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Thread started 17 Nov 2013 (Sunday) 17:13
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Underwater housings for scuba recommendations?

 
bwhip
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Nov 17, 2013 17:13 |  #1

My son is a scuba diver and is looking for recommendations for a best-bang-for-the-buck underwater housings for various cameras he owns. He needs at least 130 ft depth rating.

  • S110
  • 60D
  • GoPro Hero 3+


Anyone have particular thoughts or recommendations for him? Thanks!

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Sirrith
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Nov 17, 2013 23:18 |  #2

I'm guessing he has no experience with underwater photography at this point. If I'm correct, forget the housing for the 60D for now.
The s110 has a few options available; he can go for the OEM Canon housing which is fine and will go to 130ft (maximum), and is the cheapest of the lot. If he wants better, he has to spend more and go for either the Ikelite (rated for 200ft) or the Recsea (most expensive, 262ft rating).

I have the Ikelite housing myself for my s95, and it works great. One small issue I have is with the shutter "lever". Because it isn't a button, it is difficult to gauge the "half press" for AF vs the "full press" for taking a photo. Otherwise it performs well.

The gopro doesn't need a 3rd party housing. The housing it came with originally is sufficient.

Lighting is essential for underwater photography. You must have strobes (at least 1, 2 is better). I use a Sea & Sea YS-01 for my rig, I haven't got the budget to add a second light yet.

I suggest he go to http://www.bluewaterph​otostore.com/ (external link) and browse the choices. He can also email them to ask for kit suggestions (he will need a tray, and handles, and arms for the light etc...).

Why do I say forget the 60D for now? Because housings for DSLRs are crazily expensive, they are huge and bulky (learn to dive with a P&S first), you have to buy more expensive ports for different lenses, and if it leaks, you are going to be one sad panda (moreso than with a P&S).


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bwhip
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Nov 18, 2013 08:32 |  #3

Great feedback, I'll pass it along. Thanks!


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cicopo
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Nov 18, 2013 19:19 |  #4

Underwater photography is very different from land based and as mentioned a strobe or 2 will be necessary for good results. All colour is gone by about 80 feet which is why strobes are so important but unless he buys a camera & housing that can communicate with the strobe he'll need to know how to operate in Manual mode & make quick adjustments. An alternative is a strobe with several power settings controlled by a switch rather than the camera. Also shooting in RAW is another thing to consider thanks to how easily the white balance can be corrected later.
I'll also support the idea he forget about using his DSLR for several reasons including cost but primarily because you need to master your buoyancy for good results & your hands will be busy controlling the camera during most of the dive. I shoot a G9 with 2 manual strobes & have for a few years but I do wish I had a strobe with controllable power levels. I took this years ago (with an S1 IS) to show photographers thinking that getting certified was all it would take to take their DSLR's diving. (5d in the housing, one strobe & one focus light; strong current that day)

IMAGE: http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-6Ty5tFT9h9U/Sy-1vV6vpeI/AAAAAAAACEA/4aIr8r-iXGk/s1024/IMG_3171.JPG

IMAGE: http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-voJRU-4wKWo/Sy-1383mk2I/AAAAAAAACEE/yvyBDgVaPvk/s1024/IMG_3194.JPG

A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought.

  
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Mark ­ II
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Nov 20, 2013 01:12 |  #5

Give www.backscatter.com (external link) a call ... & trust what they say.


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lovemyram4x4
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Nov 20, 2013 14:38 |  #6

I wouldn't bother with the 60D at all, even if he decides he wants to get serious about UW photography. I say this because the housing cost more than most bodies so unless you're rolling in dough you're going want to to use the same body for many years so it's usually best to get a housing for latest and greatest.

I also wouldn't bother going best bang for the buck for a DSLR housing(that would be Ikelite), you're just going to want to upgrade later(if you don't find a desire to upgrade you should have just went with a bridge camera in the first place) and it will be even more costly to switch systems(I'm currently doing this now and is also why I still have a 40D mostly just sitting around and losing value).

With not knowing your son's diving skills. I'd recommend getting some tech diving training, this will give him a lot of skills that will make getting good UW shots much easier.

UW photography is like a cross between portrait and wildlife with a little bit of landscape. You need to be able adjust for ambient and then proper light subjects with strobes like in portrait photograph. You need to know your subjects, were to find them and how to approach them(most fish are curious so they can be easy), so study up on the marine life in your dive locations.

UW is one of my favorite genres that I photograph. I love capturing images of things most people have no idea exist and will likely never get to see. I'm also really good at finding/spotting marine life so I see a lot more than most divers, due to this many like to buddy up with me on dives just so they can see more while on the dive(strode went off, let's what he photographed).

Hopefully your son has/develops the skills needed to get goo UW shots and will enjoy it as much as I do.




  
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Southswede
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Nov 20, 2013 16:27 as a reply to  @ lovemyram4x4's post |  #7

http://usa.canon.com …_display/underw​ater_photo (external link)

I went the point and shoot route. The camera and housing are a fraction of the cost for just a housing. Buying a housing for my DSLR was cost prohibitive. They 20D I was using at the time is, well long gone. I still use the point and shoot under water.
Canon does a very nice job.




  
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bwhip
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Nov 26, 2013 10:15 |  #8

Thanks very much, all!


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SOX ­ 404
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Nov 27, 2013 05:53 |  #9

I use Aquatica and very happy with the housing; it is built like a tank.
I had bad experience with Ikelite (leaking), I don't recommend it. The customer service is very responsive though.

UW photography is expensive. So if your son is considering budget, don't go with DSLR and low end UW case; use S110 instead and spend the money on strong strobes, arms, etc.

If maximum budget, perhaps 60D can be upgraded and get the proven UW housing, such as Aquatica, Seacam, Subal, Sea & Sea.


AJ
1 x Canon 5DSR | 2 x Canon 5D2 | 8-15L | 16-35L | 17-40L (dead) | 50L | 85L | 100L | 135L | 180L | 70-200 2.8L IS
Aquatica UW Housing | INON Z240 | Ikelite DS-161 | Sola 600 | 2 x Sola 2000
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SOX ­ 404
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Nov 27, 2013 05:56 |  #10

Mark II wrote in post #16465727 (external link)
Give www.backscatter.com (external link) a call ... & trust what they say.

Agreed


AJ
1 x Canon 5DSR | 2 x Canon 5D2 | 8-15L | 16-35L | 17-40L (dead) | 50L | 85L | 100L | 135L | 180L | 70-200 2.8L IS
Aquatica UW Housing | INON Z240 | Ikelite DS-161 | Sola 600 | 2 x Sola 2000
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Underwater housings for scuba recommendations?
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