View Full Version : New to Underwater Photography but...

10-18-2009, 22:59
I have been into photography on dry land for sometime now and shoot with a Nikon D700, D300, and have a D40x. I plan on expanding my passion for photography to include the realm beneath the sea.

What I am still trying to get a handle on is what camera to use and strobes. What I want to avoid is buying gear to learn on then upgrade. I prefer to get solid from the beginning.

What I have now is a Nikon D40x that I am not afraid to take below the water with me. I have found this housing: Nimar | NI303D Underwater Housing f/ Nikon D40 and | NI303D-1615 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/562330-REG/Nimar_NI303D_1615_NI303D_Underwater_Housing_f_.htm l)

But I am not sure if it is a solid housing or if I should go a different route.

I have had a few seasoned Scuba divers mention that their friends have been using a Canon Rebel setup but did not know what gear was used.

I please ask that experience underwater photographers please post the gear that they use: camera, house, strobes, connections, and a description as to why.

I greatly appreciate the input.


10-19-2009, 07:17
Well. First I would skip the Nimar.

You have a lot of things to look at and consider so I hope you are not in a big hurry. There is a big investment here and so starting with the best equipment for a base will save you money and frustration in the long run.

There are better housings still available for the D40 that IMO will give you more options down the road. I would try to go with a higher quality brand name (Sea & Sea, Nexus, Seatool, Ikelite, ect).

I would contact the rep from an U/W photography shop and discuss what is available to get you the kit you will be happy with and be the most cost effective down the road. When you start to consider ports, connections and strobes if you can purchase gear that will work for this set up and be able to move forward with you when you decide to upgrade without having to start over it is best to do your research.

Try to checking out some of these sites and contacting the people for options...

Underwater cameras, housings, strobes, video, and lighting Equipment (http://www.underwaterphotography.com/Store/default.aspx)

Reef Photo & Video!, The Underwater Photo Pros (http://reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=index)

Backscatter : Underwater Camera, Underwater Video Housing, Underwater Photography, Waterproof Camera (http://www.backscatter.com/)

I would be interested in what they tell you and what you decide to go with and why so please keep us posted...............

10-19-2009, 07:26
Been reading through the forums and Checked a few external sites that came up from Google Searches.

I am now leaning more and more towards a:

Getting a Nikon D90 with an Ikelite Housing - this would allow both stills and HD Video.

Again, I'd really like to know what camera, housing, and strobes everyone is using and why.

Again any information is greatly appreciated.

10-19-2009, 07:30
DevilDiver - thanks I'm checking those sites now and sending them emails. Also sent an email to STs to see what they have to say. Really want to make sure I get this one right from the start.

When I got into photography I started cheap and kicked myself.

10-19-2009, 08:06
No problem..... Please post what you find.

If you want to get some practice in a out at Clear Springs any time (when the water warms up) just give me a shout. I shoot the Sea & Sea DX1G for U/W right now.............

10-19-2009, 08:25
Thanks DD, I will do that. Heheh believe it or not me and a couple friends are going to brace CSSP this Saturday. Might not be out there really long but at least 2 dives ... yes I am bringing my propane heater.

(Just hope that 7mm Hyperstretch I picked up keeps me warm lol.)

I sent out about a dozen emails this morning to a few sites and to a couple avid u/w photographers I found on Flickr. Will definitely post what I find. Everyone benefits from shared knowledge.

10-19-2009, 08:43
What's your Flickr name? I will add you to my friends list............

Here is my page: Flickr: devildiver's Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/devildiver/)

10-19-2009, 08:46
You've been added as a friend ... my flickr ID is GMDGEEK

Flickr: gmdgeek's Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmdgeek)


10-19-2009, 09:30
That DX1 Takes some pretty good pictures ... might just have to go with a Dx2G and some strobes ... pretty decent shots indeed. Nice stream on Flickr DevilDiver!

10-19-2009, 09:48

PM if you want check out my set up, we could meet at ST sometime.

10-19-2009, 14:44
DD is a good local resource, but for technical DSLR questions like this I would check in with the pro UW photogs on the WetPixel (http://www.wetpixel.com/forums/) forums instead of here.

Ikelite housings are inexpensive, but there are downsides to them.

