Backscatter Underwater Video & Photo in Monterey CA is the world's leading supplier for underwater imaging equipment. But as well as selling underwater photography gear, the staff at Backscatter also put it to good use.

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Staff member Russ Sanoian has been diving with the Canon EOS-1D X Mk II for a little while and you can check out the results of his dives in the video below. We spoke to Russ about what makes a good underwater camera, and why he thinks the EOS-1D X Mark II is a good option for stills and video shooters.

What do you do at Backscatter?

Backscatter is the largest underwater Photography store in the world. We dive, shoot and service everything we sell and all employees are underwater videographers and photographers. I am our Product Manager and responsible for sales of underwater equipment. 

What makes a good underwater camera?

Large sensors and High ISO are critical for good underwater performance as its typically a low light environment. Artificial lights or strobes can help with macro/close up, but for wide angle photography we typically shoot ambient light and having the low light sensitivity and high ISO performance allows us to shoot at F8 or smaller apertures and maintain good depth of field. To shoot with the EOS-1D X Mark II I'm using a Nauticam 1D X Mk II housing with a Small HD Monitor.

What has impressed you about the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II underwater?

I owned and shot with the Sony a7R II before the 1D X Mk II, but the Canon shoots 4K at 60p, which is a big deal. It's great in low light and ISO at 2500 footage is incredibly clean.

I've also found that Canon cameras are the best for manual white balance underwater, they will nail a custom white balance setting at any depth and have the best blues in the industry even edging out RED cameras. So far I have shot the EOS-1D X Mark II with the Canon EF 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro IS and the Canon EF 8-15mm F4L Fisheye USM attached.

Can you share some quick tips for underwater photography?

Always shoot in manual mode, and lock focus manually. This can be extremely challenging for macro subjects but is the best way to shoot with such a narrow depth of field. The 1D X Mk II has incredible autofocus and I have been testing it but so far it's just not accurate enough for underwater work.