Underwater Housings Reviews

Detailed underwater housing reviews for photo and video, including specs, new features and comparisons with other popular housings.
The entry-level Canon EOS Rebel SL3 combined with the Ikelite Housing is the smallest and lightest DSLR underwater system on the market
By Nirupam Nigam

Smallest Underwater DSLR: Canon SL3 and Ikelite Housing

Nirupam Nigam
The entry-level Canon EOS Rebel SL3 combined with the Ikelite Housing is the smallest and lightest DSLR underwater system on the market

One of the biggest complaints among photographers is space. With all the gear they carry, photographers never have enough of it. The driving force behind mirrorless and compact systems has always been their smaller size than DSLRs. But if you’ve been considering an entry-level DSLR, and the sheer size of the equipment has been holding you back, Ikelite has just solved your problem! We can now introduce the world’s smallest DSLR system for underwater photography - the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and the Ikelite Housing.

 

Canon EOS Revel SL3 Retail Price: $749.99

Ikelite SL3 Housing Retail Price: $1294.95

 

 


 

 

Bluewater Photo Canon SL3 Packages:

 Ikelite Canon SL3 Housing

 

 


 

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is an excellent entry level DSLR weighing in at just under a pound (449g) – Canon’s smallest and lightest DSLR camera. Despite its small size, it manages to pack a punch with a 24.1 MP APS-C format CMOS sensor, 4K video recording, and Canon’s famous dual pixel autofocus.  Here are some quick specs: 

24.1 MP APS-C format (22.3 X 14.9 mm) CMOS sensor

DIGIC 8 Image Processor

Built In flash

Compatible with Canon EF Lenses

Dual Pixel Auto Focus

9 AF points

1/200sec sync speed

4K video at 24 fps; 1080 at 60 fps; 4K time-lapse movie

4.82 X 3.65 X 2.75 inches; 449g (0.99lb)

 

Underwater Performance

Are the specs the best in the world? No. But will you get excellent images? Of course! You can’t beat a 24.1 MP sensor, dual pixel auto focus, and 4K video. Canon’s EF lenses are also of excellent image quality. When it comes down to it, image quality is in the glass. The big downside with this camera is that there are only 9 AF points and a lack of in-body image-stabilization, which is becoming increasingly popular. For underwater photography, there’s a lot of potential. For an entry-level DSLR it’s a great start.

 However, it may not be the best camera for underwater video. Although it shoots 4K, you really want to be able to shoot above 24 fps underwater due to the three-dimensional movement. There is a 60-fps option at full HD. So if you’re ok shooting at 1080p, this is still a good camera for underwater video – especially with “Canon Colors.”

 

Ikelite 2000DLM/C Underwater TTL Housing for Canon SL3

Ikelite has gone out of its way to produce a specially-designed, super compact and light underwater housing for the Canon SL3 – resulting in the world’s smallest and lightest underwater DSLR system. The housing has been made with Ikelite’s classic lightweight and corrosion-proof ABS-PC, acrylic, and acetyl construction. The housing meets Ikelite’s standards of functionality and affordability. Here are some quick specs: 

3 lbs, 7.5 X 5.9 X 6 in 

Depth rated to 200ft (60m)

Ikelite flash bulkhead connector with built-in TTL circuitry - fine-tuned to Canon SL3 flash exposure protocol

Accessory port to be used with Ikelite ½” hole vacuum kit

Strobes can only be fired via electronic sync cord – fiber optics not compatible

Controls: All important camera functions (controls are not provided for Diopter Adjustment Knob, Display Button, Wi-Fi Button, Depth-of-field Preview Button, and Flash Button)

 

Recommended Set-Up for the World’s Most Compact Underwater DSLR

 

 

What’s the fun in shooting the world’s smallest underwater DSLR system if you don’t have good port and lens options? Well fortunately there are excellent options! In fact, there is one particularly great wide-angle and one great macro set-up that jumps out at us for being great for the budget friendly photographer

 

 

  • For Macro: Canon EOS Revel SL3 Camera, Ikelite Housing, Ikelite flat macro port (budget friendly), Canon 60mm EF-S f/2.8 Macro USM (budget friendly, and excellent image quality), and Ikelite DS-160 strobes (work’s great with TTL). The Ikelite DS-51 strobe is a great budget option that works with Ikelite's Canon TTL converter for macro shooting, but I would recommend the DS-160 for wide. The perfect macro set up for a budget conscience photographer looking for a compact start-up DSLR. 

 


 

Bluewater Photo Canon SL3 Packages:

 Ikelite Canon SL3 Housing

Tokina 10-17mm lens for Canon EF

 


 

 

Who should buy this camera and housing combo?

The market for the Canon SL3 and Ikelite housing combo is pretty clear. Anyone looking for an excellent quality, budget friendly, and compact DSLR system should seriously consider this camera and housing combo. 

But in the age of mirrorless cameras, I might also consider mirrorless options. Especially if you are looking to upgrade from a compact system or downsize from a large DSLR. There are plenty to choose from with excellent image quality and specifications. For full-frame mirrorless systems (which are much more expensive), I would look at the Nikon Z6, Panasonic S1, and Canon EOS RP as being lower end full-frame mirrorless cameras. The Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II and OM-D EM-5 Mark II are great 4/3rds systems with similar pricing. The Sony A6400 offers a similar APS-C type sensor. The options are endless! Truly. It makes my head spin. 

Ultimately, if you want the pzazz of shooting the worlds smallest DSLR, you only have one option – the Canon SL3 and Ikelite housing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Now he works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. Check out more of his photography at www.photosfromthesea.com!

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


Ikelite offers a functional, ergonomic housing for the Nikon Z6 and Z7 with lots of options for professional photographers
By Nirupam Nigam

Ikelite Z6/Z7 Underwater Camera Housing Review

Nirupam Nigam
Ikelite offers a functional, ergonomic housing for the Nikon Z6 and Z7 with lots of options for professional photographers

As Nikon’s offers its first flagship full-frame mirrorless cameras with the release of the Z-series, the future of professional photography is looking mirrorless. Not only is Nikon responding to multiple full-frame mirrorless offerings recently announced by its competitors, it is also creating an entirely new lens mount – the Z-mount. This indicates that Nikon is fully invested to the mirrorless game, and it’s here to stay. So with that, it’s time for professional underwater photographers to seriously consider mirrorless systems and anticipate the technology that will be offered in the future. Nikon certainly hasn’t disappointed on the technological front with it’s first generation cameras, the Z6 and Z7. Both offer top image quality, excellent autofocus speed, an easy to use EVF, and mind-blowing resolution. But the real question for underwater photographers is whether underwater photographic technology has kept the pace. One thing is for sure – Ikelite produces a housing that can meet and exceed the needs of any photographer looking to push the Nikon Z6/Z7 to the limits. I’m not just saying that, I used it…..

 

The Ikelite Z6/Z7 Housing is available now at Bluewater Photo!

 

Click here for the full Nikon Z6/Z7 Underwater Camera Review

 

Quick Nikon Z6/Z7 Specs

If you haven’t yet read our review of the Nikon Z6/Z7, click here to read the full review. Otherwise, below are some key specs for both the Z6 and Z7. As you can see the only real differences between the cameras are their price, resolution, number of AF points, burst shooting, and native ISO. Beyond that there are very little differences. In my review, I found that image quality often matched the Nikon D850 (except when banding showed up in very underexposed areas of the image), autofocus performed as good or better than the Sony A7R III, and the EVF worked without issue. However, battery life isn’t great and there’s an unfortunate lack of Nikon’s famed 3D tracking autofocus. 

 

Z Mount Lens Schedule

 

Ikelite Z6/Z7 Housing Key Specs

Now to the housing…. Yes, the housing works with both the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras!

Price: $1,695.00 – you got it folks, that’s about half the price of the Nikon Z7 body and still $300 less than the Z6 body. Other manufacturers can’t match that price. 

  • Depth rating of 60m or 200ft
  • Capable of electrical TTL strobe exposure with optional DL1 DS Link Nikon TTL Converter
  • M15 Accessory Port for third party accessories
  • Vacuum System 
  • Push button controls are hard anodized aluminum – reduced weight and salt resistence
  • Back of housing is clear and engraved with control symbols
  • Includes Super-Eye Viewfinder – can be replaced with magnified viewfinders
  • Compatible with DL ports
  • All important camera controls are accessible with the housing. Controls are not provided for Joystick up/down/left/right, Fn1, Fn2, Diopter adjustment dial, or DOF button 
  • 1/4-20 thread base mounts with 3.5" spacing
  • Weight: 4.7 lb (2.15 kg)
  • Dimension: 8.75 x 6.875 x 6.5" (220 x 175 x 165 mm)
  • Includes Vacuum valve, Ikelite ICS-5 bulkhead connector with manual hot shoe and tray with left quick-release handle

Made of corrosion-free polycarbonate, the Ikelite housing is lighter than competitor housings. It is rated to well below recreational dive limits. The vacuum feature and clear back makes it very easy to ensure against leaks and visually catch them when they do happen. Other housings don’t have this clear back. The electrical TTL with Ikelite strobes is seamless. Although some buttons, the diopter dial, and the joystick is not accessible, I didn’t even notice when using the camera. This is because the Fn1 and Fn2 buttons are not as ergonomic as in other Nikon models (and not needed with the new info menu), the joystick isn’t very useful (even topside it’s really slow for choosing focus points), and the diopter can be set once before diving.

