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Dive Photo Guide

Mirrorless Cameras

LATEST EQUIPMENT

Nauticam NA-GFX100II
Ikelite Housing (200DL) for Sony a7C II and a7CR
Isotta Housing for OM System OM-1 I & II
Seacam Housing for Nikon Z8
Isotta Housing for Nikon Z8

If your goals are high-quality results and full control over the image and the picture-taking process, you’ll need to step up from a compact to a camera that allows you to mount different lenses for different situations in order to produce photos that are sharp, detailed and with minimal distortion. Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (MILCs) use an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical one, and an on-sensor autofocus system rather than the separate autofocus sensor found in DSLRs. These differences mean MILCs have different strengths and weaknesses compared to DSLRs, but mirrorless designs are gradually becoming the new standard for interchangeable-lens cameras.
 

CONTENTS

  1. Nikon Mirrorless Cameras
  2. Canon Mirrorless Cameras
  3. Sony Mirrorless Cameras
  4. OM System/Olympus Mirrorless Cameras
  5. Panasonic Mirrorless Cameras
  6. Fujifilm Mirrorless Cameras
 

When purchasing underwater imaging equipment like the products mentioned in this guide, please support DPG by supporting our retail partner—Backscatter.

 

1. Nikon Mirrorless Cameras

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Nikon Z9

Showing it was serious about video with the D850 and then the Z6 and Z7, Nikon has still been playing catch-up as Canon threw down the gauntlet with the release of the 8K-capable EOS R5. But with the Z9, Nikon has itself created a game-changing camera in various ways. Doing away with the mechanical shutter entirely, the Z9 boasts a stacked CMOS sensor and image-processing engine that combine to achieve breathtaking specs: 20fps RAW continuous shooting with a buffer of more than 1,000 frames, 8K/30p (for more than two hours continuously) and 4K/120p recording from the full width of the sensor, and flash sync at up to 1/250s and up to 1/8000s with high-speed sync (HSS) enabled. $5,500 | www.nikonusa.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With its 45.7MP images, off-the-charts burst shooting, and 8K/30p video capabilities, the Z9 is a hybrid camera for serious pros—with a price tag to match. Nikon’s promised firmware update even adds 8K/60p video capture in 12-bit ProRes RAW. Imagine sumptuous cinematic slow-mo underwater action on your 8K TV… No, neither can we!


Housing Options
 

  • Seacam: Devoid of a mechnical shutter, the Z9 should last you for many years, so you’ll need a housing that will go the distance, no matter how extreme your dive adventures. Seacam’s is just such a housing, crafted from saltwater-proof light metal alloy that’s twice hardened and anodized. Configurable with S6 or N5 bulkheads for reliable electrical strobe triggering, the housing can also have an Atomos Ninja V/V+ connected via HDMI—courtesy of Seacam’s dedicated monitor housing, of course. $6,400 | www.seacam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Another dependable home for the Z9, Nauticam’s aluminum housing offers a variety of essential controls within easy reach of its integrated handles, including levers for the Fn1/Fn2 customizable buttons and the AF-Mode button, and double thumb levers for PLAYBACK/DISP and AF-ON/REC. As you’d expect, the NA-Z9 housing is optimized for use with Nauticam’s high-quality water-contact optics like the WACP-1/2 and CMC-1/2. You can hook up your external monitor/recorder via the M24 bulkhead, and there are M16 and M14 bulkheads for strobes, vacuum systems, and more. $7,223 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Nikon Z8

With its 45.7MP stacked CMOS sensor, 8K/60p RAW video capture, and ability to shoot 20fps RAW bursts for 1,000-plus frames, Nikon’s flaghip Z9 made hybrid shooters drool and weep at the same time: This was the camera of our dreams, but the price tag—a cool $5,500—was the stuff of nightmares. And then something extraordinary happened: Nikon put the same camera in a much smaller box and knocked a healthy $1,500 off the price. Behold, the Z8! Essentially, it’s a Z9 with around half the battery life, and one of the two CFexpress card slots downgraded to an SD card slot. Wow! $4,000 | www.nikonusa.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Smaller, lighter, and much less expensive than the Z9, the very-similarly-spec’d Z8 will be, for many pros and enthusiasts, the ultimate all-round tool for underwater imaging.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: The Z8 may save you some serious money compared to its pricier sibling, but it’s still not exactly cheap, so if you want a full-featured but affordable housing, Ikelite is the way to go. The 200DL housing offers the usual Ikelite benefits, including a clear view of the camera, so you can check that your investment is safe and secure inside, as well as out-of-the-box electronic triggering of strobes in manual mode, with the option of adding a TTL converter for on-the-fly switching between manual and TTL. $1,895 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Serious hybrid shooters with deep pockets will want to consider the NA-Z8 housing, as it comes equipped with a large-bore M24 port for hooking up an external monitor/recorder such as the Atomos Ninja+, which is capable of capturing both 8K/30p and 4K/120p in ProRes RAW. Aside from the robust aluminum construction and ultra-ergonomic controls, Nauticam’s housing also offers full compatibility with the company’s range of high-end water-contact optics, including the WACP-1 and WACP-C wide-angle conversion lenses, and the SMC-1 and SMC-2 close-up lenses. $4,832 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Nikon Z7 II

When we went to Mexico to test Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, the Z7, in 2019, we discovered a capable camera that came close to living up to its “mirrorless D850” spec sheet. The performance-boosting Expeed 6 processors in the Z7 II take that promise a step further, with 10fps continuous shooting and a threefold increase in buffer capacity, improved low-light autofocus performance, and the ability to capture 4K/60p video (albeit in cropped DX format). A $200 upgrade allows you to output Blackmagic RAW as well as ProRes RAW to the Atomos Ninja V/V+ external recorder. $3,000 | www.nikonusa.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With its 45.7-megapixel sensor and 10fps burst shooting, the Z7 II makes an awesome tool for still photographers. And while the video specs are decent, the Z6 II—boasting full-pixel readout of its 24.5MP sensor and advanced video features—is a better choice for serious filmmakers. You could always get both, of course, since each would fit any housing you buy…


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: As with all housings for the Z7/Z6 (Mark I or II, or both), Ikelite’s Dry Lock port system is designed to accommodate lenses using the new Z-mount as well as your old F-mount glass via the FTZ adapter that was launched with the Z-system. And as with all of Ikelite’s recent housings, TTL exposure is an optional but simple addition: The DL1 DS Link Nikon TTL Converter allows you to toggle between TTL and manual exposure with the press of a button. $1,895 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Seacam: Milled from a saltwater-proof light metal alloy that is twice hardened and anodized, Seacam’s Silver housing is the perfect complement to Nikon’s excellent build quality and rock-solid reliability. Premium materials are used throughout, including stainless steel and anodized aluminum buttons and dials. The housing can be configured with S6 or N5 bulkheads for electrical strobe triggering, and you have the option of connecting a monitor/recorder via HDMI. Seacam’s leak detector is fitted as standard. $5,100 | www.seacam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Sea&Sea: The MDX-Z7II has much in common with its predecessor housing for the first-generation Z7 and Z6. Made from aluminum and featuring integrated aluminum handles, the housing can accommodate Z-mount lenses as well as F-mount lenses via Nikon’s FTZ mount adapter, and there’s even a window for viewing the Z7’s top LCD panel. Manual strobe triggering is possible out of the box, and you can optionally install a converter that allows you to trigger Sea&Sea strobes in both TTL and manual modes. $4,000 | www.seaandsea.jp | www.backscatter.com

  • Isotta: If you like your aluminum painted fiery red, this made-in-Italy housing for the Z7 II (and Z6 II) is a great option. You get Isotta’s signature one-handed opening-closing knob, dual O-ring seals on all buttons, and an integrated moisture alarm thrown in for good measure. The housing comes with two fiber-optic ports, but you have the option of adding bulkheads for strobe connection via electrical sync cords. Three M16 ports allow accessories such as a vacuum valve and external monitor to be installed. $2,830 | www.isotecnic.it | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: The NA-Z7II is part of Nauticam’s N120 port system, which supports native Z-mount optics as well as F-mount lenses with the Nikon FTZ adapter (using the same ports needed for their application on Nikon DSLR housings). As usual for Nauticam, complex internal rerouting of controls ensures that levers and buttons are exactly where they need to be next to the integrated handles. Optical bulkheads are included, as is the circuitry required to manually trigger your strobes, and you have the option of upgrading to a TTL converter if desired. $5,056 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Aquatica: Machined from high-grade aluminum, anodized, and finished with tough powder coat paint, Aquatica’s housing allows you to mount and unmount Nikon’s FTZ adapter without removing the camera, and there are separate lens releases for both F- and Z-mount lenses. The company’s Surveyor vacuum system is included as standard equipment, and the housing is available in three configurations: with double Nikonos bulkheads, with single Ikelite bulkhead, and with dual optical bulkheads and LED trigger. A large-bore 24mm bulkhead allows you to hook up a monitor/recorder via HDMI 2.0 cables. $3,200 | www.aquatica.ca | www.backscatter.com

