St George Underwater Centre is now an agent for GoPro Cameras.
GoPro make a range of what can be best described as Sports Video Cameras. They are very small, lightweight, capable of shooting high definition video (up to 1080p) and come with a housing that is waterproof to 60 metres. They can also take photos up to a resolution of 11MP (depending on the model).
These cameras are great for diving because they are so small and light. The can be mounted on your mask, worn on your hood or wrist or simply carried for shooting whatever you may encounter.
There are two main models (at least in the interest of divers):
- HD Hero Original
- HD Hero2 Professional
Both shoot video in 1080p, 960p, 720p and WVGA. The original is limited to a wide field of view (127º for 1080p and 170º for the other modes) where as the Hero2 allows the video to be shot in on of three different fields (170º, 127º and 90º) of view in all video modes. A field of view of 170º is almost as wide as a 10mm fisheye lens on a digital SLR camera – that’s a very wide angle of view. A FOV of 90º is still quite wide but closer to a 17mm lens on a DSLR.
Both cameras have a battery life of around 2.5 hours when shooting in 720p/60 fps mode. i.e. you could easily record a whole dive.
For a more detailed comparison, see: Product Comparison: HD HERO2 & HD Hero Cameras
The cameras don’t come with a screen but you can buy them as an optional accessory. The screen fits onto the back of the camera making it marginally fatter and also includes a replacement rear door for the housing. Unless you plan on wearing the camera on your mask or hood, a screen is a good idea for framing your shots.
With the screen attached and switched on the battery life is reduced however it will still record 720p/60 for up to 1.25 hours, more then long enough for a single dive.
Another recommended accessory is a corrective flat port on the front of the housing. By default the port on the front of housing is curved. This works fine out of the water but underwater can result in less than sharp footage. A few third party companies make an add-on port which does not compromise the seal on the housing. I have installed the BlurFix adapter on my GoPro and I now get very sharp footage. The added advantage of the BlurFix adapter is that it uses a standard lens filter as the port so a coloured filter can be used to correct for the loss of red light underwater when shooting with natural light.
The quality of the footage on these cameras is exceptional, especially when you consider how small and inexpensive it is. It is comparable to professionally shot footage.
Here’s some footage that was taken on the recent drive trip to Borneo. All expect the last sequence (leaving Kapalai) was shot with the original HD Hero. The last sequence was shot with a Nikon D7000 DSLR.
There are some more videos at St George Underwater’s Vimeo page.
Please call the centre for more information and pricing.
When: Sunday 18th December from 5pm
Where: St George Underwater Centre
Come along and celebrate Christmas and 2011 with your diving family.
We’ll supply sausages, kebabs, salads, nibbles and some drinks. Please bring something extra to share, like cake or desert, if you like.
We’ll also be taking donations on the day of both cans of food and cash for the Salvo’s Christmas Appeal.
Please call the centre to let us know if you’re coming so we can plan the numbers.
Our end of year trip just keeps getting better. I’m happy to announce that the underwater photography will be run by Damien Siviero, who many of you will know from around the shop. Damien is an award winning photographer, who has published images in magazines, marketing campaigns and all manner of stuff online. He’s typically found diving on a rebreather, shooting sharks or off on a cave/wreck expedition, but we have him on this trip! If you want to learn how to take photos underwater, here’s an opportunity to learn from one of the best.
I asked Damien the other day what the workshop would cover, here’s what he said:
“I think we can all fall victim to wanting/needing the newest camera model, more megapixels, higher ISO, etc… whilst that’s important, I want to take things back to basics and focus on light. It might sound simple, but that is what photography is all about. Subject, framing, shutter aperture – these are the key to a great image. Read More
With 11 members just back from a fantastic dive trip to Borneo and the club trip to Vanuatu next month, now is a good time to consider expanding your diving horizons with a dive trip.
There’s nothing wrong with the diving in Sydney, except perhaps being a little cool at times, and you can get in a few dives in a weekend if you push it. There’s lots to see and most of the dives are easy. A dive trip, however, can take you to an exotic location with completely different diving, experiencing different cultures as well as having a great time with a great bunch of people.
In October in Borneo, 11 of us experienced living in a water village (with no sign of Kevin Costner) far from any land, up to 22 dives in 6 days, warm (around 29ºC) and clear water, turtles, sharks, and thousands of brightly coloured fish and corals. We dived Sipdan Island, Mabul Island and Siamil Island as well as dives around the resort in Kapalai. The accommodation was very comfortable and the food was great. In addition, we stayed at a rainforest retreat; saw orangutans, macaques and proboscis monkeys up close; visited a rainforest at night.
In December, there’s a trip to Hideaway Island, Vanuatu for 7 nights. Vanuatu is less than 4 hours flight from Sydney and the transfer to the resort is less than an hour. You’ll hardly feel like you’ve left the country. Accommodation is comfortable, food is good, the diving is easy and the water warm (27-28ºC) and clear. We should have the island to ourselves to it will also be a bit of a party. In addition, Damien is running a photography workshop. What better place is there to hone your photography skills?
Next year we also have trips to Palau, Tonga and Indonesia. See: Travel
If you are a new diver, a dive trip is a great way to increase your number of dives. On one trip you could easily do 20 dives which would take 4 to 5 months of diving once every weekend. As the water is likely to be warmer you can where a lighter suit (if you need a suit at all) which means less weight and so easier diving. Most of the dives will be from a boat which makes things easier, again.
If you are an underwater photographer, a dive trip will give you not only more opportunities to take photographs but also a greater range of subjects. With more dives in a short space of time you’ll have more chances to get that special image.
There’s also the great social side of things. You aren’t diving the whole time and you get to spend the other time with a great group of people and be entertained by the shenanigans. I have enjoyed the social side of every dive trip I’ve attended.
While a dive trip may not look inexpensive when you first look at it, traveling in a group almost always costs less. This means you can generally do a trip with a few bells and whistles for less than if you did the equivalent trip on your own.
So… what are you waiting for? Why not book a trip today? See the Travel page to see what trips are coming up.