 

Ikelite Makes a Case for Serious Professionals

I find that some photographers rush to brush off Ikelite as being the “budget” option. There’s no denying that – the price is unbeatable. But equating money with performance is a serious folly. When a housing “performs” it means that it keeps the camera dry, it keeps a light profile underwater, and it allows full access to the camera’s controls. Ikelite does all this. And most every other reputable manufacturer does this as well. True differences in housings come down to ergonomics, size, build quality, and port systems. But with the Z-series, Ikelite offers a convincing argument for starting from scratch, and entering the full-frame mirrorless world with Ikelite. Why? The accessories.

Ergonomics

The nice thing about ergonomics with the Ikelite housing and the Nikon Z6/Z7 is that many aspects of the system are customizable. The curved levers on the housing (e.g., shutter, back AF button) are very workable, so it is easy to press the shutter half way down if need be rather than using back button autofocus. The shutter lever can be extended for a back button focus oriented system or remain short for half-press shutter focus. The info button makes scrolling through settings much easier with this housing. It should be customized to suit your needs before the dive. All dials moved quite easily though the buttons could be a little stiff and close together at times. I found that the zoom gear could have trouble latching on at times, so it’s very important to be careful to make sure the lens is secured in the zoom gear notches while sliding it into the housing. 

Size

One of the concerns many people have with the Z7 is that the F-mount and Z-mount lenses result in port sizes that make the underwater systems the same size as other DSLR systems. This is true. The Z7 is a large mirrorless camera and the lenses don’t help the size. But despite the bulk, it is significantly lighter than competing DSLRs like the D850. When combined with a lighter housing like the Ikelite housing you will notice the weight difference.

Polycarbonate is strong, corrosion resistant, and light. Personally, I like this lighter design. Due to a little extra volume, Ikelite housings are more buoyant underwater. My arms never got tired using the housing, even without floats. A few of my test dives included long uphill climbs – it was noticeably easier to carry the lighter Ikelite housing with the Z7 than other manufacturers with cameras such as the Sony A7R III or D850.  

 

Build Quality

The build quality on the Ikelite Housing is excellent. I really didn’t have any concerns about flooding or damage during the rugged cold water dives I put it through. The triple latch system is tight and secure with a compression o-ring on the back that doesn’t need to be lubricated. [Other o-rings need lubrication]. Although the buttons can be tight at times, it’s clear that they are water tight and resistant to damage. The laser engraved control symbols on the back are a nice touch as they won’t fade or fall off. A mounting plate attaches to the camera which slides into the housing. Once the back of the housing is on, the camera is very secure and does not move. The vacuum system tops everything off with extra security and peace of mind – reinforced further by the clear back. 

 

Port System

Like the housing, Ikelite’s port system is all about customization. With different port extensions that all connect using the same screw system, Ikelite makes it easy to adapt your system to any lens. This is a must because the Z-mount underwater options are yet to be released and the old options require an additional FTZ adapter. Due to the lack of Z-lens development, for the moment it’s necessary to use your old F-mount lenses underwater. Although the ports fit great with the FTZ adapter, like other housing manufactures, it’s necessary to first put the body in the housing without the lens before attaching the lens and port. The same can be said for disassembly – the lens must come off the body for the camera to come out of the housing. This can be a bit frustrating (especially with zoom gear), but it is necessary. It’s important to watch where you put your screws when switching your ports or extensions. They’re small and easy to lose!  

 

Accessories to Consider

With all the extra money you save purchasing an Ikelite housing, the world is your oyster when it comes to accessories. I had the opportunity to shoot the Nikon Z7 in the Ikelite housing with dual Ikelite DS-161 strobes, an Ikelite DL1 DS Link Nikon TTL Converter, a 45 degree magnified viewfinder, a Nikkor 8-15mm lens with a smaller dome port, and a Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR macro lens with a flat port. At the end of my time shooting the system, I didn’t want to let it go. The TTL control with quick strobe recycling times, combined with the Z7’s image quality really makes any shot possible. Visual accessibility to what many consider to be the world’s best EVF (electronic view finder) with the magnified viewfinder bestows the capability of doing a full dive without taking your eye off the viewfinder! Finally, Ikelite’s trim weight system will make any videographer’s mouth water. Talk about neutrally buoyant image stabilization!

Ikelite DS-161 Strobe 

The Ikelite DS-161’s are professional strobes. Yes, they’re big, but they’re big and powerful. If you need to get quick, crisp, well-lit shots, having a big battery pack that can handle burst shooting is a must. The Ikelite housing has the capability of connecting to the Ikelite DS-161 strobes with sync cords. Combined with a 1.4 second recycle time at full power, you’re shooting with a semi-automatic. Burst shooting with the Z7 and these strobes creates an opportunity to capture the perfect moment at 47 MP resolution! Video lights on each strobe are a nice touch.

 

Ikelite DL1 DS Link Nikon TTL Converter

Many people buy the Ikelite strobes to be used with the Ikelite TTL converter. The TTL converter creates a link between the camera’s hot shoe and the Ikelite strobes establishing direct communication between the two. I was surprised with just how accurate the TTL was. Unless I was shooting in a quick burst mode where the shutter outpaced the recycle time, the TTL was accurate every time. After turning my strobes on, I honestly didn’t have to think about the strobes for the rest of the dive. The only time where I considered turning TTL off was if I wanted a little more dramatic, close-focus wide-angle light and purposefully underexposed the shot. 

 

Ikelite Viewfinders with Nikon Z6/Z7 EVF

People love the EVF (electronic view finder) on the Nikon Z6/Z7. With excellent refresh rates and dynamic range, it’s almost as good as an optical viewfinder with the additional benefit of reviewing photos and change all your settings in the EVF. But there’s little use for an EVF if you can’t see it. Ikelite’s 180 degree and 45 degree viewfinders make this benefit accessible. In fact, it’s now possible to do your whole dive with your eye planted in the viewfinder, shooting photos. A viewfinder is perfect for making quick settings changes in the heat of the moment. I used a 45 degree viewfinder which I found was great for composing macro photos in hard to reach places. 

Trim Weight System

Unlike many other manufacturers, Ikelite housings can be positively buoyant. This is especially true with larger ports. A trim weight system includes an adjustable trim rail that attaches to the bottom of the housing that can attach to a hard two-pound dive weight. Combined with the Z7 housing and the large port (no strobes), the Z7 system can be perfectly trimmed and neutrally buoyant underwater. This is great for underwater videographers looking for additional stability! 

 

Shooting Macro

To shoot macro with the Ikelite housing and Nikon Z7, I used the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR macro lens, Ikelite flat port, two Ikelite DS-161 strobes, and Nikon to Ikelite TTL converter. It was a very smooth and accurate set up. With accurate TTL and quick recycle times, it was great getting multiple quick shots of small subjects like nudibranchs to ensure perfect focus. The dials helped with quick shutter speed and aperture changes necessary for changing depth of field and exposure in the photo. The 45 degree viewfinder was great for composing photos while remaining off the bottom to reduce kicked-up sand. I do wish, however, that in the case of macro, the housing was a bit smaller to get into nooks and crannies with a little more ease. The large working distance of the 105mm helps negate the effects of a large housing. 

Shooting Wide

To shoot wide with the Ikelite housing and Nikon Z7, I used the Nikkor 8-15mm circular fisheye lens, small dome port, two Ikelite DS-161 strobes, and Nikon to Ikelite TTL converter. What a joy to shoot…. Quick recycle times, great resolution, relatively high burst speeds, and accurate TTL all came together to create a system that takes amazing photos with very little effort. It almost felt like all I needed to do was point and shoot (very quickly at that). The one downside with the Z7 was the slow movement of autofocus points which made it a little difficult to keep up with moving subjects. It’s also important to move ISO to another button, like the info menu, so that it’s easier to adjust instead of pressing the ISO button and moving the dial. Because burst shooting is so quick as well at the Z7’s AF speed, I found that half press shutter was actually better than back button focus when shooting with the Ikelite housing and strobes. 

