Fantasea's FG15 in the Lab & the Water
Fantasea's FG15 in the Lab & the Water
Housing Review for Canon's G15: Ergonomics, Ease of Use & Excellent Photos!
By Brent Durand
Canon’s G15 has been a top choice for compact shooters since its release, offering more manual functionality than other cameras in its class. As a Canon shooter, I can switch between the G15 and my DSLRs with minimal adaptation. The Canon G series has a reputation for excellent underwater macro images and isn’t too shabby for wide-angle either.
Fantasea FG15 Housing Overview
Fantasea’s FG15 housing sits between Canon’s G15 housing and housings twice the price. In other words, for a budget slightly above the Canon housing, G15 shooters can have access to full camera functionality and excellent housing ergonomics that the more expensive options provide.
The FG15 is a polycarbonate housing depth rated to 60m/200 feet. It has an elegant and functional design that provides access to full camera functionality with clearly labeled (individual) buttons and makes it simple to add and remove the camera from the housing. The housing also accommodates the most popular macro wet lenses as well as the Fantasea BigEye wide-angle wet lens.
Top view of the FG15 housing. Note how the controls are labeled and the cold shoe mount for accessories like a focus light.
- Depth rated to 60m/200 feet
- Ergonomic design
- Made from durable injection molded Polycarbonate
- Full access to all camera controls & functions with clearly marked controls
- Shock resistant
- Double O-ring seal
- Special mount for lighting accessories
- Removable double fiber optic cable connection
- Removable flash diffuser
- Easy and secure installation of camera
- Removable anti-glare hood for the LCD screen
- BONUS - Moisture Detector comes installed in every FG15 housing at no additional cost!
- Dedicated video control button for easy video filming in any shooting mode
- Compatible with a wide range of underwater photo accessories
- Weight (with camera on land): 1.1 kg
- Weight (with camera in 3.6% salt water): -0.3 kg
- Dimensions (without accessories): 17 x 13 x 13.5 cm \ 6.7 x 5.11 x 5.4 inch (W x D x H)
- Manufacturer's warranty included
The leak detector is a great feature on the FG15. Notice the LED light just above the red wire, visible through the clear polycarbonate housing.
Comparison to Other Housings
The FG15’s polycarbonate body means that it is lighter than metal housing options. One of the big benefits to a compact camera rig is the small size, and the lightweight housing makes traveling a breeze. On the negative side, the FG15 is more buoyant in the water if used without a tray/arms and strobe.
The FG15 uses the same macro wet lenses as its competitors (through an adapter made by Fantasea) and has a great wide-angle solution with the BigEye lens. The BigEye isn’t as wide as some others underwater but delivers excellent value for the price.
Lastly, the FG15 has clearly labeled buttons that make it easy to change settings underwater. This is a great feature for those who don’t have every button memorized.
Labels on each button make it easy to see use the camera controls.
In the Lab
My first impressions holding the FG15 were great. After playing with the camera for a few minutes it was easy to put in the housing and close it up. The clear polycarbonate makes it easy to check for possible contaminants (hair, sand, etc) on the o-ring prior to closing the housing back. The button placement on the housing was the same as on the camera, taking full advantage of the G15’s ergonomics and quick setting changes in manual mode. This includes the front command dial, which can be programmed for many functions, including manual white balance.
The latch is simple to use and very secure. The FG15 can be set up for the beginner with a flash diffuser that pops into place. For more advanced shooters, simply pop in the fiber optic cable adapter to use one or two strobes: no need to mess with strobe mask kits!
The buttons on Fantasea's housing line up with the buttons on the G15 camera for easy operation.
Photo of the pop-up flash diffuser, which snaps securely onto the housing, along with the fiber optic cable adapter.
Close-up of the fiber optic cable adapter. Simply pop it up to remove if using the diffuser.
In the Water
I decided to test the FG15 on a beach dive in Malibu, CA. The vis was great and I was back and forth between shooting macro and wide-angle, a luxury DSLR shooters don’t have. The constant changing of settings was easy in the housing and I could even switch between the pop-up flash diffuser and the single strobe setup I paired with the housing (although one wouldn’t do this in “real life”). Focusing was quick for both styles of shooting.
Single strobe and pop-up flash diffuser setup for my demo dive.
- Great value for the price
- Excellent ergonomics and clearly labeled buttons
- Can be set up for both beginner and expert compact shooters
- Leak detector brings peace of mind
- Doesn’t work with UWL-04 wide-angle wet lens (a popular option for compacts)
The FG15 is a great housing, delivering nice value for the cost. It’s a great option for beginners shooting with the G15’s pop-up flash or for advanced shooters using one or two strobes.
If you'd like to learn more about the FG15, please call our partner store, Bluewater Photo. They dive the gear they sell.
View inside the back of the FG15.
About the Author
Brent Durand is an avid California beach diver, photographer and writer with a rapidly growing portfolio of unique underwater, ocean lifestyle and adventure images. Brent is editor-in-chief of the Underwater Photography Guide. Make sure to follow UWPG on Facebook and Twitter for updates on everything underwater-photography.
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