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Hello all, I’ve been playing around with the Panasonic Lumix LX10 (LX15 / LX9 in some locales) for underwater video, and finally got around to collecting some of these test shots in a reel. I’m sharing this test footage because there’s not much compact camera based underwater video footage around, and I think it might be of interest to people looking into compact cameras for underwater filming. I added some captions / subs which can be activated for information on shooting depth, light and equipment used, as well as site and conditions. The conditions were far from ideal in most cases (working as an instructor-guide, I can only bring the camera when I'm not leading a dive), too deep, bad viz etc, but I found it interesting to experiment with this compact camera, push it a little to see what could be extracted from the resulting footage. This LX10 test footage was almost exclusively ambient light, in Japan and Palau (Micronesia) where I currently work, mostly with a Keldan Spectrum SF -1.5 filter gel, and an Inon UWL-H100 wide conversion wet lens. I first used a generic wet red filter (Howshot) on the UWL-H100 (not happy with the colour balance) before switching to a far superior (Auto) Magic Filter gel taped directly on the Lumix lens (inside the housing), then finally to a Keldan Spectrum SF -1.5 filter gel, also taped on the lens, which is now my primary filter. Magic Filter and Keldan came really close, but I found the Keldan Spectrum to offer more options for working in post. I would say the main issue I had with the Keldan filter on this camera is the water column blues, which, under certain light / shooting condition, can feel a little too vivid, as in the shallow second-last clip, which would require more desaturation / luma work in post to make it less day-glo... While most of the footage is shot in ambient light (which is my favourite way of shooting), some of the macro footage was shot using artificial lights (2x Archon D11V-II 1000 lumen video lights), with an Inon UCL-165M67 close-up lens (and a homemade quadripod on the nudibranch shots). The camera is housed in a Nauticam NA-LX10 housing, with a Nauticam tray, and float arms to compensate the over -1.5kg negative buoyancy in salt water... The camera is shooting in 4K at 30fps (no zooming in needed to avoid vignetting with the Inon UWL-H100, thanks to the camera’s 36mm crop) , in manual exposure, using backbutton focus (focus peaking for macro), and manually white balancing every 5m or so using a WhiBal white-balance card. The picture profile used is Cinelike D (CineD - there is hack to load and save it in the LX10), with sharpness, noise reduction and saturation at -5, and contrast at 0, and the footage was graded in Final Cut Pro X. I find the footage to be sometimes a little too crisp, despite sharpness being at -5 in the profile. Stabilisation is very average in 4K and autofocus really not the best (but I work with backbutton focus, which solves most of the issues), there is no option to add a monitor, and battery life is good for 1.5 dives on average. But beyond obvious limitations and its age, the LX10 is still a very interesting compact camera for filming underwater, with a good fast lens, and I was quite surprised at how much colour information does make it to the sensor, much deeper than expected. cheers! b
I have taken on board various posts about using ambient filters on underwater strobes/video lamps. I have had reasonable success, and have highlighted my finding on my article. Here is a link http://underwaterwillett.com/ambient filters.html Please feel free to contact me for discussions or about your findings that you may wish to share etc.