Shooting Video

The Nikon Z6 and Z7’s video quality rivals the top cameras on the market. Nikon really got its colors right with the D850, and the same holds true for the Nikon Z7. The Z7 will be a true video competitor to the Sony A7R III, Panasonic GH5, and Canon EOSR. And if you’re a hard-core video shooter, Ikelite might actually be one of your best options. With the design of the Z7 housing, Ikelite really focused on trim. The trim weight rail system, combined with a large port, makes the Ikelite housing neutrally buoyant and almost perfectly in trim. This is a great addition for wide angle video footage and ads more image stabilization to an already excellent 5-axis IBIS system. 

 

 

Pros 

Light weight, more buoyant compared to other manufactures – less tired during underwater use

High quality, anti-corrosion, tough materials

Sync cord attachment to Ikelite DS-161 strobes with Nikon to Ikelite TTL converter – very accurate TTL and quick recycle times

Magnified viewfinder and EVF work great – no need to take eye off viewfinder

Trim weight for stable video; great trim in general

Customizable levers and port system

Vacuum seal

Use with F-mount lenses w/ FTZ adapter

Clear back for watching out for floods

….almost forgot, price!

 

Cons

On/off button takes getting used to, but I don’t even use it. It’s best to keep camera on and let it sleep during a whole day of diving (no noticeable loss of battery power)

Lots of little screws while changing ports

Lens must be removed while putting body in and out of housing when using FTZ adapter (true of all manufacturers)

Buttons are a little firm

 

 

How to Set Up Your Ikelite Housing with the Nikon Z6/Z7

1. If setting up a magnified viewfinder, use the provided tool to loosen the viewfinder that comes with the housing. Then take it out and screw in the magnified viewfinder. Make sure the o-ring is flush with the housing and unobstructed and tighten the viewfinder with the tool.

2. Screw your camera body tripod mount onto the tray mount with a coin. 

3. Take off the lens (if using FTZ adapter)

4. Slide body and tray into the housing. Attach the electronic sync cord attachment to the hot shoe. Latch back cover. I recommend turning the camera on before latching the back cover.

5. Slide lens into the port (if using an FTZ adapter) and make sure the zoom gear lines up with the tabs in the port. Attach the lens to the body. 

6. Attach the port by lining the screws with the indentations on the housing. Make sure the screws go all the way in and are flush with the port

7. Open the vacuum valve by pressing the side button and pulling out the cap. Attach your vacuum pump and pump until it reaches 10-15 mm of Hg. Replace the cap. Make sure you test to make sure the valve has held pressure before you get in the water.

8. Add ISO control to your info menu, as well as any other controls you might need to change quickly during the dive – like white balance, burst mode, and autofocus mode. 

9. Make other changes as described in the Tips section

10. After the dive, first release the pressure from the vacuum valve, by reattaching the vacuum and holding the lever. 

11. Take apart the housing in reverse order.

Tips

Add any controls that you may need during the dive to the info menu – especially ISO, white balance, burst modes, and autofocus modes

Turn OFF “Apply settings to live view” – doesn’t represent exposure, but it's much easier viewing in dark water

Tuck TTL converter and sync cords to keep from getting in the way of the viewfinder and your head

Make sure zoom gear works before diving – ensure that the tabs on the ribs that wrap around the lens firmly slide into the tabs on the port gear. 

If you want back button focus – add the shutter button extension piece

 

Who Should Consider the Ikelite Z6/Z7 Housing

Ikelite tends to cater to a niche group of divers – a niche that is actually quite larger than I previously realized. This housing is great for photographers who: 

 

1. Want to switch to the Nikon Z6 or Z7 as their first professional system. Starting from scratch gives you the opportunity to use all of Ikelite’s excellent accessories 

2. Are professionals that want to use Ikelite’s quick and powerful DS-161 strobes, or accurate Nikon to Ikelite TTL converter

3. Are on a budget and need a housing that has full control of the camera

4. Want a light, professional system that’s more buoyant and has great trim underwater

5. Are videographers that want to make use of stabilization with the trim rail weight system. 

6. Are old Nikon users that want to be prepared for exciting technology just around the corner

Conclusion

All in all, the Ikelite housing for the Nikon Z6/Z7 is fully functional, tough, customizable, with options for tantalizing accessories. It might be budget friendly, but it’s not any less professional than other manufacturers. I was personally amazed by the Nikon Z7’s performance with this housing and a range of accessories. Ikelite really had the needs of professional photographers and videographers in mind when considering the design and functionality of the housing. Before the Z7, I had never shot a mirrorless camera or housing with such a high "keeper" rate. I recommend this housing for anyone who would like to take the Nikon Z6 or Z7 underwater, and especially to those who are interested in the wide range of accessories that come with it. It’s hard to be disappointed. 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Now he works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. Check out more of his photography at www.photosfromthesea.com!

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


Nauticam releases an excellent housing to go with a revolutionary camera!
By Nirupam Nigam

Nauticam Sony A7R III Housing Mini Review

Nirupam Nigam
Nauticam releases an excellent housing to go with a revolutionary camera!

Nauticam is known for making consistently high quality and ergonomic housings. The Sony A7R III is making strides in full-frame mirrorless technology. Together this camera and the Nauticam Sony A7R III housing is the ultimate power couple of mirrorless underwater technology. 

Sony A7R III

The Sony A7R III is the new forefront of full-frame mirrorless cameras. It boats a 42.4 megapixel sensor with an updated BIONZ X image processor. Combined, these features make for a versatile camera with excellent performance and great resolution. 

Camera Specifications

42.4 MP Back-Illuminated Full-Frame Exmor R CMOS Sensor

Updated BIONZ X Image Processor

UHD 4K30p Video with HLG, S-Log2 and S-Log3 Gammas

5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Sensor-Shift Stabilization

399 Phase-Detect Auto-focus Points

425 Contrast AF points (400 more contrast point than a7R II)

0.5" 3.69M-Dot Quad-VGA OLED Electronic View Finder (EVF)

3.0" 1.44M-Dot Touchscreen Tilting LCD Monitor

Shoot up to ISO 102,400

New Low Vibration Shutter Design

Anti-reflective Sensor Coating

Weather-sealed body to resist dust and moisture

Type C USB Port

Improved battery life

Recommended Lenses for the Sony A7RIII

Sony 16-35mm F4 for wide-angle, sharks, pelagics, video

Sony 28mm + fisheye conversion lens for ultra-wide angle

Sony 28-70mm for fish, marine life portraits, some macro

Sony 24-70mm for fish, marine life portraits, video

Sony 90mm macro lens for macro, supermacro, fish

Nauticam Sony A7R III (NA-A7RIII) Housing

Nauticam housings are made of aluminum and controls are always designed to be within a finger’s distance. This results in a sturdy but ergonomically sound design. As with other Nauticam DSLRs, this housing comes with a port locking lever for quick and easy lens changes. Two M16 and a single M14 bulkhead allow for the addition of accessories like a vacuum valve, electronic flash triggering bulkheads, or HDMI bulkheads. Of course, a Nauticam housing is never complete without its famous rubberized grips and this housing is no different! The Nauticam housing is not the least expensive housing on the market, if you are on a budget check out the excellent Ikelite A7r III housing.

Housing Specifications

Depth rating: 100m

Weight: 2.43 kg

Dimensions: 348mm x 200mm x 118mm

Housing Accessories 

Beyond an ergonomic design, Nauticam goes out of its way to increase usability of their housings with countless accessories. Here are a few we recommend...

Nauticam Vacuum Check and Leak Detection System

Nauticam Extended Viewfinders for Mirrorless Cameras - Choose between the 180° Viewfinder of 45° viewfinder for a magnified view of the cameras electronic viewfinder, both options include dioptric adjustment so you can perfectly match the view to your eyesight.

Nauticam Lanyard with Snap Clips - perfect accessory to add to the housing so that it can be safely carried, or handed back on to the boat after your dive. Choose 23cm for the E-M1 Mark II Housing.

Sea & Sea YS-D2 J Strobes - perfect companions to the Sony A7R III for lighting your photographs

Light & Motion, Kraken, or Fix Neo - Focus and Video Lights - these small and full featured lights work great underwater as either focus lights when shooting macro, or for video lights to help bring back the rich colors of your underwater scene.

Stix Floats - if using Nauticam or ULCS arms with your strobes, these floats help counter the negative weight of the housing and create a neutral set up, much more comfortable underwater.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Now he works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. Check out more of his photography at www.photosfromthesea.com!

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


Taking the Nauticam NA-D850 Underwater
By Matthew Sullivan

Nauticam D850 Review

Matthew Sullivan
Taking the Nauticam NA-D850 Underwater

Nauticam is known for producing functional, ergonomic, customizable, and durable housings. The new Nauticam D850 is no exception. All the levers, buttons, and wheels on the aluminum housing are clearly labeled so there is no guessing as to what button you are pushing or wheel you are spinning.

