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  • Writer's pictureMichel Braunstein

My Underwater Photography Equipment

Updated: May 4, 2022

This post is the first (and the intro) of a series related to my underwater camera equipment and some more tips about underwater photography. So read it and come back soon to see the next posts. You may also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter to keep updated on all the news.

During my first twenty years (almost) of underwater photography, I’ve mostly used the Nikonos V underwater camera (until mid 2004) with all the lenses you can possibly imagine. The holy 15mm has always been my favorite. Nikonos V is a compact and wonderful camera and I always knew that it had some limitations, mainly for macro photography, split level photography and more. I knew that some day I would have to get an SLR camera. It took a long time and eventually I ended up buying a DSLR, which allowed me to take pictures I have never taken before.

During my trip to Papua New Guinea (2005), I had both, my housed DSLR and my Nikonos V. I really needed to think of a good reason to dive just once with the Nikonos. Once you get a Digital SLR in your hand, you understand that you are in a new era and that it is definitely not easy to go back and use older equipment. Moreover, with digital, there is no need to scan pictures during so many hours anymore! Despite this, you will find three pictures taken with the Nikonos V in the Papua New Guinea underwater gallery. Even if I understood that I needed to move on with a new camera, Nikonos V will always remain a camera with a soul and with a touch that I will never have with any other camera.

For the record, in the Galapagos (2000), I used the Nikonos with 20mm and 35mm lenses and with two SB105 flashes or no flash at all. I used Fujifilm 200ASA

In Palau (2002), I used the Nikonos V with a 15mm lens with two SB105 flashes and a 35mm lens with macro kit. I used Fuji Provia 100ASA for wide-angle and Fuji Velvia 50ASA for macro.

In Yap (2002), I needed only the 15mm lens with or without flash to take the pictures of the mantas. I used Fuji Provia 100ASA.

In Papua New Guinea (2005), I used the Nikon D70 with an Aquatica housing and Ultralight arms for my Nikonos SB105 flashes. Each arm is subdivided in two 8” sections. The lenses were set to Nikon 12-24 for wide-angle, Nikon 60mm and Nikon 105mm for portraits and macro. For air photography, I used mainly the 18-70mm lens. In addition, I also carried with me my Nikonos V (that remained most of the time in my bag but still has dived once!).

At the end 2007, I moved to D200 housed by Aquatica with the same Ultralight arms set and Nikonos SB105 flashes. Lenses are still the Nikon 60mmNikon 105mmNikon 12-24 and I added the Nikon 10.5 Fisheye. I’ve replaced the air lens with the Nikon 18-200VR.

In 2008, I’ve upgraded my flashes with two Ikelite DS125, which are much more powerful and faster than my good ol’ ones. I have also upgraded the camera to Nikon D300.

During my Maldives trip, in 2008, I had my Nikon D200 then later, In the Brazil trip, I had the Nikon D300.

The Red Sea is like a second home for me and I had the chance to visit it regularly since 1986 until the present days with all the equipment described above.

Even more important than the hardware, the eye has always been each photographer most significant tool for a beautiful picture and a good composition.

See also the “About me” page.


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