In our ongoing series S.U.P.E.R. (Scubaverse’s Underwater Photography Equipment Reviews), Scubaverse.com’s underwater photography editors Nick and Caroline Robertson Brown review new underwater photography equipment, general diving equipment, and some older favourites too.
For the fifteenth instalment of S.U.P.E.R., Nick and Caroline take a look at the FG9X Housing from Fantasea.
The Canon G9X in the Fantasea housing is an excellent package at a truly affordable price. This latest addition to the canon range is one of the few cameras on the market with the so-called one-inch super sensor. The sensor is a 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, offering an ISO range between 125 and 12800 and your images can be recorded in both JPEG and raw formats. The zoom facility is reasonable, offering a 28 to 84 mm equivalent, which makes it a versatile set up, allowing both macro and wide-angle photography on an underwater outing. The camera also shoots 1080 video, and whilst this is no longer regarded as stunning quality, it is quite hard to see any significant difference when shooting under water.
When paired with the Fantasea housing, the system works really well. The G9X was designed primarily as a touchscreen camera, but all the exposure controls can be operated by a single knurled knob on the front of the housing. This operates a dial on the front of the camera and by continuous cycling of the function button (one of only four buttons on the back of the camera), the aperture, shutter speed and ISO setting are all very easy to change if you are using the camera in manual mode. I like to test all housings with 5mm gloves on, to check out how easy it will be to use in the winter in the UK (even though there was no need to wear gloves on this dive), and found no issues with changing settings and controls. The camera is very light and small, and this, therefore, allows the housing to be small and easy to take away on your foreign dive trips.
The lens on the Fantasea housing has a 67 mm thread which allows it to be able to take wet lenses. When I took it underwater, I had two macro lenses with me, the AOI ULC – 05 +6 close-up lens M67 and the AOI ULC – 06 +12. It is great that so many housings for compact cameras now have this option to add wet lenses whilst underwater to give the user more creative options. There is a huge array of lenses that are compatible with the 67mm screw thread on the front of the housing. I got some nice shots of the Capernwray Sturgeon with the macro lenses removed and despite being regularly bombarded by divers under training, the results from a compact camera under these conditions were very impressive.
The housing is depth rated to 60m, and is clearly marked so that if you are not familiar with the controls, you can still find your way around whilst underwater. It has connections for two fibre optic cables, a cold shoe mount for accessories, moisture detector and alarm. So it is not short of desirable features.
My overall opinion of the Canon 9 GX in the Fantasea housing was that this is a great package at a great price. The cameras are priced at around £350 and the housing runs out at just over £400. This setup is a great way for beginners in underwater photography to get into the water and capture good quality images. With easy access to all the camera’s functions and the ability to add wet lenses, strobes and lights, this really is a terrific starter pack at approx. £750.
Fantasea is distributed in the UK by www.blue-orb.uk.
For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com.
SeaLife announce new products for 2022
Sealife have announced two new products for 2022 and will be launching them at the DEMA Show in Las Vegas next month.
Sea Dragon 3000SF Pro Dual Beam
SL679 – Available November 1, 2021
The new compact Sea Dragon 3000SF Pro Dual Beam Photo-Video light. The larger COB LED delivers 3000 lumens in an even 120° wide beam. The light offers an impressive 90 CRI (color rendering index) with a proprietary COB LED array that replicates natural sunlight (A CRI of 100 would be just like natural sunlight). With a simple one-button push, the underwater photographer can switch from the wide 120° beam to a narrow 1500 lumen 15° spot beam. For imaging, the spot beam offers many creative opportunities such as to create a narrowly focused snoot or stage spotlight effect.
The narrow beam feature has a long effective range making it useful to see in dark areas and discover hiding fish. The Sea Dragon Pro Dual Beam also offers two 180 lumen 88° red LEDs. Red light won’t affect your own eyes’ night vision or scare-off light-sensitive sea creatures, a simple push on the feature button shifts the light from red to the wide beam at 3000 lumens. The diver is ready in an instant to capture still or video images.