The NA-D850 features the patented Nauticam bayonet port lock mechanism and the electro-optical converter like the one found on the D500 and D5 housings, along with a new lever to easily toggle between AF modes. Of course, the housing also provides access to all important camera functions. Users of other Nauticam DSLR housings will feel right at home. The housing handles faultlessly in the water (as it should).

 



Purchase the Nauticam Nikon D850 Underwater Housing


 

Jump to Section:

What's New?       |      Whats's the Same     |     Recommended Lenses and Ports     |     Useful Accessories

 

WHAT'S NEW?

  1. ELECTRO-OPTICAL CONVERTER - The biggest addition, for any non D500/D5 Nauticam users, is the Nauticam electro-optical converter that comes built in. This allows photographers the use of fiber optic cables with cameras that lack a popup flash and also doesn't require an extra flash trigger. The trigger connects to the camera via the hotshoe mount. I LOVE this feature. It allows rapid fire shooting with fiber optics, no extra flash trigger, seems more reliable, and means the housing doesn't need to be quite as tall. The batteries for the converter come with the housing.

  2. ISO LEVER - Another significant change (and D500/D5 users will already be familiar with this) is the new location of the ISO button over by the trigger. Immensely helpful for topside photographers as it allows more intuitive changing of ISO without taking your eye off the shutter. For underwater photographers however, this means the ISO lever is now positioned directly behind the shutter release on the right hand side of the housing. Unless you have the world's largest hands, changing the ISO requries taking your finger off the trigger, which isn't ideal. That said, after a few dives, it is easy to figure out a solution to changing the ISO quickly that will work for you and anyone coming from the D500/D5 will undoubtedly already have figured this out.

  3. AF TOGGLE LEVER - The D850 features a nice lever that allows much easier, faster, and more intuitive changing of the autofocus modes.

 

WHAT'S THE SAME?

  1. LEAK DETECTION - Like all Nauticam housings, the leak alarm comes built in. However, for more peace of mind and to ensure your housing is watertight, the addition of a vacuum system can be invaluable.

  2. AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING ELSE - Nauticam has taken an approach that works well. All their housings are easy to learn and do not vary too much between cameras of the same family (DSLR vs DSLR or Mirrorless vs Mirrorless). This makes for a quick learning curve and allows users to feel right at home no matter what housing they pick up.

 

Recommended Lenses and Ports:

Macro:


Nikon 105mm f2.8G VR Macro

Ideal for the smallest of the small critters, shy creatures, etc

Port Options:

  1. Nauticam Macro Port 87
  2. Nauticam Macro Port 60 + Nauticam 30mm Extension Ring

Nikon 60mm f2.8G Macro

 Perfect for palm sized subjects and bigger. Can be used for smaller subjects but not as ideal for that as the 105.

Port Option:

  1. Nauticam Macro Port 60

 


Wide Angle:

FISHEYE: 


Nikon 8-15mm 3.5-4.5G Fisheye

 Best fisheye overall for Nikon full frame sensors

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - This is really the smallest dome you would want to use with this lens on a full frame body like the D850. High quality optical glass dome, the small size allows for better close focus wide angle opportunities. You can use a 4" dome but will be compromising image quality. The removeable shade is important here as it allows the lens to be used at the 8mm end for full circular fisheye images.

Nauticam 140mm Glass Dome Port w/Removeable Shade + Nauticam 20mm Extension Ring + Nauticam Nikon 8-15mm Focus Gear

  • Option 2 - The best option across the board optically. Keep in mind the dome is large and heavy. Rewarded with top notch image quality though.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port + Nauticam 20mm Extension Ring + Nauticam Nikon 8-15mm Focus Gear


Sigma 15mm 2.8 Fisheye

The budget option but focuses very close, is quite sharp and much cheaper than the other lenses listed. Be careful though, not every copy of this lens is sharp and the D850 high resolution sensor will show any flaw in the lens.

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - This is really the smallest dome you would want to use with this lens on a full frame body like the D850. High quality optical glass dome, the small size allows for better close focus wide angle opportunities.

Nauticam 140mm Glass Dome Port w/Removeable Shade

  • Option 2 - The best option across the board optically. Keep in mind the dome is large and heavy. Rewarded with top notch image quality though.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port

Option 3- The acrylic dome is far cheaper and far lighter than the glass options. It is not quite as good optically as glass and scratches easier. However, scratches on acrylic domes are removeable unless it is drastic.

Nauticam 8" Acrylic Dome Port


Nikon 16mm 2.8 Fisheye

Sharper, more expensive than sigma, but does not focus as close. The 16mm uses the exact same port options as the Sigma above.

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - This is really the smallest dome you'd want to use with this lens on a full frame body like the D850. High quality optical glass dome, the small size allows for better close focus wide angle opportunities.

Nauticam 140mm Glass Dome Port w/Removeable Shade

  • Option 2 - The best option across the board optically. Keep in mind the dome is large and heavy. Rewarded with top notch image quality though.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port

  • Option 3 - The acrylic dome is far cheaper and far lighter than the glass options. It is not quite as good optically as glass and scratches easier. However, scratches on acrylic domes are removeable unless they are dramatic.

Nauticam 8" Acrylic Dome Port

 

RECTILINEAR: 


Nikon 16-35mm f4.0 VR

The most popular and versatile choice but requires a big dome port for acceptable image quality.

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - The bigger the dome, the better, for shooting with rectilinear wides. Image quality will be improved the larger the dome. As of now, the Nauticam 230 is the most popular big dome for Nauticam Systems. They do make a 250mm dome that for whatever reason does not seem to be used much. Although I would guess that is because of the size.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port + Nauticam Extension Ring 80

  • Option 2 - The acrylic dome is far cheaper and far lighter than the glass options. It is not quite as good optically as glass and scratches easier. However, scratches on acrylic domes are removeable unless they are dramatic.

Nauticam 8" Acrylic Dome Port +  Nauticam Extension Ring 70

 

 

USEFUL ACCESSORIES

 

 ** For the full press release from Nauticam on the NA-D850, Please visit this link! http://www.nauticam.com/product/17222/

  


Purchase the Nauticam Nikon D850 Underwater Housing


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Sullivan is an underwater and conservation photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. For more of his pictures follow him on Instagram.

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Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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In-depth review of the Fantasea Sony a6500 and a6300 housing for macro and wide-angle, tested through a series of 30 dives in the Philippines
By Brent Durand

Fantasea FA6500 Housing Review

Brent Durand
In-depth review of the Fantasea Sony a6500 and a6300 housing for macro and wide-angle, tested through a series of 30 dives in the Philippines

Fantasea, known for the great performance and fantastic value of their compact camera housings, has entered the mirrorless housing game with the Fantasea FA6500. This new interchangeable port housing works with both the Sony a6500 and Sony a6300. For this review, I shot the Sony a6500 on 30 dives during the Bluewater Photo workshop in Anilao, Philippines.

The Sony a6500 is Sony's powerful 24.2 megapixel APS-C mirrorless camera, with a fast 425-point autofocus system, 5-axis image stabilization and 4K recording at high framerates. Be sure to read our First Look at the Sony a6500 article (full review to be published in next week).

The Fantasea FA6500 closely resembles other Fantasea housings, however is packed with new features designed specifically for the a6500 and a6300, including camera tray, interchangeable ports, wet lens system compatible with several lens combinations, flash trigger and more. Let's take a closer look.

 

Jump to section:

Housing Features    |    Overview & Controls    |    Underwater Review

UCL-09LF Macro Diopter    |    UWL-09F Wide-Angle Wet Lens    |    FA6500 Housing Accessories

Conclusion    |    More Underwater Photos

 


Purchase the Fantasea FA6500 Housing


 

A nudibranch perches on a rock as current rips by. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, Fantasea UCL-09LF diopter, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @45mm, ISO 100, f/20, 1/160. Photo: Brent Durand


Fantasea FA6500 Features

  • Full access to all essential camera buttons & functions with clearly marked controls

  • Depth rated to 60 meters / 200 feet

  • Shock resistant construction

  • Ergonomic design

  • Double O-ring protection for a perfect watertight seal

  • Moisture Detector and Alarm, Hand Strap and Body Cap included at no additional cost!

  • Interchangeable lens port and lens gear system is available, allowing for the use of a wide range of lenses

  • Double fiber optic cable port

  • M16 port for a variety of connections, including HDMI, vacuum valve or electronic strobe triggering bulkheads

  • Shutter release extension available for easy access when using housing tray and handles

  • Additional optional housing accessories are available

  • Manufacturer's warranty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FA6500 Housing Overview and Controls

The Fantasea FA6500 is Fantasea's first mirrorless housing, yet it feels as nice and easy to use as their compact housings while still providing full access to all camera functions, controls and a wide variety of lenses. 

