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Posts posted by divrndeep

  1. The 90's was a long time ago. Baja has gotten tougher in the past few years. If you are stopped, you will pay 16% of the value that the Customs agent researches on his smart phone for your camera gear. The limit for tourists is $3,000 worth of camera equipment for personal use. Most UW housings ALONE are worth more that $3,000. If you show your actual purchase receipts you will most likely pay 16% of that retail value to use your own gear anyway. It is not worth it for me. Until the dive industry takes action against the Mexican customs extortion fees, I will not dive there.

  2. On 11/10/2019 at 5:22 AM, Pajjpen said:

    Was just about to ask this. I usually fly into Mexico City first and spend a day there then head out to Cabo.  Haven’t had any problems this way but then again it has been a few years since I was there.

    also, anyone knows if this applies for uw monitor housings as well? Could end up being very expensive.

    Flying into Cabo or La Paz via Mexico City does not guarantee you immunity from Customs camera fees. Some of my friends were charged over $600 on their UW housings in order to be allowed to enter Baja Mexico with their gear. They flew into Mexico City from Switzerland, so they were a captive group that had to pay or go back home. It is truly bad business for Baja and the dive industry needs to take notice and take action!

  3. 12 hours ago, calbeardiver said:

    I was on a Nautilus charter the 2nd week of December.   After a crappy sequence of broken planes, got there 8 hours late at 11pm and hit the red button.   However, they only fixated on the bag with the dive gear and simply asked if we only had 2 sets of regulators, then let us on our way.   Not sure if time of day played into it - we were among the first to leave the baggage area.   I had a thinktank, but kept the nauticam housing for my gh4 in a carry on laptop bag, though both were put in the xray.   I opted not to bring a drone, as a mix of not wanting the extra 3lbs, and not wanting to deal with possible customs hassle for limited shot potential on the trip.  

    However, 2 guests on the charter were tagged - in one case, got the green light, but the agent saw the nauticam logo on a bag.  When he presented the Mexican regs as instructed by Nautilus, they got testy with him.   Ended up deciding each of these folks was good for an $80 shakedown.  

    If the worst case were under a hundred, it might be easy to ignore the concern, but it's 16% of deemed value and many have been hit for 300+.    I'm with you in thinking there are plenty of other places to visit.   

    Fellow divers I know from Switzerland, Spain, USA, United Kingdom, etc were slammed with over $600 fees since they had nice camera gear with them. Some divers flew into La Paz, others flew into Cabo, One man who responded to my post on another website stated he was extorted by customs when he drove a car down to Baja to dive. He was quite irritated that he had to pay $300 for his own personal, amateur photo gear. 

  4. On 12/26/2019 at 3:14 PM, dinwa said:

    I just had a trip at the end of November and flew into Cabo San Lucas (SJD) from the US.  I have been using a carry on Pelican Case and feel they targeted the case.  I was pulled out of line for it and they demanded $400 for my Aquatica AD7100 housing and 8" dome.  After googling and determining it wasn't for sale anymore, I was charged $96US.  I was also told the value of the items I am bringing in cannot be greater than $3,000.00 or they would be confiscated.  Possibly, that's BS but is what they told me.  They also told me they are looking for underwater housings + dome port and drones.  If you have a drone, you also need to have a US FAA license to operate it.  This was not the way to start my vacation.  On my way out of the country my Pelican case was searched twice (once checking in and again before boarding the bus that takes you to the plane).  I had my dive weights, stubby screwdrivers and a selfie stick for my action camera confiscated.  The selfie stick was my fault as I didn't pay attention to Mexico having different carry-on requirements than the US.

      Sorry you had to pay, but they are definitely targeting any photo diver they can find to extort more money. They are not just targeting Americans. They have been stopping vacationers from around the globe. If you don’t pay the extortion fees, they will not let you enter the country. 
     They basically have you where they want you. No vacationer is going to risk losing a $4,000  “already paid for trip” by not paying the extortion fee for their camera gear. 

    • Like 1

  5. Tim G,

      I only know that both La Paz & Cabo San Lucas airports are stopping divers and checking their camera gear. Many European divers I met in La Paz last week were also made to pay for their housings. Your Subal housing has a big price tag, so unless you can show documentation of it's current depreciated worth, you will pay $632 US dollars or 12,264 Mexican Pesos, or 574 Euros to be permitted to enter the country with your Subal housing. It's something I hope that the large diving and UW photographer industries can influence in reversing.

      Before my trip I was ready to purchase a new UW housing for my new Nikon Z7, but I held off since I did not want to be extorted for an astronomical fee. My UW set up that I brought along instead was a 7 year old Olympus EM-5 with plastic PT-EP08 housing which I felt would not raise an eyebrow. It's plastic for Christ's sake. I had to pay almost $50 to enter Baja Mexico with it. A Nikon Z7 housing runs between $1,700-$3,600 which translates to $272- $576 dollars in fees just to use my own camera equipment for a week. This nonsense needs to stop I think. The UW camera shop in town just lost out on what would have been a good $5,000 sale with the Z7 housing, ports, etc. I'm not about to buy a new UW system if I have to keep paying for it when I travel!!

