Its been about eight months since I acquired my first underwater camera. The camera that I purchased is the Sealife DC500. For my experience level (novice) I think that the camera was a good choice. The camera does everything I need it to do and is fairly easy to use. I have had some problems with the camera, but the company that sells the camera in the USA was very responsive and helpful with my camera trouble.
The problem is that now I am starting to look at more advanced cameras with more features. On the one hand I like the simplicity and easy of use of my DC500. On the other hand, I found that my DC500 tends to take pictures that seem to be a little on the cold side (more blue than necessary). So far I have not had problems with pictures since I use photo editing software and can correct most of the blue problems. I don't really like doing too much editing on the photos. As long as I can bring out the colors and brightness of the scene as naturally as possible, then I am quite content. I don't like going to the extreme of making the scene something it never was (for example introducing subjects that were not there etc.). If I can correct for some of the camera and lens issue with the software, then I think it is worth the effort.
My diving buddy, the Navigating Phenom who is a very good photographer (mostly video), but he had a very nice digital still camera as well. His camera is a little older than mine, but it seems that his camera takes more lifelike pictures than mine does. Of course NP would say that it is all in the hands of the operator, and I think that might be partly true, but I do think that his camera captures more colors.
So now I have started looking at other cameras. A while ago I created a blogroll link to Kona Hawaii Scuba Diver's Blog. The pics on his blog are gorgeous. Steve uses an Olympus SP-350. I know that the photographer's skill makes a huge difference and I fully acknowledge that he has a great eye for composition etc. But I do think that the colors and clarity of the shots are just great. The price of the camera is also quite reasonable compared to other cameras that I have looked at.
Another example of excellent pictures is Dany Weiberg's gallery on Pbase. His images are breathtaking. On his personal website he mentions that he uses a Fuji S2 pro camera.
The choices are overwhelming. I guess one should not chase features, but work on developing technique etc. It still is nice to look at what other people are doing and try to get better at photography.
I think I have been bitten by the photography bug!