  • Subal: Built to last from aluminum alloy that’s hard coated and finished with powder coating paint, Subal’s Z6 II/Z7 II housing features a special sled for mounting the camera to allow quick and precise insertion. Users can choose from a range of viewfinders and strobe triggering options, including TTL exposure with compatible Sea&Sea and Inon strobes. $3,800 | www.subal.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Hugyfot: Belgian housing maker Hugyfot offers their Z7 housing with a special ceramic polymer based thin film coating (which is highly resistant to scratches, chemicals, heat, UV light, etc.) in four different colors—Graphite Black, Titanium, Blue Titanium and Pink Champagne. The standard configuration includes dual aluminum handles with one-inch ball mounts (plus an additional ball mount on the top), twin optical ports for strobe triggering, an M16 port for accessories, and a vacuum and leak detection system. €3,450 | www.hugyfot.com

Nikon Z5

If Nikon’s first forays into full-frame mirrorless—the Z6 and Z7—were a little beyond your budget, the much more competitively priced Z5 could well be the entry-level full-frame model in your future. For considerably fewer dollars, you get a sensor with a very similar resolution to the Z6 (and Z6 II), as well as the same 5-axis in-body image stabilization, hybrid AF system, and high-resolution 3.69M-dot viewfinder found on the older models (and also the second-generation Z6 II/Z7 II). $1,300 | www.nikonusa.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Unlike the Z6/Z6II and Z7/Z7II, which are all equally accomplished filmmaking tools, the Z5 may well disappoint in the video department. Only Full HD (1080p) capture uses the full sensor width, while 4K video comes with a heavy 1.7x crop—all but unusable for wide-angle subjects. For still photography, however, the Z5 is a lot of camera for a modest outlay.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Nikon’s affordable full-frame camera is a perfect match for Ikelite’s eminently affordable housing, with its ABS-PC construction, transparent back, and robust, well-designed controls. As you’d expect, the housing can accommodate Z-mount lenses as well as F-mount lenses along with Nikon’s FTZ adapter. Out of the box, you get electrical triggering of various brands of strobes in manual mode, and by adding the optional DL1 DS Link TTL Converter, you can enjoy industry-leading TTL flash exposure with a compatible Ikelite DS-series strobe. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

Nikon Z50

A little over a year after Nikon introduced its first full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z7 and Z6, to broadly universal acclaim, the Japanese company recently unveiled the Z50, hoping to perform the same trick in the APS-C realm. The result, as you might expect, is a sort of “mirrorless D500” boasting a 21MP BSI-CMOS sensor, 11fps burst shooting with continuous AF, and both crop-less 4K video at up to 30p and Full HD at up to 120p. In other words, plenty of camera for a mere… $860 | www.nikonusa.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

If you love your F-mount lenses but want to dip a curious toe into mirrorless waters, the Z50 is the way to go (with the help of the FTZ adapter, of course). D500 users who dabble in video will appreciate the Z50’s impressive movie capabilities—especially 4K shooting without the D500’s heavy crop.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Highlights of Ikelite’s Z50 housing include the company’s signature ABS-PC blend construction and a clear back, ergonomically shaped levers for shutter and the AE-L/AF-L button, and an M16 port for an accessory like an HDMI bulkhead. Unusually for Ikelite, there’s also fiber-optic strobe connectivity on offer, as the housing makes use of the Z50’s pop-up flash. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: The NA-Z50 makes it easy to use both native Z-mount lenses directly and your trusty F-mount lenses with Nikon’s FTZ Adapter. For the latter, just add Nauticam’s N100 to N120 Port Adapter along with the corresponding N120 port recommendations. Fiber-optic bulkheads give you TTL strobe triggering out of the box using the Z50’s pop-up flash, but there’s also the option of installing a TTL converter via the hot-shoe for faster recycle times and reduced battery strain. $3,715 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

 

2. Canon Mirrorless Cameras

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Canon EOS R3

To much fanfare, Canon and Nikon, released their first full-frame mirrorless cameras back in 2018—the EOS R and Z7/Z6, respectively. A few years later and the Big Two are going head to head again with flagship cameras boasting jaw-dropping specs, Nikon with the Z9 and Canon with the EOS R3. But these dual-grip beasts are very different cameras. While the Nikon’s specs compare better with those of the R5, the R3 is all about speed, very much in the vain of the 1D X Mark III, Canon’s top-end DSLR for sports photo pros. The R3 shoots continuously at up to 30fps in electronic shutter mode (with no blackout) and up to 12fps with the traditional mechanical shutter, captures 6K/60p RAW as well as 4K/120p 10-bit video (with no crop), and is equipped with Canon’s most sophisticated autofocus system yet: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with more than 1,000 AF points. In a word: fast. $6,000 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The EOS R3 isn’t for everyone, not just because of the $6K price tag. This is a camera designed to freeze fast action no matter how challenging the conditions. If you love capturing a shark feeding frenzy or marlin attacking a baitball, this could be the workhorse for you. Otherwise, you will probably be better served by something more modest.


Housing Options
 

  • Nauticam: Blending elements of Nauticam’s 1D-series and R-series pro housings, the NA-R3 sports an extensive range of controls exactly where you need them while gripping the built-in handles. M24, M16 and M14 bulkheads allow for strobe triggering, external monitor/recorders via HDMI 2.0, vacuum systems, and Ethernet control, while the fiber-optic bulkheads can be used with an optional manual LED trigger or TTL-flash trigger. $7,223 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Canon EOS R5

Canon joined the 8K club when it introduced the R5, which is capable of capturing 8K/30p video internally at 4:2:2 10-bit quality—without cropping. It’s no slouch in the 4K department either, with 4K/120p 4:2:2 10-bit recording on offer for super-smooth cinematic playback at quarter speed. You can also shoot 45-megapixel images at 12fps with continuous autofocus (via Canon’s second-generation Dual Pixel CMOS AF system), and enjoy image stabilization with shake reduction of up to eight stops when using some RF lenses. $3,900 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The R5’s video will no doubt look breathtaking on your 8-foot 8K TV, but for most of us, 4K will do just fine, thank you very much. Having said that, with 8K footage, you’ll have the ability to crop extravagantly, giving you more options in post-production. There is also that small matter of the R5’s well-documented heat buildup, which severely curtails record time. For underwater cinematographers, however, that’s very unlikely to be a concern, since you’re only capturing mere seconds of footage at a time.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: With the R5, all the magic happens internally, so there’s perhaps no pressing need to record video to an external recorder, but if you like using a nice, big external monitor, Ikelite’s housing has an M16 port for an HDMI bulkhead. Install the company’s dedicated TTL converter to enjoy automatic exposure using compatible strobes from Ikelite’s DS series. $1,695 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Aquatica: With Aquatica’s housing for the R5, you get anodized aluminum construction with integrated grips, ergonomically laid-out controls for the camera’s most important functions, compatibility with Aquatica DSLR sized bayonet mount ports, and the Surveyor vacuum system installed as standard. Dual Nikonos connectors enable attachment of optional external strobes via sync cords. $3,200 | www.aquatica.ca | www.backscatter.com

  • Sea&Sea: This machined aluminum housing features a 24mm HDMI 2.0 bulkhead for connecting an external monitor/recorder, a built-in leak sensor, and a bulkhead that accepts a vacuum sensor such as the Vivid Leak Sentinel V4. Not to mention some rather attractive yellow bits! $3,295 | www.seaandsea.jp | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: The NA-R5 housing offers everything you’d expect from a Nauticam: ergonomic control placement around integrated handles, multi-direction pad mirroring that found on the camera, and a port system supporting both RF-mount lenses and EF-mount lenses via Canon’s adapters. You can make use of the twin fiber-optic bulkheads by adding a TTL trigger or manual trigger. You can also add an Atomos Ninja V/V+ in Nauticam’s monitor housing. $5,159 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Seacam: Depth-rated to 260 feet, Seacam’s Silver housing for the R5 is milled from a saltwater-proof light metal alloy that is twice hardened and anodized, and features removeable handles. The housing can be configured with S6 or N5 bulkheads for electrical strobe triggering, and there’s the option of connecting a monitor/recorder via HDMI. A leak detector is fitted as standard (with the vacuum valve and pump purchased separately) and the housing is compatible with Seacam’s various high-quality viewfinders. $5,100 | www.seacam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Inon: If you want a housing to match your Inon strobes, the Japanese company—which is pretty selective about the cameras they choose to make housings for—has obliged in the case of the EOS R5. Their “X-2” housing has a lightweight aluminum construction and ships with a tray, handles, and quick mount brackets—cleverly allowing you to switch between horizontal and vertical shooting orientations. The housing features an integrated TTL converter, calibrated for use with Inon strobes, that gives you the ability to control strobe power manually from the camera. $3,550 | www.inon.jp


