On a recent dive trip to Cuba through Operation Wallacea, an environmental marine research charity, I got to do some fantastic hands-on field work. It was an amazing experience with some incredible diving – great visibility of around 15m or more. It was so brilliant to actually be warm whilst diving wearing only a shorty wetsuit, something I had not experienced before having only dived in the UK! Some of the work I did whilst I was there included helping to survey manatees in order to collect data on their distribution in the area, assisting with tagging sharks as part of a national conservation effort, as well as monitoring the abundance and health of the reef life. Working with University of Havana academics, we also caught and dissected lion fish, which are an invasive species and one of the major threats facing coral reefs. Having not dived previously in the Caribbean, I found the sheer number of fish species and different corals absolutely incredible. I was lucky enough to be lent by Simply Scuba the Intova Edge X underwater camera and the Suunto D4i Dive computer to try out whilst diving and have reviewed both below:
Suunto D4i Dive Computer: Given that I am not an extremely experienced diver, I found the Suunto D4i easy to use. The watch-like style meant that it was quick to put on as well as being compact; meaning it did not get in the way whilst diving. With only four buttons, it is very easy to remember how to navigate around the screen. The computer starts recording the dive even if you hadn’t set it beforehand, which was a very useful feature (especially if you don’t have a great memory!). The dive logs also stayed on the computer for the whole length of my trip, which I really liked as it meant not having to write up your logs immediately. I only tried the D4i in good visibility, however I found it does have a backlight if needed in poor vis. As I only used a 21% 02 cylinder, I did not have to change the gas settings but whilst I was familiarising myself with the computer, I found that it was fairly easy to change the mode and the levels. I would definitely recommend this computer for divers with some experience or even for a beginner.
Intova Edge X Camera: The camera requires a class 10 micro SD card, which is not included with it, however you can buy one fairly cheaply. It was easy to charge – not taking long at all. The dive housing for this camera was a bit bulky, so it didn’t float but this makes it sturdier than a lot of other underwater cameras. There were no problems with the dive housing leaking and the locking system was good. However, I would recommend buying an Intova hand strap to go with the camera as the strap was not very functional. The screen size is decent and the picture and video quality good, plus it was really easy to switch between video and picture mode quickly. However, the camera does revert back to video mode after you switch it off, so I sometimes found myself accidentally recording videos instead of taking a picture, however this probably becomes habit with experience. The Edge X is a bit cheaper than some other underwater cameras, such as GoPros, and in my opinion offers a very good alternative.
Have you ever tried either of these products? Let us know in the comments...