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Canon Underwater Haze

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#1 underwater-aa

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:51 PM

So first off, I'm shooting with a Canon 7D MII in a Nauticam housing w/ 8' acrylic dome.

Switching between a Canon 18-55mm 3.6f & Tokina 10-17mm 3.5f fisheye.
 

I've been on a few trips now with other photographers, we are shooting in water with almost perfect visibility, ranging from 20-30m.

Why is there so much dam haze in my photos? It makes the water look like there is barely 3 meters of visibility.

 

It looks terrible, I've compared shots in the same time frame to my Gopro 6 and other photographers cameras and the difference is huge.

 

They shoot with sony's, no extra lighting and their RAW images look amazing already, I can edit mine to look semi decent but the outcome is below average.

 

I don't understand what's happening, I've attached some jpeg samples of unedited RAW images.

 

Is there some setting on my camera that I'm missing, is anyone having this issue with the same model camera? 
 

 

Attached Images

  • turt.jpg
  • manta.jpg
  • _90A3763.jpg
  • reef.jpg


#2 kdgonzalez

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 11:53 PM

what settings are you using? strobe or no strobe?



#3 TimG

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 12:32 AM

I had the same thought: strobes? Are you using them and are they firing? 

 

I'd have said too that proximity to the subject could also be part of the problem - some of them are quite distant (first and last especially) - but you do seem quite close to the stingrays.

 

Good viz, as you say. And you don't look as though you are very deep either. Strobes?


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#4 DivealotZA

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 03:36 AM

what settings are you shooting on? post the camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture etc. under the above images so we can have a look...

 

Strobes would be a massive help, but it also looks like there's a lot of ambient light.

 

Also - any chance you're fogging up before going in the water?



#5 underwater-aa

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 04:29 AM

I am not shooting with any strobes or artificial lighting. All taken in full light in the middle of day.

The Mantas - Im 4ft from them in less than 5m water.

The turtle - Maybe 2m away in 7m of water.

Reef - Within 4ft in 3m of water. 

I know strobes would help a lot, but it should not be hazy like this. When I picture that day on the reef with the great visibility we had, then look through my RAW file, its quite disappointing.

Just to give you an idea of the water conditions, here's a 4k video screenshot from my friends GoPro 6. He is on the surface around 5m up.

Attached Images

  • mantaGP.jpg
  • settings.jpg


#6 ChrisRoss

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 04:39 AM

I had a look at some of your images and they seem to have the classic flat histogram.  I processed your reef shot and here is what I got with a quick 2 min edit:

 

post-66374-0-91392800-1547617544.jpg

 

If there is limited tonal range in the scene on land or in water it'll look flat like the shots you posted, The classic way to treat things like the reef shot is with strobes and underexpose on the water to darken it.  I tried playing with your ray shots and they were not so amenable, looks like there's less red available to play with.  Possibly you should do better editing from a raw file.

 

What you do to get the shot above is a levels layer and then pull the black and white points in to just touch the curve of the histogram one each of the red green and blue channels.  If you are shooting ambient light it may help you to do a manual white balance in camera, it' should get you closer but you will likely still need a levels adjustment to get the histogram looking right.  Then do a curves tweak with a light s curve to increase contrast some more.  In Raw you would benefit from a light shadow recovery.  There's more advanced things you can do, but that's the basics to start with.


Edited by ChrisRoss, 16 January 2019 - 04:41 AM.


#7 underwater-aa

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 05:34 AM

 

 

Thanks for the info but I know how to edit, the problem is, all other cameras (without strobes) on trip are showing RAW files that look x 100 better than what is on my canon.

This is probably the clearest water I've shot in and it looks the same as my shots in just 3m viz. Something isn't right...



#8 TimG

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 05:54 AM

Any chance you might have mould on your lenses? You can see this on the lens as a "bloom". Seems a bit of a long-shot as even that would be unlikely to cause such an even haze - and you're using two lenses

 

Condensation in the camera body? Or, more likely, in the dome? Or on a filter? (but yeah, no filter on the Tokina)


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#9 kdgonzalez

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 08:35 AM

I have to agree that it may be a mixture of things.  Strobes would definitely help bring the colors back but im not sure if it would help with the haziness.  Some of your shots that have the worst haziness your shutter speed is below 1/250 which is probably introducing some motion and making it look worst.  I would make sure you have a good moisture absorbent and clean the lens/sensor and try again.



#10 Kraken de Mabini

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 09:05 AM

 Maybe test the camera on land, first in a well lit, then in a semi dark room, to make sure the camera and the lens are working correctly.

