Giving up on photography or downgrading?

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

Pyndle

Contributor
Messages
192
Reaction score
38
Location
Thailand
# of dives
500 - 999
Didn't really know where to post this but that's it... after 6 years of underwater photography, I do not enjoy it anymore :(

Latest rig is a Sony A6500 + seafrogs housing + 4*25cm arms + 6 clamps + 2*Z330 + 2 small lights for night dives (on top of the strobes). 8inch dome and 10-18 for wide, macro + 16-50 for macro (with +6 diopter). I love the photos I take but I am:
Tired of the logistics.
Tired of carrying all this weight (I have 1kg of lead weight on the dome to compensate for the air).
Tired of worrying about where to put the camera on the various dive boats (especially day trips boats, I live in Asia so I do a lot of these)
Tired of having to rinse everything
Tired of having to make sure everything is charged, 8 batteries for strobes + 1 for the camera for almost every dive, 3 dives a day, charging all of it at night is super annoying.
Tired of having to repack everything when I go on various dive trips (weekends or 1-2 week holidays) to make sure it fits nicely in my bags/nothing gets scratched/batteries don't catch fire etc.
Tired of carrying around that big rig underwater, making every task underwater a bit more tricky (deploying a line/SMB or switching tanks).

I don't know what to do. I like macro and wide. For wide a gopro will do (even though I was doing mostly photos, I can move to videos). For macro, not sure. Are there any decent macro wet lenses for gopro? I know the TG-6 is out there but it's 4 year old, it's not exactly small either.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? What did you "downgrade" to? How did it feel? Any regrets?
 
@Pyndle, here is some input, hope it helps, good luck.


I used to shoot with a D800 for wide angle, and D300s for macro. I have both housings so I kept them dedicated for that reason. I used to upload images to stock photo sites, like Shutterstock, and Dreamstime. I have been published a few times, I even have images in one of the REEF Fish Identification books by Paul Humann and Ned Deloach.

For some of the reasons you listed (plus image workflow), I got sick and tired of having those big rigs underwater. For a while I went entirely without having a camera. My number one activity underwater is searching for fish and critters, especially fish. So, not having a camera didn't work out well at all. I had a Go Pro, so figured I would just use that for documentation. Thing is, while I was tired of carrying the big photography rigs around the Go Pro turned out to be too small.

The dive shop I frequent was selling Sealife Sportdivers. At the time $300, but now I think $350. Considering what I had spent on housings and cameras, for $300 what do I have to lose. I use the housing with iphone12 pro max. Long story short, it does macro, wide angle, and video. I don't use a light. On occasion I point my flashlight at a critter that is hiding in hole. Of course the images are not of the quality coming out of my D800 or D300. But, they are not being used for high end publishing. In my opinion the video seems to be of better quality than still image. One press of a button, can get you to video mode from still photography, essential for capturing a quick moving subject you want to document.

The most frequent argument I hear against using your smart phone (regardless of brand), I don't want to risk my phone underwater. Here is my counter argument -i phone housing

This is another post from the same thread as the link above some of it redundant to what I have written here. You might want to read the whole thread its a discussion about smartphone housings - More on smartphone housings

Lastly, image workflow is far easier with the smarthphone. Images and videos go straight to icloud where I can access them immediately. No downloading the sd or cf cards, than putting in a file than organizing in adobe lightroom.

Unfortunately, scubaboard used to allow 15 images to be attached in a post, now it only allows 5. I did a dive report on the Erojacks last Saturday - Erojacks Report and still have images not posted. See below respectively, Christmas Tree Worm, Doctorfish, Green Finger Sponge, Porkfish, White Grunts,

05-27-23 Christmas Tree Worm.jpg
05-27-23 Doctorfish on the Erojacks.jpg
05-27-23 Green Finger Sponge and Lavendar Rope Sponge.jpg
05-27-23 Porkfish1 On Erojacks.jpg
05-27-23 White Grunts.jpg


 
Pyndle,

Search for posts under my name......I've gone from film Nikonos to housed film SLR to housed digital SLR to smaller digital SLR (Canon SL1, Ikelite housing similar to your Sony APS-C rig) to now two choices that have eased my travel, set up, maintenance before and on site and after. Plus a huge travel downsizing......

The 1" sensor compact choices from Sony (RX100 VA or for more versatility on the surface RX100 VII) and Canon G7X II or G7X III are both great choices.

Small for travel, less expensive (Canon less $$$$ than the high end Sony) allow switching from macro to wide angle all on the same dive. The Canon has pretty darn good built in macro and the larger than Olympus TG-6 sensor can produce great sized prints.

Like you have I tired of hauling extra batteries, chargers, etc. and coined my theory "the elimination protocol" meaning any time I can eliminate o-rings, batteries, extra doodads my dive travel life becomes simplified and more enjoyable.

I'll confess to having 20+ years of underwater photos on my computer(s) from Whale Sharks to dolphins plus every colorful fish and nudibranch, reef scenics, etc. What I want to maybe take a picture of is what I'll term "different".......A new perspective, Black and White scenics, maybe a fish face at a new angle, etc.

With my Canon 1" sensor compact I pop on a wide angle "Air Lens". When I had the Sony RX100 VII I used 67mm glass Inon lens. My housing's flash diffuser for using the camera's built in flash or a semi-powerful LED light 1000 - 3500 lumens is fine for closer than 1.5' as a close up shooting option.

On my upcoming trip to Raja Ampat this fall I'll take my remaining Canon G7X II, Fantasea housing, F Series pop on "Air Lens" (that restores my native 24mm focal length) plus maybe one single small flash - an Inon S2000 or new S220 if it comes out by then.

