Capturing excellent underwater photographs is a challenging task, especially when you own an advanced system which gives you so many creative options, such as the Canon G16 and the Fantasea FG16 Housing.

While diving conditions, desired compositions, available ambient light and many other parameters may affect your choice of camera settings, there are some initial camera settings which you can use during your first dives to easily produce nice results. Once you're familiar with the system, you can take advantage of the more advanced configuration possibilities according to your own creative approach and the diving conditions.

Basic Camera Preparations Before Installing it Inside the Housing

  • Install a fully charged battery.
  • Install an empty memory card. Take into consideration that the G16 produces high resolution images and videos, and therefore a large memory card (32GB or more) will be most useful, as you won't have to empty the memory card in between the dives.
  • Make sure the camera lens is clean and that no debris is present. You can gently wipe the lens with a soft lens cloth if you notice it's not perfectly clean.
  • Make sure the camera LCD screen is clean, so you can enjoy a clear view during the dive. You can use a soft lens cloth to gently wipe fingerprints off the screen.
  • Remove any strings you have attached to the camera - hand lanyards, secure strings, etc.

Initial Camera Settings for Underwater Photography

Since the FG16 Housing provides full access to all camera controls and functions, any of these settings can be setup also after installing the camera inside the housing and during the dive. However, for a simple start, it's best to set these up before installing the camera inside the housing.

  • Set date, time and time zone.
  • Set the shooting mode to AV.
  • If making use of an external flash or the camera built-in flash, raise the flash and set it to "Always". If making use of a color correction filter, keep the flash down and disabled.
  • In the flash menu, set Red-Eye Correction and Red-eye Lamp to Off.
  • Set IS Settings Mode to Continuous.
  • Set AE Point to Center and Safety Shift to Off.
  • If your subjects are stationary, set the focus to Single-Servo. If your subjects are rapid-moving ones, set the focus to Continuous-Servo. You might have to adjust this setting a few times during your dive according to the nature of the subjects you shoot.
  • Set the shortcut button according to your preference. Setting the shortcut button to the white balance menu is useful in most cases, as white balance can be customized a few times during the dive according to ambient light available, depth, etc.
  • In case of need to reserve battery power (for instance, when diving from a boat with a single battery and no option of charging it in between dives), in the Power Saving Menu , set Auto Power Down and Display Off to short periods.
  • In case there is no need to reserve battery power, set Auto Power Down to Off and Display Off to 3 min.
  • If you're not familiar with white balance yet, set White Balance to Auto.
  • If you're familiar with manual white balance, set White Balance to Custom and manually measure white for each working depth.
  • Set Drive Mode to Single Shot.
  • Set Metering to Center Weighted Avg.
  • Set ND Filter to Off.
  • Set Still Image Aspect Ratio to 4:3.
  • Set Image Compression to Large and Image Quality to the highest.
  • Set video resolution to the highest.
  • Set the lens zoom to the widest range. In general, with respect to underwater photography only, if you would like to zoom in, it is best to get closer to your subject rather than to use the camera lens to zoom in. The less water between you and your subject - the better.

Additional Basic Settings for Macro Photography

  • Set the camera to macro mode.
  • Raise the flash and set it to "Always".
  • Set the focus mode to Spot.
  • Use the a low ISO value (100).
  • In AV shooting mode, set the aperture to F8. In Manual shooting mode, set the aperture to F8 and the shutter speed to 1/1000.

Additional Basic Settings for Wide Angle Photography

  • Disable the camera built-in flash, unless making use of external strobes.
  • Set exposure metering to Matrix.
  • Use an ISO value of 100 to 200, depending on ambient light available.
  • In AV shooting mode, set the aperture to F8.0 and adjust according to ambient light available

Get Basic Underwater Photo Education

During the years, many underwater photography tutorials and guide books have been written and published. However, these days, we believe that one of the best and most accessible sources for underwater photography guidelines and tips can be found on Underwater Photography Guide -

For further information, please contact us at

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