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I am going on a trip to Costa Rica and plan on diving Bat Island for a couple days, I a researching setups and wonder should i do strictly video and then freeze frame a still or should i do photos?  I haven't purchased anything yet, i am trying to decide if i want to get something with 4k video or should i get a good camera with 1080p 120fps. i feel like video would give me the best of both worlds.  

anyone has any suggestions?

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FWIW, I do exclusively video, but occasionally try to grab a frame for a still but am never very happy with the results.  They are good enough for the label on DVDs, but that's about it.  Maybe someone else can give you tips for better results.

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Many of the newer cameras will do 4k video these days, but the problem with frame grabbing is the resolution is relatively low and many frames have faults that are not noticed when the video is streaming.  4K video is around 8.5MP equivalent.   And the way you frame the shots is different between video and stills.  Video you need a flow and a story to make it work or it's just a bunch of clips strung together, stills you need a balanced composition and attention to what's in the corners and even corner sharpness can be more noticeable in the still frame.  You see each individual frame for 1/30 second or so in the video, but you often sit and study a still frame for many seconds and see all the problems with it more readily.

To get the best out of still images strobes really make a difference, though at a pinch powerful lights can get you part way there in specific circumstances. 

I think the other question to ask is how experienced you are at UW shooting? - video or stills.  Stills you can shoot lots of frames to likely get something you like, but getting beyond a short clip of a fish or manta ray or whatever swimming past I think takes a lot more experience and you are probably more likely to get something you like is you do at least some dedicated stills shooting.   

Rather than looking at 4K capability perhaps more important is how the camera captures video - you want it to use all the sensor so you don't lose angle of view if you are doing wide angle work. 

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6 hours ago, underwaternoir said:

Thanks for the tips.... One question, have you found it easy to switch from photo to video underwater? 

I don't do a great deal of video, so not the one to be able to answer that. 

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I agree with SwiftFF5 in that it can be difficult to grab a still from video.  There are just so many factors that have to be right with the video for a single frame to be "photo quality".  This is just my 2 cents, think about what it is it you want the photos or video for?  I use my video to show all my friends and family who don't dive what it's like to dive - the motions and sounds of underwater, fish and critter behavior, and when lucky what it's like being in the middle of a large school of fish or a dramatic close-up flyby from a turtle, spotted eagle ray, or the like.  As much as I love looking at the amazing photos folks can take, I enjoys the movement of the video.

Now that being said, the video camera I use in a Gates housing, lets me switch to photo mode with the single push of a button.  However, I also figured out pretty quickly that I'm not as skilled at photos as I am at video...

Hope that helps with your search - Good Luck!

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If you shoot video in only 8-bit color space, you just do not have the same vibrancy of colors than a proper stills picture has. However, this gap is diminishing when moving to video with 10-bit or more color resolution. But then your data amounts might grow a lot. With my Canon 1DXIII I am able to fill a 500GB (half a terabyte) card by shooting only 36 minutes of video at maximum quality. In practice and for most of the shots, I use far lower quality. The Canon colors are actually quite beautiful already at 10 bit Clog if you properly color balance and expose your shot before shooting.

Related to your second question, the answer is any hybrid camera capable of both video and stills, but minimum 10 bit color space for video. Typically I would shoot either video or stills during a single dive because each shooting method does require a slightly different mind set. But whatever my choice for a particular dive is, I still might take occasional stills or videos if there is a suitable opportunity.

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10 hours ago, r4e said:

If you shoot video in only 8-bit color space, you just do not have the same vibrancy of colors than a proper stills picture has. However, this gap is diminishing when moving to video with 10-bit or more color resolution. But then your data amounts might grow a lot. With my Canon 1DXIII I am able to fill a 500GB (half a terabyte) card by shooting only 36 minutes of video at maximum quality. In practice and for most of the shots, I use far lower quality. The Canon colors are actually quite beautiful already at 10 bit Clog if you properly color balance and expose your shot before shooting.

Related to your second question, the answer is any hybrid camera capable of both video and stills, but minimum 10 bit color space for video. Typically I would shoot either video or stills during a single dive because each shooting method does require a slightly different mind set. But whatever my choice for a particular dive is, I still might take occasional stills or videos if there is a suitable opportunity.

To be clear extra bit depth in your image files does not significantly improve the colours or vibrancy in the image,  the main benefit is providing headroom in post processing to allow files to be pushed without causing banding and other artifacts.   This is because there are closer steps in between different hues which when pushed are less likely to cause a step change in an area of the image with a gradient.   The vast majority of monitors can only display 8 bit colour and 10 bit monitors require very specific setup to show the full 10 bit output.  This article explains:  https://petapixel.com/2018/09/19/8-12-14-vs-16-bit-depth-what-do-you-really-need/

having said that if you get an 8 bit still and need to correct colour balance and contrast it is a lot easier to cause banding.    10 bit gives a small improvement, but most stills cameras produce either a 12 or 14 bit image which can be processed as 16 bit in most post processing software.  For video of course the file size grows significantly as you increase bit depth as does the required computing power.

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I think the biggest difference is that you need to think about your audience. Even for experienced photographers, well shot video is often a revelation. Video gets much more oohs and aahs than even some of the best photos at both LAUPS and OCUPS competitions. And your friends who are not divers will likely like video more than most of your photos. That being said, the big issue with video is that you need to edit and have a story, but if you have that I suspect most folks who are looking, like video better.  That being said, it is a lot easier to hang a photo on the wall compared to video for looking at over and over. 

I am in the best world, I take photos, my wife shoots video but if I want to re-live a trip, I look at the video.

Cheers

Bill

 

 

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3 hours ago, bvanant said:

I think the biggest difference is that you need to think about your audience. Even for experienced photographers, well shot video is often a revelation. Video gets much more oohs and aahs than even some of the best photos at both LAUPS and OCUPS competitions. And your friends who are not divers will likely like video more than most of your photos. That being said, the big issue with video is that you need to edit and have a story, but if you have that I suspect most folks who are looking, like video better.  That being said, it is a lot easier to hang a photo on the wall compared to video for looking at over and over. 

I am in the best world, I take photos, my wife shoots video but if I want to re-live a trip, I look at the video.

Cheers

Bill

 

 

I would agree with this - but the key point is well shot video.  The web is full of wobbly poorly colour balanced video with problems like  focus hunting and pointing around the site at random, things often from too far away and general poor editing.   I can't click away fast enough.

Really well shot video with a story - not just a collection of clips of animals not doing much, is a difficult skill to learn and viewing a good clip is night and day to a poorly shot clip.

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Chris is right about the ton of bad video out there; as I said I am lucky, my wife shoots and edits pretty well so I am spoiled.

Bill

 

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120 fps would probably be overkill in my opinion. I'd choose 4k 60 fps over 1080p 120 fps

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