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The Rig
Underwater Camera Equipment List

A professional grade DSLR underwater camera system is not cheap and could run in the range of $10,000 USD.
Below is a list of the equipment used by Ken.

Nikon D7200 For the first time, the exhilarating image quality, low-light capabilities and speed of a Nikon DSLR are available with the convenience of built-in Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC)**. Introducing the D7200, the new star of Nikon's DX-format camera line-up. Bring your creative vision to life with photos and videos that shine with sharpness and clarity. Shoot in nearly any light from dawn until after dusk and capture everything from sports and action to wildlife and everyday moments. Then share your beautiful images easier than ever with a compatible smart device. Whether you're a passionate photographer or videographer looking for a tool to ignite your creativity, a pro in need of a nimble second camera or someone looking for an ideal blend of versatility and convenience, the D7200 is ready for your challenge.
Nikon D7100 Meet the new flagship of Nikon's outstanding DX-format HD-SLR line-up: the D7100. Incorporating recent advancements in HD-SLR technology, the D7100 brings a thrilling new level of image quality, speed, connectivity and creative capabilities a specially designed 24.1-megapixel DX-format image sensor, superior low-light performance, ultra-precise autofocus and metering, advanced video recording features, built-in HDR, mobile connectivity and much, much more. Pair it with any of Nikon's superb NIKKOR DX- and FX-format lenses, versatile Speedlights and accessories, and the D7100 will be the centerpiece of your creativity for years to come.
Nikon 60mm The Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED Macro Lens provides an exceptional range of applications and high-quality performance. Compact and versatile, this lens is perfect for close-up, copy and general photography. Its Close-Range Correction (CRC) system ensures high resolution from infinity to close-ups down to 7.3", with a 1:1 reproduction ratio.
Nikon 105mm When greater working distance is needed for close-up and macro shooting, the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 delivers 105mm of reach, exceptional image quality, a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture and 1:1 reproduction ratio. Featuring advanced Nikon lens technologies like Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization, it s optimized for close-up and macro photography yet versatile enough for all photographic situations even handheld shooting!
The Tokina AT-X 10-17mm DX is a fish-eye lens that gives the digital photographer an approximate 180 Degree field of view with dramatic curvature of field or "fish-eye" effect. With this lens an entire view or vista can be captured, wider than the human eye can see.
The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 ED is a wide-angle zoom lens designed for DX-format Nikon DSLRs and full-frame 35mm sensor Nikon cameras that can be set to shoot in APS format. Designed for discerning photo enthusiasts who want to expand their horizons, the Nikkor 10-24mm is ideal for dramatic landscape photography and interior architecture photography. The lens is optically engineered to provide clear, sharp images with virtually no ghosting or flare. Autofocus is fast and quiet, making this a good lens for aspiring HD Video filmmakers.
Now you can cover the highly useful zoom range of 18mm to 35mm (27–52.5mm on DX-format cameras) with a great performing full-frame NIKKOR lens that doesn't carry a professional's price tag. Shoot beautiful wide-angle architectural shots, landscapes, group portraits and more; then zoom in for a natural field of view that is slightly wider than what we see with our eyes. You can even get as close as 0.92-feet from your subject! And since the AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED is powered by Nikon's Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for ultra-fast, ultra-quiet autofocusing, it's an ideal choice for video applications.

The AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED is an excellent travel and all-purpose lens.
Underwater Camera Housing:

Aquatica AD7100 The Nikon D7100, builds and improves on the legendary Nikon D7000, with 1080P video, extraordinary low light performance and ability to render highlights with excellent detail, this camera performance, coupled with the excellent range of optics available for underwater photography, is sure to be a major favourite among underwater seeking top quality at an affordable price. The Aquatica AD7100 housing is made from carefully selected aluminum and Stainless Steel alloys, the same grade as used in the aerospace industry. It is machined on the latest 5 axis computer assisted machines available, and is protected by anodizing it to North American military specification. While anodizing will protect the housing from the environment, it will fade and discolour if left exposed to the elements, to prevent this, and for further protection, Aquatica provides corrosion inhibiting zinc anodes as standard equipment and coats their housings with a baked on, tough as nails, powder coating. This extra level of protection makes a huge difference, as exemplified by Aquatica housings with over 1,500 dives on them that still look as fresh as the day they came out of the box.