The polycarbonate construction is solid, the buttons have wide plastic caps so that your fingers don't hurt when pressing them repeatedly, and everything is very clearly labeled. I enjoyed the fact that most controls are placed in a similar layout as on the camera body, which maintains familiarity built while using the Sony a6500 topside. The knobs have large ridges that provide great traction on the fingers.

My (strangely favorite) buttons are the flash pop-up and depress buttons, convenient when switching between photo and manual video modes. Why? The camera's max flash sync speed is 1/160, and the a6500 limits you to that shutter speed when the flash is popped (actually a nice feature). For shooting 1080p video at 120fps, I wanted a shutter speed of 1/250, and pressed down the flash in order to make those higher shutter speeds available.

 

Accessory Highlights

The FA6500 housing has a M16 port for a variety of accessories, including HDMI output (e.g. for video monitor) or a vacuum valve. It also has a cold shoe mount for focus light on top of the housing (like all cold shoe mounts, check that accessories are mounted tightly before every dive). The dual fiber optic cable connectors are located on top of the housing, which is nice because you don't have extra light hitting your subject when using only one cable.

Fantasea will soon be releasing an LCD Screen Magnifier, LED Flash Trigger and Quick Release Bayonet System.

 

Port and Lens System

The Fantasea a6500 housing features a bayonet system for changing ports and lenses. Simply unlock the port, twist about 1cm and then pop it off. A camera lens release button is located on the right side of the port opening, making lens changes quick. There's no need to open the back of the housing to change lenses.

I set up the housing with the Fantasea FML Flat Port 34 and Sony 16-50mm Power Zoom kit lens, as this provided a versatile system for both macro shooting with the UCL-09LF diopter and wide-angle shooting with the UWL-09F conversion lens. While the lens isn't as sharp as some other Sony lenses, it was fantastic being able to change from macro to wide-angle mid-dive. The flat port 34 has a 67mm thread mount, so your other 67mm accessories are compatible.

View the Fantasea Port Chart for full lens and port compatibility.

 

Inside the Housing

Opening the FA6500 is simple. Just depress the red safety lever, twist the latch, and pull the housing open on the left side hinge. There are two o-rings sealing the housing back, which provides an extra layer of security against floods. 

To insert the a6500 camera, simply mount it on the tray and insert the tray into the sled, then lock it down. The tray does not block the battery compartment and is easy to tighten/loosen with fingertips or a coin.

 

For the review, I set up the Fantasea FA6500 on Ultralight Control Systems tray and handles, switching between Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes and Kraken Hydra 5000 video lights.

 

 

FA6500 Housing Performance Underwater

The first thing I noticed with this sytem was the excellent buoyancy of the polycarbonate housing. I was using 4x jumbo Stix Floats and the rig was just slighly negative and easy to swim around with. Pitch was neutral as well - no front float or sink.

The buttons have nice action and did not induce fatigue, although everyone has different hand sizes, ergonomic preferences, etc. I did find myself placing my thumb on the back of the housing to stabilize the rig when depressing the shutter to focus and shoot. This was necessary in order to keep the system aimed and stable while applying enough pressure on the lever. This is a trend for me on several mirrorless housings, so can't be considered a negative.

The housing knobs were easy to turn ergonomically with finger/thumb tip, which is nice - no need to take your hand off the housing to grab them with fingers and thumb. Heavy-use buttons like playback and display stood up to the 30 dives and still feel like new - no jamming up.

 

 

Video recording is done through the small button on the right back side of the housing. Its low profile makes it easy to slowly press with the thumb, resulting in less camera shake and pressure that might shift the careful framing of a super macro shot.

The FA6500 ships with an extended shutter release lever, which I ended up installing after the first few days of the trip. Most divers will be able to install this on their own, if desired, as it's held with just a single screw on outside of the housing. I enjoyed the ergonomics much more with the longer lever.

Advanced shooters will be happy to know that the AEL button has been shifted slightly to the right, making it reachable for back-button focus operation.

There are a couple inconveniences with the system, however I attribute those to the Sony gear design and not the housing. The first is the electronic zoom slider of the Sony 16-50mm lens, which makes it tough to reach a desired field of view (a bit like zooming a compact camera lens) and is prone to being bumped out of place. The second issue, where the pop-up flash pauses the camera in order to recycle and cool down, has been addressed by Fantasea through a new flash trigger. No more need to watch the best composition to move away while waiting for the flash to recycle! Be sure to revisit and read my complete Sony a6500 camera review for more insight on the camera itself, which will be published on UWPG in the next week or two.

[EDIT] Fantasea has told us that the 16-50mm zoom gear is designed to work with the manual zoom ring on the 16-50mm lens, not the electronic zoom slider. We haven't had a chance to test this, but it makes sense as the manual zoom ring is more accurate for zooming than the electronic zoom slider.

 

Fantasea UCL-09LF Macro Diopter

I used the UCL-09LF frequently during our Anilao workshop. The Sony 16-50mm lens is versatile, however the minimum working distance is often too far away (25cm) for crisp macro shooting. Adding the UCL-09LF not only adds +12 magnification, but it reduces the working distance, allowing you to get closer and fill the frame with your subject. Shooting through less water also results in crisper images.

This specific lens and diopter combo requires you to zoom in a bit in order to move past the vignetting at 16mm. Once you do that, you have the flexibility to zoom the lens in and out depending on the size of your subject and desired working distance (which varies depending on zoom / field of view).

The diopter delivers sharp images, however my first instinct is that the Sony 16-50mm isn't as sharp for macro shooting as the Sony 90mm macro lens. I look forward to testing the diopter on that lens in the near future. But like I mentioned above, the 16-50mm is more versatile, so lens/port selection will really depend on the photo subjects you have planned during the dive.

 

A nudibranch reaches out across a sponge. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, Fantasea UCL-09LF diopter, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @39mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/160. Photo: Brent Durand

 

An emperor shrimp crawls across a large cucumber. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, Fantasea UCL-09LF diopter, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @47mm, ISO 100, f/25, 1/160. Photo: Brent Durand


Fantasea UWL-09 Wide-Angle Conversion Lens

The Fantasea UWL-09F is a glass wide-angle wet conversion lens that allows you to zoom in and out while using the lens. The first benefit of this lens is that you can add and remove it underwater. The second is this zoom ability, allowing you to zoom out for a wide reefscape perspective and zoom in for more distant subjects like a sea lion or dolphin.

The UWL-09F requires you to zoom in very slightly to avoid vignetting, but after that the image quality stays impressively sharp from edge to edge. The photo below is shot at 21mm and uncropped.

 

A nudibranch reaches out across a sponge. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, Fantasea UWL-09F wide-angle conversion lens, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @21mm, ISO 320, f/13, 1/80. Photo: Brent Durand


Fantasea FA6500 Housing Accessories

 

Fantasea plans to release the following products for the FA6500 housing next month:
  • A Dome Lens Port designed for wide angle lenses such as the Sony E-mount 16mm F2.8 lens and the VCL-ECF2 Fisheye converter.
  • A Lens Port Extension Ring designed to help accommodate longer lenses such as the Sony E-mount 10 - 18 mm Zoom lens.
  • Lens Gears and Light Shielding pads designed for a variety of Sony E-Mount lenses.
  • A LCD Screen Magnifier compatible with all Fantasea Housings which provide an enlarged and enhanced view of the cameras LCD screen
  • Universal Flash Trigger Compatible with all Hotshoe equipped cameras. Thereby allowing for longer camera battery life and enhanced continues shooting modes.
  • New and improved Fiber Optic cables.

 

 

Conclusion

The Fantasea FA6500 is a solid, functional housing that delivers the best performance to value ratio out there. If you have a budget as you plan and purchase a Sony a6500 mirrorless camera rig, then this housing is a great option.

The compact size and light weight make the Sony a6500 and Fantasea housing attractive to DSLR shooters who are looking for easier travel and less bulk while diving. The versatility of using wet lenses for super macro and wide-angle on the same dive is very cool, and a setup I would highly recommend for advanced shooters looking to maximize photo opportunities throughout every minute underwater. That said, I would definitely also look to the Sony 90mm macro lens (and compatible port) if you're into the small critters.

The image quality, autofocus speed and other custom features make this a great system for compact shooters looking to upgrade. 

There just aren't many cons with the system. It can be used as a small snorkel camera with a handstrap or built up as a professional video rig with external monitor, tripod and lighting system.

 

Order the Fantasea FA6500 housing at Bluewater Photo.

