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Underwater Photography - V1.2

2003-07-09 15:33:20.457021+00 by ebradway 5 comments

Lessons learned: unless you buy a real underwater camera, just get the Kodak single-use. The difference between ISO 400 and ISO 800 is startling. The photo on the right (with the anchor) was taken with ISO 400 in clear water. The photo on the left (with the jewfish) was taken with ISO 800 in murky water. I did buy some ISO 800 film for the cheap non-disposable I bought ($11.99 in a gift shop) but it leaked after replacing the film.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-07-09 16:00:23.107101+00 by: Dan Lyke

Huh. So was it a limitation on shutter time or exposure length with your camera, or is there some other factor involved here? The grain and lack of contrast in the one on the right here certainly screams underexposure, but I'd have hardly thought just a stop would make that difference.

#Comment made: 2003-07-09 16:11:25.825902+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

I've found that Ziplock(R)sandwich bags (freezer bags give too much distortion) in combination with the cheap cameras work fairly well in shallow water. The disposable waterproof ones, though, are the way to go.

#Comment made: 2003-07-09 17:05:28.90681+00 by: ebradway

Dan: Maybe I have my terminology wrong or have some other misunderstanding... But it is my impression that ISO 800 speed film is more sensitive that ISO 400. In an underwater environment you inherently have less light to work with and would want greater sensitivity. You also want fast shutter aperature speeds because it's pretty much impossible to have both the camera and the subject hold still even in calm water. There are some pictures in my Mom's pool. They were taken with the Kodak disposable with lots of cloud cover. The clarity of the water makes a big difference too.

Larry: I tried the ZipLoc baggies with my digital camera and was disappointed with the results. Of course, I didn't play around enough with it. I used two baggies (and still the camera got a little damp). I should have put the camera in always-on mode and used rubber-bands to keep the bags tight across the lens.

Next time, I may try a watertight bag made for cameras with some silica gel paks.

#Comment made: 2003-07-09 17:28:39.059585+00 by: Dan Lyke

Eric, yep, the 800 is twice as sensitive as the 400 speed film, but usually the 800 has extra grain. So what I expected to see was that the 400 speed film was blurrier. Instead what it looks like is that the 400 speed film was quite a bit less exposed, even more than the "1 stop" (or doubling of the exposure time) that I'd expect.

I guess the lesson is that the extra grain can remove grain in the long run.

#Comment made: 2003-07-10 14:33:54.309822+00 by: ebradway

I think Kodak put a little more effort into their single-use camera than the el-cheapo reusable (not!) camera. I really wish the 800 speed film in the el-cheapo had worked out.