The SURVEYOR vacuum & moisture sensor from AQUATICA offers an added level of protection to the underwater photographer. As thoroughly built, inspected and tested as are the AQUATICA housings, their sealing integrity can be challenged by sand, debris or damage to their O-ring over time. With its constant monitoring of the sealing condition of your housing, the AQUATICA SURVEYOR gives you peace of mind; you can now enter the water, knowing that your expensive camera equipment is fully protected.
Aquatica 45 Viewfinder The Aqua View 45-Degree Optical Viewfinder from Aquatica is a 45 angled finder compatible with their underwater camera housings built since 2008. It contains BK-7 coated glass elements, offering an enhanced view with 100% coverage for crisp, bright and sharp images from corner to corner--all from a convenient and comfortable angle of view. It is easily installed and removed in as little as 30 sec.
Aquatica 180 Viewfinder Benefit from an enhanced, enlarged view through your DSLR or mirrorless camera's viewfinder with Aquatica's Aqua View 180 Optical Viewfinder for many of their underwater camera housings. It provides 100% coverage of your camera's finder, as well as corner-to-corner sharpness and dioptric adjustment. The BK-7 coated glass elements in the eyepiece enable a bright, crisp, magnified image for better visibility, composition, and critical focusing. Built for durability, the Aqua View's body is made of corrosion-resistant, hard anodized aluminum with a baked-on powder coating for extra protection. Additionally, its very compact, streamlined form factor ensures it won't be obstructive, while its removable design makes for easy storage and transportation.

Aquatica 8" Dome Port & Shade The 8 dome port is the longest standing port in Aquatica s arsenal. Since its introduction in the 80 s, images taken using the 8 dome port have graced all major underwater magazines at one point or another. To this day it is still a favourite among professional photographers who demand quality and reliability.

A real work horse, the port is a general purpose dome port made of optical grade acrylic and is well suited for large rectilinear wide angle and fisheye lenses. The 8 radius means it can easily be used for over/under photos and will produce a smooth and thin water line.
Aquatica AF Macro Port This modular flat port is a more streamlined version of the AF/MF port. It s the same length of the AF/MF and can also be combined with a wide range of extension rings to accommodate a large selection of macro lenses, ranging from as short as 35mm all the way to 200mm. It can also accommodate lenses equipped with internal close up lenses, teleconverters or extension tubes.
Aquatica Extension to Port Locking Collar This extension to port locking collar is designed to complement the Aquatica housings which are now all equipped with a port/extension locking mechanism.

This long awaited accessory is compatible with all of the Aquatica bayonet type extension. The Extension to port collar is machined from lightweight, yet sturdy aeronautical grade aluminum is anodized to military specification and made to withstand the rigors of day in, day out immersion in salt water; it is easily and quickly installed on any extension with the provided hex key wrench.

This port locking collar is compatible with all dome ports with a recessed hole on their back plate.

This works great. Ensures the dome port is securely attached to the extension ring.

Aquatica Protective Caps The Aquatica Rear Port Cap fits all Aquatica bayonet ports and extension rings. The cap fits securely over the rear mount of the port and protects the interior from dust and debris.

The Aquatica bayonet housing body cap fits securely over the port mount on the housing and protects the interior from dust and debris.
Strobes, Arms and Lights:

2 x Ikelite DS161 Strobe & Video Light The DS161 combines power with wide angle coverage to give you the most bang for your buck. The quality of light is exceptional due to a round flash tube and custom powder coated reflector designed specifically to deliver the softest, most even coverage possible.

When combined with a compatible Ikelite TTL system or film TTL system, the DS161 automatically adjusts brightness to provide perfect exposure whether you're shooting macro, portrait or wide angle.
2 x Ikelite DS161 Dome Diffuser This domed diffuser for DS161, DS160, and DS125 type strobes provides the softest, widest coverage possible. This combination of material and shape spreads light wider than a traditional diffuser and has a higher transmissivity to let more light through.

