Sascha’s top 10 favourite gear for underwater photography & videography
Underwater photographers and videographers love getting new gear, but are they toys or tools? We talk to Photo Pro Sascha to find out what equipment he recommends for getting the best possible macro photos and videos from your setup.
Macro lens & flip mount – To shoot the really tiny critters here in Lembeh we need extra macro lenses. A flip mount quickly gets it in front of the lens or out of the way without the risk of losing it or worrying about where to put it.
Vacuum system – There are several brands on the market and they are all better than not having one! It gives you peace of mind and you know if your housing is sealed before you go diving.
External monitor – Invest in the biggest one you can afford, as it makes focusing and shooting in general much easier if you can easily see what you are shooting during the dive. I use a small HD 501 monitor in a Nauticam housing.
Tripod – To get stable macro video footage it’s essential to use a tripod. I built my own, tripod made of locline elements and it’s very effective.
3D printer – Working in a remote Indonesian dive resort it’s very useful to be able to print your own pieces of gear. I use this to print custom-made flip mounts for macro lenses as well as focus gears and other small parts.
Video light(s) – To get good, vibrant colours we need strong video lights; for macro I suggest using at least 2000 lumens per head but the more the merrier! If you have more power it’s easier to shoot, but do be considerate of sensitive marine life and remember – don’t blind your buddy! I’m currently using the Sola4000, i-torch Pro7, i-torch Venom C92 and the Sola 2100SF. They all have pros and cons.
Snoot – To make the subject ‘pop’ from an ugly background it’s very handy to have a snoot or a spotlight function on the light, as with the Sola 2100SF. You can buy one or even experiment with making your own from simple materials like an old wetsuit sleeve, piece of plastic tube etc.
Pointer stick – to stabilize myself I use a pointer stick made of stainless steel. It’s especially useful for muck diving but I also use them when diving reefs. Remember not to poke, move or harass wildlife with it – it’s not a “poker” stick, it’s a pointer!
Cable ties & carabiners – cable ties are indispensable for repairing or quickly attaching pieces of gear; carabiners can be used to attach extra lights and strobes to your BCD.
Camera – To produce top-notch footage and images, a good camera and lens will help, however most important is the user – like a great chef, the most important thing is not the brand of pots he uses but their vision, creativity and expertise!
Speaking of chefs, this brings us to our bonus point – Coffee! This gets the creative juices flowing for that post-dive photo or video editing. A good Swiss coffee machine like the one in our Genus Bar is a wonderful thing but simple, lightweight devices like the Aeropress are great for travellers who can’t stand wishy-washy coffee.