    Again, I hope the dive/photo industries get onboard & raise hell about this extortion.

  6. TravelDave,

    2 camera bodies and one Go pro might be interpreted by customs as 3 cameras. If you can, dig up the old receipts, bring them and also show the depreciation over the years for the items. That is what I would do next time if I REALLY needed to go to Baja again. I think I will wait to return until Baja realizes that no vacationing diver/photographer will want to visit as long as those kinds of extortion fees are in place for vacationers.

  7. I would like to see how the dive community responds to this high tariff before I ever go back. I paid close to $50 in fees for a 7 year old Olympus plastic housing for my little mirrorless Olympus EM-5.

    I'm shooting with a Z7 now and this Mexican Photographer's tax stopped me from purchasing a housing for it for this trip. I used my old Olympus set up instead which was not ideal, but I'm not about to pay out money on high extortion fees, so the UW camera housing industry just lost a big sale. 

    If you can cancel your Baja destination to go somewhere else, that would be one way to avoid the UW housing fees. If enough divers divert from Baja, it will inevitably affect the money stream. The dive industry there may take notice and plead their case to the government to cease the extortion..  

    Otherwise, spend $$ on an international carry-on ThinkTank suitcase which is soft sided, and put your housing & cameras in that. As long as they do not inspect your bag at customs, you may be able to fly under the radar, but be prepared with your credit card in Cabo san Lucas or La Paz if they look in your bag.

    • Like 1

  8. ATTENTION AMATEUR & PRO UW PHOTOGRAPHERS planning a trip to Baja Mexico:

      Now that I have returned from Baja California, Mexico, here is what I know 1st hand. If you fly into Cabo San Lucas or into La Paz, Mexico, expect to pay a fee if the Customs agents stop you and notice that you have an underwater housing. The agent will Google the housing to see it’s worth, then demand that you pay 16% of that price. Many new DSLR UW housings are $4,000 or more. You will pay $640 US dollars to use that fancy new housing in Baja Mexico. The customs agent will also show you an official document in English that states you may bring in 2 cameras and the accoutrements involved, but the underwater housing is a fee by Mexican law.

      I ran into a pro photographer I know who happened to be staying in the same hotel. He was leading a small underwater photo tour in La Paz. The vacationers were all from Switzerland and they all told me that they had to pay exorbitant fees for their camera housings and their video housings at La Paz airport even though they were all amateurs themselves.

    Customs officials are targeting underwater photographers at the airport in Cabo San Lucas and in La Paz. If you have a hard-sided protective travel case for your gear they will stop you.  The customs agent said I was allowed 2 cameras and the things that go along with that, BUT an underwater housing must be taxed by Mexican customs laws even if you are not a professional. He showed me the document in writing about this customs law.

      I told the officer that I was NOT a pro photographer, but the document he showed me specifies underwater housings as a taxable item. I told the officer that my housing was old and maybe worth $200 which is true since it is about 7 years old. He got out his cell phone and looked up the model name and number (Olympus PT-EP08 UW case for E-M5) and said it was worth at least $300. In order for me to enter the country and use MY OWN underwater camera case for personal use (I do not earn a living by photography nor do I sell my photos online or in another way) I had to pay $50 US dollars to keep my housing with me.

    FYI: Customs officers in Cabo San Lucas airport take credit cards for this "Photographer's Fee".

      Even though Cabo/La Paz is the nearest warm water diving destination to my home, this will be my last vacation here for underwater photography. If you have a nondescript, soft-sided carry-on suitcase that you can carry all of you underwater housings in, then do it. If you have to check your underwater housings through with a hard case and your dive gear is packed in a bag with a diving insignia on it, they will stop you. If they find an underwater camera housing in you luggage, the Mexican authorities will nail you for 16% of the value of that housing at the price that they find online.

    Customs UW Housing charge.jpg

    • Like 2

  9. Looking to upgrade from your current UW camera system?


    I have a sweet Nikon D200 DSLR pro system for sale.

    If you would like to buy a complete, gently used & well maintained underwater camera set up, but can’t afford retail prices, then this is the way to get into

    Pro DSLR underwater photography.

    I bought everything brand new from Backscatter. Package price was over $12,000 new.

    Nikon D200 DX camera with the Sea & Sea UW housing has all the components needed for Macro & WA shooting. All equipment has been handled with extreme care, regularly maintained, in excellent working order, and has never flooded. Housing was fully serviced/pressure checked by Backscatter photo, and all o-rings and seals were replaced. Package includes all necessary ports, extenders, and gears to support wide angle & macro photography. This package INCLUDES the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom lens.

