscatter has a package deal for that too—from the Macro Lens Package to the Professional Lens Package. $700 |

Canon EOS R50 with RF-S 18–45mm

One other camera-and-lens combo that we’re surreptitiously together with within the “Mounted-Lens Cameras” class is Canon’s most-affordable RF-mount digital camera, the EOS R50, bundled in a equipment with the RF-S 18–45mm zoom lens. Boasting a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, the R50 is able to taking pictures 12fps bursts with its part-mechanical-part-electronic shutter or 15fps with the total digital shutter, in addition to capturing 4K/30p 10-bit video with no crop. With the RF-S 18–45mm lens, it makes for a really compact and light-weight platform for attaching close-up and wide-angle moist lenses. $800 | |

  • Nauticam: The NA-R50 is Nauticam’s first housing for an interchangeable-lens digital camera with one particular lens connected, on this case, the RF-S 18–45mm equipment lens. Identical to a fixed-lens compact digital camera system, the housing encompasses a fastened flat port with a bayonet mount that means that you can connect Nauticam’s varied high-quality moist lenses, together with the WWL-1B or WWL-C for wide-angle topics and the CMC-1 or CMC-2 for the small stuff. You should buy the housing by itself or as a part of the “Professional Bundle,” which provides a tray, handles, shutter extension and vacuum valve. $2,030 (Professional Bundle) | | $1,494 (Housing) |

SeaLife Micro 3.0 Units

If f-stops, flash triggers and vacuum valves all sound like gobbledygook to you, you’ll have an interest to know that there’s a neater method to begin taking pictures underwater: SeaLife’s Micro 3.0. This fully-sealed compact digital camera is able to dive with the minimal of fuss: no O-rings to take care of, no sophisticated settings, no reminiscence playing cards to lose—simply choose photograph or video mode and hit the shutter/file button! The one factor you would possibly wish to do is add a photo-video LED mild or two to make your snaps and clips look higher, and SeaLife provides a couple of useful units that do the job admirably: (i) the Micro 3.0 Professional 3000 Set, which features a single Sea Dragon 3000F mild; (ii) the Micro 3.0 Professional Twin Beam Set, which features a Sea Dragon 3000SF Professional Twin Beam mild; and (iii) the Micro 3.0 Professional Duo 5000 Set, which incorporates two Sea Dragon 2500F lights. $1,000 (Micro 3.0 Professional 3000 Set) | | $1,050 (Micro 3.0 Professional Twin Beam Set) | | $1,400 (Micro 3.0 Professional Duo 5000 Set) |


GoPro HERO11 Black

It received’t be lengthy now till GoPro drops the twelfth iteration of their insanely widespread motion cam—new fashions have been introduced each September for years—nevertheless it’s arduous to see how they may enhance on the HERO11. In addition to upping the megapixels from 23MP to 27MP, the sensor now captures as much as 5.3K/60p video in 10-bit shade, relatively than the limiting 8 bits of outdated. Different niceties embody a brand new model of GoPro’s picture stabilization software program (HyperSmooth 5.0), and a brand new 16:9 super-wide view known as HyperView. Plus, the corporate’s Enduro battery now comes within the field. $400 | |

Who Ought to Purchase It?

With its newfound means to seize 10-bit video, the GoPro is nearer to a critical filmmaking software than it’s ever been—so why not have one? Add Backscatter’s important FLIP filter system and some moist lenses to make the last word GoPro rig (see Accessories).

Housing Choices


  • GoPro: The “Protecting Housing and Waterproof Case” is all you’ll want to get spectacular underwater footage—right down to 200 ft—along with your HERO11 (or HERO9/HERO10). Extra importantly, the housing is an important platform for mounting the equipment you want: filters for popping colours, macro lenses for magnifying teeny-weeny critters, and wide-angle lenses for becoming the most important animals within the body. $50 | |

  • Isotta: GoPro’s 50-buck plastic housing might get the job executed, however if you wish to present your buddies you’re critical about crafting underwater films, you’ll want one thing metallic, pink and horny! Introducing Isotta’s superior aluminum GoPro housing depth-rated to an epic 650 ft. To your cash, you get the Italian firm’s nifty one-handed open/shut mechanism, a detachable hood for a transparent view of the rear LCD even in shiny situations, and naturally, a port with the very same dimension and form because the GoPro one—so you possibly can blissfully hold utilizing your favourite GoPro equipment. $540 | |


3. Lighting

Inon S-220

Boasting a information quantity (GN) of twenty-two and a beam angle underwater of 140° (H) × 100° (V), the S-220 is a alternative for Inon’s widespread S-2000 mannequin. Geared up with a “fly-eye” dome for expanded mild protection, the brand new strobe provides S-TTL auto and 12-step guide flash modes, a big management dial for higher operability, and a phosphorescent management panel for glorious visibility even in low-light situations. It operates on 4 AA batteries and options double O-rings to scale back the chance of flooding. The S-220 is suitable with quite a lot of bayonet-mount filters for widening the beam angle, lowering the sunshine depth (for macro), and altering the colour temperature. $420

