Making the Switch - Jack and Sue Drafahl

Making Your STILL, VIDEO and DIGITAL Underwater Images Better
Making the
Arc von ready lor print Ji/m?
Concentrate on composition,
not exposure
November/December 2003
Arc ilieiv any open-minded film shooters
out there? It so, \ve would like to lake a
moment to let you in on a secret lliat might
JIM make your underwater images zing.
Most beginning underwater photographers w i l l loll you thai they wore
encouraged by t h e i r i n s t r u c t o r s and
photo manuals to use color slide f i l m . It
seems that print films were considered
"amateur lilms." Well, we arc here to sci
the story straight. As film reviewers for
Pclci sen's Phftt)gr,aphic m a g a z i n e for
almost 30 years, we have put many films
through their paces. Wo lound that most
of the research and development by lilm
manufacturers has been in the color nega t i v e area. So about 16 years ago, we
decided to make a c o l d - t u r k e y switch
Irom color slides to color negatives lor
all our underwater images. The only lime
we made the switch back was when we
had a slide film to test.
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With slide film, exposure is critical and
not often easy to determine. Exposures must
be within plus or minus one stop in order
to be correct. You often need to bracket your
exposure to guarantee good results, so this
lessens the quantity of images that you can
shoot during a dive and takes up valuable
down time on dives.
Color negative (print) film, on the
other hand, can capture images with exposures from plus four to minus three stops.
You can capture a wide range of images and
there is no need to bracket your exposures.
This allows you to concentrate on composing your images rather than worrying
about exposure.
If your goal is prints for scrapbooks
or to decorate your home, then color negatives are the perfect choice. In addition,
you can always have slides made from
your color negatives if you need them for
a slide show.
Times have changed too with the
advent of computers and film scanners. You
can now scan color negatives and bring
them into your computer for color correction and image enhancement. There is even
software now that can reduce the more
dominant grain structure found in color
negative film.
The only way you are going to know
that color negative films have moved up a
notch from their "amateur" standing is to
give them a try. Keep an open mind and
maybe you'll be surprised.
In I n - AI....I..K
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• Fiji • Galapagos • Kona, Hawaii • Palau •
Tahiti • Truk, Micronesia • Turks & Caicos
Aggressor Fleet is n franchise company.
If ever an oxymoron existed, the phrase
"consumer-priced high-definition camcorder" would be a big one. For years I
have dreamed of shooting in high definition, the format that fills a movie theater, broadcasts beautifully and
splashes over a 50-inch home flat
screen with the highest-resolution widescreen true-to-life image ever seen in
video. So impressive is this format that
George Lucas is using it to create the
modern Star Wars prequels.
Up to now, high definition has been
a professional medium, with a camera
costing a minimum of $60,000. But last
summer, JVC introduced the GR-HD1, an
inconceivable break in tradition: This
small camera is a single CCD high-definition camcorder available for around
$3,500. With Gates Underwater Systems already geared up to produce a
housing deliverable by December 2003,
it seems that my dream and that of
many underwater videographers will
soon come true.
Send your questions about film and digital
photography or image editing to us at and we
will try to answer them directly or in an
upcoming column.
For further information on our photo trips
and new books, take a look at our Web site at
This month on
/video I will "deliver the goods" on the
revolutionary new JVC GR-HD1 camcorder and the new Gates housing.
Check out the results in high-definition
wide-screen format.
Digital Point-and-Shoot Advantages
»lnstant results
Ready for a digital point-and-shoot camera?
»Correct your mistakes immediately.
Check out the following easy-to-use options:
The Olympus Stylus 300, a 3.2 megapixel all-
»No film to process
weather camera for use with the PT-016 hous-
»You can take more than 36 images per dive.
ing (
»Storage media reusable.
The Sea & Sea Aquaplx (see review at right), a
Cameras have close-up capability.
Hi-Def for Real
Excellent image quality
3.1 megapixel amphibious camera (
The SeaLife DC310 (see review at right), a 3.3
»Accessory lenses expand creativity.
megapixel underwater camera (www.sportdiver
»You can review your images on a TV.
SeaLife DC31O
Here's what I usually do when I return from a trip: I get my film developed and then end up throwing
half the shots away because they didn't turn out. And while no camera can take a photo for you, a
digital point-and-shoot will at least give you instant feedback and allow
you to take another whack if, like me, you need another whack.
The new SeaLife DC310 3.3 megapixel point-and-shoot
underwater digital camera has a one-button "instant delete"
function to help ensure that after the dive, you'll only have
the keepers and look real impressive in front of the other
shutterbugs on the boat. But instant delete isn't the only
feature on this handy little camera. It has land and sea
modes, and an external flash mode for low-light situations.
Features include: 3.3 mp CCD sensor; 8 mb on-board
memory; SD card compatible; 1.6 inch LCD color monitor; 2X
digital zoom; movie JPEG capable; and quick-review function.
There are optional lenses for wide-angle and macro, and the system
has been depth-rated to 200 feet. Other features include image-viewing software, USB cable for downloading
photos, video cable and care kit.
Don't be overwhelmed by the list
of specs - this DC310 has the one-touch
simplicity that makes taking underwater photographs a delight.
Suggested retail
for the DC310: $549.95.
For a more complete
setup, the Preset system contains the DC310,
external flash, 3X closeup lens and a soft carrying case: $769.95. For
more information, visit
ebrochure/sealife. - Ty Sawyer
ni r
f °aucing
First Amphibious Digital Camera
We knew it was just a matter of time before someone did it, but the question was who would be first?
This time Sea & Sea crossed the line first with its premiere of an all-amphibious digital camera.
The AquaPix DX3100 is a 3.1 megapixel camera that contains 16 MB of onboard memory, but you
can add more memory by using SmartMedia cards. With an automatic shutter speed range of 1/40 to
1/1000 of a second, the DX3100 automatically adjusts to all photo situations. There's no more wondering if you got the shot, because photographers can preview the image right away on the 1.6-inch
preview screen on the back of the unit.
The DX3100 features a built-in strobe and light diffuser that works in tandem with the auto-programmed white balance to adjust exposures based on a diver's depth.
The AquaPix can also use Sea & Sea's most popular strobes, the YS25 Auto, YS90DX and YS90 Auto,
to provide even more lighting control.
The AquaPix camera features an attractive lightweight cover that's gray with yellow accents.
It has a built-in color filter, a close-up lens and a self-timer. The macro lens allows photographers to
capture images as close as 10 cm, or at a normal focusing distance of 30 cm. This new model also
11 "
accommodates the 20 mm wide-angle lens,
which allows divers to change lenses underHHim
water during a dive, a feature that
••^ most underwater cameras definitely
^ don't have. Its flexibility, adaptability
and user-friendly price of just $619
should make this camera a winner
for both divers and aguatic enthusiasts. As soon as we have had a
chance to take the AquaPix for a
dip, we will provide a more in-depth
report. Until then, you can find more
information on the AquaPix camera
and other fine products at
with Quick
Disconnect Hose
Key features for both computers:
Nitrox programmable
PC down-loadable
Safety stop count-down timer
User-replaceable batteries
Water & manual activation
Audible & visual alarms
Check them out at your
nearest AERIS Dealer!
November/December 2003 2, f