The members of Scubazoo are rapidly making a name for themselves as the leading underwater camera team in the world. Reef is mesmerising collection of their still photographs, and comes with a bonus DVD containing a half-hour of underwater film, showcasing how expert the team has become at documenting the rarest and most charismatic marine life on Earth.
Few divers will be able to resist this book: almost 1000 images of everything from titanic oceanic sunfish to miniscule imperial shrimp, complete with Latin names and excellent text (written by Matt Oldfield).
Much of the photography comes from the biodiversity hotspot stretching from Indonesia to Borneo, where Scubazoo has been at the forefront in documenting the marine life of places such as Raja Ampat, Sabah and Layang Layang. But Reef goes further, including shots from temperate waters off New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
Some divers may think they dont need another coffee-table book of marine photography. Theyd be wrong - if you can afford it, Reef is a landmark publication.
I think its visually superior even to The Blue Planet, although it contains less scientific information.
Reef does contain information on fish behaviour and a powerful section on conserving reefs and marine life. And, fittingly, a portion of the sales proceeds from the book is being donated to the Marine Conservation Society.
If I have a criticism, it would be the choice of cover photograph. Publisher DK has chosen a perfectly nice shot of schooling yellowtail fusiliers, but graphically its weak, and to divers will seem unremarkable.
Far more dramatic images burst from the pages inside: bug-eyed crocodile fish, mosaic-skinned torpedo rays, a ghostly veined octopus and a dancing wonderpus.
These are the sort of images that inhabit divers dreams.
Tim Ecott
Dorling Kindersley
ISBN 9781405322256.
Hardback, 360pp + DVD, £25