Above water, the DSLRs will remain my camera of choice. Yet, for my upcoming workshop, "The Hidden Caribbean", the azure waters offer an additional opportunity to capture marine life, coral, and even a ship wreck near Salt Island. For these underwater subjects, my capture device will be the compact GoPro Hero 3. It ships with a waterproof housing, weighs about 2.6 ounces, and captures incredibly high resolution video and still images.
With this rugged camera I don't have to worry about ruining my gear, or investing in expensive DSLR housing and accessories that will likely be incompatible with future models. It's a wide angle fixed focus lens, meaning there is no need to fiddle with autofocus or zoom in or out. Considering I've only snorkeled a few times, I appreciate the simplicity of the camera. While the price is quite reasonable, I still did my homework to make sure it was the right way to go. Here are some of the highlights from this research:
1) Video Quality - In this piece, shot hand held by Elliot Gray, you can see just how well the camera performs underwater.
2) Setting it Up - The GoPro 3 has a large selection of video quality options to choose from. To clear up any confusion, check out this helpful article "Understanding Your New GoPro" by Abe Kislevitz
3) Accessories - the waterproof housing comes with the camera, but this nifty floating handle could make for smoother video capture and sharper stills.
4) Memory - the GoPro requires Micro SD cards and while SanDisk makes some of the best in the business, there is talk online that they can cause the camera to freeze. Instead, you may be better off with these from Transcend.
5) Extra Battery Pack - The big downfall to the GoPro Hero 3 is the short battery life, which typically runs just over an hour. They can be recharged through a USB port, but I find this inconvenient when traveling. Instead, I found a great solution by a third party, Wasabi. This kit gives you two extra batteries, plus a wall charger.
About the workshop:
This is a cruise to the unspoiled Caribbean,
calling at small islands that are beyond the reach of the mega cruise
ships and where there is a noticeable absence of grand resort
development. For years, the Virgin Islands have been the domain of
yachtsmen. They remain so to this day. Aboard the intimate cruise ship Yorktown,
we sail leisurely through idyllic islands that appear as a series of
green jewels strung on the necklace of an incredibly blue sea. Yorktown
allows access into secluded bays, coves, and marinas, and the small
number of guests it accommodates, as well as its compliance with
waste-management regulations, leaves no impact on the environment. Swim
right off the ship and snorkel in some of the clearest waters
imaginable, where coral, colorful reef fish, and other fascinating
marine life thrive. Relax on palm-lined, white-sand and uncrowded
beaches, and explore the natural beauty of these seldom-visited islands
on hikes and organized shore activities. Meet with the friendly local
inhabitants, and learn from our onboard team of naturalists and other
experts. For a different and memorable cruise experience, join us aboard
Yorktown as we explore the yachtsman’s Caribbean. Click here for more.