    DSLR UW Photography Package:


    Nikon D200 camera, compact flashcard & battery + charger. $1,400

    Sea & Sea 200DX housing $4,000

    Sea & Sea Dome port $700

    Sea & Sea Macro port $320

    Sea & Sea base rings $400

    Macromate Flip Lens for super-macro shots $600

    Tokina 10-17 WA lens $700

    Zoom gear for 10-17mm lens $220

    Focus gear for 105mm lens $265

    Ultralight T Groove Base Adapters (2) $50

    Hartenberger focus lamp & universal charger kit $1,000

    2 Hartenberger batteries & 2 bulbs $200

    Sea & Sea 45 degree Viewfinder $1,000

    Inon D2000 S-TTL strobes (2) $1,380

    Sea & Sea 5 pin synch cords (2) $250

    Macro & Dome port covers $98

    **Includes original manuals.


    All that is needed to complete this set up is Ultralight extension arms, and a pelican case!

    Of course you’ll need the105 macro lens, but most of us have that already.


    I will sell this entire package for only $6,200. Then you can start shooting like a pro now.


    Karen Schofield


  10. post-16516-1334287447.jpg


    Come by & view my photography on display this month! It would be great to see some of you there!



    Davenport Gallery

    April 5th-28th, 2012

    (Open Thurs-Sun 11-5)

    450 HWY 1 Davenport, Ca

    (located next to Roadhouse)

    Gallery: 831-421-0505

    Artists Reception on April 14th

    From 4-7 pm. Hors d’oeuvres

    & wine to be served

    Underwater Photography by:

    Karen Schofield

  11. Sure you can! You're probably looking at the uncompressed file size in your image editing program. Try saving the image with the criteria and then clicking on the saved image icon and: if you're on a mac ... apple+i will show you the info menu and you can see the file size... or from a pc, right click on the icon and go to properties and it will show you the file size.


    Good luck





    Criminey !!


    I was under the impression that reducing the image in RAW or PSD (under Image tab), saving the reduced photo, then opening the newly reduced JPG file would show me the reduced size I had just created. It is not doing what I had expected it to do. I was opening the reduced file in CS3, & viewing Image size tab rather than looking at image info with double-click or apple + I. I would not have intuitively gone that route since changing the image size seems like it should show up in the "Image Size" tab. Ya know?

    Thanks for that tiny but hugely important piece of the puzzle.



  12. When trying to reduce Raw image files into a specific dimension for a photo contest online, I find it impossible to have the longest length at the required 2000-6000 pixels and simultaneously have the entire file at 5 MB or less. How is this done?


    I cropped, changed to PSD, JPG, tried Bicubics/ Bilinears, changed dpi, pixels, cut it to 8 x 10, YOU NAME IT. You cannot have the longest length of the photo between 2000 and 6000 pixels AND have a 5 MB file or less to submit. I have tried every combination for over 4 hours.............no luck yet.


    Here are the rules that I must follow:


    8/6/2008 © NCUPS - 2 -


    Digital Entries:

    1 Images may be burned onto a writable CD or DVD and mailed along with the signed entry form and correct

    payment. We will not accept email entries. Alternatively, entrants may upload still images using the UPLOAD

    link on the NCUPS SEA web page.

    2 Write your name and e-mail address on the CD or DVD.

    3 All digital entries need to be in JPEG format.

    4 Scanned images are accepted.

    5 All images will be judged on a large monitor and should be sized to be between 2000 and 6000 pixels in

    the longest dimension. Please limit your images to a maximum file size of 5,000KB (5MB).

    6 It is recommended that images be saved in the highest JPEG quality for optimum viewing.

    7 Images should be saved in AdobeRGB 1998 or sRGB color space.

    8 File name format:

    Skill level: nov or adv (nov = novice, adv = advanced)

    Category: macro, wa, ca, mc, cre (wa = wide-angle, ca = California, mc = marine

    conservation, cre = creative)

    Entrant name: first name last name (ex. janesmith)

    Number 1-5 if entering more than one entry per category.

    File name example: adv_macro_janesmith1.jpeg

    (Underscore between file name components and use lower case.)

    9 Images without an entry form will not be judged.

    10 There will be novice and advanced skill levels in the digital categories and one skill level in the creative

    digital category.





    Novice: Any amateur photographer who has been taking underwater photographs for two years

    or less, and has not won ANY best of, or first places in a major photography competition.

    A novice may enter the advanced skill level if they so desire.


    Advanced: Any other amateur photographer.

  13. > Both Pelican cases made it home, but the Aquatica rig was no longer in the case nor were the ports, gears, or strobes.

    Be warned if you are traveling with your rigs in one of these cases. They must scream "TAKE ME, I can be sold on eBay".<


    I am paranoid after reading this post.

    I am going to PNG in 18 days. How can I pack a Nikon D-200, lenses, strobes, L & M Titan housing and all that junk as a carry on? I have the Pelican 1610 case chock full.



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