View Full Version : U/W camcorders

06-07-2011, 02:55 PM
We are thinking about buying an underwater camcorder for our next Bonaire trip. Any thoughts out there about a reasonably priced set-up that delivers decent quality footage? We are collecting info, so please share!

06-07-2011, 04:02 PM
Hi floaterbeth -- welcome to BT2 !!

I shoot stills, but know a number of divers who have bought the JVC video cam/housing package from Ikelite
Price seems pretty reasonable and there's a strobe/video light available if you want that. The website has a link to some actual footage shot with the video cam package.

Have a great trip !!

12-09-2011, 05:35 PM

There are a number of camcorders out there that will fit the bill, whilst there are others that may not be as friendly in a housing 50' below the surface... You have to decide what is "reasonable"! and practical! :)

What I do recommend are a few tips that you should be on the look out for when picking your gear...

1. Pick a camcorder/DSLR shooting video that can be operated in MANUAL mode. Learn the gear front and back, up and down. Take it into your bathroom, turn off the lights and work your gear in the dark flawlessly!
2. Get a camcorder AND housing that can be White Balanced easily, fast and often. (I can WB my gear in 5-7 seconds in an IKE housing)

3. A good "manual" photographer knows his photo triangle and is always keeping it equalateral. In that I mean: f-stop, ISO, shutter speed at each triangle point. Videography is no different and actually easier to maintain because you have a live view!

ISO = the native ISO for most modern camcorders or DSLR shooting video is in increments of 160, 320, 640 etc... (yes 320 has less noise than 200 ISO believe it or not)
Shutter Speed = 30fps for movies or 24fps for cinema... Unless your a pro shooting for PBS keep with the 30fps settings. The rule of thumb is 2 times the frame rate therefore 30fps x 2 = 1/60th of a second (cine: 24fpsx2 = 48 i.e. 1/50th of a second)
f-stop = This is the last corner of the triangle. Adjust the apature to allow in the desired light /depth of field into your scene to get the pop and lighting you are after. Luckily the white sands of BON yield 2-3 stops of bounce light from the sand. This will need to be adjust on the fly based on your depth, positioning of the subject relative to the sun, time of day, clouds etc. (Always adjusting)
4. Lights vs. Ambient lights... If you are just starting out and have a budget, don't spend the money on lights! Use your money wisely and put the $ back into your system and shoot with magic filters and ambient light. http://magic-filters.com/ Let's face it, unless your video is macro in nature (size of a grapefruit and within 12"-16" away) it will yield in-affective to your composition. (Generally speaking) Instead use magic filters, the settings depicted above, ambient light with the sun over your shoulder whilst illuminating your subject and manual WB when you change 3 feet of depth up or down (yes, that often... that's why I mention this needs to be something second nature and extremely fast). Adjust your WB if the sun goes behind a cloud or if the sun is hitting the subject differently so forth and so on.

I know this is far more info than you expected to get but the point is keep these items in mind while considering your purchasing. Once you start to get the hang of the abilities you possess and the workings of your gear you'll be glad you read this info!

Good luck and happy diving!