May 292010

I took 3 cameras to the Galapagos Islands; Nikon D3X, Nikon D3 and a Canon D10 (waterproof compact). As the light is nice and bright I had no intention of using the D3 and only took it as a spare. It stayed in a drawer on the boat for the entire week!

1:1 view of the detail of a Waved Albatross. The Albatross was 7.08metres away! D3X and 300mm f2.8

The D3x was awesome, I love this camera. It is quick and easy to use and the results are incredible. That’s it, not a lot to say on the D3x!

The Canon D10 is also a wonderful camera. I bought it after doing some research on waterproof cameras and one of the features that I liked was the fact that it’s waterproof to 10metres; that is important to me because I like diving deep when snorkelling and I didn’t want to worry about the camera.

Sea turtle at Targus Cove - Canon D10

When using a waterproof camera in salt water it is incredibly important to rinse them in fresh water afterwards, therefore I ensured that we had a dedicated rinse bucket at the end of each snorkel trip.

Sometimes the water was quite cool and I snorkelled for up to an hour at a time. I found that the battery would last about 3 snorkel trips before recharging which I thought was good performance.

I was happy with my camera choice but one thing that became obvious was how useful video is on a dSLR. Malcolm Thornton had a Canon 5D Mark II and he took some incredible video clips with it. There were simply situations (such as the sharks taking on a big sea lion to get some tuna) that stills couldn’t really capture with the same impact as video.

Nikon introduced video in to dSLR’s and Jim Slobodian did take some video clips with a D3S, unfortunately I haven’t seen Jim’s clips so I can’t comment on the quality but Nikon is only providing 720p video whereas Canon provides full 1080p in it’s cameras. As I mentioned in my post on my D3S test, I would have bought that camera if it had 1080p.

If you’re interested in doing high quality video with a dSLR then invest in a good quality shotgun microphone. The Azden SMX-10 microphone has excellent quality sound and is a great price, I use one with our Nikon D5000 for videoing the girls at home, may be I should have brought the D5000 along and kept it in my backpack for those video moments.

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