Here are few macro examples taken on a single dive during the week with the Nikon D500 with 60mm Macro and 1.4x Kenko teleconverter. Unfortunately the conditions were better suited to wide angle and local visability had cleared up and lots of Grey Nurse Sharks coming right up to you, but managed to find some interesting macro subjects.
Highlight was finding a large Yellow Kneed Sea Spider.
Late Feb early March is prime summer conditions at Byron Bay. Water temp is around 24-26c and generally its the best time of year for Viz. This time of year we get large numbers of Leopard Sharks (aka Zebra Sharks) and Manta Rays.
I personally would look at travelling to Byron Bay via South West Rocks from Sydney. SWR is about 4-5 hours drive north of Sydney and Byron Bay is another 4-5 hours North of SWR (or 2.5 hours drive south of Brisbane). SWR has Grey Nurse Sharks in numbers and also has a sea cave which is 120m long which goes straight through the island of Fish Rock which is the local dive site. Water temp is about the same as Byron with 24-26c and vis can get up to 40m+. This year they had schooling Hammerheads. This drive will take you through alot of pretty countryside for the non diver and give you the chance to dive a couple of the best dive sites in Australia and gives you more options to choose from if the weather goes bad and not having all your eggs in one basket.
Diving both SWR (with SWR Dive Centre) and in Byron Bay is that the dive shops go out everyday during that time of the year depending on the weather. Alot of other shops on the East Coast do limited week day diving or only weekend.
I think the weight issue is really only for those that need to pack lite for travel. As I do 95% of my shooting locally so I dont need to compromise my setup for size and weight restrictions. When I do travel I have started to travel more smarter with ditching the large pelican case and packing the housing/ports in carry on (Bubble wrapped and in a padded cooler bag) and things like strobes, arms, and rechargers in my check in baggage. Most flights out of Australia these days offer 40kg check in and 7 kg carry on (even on the budget airlines).
I find the weight of a DSLR setup underwater not an issue as I use bouyancy arms and use a 8 inch dome to get a perfectly neutral bouyancy. The the case of the D500 and Aquatica housing I will have to add car wheel stick-on trim weights which they use to balance the wheel to get that perfect weight as at the moment the setup is a fraction positive.
Anders I will weigh my housing on my bathroom scales tomorrow to give you an idea.
Anders I weight my housing with my baggage scales and for the housing alone without viewfinder but with grip handles and vacuum valve weighed 3.39kg (compared with the smaller Ad7000 housing which weighed 2.69kg). The housing with Aquaview viewfinder, 8 inch dome, #18456 extension ring , D500 with Tokina 10-17mm with zoom gear weighed a total of 6.54kg.
Underwater my D500 setup was a fraction more bouyant than the same setup with my D7000. I will need to add wheel trim weights to fine tune.
If your looking at getting new battery packs I suggest the Ikelite Li-Ion packs as they are lighter, quicker to recycle, and hold more charge. The are 3900mAh. The only downside are they take longer to recharge when flat and you have to buy a new recharger as the older Ikelite chargers dont recharge the Li-Ion.
The Ikelite Ds161 movie "video" lights are underpowered and dont have enough width in their beam. The output of the LED "movie" light is 500lumens and is only really suitable for a focusing light for macro stills or possibly macro video. I use two iTorch video pro 6 video lights with my Ikelite Ds161's as they have 2400 lumens, red, and UQ light outputs. I would personally buy the DS160 and used the saved money towards a pair of good video lights instead.
If your doing alot of travelling the Ikelites can be a pain but I prefer them for shooting wideangle which is what I mostly do. On the other hand if your travelling alot and shooting macro I suggest you have a look at the Inon z240 as they are cheaper and much lighter strobe and more suited for macro work. The money you save on the inon's can go towards again a set of good video lights.
I have been using Ikelite DS161"Movie" strobes with my Aquatica AD7000 housing for sometime now. I mainly shoot wide angle and prefer the hard wired Ikelites as they are powerful, have a warmer light output, and I think they are slightly quicker between shots than opitcal fibre connected Inon's Z240's which my friends use. My Ds161's have now had the new Li-Ion battery packs which make the setup slightly lighter but has also increased the amount of shots you can take with a battery pack (often didnt have to change the battery pack for the day). The "Movie" LED light in the Ds161 is a joke and isnt worth using and I use 2x I-torch video pro 6 as my video lights as these little lights pump out 2400 lumens each. I like my DS161 as they are hard wired in and can shoot at 1/320th which you cant with opitcal fibre connected strobes like Inons.
