Hello Steven! (Tubbataha, Philippines, May 2018)
Tubbataha, Philippines, May 2018. (Photo: Steven Weinberg)

Photo and diving equipment: my travel gear

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 


I travel to do underwater photography. So in my luggage, in addition to the clothes, I take all my photo and diving equipment. Namely a reflex camera (Canon Eos 7D) and its waterproof case to take it underwater with two underwater flashes, as well as a complete diving equipment!

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

Camera and lenses

My current camera is an SLR, the Canon Eos 7D, that I bought in 2010. So I've been using it for quite a few years now, both on land and underwater. I'm very happy with it. Its only drawback is that it's a bit heavy.

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)

I take this camera underwater, in an adapted waterproof housing, to take my underwater photos and videos. The accessories below allow 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 housing, a flash and the portholes (flat and dome) to take my Canon Eos 7D underwater... Yes, it's a lot of junk to transport!!!!
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 have a second flash, floats, an extra arm, a carrying strap... It adds a bit of junk and screws. On the right, my camera with its new 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)
There you go! The camera (here in macro configuration) is ready to accompany me underwater! (Romblon, Philippines, March 2017)

On land, when travelling, I mainly use the following objectives:

Yes, I carry all this small stuff with me! Not forgetting, of course, all the chargers, batteries, cords, memory cards, etc. that go with it...

🙃

My first underwater camera

My photo equipment before 2010 was much more modest... This compact, the Canon Powershot A95, accompanied me everywhere, for several years, before dying, in 2009... I 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 strobe. This limited me to underwater macro photography.

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

Photographing with a DSLR AND a smartphone

The advantage of a smartphone for terrestrial photography is that it is much more discreet and less cumbersome than an DSLR. Everyone has this kind of phone in their pocket, now, so you can pull it out at any time without attracting attention...

I invested in an iPhone X a few months after its release and I'm blown away by the quality of the sensor, which is more than sufficient for both souvenir photos and 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 DSLR is in its housing. Or for all those times when I prefer to walk around lightly, because the 7D weighs a little bit...

I had bought myself a compact digital camera as a back-up device in early 2012: the Canon Powershot S100. It has manual mode, it shoots Raw and makes excellent video. But since I bought the latest smartphone, I don't use that camera at all and I don't take it with me on trips anymore. That's good, that 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, I'm the one posing! (Indonesia, 2015)

Regulator: Aqualung Legend LX ACD with INT connector + Legend octopus + basic gauge (super comfort of inspiration and expiration, ACD system which prevents water from entering the first stage), which is a bit heavy (2.1kg). The nice little lightweight Mikron model was not yet out when I invested at the time, and the INT mount was the most common in Asia, but today I would get a DIN.

Diving computer: the Quad of Mares, not too expensive, with large and easy to read numbers, switchable to 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 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 Aladdin, with its famous "fridge" look, it started to behave strangely 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 sports stores (Decathlon). Very robust, 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 BCD, with integrated weight pockets.

Fins: Mares Volo Power. I have two of them, one in the sock version and one in the adjustable version. Their flexibility suits me well (and I make sure I never find myself paddling like a fury against the current). They allow a very fine approach and stabilization when I have to come close to a subject to photograph.

Booties: for a long time, I kept testing new ones... All of them hurt me, there was always a seam or a reinforcement that would create a light bulb in the long run... Except for the Ellie Ergo from Aqualung, I 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: I only dive in warm water these days (rarely below 25-26°C except thermoclines). So I'm always in 5 mm wet-suit (sometimes I even add a shorty on top when the temperature goes down to 20-24°C). I currently have the Focea Comfort by Beuchat for women: I bought it in July 2015, to replace an old Aqualung, and the ever freezing diver that I am was delighted for a long time, it kept me warm and was super-comfortable. But it is well worn, I have to change it...

Accessories : a stick or "pointer" (metal rod which is used for many things, very useful to have a point of support on the sand when you take pictures underwater and which allows you to avoid touching anything), a neoprene top of 2,5mm and a lycra top that I systematically put under the suit (I'm very cold), a hook, a sausage, a small lamp, a whistle, a mirror, a knife, a clip for the octopus, various carabiners, hoods and headbands for the hair...

And to carry all this?

I equipped myself little by little, both for diving and underwater photography. As a result, my luggage has also grown little by little. I am no longer a backpacker diver anymore...