 

Fantasea a6500 Housing Underwater Photos

 

A friendly green turtle hangs out for a portrait. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @37mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/125. Photo: Brent Durand


Known for macro, Anilao also is home to gorgeous reefs. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, Fantasea UWL-09F wide-angle conversion lens, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @18mm, ISO 320, f/13, 1/100. Photo: Brent Durand

 

 

A nudibranch reaches out towards the housing. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, Fantasea UCL-09LF diopter, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @24mm, ISO 100, f/22, 1/160. Photo: Brent Durand

 

A mototi octopus crawls across the sand while hunting. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @33mm, ISO 100, f/14, 1/160. Photo: Brent Durand

 

Anemone shrimp are commonly found with eggs. Sony a6500, Sony 16-50mm lens, Fantasea FA6500 housing, Fantasea UCL-09LF diopter, dual Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. @41mm, ISO 100, f/29, 1/160. Photo: Brent Durand

 

Disclosure: Fantasea loaned UWPG the gear reviewed in this article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.

Brent is an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Follow Underwater Photography Guide on Facebook or Instagram.

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


The Aquatica A6500 is here, with built-in leak sensor, handles, hand strap, tray brackets, grip brackets and more
By UWPG News

Aquatica A6500 Housing Announced

UWPG News
The Aquatica A6500 is here, with built-in leak sensor, handles, hand strap, tray brackets, grip brackets and more

Aquatica has unveiled their housing for the popular Sony a6500 camera. The latest in an impressive line of mirrorless camera housings, the Aquatica A6500 is designed to be small, compact and easily handled - with a tray or in-hand. This versatile approach in housing design allows this camera to be used by everyone, from the beginner underwater photo/video shooter to the working professional.

The Sony a6500 is an impressive camera, featuring a 24.2-megapixel sensor, 4K customizeable video capture, in-body 5-axis image stabilization, 425 phase detection autofocus points and much more. Be sure to read our First Look at the Sony a6500 article for full specs and features.

Teh A6500 boasts some nice features as well, including a power saddle for extended battery life, interchangeable viewfinders, adjustable hand grip support, and accessory ports.

Availability:  Shipping April 1, 2017, available for pre-order at Bluewater Photo

Retail Price:  $1,650 USD

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Introducing The AQUATICA A6500 Underwater Housing

For the SONY Alpha 6500 Compact Camera

 

Retail: $1,650.00 USD includes Housing, built in leak sensor, handles, hand strap, tray brackets, grip brackets and more!

The Aquatica A6500 is a housing designed to be small, compact and easily handled just like the camera that it is designed for. With 24.2 MP stills and 4K video capabilities coming in at a retail cost of $1,399.00 USD the SONY Alpha 6500 is a great camera for the beginner and professional Underwater Photographer alike. THE SONY a6500 features:

  •   24.2 MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor

  •   BIONZ X Image processor

  •   4K video capture

  •   In-body 5 axis image stabilization

  •   Built in WIFI for easy sharing

  •   425-point phase detection autofocus points

  •   3.0'' 921.6k-Dot Tiliting Touchscreen LCD

  •   Bigger JPEG buffer

  •   Silent shooting

  •   Tough magnesium alloy body and robust lens mount

 

OUR INNOVATIONS:

This camera is a powerhouse of technology just like its predecessor, the A6300. We have made our Power saddle also available for this housing to allow the user to fully enjoy the system underwater.

Power Saddle:

The Aquatica Digital Power Saddle incorporates an optional rechargeable battery pack that plugs into the camera’s micro usb port and attaches magnetically to the camera’s mounting plate. This option can be purchased with the housing or purchased later as an add-on. Purchasing the Power Saddle will allow both still and video shooters to have the equivalent of two extra batteries in their housing, allowing the extra power they need to fuel their creative visions.

Interchangeable View Finders:

Aquatica Digital is proud to announce the support of our Aqua View Finders. The A6500 will come standard with our Aquatica eyepiece and the housing allows the user to switch between our Aqua View 45 and our Aqua View 180 Finders without having to change the LCD window of the housing. Upgrading to these Finders gives the user a 1.2 magnified view of the electronic viewfinder, allowing for improved underwater viewing. These finders are among the best finders available on the market.

 

Adjustable Hand Grip Support:

Aquatica is world famous for having the most comfortable hand grips on the market and we are excited to announce
that these grips have been adapted for the A6500’s smaller size. We have been able to include these grips as part of the A6500 package in the form of highly modular tray to mount either strobes or video lights to the top of the grips. The tray itself can be moved left and right for added comfort. Furthermore, the tray bracketscan be independently
adjusted to a forward, mid and back position while the grip brackets can be adjustedto an inward, centered and outward position from the housing, thus allowing for you to have the industry’s most ergonomic control access available. Additionally; an adjustable Aquatica nylon hand strap is included at no extra cost allowing for the avid freediver, or available light shooter to streamline their profile by removing the handles.

 

THE CONTROLS:

The A6500 can be used with or without grips. The right side of the housing has been designed so that you can comfortably hold and operate the housing with your right hand with the shutter button positioned to naturally rest under your index finger.

Additionally, at the rear of the housing, we have provided access to many of the camera’s functions. The controls can be easily reached by simply moving your thumb, thus allowing you to never have to remove your hand from the shutter lever. Primarily among these controls is the record button which has been given a large red oversized button for ease of use. For those that prefer a steady hold on the housing, the Aquatica grips and shutter extended trigger are available, allowing for a more traditional hold of the housing underwater.

We have ergonomically placed the control dial at the rear of the housing so that it gives you quick and easy access to shutter speeds, aperture, white balance and the ISO of the camera.

 

THE HOUSING:

At the core of the design is the shell, machined on a state of the art 5 axis CNC machine from a solid block of 6061 T6 aluminum alloy. The shell is then anodized and painted with a black polyester powder coating. This type of finish is capable of handling the toughest conditions a professional photographer can throw at it.

We are immensely proud of how often our clients at rental dealerships praise our trademark crinkle powder coat finish being as “tough as nails”. What is often noted is that housings that only have an anodized finish do not stand up to the abuse rental housings are exposed to, therefore making Aquatica housings the ideal choice.

Our control shafts and push buttons are made from the finest grade of stainless steel available rather than plastic or less expensive metals. This ensures the most reliable performance on the market.

The housing shell has two entry points for connecting strobes plus two others for adapting various accessories. The housing is sealed with our signature rotary closure made popular on our Amphibico cinema housings.

There is also a large 16mm diameter access point on the left hand side which is ideal for connecting a video monitor. Located on the left hand side is a standard 1/2” diameter access point for the optional Surveyor vacuum valve to ensure a water tight seal prior to your dive, thus giving the shooter watertight piece of mind.

STROBE CONNECTORS:

Every underwater shooter’s needs are different, as such we offer a full complement of flash triggering options to suit those needs. Whether you use basic fiber optic connections or the hard wired flash connections with which to fire your strobes independently, we have you covered with our impressive line up of available flash connectors. The Aquatica Digital A6500 will have three options for flash connection:

  #37000-OPT Fiber optic version will feature our industry standard L-type fiber optic cable connectors
  #37000-NK Nikonos type connector with universal hot shoe
  #37000-IKE Ikelite type connector with universal hot shoe

 

PORT SELECTION:

We felt that a camera like the Sony a6500 needs to support the best lenses for the best optical results possible. We have created a full line of extension rings and adapters for both our mirrorless ports as well as our standard port line up.

Our support will cover the unbeatable Zeiss Touit 12mm 2.8 rectilinear wide angle lens as well as the ultra-sharp Zeiss Touit 50mm 2.8 macro lens. This is followed by the stellar Sony 90mm 2.8 macro with manual focus support, and of course the industry’s favorite Tokina 10-17mm fisheye Canon mount with Metabones adapter. Last but not least we support the Sony 10- 18mm and 16-50mm “kit” zoom lenses and by popular demand both the Sony 16mm and 18-55mm lenses.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

  • Anodized 6061-T6 Aluminium Housing
  • Crinkle Powder Coating
  • Best Grips in the Industry (Left and Right)
  • Two Fiber optic Ports
  • Extended Trigger adapter
  • Extra main sealing O-Ring
  • Extra Port O-Ring
  • Aquatica Standard Eye Piece
  • Choice of Strobe Connectors
  • Built in Leak Sensor
  • Aquatica Nylon Hand Strap
  • Adjustible Tray (left and right)
  • 2 Adjustible Tray Brackets
  • 2 Adjustible Grip Brackets
  • 2 Zinc Anodes

Housing(only) weight:4.5lb/2.04kg
Housing (only) dimensions: W 21.59 cm x H 15.24 cm x D 10.48 cm/W 8.5'' x H 6'' x 4.125''

RETAIL PRICE STARTING AT $ 1,650.00 USD

FINAL PRODUCT MAY VARY

Available April 1, 2017 

 



Pre-Order the Aquatica A6500 Housing at Bluewater Photo.


