Come visit us instore - Try our products before you buy - Ask about our diving lessons - Seek general diving advice
Home > Photo >  Fuji Digital Cameras and Underwater Housings

Digital Underwater Photography can open a whole new world to those non divers that you know, capture stills and video on your dives and then share these memories with other divers, family and friends.

To get great images you need to spend thousands on expensive underwater housings for DSLR cameras, many of todays compact cameras can obtain great results with just a little practice and some basic knowledge of the cameras settings. As well as selling Fuji Underwater Cameras we are PADI 5 Star Dive School with a unique Underwater Movie Studio facility, we can offer full training courses with your new camera purchase to help you get some great images from the start.

Digital Underwater Photography can open a whole new world to those non divers that you know, capture stills and video on your dives and then share these memories with other divers, family and friends.

Fuji Digital Cameras and Underwater Housings

Underwater Photography Tips and Help



Click here to see part 2 of Underwater Digital Photography Instructional Video

Underwater photography is much different than land photography. Light and colour loss, water clarity, currents and housing condensation are all elements that affect underwater photography. The large Dive Certification organizations have complete classes dedicated to Digital Underwater photography. Digital cameras are complex and need to be understood and set properly to obtain best results.

LIGHT LOSS:
There is much less light underwater that at the surface. Some light is lost immediately as a reflection off the surface of the water. This effect is more pronounced when the sun is low in the sky.

Underwater, light is further affected by absorption and scattering. Water absorbs light and turns it into heat. Greater depth means more absorption and less available light. Particles in the water cause light to scatter, further reducing availability.

COLOUR LOSS:
Colour Loss is tied to absorption. When water turns light into heat it absorbs the lowest energy levels first. This means that Reds, Oranges and Yellows are absorbed before Greens and Blues. This why many underwater photos appear greenish blue.

It is important to remember that colour loss is affected by total water distance light passes through. This means both depth from the surface AND distance between camera and subject. The greater the TOTAL distance, the greater colour loss.

BLUE OR GREEN PHOTOS:
There are several ways to improve colour underwater. The simplest is a red filter. The red filter helps add the red spectrum back into photos. DO NOT use a red filter in shallow water or with a flash-this will cause excessive reds in pictures.

An external strobe is another solution. A strobe will add light to provide clear illumination of subject and proper coloration.

Setting White Balance to fluorescent helps. Fluorescent is blue light similar to underwater and the camera will adjust for this. Setting White Balance to low light can also improve results. Do not use a red filter and strobe at the same time or a red filter in less than 20 feet of water.

BLURRY PICTURES:
The most common cause of blurry photos is not holding the camera steady. As simple as this sounds, it is much harder to do underwater than on land. Camera and body buoyancy, currents and wave action all affect camera stability. Make sure to squeeze the shutter button with steady pressure. A hard push of the button will cause camera to jerk in your hand-the single most common cause of blurry pictures. If the entire image is blurry, this usually means the camera was not held steady.

Another leading cause is incorrect camera settings. With low light underwater, the camera may automatically change the shutter speed (slower) and aperture (larger). This makes the camera extremely susceptible to "shake". A good mode setting for underwater photography is Sports. In this mode, camera will adjust for faster shutter and smaller aperture size helping enable better results. If you use Auto or Program mode, be sure to set the White Balance for low light or fluorescent.

If the subject is blurry but the rest of the picture is sharp, the issue is camera settings and not shake. It is recommended to use Sports mode to photography moving objects underwater.

SPOTS IN THE PICTURE:
This is called backscatter and is usually caused by particles in the water reflecting back from the flash. This will happen with ANY camera that has a flash close to the lens. The flash goes out in a straight beam and particles in the water reflect the light back into the lens, causing spots. The best solution is an external strobe. With a strobe, the light reflects back to the strobe and away from the lens. It is not recommended to use the internal flash underwater. Another helpful item is a flash diffuser. The diffuser will help but will not eliminate backscatter.

SHADOW IN THE CORNER OF PHOTO:
Again caused by internal flash. The housing lens barrel partly blocks the flash and causes the shadow. A flash diffuser will help spread the light from internal flash around the lens barrel. A better option is an external strobe. An external strobe is always recommended for underwater use when more light is required. Use of the internal flash is not recommended underwater.

SLOW CAPTURE TIME:
There are 3 areas which affect the speed of image capture. First the camera must focus, then it takes the image, then it writes the image to memory. Intova cameras feature Auto Focus. They must focus prior to actually capturing image. Depressing the shutter button half way will allow camera to prefocus so it is ready to capture image instantly. Mode selection will affect actual capture speed. Sports Mode, will automatically select faster shutter speeds. Auto, Program, Portrait or Low light modes may slow shutter down.