Canon EOS R6 Mark II

With its 45MP sensor and 8K video, the R5 stole the limelight when it was unveiled in mid-2020, overshadowing its lower-resolution sibling, the R6, released alongside it. But as it turned out, it was the R6 that was first to get an upgrade worthy of a “Mark II” sticker. Nearly every area of the original camera has been improved, from the resolution bump to 24.2 megapixels (while maintaining the 12fps burst speed of the Mark I) to the 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2 oversampled video capture with no crop (as opposed to the slight crop of the Mark I). It even borrows the AI-powered autofocus system from the high-end R3. $2,500 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The R6 Mark II is a strong contender for ultimate enthusiast-level full-frame mirrorless camera. For a reasonably affordable price, you get a camera that can do almost everything very well, with very little to complain about. If there’s one caveat, it’s the sensor resolution, but poster-sized prints aside, there should be enough megapixels for most.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: While Canon made the strange decision to move the power switch from the left side on the Mark I to the right side on the Mark II (and have a new switch for toggling between stills and video in the same position where the on/off switch used to be), Ikelite’s housing still works with either model—they have just included a pair of camera mounts for use with either the Mark I or the Mark II. Otherwise, you’re getting all the usual Ikelite benefits: ABS-PC body with transparent back, Dry Lock (DL) port system, and the option of TTL flash exposure using one or two compatible Ikelite DS-series strobes when you add the company’s TTL converter. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Hewn from a block of aluminum, the NA-R6II performs Nauticam’s standard trick of rerouting each and every camera control to exactly the right spot, so you never have to take your hands off the integrated handles. Like all the company’s newer housings, there’s an M24 accessory port for hooking up an Atomos Ninja V monitor/recorder via HDMI 2.0, so you can capture 4K/60p video without worrying about recording time limits or overheating. Dual fiber-optic bulkheads offer flash triggering via an optional manual LED trigger or an optional TTL flash trigger. $4,042 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Canon EOS R7

Just when you were thinking that Canon had given up on APS-C sized sensors completely, the Japanese company finally—in mid-2022—unveiled its first two mirrorless cameras with cropped sensors: the EOS R7 and the EOS R10. At the higher end, the R7 boasts a 32.5MP sensor, image stabilization of up to seven stops, twin UHS-II SD card slots, and the higher-capacity battery found in the R5 and R6/R6 II. With the DIGIC X processor from the pro-level R3 on-board, the R7 offers impressive subject tracking capabilities, speedy 15fps continuous shooting with full AF, and oversampled 4K/30p using the full sensor width. $1,500 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

A cool $1,000 separates the full-frame R6 Mark II and the cropped-sensor R7, and APS-C shooters can argue that they get more camera for less—most importantly, more megapixels and higher burst shooting speeds. You also get to enjoy some classic glass—the Tokina 10–17mm fisheye lens—to its fullest.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: The U.S. company offers the most affordable way to dive with the R7. Employing Ikelite’s Dry Lock Micro (DLM) port system, the housing features an ABS-PC body with transparent back, sports oversized control levers for shutter release and autofocus, and, via an Ikelite bulkhead, offers manual triggering of strobes out of the box. If you want industry-leading TTL strobe exposure—as well as handy switching between manual and TTL on the fly—you just have to add a TTL converter, plus an Ikelite DS-series strobe or two. $1,195 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: For those with a penchant for aluminum, a preference for fiber-optic strobe triggering, and some quite serious cash to spend, there’s Nauticam’s housing for the EOS R7. With the NA-R7, you get all the good stuff we’ve come to expect from the Hong Kong firm: every control positioned with ergonomic precision, the option of a manual or TTL strobe trigger, and compatibility with the company’s premium water contact optics. A vacuum check and leak detection system comes as standard. You get what you pay for. $3,163 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Canon EOS R10

While the R7 and R10 can both be considered entry-level interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras, the sub-$1,000 R10 is the true successor to Canon’s much-loved series of cheap-and-capable “Rebel” DSLRs. The main compromises over its big brother, the R7, are sensor resolution (24MP vs 32.5MP) and the lack of image stabilization. However, with the powerful DIGIC X image processor on-board, the R10 can still shoot continuously at up to 15fps with its mechanical shutter as well as capture oversampled 4K/30p video with no crop. $980 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With the R10, Canon is finally giving its competition—such as the Sony a6400 and the Nikon Z50—a serious run for their money. This is a “proper” entry-level mirrorless camera that allows you to shoot fast action and produce high-quality video of wide-angle scenes.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: The U.S. company was first out of the gate with their housing for the R10, boasting all the typical features found on 200DLM housings—Dry Lock Micro port system, ABS-PC body and transparent back, and laser engraved labels—but in an especially compact form factor. The housing ships with an Ikelite ICS-5 bulkhead supporting manual operation with strobes from various brands, and you can also add a TTL converter for automatic strobe exposure with a compatible Ikelite DS strobe—or two. $1,050 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

Canon EOS R50 with RF-S 18–45mm

The EOS R50 has the distinction of being Canon’s most-affordable RF-mount camera. Equipped with an APS-C CMOS sensor, the entry-level mirrorless shoots 24.2MP images and captures 4K/30p 10-bit video with no crop. Interestingly, the R50 does not have a fully mechanical shutter—only the second curtain is mechanical. In this semi-mechanical mode, the camera is capable of shooting 12fps bursts, which rises to 15fps with full electronic shutter. Available body only or as a kit bundled with the RF-S 18–45mm zoom lens. $680 (Body only) | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com | $800 (Kit) | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Housing Options
 

  • Nauticam: With the NA-R50, Nauticam has made a daring decision: The housing is designed for the R50 with a specific lens attached—the RF-S 18–45mm kit lens. Thus, the combo is treated just like a fixed-lens compact camera system: The housing features a fixed flat port with a bayonet mount that allows you to attach Nauticam’s various high-quality wet lenses, including the WWL-1B or WWL-C for wide-angle subjects and the CMC-1 or CMC-2 for the small stuff. You can purchase the housing on its own or as part of the “Pro Package,” which adds a tray, handles, shutter extension and vacuum valve. $2,030 (Pro Package) www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com | $1,494 (Housing) www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Canon EOS R

Like Nikon, Canon built its first full-frame mirrorless camera around the same sensor found in one of its DSLRs—in this case, the EOS 5D Mark IV’s 30.3MP Dual Pixel CMOS affair. And like their Japanese rival, they introduced a new lens mount for the series—the RF-mount—and an adapter to avoid all your precious EF-mount glass going to waste. High-speed shooting is a respectable 8fps shooting (5fps with continuous AF), but 4K video is captured with a 1.8x crop, essentially ruling out wide-angle underwater 4K footage. $1,800 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With Canon’s highly regarded Dual Pixel AF on board, autofocus performance is comparable with that of the company’s DSLRs, making the EOS R an attractive option for still photographers who want a smaller, lighter full-frame system. Underwater videographers should look elsewhere.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: You’d be hard pressed to see the difference between Ikelite’s EOS R housing and its DSLR varieties: It has the same durable, lightweight ABS-PC construction; the same Dry Lock port system; and the same strobe connectivity options, including TTL exposure with compatible DS-series strobes. The DL port system can accommodate EF lenses as well as the new RF lenses using the EF-EOS R Adapter. $1,695 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Sea&Sea: If a machined aluminum housing for the EOS R is in your future, then consider Sea&Sea’s offering, which features integrated handles and a window for viewing the camera’s top LCD panel. Cleverly, the housing’s focus/zoom dial has two gears—one for the new RF-mount lenses, and another for your good old EF-mount lenses. TTL and manual exposure photography is possible via an optional converter. $3,495 | www.seaandsea.jp | www.backscatter.com

Canon EOS RP

Six months after unveiling the EOS R, Canon followed up with a slimmed-down and much more affordable version in an even smaller body. For $500 less, you lose the in-body stabilization and the top plate LCD, but the other specs should prove more than enough to cater to the needs of those looking to enter the full-frame game. Packed into this tiny box, you’ll find the latest DIGIC 8 processor, a 26MP sensor, and a Dual Pixel AF system with 4,779 selectable AF points. $1,300 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

As with the EOS R, this is an incredibly small and lightweight full-frame camera, and all underwater shooters who travel—that’s pretty much everyone—will reap the benefits. Plus, the EOS RP’s full-frame sensor is an invitation to make full use of Canon’s impressive full-frame EF-mount lenses—and the $500 you save over the EOS R will get you started nicely!


