I've been diving for a few years, 52 dives mostly in Vancouver and Maui. I've been diving with my gopro hero 3 (no tray or lighting), and have some fantastic footage of big stuff like turtles, eels, octopus, etc. on good visibility days. I've gotten pretty good night-dive footage as well holding a dive light in flood mode with one hand, and the gopro in another. I have an Olympus TG-2, but I don't have a housing, so haven't brought it out diving.
However, my favourite things to see underwater are nudibranchs, and I haven't been able to get any decent footage with my current setup. I was lucky enough to see harlequin shrimp a few weeks ago (diving in Maui with Mike Severns) and my gopro footage was blurry - that's when I decided I want to get into underwater photography and focus on taking pictures of small stuff underwater.
Above ground, I love taking photos but I've never ventured beyond a point-and-shoot, and nowadays I take all my pics with my iPhone. So I'm thinking I should start simple with underwater gear, and then gradually upgrade equipment as my skills improve over the years.
I've been doing some research, and to get better shots of small stuff it seems I have 3 options for shooting small stuff:
1) Get a housing for my Olympus TG-2 (seems hard to find cause it's an older model). Start out using the built-in flash, and then look to add a strobe with a tray / arm as the next step.
2) Get a macro lens for my GoPro Hero 3. Is there much difference between a video light and a good dive light? I suppose I'd want to get a tray and arm for the light to make filming easier.
3) Buy a new camera and housing. Maybe mirrorless? Start out using the built-in flash, and then look to add a strobe with a tray / arm as a next step.
I'm leaning towards #3, I know that this is something I'm going to want to keep doing and improving, so might as well get off to a good start.
Any thoughts / advice would be greatly appreciated!