Tide pool photography question

Anyone using or know someone who is using the Sony RX0 II camera for tide pool photography? Everyone treats this camera like it’s just for vlogging, but it seems like it might be a great nature camera. It can be immersed to 30 feet, is rugged and shockproof, focuses down to 7 inches, and has a one-inch sensor. It does 15 MP still images and 4K video. Plus it’s very small and light. Thoughts?

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I don’t have experience with the Sony RXO II, but I got an Olympus TG-6 for this purpose and am generally happy with it. I carry around a large tupperware to temporarily detain tidepool critters for observation photography, so I can see the attraction of an even smaller camera to stick under water (either in the tupperware, or in the tidepool themselves).

One thing that would concern me about the Sony is that it doesn’t appear to have a flash, which I use all the time with the Olympus under water.


Thanks for your thoughts and experiences! I’ve never used the Olympus, but it sounds useful for this environment. Good point about the flash. Probably a small immersible LED light might replace it with the RX0 II. But that reduces the size advantage.

Haven’t used that, but I’ve used a GoPro (the RX0 is essentially a GoPro clone) for similar purposes.

A friend of mine does work with turtles and carries a small aquarium into the field so he can put it in streams and ponds to get shallow underwater photos with his non-waterproof DLSR. That’s kind of a bulky approach though.


Interesting approach. Agree that an aquarium is a bit bulky! Thanks for the info!

I’ve used an Olympus TG5 and a Nikon W300 (the latter much more often) in tide pools. Both are great for this purpose. The TG5 had the advantage of focusing much closer. I’m not fond of the flashes on these compact cameras, so I used torches (if shooting in the dark) or just plain daylight with very steady hands.

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Thanks! Great to know. Will check out both cameras.

Having destroyed my camera in a tidepool once (fifty years ago), I confess it would not have occurred to me to put one under salt water.

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I have noticed that you use an iphone for some of your observations - correct? Although I used a Samsung, you might consider exploring an inexpensive hack I did and mentioned here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/life-hacks-for-naturalists/4636/95
I used video screen grabs for this observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65460045


Nice! Where there’s a will there’s a way.This question was posed by my husband Don, but I do use an iPhone for my own photographs. Both of us are eager to go tide pooling as soon as we can travel, but in the meantime there are streams and ponds to explore so we can at least test the concept.

I’m not that familiar with iPhone video setting (with apologies to enthusiasts) but the video was shot in FHD. One could possibly do a higher resolution? The other limitation is that this is for portrait shots rather than landscape. I had my tube a little longer because I was going off a dock while laying down. If you were to do a shorter tube build it would be easier to turn on and off inside the tube and see what is going on in the screen because you are closer.

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Good to know, thanks. We both do a lot of square format shots—so probably whatever we design will take that into account.

I use a DSLR with a macro lens. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with adding a ring flash as well, and it’s awesome. Especially for night time low tides (all winter long here!). I tried a waterproof camera before, but found the focal distance was a barrier – most tidepools are shallow — and a lot of the organisms are on/under rocks as well. If you arrange yourself to avoid the glare it works pretty well.


Thanks! It’s neat to read about all these different strategies used for tide pooling photography. Once we get the opportunity we’ll be well prepared. Your method sounds ideal for shallow tide pools.