Personally, given your camera selection I'd be looking at picking up a Sea & Sea housing for the D300 instead of spending that much money on a D40.

For a D90 (you're considering buying another camera, I guess?), the Aquatica and Nexus housings have been getting some good reviews. There are a number of threads about housings for the D90 over on WetPixel.

I would also spend some serious quality time with this site, which has pretty much everything you'll need to know about UW Photography: Underwater Photography Guide (http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/)

10-19-2009, 15:30
Spent a chunk of time reading and getting emails and surfing sites getting more information:

I have 3 options I am considering at this time: I am still weighing out the pros and cons.

1. Sea & Sea package Kit: Dx2G $2,295.00
- Sea & Sea Dx2G 12.1 megapixel waterproof camera
- Sea & Sea Housing
- Sea & Sea Ys110a Strobe Kit (includes 1 strobe and bracket arm)
- Wide Angle Lens
- Lens Caddy
- Pelican 1500 Case to transport the kit
* I would need to pick up a 2nd Strobe

2. My Nikon D300 w/Sea & Sea: ~ $6000.00
- Tokina 10-17mm f3.5-4.5DX F for Nikon AF
- Sea & Sea MDX-D300 Housing for Nikon D300
- Sea & Sea Port Extension Ring 40 (105, 17-55)
- Sea & Sea Fisheye Dome Port Cover
- Sea & Sea Fisheye Dome Port W/ Shade
- Sea & Sea Standard Flat Port (105)
- Zoom Gear for Tokina AT-X 107 DX Fisheye AF 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 Len
- Zoom Gear for Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED
- ULCS Strobe Arm Set for Subal SLR Housings
- Sea & Sea YS-110α Strobe
- Sea & Sea Nikonos Style Sync Cord
- B+W +2 Closeup Diopter, 77mm

3. Purchasing a Nikon D90 and using Ikelite housing: ~ $4800
- Nikon D90
- Tokina 10-17mm f3.5-4.5DX F for Nikon AF
- Ikelite i-TTL Housing for Nikon D90
- Ikelite 8" Dome Port Assembly with Shade & Neoprene Cover
- Ikelite SLR Focus Port for Micro Nikkor 105mm/2.8
- Ikelite Super-Wide Port Body
- 2x Ikelite DS-160 Package w/ TTL Sync Cord for Ikelite, Arm
* This purchase allows me not only still images but HD Video as well.

No matter which I choose I will end up with Insurance on the gear as well which is around $200 a year.

I am still gathering notes and chatting with a few people offline line and once I have all my notes typed up I'll post them along with what I decide on.

Again I greatly welcome the input and feedback.


10-23-2009, 23:24
Wanted to say thanks to DevilDiver for meeting me out at the dive shop (ScubaToys) today and letting me take a look at your camera rig and some of your other gear. Really answered a lot of questions and helped out a ton!


Tassie Diver
10-24-2009, 05:13
Wow, talk about jumping in at the deep end!

I'm seriously looking at getting a DX2G in the near future. I already have an Inon strobe I'm using with a compact Olympus, so changing cameras will leave me with change from $1500.

I use a Nikon D80 above water and the thing that's really put me off housing it, is that I've only had it a couple of years and it's already a couple of models out of date. Now if I'd splashed a $4k on housing/port/etc, I'd be pretty upset about now!

Wide angle is more important than long focal length underwater, so the DX format is not as useful as FX. More $$$$...

Tassie Diver
10-24-2009, 05:16
The thing that's really attracted me to the DX2G is a useful RAW format (I use Lightroom) and the fast shutter response. I've a friend with older Ricoh underwater and it works well. DX1G produces great images, so I don't think I'll go far wrong...

02-24-2010, 21:53
Thanks for the info, right now i have a d40x that i received but latered bought a d80 all for your regular photography. I've been wanting to sell my d40x because i haven't used it for anything other than lending it out but I might look into putting it in a housing to do some underwater photography. I'll be definately doing my research.

02-25-2010, 12:25
Thinking about it more, I know that the d40x is semi small but looking at the canon s90 with its features and the thread is making me wanting it for its small compactness. I'm not sure yet we'll see!! I know i'll be taking my d80 for land shots maybe tripod, i <3 photography