 

It may be the lens is foggy, take your camera with lens(es) to a camera shop to be examined.  My macro lenses looked a bit dusty,  the camera shop guy told me they needed thorough cleaning, fungus was starting to colonize one. 

 

Also go over the camera's settings, one by one, both the Menu's settings and the control buttons. 

Test on land, first in day light, then with a flash.  And underwater use strobes, they make a huge difference.

 

In other words, eliminate as many variables as possible, then test the remaining variables, one by one.   

Please keep us posted, we enjoy the kibitz.



#11 adamhanlon

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 01:26 PM

One of the issues you are having here is that you are simply too far away from your subjects. Lights is absorbed by water and the further away you are, the greater the distance that the light has to travel. Judging by the focal lengths you are shooting at, you are considerable further away than you need to be to get sharp images. I guess these are all with the 18-55mm. I'm not sure about this lenses' performance underwater, but would only be using focal lenths like this at the 18mm end. If I need more zoom...get closer!

 

To be blunt, strobes would have little effect if you are too far away either. Their light drops off pretty rapidly

 

Another issue is that of white balance. Whe shooting using ambient light, it helps to manually white balance at the subject's depth. 

 

Underwater color correction filters can help with this too.

 

Lastly, any RAW file will need editing in order to get the best from it. This is especially true when dealing with the way water absorbs light.

 

The screen grab from your friends GoPro footage is actually a case in point. GoPro footage is typically automatically corrected to some extent. 

 

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#12 ChrisRoss

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 03:50 PM

I had another look when I'm actually awake, and reviewed the histograms, here's some screen shots of the histograms for the Go-Pro shot, the manta and the reef:

 

Histgram_UWShots.jpg

A few things to note on the histograms, the GoPro shot is well balanced, though it has some highlight clipping, on the color histogram there is some red showing on the LHS - this is the cyan cast, but it's not bad.  Did the Go Pro have a red filter?  If not it has done a pretty decent job of colour balancing and only needs a light correction to remove the cyan cast.  This is because you have dteail in all three colours in the image spread across the histogram.

 

The two shots from the Canon are blocked up in the shadows, but on the colour histogram the red is mainly in the blocked up section on the LHS of the frame, it's worst on the Manta, the reef shot there is a secondary red peak which is the browns in the corals in the foreground of the shot.   The Manta there is no red to speak of anywhere in the image. That Red Peak on the LHS is the cyan cast that covers everything, the rest of the image, the blues and the greens only covers half the histogram so it looks like a flat dull image you would get in fog for example.  For an image to look strong and punchy it needs a full histogram and good contrast in the midtones. 

 

What you see when you open it in the raw conversion program is that programs interpretation of  the data in the raw file.  In most Raw programs it is based upon the the in camera JPEG settings.  I think the Histograms fully explain what you are seeing in the shots, but you need to look at the colour histograms to get the full story.   In the Manta shot for example there are no deep shadows only a complete lack of red which shows up as a cyan cast covering everything.

 

I would suggest you try a manual white balance.  Getting closer will also help, I see the rays were shot at 34mm FL,     Getting the same framing at 18mm would be better.  The light comes from the surface and the less water it travels through to reach you the better, if you are closer then that improves things.  Notice your reef shot is better than than the other images and has some red details hidden in it.  You were at 21mm for that  so you were closer.  You can see this in the shot I processed.  The foreground is balanced and fades to cyan in the background, the closer parts of the shot have more red light, purely because the light travels through less water.



#13 stilly

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 04:08 PM

 

Thanks for the info but I know how to edit, the problem is, all other cameras (without strobes) on trip are showing RAW files that look x 100 better than what is on my canon.

This is probably the clearest water I've shot in and it looks the same as my shots in just 3m viz. Something isn't right...

Every camera analyzes the scene the exposures a little differently and the output can be completely different. Whether the other people on the trip used strobe or not, it would help! There may be some exposure details set incorrectly on your camera. Playing with your levels & curves can also do a lot of good. Although having the best default image from your camera would of course be the best option. Are you going with AWB or a default setting? I would start from scratch if you can't find anything and go back to the default settings first. With all the variables on today's cameras, sometimes you have to go one by one to figure out what it is. I'm a canon shooter as well...I shoot with a 5D Mark IV and although I almost always shoot with strobe and always RAW. I tweak every shot to bring the curves and levels til it is as good as can be. I think that would improve the quality of your shots dramatically. Also, see if your friends are shooting RAW or JPG. RAW will give you a flatter overall exposure which can look flat or possibly even hazy without strobes. JPGs might initially look better on your camera monitor but you don't have the ability to clean them up like you do in RAW.


