Corinne Bourbeillon, underwater photographer.
Underwater, with my new set-up (Canon Eos R7 and Nauticam housing) for underwater photography.

Photo and diving equipment: my travel gear

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 


I travel to do underwater photography. So in my luggage, in addition to my clothes, I take all my photo and diving equipment. Namely a hybrid camera (Canon Eos R7) and its waterproof housing to use it underwater, with two underwater strobes, as well as a complete diving equipment!

Clarification: I am not sponsored by ANY of the brands I list below when I detail my photo and diving equipment. I have equipped myself little by little, over the years, according to my needs and budget.

Since 2023: Canon Eos R7

I will test in this year 2023 a new camera, the Canon Eos R7. A hybrid camera, which represents quite a technological departure from my old SLR camera (the Canon Eos 7D, see below). I've just invested in a Nauticam housing to take it underwater with me (photo below). I'll update soon when I've had a bit of experience with my new "toy"...

My "precious"... Here's my new toy, the Nauticam housing for taking the Canon Eos R7 underwater!
My "precious"... This is my new toy, the Nauticam housing to take the Canon Eos R7 underwater!
My new underwater photography equipment since 2023.
My new underwater photography equipment since 2023.
Corinne Bourbeillon, underwater photographer.
Underwater, with my new set-up (Canon Eos R7 and Nauticam housing) for underwater photography (Photo taken by my partner).

From 2010 to 2022: Canon Eos 7D

From 2010 to 2022, I did some photography on land and underwater with the Canon Eos 7D. Twelve years, so... You could say that I knew how to make the pleasure last and avoid the overconsumption. I had a lot of fun with it, it's a great device, and I was very happy with it. Its only flaw was that it was a bit heavy. But SLR technology is now outdated, and the performance of today's autofocus on hybrid cameras has encouraged me to finally change my camera.

Below, the material I was using until now.

In Angkor, Cambodia, in February 2011. (Photo credit: Marie Toumit / blog-plus-loin.com)
In Angkor, Cambodia, in February 2011. (Photo: Marie Toumit / blog-plus-loin.com)
Hello Steven! (Tubbataha, Philippines, May 2018)
Tubbataha, Philippines, May 2018. (Photo: Steven Weinberg)

So I took the 7D underwater, in an adapted waterproof case, to take my underwater pictures and videos. The accessories below allowed me a wide angle or more exactly fisheye configuration (10-17 mm) and two macro configurations (60 and 100 mm):

My Ikelite housing, the flash and portholes to take the Canon Eos 7D under water ... Yes, it's a lot of mess to carry!
The Ikelite case, a flash and the portholes (flat and dome) to take my Canon Eos 7D underwater... Yes, that's a lot of stuff to carry!
The little bazaar that I steal on a trip to be able to take photos under water ... Right, my camera with its new lens 100mm macro. Only the most fragile elements, namely the camera and lenses, its box and portholes, remain in my cabin bag. I put everything else in the hold. (Romblon, Philippines, March 2017)
Since 2016, I've had a second flash, floats, an extra arm, a carrying strap... It adds a bit of junk and hardware. On the right, my Eos 7D with its 100mm macro lens (not all my lenses are visible here and there's no mini-dome either).
There you go ! The device is ready to accompany me under the water! (Romblon, Philippines, March 2017)
And here it is! The 7D (here in macro configuration) is ready to accompany me underwater! (Romblon, Philippines, March 2017)

On land, while traveling, I mainly used the following lenses with the 7D:

Yes, I was lugging all this little world with me!!! Not to mention, of course, all the chargers, batteries, cords, memory cards, etc. that go with it...

🙃

Before 2010: the Canon Powershot A95, my first underwater camera

My pre-2010 camera equipment was much more modest... This compact, the Canon Powershot A95accompanied me everywhere, during several years, before give up the ghostI took it underwater for my underwater pictures, with the waterproof housing designed for this model: the WP-DC50.

I didn't have any additional lighting at the time, I only used the built-in flash. This limited me to underwater macro photography.

But I was pleasantly surprised, from the beginning, by the quality of the underwater images obtained with this minimal equipment. I used it for 4-5 years and I learned a lot with it. All the underwater pictures below have been taken with this small DSC (digital camera)...

Photographing with a DSLR AND a smartphone

The advantage of a smartphone for terrestrial photos: it is much more discreet and less cumbersome than a SLR. Everyone has this kind of phone in his pocket, now, it allows to draw it at any time without attracting attention ...

I invested in an iPhone X a few months after its release and I am bluffed by the quality of the sensor, really more than enough for souvenir pictures as well as for those intended to illustrate this blog. The iPhone allows me to take pictures when I don't have my 7D at hand, for example on the boat, between two dives, because the SLR is in its housing. Or for all the times when I prefer to walk around lightly, because the 7D still weighs a little...

I had offered me a compact as a backup camera, at the beginning of 2012: the Canon Powershot S100. It allows manual mode, it also shoots in Raw and makes excellent quality video. But since I bought the latest smartphone, I don't use it anymore and I don't take it with me on trips. It's good, it makes one less thing in the bag !

