Ed’s Note: The official distributor of this SCUBA Mask hasn’t given me a price for it yet. I’ll update this post as soon as I hear back from them.
As an underwater photographer that doesn’t have a video capable camera, it’s hard to balance the logistics of wanting to take both video and photo during a dive. The mainstream suggestion would be to bring down a GoPro camera fastened around your head and I’ve done that. You can read the review, look at pretty photos of the Hero 2 and watch the underwater video demo over here.
The other solution would be to build the camera into the mask. Liquid Image previously had a yellow snorkel edition camera which was great, but because of its build, it wasn’t meant for anything deeper than 20 feet. I was a little anxious: after looking at the build, I noticed that there were no visible o-rings present. The two corners of the mask housed rubber stoppers and a water tight seal for the batteries, while the top of the camera had another water tight seal for the 4GB SDHC card (roughly 2 hours of continuous video). I later realized that the scale of the mask is small enough that you wouldn’t need such precautions. It actually makes the mask easy to prepare.
Before reading on, you might want to have a look at the video I took (above!). It was originally in 1080p but I scaled it down to 960×540 and YouTube scaled it down even more. The finished product you see isn’t as high quality as the original but I was able to demonstrate how well the camera adjusts white balance especially in deeper areas (notice that there’s barely any blue-ish overcast). Note that the camera is strapped onto my head so I can’t see what I’m recording. BUT… what you see is exactly what I see during a dive as peripheral vision is completely absent. The actual video lasted over 90 minutes and the built in software cuts the videos down to 30 minute files in .MOV format.
Big question: how do I know if I’m recording or taking photos? The upper right hand side of the mask comes with a lever which you can press and hold to change modes. Wearing the mask, you’ll notice that each mode is color coordinated through a LED light inside the mask that you can barely see with your right eye when you look up. It’s essentially Google Glass. Each mode is color coordinated and a red light blinks (w/ a tone notification) to tell you if you’re recording.
1080P at 30fps HD Video Mode
720P Video at 60fps HD Video Mode
12MP Photo Mode
135 degree wide angle camera lens
Includes a 4GB micro SDHC card and expands up to 32 GB (sold separately). A 4GB card records approximately 2 hours of video.
Includes 4 x AAA Energizer Lithium Batteries
One dive is equivalent to roughly 45 minutes to a little bit over an hour so you can get roughly two dives worth of video before running out of memory or the batteries dying (whichever comes first).
The overall experience is liberating. THere are times in a dive when I wanted to record something awesome like a shark or turtle pass by but couldn’t get it on video or photo. At least now, I have a little always on black box that keeps rolling to document the entire dive. I did not try taking photos as based on previous experience, won’t look good because I will be needing an external strobe. I believe the main purpose of this mask is to get your dive experience recorded without having to worry you about any technical detail. Turn it on before a dive, dive in and enjoy.