Mike’s Dive Cameras is introducing the latest “perfect package” for underwater photographers who want to get an all-around underwater photography kit in one go. This package is not only available for purchase as it stands but also to serve as an example of what we think constitutes a great starter package for divers who want to take their UW photo hobby to the next level. This latest perfect compact package combines a Sony camera and a Fantasea housing with an Inon UW strobe and both wide-angle and macro conversion lenses.
Over the years MDC has put together these so-called “perfect packages” and now it is time to upgrade the “perfect” COMPACT camera bundle. The previous perfect compact package included the very popular Canon G9X MKII. But as this camera has been now discontinued by the manufacturer we have replaced the core of the kit with the superb Sony RX100 MKIII camera. The Sony RX100 camera range currently spans 5 different models from the MKIII to the MKVII increasing in price and features. However, the features of even the “low” end MKIII model are not to be sniffed at. It is still one of the most capable compact cameras out there for under 500 quid. It is the perfect starter camera for the underwater photographer who wants to have all possible automatic and manual features in a single unit. Sony’s famous 1” image sensor captures super sharp and low noise images even in darker conditions.
The Fantasea FRX100 VA R housing has clearly marked controls for all camera controls and is depth rated to 60m. Made from durable polycarbonate it weighs only 600g and is 15cm wide. The housing has a double O-ring design and comes with a rechargeable moisture alarm. Adding accessories is easy due to the threaded port and standard size fibre optic connection sockets.
To really capture high-quality and colourful images underwater you will need to get a strobe. FACT! Underwater the elements are stacked against the photographer and to cut through water lots of extra light is needed. Serious underwater photographers arm themselves with a couple of very powerful strobe units, which can be expensive and heavy. For this bundle, we’ve chosen the small but smart Inon S-2000 strobe with a simple to use flexi arm. The S-2000 is the smallest high-quality underwater strobe in the world and you can use both automatic (STTL) and manual modes. The power of this strobe is enough to capture the close-up object in brilliant colours. Included in the package is also the right type of fibre optic cable for flash synchronisation.
The perfect compact package also includes two essential wet-interchangeable lenses for every keen underwater photographer. These lenses are watertight on their own and can be swapped in water when needed. The Fantasea FRX100 VA R housing has a 67mm port thread where both the lenses are screwed on. (For the WFL-02 a simple M52-M67 mount ring is included)
The Weefine WFL-02 Fisheye lens allows the photographer to get extra close to the target and reduce the water column. This will result in crispier colours and sharper images. A super wide-angle lens like the WFL-02 also allows photography of big targets in water… say a wreck. As visibility is always an issue underwater you won’t be able to back up to get everything in the shot. Stay close and be wide!
The Inon UCL-165 M67 close-up diopter is probably the world's most popular underwater close-up/macro lens. The UCL-165 is compatible with almost all underwater camera combinations. Essentially underwater close-up lens is a glorified magnifying glass. It allows the photographer to use their camera zoom to narrow the field of view while keeping the minimum focusing distance close. The UCL-165 is not the most powerful lens out there but this makes it perfect for getting started with UW close-up photography as it is reasonably easy to use. If you one day want to capture even smaller critters you can always get another one. The two of them work surprisingly well stacked together and you have just doubled the magnification.
The trinity of the camera, the strobe and the lenses is what makes high-quality underwater photography possible. Due to the physics of water, it is almost impossible to capture things in acceptable detail without these accessories. If you want to capture colourful and crisp underwater photos and don’t want to spend a large amount of money, look no further. There is nothing on the market sub £2000 that would allow the same possibilities as this package. The only downside is that you won’t anymore be able to blame the kit anymore once you have it.
See the Sony RX100 MKIII perfect camera package HERE