A picture is worth . . . a thousand dollars?

I know that I can’t possibly be the only person struggling with this issue. You know what I’m talking about. You want to take great photos underwater, but don’t know which direction to go. Do you buy a housing for your Nikon D90 or do you buy a new camera with a new housing?

I have to preface this by letting you know that I’m in no way, shape or form a professional photographer. I just love photography. And I really love my D90, which is why after tons of research, I have decided against purchasing an underwater housing for it. Besides the fact that the housing is more expensive than the camera, I just couldn’t bear the thought of the housing leaking on a dive. I know that the chance of that happening is slim to none, but it’s there, so another direction I went.

My next thought was to check out the GoPro cameras. I did some research online and everything looked great. The videos and photos on their website were spectacular. The price was unbelievable. You could dive to a reasonable depth with it. So, here I was, about to purchase one, when something told me to email GoPro to ask what accessories I should get along with the camera if I were going to solely use it for scuba diving. You can imagine my surprise when I got this email in response, “All of our cameras are waterproof that you can use for scuba diving. It’s just that the lens is not the best thing for scuba.” Well, there you have it folks. Thanks to the integrity of GoPro, I was off to do more research.

At this point, I was sick of staring at a computer screen trying to decide which direction to go next, so I did the most logical thing. I drove down to my neighborhood scuba shop. I’ve driven past this place a bunch of times, but never stopped in. I’m glad I finally did. It was a well stocked shop, complete with cameras! There were two brands that had prominent displays; GoPro (of which I have already decided against) and SeaLife.

As I was checking out the SeaLife cameras, I was approached by a gentleman, named John (who also happened to be the owner). I ended up talking his ear off for about 30 minutes explaining my situation. He gave me a lot of great feedback on the cameras that he had. After a lengthy discussion, I decided on the SeaLife DC1400 Pro Duo. If this thing does half the things it says it’s going to do, we’re in business! I really look forward to using it and seeing what you guys think of the photos and videos.

So, how many of you out there take a lot of photo and video underwater? What camera configurations do you use? Make sure to leave your comments below (and some links with some photos you took). I’d love to hear from you guys! Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Diving! – Esther


14 thoughts on “A picture is worth . . . a thousand dollars?

  1. The SeaLife DC1400 Pro Duo looks interesting, kind of like a sea creature on it’s own! I can’t wait to see pictures taken from it! I’ve been thinking about getting a case for my camera, but I don’t scuba… I like to snorkel (less scary for me as I don’t swim!) 🙂 Keep up the awesome job!!

  2. Hey! I use a Canon s95 underwater in Ikelite housing. It’s pretty good–it has full manual controls (crucial underwater) and is fairly versatile with the addition of some wet lenses.

    I use a Canon 7d topside that I am looking forward to housing and diving with as soon as budget allows. Housing an SLR is scary, but insurance plans exist (check out DAN – Diver’s Alert Network) to protect your investment.

    It’s true that the GoPro does not perform very well when diving. However, my understanding is that a replacement lens exists (I’ve never used it, so your mileage may vary) for the underwater housing that fixes the soft focus issue. Google “gopro flat lens” for more information.

    The most important component in an underwater photography setup is lighting. You’ll need at least one (preferably two) external strobe(s) to bring back the reds in your photos.

    I’m currently in the Bahamas doing as much shark and wreck diving as I can cram in 🙂 I’m trying to post underwater photos on my blog every day. Please check it out!

      1. We do have insurance on it, just happened last week. I have to bring it in to the dealer this week and see if they will honor it. I’ll let you know.

        The housing we used work for 3 dives and failed on the 4th (I’m siting user error)


  3. I’m obsessed with underwater photography! I have a sealife DC1400 but I went with dual strobes and I looooooove it. But it’s making me wonder what I can really do with more manual control with maybe a canon 60D or 7D but I’m too scared to take that much money underwater… LOL I will say the new HD video on the 1400 is amazing. The color balance seems so much better than the 1200. Check out my catalina video:

    1. Jami, love your video–and I love Catalina! I see you’re in San Diego as well? Do you ever night dive at the La Jolla Shores? We should meet up sometime 🙂

      1. Hi Ashley! Your photos are beautiful! And I LOVE night diving at La Jolla Shores and the marine room! We should definitely meet up! Normally I dive the shores weekly but I’m out of the water at least two more weeks (I just got laser eye surgery done). When are you back from the Bahamas? That trip sounds amazing! (info@underwaterpaparazzi.com)

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