MARIA MUNN'S COLUMN: Compacts at Christmas
I hope you are all fine and getting into the spirit of donning your Santa Suit and heading for a dive to help raise money for the RNLI this weekend... Please forgive my quietness, I’ve been searching high and low on eBay looking for a suit to make you all giggle this weekend, researching compacts set to hit the market before Christmas, moving stuff from London to my new home in lovely Yorkshire and putting the finishing touches to my new DVD “Underwater Photography Made Easy for Compact Camera Users”, which is out now.
So, let’s have a quick look this week at some of the latest models that you may be hoping to find in your Christmas stocking in a few weeks time!
Lots of guests have been asking me recently which model I recommend. Honestly, there are so many different options that even my little compact-camera-loving-head is starting to spin.
For those of you who are looking for a great camera which gives fabulous results with the least fuss over changing any controls, the Canon Ixus 115, Fuji F600 or Sealife’s new DC-1400 are all excellent options. As I have mentioned before, always make sure you ask which accessories can be added at a later date. If you are as passionate about the big stuff as I am, whether that be wrecks, caves or a passing whale shark, then the ability to add on a wide-angle lens is a must. Also double-check the controls which can be used on the camera when purchasing a housing. Some housings offer very limited access to the camera’s controls. All of them have fabulous macro capabilities and are therefore able to catch that super critter with speed and sharpness. Finally, don’t forget to check if you can use the camera’s built-in flash without causing a shadow over your picture.
If you are looking for a camera with which you can get more creative, then it is hard to beat Canon’s G12, S95 or the new compact-on-the-block, the S100. All of these cameras allow you full manual controls, which means you can change your camera’s aperture and shutter speed to get really creative with your underwater photography.
For the more advanced compact camera user or for the d-SLR user looking for something much smaller it is really hard not to be curious about the vast range of Four Thirds systems now available. Their superior sensor size, fast focusing and ability to capture subjects in lower light levels with absolute ease makes capturing all kinds of subjects an absolute breeze. I tested a Sony NEX-5 on a recent photo workshop with Nauticam and as much as I’ve always loved using both a Sealife Elite system this year as well as my faithful Canon S95, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the snappiness of this system. I’ll be looking at these systems in more depth soon.
Chatting to your friendly local supplier as well as asking existing users on forums will really help you to make the correct purchase. And as always, feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com. Have a lovely weekend and do join me on Facebook if you’d like any extra help with your underwater photography.
And Merry Christmas!
Maria runs very popular one day courses to help you improve your underwater photography with your compact as well as at your own dive club. She will be launching a brand new DVD at the Dive Show dedicated to helping you develop your own skills which has been shot by Scubazoo. She also runs courses around the country in her brand new VW Camper "Photobus." Visit www.oceanvisions.co.uk for more information or just drop her a line if you need any help or advice.
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