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Avoiding Backscatter

Image with lots of backscatter Photo taken with STYLUS TOUGH-6000. Only the on-board camera flash was used to create an example of Backscatter.

Backscatter takes the clarity and interest away from your underwater scene by clouding it with random light reflections throughout the picture.

Backscatter occurs when the flash reflects off particles or plankton in the water, creating the appearance of “dust” in the image. Even the clearest of water has particles not visible to the naked eye.

Image with much less backscatter Photo taken with STYLUS TOUGH-8000 with UFL-2 to show how backscatter is eliminated with a properly placed external flash.

The best way to avoid backscatter is to use an external underwater flash like the UFL-1 or the UFL-2. For those of you using your on-camera flash this is a great way to get started, but when you are ready to add that first accessory to your underwater system make it an external strobe.

To eliminate backscatter you want to position your external flash away from the axis of the camera lens. To achieve this you also going to need to use a camera tray that has a flexible bracket to mount the underwater strobe. This will allow you to position your flash to light up your subject and not the body of water directly in front of the lens.

External Underwater Flashes

UFL-1 Underwater Flash
with Fisheye Bracket.

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This lightweight underwater slave flash requires no cables and enables divers to capture stunning images in the darkest waters. Waterproof to 40 meters, this underwater flash even allows TTL underwater flash photography in slave mode -- ideal for multiple flash applications and single flash macro shots. The tray and arm includes all hardware for mounting any housing with a ¼" x 20 tripod socket.


UFL-2 Underwater Flash

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The UFL-2 is a compact TTL underwater flash that is waterproof to a water pressure equivalent depth of 60 meters. It is specially designed for use with Olympus digital cameras and compatible underwater cases including the new PT-E06 for the E-620 Digital SLR. The flash is more powerful then the UFL-1, offering more versatility to the advanced underwater photographer. It features an RC mode that when used with the PT-E05 and PT-E06 allows the photographer to adjust the flash settings directly from the camera and view these setting on the camera LCD.