UW Camera for Fish ID, Seeking Advice

I was recently asked by some long-time fishwatchers for recommendations on a simple point and shoot camera that is easy to use and small enough to shove in a BC pocket. They aren't looking to capture National Geographic pics, just enough for those crazy sightings that warrant a second look later with a field guide in hand. I know many of our REEF geeks tote along cameras as one of their underwater tools. Please comment on what set up you have, pros, cons, etc. Thanks! Christy Semmens, REEF Director of Science.

Re: UW Camera for Fish ID, Seeking Advice

I use my U/W Intova IC12 Digital Camera with great results. It helps me later when I am filling the survey with the Fish Guides at hand, I would like to find a book that has a complete listing for fish in the Greater  Antilles and USVI. I just started surveving but I have been taking marine life pictures since I bought my digital camera back in Aug 2010, I am a fairly new diver getting certified back in June 2010, I now have 65 logged dives mosty shore and 4 boat dives on the North, West and South-West Puerto Rico. I live 10 minutes away from 2 great shore dive sites, 1 is a natural reef some 350 feet from shore and the other is an old military concrete pier that is falling into the sea floor, 35 feet below with lots of marine life living in the concrete airtificial reef that has been formed by mother nature. The last few months another part of this old pier is starting to give to the force of the waves and is slowly falling.

I would say a Digital Camera is a great tool plus you can have a great joy when admiring that underwater picture of that rare fish or coral formations. About a small camera that fits inside your BC, well you need to define how deep you regulary dive, the deeper the bigger the camera housing due to the pressure. My camera is rated for 180 feet but is not small enough to stick it inside a BC pocket, but it takes great pictures up to a resolution of 12 MP and it also takes 720 X 480 HD Video. Is one of the less expensive of all the digital cameras that will go below 66 feet, the smallest U/W Dig. Cameras will only go 10-15 feet deep ($45-70), while others go down to 35-66 feet ($99.99 and up)

My last dive, my first survey I recorded a Sea Turtle about 3-4 feet long at 67 feet and I have 4 great shoots before she got out of range, cameras have a small range under water depending of lighting and visibility conditions, the built-in flash is no good under water, you need a external strobe and it only works for about 15-20 feet depending on visibility. You can learn more about underwater photography at: Free Underwater Photography Guide, but technology is changing every day and soon there will be a small enough U/W Digital Camera that is not so expensive.

UPDATE: The Sealife Mini II Sport Digital pocket camera is the smallest new in the market with an average cost of $260.00 for a 9 MP, 30fps on video with a capacity of up to 8GB with the optional memory card, release date March 2011.

Good luck and God bless us all,

C. Rodriguez, Dive West Puerto Rico

My Picassa Underwater photo album


I've been keeping my eye on the Canon G9 or Canon G10 for my next camera.  Check out the photos by Grand Champion Brian Mayes on this web site.  http://www.underwaterphotography.com/photo-contest/Awards.aspx  He uses a Canon G9 compact camera with no strobe.

Canon Powershot D10


Not sure how useful this suggestion will be, but I've had a lot of fun with a recently purcahsed Canon Powershot D10. The main drawback that I should point out right away is that it's waterproof/resistant only to 10m/33ft -- If you're diving, which I assume you are because you mentioned a BC, this probably won't work well for you. However:

- REALLY easy to use camera. I've taken some great shots while snorkeling. It has an underwater mode that corrects the colors in the photos to some degree which helps.

- Battery life is decent -- I was in the water for 4 hours yesterday on a single battery, with the camera on / in use almost constantly

- Internal flash is good -- HOWEVER -- if you get ANYTHING in between you and the target the flash will pick that up instead -- I mean anything, like, air bubbles will ruin your shot. Otherwise if you can get an unobstructed view of the target you can take pretty good shots with the flash underwater.

- Has an easy to use/access video mode which I've used to shoot various things to good effect

- Price is about $300.

Canon + OEM UW housing

As a starting place, I think it is hard to go wrong with a nice Canon point and click.  Check to see for which models Canon offers its own underwater housing with flash diffuser.  They run ~$200+/-, and a nice Canon G11 (on the high end) is going for whatever it is currently going for.  Together you have a nice yet "affordable" UW setup.  


The OEM housing is small and adequate and affordable.  It won't last for 100+s of dives, and will need to have its main o ring replaced periodically, but as an affordable way to get started I think this general approach works.

Camera, housing and strobe for $500

I am looking for an appropriate camera, housing and strobe for $500.  I waited for the SeaLife Mini Pro II to come out, but it got a fatal review.  Canon recommended the SD 1300 and SD 1400.  The 1300 got so-so reviews, and the 1400 got fatal reviews.

I am considering the Intova IC12 with ISS4000 strobe.  Do you think this is the best possible choice for the money?  Do you have another recommendation or suggestion?

Thank You,


Canon SD1400IS

I have a Canon SD1400IS with Ikelite housing and it has been awesome.  I recently was in Cozumel and took a video of the freelance videographer.  When I showed it to her she thought it was excellent quality and wanted to know what I used to shoot it.   So it takes great pictures and videos.  Relatively inexpensive. The camera is less than $200 and the housing maybe a little less than $400.00. 


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