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Beginners will love Ikelite’s signature transparent back, which allows you to check the camera is sitting pretty and the integrity of the seal is sound. To enjoy Ikelite’s excellent TTL automatic exposure, all you need to do is add the converter kit and one, or preferably two, DS-series strobes. $1,695 | www.ikelite.com

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

Canon did something interesting when it released the update to its cropped-sensor mirrorless EOS M6: The company gave us basically the same camera in DSLR and mirrorless forms. Both the 90D and M6 Mark II boast 32.5-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensors, DIGIC 8 processors, Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 5,481 manually selectable AF points, and the ability to record both 4K/30p and Full HD with no crop. All else being more-or-less equal, though, the M6 Mark II will save you a few hundred bucks and give you an overall lighter, smaller system—the reason why mirrorless will one day be king. $850 | www.canon.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Unless you’ve already got a shelf full of awesome EF-S and EF lenses, the EOS M6 Mark II makes for a fine centerpiece of your new underwater rig—whether you shoot stills only, record the odd video clip, or put together fully-fledged underwater films.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Ikelite’s housing for EOS M6 II gives you the US-based company’s Dry Lock Micro port system, ergonomically fashioned levers for shutter release and AF-ON, and laser engraved control symbols on the back panel. Plus, like Ikelite’s recent housings, installation of TTL is left up to the user, rather than being integrated. $775 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

 

3. Sony Mirrorless Cameras

Top ↑


Sony α1

Almost a year after Canon announced the development of its 8K-capable R5, Sony unveiled its own full-frame camera with the ability to capture 8K/30p and 4K/60p at 10-bit quality—using the full sensor width. Like the R5, the α1 can also record 4K/120p (though there’s a 1.1x crop) for smooth cinematic slow motion, which really takes underwater footage to the next level. At 50MP, the α1 has a few more megapixels than the R5, while matching the Canon’s 20fps burst shooting with the electronic shutter. You can even increase that to 30fps if you shoot with lossy compressed RAW as opposed to lossless compressed/uncompressed RAW. $6,500 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The α1 offers Sony shooters next-level video features, not to mention being no slouch in the photo department, but it comes at a premium. If 8K doesn’t do it for you, you can save a ton of money and go for one of Sony’s excellent α7-series cameras.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Sony α1 has an almost identical control layout to its videocentric sibling, the α7S III, and Ikelite’s housing can accommodate either camera. Users can take full advantage of the camera’s impressive continuous shooting speeds, with out-of-the-box manual triggering of strobes by Ikelite, Sea&Sea, Inon, and Retra, as well as optional TTL exposure with Ikelite DS-series strobes. There’s also an M16 port for attaching accessories such as an external monitor. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Sea&Sea: As the name MDX-αU suggests, Sea&Sea are taking the compatibility thing to another level. Their “universal” Sony Alpha housing supports six different models (with the addition, in some cases, of simple customization kits), including the α1, α9 II, α7S III, α7 IV, α7R IV, and the α7R V. Once you’re set up, you can enjoy the housing’s ergonomic controls, fiber-optic strobe triggering in TTL or manual modes, and peace of mind with the now-included leak alarm. $5,000 | www.seaandsea.jp | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Built around the N100 port system, like Nauticam’s other Alpha-series housings, the NA-A1 offers all the features the company is known for: aluminum build with integrated handles, highly ergonomic controls, and a built-in vacuum check and leak detection system. There’s also a large-bore M24 bulkhead, which supports HDMI 2.0 and allows you to hook up an Atomos Ninja V/V+ external monitor/recorder—which, of course, Nauticam also has a housing for. $4,540 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Sony α9 Mark II

This top-end model from Sony is a full-frame mirrorless camera geared towards professionals shooting fast action such as sports—and sharks. While the sensor is a relatively modest 24.2 megapixels, the rest of the camera’s spec sheet give the competition a run for their money: “blackout-free” continuous shooting at an impressive 20fps (and a respectable 10fps with the mechanical shutter), a massive buffer of 241 RAW images, and an autofocus system featuring some 693 AF points—covering nearly 93% of the frame. $4,500 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Professional underwater photographers (with deep pockets) chasing the ocean’s fastest swimmers—in natural light—will relish the α9 II’s blistering speed. Videographers will also appreciate the decent video capabilities—4K/30p and 1080/120p recording at 100Mbps—though the pro-level video tools found in the Sony α7S III aren’t on offer here.


Housing Options

  • Nauticam: Depth-rated to 300 feet, this rugged aluminum housing features ergonomic rubberized handles, a patented port locking system, and integrated vacuum monitoring and leak detection. The port system supports more than a dozen Sony lenses as well as Canon EF lenses via a port adaptor and lens converter. $4,127 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Ikelite: This “200DL” series housing features the American company’s signature ABS-PC blend body and transparent back, Dry Lock (DL) port system, large soft-touch knob for zooming, curved levers for shutter and autofocus, and hard-anodized aluminum buttons. To enjoy Ikelite’s industry-leading TTL, you’ll have to add the optional DL2 DS Link TTL converter. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

Sony α7R Mark V

While rivals are still working on their "mark IIIs,” Sony is staying ahead of the game with the fifth iteration of the popular high-resolution model in the Alpha 7 range. The α7R V sticks with the same 61MP sensor found in the Mark IV, and instead turns its attention to autofocus, with a new “deep learning” AI focusing system powered by the new Bionz XR processor. Other niceties include improved in-body image stabilization, the impressive 9.44 M-dot EVF found in the Alpha 1, and 8K/24p and 4K/60p video recording. $3,900 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

 

Who Should Buy It?

That images from the α7R V measure 9,504 by 6,336 pixels is an impressive thing, but the fact that you can shoot them at 10fps for well over 500 uncompressed RAW files is downright extraordinary. If megapixels matter to you, the α7R V leaves mainstream rivals Nikon and Canon—with their puny sensors topping out at 45MP—in the dust.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: The external differences between models in the α7 series are generally very slight, and Ikelite discovered that the α7R V fits snugly in their α7 IV housing with only very minor changes. The housing now comes with the camera mount and control modification required to accommodate the α7R V. Otherwise, it’s the same tried-and-true formula Ikelite shooters know and love: robust ABS-PC blend body and transparent back, out-of-the-box manual electrical strobe triggering (with optional TTL), and very competitive pricing. $1,845 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Externally, the fifth generation of the high-resolution model in the Alpha 7 line deviates only very slightly from its predecessor, and Nauticam’s housing can accommodate not just the α7R V but also the α7R IV with the addition of a conversion kit. Otherwise, the NA-A7RV housing is very similar to the NA-A7RIV: Levers, buttons and dials are ergonomically placed around the integrated handles, there’s a large-bore M24 accessory port for hooking up a monitor/recorder such as the Atomos Ninja V or Atomos Ninja V+, and fiber-optic bulkheads are built in—just add Nauticam’s Mini Flash Trigger. $4,042 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Isotta: When your camera is about as sexy as a slab of coal, you need… a fiery red Italian housing to hide it in! Integrated adjustable handles, dual O-ring seals on all buttons, and the company’s signature single-handed open/close are all part of the package. There’s also a built-in moisture detector, dual fiber-optic ports for manual strobe triggering, and an M24 port to handle HDMI 2.0 cables for connection to external monitor/recorders. Eccezionale! $3,390 | www.isotecnic.it | www.backscatter.com

  • Seacam: Milled from a saltwater-proof light metal alloy that is twice hardened and anodized, Seacam’s Silver housing provides a high-quality home for the Sony α7R V. Fine Austrian craftmanship is the order of the day, with top-grade materials used throughout, including stainless steel and anodized aluminum buttons and dials. You have the option of configuring the housing with S6 or N5 bulkheads for electrical strobe triggering, and there’s also provision for connecting a monitor/recorder via HDMI. Seacam’s leak detector is standard equipment. $5,100 | www.seacam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Sea&Sea: Externally, Sony’s full-frame cameras all look virtually identical, which has allowed Sea&Sea to come up with something rather ingenious: a “universal” housing. With just minor hardware tweaks, the MDX-αU supports an impressive six different models, including the α1, α9 II, α7S III, α7 IV, α7R IV, and of course, the α7R V. Once you’ve done the necessary customization, you can fully enjoy the ergonomic controls, fiber-optic strobe triggering in TTL or manual modes, and peace of mind with the as-standard leak alarm. Oh, and not forgetting those lovely yellow accents! $4,500 | www.seaandsea.jp | www.backscatter.com

Sony α7R Mark IV

While the likes of Nikon, Canon and Panasonic have been playing catchup in the full-frame mirrorless game, Sony has been steadily refining its highly regarded Alpha 7 line. The high-resolution model, the α7R IV, is unquestionably the one to beat: The 61-megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor leaves the competition in the dust, the mature autofocus system is among the best around, and you can shoot a burst of 68 shots at 10fps with continuous AF. Add to that a high-resolution 5.76M-dot EVF, 4K/30p video at 100Mbps, and 5-axis image stabilization, and you’ve got a hybrid beast that will give rivals a run for their money. $3,500 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The Sony α7R IV is a serious camera for serious money, and the massive 61MP files it creates will be overkill unless you’re a pro or planning on doing some heavy cropping or hanging stuff on the wall. Pro videographers might want to look elsewhere, since there’s no 4K/60p on offer here.


