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Water Armour

AquaTech CO-7

For dives that are closer to the surface, AquaTech makes compact sport housings that are easy to manage. Made of lightweight polyurethane, they’re much smaller than many other dive housings and rated to depths of 33 feet. Designed ergonomically, holding the housing feels similar to the camera it fits closely around. A variety of ports accommodates a selection of lenses, including fisheyes and telephoto zooms, which are helpful to use when you’re shooting from the surface. Dive housings often only have ports for macro and wide-angle lenses. List Price: Starts at $995 (Canon EOS 7D).

Combining a housing with a strobe or two gives you a complete system for exploring all of the creative possibilities that exist below the waves. The deeper you go, the less light you’ll have and the more important flash becomes for bringing out all the wonderful colors of the water, fish and other marine life.

The Ikelite Substrobe DS160 is compatible with all Ikelite TTL systems. It features 160 watt-seconds of power, a built-in 5-watt LED modeling light, TTL plus 10 power levels, a 1.5-second recycle time and 225 full-power flashes per charge. Another option is the Sea&Sea YS-D1, which features DS-TTL II exposure compensation for +/-4 steps, an auto-sensing slave switch and a built-in high-intensity LED target light. It’s bright enough to be used as a dive light on night dives. Estimated Street Price: $799 (DS160); $699 (YS-D1).

Fantasea FP7100

If you prefer the ease and flexibility of using a compact camera for snorkeling or other shallow-water pursuits, you can turn it into a full underwater system rather easily. Canon, Olympus and Sony all make housings specifically designed to protect their compact cameras. Rated to depths of about 130 feet, the housings are typically made of polycarbonate construction and allow full access to most basic camera functions. For Nikon Coolpix shooters, Fantasea makes housings for a variety of models, and they work down to 200 feet.

To add some light, you can use the camera’s internal flash or you can include a compact strobe, such as the YS-01 from Sea&Sea, for greater coverage and illumination. The YS-01 has a built-in target light, a recycle time of about two seconds and operates on nickel-metal-hydride batteries for stress-free continuous shooting. An easier alternative may be to use a continuous light source, such as the Light & Motion Sola dive lights. This is a great option because what you see is what you get. There’s no need to make adjustments and then check the LCD as you do when working with a strobe. But the drawback is that they don’t offer as much power as strobes. Estimated Street Price: $429 (YS-01); $299 to $699 (Sola).

Resources

Aquapac
(866) 929-0639
www.aquapac.net

AquaTech
(714) 968-6946
www.aquatech.net

Aquatica
(514) 737-9481
www.aquatica.ca

ewa-marine (R.T.S. Inc.)
(631) 242-6801
www.rtsphoto.com

Fantasea
(989) 785-0540
www.fantasea.com

Ikelite
(317) 923-4523
www.ikelite.com

Light & Motion
www.lightandmotionuk.com

Olympus
(888) 553-4448
www.getolympus.com

Panasonic
(800) 211-PANA
www.panasonic.com

Pentax
(800) 877-0155
www.pentaximaging.com

Sea&Sea
www.seaandsea.com

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