 

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Fantasea enters mirrorless market with the FA6500 housing featuring interchangeable port, M16 accessory mount and ergonomic design
By UWPG News

Fantasea Sony a6500 and a6300 Housing Announced

UWPG News
Fantasea enters mirrorless market with the FA6500 housing featuring interchangeable port, M16 accessory mount and ergonomic design

Fantasea Line has just announced their housing for the powerful Sony a6500 mirrorless camera. The housing will also fit the Sony a6300 camera, which shares the 24-megapixel image sensor, pro-level video capabilities and 425-point phase detect autofocus system.

The housing is Fantasea's first step into the mirrorless camera housing market and the housing is sure to prove its place, featuring an interchangeable port system, M16 mount for sync cords, HDMI cable, or vacuum valve, and the lightweight ergonomic functionality that Fantasea is known for... at a great price.

Be sure to read our First Look at the Sony a6500 article for more info and specs on the camera.

Availability:  April 2017, available for pre-order at Bluewater Photo

Retail Price:  $980 USD

 

 



PRESS RELEASE

FANTASEA LINE UNDERWATER HOUSING FOR THE SONY a6500 and a6300

Fantasea introduces the stylish and rugged FA6500 Housing for the Sony a6500 and a6300 mirrorless cameras. The housing is expected in April 2017.

The Fantasea FA6500 Housing was designed and manufactured specifically for the Sony a6500 and a6300 cameras. The FA6500 features an ergonomic design with access to all essential camera functions. It offers the highest and most professional standards of functionality, style and durability.

Sony considers the a6500 as their flagship APS-C mirrorless system and many underwater photo pro’s consider it the best value-for-money mirrorless camera in the market today!

Retail price of the FA6500 Housing in the USA is expected to be as low as $980.

 

FA6500 System Highlights

  • Full access to all essential camera buttons & functions with clearly marked controls

  • Depth rated to 60 meters / 200 feet

  • Shock resistant construction

  • Ergonomic design

  • Double O-ring protection for a perfect watertight seal

  • Moisture Detector and Alarm, Hand Strap and Body Cap included at no additional cost!

  • Interchangeable lens port and lens gear system is available, allowing for the use of a wide range of lenses

  • Double fiber optic cable port

  • M16 port for a variety of connections, including HDMI, vacuum valve or electronic strobe triggering bulkheads

  • Shutter release extension available for easy access when using housing tray and handles

  • Additional optional housing accessories are available

  • Manufacturer’s warranty

 

Further information can be found shortly on www.fantasea.com and www.sonydive.com.

 



Pre-order the Fantasea FA6500 at Bluewater Photo.


 

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Sea & Sea proudly presents MDX-5DMKIV Underwater Housing for the Canon 5D Mark IV camera.

Sea & Sea 5D Mark IV Underwater Housing Preview

Sea & Sea proudly presents MDX-5DMKIV Underwater Housing for the Canon 5D Mark IV camera.

The Sea & Sea 5D Mark IV housing has released for the Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR camera. Sea & Sea has a long reputation for making great, innovative and ergonomic housings, and this camera / housing combo is sure to be very popular with Canon underwater photographers and videographers.

The Canon 5D Mark IV features a 30.4 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and incorporates Canon's dual-pixel autofocus technology.  With this,it boasts fast and reliable autofocus when shooting video in live view.  In addition, the camera also packs the  DIGIC 6+ processor, 4k video at 30fps, Full HD video at 60fps, 61 AF points (41 cross-type), touch panel LCD, and enhanced high ISO performance.

The Sea & Sea 5D Mark IV housing brings ergonomic control of the Canon 5D Mark IV to underwater photographers. There are several new features, including AF lock lever function, luminescent buttons, external port lock and lens release. The housing is also compatible with the Sea & Sea Optical YS Converter and equiped with Leak Sentinel V5. Below is the press release with full info.

 

Purchase:  Sea & Sea 5D Mark IV Housing

U.S. Retail Price:  $3,899.95

Availability: On-going pre-order.

 

   

 

(1)  Optical YS Converter Compatible

Converts the camera’s TTL signal to a light signal. Both TTL and Manual Strobe control is compatible with Fiber-optic Cable II (Not included).       *YS Converter Available Feb. 2017

 

(2)  AF Lock Lever Function

AF can be locked by pressing and turning newly designed Lock Lever.

 

(3)  Luminescent Buttons

Most levers and buttons will glow in dark environment

 

(4)  External Port Lock and Lens Releases

Both conveniently switch lenses and ports between dives without removing the housing back. Activate the Port Lock on the front of housing and push the Lens Release for quick and easy lens swap.

 

          

     

(5)  Leak Sentinel V5

Allows you to check the housing's vacuum seal before diving

 

Key Features:

  • Equipped with two (2) Fiber-Optic Cable Sockets
  • Equipped with one (1) N-Type (2-pin) connector
  • Equipped with two (2) Sacrificial Zinc Diodes (front/rear)
  • Compatible with Optional VF45 and VF180 View Finders
  • Built-In Leak Detector Sensor
  • Body: Corrosion-Resistant Aluminum Alloy (machined)
  • Grip: Corrosion-Resistant Die-Cast Aluminum Alloy
  • Depth Rating: 100m / 330ft
  • Dim. (WxHxD): 341 x 198 x 141mm - 13.9 x 8.3 x 5.6inch
  • Weight: Approx. 3,000g / 106oz (housing only)
  • Compatible with SEA&SEA Strobes, Sea Arm 8, Fiber-Optic Cable II, Electronic Sync Cords, Leak Sentinel (Vacuum Pump System)

 

Additional Photos:

 


 

Purchase the Sea & Sea 5D Mark IV Housing

 


 

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Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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Subal has announced their underwater housing for the Olympus O-MD E-M1 Mark II
By UWPG News

Subal Underwater Housing for Olympus EM1 Mark II

UWPG News
Subal has announced their underwater housing for the Olympus O-MD E-M1 Mark II

Subal has unveiled their new underwater housing for the Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark II camera.  The camera features a 20 Megapixel sensor, 18fps continuous RAW shooting and a 4k video.

As for the housing features, it is milled from a solid aluminum block which ensures you a durable housing.  It has been treated and finished with powder coat paint.  The housing also features Subals new locking system but still compatible with their previous Type 3 port system.  All camera functions can be accessible with the housing and ergonomically designed button placement.

U.S. Retail Price: TBA

 

PRESS RELEASE 

Subal Underwater Housing for Olympus EM1 Mark II

The housing Olympus EM1 Mark II provides access to all functions of the camera. The ergonomic SUBAL design and arrangement of all important elements of the housing allows the camera an easy operation without letting go of the handle. The camera is mounted on a special sled, to mount the camera with precision in the housing, this allows a more faster and secure mounting. A 4 mm O ring and the NEW SUBAL locking system, prevents accidental crushing of the O-ring, and ensures maximum safety. Threaded holes at the base allow attaching Rails etc. Pilot lights can be attached or mounted to the top shoe. The monitor window provides a glare-free and high-contrast insight on the camera monitor. Material selection, processing, surface protection and finish conform to the usual standard level of quality that is all the SUBAL products. SUBAL offers for this housing model 3 different viewfinders: the standard viewfinder slimmed reduces the viewfinder image, so that it can fully overlook despite diving mask. The GS 180 and the 45° viewfinder offer a viewfinder in size approximately corresponding to the camera's viewfinder, with the insight of the GS-180 horizontally, the insight of the WS-45 under 45°. All SUBAL ports with bayonet mount 3 on this case can be used.

Technical Data:

Seawater resistant aluminum alloy worked from the block. Hard Coating and corrosion treatment is applied to the surface of the housing. In addition 3 layers of powder coating paint is applied to give the housing the Subal color and unique finish. All parts are made of hard-anodized light alloy, acid-resistant stainless steel and high quality plastics, to endure all working conditions. NEW SUBAL locking system.

Approx dimension: 234 x 160 x 108 mm (w/o port and handles)

Approx weight: 1,3 kg (w/o port and handles)

 

Flash Connection:

2 Flash connectors optionally Nikonos V, optical trigger optionally

 

Flash Arm Mounting:

2 x T-plates 25 mm, TLC - or ultralight base optional shoe

Transmission and Features:

All functions of the camera can be operated. In particular: main switch/backlight, shutter, zoom (manual focus), front and rear main dial, lens release, focus mode (M-S-C), AF mode, metering, operation voters of types of, AF-lock, AF-ON, port-lock, photo/video switching.

 

Push Buttons:

Mode, exposure compensation, Flash method, AF mode, lock, video start / stop, playback, delete, menu, thumbnail, protect, OK, ISO, quality, white balance, microphone, multifunction button, info, live view. AF-on, PV, FN, AF mode

 


View all the cameras, lights and accessories at Bluewater Photo.


