This guide is aimed at the first time buyer of an underwater camera and housing.
Question: Should I buy a specific brand of camera?
Answer: Although I recommend Canon several manufacturers including Nikon, Sony and Olympus make great cameras also. The Digital Photography Review website has lots of great information on most digital cameras and serves as a great resource when comparing different models.
Question: Are there specific features I should look for when buying a camera for underwater use?
Answer: There are 2, first you need to find a camera that can also be used in an underwater housing, for a list of housings made by Canon and the cameras they are compatible with click here.
The second feature you should look for is a manual white balance control, simply put this feature lets you take underwater pictures with more vibrant color than when not using a flash. For a nice write up on using white balance when diving click here.
Lastly if the camera you select can shoot video that’s a bonus.
Question: Should I buy an external strobe?
Answer: For first time buyers I don’t recommend an external strobe, I do this because a good many people will be satisfied with the internal strobe of their camera. As soon as you become serious about underwater photography you will want at least one external strobe to reduce backscatter and allow for better color and creative lighting.
Question: Where should I buy my camera and housing from?
Answer: Wherever you are comfortable purchasing from, this might be your local dive or online retailer. You local dive retailer may have cameras and housings you can demo in the pool or ocean and can provide advice on what to buy.
Question: My camera manufacturer doesn’t make a housing for my camera, what do I do now?
Answer: All is not lost, there are other manufacturers of underwater housing such as Ikelite, Sea & Sea, Subal and Aquatica.
Question: This faq is great but I want more information where can I get it?
Answer: Scott Gietler’s website Underwater Photography Guide is a great reference. This article from BH Photo Video is also a good guide, you can also contact me using the link above or drop by your local dive retailer for some great advice.