WHAT CAMERA RIG DO I USE
My primary camera rig is now the mighty Sony A7III housed in what are arguable one of the best underwater housing produced by Nauticam. I have listed below the specs of my general rig but i will adapt as required for specific conditions and lens changes etc;
Camera Body & Primary Lenses
- Sony A7III
- Sony 24-70mm F2,8 GM – SEL2470GM
- Sony 28mm F2 – SEL28F20 (This is now my go to lens underwater, coupled with the WWL-1B)
- Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art
Camera Housing, On-board Strobes & Lighting
- NA-A7RIII Housing for Sony A7RIII/A7III
- 2 x Inon Z-330 Ultra Wide Strobes
- 1 x BigBlue AL1200 RAFO LED focus light
Lens & Domes
- Nauticam WWL-1B 130 Deg (Coupled with the Sony 28mm F2)
- Nauticam 230MM Optical-Glass Fisheye Dome Port II
Off-board Strobes & Lighting
- 2 x Sea And Sea YS-D3 Strobes each fitted with Anglerfish Remote Trigger V 3.0
- 2 x Sea And Sea YS-D2 Strobes each fitted with Anglerfish Remote Trigger V 3.0
- 2 x BigBlue 33000-Lumen Pro Video Light – VL33000P-RC
- 2 x BigBlue 18,000-Lumen Video Light – VL18000PB-RC
Other accessories vary depending on the dome used for the particular lens, the amount of buoyancy change between domes and onboard accessories used .
WHAT ELSE DO I TAKE WITH ME?
I try to keep everything on my rig as clean and simple as possible, especially when shooting in the overhead environment and utilising other equipment such as underwater scooters, and rebreathers. It also pays to have a clear mission for the photo shoot and have run it through on dry land before hitting the water – it can be very difficult to explain things underwater and can result in missing that picture. Have a plan!
When diving in murky conditions it pays to have extra secure attachments for your off-board items. They can unclip easily and it can be a costly mistake (trust me i know). Another good solution for this is a haul bag with your off-boards all inside and secured.
Lighting Tripods – These are great for setting up a shoot underwater. But don’t underestimate the extra bulk and buoyancy shifts you will encounter when removing and reattaching all this equipment.
A Light Monkey – If you are lucky enough to have an experienced buddy who is used to the way you shoot photos they can be used for the placement of off-boards when arranging the shoot so you can focus on your and the divers positions.
When looking for your own camera rig the advice I would give is this;
- Don’t buy cheap or you will end up buying twice
- Consider the environment you are in – Sometimes size does matter, it can be too big and too bulky
- What focal length will you shoot most – Start there and build your rig from this.
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
Remember – Cameras are a distraction in the water! Cameras in cave diving are potentially lethal – Think twice about the skills of yourself and your dive team before you think about taking a camera underwater and in the overhead environment.