Retra Flash (4th Technology)

The 4th-gen variations of Retra’s strobe are available in three flavors: (i) the top-of-the-line Flash Professional Max, which has an output of 140 Watt-seconds (Ws), features a leakage detection system, a again panel OLED show, and high-speed sync (HSS) performance; (ii) the midrange Flash Prime+, which has an output of 90Ws and the identical options because the Professional Max apart from the again panel show; and (iii) the bare-bones Flash Pure, which has an output of 70Ws however options neither leakage detection, the again panel show, nor HSS. Importantly, the battery compartment has been redesigned: It accepts 4 AA batteries as commonplace, and an extra 4 when including the Booster—which, in contrast to its predecessor, the Supercharger, doesn’t stick out like loopy. $1,575 (Flash Professional Max) | $1,250 (Flash Prime+) | $1,025 (Flash Pure)

Sea&Sea YS-D3 DUO

Eye-catching yellow accents apart, the YS-D3 DUO has a spec sheet quite a bit like that of Sea&Sea’s flagship YS-D3 II Lightning strobe. Each strobes boast a information quantity (GN) of 33, a beam angle of 110° as commonplace (however rising as much as 150° with the elective dome diffuser), and a recycle time of 1.7 seconds at full energy. However along with Sea&Sea’s personal slave TTL system, DS-TTL II, the YS-D3 DUO can exactly management automated flash publicity through the RC flash protocol of OM System and Olympus cameras. $850

Backscatter Mini Flash 2

When Backscatter created a strobe specifically for lighting the small stuff, the Mini Flash, macro photographers’ prayers have been answered—and MF-1s have been quickly ubiquitous additions to macro dives all over the place. Not content material with that, nonetheless, Backscatter went about enhancing on the unique and including a slew of cool new options. With the MF-2, you get a modeling mild with double the facility (1,000 lumens), high-speed sync (HSS) for even darker backgrounds, automated TTL publicity for Olympus cameras, and the flexibility to make use of a second strobe to set off the MF-2 remotely for inventive off-camera pictures. Nonetheless, the MF-1 and MF-2 do have one vital factor in frequent: They will each be paired with Backscatter’s good Optical Snoot (OS-1) for exact management over the strobe’s mild beam. $400 (MF-2) | $500 (MF-2 and OS-1 combo)

SeaLife Sea Dragon 5000+

The Micro 3.0—the world’s solely totally sealed underwater digital camera—isn’t SeaLife’s solely declare to fame. The corporate additionally provides all kinds of wonderful photograph/video lights of various outputs. Its top-of-the-range mild is a strong 5,000-lumen mannequin packing a COB LED array that delivers a shade rendering index (CRI) of 90—which means that the sunshine high quality is similar to daylight. However the Sea Dragon 5000+ has a few different tips up its sleeves: Have interaction SeaLife Coloration Enhance and the colour temperature drops from 5000K to 3700K for some added heat. Change to “over-drive” mode and get a 20% improve in brightness (i.e., 6,000 lumens) for 2 minutes earlier than mechanically returning to regular full energy. $600 |


4. Equipment

Ikelite USB Charging & Knowledge Switch Bulkhead

Typically, it’s the little issues that make all of the distinction. As an example, wouldn’t it simply be superior if you happen to may depart your digital camera within the housing and by no means should hassle taking it out to recharge it or obtain your images and movies? Nicely, now you possibly can! Ikelite’s new USB Charging & Knowledge Switch Bulkhead means that you can do exactly that (assuming your digital camera provides the potential). Appropriate with choose Ikelite 200DL and 50DL underwater housings, the brand new bulkhead installs simply through the M16 port and comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable that connects the port to your digital camera contained in the housing. After set up, all you’ll want to do is unscrew the bulkhead cap and plug in. Genius. $175

Inon Compact Grip Base for GoPro

Should you’re pondering of taking a GoPro underwater, ensure you take a look at Inon’s intensive line of equipment for the planet’s favourite motion cam. The most recent is the Compact Grip Base, a compact double deal with tray designed for the GoPro housing with a plethora of attachment factors. Connect ball mounts to the tops of the handles or on the tray beneath, then add lights or a lens holder. The Compact Grip Base is the proper complement to the SD Entrance Masks, which attaches to the GoPro housing and facilitates Inon’s handy quick-change bayonet system for conversion lenses. $100 (Compact Grip Base) | | $70 (SD Entrance Masks) |

Backscatter FLIP11 for GoPro

It’s no secret that issues quickly flip to blue-green mush as you go down. If in case you have a GoPro in your fingers sans lights, mushy blue-green footage is what you possibly can stay up for while you return to the floor. Except, that’s, you’ve correctly mounted Backscatter’s FLIP filter system to revive these valuable lacking reds, oranges and yellows. Go for a equipment with one or two filters, or go all out and get the Professional Bundle, which bundles one other important accent: Backscatter’s +15 Macromate Mini close-up lens. The most recent model, FLIP11, works with any GoPro, from HERO5 to HERO11. $200 (Professional Bundle) | $100 (Two Filter Package) | $60 (One Filter Package)



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