Housing Options
 

  • Aquatica: Built from “aerospace grade” aluminum with an anodized coating and powder coated paint, Aquatica’s housing aims to put every control in just the right place, and even offers full access to the new joystick for AF point selection. The Surveyor vacuum system comes installed as standard, and there are three possible configurations: with dual Nikonos connectors, a single Ikelite connector, or twin optical connectors. $3,200 | www.aquatica.ca | www.backscatter.com

  • Isotta: With its signature red anodized aluminum construction and integrated adjustable handles, Isotta’s housing offers a high-quality home for your precious α7R IV. It’s also set up for videographers who are serious about their movie making: Its large-bore M24 port is ready for bulky HDMI 2.0 cables for connecting up a 4K external recorder like the Atomos Ninja V/V+. $2,790 | www.isotecnic.it | www.backscatter.com

  • Sea&Sea: If you prefer your machined aluminum housing with a splash of yellow, check out Sea&Sea’s eye-catching MDXL-series housing with its uber-cool lemon-colored silicone handle inserts (for improved grip). Optionally pop in the Optical YS Converter for fiber-optic connectivity with compatible Sea&Sea strobes in both TTL and manual modes. $3,895 | www.seaandsea.jp | www.backscatter.com

Sony α7R Mark III

In considering Nikon’s and Canon’s first forays into mirrorless full-frame, it’s worth remembering that Sony has a five-year head start with their α7 series. The third-generation models include the resolution-focused α7R III, featuring a 42.4MP sensor, 10fps continuous shooting with AF, and 4K/30p video capture from the full width of the sensor—though 4K full-pixel readout is only in APS-C/Super35 mode. With this number of megapixels at your disposal, potential shooters should remember the quality lenses you’ll need to pair with this camera to extract its full potential. $2,800 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Our reviewer, Joe Platko, deemed the α7R III “a phenomenal camera if you’re photographing big animals and fast action,” but suggested that the disappointing autofocus performance with macro lenses makes this a less-than-ideal tool for shooting the small stuff.


Housing Options
 

  • Aquatica: The Canadian company has put great emphasis on their α7R III housing’s ergonomic design. In particular, there’s a redesigned joystick that makes accessing the camera’s 425 AF points a breeze, and a carefully positioned control for back button AF. They’ve also made it easy to insert the camera into the housing, with self-centering, spring-loaded controls. $3,100 | www.aquatica.ca | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Nauticam’s housing for the α7R III combines many of the features that have made the company’s DSLR line so popular in recent years. The red port-locking lever, built-in vacuum seal, and a highly ergonomic control layout are all niceties that demanding pros making the switch from DSLR to mirrorless will appreciate. $4,127 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Sony α7S Mark III

The Alpha 7 series is the standard by which every other full-frame mirrorless camera has been measured, with steady improvements to each new generation of cameras. We’re up to the third iteration of the all-rounder model (α7 III), the fourth incarnation of the high-resolution model (α7R IV), and finally, after a five-year wait, we have the α7S III, the videocentric powerhouse that shoots 4K/120p 10-bit 4:2:2 internally and outputs 4K/60p 16-bit RAW video over HDMI. $3,500 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

It doesn’t need to be said that the 12-megapixel still images from the α7S III aren’t likely to excite photographers; this is a camera for making movies. At the same time, there’s no 8K on offer here, but the “cool” 4K output from the α7S III is going to be of the very highest quality.


Housing Options
 

  • Nauticam: If you’re sold on the α7S III’s ability to output 16-bit RAW to an external recorder, the NA-A7SIII will cater to your needs: The housing features the required large-bore bulkhead that supports HDMI 2.0, and of course, Nauticam also produces an underwater housing especially for the Atomos Ninja V/V+. Bonus: You’ll be ready to snap on the company’s awesome Wide Angle Conversion Port (WACP) or Super Macro Converter (SMC). $4,127 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Isotta: Housing your 4K powerhouse in Isotta’s signature red anodized aluminum won’t just get you noticed; you’ll also benefit from a host of handy features at a not-too-obscene price: integrated adjustable handles, single-handed open/close, built-in moisture detector, and most importantly, a large-bore port for the hefty HDMI 2.0 cable you’ll need to pipe that 4K/60p ProRes RAW output to an external recorder like the Atomos Ninja V/V+. $2,850 | www.isotecnic.it | www.backscatter.com

Sony α7 IV

The “entry-level” α7-series camera offers higher-resolution stills, lossless RAW compression, and higher-quality 4K video capture than its predecessors. Built around a new 33MP BSI-CMOS sensor as well as Sony’s latest Bionz XR processing engine, the Mark IV boasts a higher-resolution 3.69M-dot viewfinder, borrows the menu system from the α7S III, and inherits the α1’s autofocus algorithms. On the video front, the camera shoots 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 from the full width of the sensor as well as 1080/120p with no crop. $2,500 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With nearly a dozen models to date, the Alpha 7 series is a tried-and-true system that offers excellent all-round performance in a business-like body. The fourth incarnation of the “basic” model is the best yet and a no-brainer if you want to transition to full frame, especially for users of Sony’s α6000 series of APS-C cameras.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: At first glance, the α7 series cameras all look alike, but there are various differences with regards to control placement. Ikelite’s dedicated housing for the α7 IV shares all its main features with the company’s other housings in the series: ABS-PC blend body and transparent back, Dry Lock (DL) port system, and out-of-the-box manual triggering of strobes as well as TTL exposure with Ikelite DS-series strobes after adding the optional DL2 DS Link TTL converter. You can also custom-order the housing with a large-bore M24 bulkhead to allow you to connect an external monitor/recorder via HDMI 2.0. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Like Nauticam’s other Alpha-series housings, the NA-A7IV is built around the N100 port system, features ergonomic control placement, and boasts a built-in vacuum check and leak detection system. The housing comes with an M24 bulkhead supporting HDMI 2.0, which allows you to connect an Atomos Ninja V/V+ and record 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2. Fiber-optic strobe triggering requires the addition of the company’s Mini Flash Trigger, while electrical triggering is possible with an optional Nikonos bulkhead. $4,127 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Sony α7 Mark III

In case you missed it, Sony’s been monopolizing the full-frame mirrorless market for years, and it shows: Their Alpha 7 series is several generations in, and whether you go for the high-resolution option (α7R), video-centric model (α7S), or the all-rounder (α7), you’re getting a refined piece of kit—very much in contention alongside Nikon’s and Canon’s recent offerings. With the α7 III, Sony made improvements in key areas, especially the new backside-illuminated 24MP sensor and beefed-up processor for faster and more-accurate focusing in low light. $2,000 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Sony’s Alpha 7 series are still the “hybrid” full-frame mirrorless cameras to beat: If filmmaking and picture-taking are equally important to you, the α7 III should probably be the first camera you check out.


Housing Options
 

  • Subal: For a pro-grade housing built to stand the rigors of the road, Subal’s α7 III is a top choice. The company offers a ton of customization options, from high-quality viewfinders to bulkheads for different strobe brands. There are different color choices and there’s also an upgraded version that’s good down to 120 meters (almost 400 feet). $4,188 | www.subal.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Aquatica: Ergonomic design is at the center of Aquatica’s housing for the α7 III/α7R III. With its self-centering, spring-loaded controls, they’ve made it a breeze to insert the camera into the housing. There’s also a nicely positioned control for back button AF and a redesigned joystick, making it easy to access the camera’s 425 autofocus points. $3,100 | www.aquatica.ca | www.backscatter.com

Sony α7C

What do you get if you put two of the most successful camera series of the last decade—the cropped-sensor Alpha 6000 series and the full-frame Alpha 7 series—in a pot, sprinkle fairy dust, and stir? The Sony α7C, of course! With its α6000-series styling and innards borrowing heavily from the α7 III, the α7C crams a lot of camera into a tiny body, including a 24MP BSI-CMOS full-frame sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, and 10fps continuous shooting with autofocus. Sony were even generous enough to use the same high-capacity battery found in the latest α7-series models, promising an impressive 740 shots per charge using the LCD. $1,800 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

If compactness matters to you, the α7C has the edge over the slightly chunkier α7III. But while these two models are essentially the same excellent tool for still photography, videographers may want to look elsewhere: Like the α7III, the α7C shoots 4K/30p at only 4:2:0 8-bit and with a 1.2x crop.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Depth-rated to 200 feet, this “200DL” housing features ergonomically designed levers for shutter and autofocus, a large soft-touch zoom knob, and hard-anodized aluminum buttons. As well as getting out-of-the-box manual electrical triggering of strobes by various manufacturers, you have the option of adding a TTL converter for automatic strobe exposure with Ikelite DS-series strobes. The M16 port means you can attach an Atomos Ninja V monitor/recorder via HDMI, allowing you to capture the a7C’s best quality 4K/30p 4:2:2 8-bit video. $1,595 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Built around the same N100 port system used for the α7 series, the NA-A7C features the company’s usual high-quality aluminum construction, integrated handles, and as-standard vacuum check and leak detection system. A large-bore M24 bulkhead supporting HDMI 2.0 output to an Atomos Ninja V/V+ external recorder allows you to squeeze 4K/30p 4:2:2 8-bit video from the camera, and strobes can be triggered via fiber-optic cables with the addition of an optional LED flash trigger. $3,508 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Sony ZV-E1