Diving equipment

I passed my camera to my guide, and for once, I'm taking the pose!
I passed my camera to my guide, and for once, it's me who takes the pose! (Indonesia, 2015)

Regulator: Aqualung Legend LX ACD in stirrup version + Legend octopus + basic mano (great comfort for inhaling and exhaling, ACD system which prevents water from entering the first floor, a bit heavy (2.1kg). The nice little light Mikron model was not yet released when I invested at the time, and the stirrup mount was the most common in Asia, but today I would adopt a DIN.

Diving computer: the Quad of MaresIt's not too expensive, with big and readable characters, switchable in nitrox mode and you can change the battery yourself. It replaced my Puck, from the same brand, that I involuntarily left somewhere at the bottom of the water in the Red Sea in October 2016... I had it for many years, it worked perfectly. (For the veterans: my very first dive computer was a good old Uwatec Aladin, with its famous "fridge" look, it started to unblock all of a sudden, going to dive by itself in a drawer...)

BCD: a basic Seac Sub (it does not even figure anymore on the BCD page of the brand), found a long time ago, for cheap, in a big chain of sport stores (Decathlon). Very sturdy, it still works perfectly since years (it's my first one, I never changed it). It weighs 2,8kg so I plan to invest one day in a lighter and less bulky travel stab, with integrated lead pockets.

Fins: to travel, I tested Scubapro's Go Sport Boot-Fit in 2023, lightweight and short (easy to carry), both flexible and effective in the water. I like them! For a long time, I used a longer pair of Mares Volo PowerI really liked its flexibility, but the canopy is starting to show signs of fatigue.

Booties: for a long time, I kept trying new ones... All of them hurt me, there was always a seam or a reinforcement that created a blister in the long run... Except the Ellie Ergo from AqualungI have definitely adopted them since 2015. No seams on the inside and no zippers. The neoprene is super soft, they fit like socks! But they are fragile: after a few dives, the inner lining frays and the reinforcement on the top of the foot comes off. So I replace them regularly.

Mask: Aqualung Micromask Technisub (very small, comfortable, easy to empty, I love it).

Wet-suit: for dives in warm waters (rarely below 25-26°C except for thermoclines), I always wear 5 mm wet (I even sometimes add a shorty over it or a mouse underneath when the temperature drops into the 20-24°C range). Since 2015, I've been wearing Focea Comfort by Beuchat for women. For diving in "cold" waters (15-20°C) I've adopted the drysuit. I found an old, second-hand Fusion from the days when it was made by Whites (now Apeks or Aqualung). You can open it yourself with the front zip, and it's very comfortable underwater, but you need to dress warmly underneath, as it offers no thermal protection.

Accessories : a stick or "pointer" (metal rod used for many things, very useful to have a support point on the sand when taking underwater photos and to avoid touching anything), a 2,5mm neoprene mouse and/or a Sharkskin top that I systematically put under the wetsuit (I'm very cold), hook, parachute, small lamp, whistle, mirror, knife, octopus clip, various and sundry snap hooks, hoods and hair bands...

And to carry all this?

I equipped myself little by little, as much for diving as for underwater photography. As a result, my luggage has also grown little by little. I am not a backpacketeer anymore...

I reviewed my logistics for transporting all my little stuff and opted for wheels! I invite you to read the two articles below where I talk about it:

→ Luggage: which dive bag should you choose for travel?
→ No more backpacks, long live the wheelie bag!

😝

  Between Two Journeys

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  1. Hello,

    I just visited your blog via "a world away", and as I saw your stories and photos about the Lembeh Strait, here is a link from a friend who has just returned from there: http://www.aquatilia.com section: themes

    You will not be disappointed.

    A + FREd

  2. Hello Fred-Divemanche,

    Sorry, your comment landed in "undesirable", I only just realized it! Here it is finally online...
    🙄

    We sometimes meet, as well as Aquatilia, on the forum Plongeur.com... I knew his site, but it's been a long time since I visited it. So thanks a lot for the link. It allowed me to see his latest pictures, superb, as always! I must say that Lembeh is an exceptional playground for diver-photographers.

    It is with great pleasure that I found on Claude Ruff's gallery alias Aquatilia all these small animals that I love to flash... With a big crush on the pygmy seahorse and the couple of mandarins!

    I'm thinking about creating a special "underwater photos" links section on my blog, to put the sites of divers-photographers that I like...

    🙂

  3. Good evening,

    Yes, the pigmented seahorse had to be found. For your information, Claude is organizing a little like Marie-Ange (Maurice) a photo trip to British Columbia (Canada) in May 2009, with famous photographers... To my knowledge, there are still 2 places left, if you are as interested in cold seas as warm seas...

    Regards 8)

    Fred

  4. Thank you Fred-Divemanche, for reporting this photo trip! The experience must be exciting, but indeed, cold seas are less in my range than warm seas...
    😀

  5. Hi, I just discovered your site by chance while looking for information on Sipadan and I want to congratulate you, it is very well done. You are a great traveler apparently. It would be nice if you could give me some information about Borneo, I'm a diver too and I'm planning to leave for Malaysia and Thailand for 4 weeks in January.
    Voilou!

