I am new to underwater photography, but not new to the ocean. I recently graduated with a B.S. degree in Biology and will embark this year on several trips around the world as I dive into a several research projects. I focus on marine microbiology and coral reef ecology and virology. I am in the market for a new camera and I have no idea where to begin. Any help and advice is so appreciated.
I have some grant money that I can use to buy a camera, but my max budget is around $1500. I am going to Tubbataha and Palau in two weeks for a dive trip, and need something that will help me photograph the reefs. I will also begin research on manta rays this year, and I will need something capable of taking sufficient ID shots of their bellies. I realize having a strobe would be helpful, but I don't think I can afford that right now.
So far, I am looking at buying used gear, the Olympus TG-5 with housing and wide angle lens, and the Canon GX7ii with housing and wide angle lens.