The downside to Ikelite DS161 are:
Cost......they are more expensive to buy new than Inon Z240
Batteries require dedicated battery packs from ikelite and not normal AA batteries for the Inon Z240's
Size and weight of the Ds161 are alot more than the smaller and lighter Z240's which will be an isue if your travelling alot.
cost more to get them optically connected than the Inon Z240's as you have to buy the new opitcal connection for iIkelite strobes.
So Honestly if your doing mainly macro I would suggest the Inon Z240's and a good video light over the Ikelite DS161.
I carry my rig in a cooler bag on the boat and between dives and just after the dives, I dunk my setup in a fresh water tub and press all the buttons. Maybe after a week or two of heavy diving I soak my setup without camera and lens in a tub of warm water with a small amount of white vinegar for a hour or so. After that I dry the housing and use some Silicon spray (hand pump style) and spray into the notches of the control buttons and manually work the buttons. I then pull apart the ports and domes and give everything a good clean and replace any o-rings which look dodgey. After that I vaccum the housing again and leave it over night to double check that I have good seal.
I never leave my rig in a rinse tub on liveaboards and most times I just quick rinse and fold my setup and put in my cooler bag out of the way, in the shade and on the floor so it wont fall if the boat takes one over the front.
For me personally the Nikon 10-24 isnt wide enough. The angle of view of the Nikon is 109 degrees @ 10mm and 61 degrees @ 24mm. Compared to the Tokina 10-17mm which has an angle of view of 180 degrees @ 10mm and 100 degrees @ 17mm.
Unfortunately the D3200 doesnt have a builtin focusing motor which rules out most of the AF fisheye's so all you limited to is rectangular wide angle. I believe when you get a camera which supports a Fisheye you will be using that more often than a rectangular wide (unless your doing alot of wreck photos). So I would save money and compare the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 and put the savings towards the Tokina 10-17mm at a later date.
It basically started out as what I do almost everyday and that is go out and take photos/video for myself and for the Diveshop I also work for (Sundive, Byron Bay). In recent weeks we started to see you annual aggregation of Grey Nurse Shark which move into Julian Rocks Marine park over the Winter and Spring months. With the Grey Nurse Shark here on the East Coast of Australia being classsed as a Critically endangered species we are fortunate enough to get close interaction with good numbers of the Sharks in a small area around Julian Rocks. I have seen how even in recent years the numbers of sharks that visit increase from only a handful to numbers which are hard to count (as you can see with the video clip posted above showing the amount of Sharks in a un cropped 5minute clip). From my posting of Video and stills on Sundives Facebook page which also included shots of GNS which had large stainless steel circle hooks:
From these stills and video above the staff from Sea World on the Gold Coast decided that they would come down and check if the animals are still in the area. Couplr of dives later and we confirmed that the two GNS where infact still in the area and the rescue mission was given the go ahead for the next day. Here is a few photos of that event taken from my iphone as I had my camera housed as a backup camera.
Heading down to Julian rocks onboard the Sea World research and rescue boat.
Back of the boat waiting for divers to return after the first attempt of capture.
2.4m Male captured after a 10 minute fight from being lassoed
Shark with a stainless circle hook from commerical long line fishers
The size of the hook removed after bolt cutters where used
It was actually an amazing story to have one of your photos start something like this rescue and to be able to be there through the whole event.
Simon I believe you wont see many Aquatica users with the Zen mini dome as they normally, like myself buy the Aquatica mini dome because its basically the same thing but $200 cheaper and its made for your housing.
I do a bit of video on my Nikon D7000, mainly with the Tokina 10-17mm. The Tokina is very forgiving with focusing especially if you shooting in at 10mm. I leave the AF on AF-S and what I do is focus through the viewfinder first and then turn on liveview for the video. Trying to use AF through liveview will make it hunt and it bascially isnt worth bothering with.
Here is a video I knocked up with the Tokina 10-17mm and the D7000 using the same method........(watch in HD so you can see how sharp it is)