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Lens choice for Maldivian current diving

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#1 MortenHansen


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Posted 07 November 2013 - 04:32 AM

Hi all wetpixelers!


I am going to go on my first ever trip to the Maldives (liveaboard heading down deep south), the name of the game is sharks and currents.


The thing I am wondering is which lenses to use on strong current channel dives with sharks/eagle rays etc?

I would like to use my Tokina10-17 behind my minidome but I am worried it might be too wide?


Also, does it make sense to bring strobes on those dives, we will be going +40m so on one hand it would be nice, if the animals do not come that close then I will leave the strobes on the boat as I want to minimize my drag in the current.


For those of you who have done this type of diving any other photographic advice would be much appreciated as well! 


I use a canon 7D (1.6 sensor) 


Best regards, Morten

#2 Bent C

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:13 AM

There are without doubt much more experienced south Maldives divers than me that can chime in, but for what it is worth, I was down there on a two weeks trip in April. I used my EF 8-15 fisheye with a 1,4 extender, and that was almost to wide for the encounters I had. The sharks certainly did not come close enough to even consider using the 8-15 bare. I used no strobes on the shark dives. On one dive, a group I wasn´t following seemed to get close encounters, but as none had a camera in that group, it is hard to evaluate how close the sharks actually were. With regard to the current, we used reef hooks on the shark dives, and there would have been no real issues using the strobes if the sharks had come close enough.

On more reefy dives though, the 8-15 bare was fine. There are some amazing hard coral formations there that are worth doing. And some turtles that could´t care less about people.

Cheers, Bent
Bent Christensen
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#3 MortenHansen


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Posted 08 November 2013 - 03:07 PM

Hi Bent,

Thanks for your input! I am seriously considering leaving my 7D on board for those dives and just bring my G11, it seems that the focal length of a compact would be ideal for those dives? Even though I will be kicking myself when that shark cruises by at a meters distance.. 

#4 tdpriest


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Posted 08 November 2013 - 05:08 PM

I'm planning to take my 15mm, a 1.5x teleconverter and my 16-35mm to the Maldives in a few weeks: shooting FX. I'm hoping that one close encounter is better than half a dozen more distant opportunities.

#5 JimG


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Posted 10 November 2013 - 02:02 AM

Hi Morten

My experience in the Maldives is that sharks generally are pretty nervous and hard to get near. Mantas are much more approachable - or rather they will approach you.

Currents - strength and direction - are quite unpredictable even to the guides so you have to take pot luck on that.

Very much enjoyed my stay with you at Siddhartha in September - you looked after me really well. Have a great trip.

Jim Greenfield - Canon 5D Mark 3/Aquatica
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#6 bear35


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Posted 10 November 2013 - 04:58 AM



If you are diving Addu and Huvadhoo areas for the most part you will not get that close to the sharks.  they are quite shy although having said that if you stay calm and in one place (take a reef hook) you often have chances for closer encounters.You will need something wide for the Mantas and there are Whalesharks about too(if your dive guides are good they know where and how to find them) If you are going to be diving at Foammulah, you may get closer encounters but again the sharks are shy and don't see divers very often here. I have a micro 4/3 set up and the 9-18 lens was ok, however most of the time used at 18mm for the sharks. If you go here and the dive guides know what they are doing you are in for a treat although there are strong currents and you may need to go quite deep.

Keep an eye out on the channel crossings for Whales and Dolphins, the last time we were there we saw 1000s of Melon Headed Whales and got in the water with them for a short time so make sure your camera is handy and ready to go!