I've dived with a single Inon S2000 flash on my housing's cold shoe mount and got pics I'm happy with. Inon has a fancy little quick disconnect mount I might add to hand hold the strobe playing with lighting.

I may take a super lightweight little tray I have in my dive locker with lightweight FLEX style arm which are MUCH lighter than ball joint and clamps.

The other thing I use these days is the wonderful DiveVolk touchscreen housing for my iPhone 13 PRO Max. Truly a game changer and I've had people who worry purchase a 2nd phone to use strictly as an underwater camera.

You only really need a "standard" iPhone 12 / 13 / or 14 with the 1X and .5X two lenses underwater. iPhone 13 and 14 models even have incredible macro capability built in. They see in incredibly low light.

Using a 1000 lumen flash light I shot photos of BSA / Norton motorcycles in the hold of the famous Thistlegorm wreck in the Red Sea last August that rivaled people using huge housing set ups.

Being "in the UW photo industry" over 35 years I'm sad to see too many people pushed into the "bigger is better" mind set. After a few trips hauling it all, maintaining it all, etc. they're overwhelmed and not having fun :(

Poke around and you may find something like a compact or iPhone housing is all you need these days :)

Just one old guy's opinion!

David Haas

PS - Here's some photos taken with my previous iPhone XR in Maldives :)

IMG_1028.jpegIMG_3556.jpegIMG_3982.jpegIMG_4092.jpegIMG_4348.jpeg
 
One more thing.....For shooting typical tropical available light photos with ANY camera there's an iPhone only App that eliminates the need for filters, extra editing software, etc.

Called SeaReal in the Apple App store you can pay a modest fee to remove the watermark or just use Snapseed (free App) or crop it out using the native Photos App easily.

A simple color slider is all it is and is mind blowing! I used it on my compact 1" sensor photo of humpback whales and it restored the black / gray color I saw better than any high end editing tool :) It was initially developed for bringing back color in video but is also truly astounding on still photos.

I'm always looking for fast, easy solutions to make my UW image making easier and this is another game changer at least for me......

David Haas

IMG_5037.jpegIMG_5044.jpegIMG_5057.jpegIMG_5061.jpeg IMG_5148.jpeg
 
I got up to a decent M4/3 with multiple lenses and lens ports, two strobes etc. Had some great results after I'd been at it for a few years, photos I'd always wanted to take and took some pride in the results. Then parenthood and COVID. After several years of being sat on a shelf in the garage, I sold it. Buyer got an absolute bargain! Why? Firstly, I just wasn't diving that much, I wasn't going on diving holidays, I dive from my own boat which sounds ideal for photography, but it's the opposite for various reasons and lastly, it was too much hassle carrying such a big rig around when I did go on trips. What now? Back to GoPro videography. I enjoy it, although it's different. Yes, occasional regret. Having sold the big rig, I wish I'd left it on the shelf a bit longer.
 
I had an OK rig several years ago, got rid of it for similar reasons you stated. Now use a little gopro and am more than happy enough and have found I enjoy diving more. Half the time I dont even both bringing the GoPro. But on occasion I do miss the bigger camera, then remind my self the hassle it can be.
If your not enjoying the camera underwater, ditch the camera and just enjoy the dive
 
I got up to a decent M4/3 with multiple lenses and lens ports, two strobes etc. Had some great results after I'd been at it for a few years, photos I'd always wanted to take and took some pride in the results. Then parenthood and COVID. After several years of being sat on a shelf in the garage, I sold it. Buyer got an absolute bargain! Why? Firstly, I just wasn't diving that much, I wasn't going on diving holidays, I dive from my own boat which sounds ideal for photography, but it's the opposite for various reasons and lastly, it was too much hassle carrying such a big rig around when I did go on trips. What now? Back to GoPro videography. I enjoy it, although it's different. Yes, occasional regret. Having sold the big rig, I wish I'd left it on the shelf a bit longer.
I am also considering to slowly ramp down photography, I have quite a lot of equipment accumulated over years, I just stopped buying equipment, will continue using the current and fully ramp down once they are not usable. I am considering GoPro, but I have very little time for editing, nor I like it. I like the small setup though.
I feel naked without a camera, that is the other problem, I doubt I will survive without.
 
I am also considering to slowly ramp down photography, I have quite a lot of equipment accumulated over years, I just stopped buying equipment, will continue using the current and fully ramp down once they are not usable. I am considering GoPro, but I have very little time for editing, nor I like it. I like the small setup though.
I feel naked without a camera, that is the other problem, I doubt I will survive without.

Everyone is different! Generally, I enjoy the editing part. I find editing stills and video to be about the same amount of work in the end. Sorting through video clips takes more time, but removing every last bit of backscatter from a photo is also time consuming. I was never overly impressed with pre-programmed settings to do the job. I do need a "point" to a dive whether that's photography/videography or catching my dinner (New Zealand thing).
 
Everyone is different! Generally, I enjoy the editing part. I find editing stills and video to be about the same amount of work in the end. Sorting through video clips takes more time, but removing every last bit of backscatter from a photo is also time consuming. I was never overly impressed with pre-programmed settings to do the job. I do need a "point" to a dive whether that's photography/videography or catching my dinner (New Zealand thing).
Yes, I do not edit photos either, for me the point of photography is knowing the light, I am satisfied if I was able to shoot good photos without having to edit afterwards. A photo will tell a story but video clips will need editing to have a story, so, I guess there is not getting around the work afterwards when doing videos. I am intending shoot some videos with my m4/3 to see whether I will like it.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

Back
Top Bottom