CONDENSATION:
Digital Cameras create small amounts of heat. These cause the air inside the housing to warm slightly. When it interacts with cold water outside the housing, condensation may form. This is very similar to the fogging inside a cars windshield on a cold night. To minimize condensation: a) avoid opening housing right before dive, especially in humid areas. b) place silica beads in housing to absorb moisture. c) use mask defog on lens area of housing. Keep the housing out of the sun and try to do pre-dive set up in an air-conditioned or cool room to keep more humid air out of housing.

SHOOTING TIPS:
Try not to shoot down. It is best to shoot upwards to take advantage of surface light. Shoot lots of images and do your editing on a computer after the dive. Get as close to the subject as possible. Use wide angle format. Experiment with different settings so you can achieve results you like the best.

CARE AND STORAGE:
Rinse the housing thoroughly in fresh water after every dive. Dry thoroughly before opening housing. Check o-rings prior to every dive to ensure they are clean and free of debris. Keep o-rings lightly lubricated with silicone grease.

Remove batteries form camera for storage. Keep the back of housing open to avoid flattening o-rings. Store in a cool, dry place.

Digital Underwater Photography

Digital Underwater Photography can open a whole new world to those non divers that you know, capture stills and video on your dives and then share these memories with other divers, family and friends.

To get great images you need to spend thousands on expensive underwater housings for DSLR cameras, many of todays compact cameras can obtain great results with just a little practice and some basic knowledge of the cameras settings. As well as selling Fuji Underwater Cameras we are PADI 5 Star Dive School with a unique Underwater Movie Studio facility, we can offer full training courses with your new camera purchase to help you get some great images from the start.

Here are ten tips to get you started
1. The rules of above-ground photography (proper composition, the use of contrasting colors, the "rule of thirds," etc) apply under water. The more comfortable you are with taking photographs on land, the more comfortable you will be under water

2. Learn to control your buoyancy it is the enigma of diving, the key to everything, It will let you concentrate on framing your image, and also make it easier to approach marine life.

3. Be aware of your surroundings- if your fins or equipment is touching or impacting the reef or stirring up sand and sediment from the sea bottom, your picture will be filled with debris floating in the water, known as "back scatter." This can easily ruin a good image.

4. Get close, then get closer. Everything looks bigger under water. So if you think you're close enough, move in an additional three to five feet and then take your picture. The results will soon show with better images

5. Be patient, take your time, wait for the shot to come to you its vital while underwater. From a fish's point of view, you're camera is a huge eye moving directly at it, so it typically hides away, wouldn't you?. Rather than chasing, rest and wait.

6. Use the sunlight to create dramatic silhouettes out of reef formations, coral, and fellow divers by pointing upwards. Up angles also create a greater sense of drama, be creative think about different angles and natural light

7. Almost all digital cameras these days are equipped with variety of scene pre-sets like landscape or portrait this adjusts among other things the white blance-and some even come with underwater settings that tell the camera what white looks like underwater (white being the colour from which the sensor judges all other colours). Better still, learn how to set your camera's white balance manually, and then carry a white slate and set the balance about every 3 Metres. You can also use a grey slate for white balance to produce warmer colours.

8. If playing with or adjusting your camera settings sounds like too much of a hassle, use this trick: First compose your shot, then aim the camera up at the sky and half-depress the shutter button to set a light meter reading. Then, with the button still half-depressed, return to the subject and shoot the picture. This should give you a warmer overall print, with more vibrant colours. And don't forget to review your pictures and make adjustments to the composition and lighting until you get what you want.

9. Narrow your focus, try to concentrate on one type of shot per dive, like close-up shots of coral and small fish, silhouettes of divers or reef, or wider, landscape-style shots. You'll hone in on what's needed for each type of photo-composition, lighting, etc.-and then you can progress to the next type of photograph.

10. Remember a good diver is a no-impact diver. Take only pictures, and leave only bubbles. For more information, please refer to the non-profit Project Aware Foundation's ten tips to eco-friendly diving photography in a handy, printer-friendly, PDA-ready PDF file

Why not enrol on a PADI Digital Underwater Photography Course. Our pool is at the Action Underwater Movie Studios and offers the perfect conditions for you to get started with Underwater Photography and this Specialty. Call 01708 227122 Today also check out our range of underwater photography items in our store by clicking here, we also stock the full range of Fuji cameras and underwater accessories