Appeared in DIVER July 2007

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John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.

CAMERA INTOVA DIGITAL

I told her to keep the zoom at its widest setting (a good tip with any underwater camera) and to hold the camera still for a second (count one banana) after she pressed the button.
Her 10-year-old sister helped take a lot of the shots, but I would say that the pictures from both of them turned out better than I expected.
They turned out better than I could have achieved too because, without a hood to keep the ambient light off it, I couldnt see anything on the large LCD. I think you would need to improvise something if you intended to line up some good shots under water.
This was a common problem with digital compacts under water a few years ago, but all the posh brands now sport viewing hoods for exactly this reason.
The built-in flash merely served to light up detritus in the water, but presumably it could be used to fire an external flashgun (not supplied) via an optical link.
I told my daughters to use the screw-on red filter that came as an extra, but I needed to reduce the red effect in Photoshop. They werent really deep enough.
On the other hand, without the red filter I found that I had to reduce the amount of cyan in Photoshop, so Im not sure which route was best for getting the right look to the pictures. In the end we opted for no filter, because it meant that the camera would be using a faster shutter speed.
That proved important for sharp pictures of a speedily swimming sister, especially when the camera might have been held with a less-than-steady hand.
At the highest quality jpeg file an average picture worked out at 2.3Mb, which means you can get around 868 on a 2Gb SD card - enough for anyones holiday! Of course there were a lot of unsuccessful shots, but we show a few of their pictures here. Not bad efforts for a child - think what you could do.
The camera comes with a little pouch for when you want to carry it as a conventional surface camera. A computer USB lead and RGB leads for your television are also included.
The instructions come on a PC-compatible CD, which makes problem-solving on a dive boat something of a challenge.
I tried to download a PDF of the manual but was left with a choice of Japanese or Portuguese - neither very helpful.
I suggest that you just press the buttons and find out for yourself. Its a very cheap way to get into underwater photography but you will still need a computer and some software.
If you have problems, just look for a seven-year-old to help you.


Divernet Divernet Divernet
SPECS
INTOVA DIGITAL

PRICE £199
MEGAPIXELS 6.0
LCD 2.4in
ZOOM Optical x3
FLASH Built-in
FILES Jpeg in three qualities or video clip
MEMORY 8Mb Internal or SD card rated up to 2Gb (extra)
BATTERIES 2 x AA
HOUSING Acrylic, depth-rating 54m
CONTROLS All
EXTRAS Red filter (£32), SD card (1Gb £17.50)
CONTACT CPS Partnership, www.cpspartnership.com
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