First Underwater Images from the Canon G-10

Posted in Under the Sea on June 21st, 2009 by MadDog
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Yesterday I had my first dive with my new Canon G10 and the WP-DC28 factory underwater housing. I’ve been enormously satisfied with the results I’ve gotten over the past year with the G9 and its factory housing. Given my style, mostly available light rather than flash, the camera suited me well and always gave me good images.
The G10 camera and housing are both improvements on excellent products. The G10 seems to be much less noisy in low light conditions. Here is an example of how well it can deliver even when the photographer is not paying attention:LionfishI was far too far away for the shot, but it was near the end of the dive and I just couldn’t be bothered to take the time to get in close for a proper exposure.  Even with the poor lighting, I still have a usable image. Lionfish shots are a dime a dozen, anyway. You can see some of my other Lionfish images here, here, here, here, and here. The Lionfish also appears on a PNG coin.

Here’s an even better example, this one with flash. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a better shot of a Clark’s Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii):

Clark's AnemonefishThey are very cute, of course, but devilishly difficult to shoot. They never hold still and the coal black body against snow white bars makes an impossible contrast ratio for the camera. If you click this one to enlarge, you’ll even see some detail in the black and white areas – something I’ve not been able to achieve this well before. I think I’ll do even better when I get used to the camera. More fun with Clark’s Anemonefish here (orange variation), here, here, here, here, and here.

At 15 megapixels, the camera gives you plenty of image to mess with. You can take a shot from a little farther away, providing the water is clear enough. This allows more perceived depth of field so that everything is nicely in focus. The camera focuses in an instant and almost always on what you want to be in focus. I need to fiddle a bit more with the focus settings – there are a ton of them:

Clark's AnemonefishI’m not very happy with the software that came with the camera. Correcting both tint and colour temperature require visiting two separate dialogue boxes. This is unlike Photoshop in the Camera RAW filter (I always shoot RAW mode for underwater – it’s the only way to go) where both controls are right next to each other in the same dialogue box and you can see the results in the preview window as you slide the controls. The only problem is that I haven’t gotten the latest version of the Camera RAW filter to work yet. It contains the code necessary for the G10.

Here’s a nice shot of a Bulb Anemone that shows the level of detail and low noise that the G10 delivers. This shot was sans flash on an overcast day at about 25 metres – pretty impressive results, I’d say:

Bulb AnemoneYou can see a couple of other bulb anemones here and here.

Here’s another shot that is interesting from a technical view. The highlights on the anemone bulbs would have been completely blown out (washed out blank white) on any previous camera that I’ve used. In this shot there is still  detail and gradations of shade:

Bulb AnemoneI’m really happy with my new rig. People pay thousands of dollars for underwater cameras that don’t produce images any better than these. The differnce is that the extra money buys you mostly more light on the subject. If you are willing to stay within the confines of available light and limit youself to close shots when using flash, you can take professional quality undewater photos for way under a thousand US$. The G10 costs about US$400 and the housing was, I think, less than $200.

I don’t see how one could do much better. It is one of those delightful situations in which you can still get a lot for your money.

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