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Re: Underwater Housing

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Chris Clephane
Re: Underwater Housing
on Nov 4, 2008 at 10:04:59 pm

So again, bags are usually the least expensive option. You have chosen a good quality one by the link you sent. REMEMBER ALSO...most bags do not make good allowance for viewfinder/foldout screen use. END RESULT: You are shooting blind most of the time, so put an auxillary WIDE ANGLE Lens on the camera before it goes into the bag and keep close to the action.

OPTION 2: Containers.....Research the EPIC unit on BH if you want a comparison to the BAG you spec'ed. Containers are usually PVC tubes with a port in one end. They provide EXCELLENT protection to your camera once it is inside. (Hard shell outer covering..pretty much indestructable...). The downside is that camera controls are VERY limited--usually just a few mechanical (sometimes just one!) rods to press buttons on the camera. They take some work to set up and plan on spending an hour or two with your camera...a few shims, washers and bubblegum getting everything aligned inside so it works once you get out in the field. DOWNSIDE....VERY VERY BULKY. They hold a LOT OF air...they also require a LOT of external weight to get them underwater. These tube units usually allow you to dive to about 50' or as an inexpensive entry to scuba videography...not a bad option.

These AGAIN...are VERY bulky. If you wreck/crash, etc holding one of these..your camera will probaby be fine...but YOU will most likely suffer some injury. I actually use one of the EPIC tubes to shoot wakeboarders and waterskiiers. On a second (shorter) rope from the pull boat I can sit easily on a wakeboard and "point the tube" with great results. It floats if I get "wrrecked" and I don't feel the need to tie it to my there is lesser chance of undesired injurous impact If I do wreck. These are great units topside..but bulky. I most cases you can use the camera's flip screen if it reverses and folds flat against the camera. It is difficult to shoot looking into the SIDE of the tube though. I ususally use a small (2.5") external LCD hooked to the composite out of the camera. I can velcro it inside of the tube to the camera...on top...or whatever angle works best.... Adding a sunshade around the screen helps as well..

Due to the lack of mechanical camera controls (other than REC/PAUSE), I usually use the camera's wireless remote in a waterproof flexible cellphone bag to control the camera in the tube. I keep the remote on a lanyard tied to my lifejacket. I cna change the zoom/manual focus and most other functions of the HVX without having to remove the camera from the tube.

Due to the fact that tubes often have ample ADDITIONAL space...they allow you to consider using options such as a FIRESTORE to extend your recording time. Keep in mind that the additional electronics come at a price...heat generation. I keep a small camping thermometer in the tube when I am topside during the summer. It is easy to forget during a break that you are standing in direct sunlight...and a tube is a tinly little greenhouse absorbing solar energy. Throw a towel over it and turn off gear if you ar etaking a long break. The water temperatures in the PNW keep thing scool when in the water...(60's and colder usually)...but I have heard stories of gear overheating quickly in the tropics (topside).

THese housings can often be "recycled" as you change camera models. (Tweaked to fit additional units.) You will want to use an auxillary wide angle lens with most tube units.

Moderately priced...good protection....poor camera control.

3) Custom housing. Ususally start at $3 or $4k. FIt only the camera they were designed for...and do pretty much everything with mechanical or electrical controls. I am only commenting on these because....from PAST EXPERIENCE....these generally do not do as well TOPSIDE in certain situations.
The design of these units is generally for SCUBA. They are designed to seal better when pressure compresses them during a dive. We have had leaks with these units TOPSIDE when wrecking on waterskiis/wakeboards...because sideways motion of water at odd vectors was able to work past the seals. (Minimal...but it happened.) Not our preference for TOPSIDE activites. NOTHING BETTER for scuba though.

Good luck.

I edit video. I post sometimes.
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Done typing now.

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