Edited by stilly, 16 January 2019 - 04:24 PM.


#14 dreifish

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 04:36 PM

I am not shooting with any strobes or artificial lighting. All taken in full light in the middle of day.

The Mantas - Im 4ft from them in less than 5m water.

The turtle - Maybe 2m away in 7m of water.

Reef - Within 4ft in 3m of water. 

I know strobes would help a lot, but it should not be hazy like this. When I picture that day on the reef with the great visibility we had, then look through my RAW file, its quite disappointing.

Just to give you an idea of the water conditions, here's a 4k video screenshot from my friends GoPro 6. He is on the surface around 5m up.

 

Based on the focal length in those images, I'd say you're really overestimating how close you are to your subjects. 4ft away from the mantas at 33mm (i.e. 50mm full frame equivalent) would not be able to fit a whole manta in the frame. Maybe if you had been shooting with the Tokina at 10mm, yes. But with a 50mm lens? No way. If I had to guess, you're at least 3-5 meters away. This matters of course because all that water kills your contrast and resolution.

 

Other possible factors:

  • Your lens is fogging up inside the housing?
  • The focus is off? Hard to say based these results, as the loss of resolution could come from other factors

Looking at the GoPro image, I wouldn't say the water is all that clear either -- rather, the perceived increase in sharpness and contrast you see from the GoPro is at least partially attributable to different processing, and partially attributable to your friend having to get closer in order to fit the whole manta in the frame with the GoPro's wider lens. The GoPro is boosting the contrast quite a bit.

 

Do you have any shots with the Tokina 10-17 you could show us? Have you shot 18-55 on land? Maybe there's some issue with the lens itself. 



#15 ChrisRoss

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 06:08 PM

Distance is fairly easy to work out, if the Manta is the same one in the Go Pro footage, scaling to the human looks like it might be 3m across.  A 50mm lens (full frame equiv) has a 40°field of view horizontally so to fill the frame horizontally at 50mm equiv you need to be about 4m away if shooting straight down on it.   The Manta doesn't fill the frame so probably 1 more metre for a total of 5m distance from the subject.  Of course the 3m is a guess you'd be closer to a 2m manta.  By the same logic the Go-Pro is probably a bit closer than 5m as they have a very wide lens.


Edited by ChrisRoss, 16 January 2019 - 06:11 PM.


#16 diggy

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 11:47 PM

Manual white balance, A magic red filter behind the lens and getting closer would solve these issues. Most have already suggested this above. Also set the the color temperature/kelvin to a higher level to get more reds without strobe.

 

Cheers,

 

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#17 underwater-aa

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 12:02 AM

Sorry but I'm not far enough for it to cause this much haze. 

You can see these two turtle shots, same dive different turtles. You can tell which is from my camera, the shot from the Sony is also deeper and further away from subject than I was.

 

I've shot with all different variants of white balance, but usually stick between 6300-7000 Kelvin.

The Sony rig also uses NO strobes or artificial lighting.

 


 

Attached Images

  • turtles.jpg


#18 ChrisRoss

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 05:16 AM

What software are you editing with, that can make some differences?   Your turtle shot is better than the others you've posted and corrects relatively well in post and you are much closer,  though it is hard to compare with the Sony shot which is quite a bit darker than your exposure, your water looks particularly murky on this one.   I noticed though that if I correct in levels, and this results in your turtle  ending up at similar tonality to the Sony turtle, the water in your (canon) turtle shot is a lot lighter than the water in the Sony shot, which seems unusual.  To me the shots look like the sun is behind you for the Canon turtle and in front of the photographer for the Sony turtle, which can make a difference as well.  Darker water doesn't look so murky.

 

There definitely is an underlying colour balance issue on the other shots, this turtle shot however does not have the blocked up reds on the LHS like the manta shot so you can so something with it and it looks relatively decent, compared to the manta shots which are way off on colour balance and effectively you can't do a lot with them.   

 

I don't believe you've posted any shots with the 10-17, how does your water compare on that lens?   That would allow you to rule the lens being an issue in or possibly out.   It would also be helpful to see a full EXIF.  If you change settings on your save for web you should be able to leave the EXIF embedded and I can read it,  Also are you using both lenses in the Nauticam 8.5" Acrylic dome. with the recommended extension for each lens?  Assume the dome is in good shape with dome shade installed.   If you have the chance try shooting a section of reef from the same spot at the same time as one of the Sony's using the same settings, to get an apples/apples comparison.



#19 stilly

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 05:59 AM

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=63004



#20 drywh

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 11:24 PM

fogging up inside the  acrylic dome. water temperature is low







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