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..
I agree. Above water I've gotten some of my best images with the 17-40. The focusing distance has been an issue already for me. I know the tokina and sigma have a better focusing distance so I will check them out. I don't have an issue with my buoyancy I've been an active diver since I was 16 I just have an issue with getting close to my subjects without scaring them away. I also try to avoid using strobes because I feel it must place added stress to the creatures and my primary goal is always to enjoy and not harm. Thanks again for all of the help, I will try and get a few dives in this week and post some pictures to see if I have made any progress.
Hi Jim, sorry, I must have misunderstood your first post, I thought that you meant that you were new to underwater photography and I took it for granted that you were also a new diver, if you feel comfortable with your buoyancy, then by all means, go for a fisheye, they are a whole lot of fun!
I guess the whole scaring thing is a matter of learning how to read the "body language" of the animals you shoot, like turtles, when they are eating, you can get really close without them caring one bit Anyways, make sure you post some more pictures when you've done a few dives with you new gear, will be interesting to see what comes of it!
I'd have to agree with the other guys, you have to get closer, a lot closer, with a focal range of 40mm its tempting to just zoom in rather than get as close as possible (without damaging the environment of course). The 17-40L is a pretty awesome lens, and you should be able to get some real crackers with it, just have a bit of a google around, a lot of great pictures were taken underwater with this lens.
I would recommend that you wait a little before you go out and buy new lens, extensions and possibly a new dome, if your buoyancy is so that you cant get close enough with the 17-40, then a new lens (fisheye) is only gonna make the subject smaller in your picture, a new lens is not going to help on your buoyancy control.
Make sure you have excellent buoyancy skills and then see what you think if your 17-40, if you are feeling that you can't get close enough because of the minimum close focus of the 17-40, then you can change your setup, but if its because of bouyancy then it doesn't make much sense.
It might be a good idea to go with your local dive club to the pool, bring your camera, and practice there once a week (you don't have to do a course to learn it but if you have a good instructor who knows about photography then it can sometimes help) after a few sessions you should be getting the hang of it!
Anyways, thats my 2 pennies worth, and as Tim said, it could be a whole lot worse!