New Aquatica Housing is Designed to Take Full Advantage of 4K Video Capabilities
Aquatica AGH4: 4K Cinema in Micro 4/3 Housing Line
New Aquatica Housing is Designed to Take Full Advantage of 4K Video Capabilities
By UWPG News, July 22, 2014
Aquatica has announced their housing for the Panasonic GH4 Micro 4/3 camera. The Panasonic GH4 accepts a wide-range of lenses, making it a great option for underwater photographers. Add in the compact size and 4k video at Ultra HD resolution, and those looking to produce great video won't hesitate to have the camera in their kit.
Aquatica's AGH4 housing was designed with video functionality and ergonomics in mind, creating the best video experience possible in a compact, precision-designed housing.
Learn more about the Aquatica AGH4 Housing and preorder yours at Bluewater Photo.
Aquatica AGH4 Preview: 4K cinema for the consumers!
Buckle up, the future is here. Panasonic GH4 brings cinematic 4k video performance to your door step, with its Micro 4/3 lens mount, this camera benefits from a very large selection of lenses. In fact, an astounding array of lenses from Panasonic, Leica and Olympus, just to name a few, are offered in this lens mount. Add the fact that is has 4x times the resolution of HD, one can easily understand why the GH4 will stand out head and shoulder above its competitors. Video shot on Ultra HD 4K is razor sharp and needs to be experienced firsthand to be believed!
Recording video in Ultra HD at resolution of 3840 x 2160 in 30p/24p or 4096 x 2160 in 24p, compared to standard HD which is 1920 x 1080p, the 4k quadruples the standard HD resolution. It is also the only one in its league to record 4K 30p directly to a SD card, this is big news, since there will be no need for a bulky external drive!
If current post production and viewing technology has not yet caught up with the 4K, you need not worry, even scaled down to a 1080p, the footage still looks noticeably sharper, the added resolution offer a generous margin in post processing cropping and stabilization. The GH4 offer some nifty features in 1080P as well, silky smooth slow motion, less compression and wider latitudes for post processing and editing.
Files sizes are surprisingly small, being similar to what pro DSLR will offer in 1080P, managing your footage is and will definitely be easier to manage, obliviously, in order to extract the maximum out of the GH4, only the best and fastest memory card, such as SDXC-UHS-II should be used, slower cards will do fine for still images and lower resolution footages.
The Panasonic GH4 would be an impressive camera, even if meant for shooting stills only! It sure shine in this department with its 16mp sensor, very desirable flash sync speed of 1/250, increased ISO/dynamic range and burst rate of up to 12 frames a seconds even in RAW!
About The Aquatica AGH4
The Aquatica AGH4 housing is built with quality materials and craftsmanship, it is designed and machined with the Panasonic LUMIX DMC GH4 in mind from the onset. Taking full advantage of this camera extraordinary video capability was a top priority for our design team. All of the vital controls that require to be operated while shooting have been conveniently located so as not to restrict your creative flow. This housing is manufactured and carefully studied to insure that the controls are not only accessible, but also comfortable to use, in all kinds of diving conditions.
Aquatica fully understands the requirements involved for shooting high quality video, with the acquisition of Amphibico, the legendary video housing manufacturer, came a wealth of expertise in the field of video capture, it is this knowledge, coupled with over 30 years of manufacturing housings ourselves, that is now distilled into this AGH4 housing. By natural necessity, a housing needs a sound, practical and ergonomic design for video, fiddling around to access controls can easily ruin your important sequence. You need intuitive and precise access these controls, so you can keep your eyes on the monitor and, importantly, the housing needs to be a well balance and stable setup, the Aquatica AGH4 delivers on all aspects.
On previous camera models, some form of video mode was offered, while it was genuinely considered an interesting feature to be had, it definitely lacked the awesome performance that the Panasonic DMC-GH4 now brings forth. This level of excellence in video needed to be taken into account in our housing design.
Even though the latch used on the GH4 is small and compact, we located it on the left hand side of the housing, allowing more room on the right hand side, and allowing us to position all the controls, right where you want and need them, especially the vital front dial/aperture control knob, which is located just below the extended shutter release lever, so in perfect reach of your right hand.
This view of the right hand side clearly demonstrate that, while being a compact housing, the controls do remain accessible, even when wearing thick cold water gloves. The shutter release, video record lever, aperture and shutter knobs, programmable AE/AF LOCK lever are all reachable with your right hand resting on the grip.
ISO is a key control for video exposure, and our engineering team has put its access lever exactly at the right location, essentially putting it under your right thumb, this lever being at right place means you have quick access to this control, without removing your hand from the grip.
On the left side, right above and forward of this non obstructive latch, one will find the zoom/focus control knob, it’s position allows it to be rotated with the tips of your fingers, it is setup with a silky smooth gearing ratio that will ensure a smooth transition when zooming or manually focusing a lens.
