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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Dairyland diver
Apr 7, 2001
I have noticed a great deal of shutter lag with my digital camera compared to my film cameras. What are others doing to correct this problem?

It's a real pain when diving in low vis conditions- the fish is half gone by time you take the picture and you only end up with a tail.:head

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You seriously have to pan w/ digitals. I'm posting a pic that pretty much says it all about panning. I hold down the shutter release and track the camera on the subject... the pic I get is whenever the camera decides things are in focus. :blackeye

If you want a quicker shutter response, set your digital asa to 400 for ambient light and shoot like you've been doing. Or, set your aperature to about F5.6, set your zoom to a couple of feet, depending on viz and how close you're getting to these fish.... and snap away.

Also, a tip to conserve battery life is to press the display button(turn display off) when you're not shooting. Don't switch the camera to off. The motors that extend and retract the lens eat up quite a bit of power every time you turn on everything.

Hope this helps,

That's great in warm, clear water, but I am shooting pictures of these musky in less than 3' of vis. They come up quick and the camera takes a while to focus and shoot. I already have the settings at 400 asa when diving.

The short battery life has more to do with the 37 degree water and 20 degree air temps. cold temps seem to drain the life out of them pretty quick. I know that they will last a lot longer than that when we are inside a warm pool playing underwater hockey.


If you set your aperature, you'll have a known depth of field. If you then set your focus to say... 3 feet (distance you consistently come in contact w/ these guys), you should have a decent focal range to just point and shoot w/out adjusting the focus. I'm assuming your camera has the manual mode. :confused:

Practice in the pool on an object at that distance. You should be able to get a feel for the focal length and depth of field of the manual settings w/out having to get into too scientific. ;)

Keep me posted por favor,
I haven't started to play around with the manual mode yet.

I'll give it a try.


Forgive an elementary question, but are you using alkaline or lithium batteries in your camera - I assume they are AA's. If not, then the lithium batteries are worth the extra money. In low temp conditions, they behave like alkaline batteries at room temp; I used to take a lot of photos in sub-zero (land) conditions. If you already are using lithium, then you may want to keep the batteries next to your skin, say chest shirt pocket, to keep them warm and install them just before you go in.

Just a suggestion.

Peter S.
I use NIMH rechargeable batteries.

They last a lost longer than the old nicads that I have used in the past. I have 4 sets- from my old strobes that will not work with my digital camera. I have had pretty good results working with them when shooting in warm areas, like swimming pools, but under real Wisconsin winter diving conditions they get used up pretty fast.

With camera strobes I know that people have made little wetsuits for them to keep the heat in and the batteries will last longer. I don't think that would work with a whole camera housing.

There's a few things I do to make my batteries last longer; turn off real time auto focus, keep the dispplay off untill something intrigues you, and turn off the camera's flash (since you have strobes this is probably set already). I also do not pan or zoom the lense. With the rechargables that come with the camera I can shoot for two to three dives, but in no where near freezing conditions. The expensive, throw away, NiHilades, I think, last 8 dives or more, I've taken these on two day trips.

For shutter lag, you can turn off auto focus and set a fixed distance and the lag will be much less, but the shots are almost always slightly blurry. With the Oly (and most others) you can hold down the shutter release half way to get a focus lock, then snap when the "pose" is right. This is next to impossible to do underwater with gloves on but I sitll try.

Like anderon said, pan, and anticipate your target's moves. I have better success capturing a fish when they are in a path somewhat towards me, rather than when their path is perpendicualr to my own. I never try to peer into the viewfinder, and hold the camera a good distance form my face, looking at the LCD display and my surroundings at the same time. This makes it easier to anticipate my subjects path.
this is coming from someone who knows nothing about underwater photography.....

has anyone tried those heat packs skiers use? they're pretty small, I wonder if they would fot in your housing? might keep the bats warm? heard of video guys using them for their housings....

Maybe a dumb idea?

The heat packs might work IF there is room.

I have tried to do the half-click shutter trick to keep the focus halfway set when taking pictures of my dog. Underwater this hasn't worked because the water is so hazy and I never know when I am going to run into one of these things (musky). I just swim through the murk and push the shutter when I bump into something.:duh

With my film cameras this worked great because I had a 16mm lens on the front. That meant that everything from 2' to infinity was in focus all of the time. The same is not true with my digital camera. I know that a wide angle lens on my housing would help out the situation, but I need to sell a set doubles to pay for it.:(

I'll try and play with the manual mode tonight.

Hi Anderson,
What's the URL of your website? I can't seem to find it. I'd love to see your photos.

and Jon,
For stiching photos I use a neat little product from ULEAD called Cool 360. It can create panoramic and 360 degree shots automatically stiching several images together blending them pretty nicely. Costs around 30 dollars.

I have an Olympus Camdia 2500, and only have found a waterproof bag for it that can only go down a few meters, don't know the term in English but it translates as "semi rigid" from Spanish. I'd love to be able to use it underwater. I used to have a Nikonos I, but stupidly sold it off years ago :duh Ahrrrgggg.....

Originally posted by Adrian
Hi Anderson,
What's the URL of your website? I can't seem to find it. I'd love to see your photos.

Click on that little "www" button at the bottom of this post. :)

Ahh, got it, great site, very neat and clean. What where you doing with that sting ray? Decided to nap and use it as a blanket? Weren't you scared it might sting you? Pretty impressive!


I have a panoramic feature on my new camera that lets me stich things together. Now I just need some vis to try it out underwater.

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Neat! Reminds me of when I used to live in Chicago, all that cold weather. I have a couple of (surface) shots of Lake Michigan. I'll post them when I scan them.

Wow, a panormaic shot under water. Why didn't I think of that? I have a nice one of santa barbra Isl. but form the boat. You know I've made two or three video movies shot underwater with my Oly 2020. If you have a copy of Adobe After Effects you can splice all the 15 second movies together, After Effects has photoshop adjustments like levels so you can clean up the color, and it can re-render the movie out at a higher resolution, plus sound & titles etc. That's been kind of fun for me lately.
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