I reviewed my logistics for transporting all my stuff and switched to 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 Fred-Divemanche,

    Sorry, your comment has landed in "junk", I just noticed it! Here it is finally online ...
    🙄

    We meet sometimes, as well as Aquatilia, on the forum Plongeur.com ... I knew his site, but it's been a long time since I went to visit it. So a thousand thanks for the link. This allowed me to browse his latest photos, beautiful, as always! It must be said that Lembeh is an exceptional playground for divers-photographers.

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

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

    🙂

  2. Good evening,

    Yes, the pigmeric hippocampus had to find it. FYI, Claude organizes a bit like Marie-Ange (Mauritius) a photo trip to British Columbia (Canada) in May 2009, with renowned photographers ... It remains to my knowledge 2 places, if ever the cold seas interest you as much as hot seas ...

    Regards 8)

    Fred

  3. Thank you Fred-Divemanche, report this photo trip! The experience must be exciting, but indeed, cold seas are less in my strings than hot seas ...
    😀

  4. Hi, I just discovered your site by looking for an info 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 give me info about Borneo, I'm a diver too and I plan to leave 4 weeks in January for Malaysia and Thai.
    Voilou!

    See you soon.

  5. Hello Jean,

    And thank you for leaving this little word nice during your visit!

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

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

    corinne@petitesbullesdailleurs.fr

    🙂

  6. Hello Corinne,

    Congratulations for your site which is always pleasant to read. I have just returned from Sipadan and Redang where I had a great holiday and I am tired of buying a box for my 7D. I would like to know your opinion on the ikelite box that you have but also the + and - to go from a compact system to a reflex system (under water, obviously). Are you disappointed in certain things?

    Thank you in advance.

    Sincerely.

  7. @Safe: I will soon have a more complete article on the Ikelite case for the 7D.
    • The +: Well, it's a bit the same as terrestrial, the same thinking to have that when you go from a compact to a SLR (it's only worth it if you're a little photographer in the soul, and if you have the means to invest in good objectives, because otherwise we find very good compacts to make nice pictures too).
    • The -: the price and the weight.

    I am not disappointed with much for now. I take great care of the box, I guess a little fragile (I already had to patch two-three knives on it). But overall, I'm fine and I'm very happy to be able to take my 7D under the water.
    🙄

  8. Hello! I also use a 7D, but not under water, I was discouraged by the price of the boxes until now .. At a much lower price, the Gopro is very pleasant in shallow diving (I was up to 'to 20meter but it lacks light to get a quality result). I'm still curious to know what you have to tell the box for 7D!

    A +
    Julian

  9. @Julian: The problem with a GoPro underwater is that it will row for colors and light. While a SLR ... But it sure is a budget. I still remained 4-5 years to "play" with my little compact before breaking my piggy bank for the SLR and its box. And I must say that I do not regret. It really will be necessary that I make a complete topo on the box and the 7D soon ... (Ah, why the days are only 24 hours?)
    🙄

    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 this ugly influence mam'zelle!

      NowMadNow

    2. Hi Aline,
      I am flattered to exercise such influence ... and funny to learn that you have a new travel companion!
      You'll see, he's fantastic. Every day, I continue to learn a little more about him ... I do not get tired. And I continue to progress little by little.
      Enjoy !!!
      🙂

  10. Hello!
    Waiting for the article on the box: The question that tears my mind when I see your picture with all your material is obviously: how you carry all this. You have a Japanese suitcase (2meters x 1meter)

    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!

  11. Hello !
    I'm a little late, but I just acquired the WP-DC50, a good opportunity, and it's also the way to give a second life to my A95 locked in the bottom of the cabinet.
    By cons, I do not have the record of the box. Do you have a site to recommend to me, or good advice, for its maintenance ??
    Thank you for this site that I always take pleasure to consult

  12. Hello Corinne,

    I just browsed your blog and I would take some advice from a professional like you.
    That's it, I'm going to shoot an apnea champion and I've never filmed underwater yet.
    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 proper equipment to shoot underwater with a 7D gun? Objective, box etc ...
    I saw the material you were using but I do not know if it is suitable for video too.
    Unfortunately, I have a limited budget between 1,200 and 2,000 euros for the totality.
    Thank you in advance for your attention and the time given to my request!

    Best regards,
    Jean Baptiste

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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) 🙂

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