Hot Tips: What camera / setup do you prefer to use to photograph your tank?

A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist’s readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to for possible publication. Next month’s Hot Tip theme will be “What do you enjoy most about Aquarium Conferences like IMAC and MACNA?“.


What camera / setup do you prefer to use to photograph your tank?

I currently am using a Nikon D50. It gives me the ability to set the white balance to offset the blue from the actinics plus a much clearer picture than most point and shoot cameras.

If and when I get a Macro lens for this camera I will be able to get some great pictures.

Submitted by: Rob_Reef_Keeper

One thing I thought I’d mention is that Firefox has a very cool extension called Exif Viewer that allows someone to view the Exif information from someone’s digital photos. If you install this extension on Firefox and view one of our images by itself on a webpage (example: ), right click on it and select “View Image Exif Data”, you get all of this neat information:

Exif IFD0

* Camera Make = Canon

* Camera Model = Canon PowerShot A70

* Picture Orientation = normal (1)

* X-Resolution = 19660800/65536 = 300.00

* Y-Resolution = 19660800/65536 = 300.00

* X/Y-Resolution Unit = inch (2)

* Software/Firmware Version = QuickTime 7.1.3

* Last Modified Date/Time = 2007:03:08 11:52:47

* Unknown tag: Tagnum = 0x13c ===> data = Mac OS X 10.4.8

* Y/Cb/Cr Positioning (Subsampling) = centered / center of pixel array (1)

Exif Sub IFD

* Exposure Time (1 / Shutter Speed) = 1/60 second = 0.01667 second

* Lens F-Number/F-Stop = 80/10 = F8.00

* Exif Version = 0220

* Original Date/Time = 2004:11:25 08:42:10

* Digitization Date/Time = 2004:11:25 08:42:10

* Components Configuration = 0x01,0x02,0x03,0x00 / YCbCr

* Compressed Bits per Pixel = 5/1 = 5.00

* Shutter Speed Value (APEX) = 189/32

* Shutter Speed (Exposure Time) = 1/59.97 second

* Aperture Value (APEX) = 192/32

* Aperture = F8.00

* Exposure Bias (EV) = -1/3 = -0.33

* Max Aperture Value (APEX) = 95/32 = 2.97

* Max Aperture = F2.80

* Metering Mode = center weighted average (2)

* Flash = Flash fired, compulsory flash mode, red-eye reduction mode

* Focal Length = 173/32 mm = 5.41 mm

* User Comment (Hex) = 0x00,0x00,0x00,0x00…

* User Comment Character Code = not defined

* FlashPix Version = 0100

* Color Space = sRGB (1)

* Image Width = 1500

* Image Height = 1062

* Focal Plane X-Resolution = 2048000/208 = 9846.15

* Focal Plane Y-Resolution = 1536000/156 = 9846.15

* Focal Plane X/Y-Resolution Unit = inch (2)

* Image Sensing Method = one-chip color area sensor (2)

* Image Source = digital still camera (DSC)

* Custom Rendered = normal process (0)

* Exposure Mode = manual exposure (1)

* White Balance = auto (0)

* Digital Zoom Ratio = 2048/0 = Infinity

* Scene Capture Type = standard (0)

Submitted by: liquid

I use a EOS30D on a tripod with a 180mm f3.5 macro lens or a 50mm f1.8 lens.

I usually shoot in raw and use Pixmantec rawshooter to adjust the color balance then picasa to crop/straighten/sharpen.

Submitted by: dafrog

I use a Nikon D50 w/ a 55-200mm f4-5.6 Nikkor lens. I’ve been looking into upgrading the lens to something better, but I don’t know much about lenses so I’ve reserved myself to my 55-200mm.


Submitted by: Six-line Wrasse

I use an Canon EOS 10D with a 180mm f3.5Macro or my 35-135 IS USM.

Submitted by: LA-Lawman

Nikon L5, no special attachments.

Submitted by: Wazzel

Nikon D80 with Nikkor 60mm 2.8. I’ll be adding a 50mm 1.4 shortly. 🙂 I almost always shoot with a tripod and I use a remote.

Submitted by: GreshamH

I just purchased the same (Nikon D80 with Nikkor 60mm 2.8).

I almost always shoot with a tripod and I use a remote.

I just ordered the remote. I noticed that the picture I see in the viewfinder doesn’t always look that clear in the picture. The wireless remote should eliminate that little bit of camera shake and improve my pictures.

Also turn off the room lights and cut down the circulation in the tank. That should help you get clearer pictures, especially if you have a high flow tank.

Submitted by: Louey

I’m using Pentax Optio 30, 3.2 megapixel, point-and-shoot camera, without tripod (but have one), held in hands. No additional macro lenses, but allows to make great macro photos. After entering initial settings, camera remembers them, so the daily work is reduced to operating by only two buttons (Macro mode and Zoom).

Pentax Optio M20, 7 megapixel, also point-and-shoot camera, somehow doesn’t allows to make same level macros, same photographer with experience with the same cameras. Same with Fujifilm FinePix S6500fd, 6 megapixel, point-and-shoot camera, but with full menu access and a lot of advanced features.

The main objects of my interest are in 6g Nano-Cube, that allows to see them at small distance from 3 sides and make a great macro photos, comparing to acrylic and usual rectangular glass tanks. May be the quality of glass, may be shape of the tank.

For those, who don’t have the big photoediting software, there is freeware IrfanView, small and efficient, allowing resizing and correction, and also removing EXIF data to reduce file size for the web.

Submitted by: Oddfish

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