I saw Lionfish in Panama, and unfortunately, they are invasive there and not endemic, so when found, people kill them. I understand that this has to happen - they don't have natural predators and they are harmful to endemic species. But it is still a tragedy to see them killed and I won't forget the sick feeling of seeing our guide stab one with a spear when it was found. UG.
In Raja Ampat, lionfish are where they are supposed to be! I saw both black and white and gorgeous bright red lionfish. Here is the black and white one - it was a bit deep so photos aren't the best.
The red lionfish was a bit easier to see and a tad larger I think.
Lionfish have venom in their "spines" which are really dorsal fins, and supposedly it is exceedingly painful to humans and can cause severe nausea. Both of these fish were comfortably a few feet beneath me. They are very beautiful when they are flared out. I saw them several times at various sites in Raja Ampat but these were the first two.
Here's a professional shot of a red lionfish from National Geographic. My photos aren't as good but I prefer to see wildlife in the wild vs. in a documentary any day.