There is no cooling effect so the warm, natural glow of your DS160-series strobe is preserved.

Attaches to the front of your strobe with a secure, press fit. Lanyard ring and lanyard included.
Ikelite-to-Ikelite TTL Dual Sync Cord Y-shaped sync cord with Ikelite-style plugs on all ends. Provides TTL operation with any compatible system featuring an Ikelite-style electrical bulkhead and two DS strobes. The Ikelite-style plug is widely recognized as the most reliable waterproof strobe sync connection available. Built-in strain reliefs reduce stress on cord ends.
Aquatica TLC Support for Ikelite TTL Converters The Aquatica 17858 TLC Support for Ikelite TTL Converters is a holder that can be used with the Ikelite TTL converters (4301 or 4302). It also works with the junction barrel of the double cable sync cord that cleans up the clutter of sync cable around the top of the housing. This holder can be mounted on a TLC 17651 1 ball (sold separately) and can be used as a focus light arm.

Ultralight Arms & Clamps Ultralight Control Systems has been in the underwater photography and scuba diving industry since 1993. They are in the business of making light weight aluminum arms for attaching your topside or underwater camera or housing to your topside flash or underwater strobes. Ultralight can also attach lights to your video. Ultralight makes one of the lightest weight arm systems on the market. All of their products are made with 6061 aluminum that is machined and then hard anodized, to withstand the harshest treatment. In addition to arms, they offer a full line of trays, pivots, adapters for all strobes, and video applications, along with numerous accessories.
Sola 800 Focus Light Sola Photo lights are the most compact and brightest focus lights in their class, providing photo and video enthusiasts with power and flexibility in a small package. The Sola Photo 800 is the perfect focusing and modeling light, combining 800 lumens of white light in a 60 degree flood beam with a 300 lumen 60 degree red flood beam.
AO Cooler - 36 Pack AO Coolers Soft Cooler is perfect for boating, fishing, hunting, parties, sporting events, picnics, and more. Bringing an item for dinner or a potlock? Use this cooler to keep things warm as well. The cooler even meets airplane carry-on requirements. It features a removable shoulder strap, clip-down ends, and a side pocket for dry items. AO Coolers are guaranteed to never leak or sweat and have twice the insulation of other soft-sided coolers. Our high quality vinyl liner is the same material used to make waterbeds and above ground pools. The inner insulation is 3/4-inch thick, high-density, closed cell foam. The combination creates a cooler that will hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree heat. With our soft exterior, it won t scratch up your gel coat or tear up any upholstery. AO Coolers capacities: 9 cans plus about 2.5 pounds of ice; 12 cans plus about 5 pounds of ice; 24 cans plus about 14 pounds of ice; 36 cans plus about 10 pounds of ice; 48 cans plus about 15 pounds of ice.

This is a must if you do dive boat charters. This will keep your rig separate and safe from the other camera's. You can use this as your own rinse tank. When I hand the camera up to the crew on the boat, I request they place it directly into my red cooler bag (embroidered with my name - see AO Cooler website).

Special thanks to Scott Gietler at Bluewater Photo for this suggestion.
DIY Rope Handle for Housing Found an article and DIY instructions for the rope handle written by Michael Zeigler on-line at Underwater Photography Guide.

This handle makes passing your rig to a crew member so much easier. After my first trip using the rope handle, an additional suggestion is to paint the rope green between the 2 black shrink tubes. Then you can simply request the crew crap the green part of the handle to lift the camera onboard the boat.

DIY Camera Floats Found an article and DIY instructions for the camera floats on-line at The article informs you where to purchase the special foam and includes a calculator to determine the needed float sizes for your requirements.

Most camera rigs are negatively bouyant. My rig with the 8" dome port had a net weight of 3 lbs in fresh water. By building the custom floats and adjusting the weight for salt water, I was able to build the necessary floats to get my rig neutrally bouyant making it easier to swim around on my dives. When the macro port is in place, a small piece of foam is added around the port to adjust for the difference between the space in the camera housing with the dome port.

Underwater Photography by Ken Leonard
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