The Ultramarine is not the first large format underwater camera, but I believe it exposes the largest negative. It shoots 24 x 36cm. It was quite an endeavour to create this camera, it took around two years to design and build it. After so many years of diving photography, I’d felt that there was this particular feeling down there at the bottom of sea that I hadn’t quite captured yet. A magic, almost. So we built this camera, not necessarily for it’s high resolution, but for it’s optical physics and thus shooting characteristics.
Most of the time, modern underwater photography uses a dome port when shooting with a wide-angle lens. Using a dome port has many advantages, but it also introduces what is known as ‘the virtual image’. You don’t see it, but the camera does, and this virtual image is being re-photographed by your camera inside the housing. It has a compressed and very flat depth of field. As a result, all (even mega high-resolution) underwater photography carries its focus from very close to infinity. I find it lacks sensuality. Not to get too nerdy and techy… but my camera uses a 155mm lens at a super wide angle, with an extreme shallow depth of field. One that even that virtual image can’t flatten out. But if I had not been a platinum printer, needing that analogue negative, I would not have built the camera. I love that large format three-dimensional feel in combination with the platinum print.