 

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Aquatica announces housing for Nikon's flagship camera - which features a compact & lightweight housing, leak safelty, viewfinders and more
By UWPG News

Aquatica Nikon D5 Housing Overview

UWPG News
Aquatica announces housing for Nikon's flagship camera - which features a compact & lightweight housing, leak safelty, viewfinders and more

Aquatica has officially announced their housing for Nikon's flagship camera, Nikon D5.  It packs 21 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, 14 fps, 4k video and many other features.  This will surely be very popular for photographers and videographers as well which demands utmost quality.

Aquatica kept in mind the egonomics, and they were the one who first to offered access to Fn1, Fn2 and Pv controls.  This was done using a unique toggle lever and gives photographer full control of the camera.  Aquatica also designed the housing to be compact and lightweight as possible, just weighing (grips attached) 4.9kg.

Aquatica also offers multiple bulk head access for various external accessories,  They also boast the most option of interchangeable strobe connectors in the market.  Full press release found below.

Purchase:  Aquatica AD5 Underwater Housing

U.S. Retail Price:  $4,849.00

Availability: Now available at Bluewater Photo

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Aquatica Housing for the Nikon D5 Camera is Now Available!

Nikon’s flagship D5 camera is a professional imaging tool with equally impressive still and video capabilities. With customized controls, next-generation lens gear system and uncompromised viewing, Aquatica's new AD5 housing puts the D5’s power into the hands of photographers shooting in the world’s most demanding underwater environments.

 

D5 CAMERA HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 21MP - Full frame CMOS Sensor
  • No Anti-aliasing (AA) filter
  • ISO 100 - 3280000
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • Optical (pentaprism) viewfinder
  • 14.0 fps continuous shooting
  • 4K - 3840 x 2160 video resolution
  • No Optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter
  • 1415g. 160 x 158.5 x 92 mm
  • Weather Sealed Body

 

BUILT JUST FOR THE D5:

Aquatica is happy to introduce to you our new housing for Nikon’s new Flagship pro DSLR camera body combining highly evolved ergonomics with features customized for Nikon’s most advanced SLR.

Aquatica was the first to offer access to the Fn1, Fn2 and Pv controls. This is done via a unique toggle levers that accesses the three buttons and gives the photographer control over such things as the power aperture (Close + Open), index marking in video mode and also allows easy viewing of photo shooting information.

Aquatica is happy to introduce to you our new housing for Nikon’s new Flagship pro DSLR camera body combining highly evolved ergonomics with features customized for Nikon’s most advanced SLR.

Aquatica was the first to offer access to the Fn1, Fn2 and Pv controls. This is done via a unique toggle levers that accesses the three buttons and gives the photographer control over such things as the power aperture (Close + Open), index marking in video mode and also allows easy viewing of photo shooting information.

The AD5 is also optimized for video shooting, to take advantage of the D5’s broadcast quality 4K - 3840 x 2160 video resolution. All video controls are designed for easy reach and smooth operation through the housing. This includes a next-generation lens gear system with a smaller housing pinion gear and a larger lens gear for smoother action while zooming in a video sequence.

 

 

A newly designed camera tray delivers smooth and precise positioning of the camera in the housing and allows the user to insert and remove the camera using a simple push tab. The zoom actuating pinion gear and the lens release lever also pull out so the camera can be removed from the back while keeping a lens and zoom gear attached.

Left-hand control buttons are angled and positioned for faster access to the various functions and a quick lever was added for the important ISO access. On the right hand the Live View lever has been relocated closer to your thumb. The multi-controller pad found on the Nikon D5 is made accessible with a simple and proven design and its SET button has been oversized. All push buttons are of high quality Type 304 stainless steel and operate smoothly for a natural feel and intuitive operation.

Three bulkhead access holes are provided to accept multiple external accessories such as our remote trigger (# 19304), Water Wizard external radio transceiver housing, external monitors and/or other accessories. Aquatica also boasts the most comprehensive selection of easily interchangeable strobe connectors in the industry. The 20081-NK includes two of the classic 5-pin Nikonos connectors and the 20081-KT is supplied with a time proven 5-pin Ikelite connector. Both versions are ready to accept currently available TTL converters. Aquatica standard strobe connectors are also now replaceable in the field without the need for specialized tools.

 

MAIN FEATURES OF THE AQUATICA AD5 HOUSING:

  • Well established and proven system of ports, extensions and accessories to meet your personal lens preferences.
  • Quick and simple installation of enhanced viewfinders; no special tools required.
  • Exceptionally good and ergonomic control placement.
  • All controls remain accessible in all dive conditions, either cold or warm, gloves or not.
  • Secure port locking system and easy access lens release button.
  • The most comfortable and sturdy hand grips in the industry, also extendable for larger or gloved hands.
  • Precise camera mounting via a quick release camera tray with angled rear LCD positioning.
  • Two (2) entry point for accessories such as HDMI monitors, remote control or vacuum monitoring systems.
  • Eight (8) threaded standard 1/4''-20 holes, one located on top, three on the bottom and four on the grips, to mount strobe arms, brackets, tripods and a wide range of accessories.
  • Depth rating options of 90m or 130m depth at no extra charge (factory installed).
  • Made with a time proven manufacturing process, using the best material available and state of the art tooling. This offers you many years of dependable and enjoyable service.

 

PROVEN AQUATICA PERFORMANCE:

Aquatica’s more than 30 years of expertise have helped craft the AD5’s ergonomic design. It’s a design strongly influenced by professional image makers from around the world who work and consult with us. The result is an unparalleled attention to detail and expertly crafted solutions. Aquatica housings include our own exceptional Galileo-type eye piece. This high quality and coated optical finder gives a bright and full view of the viewfinder. For those who need the ultimate in still image viewing, the optional Aqua View delivers second-to-none clarity; it provides the photographer with tack sharp corner to corner viewing for composing and critical focusing

The AD5 also retains our trademark moulded grips—the industry standard of comfort for the last 25 years. They are lightweight, and made of one piece so they never come unglued or corrode. Both grips have mounting holes ready to accept the popular mounting bracket of our TLC Delta 3 system and are compatible with most current strobes and lighting arms on the market. An extra mounting point for a focus/video light or other accessories is included on top of the housing and three additional mounting points are provided under the housing for various brackets, supports or tripods.

Of course, the AD5 housing is an integral part of one of the most established and comprehensive port and accessories system of the industry. Aquatica’s port system has been a stable platform for more than 20 years and remains one of the most reliable and popular designs on the market. The durability of Aquatica housings is legendary. The lightweight AD5 benefits from the finest material available in the metallurgic industry and is carefully crafted from a selected alloy of aircraft-grade aluminum. This housing still has the same standard 90m/300ft depth rating and can be upgraded to a 130m/425ft depth rating. Its knurled knobs and oversized controls mean easy operation in all conditions. Every Aquatica housing is machined on the latest five-axis computer assisted machines. It then undergoes a protective anodizing process to the stringent North American Military Specifications. A baked on powder coating paint is then applied for a tough-as-nails exterior. Additional protection comes from corrosion inhibiting zinc anodes, provided standard with every housing. This additional level of protection is highly effective, as can be seen on some housings with more than 1,500 dives on them that still look as fresh as the day they came out of the box.

 

SURVEYOR MONITORING SYSTEM:  

The Aquatica AD5 housing comes standard with a Surveyor monitoring system, a vacuum extracting valve and pump can be added, this is used to monitor the sealing integrity of the housing, adding another level of safety and peace of mind.

WHAT'S IN THE BOX:  

  • Anodized 6061-T6 aluminum housing
  • Crinkle powder coating
  • Best grips in the industry (Left & right)
  • Choice of strobe connectors
  • Optional left top side 1/2'' or 16mm hole
  • opening
  • 8 x 1/4-20 mounting points
  • (Top & bottom )
  • Mounting hardware for grips
  • Three sturdy stainless steel latches
  • (With secondary lock)
  • Extra main sealing oring
  • Extra Port oring
  • Aquatica standard eye piece
  • Built in leak sensor, valve & pump

 

The Aquatica AD5 is very compact and lightweight housing tipping the scall at just:  

Dimensions: (with grips attached) W 37.2cm x H 23.2cm x D 14.9cm/ W 14.650'' x H 9.144'' x D 5.876''

Dimensions: (without grips) W 26.8cm x H 23.2cm x D 14.9cm/ W 10.576'' x H 9.144'' x D 5.876''

Weight (with grips attached): 11lb/4.9kg

Weight (without grips attached): 10.3lb/4.67kg

 

 

 



Purchase the Aquatica for Nikon D5 Underwater Housing


 

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.

 


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