I always thought of sharks being the fiercest predators but learned that they are really secondary predators. That is, they wait for an initial kill by another fish/creature and then come in for the spoils. We kept seeing sharks swimming within schools of fish without the fish being upset in the least! Once a fish is injured however it is another story which you can see in the video clip below. This was taken in February 2013 in Palau. The dive site is Sandy Paradise.
I took this video using the Sony PJ760V. Although there are some issues with the auto focus, it held up quite well considering the conditions. i.e. Multiple schools of fish and plankton everywhere. It seemed to only mess up when the particles in the water are over a certain size or come very close to the lens.
Finally got back to give an update on the Sony HDR-PJ760V. The camera gives incredible video quality at 1080p and 60 frames per second. The one issue I had with it is the autofocus. When any small bits of debris in the water came closer than the subject, the camera was prone to re-focus and ruin the shot. With my Ikelite case I can't access the focus settings so the only alternative was to fix the focus to about 6 feet before putting it in the case. The issue there is if you want to shoot any macro stuff. The camera comes with 96GB of disk space and uses AVCHD compression so you get hours of video before needing to dump the memory to computer. I ended up doing it each night since it would take hours to dump the entire 96GB at once.
When I got home I started to load my saved files onto my iMAC. I thought I had enough space byte wise at least, but kept running out of space. The issue is that when importing to Final Cut Pro, it converts the AVCHD format to the Apple codec. This has the result of increasing the size by ten times! I had to get a 4TB external drive to load my files! Actually it's only using about 2TB but that's a lot for a three week trip!
Will post a link to some video clips in the next couple of weeks.
I have spent the last few weeks trying to pick a Camcorder to use on our next dive trip. My budget is around $1200+ for the camera. Need to budget about the same for the housing. The Panasonic HC-X900M was eliminated since there wasn't a good housing for it. This left me with:
Canon HF G10
Sony HDR-PJ760V (or the CX version)
Everyone seems to give the Canon a good rating since it is a stripped down version of the AX10 which is a Prosumer model. You lose the XLR audio inputs and Infrared features plus a few buttons. It is also incredible for low light compared to anything else. See: www.camcorderinfo.com for a good review. On the other hand it can't do stills bigger than 2 meg so when underwater you would need another camera for that. Myself think that one camera is a lot to take with me so taking two would be insane!
I have looked at the Sony as well and it actually can go up to 60p whereas the Canon only does 60i. Also the Sony does 24Megapixel stills while taking video unless in 60p mode. It also has great stabilization since the whole lens block floats in the camera.
The issue I have making a choice is with light. I do not use lights when diving during the day. I like to take shots of coral formations (with creatures) so need to shoot this way to get the full colour in the shot. Also this minimizes the effect on the creatures. (I once read that a Seahorse goes blind after around 30 camera flashes.) This involves doing a manual (custom) light balance with the camera before starting shooting. You select this option on the camera and then do the calibration shot on a white slate. This compensates for the loss of red light at your depth. I typically will re-calibrate if I move up or down 5 feet.
So I have found my Canon G12 to be great for doing this. The full colour is there without the big awkward lights that many people have but don't need. I can do 10 Meg stills and 720p video. This works until around 50-60 feet with the G12. My previous FujiFilm camera could only calibrate until about 40 feet depth and wouldn't calibrate the video at all. So the question is "How do I relate my camera experience to buying a new Camcorder?"
Both cameras are good at low light. The comparison I saw is that the Sony was good up until dusk whereas the Canon could take video via moonlight. The question I have is how does this relate to how good the sensor is at capturing red light at depth. In the first 10 meters (30 feet) around 90% of the reds are filtered by the water. I guess what I was hoping is that someone would have tried them and reported it. Not the case so please respond to my urgent plea!
On our last dive trip we went to Komodo National Park. The currents are incredibly strong as a result of the tides washing between the various islands from the Bali/Java sea into the greater Pacific ocean. At one point our boat, which could do 12 knots was going backwards in the current! The one morning we dove a site called Makasar Reef (Runway) which is known for it's Manta cleaning stations. I made a video of one hour dive in which we saw huge numbers of Mantas. The link to it is below:
When in Komodo National Park we saw sharks almost every dive. One of the best sites was Castle Rock. Incredibly strong currents bring nutrients near the surface, attracting lots of life including sharks. Here is a link to a short clip with White Tip Reef Sharks.
While diving Indonesia in Bali near Menjangan Island we saw the result of dynamite fishing. Even though Menjangan Island is part of the larger land park fishing still took place. The dive master; who had grown up there said he would just go and ask the fishermen to move over while we were diving. As well he asked why a resort was allowed to set up in the park itself. What wasn't asked is why there is now a temple on the island that used sand from the beach to be made! Anyway here is the pic of a dead reef:
Here is the same reef on the same dive without the damage:
Fishers use dynamite since it is a quick way to kill a lot of fish! This is the same tactic used by Fishers in the "developed" world. In our case we drag huge nets along the bottom of the ocean and kill everything in our wake. These trawlers destroy everything in their wake. Once they kill one area they move on to the next.
You can argue that the poor Indonesian fisher is just stupid by killing his own livelyhood but the people that own trawlers are pure evil. They do it for corporate interest and know they are doing wrong. Find out who the owners are and cause them to stop!
There needs to be laws that put the executive of such companies in prison, and confiscate their ill gotton gains. This is not business but a rape of the oceans.