While the ZV-E1 is aimed squarely at serious vloggers, enthusiast underwater videographers will find a lot to love about this diminutive camera, which apparently shares much internally with Sony’s high-end cinematography-oriented cameras. Equipped with the same backside-illuminated (BSI) 12.1MP sensor found in the a7S III and FX3, the ZV-E1 can shoot 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2 with no crop out of the box, and Sony recently announced a free upgrade that allows you to record 4K/120p and 1080/240p for capturing the action in silky smooth slow-mo. $2,200 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

If video is your thing, and you don’t want to haul around a massive rig, the ZV-E1 offers a lot of camera in a tiny package. The full-frame 12MP sensor keeps noise to a minimum while offering a claimed 15+ stops of dynamic range, allowing you to keep shooting in the most challenging lighting conditions.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: The ZV-E1 squeezes into Ikelite’s 200DLM/A housing, creating an extremely compact, lightweight and travel-friendly system. Adding a dual handle tray is a simple matter, with the housing accepting a shutter extension to place the record on/off control at your fingertip. The housing also features an M16 port, allowing you to install a vacuum valve. If you fancy using the ZV-E1 for photography, you can even pair the housing with a hotshoe, bulkhead and strobes, as well as hooking up Ikelite’s TTL converter for automatic strobe exposure. $975 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Machined from a solid block of aluminum, the NA-ZVE1 housing offers the full range of features typical of Nauticam’s videocentric housings: controls ergonomically arranged arround integrated handles; an M24 bulkhead, allowing for the attachment of an external recorder like the Atomos Ninja V or a monitor like the SmallHD Ultra 5; and full compatibility with Nauticam’s range of water-contact optics, such as the WWL-1B, WACP-C, WACP-1, and CMC-1/CMC-2. $3,251 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Sony α6600

The α6000 series is to cropped sensors what the Alpha 7 series is to full frame. That is to say, Sony makes pretty awesome mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors. The cream of the crop is the α6600, which takes everything that made the α6500 such a great flagship camera and makes it just a little better. Notably, the α6600 has a chunkier grip that houses a much higher-capacity battery (the same one that you’ll find in the newer Alpha 7 cameras) for an impressive 800 shots per charge, more than double that of its predecessor. The α6600 also borrows the updated AF system from the α6400, which is among the best on any mirrorless camera. $1,400 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

If you use any of the α6000 series cameras for underwater photography (and/or video), your next camera should probably be from the Alpha 7 series. The α6600 is an upgrade for deep-pocketed compact shooters, but if you want to save a few dollars, just snap up the equally capable α6400.


Housing Options
 

  • Nauticam: The NA-A6600 is machined from a solid block of aluminum and features integrated handles with the all-important shutter release and AE-L/AF-L lever perfectly placed alongside the right grip. To make use of the fiber-optic bulkheads, you’ll need to purchase Nauticam’s dedicated LED flash trigger, since the α6600 has no pop-up flash, unlike its predecessor. The housing is compatible with the company’s WWL-1, CMC-1, and CMC-2 wet optics. $2,683 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Sony α6400

While it doesn’t have the α6600’s in-body stabilization, the α6400 does match the flagship model in key areas: ultra-fast focus acquisition speed (“world’s fastest AF” according to Sony), and super responsive tracking and Eye AF. Otherwise, the α6400 sticks to the much-loved formula: 24MP APS-C sensor, 4K/30p video capture (no crop), and speedy continuous shooting—up to 11fps. $900 | www.sony.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Any one of Sony’s α6000-series cameras is a no-brainer for underwater photography, but if the price differences aren’t a consideration, the α6400 is the obvious choice.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: As you’d expect, Ikelite’s dedicated housing for the α6400 is very similar to that for the α6600. Most notably, you get the big, easy-to-operate control levers for the shutter release and the AF/MF button for the all-important back button focus. TTL can be optionally added via the DL2 DS Link Sony TTL Converter. Interestingly, the housing is also able to accommodate the α6100, α6300 or α6500, if you have one of those older models. $775 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: If you want to splurge on an aluminum housing, Nauticam’s NA-A6400 won’t disappoint, with its integrated handles and ergonomically arranged controls. Keep shooting (or recording) for longer with the handy optional 2500mAh battery pack, which is hooked up to the camera via USB. Optional magnifying viewfinders (45º and 180º) further enhance the usability of the EVF. $2,476 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

 

4. OM System/Olympus Mirrorless Cameras

Top ↑


OM System OM-1

At first glance, it may look a bit like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, but the first camera by OM Digital Solutions—the company that took over the Olympus imaging division—offers rather better specs than its forebear. Packing a 20.4MP stacked CMOS sensor, the OM-1 can shoot up to 10fps with its mechanical shutter (plus an impressive 50fps with AF/AE using the electronic shutter), as well as both 4K/60p and 1080/240p video with no crop. And who doesn’t want a 5.76M-dot OLED EVF with a 120fps refresh rate and two UHS-II SD card slots thrown in? $2,200 | www.omsystem.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

We now know that the OM-1 is the last OM System camera to have "Olympus” on the front, but no, that’s not the only reason to have one. The OM-1 is very much the flagship Micro Four Thirds camera Olympus should have made, and as such, it’s a formidable rival to the Panasonic GH6 and cropped-sensor cameras generally.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Much as it did with its E-M1 Mark III housing, Ikelite has created a competitively priced solution for taking the OM-1 underwater. Built around the same Dry Lock Micro (DLM) port system, the housing can be easily equipped for automatic flash exposure with the addition of the same DL3 DS Link TTL Converter, which gives you convenient switching between TTL and manual modes on the fly. $950 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • AOI: Depth-rated to 150 feet, this polycarbonate housing features two fiber-optic ports plus a built-in LED flash trigger that works in manual mode as well as Olympus RC mode for TTL automatic flash exposure. You also get peace of mind in the shape of integrated vacuum and moisture detection circuitry. The housing is compatible with AOI’s straight and 90-degree LCD magnifiers, giving you a big, bright view of your frame. $1,000 | www.aoi-uw.com | www.backscatter.com

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

Unlike its rivals, Olympus has opted not to hop on the full-frame bandwagon, instead choosing to refine its competent line of Micro Four Thirds cameras. At the top (not including the pro-oriented E-M1X) is the E-M1 III, offering the same 20.4-megapixel sensor and 18fps shooting speeds (with AF and AE) as its predecessors, but improving its class-leading 5-axis image stabilization. DCI 4K/24p video is also on offer, as is 120fps high-speed recording in Full HD for slow motion playback. $1,600 | www.getolympus.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Micro Four Thirds (MFT) is a smart upgrade for compact users accustomed to travel-friendly camera systems, and Olympus and Panasonic offer some great glass to pair with the E-M1 III. If you’re more of a video shooter than a photographer, you might want to consider Panasonic’s MFT offerings, which offer slightly better movie performance and more-advanced video tools.


Housing Options
 

  • AOI: This polycarbonate housing features an integrated optical trigger that allows underwater shooters to make full use of the camera’s Super FP mode. With this high-speed flash sync option, it is possible to use a faster shutter speed than the maximum sync speed of 1/200s—useful when capturing fast action or when using wide apertures. AOI’s Vacuum Analyser & Wet Detection System comes pre-installed, giving users audio and visual alarms should the housing seal become compromised. $1,000 | www.aoi-uw.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: If you want your E-M1 III cloaked in metal and with every essential control at your fingertips, Nauticam’s housing is an excellent choice. Integrated fiber-optic bulkheads give you the option of manual flash triggering via the optional Mini Flash Trigger, or TTL flash triggering by using the Olympus FL-LM3 flash, which Nauticam has somehow made space for. Be warned: You may be tempted to add the company’s awesome—and awesomely expensive—Wet Wide Lens (WWL-1) to complete your setup! $2,786 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Ikelite: This E-M1 III housing is a great choice if you want to start taking perfectly exposed images: All you need is the DL3 DS Link TTL Converter, a compatible DS-series strobe (or two) and an electrical sync cord, and you’re good to go. The housing also offers manual strobe triggering via fiber-optic ports on the top of the housing. $950 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

Olympus OM-D E-M5 III

The Mark III of Olympus’ midrange mirrorless arrived with some serious upgrades: increased resolution of 20MP (up from 16MP), improved autofocus system (similar to that in the E-M1 III), much faster burst shooting (10fps vs 5fps with continuous AF), and naturally, the addition of 4K/30p video capture (both UHD/DCI). Bonus: It’s still very competitively priced. $1,000 | www.getolympus.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The E-M1 III wasn’t a huge leap forward compared to the Mark II, which makes the midrange E-M5 III an even more attractive proposition. Use the money saved towards one of the awesome housings below.