The Pro Dual Beam includes a Flex-Connect® Single camera tray, Flex-Connect® Grip, Sea Dragon EVA Travel case, adapter for GoPro® cameras, Li-ion battery, AC Charger, and international plug adapters.
Part of the Sea Dragon’s impressive performance is its powerful 25Wh 3400mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery pack, that runs the light for 60 minutes at full (3000 lumen) power.
Ultra Wide Angle Dome Lens for Micro Series & RM-4K
SL052 – Available January, 2022
The new Ultra Wide Angle Lens for the Micro-series and ReefMaster underwater cameras that increases the camera’s field-of view by almost 50% and allowing photographers to get three times closer to the subject.
The wide angle dome lens design uses high grade optical glass components arranged in a 4-element/4- group array that delivers crisp edge-to-edge sharpness. All optical elements are fully, multi-coated to prevent internal glare and maximize light transmission. The lens has a 13.3mm film-equivalent effective focal length when used with the SeaLife Micro 3.0 and is waterproof to 200ft/60m.
The lens fits all SeaLife Micro-series cameras (Micro HD, HD+, Micro 2.0, Micro 3.0) and also works with the SeaLife ReefMaster RM-4K increasing the tiny camera’s shooting angle to a massive 196°. The new lens is a “wet lens” and easily attaches and removes underwater. A locking ring prevents the lens from accidently detaching when bumped or in rougher water conditions. The SeaLife Dome Lens weighs 11.7 ounces (331 grams) and is negatively buoyant. A lanyard is included to prevent loss underwater and the lens can dock on SeaLife’s “Lens Caddy” when not in use.
The inner airspace is back-filled with nitrogen to prevent fogging in extreme temperature conditions. The rotatable light shade prevents unwanted glare from external lighting or sunlight, as well as protect the dome lens from bumps and abrasion.
For more information visit the SeaLife website by clicking here.
New Book: Action Camera Underwater Video Basics by Scubaverse’s Jeff Goodman
Avoid common mistakes and make great underwater video. A lifetime of knowledge in one handy book full of stunning images shot with a small action camera.
Action Camera Underwater Video Basics shows how to capture fantastic video and turn it into engaging sequences. Small cameras such as those made by GoPro, SeaLife and Paralenz are well-established in both the amateur and professional markets. Their size, quality and low cost make then highly desirable. They are easy to use, even for the most non-technical people, but they have more depth to them than one might first imagine. Award-winning underwater cameraman and Scubaverse Editor-at-Large Jeff Goodman shows how versatile they can be and how to get the best out of them.
The book looks at important camera features and cuts through the dizzying array of equipment choices. Homing in on what is useful for underwater videoing, Jeff provides the vital background knowledge needed to achieve stunning results, again and again. He discusses the mistakes that many budding film-makers make and shows how to construct meaningful video sequences which will keep the viewer interested. He introduces us to the editing process and reveals his basic technique for continued success. There is even a guide to taking better stills, both in the water and later from the video which has been shot. The book concludes with two exercises that put the theory into practice. Technology moves on at a pace, but some things always remain true. Nowadays shooting exclusively with tiny action cameras, Jeff shares his knowledge from a lifetime of work on prestigious filming projects.
About the author
Jeff Goodman is an award-winning cameraman and director experienced in wildlife, underwater, aerial and sound sync lighting camera work. Jeff has travelled the world filming in a variety of environments while working for the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery and many other international production companies. He is also Editor-at-Large for Scubaverse Media.
Release 26 October 2021 | RRP £20 | Paperback | ISBN 978-1-909455-44-3 | 192 pages | 210 x 148 mm (A5). Available now from Divedup.com, and to pre-order online and from retailers.
Win copies of Action Camera Underwater Video Basics, a Paralenz Vaquita and more!
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Egypt | Simply the Best Itinerary | 04 – 11 November 2021 | Emperor Echo
Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. Great value for money and perfect for small groups of buddies with a ‘Book 5 and 1 dives for FREE’ offer all year round.
Price NOW from just £1275 per person based on sharing a twin cabin/room including:
- Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
- 7 nights in shared cabin
- 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
- 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
- Free Nitrox
Subject to availability.
Alternative departure airports available at supplement.
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