In order to contribute to the fluidity and stability required for shooting such high quality video as this camera is capable of delivering, we put all of our knowledge, experience and creativity in this AGH4 housing.
Comprehensive Port System
The AGH4 housing uses the already established 4/3 Micro series of ports and accessories; Aquatica is renowned for the quality of its optics and this is no exception to the rule, every lens supported by Aquatica is evaluated on an optical bench, and from the data gathered, we can determine the best port to use and, if required, the extension ring length that will match the optical center of the dome to that of the lens. This all important step is necessary if one wants to extract the maximum optical performance possible from a lens and port combination.
The 4/3 Micro series ports includes the dedicated 4”/100mm Fisheye dome port, the SW8 super wide angle dome port and two flat ports for macro lenses, along with port extensions, the port system will support all desirable Micro 4/3 lenses for underwater photography.
The system is further expanded with the addition of the upcoming 4/3 Micro series to DSLR port adapter. In essence, a step up adapter that will allow our regular DSLR ports to be mounted on the Aquatica 4/3 Micro series housings. Thus offering the Aquatica AGH4 the largest and finest selection of underwater ports in the industry. This port adapter also help integrate the 4/3 Micro series housing to existing DSLR system by sharing the existing ports.
The AGH4 housing comes with our standard state of the art Galileo optic viewfinder. Our Aqua View 180 or Aqua View 45 finders can be installed, without any specialized tools, in a matter of minutes. Both of these are recognized as the best in the industry. These finder enhance your viewing experience, providing you with a clear sharp image of your camera finder that will be easier to critically focus and compose.
Given the harsh environment associated with underwater photography, impeccable protection of your sophisticated camera equipment become paramount, multiple steps have been taken by Aquatica to address this. Every AGH4 housing is assembled and adjusted by hand, once completed, it undergoes a series of functional testing, the final step being the hydrostatic test, perform in a pressure tank filled with water and compressed to a 300ft/90m equivalent, only after going through this exhaustive series of test will the housing be signed off to be delivered.
Fully aware that real life is not a controlled environment, we recently introduced the SURVEYOR moisture and vacuum sensor alarm, which comes as standard equipment on the AGH4 housing. The moisture detection feature remain on constant duty to inform you, by way of audible an visual signals, of any possible water entry, no matter how minute this one would be.
The SURVEYOR circuit integrates a vacuum sensor, if one wish to take full advantage of this vacuum pressure option, then the simple addition of the accessory vacuum pump and pressure valve (19228) to the housing is all that is needed. This option is also available as a preinstalled kit, which would tested at the factory by our own technicians prior to shipping or it can be purchased later and installed easily by the user.
The Amphibico Latch
This straightforward push, rotate and locking latch has been used on over 10,000 Amphibico and Aquatica housing for decades now, it is simply the best in the industry.
The Aquatica Hand Grips
Handling the housing is done via a pair of the most comfortable hand grips in the industry, they are sturdy yet very lightweight, and offer mounting points that will handle the lighting system of your choice without the need for obstructive reinforcement brackets or supports. These grips are removable in less than a minutes with the supplied hexagonal wrench, making the storage footprint space minimal.
Like all current Aquatica housing currently made, the shell is milled from a solid block of 6061 T6 aeronautical grade aluminum, black anodized to a military specification and then, for further protection, a resistant polyester electrostatic powder coating is applied and baked on. This process ensures that your investment will last you a life time.
Push buttons pins and control shafts are machined out of the finest grade of stainless steel, every component used in an Aquatica housing undergoes a series of stringent quality controls insuring that they respect our strict tolerance.
90m/300ft (upgradeable to 130m/425ft)
Width: 7.140’’ (without grip attached)
With grips: 11.2’’ (with grips attached)
Weight (with grips attached): To be determined
- Quick removal camera tray
- Ergonomically optimized for diving conditions
- Oversized knurled controls knobs
- Sturdy comfortable grips
- Extended shutter release
- Port lock mechanism
- Lens release mechanism
- Standard high quality Galileo optical eyepiece
- Dual sacrificial anodes (front and rear mounted)
Construction of shell
- 6061 T6 Marine Grade aluminum
- Anodized to MIL-A-8625 (type 2, Class 2 specification)
- Powder coated with certified A.A.M.A. 2603-98 Polyester coating
- Baked at 177c/350F (specification ASTM D2794
Control shafts and push pins
- Type 304 marine grade Stainless steel
- All shaft double sealed with double O-rings
- All push pins sealed with Quad Rings
Mounting points for strobes arms, lighting fixtures and/or tripod
- 5 x ¼”-20 threaded holes on the top
- 3 x ¼”-20 threaded holes on the bottom
Where to Buy
Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!