Housing Options
 

  • Nauticam: Built around Nauticam’s N85 port system, the NA-EM5III offers not just access to a wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses but also easy compatibility with the company’s impressive corrective optics. Videographers can also easily make use of the camera’s 4K/30p 8-bit 4:2:2 HDMI output by adding a Nauticam-housed Small HD monitor. The housing supports either the Olympus FL-LM3 flash for around 3fps bursts or the Nauticam Mini Flash Trigger for up to the maximum 10fps—if your strobes can handle it. $2,373 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Ikelite: If you want to enjoy the industry standard in automatic TTL flash exposure, Ikelite’s E-M5 III housing is the way to go: Just add the company’s DL3 DS Link TTL Converter and one or two compatible DS-series strobes for nifty in-camera exposure compensation as well as the ability to switch between TTL and manual modes at the press of a button. Other highlights include ergonomically shaped shutter release and AE-L/AF-L levers and laser-engraved control symbols on the back. $950 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV with 14–42mm

Their may be a dearth of new compact camera releases—blame your smartphone for that—but as an underwater shooter, you can still work in a similar fashion: Use one solid standard zoom lens and attach close-up and wide-angle wet lenses when needed. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV with the Olympus 14–42mm f/3.5–5.6 EZ is one such combo that we’re sneaking into the “Fixed-Lens Cameras” category. The fourth incarnation of this popular camera is built around a new, higher-resolution 20MP sensor as well as the TruePic VIII image processor found in the company’s higher-end cameras. You’re also getting 5-axis image stabilization, 4.5fps continuous shooting with AF (mechanical shutter), and 4K/30p and 1080/60p video recording. $800 | www.omsystem.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Bundled with the 14–42mm f/3.5–5.6 EZ, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV is incredible value for money, and with its Micro Four Thirds sensor, it’s capable of far better quality images and video than even the most high-end compacts—or smartphones for that matter.


Housing Options
 

  • Backscatter: We don’t need to tell you why this is called the “Octo” housing, but beyond the fun tentacle print beats the heart of a serious, full-featured camera housing specially designed for the E-M10 IV. Flat port and zoom gear for the 14–42mm EZ are included, as are vacuum electronics and manual/TTL flash trigger, so you can start shooting immediately. If you want to take on the tiniest critters and the widest scenes, all you have to do is add a couple of wet lenses, or just grab Backscatter’s Wet-Mate Lens Package, which bundles AOI’s UCL-09PRO macro and UWL-09PRO wide-angle wet lenses (plus other niceties). If that’s not enough, you still have the option of using other “dry” lenses and ports, and Backscatter has a package for that too—from the Macro Lens Package to the Professional Lens Package. $700 | www.backscatter.com

Olympus PEN E-PL10

If you’ve already spent countless hours joyously photographing all creatures great and small with your amazing Olympus TG-6—or another equally worthy compact camera—you may be wondering where you progress from here. The answer could well be an entry-level mirrorless like the Olympus E-PL10. You get a lot of camera in a tiny body for a very modest outlay: 16MP 4/3" sensor, over 8fps burst shooting, 3-axis in-body image stabilization, and 4K/30p and 1080/60p video. $650 (camera and 14–42mm kit lens)www.getolympus.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With the 14–42mm f/3.5–5.6 power zoom kit lens (for a mere $50 on top of the body-only price), the E-PL10 is a solid base to build a capable and versatile little rig with wet lenses. However, you still have the option of maxing out the quality of your results by trying dedicated macro and wide-angle lenses from the extensive Micro Four-Thirds catalogue from both Olympus and Panasonic.


Housing Options
 

  • Backscatter: AOI’s polycarbonate housing for the E-PL10 comes in somber white or gray, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, why not go for the tentacle-wrapped Backscatter special edition “Octo” housing? You’ll be ready to start shooting immediately with the included flat port and zoom gear for the 14–42mm kit lens as well as the built-in LED manual flash trigger and vacuum detector and moisture alarm (both of which are handily rechargeable via a single USB connector). $649 | www.backscatter.com

 

5. Panasonic Mirrorless Cameras

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Panasonic Lumix S1R

Hot on the heels of Nikon and Canon, Panasonic joined Sony’s full-frame mirrorless party with not one but two models, and it’s the 47.3MP S1R that will most interest stills shooters. In addition to the impressively high pixel count, the S1R boasts a very high-resolution viewfinder packing 5.76M dots, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, and 6fps burst shooting with continuous autofocus. As well as shooting 4K video from the full-sensor width, the S1R can capture Full HD footage at 180p, which can then be played back at 30p for buttery smooth 1/6th slow-motion. $3,700 | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

Producing images of up to 8368 x 5584 pixels, the S1R promises to be a fantastic camera for photographers who want to print big. True hybrid shooters may want to opt for the S1 and its more modest 24.2MP sensor because oversampling is used to achieve higher-quality 4K/30p video, unlike the S1R’s pixel-binning method. It’s worth noting that both cameras shoot 4K/60p video, but the S1 has a 1.5x crop while the S1R has only a 1.09x crop, making wide-angle shooting a much more viable option.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: The US company’s signature features from its DSLR housings are included here: the Dry Lock (DL) port system for compatibility with even the biggest and most professional lenses, ergonomic (and optionally extendable) shutter release and AF-ON control levers, and TTL exposure with Ikelite DS-series strobes when you add on the DL3 DS Link TTL Converter. It’s compatible with both the S1 and S1R. $1,895 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: Accommodating both the S1 and S1R, Nauticam’s rugged aluminum housing is characteristically engineered to route every camera control to the perfect position on the housing within reach of one of the integrated handles. The company’s familiar N120 port system is employed, allowing the use of L-mount lenses as well as Sigma EF-mount lenses via an EF-to-L adapter.  $5,610 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Panasonic Lumix S1H

With the S1 and S1R, Panasonic’s first forays into full-frame mirrorless were video-oriented and stills-focused cameras with 24.2MP and 47.3MP sensors, respectively. The S1H is an even more cinema-centric camera, with a slew of impressive video specs: 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording, 4K/60p 10-bit recording, DCI 4K format at 400Mbps (compared to the S1’s UHD 4K at 150Mbps), and even 6K/24p. Your money is also getting you 5-axis in-body stabilization, twin UHS-II SD card slots, and “unlimited” record times. $3,500 | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

It’s not only about video resolution: The S1H’s advanced video features and tools are aimed squarely at (well-heeled) seasoned videographers with the skills to make the most of them. More casual hybrid photo/video shooters will be better off with the significantly more affordable S1, which is still very well-endowed in the video department.


Housing Options
 

  • Nauticam: With the NA-S1H, Nauticam has put video front and center with the inclusion of the large-bore M28 bulkhead supporting HDMI 2.0 connections to external monitors/recorders like the Atomos Ninja V/V+ and Shogun Inferno (in Nauticam monitor housings, of course). There’s also support for Sigma’s MC-21 EF-to-L adapter, which allows the use of Sigma EF-mount lenses and focus/zoom gears for those lenses. $5,366 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Panasonic Lumix S5II/S5IIX

While Panasonic has a decent slice of the Micro Four Thirds pie, their full-frame cameras have struggled to compete—not helped by the company’s adherence to underwhelming contrast-based autofocus. With the arrival of the S5II and S5IIX, which employ phase detection AF, Panasonic has finally rectified this. These midrange models offer 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensors, 6K/30p and 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording from the full sensor width, and up to 30fps burst shooting in AFS/AFC with the electronic shutter. Five-axis sensor stabilization, a full-size HDMI port, and dual UHS-II card slots complete the packages. The “X” model, which costs just $200 more, offers a few more video perks, including RAW video output and recording onto an attached USB-C SSD. $2,200 (S5IIX) | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com | $2,000 (S5II) | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With their up-to-date autofocus system and very decent spec sheet for cameras in this price bracket, the S5II and S5IIX stand a fighting chance against The Big Three—Canon, Nikon and Sony. Keep in mind that the selection of suitable L-mount lenses is a little limited, so Canon EF-mount lenses via the Sigma MC-21 mount converter may often be the only option.


