August 8, 2021 at 10:21 pm #3811Roger HayfieldParticipant
So I’m relatively new to underwater photography, but I have years of experience with photography and videography on land. First things first – I understand that there’s a huge gap between photography above and below the surface, and I’m not looking for advice on how to start out. I own both a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, and I want to know which type of camera you guys prefer to dive with, and why? For context, my DSLR is a Canon 5D mark 4, and my mirrorless is a Sony A7R3. I’ve only dived and photographed underwater with high-end compacts such as the Olympus TG-6 (which is an awesome setup for the price-point), but I’m ready to make the leap into some more high-end work. My diving skills are refined, and I have some pretty epic trips coming up in the next year or two that I would love to document on a new level. As I’m sure some of you are aware, these underwater housings and all of their accessories are incredibly expensive, so I want to choose the best setup to go all-in on. Have you noticed a difference in post-processing, or video work when comparing the two? Low light capability is going to be big, but from my understanding, the white balance issue reigns supreme. How do you guys go about manually setting your white balance on a dive? Is one system easier than the other in your experience? All advice is welcome, cheers!August 14, 2021 at 11:32 pm #3879Travis TurgeonKeymaster
Hi Roger, welcome to the forum!
Excellent questions, and something I know a bit about, so I’ll try to help as much as I can.
I dive with a Sony A73, so it’s actually the same in terms of the housing and compatibility – it’s just not the resolution model that you have. While I don’t have a ton of experience diving with DSLR setups, I’ve seen plenty of them being used underwater…They’re MASSIVE! Of course, the mirrorless setups aren’t exactly small, but compared to a DSLR, the entire setup seems much more manageable.
The nice thing about the Sony Alpha series is they do really well in low light conditions – although I don’t think the R series has the same capabilities as the standard 24MP A73 camera body, as the extra resolution brings down the low light capabilities. Either way, I think the Sony A-series cameras are top-notch for taking stills underwater.
You may have to do some research to get some tangible comparisons between your exact camera models. I know someone who was diving with a 5dIII – and they loved it…took really nice stills as well. From my understanding, the white balance can be a bit better on the higher-end DSLRs – they’re just a bit easier to balance against sand, scuba tanks, or something similar. For me, I just use a white slate. I rebalance every 5-10 meters as the light availability changes. You can, of course, adjust the white balance in post – but nobody likes to spend the time to correct every single one of their images.
Overall, I don’t think you’re in a bad position either way. Both setups have their pros and cons, but ultimately – especially if you’ll be traveling with your dive equipment – size is going to make a world of difference.
I hope that helps a bit, and keep an eye out for any future responses from other dive photographers. Good luck!
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