Since the dawn of diving, there has been interest in capturing images of the remarkable ecosystems and animals of the sea. Although underwater photography was initially a complex process, advances in technology have seen it become an accessible, absorbing pastime.
The advent of the digital age has seen an explosion in the popularity of underwater photography, with more and more divers creating images of their dives for posterity. However, producing good results consistently is a craft, and this is what separates the professional from the amateur photographer.
Underwater camera systems for stills photography can be divided into two categories. The first consists of truly amphibious cameras that do not require a housing to be used underwater, and can also operate on dry land. The pioneering Nikonos V camera is a famous example of the type. Amphibious cameras often have interchangeable lenses, and are available in both film and digital formats. These highly specialized cameras feature oversized controls for ease of operation underwater.
Both compacts and SLRs require a housing to protect them from water damage. These are normally made of plastic, though aluminum housings are also available for SLRs. Aluminum housings are strong and durable but expensive and bulky, and hide the camera within, making it harder to operate. Plastic housings are cheaper and allow you to see the camera, but can be less durable. They are especially vulnerable to scratches and abrasion.
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