Housing Options
 

  • Nauticam: The NA-S5II housing has good support for L-mount lenses from Panasonic, Sigma and Leica, but also accommodates the Sigma EF-to-L adapter as well as the use of the existing focus and zoom gears for EF-mount lenses. There’s Nauticam’s usual hybrid focus as well, with a large-bore M24 port for connecting an external monitor/recorder via HDMI 2.0, and support for rapid-fire strobe triggering using fiber-optic cables with the addition of the company’s Mini Flash Trigger. As always with Nauticam, vacuum check and leak detection electronics come as standard. $3,479 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Ikelite: The U.S. company concentrates on the S5II and S5IIX as picture-taking tools, with full support for automatic strobe exposure via their dedicated Panasonic/Olympus TTL converter, which, being externally mounted, gives you the ability to switch between manual and TTL during your dives. You can also trigger strobes electronically in manual mode out of the box. There’s extensive support for Canon EF-mount lenses with the Sigma MC-21 as well as support for some L-mount lenses from Panasonic and Sigma. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

Panasonic Lumix S5

The “entry-level” S5 features the same 24MP BSI CMOS sensor and in-body 5-axis image stabilization found in the higher-end S1, as well as the ability to record 4K/30p video at 10-bit 4:2:2 using the full sensor width. If you hook up an Atomos Ninja V/V+ external recorder, you can record 12-bit RAW at 5.9K/30p and 4K/60p. $1,700 | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

With the S5, you can start your full-frame mirrorless journey for the same price as the GH5 II. Just remember that full-frame lenses will cost you, compared to their Micro Four Thirds counterparts.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Videographers can make the most of the S5’s high-quality RAW output to the Atomos Ninja V/V+ by custom-ordering Ikelite’s housing with a large-bore M24 port, which supports HDMI 2.0. Otherwise, the “200DL” housing offers a full complement of features: lightweight ABS-PC body, ergonomically levers for shutter release and autofocus, and hard-anodized aluminum buttons. You get out-of-the-box manual electrical triggering of strobes and you can have TTL flash exposure with Ikelite DS-series strobes by adding an optional TTL converter. $1,795 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

Panasonic Lumix GH6

With the release of the GH5, Panasonic quickly gathered a committed following among budding filmmakers. In the intervening period, the company gave us the GH5s and GH5 Mark II, but it took the unveiling of the GH6 to really get Micro Four Thirds users excited. The flagship MFT camera boasts a 25.2MP sensor and the Venus image processor, which opens up fresh territory for underwater “hybrid” shooters: 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2, 4K/120p 10-bit 4:2:0, and 5.7K/60p 10-bit 4:2:0 video recording, as well as 75fps burst shooting with the electronic shutter. $2,200 | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

While the aforementioned GH5 variants probably couldn’t justify an upgrade for owners of the original GH5, the new GH6 represents a significant step up in terms of video capture capabilities. At the same time, while the new camera’s “hybrid” credentials are justified, pure still shooters should consider alternatives with larger-format sensors offering better dynamic range, lower noise and higher pixel count.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Traditionally targeting still shooters with its industry-leading TTL system and high-quality strobes, Ikelite has recently taken significant steps to entice videographers by offering the ability to custom-order housings with an M24 port—allowing users to attach an external monitor/recorder like the Atomos Ninja V/V+ via HDMI 2.0. That option is available for this GH6 housing, while all the usual Ikelite benefits are on offer, including TTL strobe exposure with the addition of the DL3 DS Link Panasnoic/Olympus TTL Converter Ikelite PT1 Hotshoe Kit. $1,695 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: The Hong Kong company has a long history of supporting Panasonic’s GH series, and the NA-GH6 housing is as impressive as its predecessors. As well as Nauticam’s robust aluminum construction and plethora of controls ergonomically arranged around integrated handles, you get a large-bore M24 bulkhead for hooking up a monitor/recorder via HDMI 2.0, two fiber-optic ports for strobe triggering, and the company’s vacuum check and leak detection system as standard. $4,503 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II

While everyone waited impatiently for the GH6, Panasonic offered up a supercharged version of the GH-series flagship—the GH5 Mark II. And while it uses the same 20.3MP sensor as the original model, it got a new processor, which allowed the GH5 to be improved in key areas. Most significantly, the GH5 II can record 4K video in 10-bit 4:2:0 at up to 60p (which wasn’t possible with the GH5 without an external recorder) and the HDMI output offers 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2. In addition, particularly important for wide-angle shooters, 4K/60p capture uses the whole sensor area, as opposed to the slight crop in the GH5. $1,500 | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The Mark II upgraded the original GH5 in important ways, but it has become somewhat overshadowed by the GH6. Still, if you can forego the slo-mo possibilities of 4K/120p and the cropping advantages of 5.7K/60p, you can save significant money by opting for the GH5 Mark II.
 

Panasonic Lumix GH5s

It’s important to be sensitive—and even more so if you’re a mirrorless camera trying to appeal to pro-level videographers. The new Panasonic Lumix GH5s (note the “s” for sensitive) improves ISO sensitivity to a whopping 51,200 without extending beyond its native range. The only caveat? At 10.28 megapixels, that sensor in the GH5s is only half the resolution of its less sensitive sibling. $1,900 | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

If you’re specifically working in low-light environments, the advantages of the low-noise sensor in the GH5s may be significant. For everyone else, the GH5 II or GH6 is a much more well-rounded choice.


Housing Options
 

  • Isotta: The Isotta housing for the GH5s and GH5II (and original GH5) complements those cameras’ relatively-compact form by weighing in at just 4lbs, which means it can fit easily in your carry-on luggage. Features include a double O-ring seal, manual strobe trigger, and a moisture indicator light. $2,690 | www.isotecnic.it | www.backscatter.com

  • Ikelite: Ikelite’s GH5II/GH5/GH5s housing is a winner for hybrid videographers, with an M16 port for an HDMI 1.6 bulkhead as well as the option of a large-bore M24 port for an HDMI 2.0 bulkhead. And if you’re armed with strobes rather than LEDs, you have the option of adding a converter so you can make good use of Ikelite’s industry-leading TTL exposure. $1,595 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: As with Nauticam’s DSLR housings, the NA-GH5SV is designed to place important controls right where you need them—of course, with particular attention paid to the camera’s video functions. Crucially, the housing features an M28 bulkhead connection that supports HDMI 2.0 for use with external recorders like the Atomos Ninja V/V+. $4,540 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

Panasonic Lumix G9

Building on the strengths that made the video-centric GH5 series so well-liked, the photo-centric Panasonic G9 is built around a 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds CMOS sensor. A big selling point for nature and outdoor shooters is the addition of a 6.5-stop image stabilization system. Panasonic claims that the camera features the world’s fastest autofocus system: It uses 225 AF points to achieve focus in as little as 0.04 seconds. $1,500 | www.panasonic.com | www.backscatter.com

Who Should Buy It?

The Panasonic G9 might just be one of the best “bangs for your buck” when it comes to mirrorless cameras. The camera offers a solid mix of impressive still and video specs for those hybrid (or undecided) underwater image-makers.


Housing Options
 

  • Ikelite: Ergonomics and versatility are the order of the day with Ikelite’s G9 housing: The AF/AE lock and shutter receive dedicated levers and users can extend both for use with a tray and grips. As well, the addition of the PT1K Panasonic Kit makes it possible to pair the camera with the TTL exposure provided by Ikelite’s DS-series strobes. $1,895 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

 

 

6. Fujifilm Mirrorless Cameras

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Fujifilm X-T4

Fujifilm’s flagship X-T series cameras have already developed an enthusiastic following among land-based shooters, and with good reason: From image quality to autofocus accuracy to video performance, these cameras are up there with the best of them. The fourth iteration boasts a 26.1-megapixel APS-C sized sensor, burst shooting of 15fps with the mechanical shutter, and 4K/60p video and 1080/240p for slo-mo playback. There’s also in-body image stabilization for smoothing out those wobbles in your footage. $1,700 | www.fujifilm-x.com

Who Should Buy It?

With its copious dials and buttons for direct manual control, the X-T4 is very well suited to underwater photography, while the growing range of X-mount lenses includes many with top-notch optical quality. It’s also no slouch in the video department. In short, if you want something a bit different, this is a no-brainer.


Housing Options
 

  • Subal: For some serious Austrian engineering, Subal has you covered with their housing hewn from a solid block of aluminum, which is then hard-coated and powder-coated. The housing is depth-rated to 80 meters (260 feet), but an upgraded version is also available that will allow you to dive to 120 meters (almost 400 feet). €3,950 | www.subal.com

  • Ikelite: Ikelite began supporting Fujifilm with the X-T3, and the eminently affordable housings are a great match for what is a competitively priced camera. You get all the features found on Ikelite’s housings for DLSR and mirrorless cameras from other brands: ABS-PC body and transparent back, Dry Lock (DL) port system, and control levers for the shutter release and AF-L button. With the optional DL4 DS Link TTL Converter, you can add TTL exposure using one or two Ikelite DS-series strobes. $1,895 | www.ikelite.com | www.backscatter.com

  • Nauticam: The new higher-capacity battery in the X-T4 was a less-talked-about but nevertheless important upgrade, and it allowed Nauticam to make its new NA-XT4 housing substantially smaller than its predecessor by removing the need to accommodate an optional USB power pack under the camera. Serious filmmakers who want to use a nice, bright external monitor—and record top-quality 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2 clips—will appreciate the M24 bulkhead that makes possible an HDMI2.0 connection to the Atomos Ninja V/V+. $3,921 | www.nauticam.com | www.backscatter.com

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When purchasing underwater imaging equipment like the products mentioned in this guide, please support DPG by supporting our retail partner—Backscatter.com.
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