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underwater photography

College Station...
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underwater photography

We will be in Kauai this June and hope to get some good underwater pics. We have a sea life mini II camera and the wide angle lens. We are thinking about purchasing the external flash, but wonder if anyone has experience with this camera and its performance with the external flash?

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1. Re: underwater photography

It's hard to say, because I've never tried an external flash on the underwater cameras I've used. On the one hand, waters around Kaua'i can be a bit cloudy or murky, and flash just creates specs on your images. But maybe that's just the internal flash so close to the axis of the lens, and an external flash would help. I'd say it's worth a try if you snorkel elsewhere and can use it again. If it's just for Kaua'i, maybe not.

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2. Re: underwater photography

Are you snorkeling or scuba diving? I’ve never used an external flash but I did a lot of research on this a while back and I think it’s worth it if you’ll be in deeper water while scuba diving where lighting is much more limited and where you can get close enough to the subject for the flash to have any effect. An external flash for surface-level snorkeling is not worth it IMHO.

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3. Re: underwater photography

KauaiHiker is correct that the visibility here is quite a bit less than any of the other islands or the Caribbean. However, even in the clearest waters, you should always disable the internal flash because it will make your photos look like they were taken inside a snowglobe.

I've seen people use the SeaLife cameras and strobes, but I do not have any direct experience. IMO, the decision points come down to these:

* You should always try to get as close to your subject as possible. This is critical underwater to reduce the amount of water and backscatter between you and the critter. If you think you are close, get closer! Just keep snapping as you approach. If you are in very shallow water (<10 ft) and very close, you probably do not need a flash. I believe the SeaLifes have special white balance settings for getting good colors.

* How far is the strobe head from the lens and is the positioning of the strobe adjustable? IMO, a non-adjustable strobe is not worth it since you cannot light from the side, top, glancing blow, etc. which greatly improves your ability to reduce backscatter. If the strobe is fixed, you may end up with only marginally better clarity than the builtin flash.

* If the strobe is adjustable, then it may be worth it if you accept the extra bulk and the fact that you will now be using both hands to take pictures. This means using your legs and fins to do most of the swimming work. For scuba, this is the technique you should be using anyway. For snorkeling, it may take some getting used to. If you do buy a strobe that is adjustable, practice aiming and pointing it before your trip.

Finally, if you need more technical advice, go over to the WetPixel forums: http://wetpixel.com/forums/. ScubaBoard also has a very extensive photography section, including a dedicated SeaLife forum: scubaboard.com/forums/….

Edited: 10 May 2012, 16:39
4. Re: underwater photography

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