    See you soon.

  6. Hello Jean,

    And thanks for leaving that nice note during your visit!

    Borneo and Thailand, you will enjoy it! The best thing would be that you send me a message with the questions you have, with precise questions. If I can help you to prepare your trip, and bring you answers, it will be with pleasure!

    You can use the contact form (click on "Contact" in the top horizontal menu), or write me directly by sending an e-mail to this address:

    corinne@petitesbullesdailleurs.fr

    🙂

  7. Hello Corinne,

    bravo for your site which is always pleasant to read. I just came back from sipadan and redang where I spent a very good vacation and I'm thinking about buying a housing for my 7D. I would like to know your opinion on the ikelite housing you have but also the + and - to switch from a compact system to an SLR system (under water of course). Are you disappointed with some things?

    Thank you in advance.

    Sincerely.

  8. @Safe: I will soon have a more complete article on the Ikelite case for the 7D.
    - The + : well, it's a bit the same thing as in terrestrial, the same reflection to have as when you switch from a compact to an SLR (it's only worth it if you are a bit of a photographer at heart, and if you can afford to invest in good lenses, because if not, you can find very good compacts to make nice pictures too).
    • The -: the price and the weight.

    I'm not disappointed with much so far. I take great care of the housing, which I guess is a bit fragile (I already had to patch up a few things on it). But overall, it's fine and I'm very happy to be able to take my 7D underwater.
    🙄

  9. Hello! I also use a 7D, but not underwater, I was discouraged by the price of the housings until now. At a much lower price, the Gopro is very nice for shallow diving (I went up to 20m but it lacks light to get a quality result). I am still curious to know what you have to say about the 7D housing!

    A +
    Julian

  10. @Julian: The problem with a GoPro underwater is that it will struggle for colors and light. But it's for sure that it's a hell of a budget. I stayed 4-5 years "playing" with my little compact camera before breaking my piggy bank for the SLR and its housing. And I must say that I don't regret it. I'll really have to do a complete review of the housing and the 7D soon... (Ah, why are the days only 24 hours long ?)
    🙄

    1. Hello Corinne,

      you were one of those who made me want - over time and reading + not decent chatter in front of your shots - to invest in some really good camera equipment... I have a new friend since a few hours: a Canon 7D 🙂
      The box ... it will be the next big investment!
      Thank you for that naughty influence, missy!

      NowMadNow

    2. Hi Aline,
      I'm flattered to be such an influence...and funnily enough happy to hear you have a new travel companion!!!
      You'll see, he's fantastic. Every day I keep learning more about him... I never get tired of it. And I continue to progress little by little.
      Enjoy !!!
      🙂

  11. Hello!
    Waiting for the article on the box: The question that is on my mind when I see your picture with all your material is obviously: how do you transport all this? You have a Japanese suitcase (2m x 1m)

    I just read at the same time that you put it in your cabin trip ... and me who found that my luggage cabins were too crowded!

  12. Hello !
    I'm a little late, but I just bought the WP-DC50, a good opportunity, and it's also the way to give a second life to my A95 locked in the back of the cupboard.
    On the other hand, I don't have the manual of the box. Do you have a site to recommend, or good advice, for its maintenance?
    Thank you for this site that I always take pleasure to consult

  13. Hello Corinne,

    I just looked at your blog and would love some advice from a professional like you.
    Here I am, I'm going to film a freediving champion and I've never filmed underwater before.
    I am a professional cameraman but I have to buy all the necessary equipment for this shoot because usually I shoot with a Sony Z7.
    Could you advise me on the right equipment to shoot underwater with a Canon 7D? Lens, housing etc...
    I saw the material you were using but I don't know if it is suitable for video as well.
    Unfortunately, I have a limited budget of between 1,200 and 2,000 euros for the whole thing.
    Thank you in advance for your attention and the time given to my request!

    Best regards,
    Jean Baptiste

  14. Wow I am really impressed with your marine photography equipment. As a photographer myself, I know it's a lot to lug around as a camera, but the result is really worth it, especially for the prints. I also travel with a compact camera and a small canon D30. I don't dive, but it's fun to snorkel 😀 The concept of your blog is great!

  15. Hello Corinne, I am impressed by your blog!
    Indeed I start underwater photography and I must say that it helps me a lot for my first experiences with my compact Nikon and my Canon eos 100D. I look forward to your next articles!

  16. Congratulations for your site full of happiness and joie de vivre.
    Everything is qualitative, thank you very much.

    What about diving is South Africa? ( Protea banks) 🙂

  17. Hi Corinne
    Your blog is simply GREAT!
    A wealth of information, attention to detail, everything I like
    Besides we have the same gear, I started with a 7D + Ikelite in 2011
    I changed for the 7D M2 in 2020 (I preferred the old housing for the flash adjustment bar at the back)
    As I'm getting ready to leave for Lembeh, I came across your site thanks to the photos while looking for a sling
    I was caught up in your article on the "thorny" subject of luggage...
    That was my wink
    Stef de Haute-Savoie

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