Photographic Equipment And Techniques
Unlike many areas of photography the best images underwater usually only come when you have exactly the right equipment. In the main, I use Nikon Cameras in Subal underwater housings. My current system is a Nikon D700 and Subal ND700 housing.
I do not receive my underwater cameras for free. I buy these products because they are the ones I want to use and as a result I recommend them to others without any financial incentive for me. Of course if someone wants to offer me underwater photography kit loan or sponsorship, I would be happy to talk!
If you are in the UK/Europe I recommend Ocean Optics, and for the rest of the world Reef Photo for underwater camera equipment. I rely on BSoUP and Wetpixel for discussions, encouragement and inspiration for my underwater photography.
The exact selection of lenses, strobes and filters I use depends on the subjects I am shooting. If you visit the gallery description pages you will find a list of the kit I have used at that destination. The image below left, shows a typical selection of the lenses I might take on an underwater shoot. For the geeks out there, like me, the image shows (back left to front right) 28-70mm, 105mm, 150mm, 17-35mm, 60mm, 15mm FE, 16mm FE, 5T, 1.7x TC, 1.5x TC, 500D.
With the FX sensor on the D700 I use the following lenses: Sigma 15mm FE, Nikon 16mm FE, Nikon 17-35mm, Sigma 28-70mm, Nikon 60mm macro AFS, Nikon 105mm macro AF-D, Nikon 105mm macro VR and Sigma 150mm macro. With the DX sensor on the D2X I have used the Nikon 10.5mm FE, Tokina 10-17mm FE, Nikon 16mm FE, Nikon 12-24mm, Nikon 17-35mm, Sigma 17-70mm, Nikon 17-55mm, Sigma 28-70mm, Nikon 60mm macro AF-D, Nikon 60mm macro AFS, Nikon 105mm macro AF-D, Nikon 105mm macro VR and Sigma 150mm macro. I also always use +3 and +4 dioptres on my rectilinear wide angle lenses, and Canon 500D and Nikon 5T dioptres on my macro lenses. I also use a 1.5X teleconverter with my 10.5mm, 15mm and 16mm fisheye lens to convert it into a macro lens or to restrict its view for wide angle! I use both Subtronic Alpha and Alpha Pro strobes, which produce great light but break down a lot, and INON Z240 strobes, which never go wrong. Obviously, I use Magic Filters, which I developed. I have also used the Nikon D3, D80, D70 and D100 for various shoots. I also use a variety of compact cameras, especially with the INON 165 fisheye. In the past I shot a variety of film cameras including Nikon F100, Nikonos RS, Nikonos V and Hasselblad 500C and 500CM underwater.
This page can never provide a comprehensive review of all the photographic equipment and techniques I employ. But I have tried to compile, below, a small collection of some of the articles I have written to give you a flavour of the kit and techniques.
Techniques and technical stuff
1) Credit Crunch Accessories 3. Homemade Snoot.
2) Credit Crunch Accessories 2. Homemade Ringflash.
3) Credit Crunch Accessories 1. Homemade Polecam.
4) Strobes and Water Colour. Why strobe colour temp is important with digital.
5) The Photoshop Cycle. Photographers changing relationship with editing.
6) Choosing your camera. Thoughts on buying a new camera system.
7) Catching The Rays. Shooting sunbursts on digital.
8) Tokina 10-17mm. A fisheye zoom is perfect for underwater photography.
9) Mid Range Zooms. Jack of all trades or master of none?
10) Nikon 105mm VR lens. The first macro lens with stabilisation.
11) Telephoto Underwater. Shooting long lenses underwater.
12) Blurring sharks. Front and rear curtain synch, which is best?.
13) Nemo Lighting. Capturing characteristic underwater light.
Cameras - reviews and thoughts
1) Nikon D700. Review in Subal ND700 housing (2008).
1a) Nikon D700. Review in Nauticam D700 housing (2010).
2) Nikon D3. Review in Subal ND3 housing (2008).
3) Nikon D2X. First UW impressions in a Subal housing (2005).
3a) Nikon D2X. Another early review I wrote (2005).
3c) Nikon D2X. Revisiting the review after 100,000 UW images. (2008).
4) Nikon D100. Thoughts on my previous DSLR in a Subal housing (2003).
5) Nikon D70. First UW impressions in a Subal housing (2004).
6) Nikon F100. Thoughts on my old SLR with a Subal housing (2000-2004).
7) Hasselblad 500C/M. Thoughts on my medium format system in a Hasselblad housing (2000).
7a) Hasselblad 500C/M. Article of shooting medium format underwater (2001).
8) Nikonos V Thoughts from the good ol days (1993).
9) Olympus 5060. Tests in a PT housing with INON D2000 strobe (2005).
10) Nikon S3 (digital compact camera) in a WP5 housing.
Camera specific galleries
There are more articles online on this website here.