Underwater Housings Reviews

Detailed underwater housing reviews for photo and video, including specs, new features and comparisons with other popular housings.
Introducing Aquatica A6300 Underwater Housing for Sony A6300 Mirrorless Camera
By Brent Durand

Aquatica Sony A6300 Housing Overview

Brent Durand
Introducing Aquatica A6300 Underwater Housing for Sony A6300 Mirrorless Camera

The Aquatica Sony a6300 housing is officially announced and will be shipping in late September. One look at the housing photos show that this is a very compact housing designed for this powerful camera.

The Sony a6300 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is impressive. Priced at under $1000 USD, the camera features some impressive specs: 24MP APS-C sensor, lighting-fast autofocus and 4K video recording in a very small body. Be sure to read our Sony a6300 camera review for all the details.

The Aquatica A6300 housing brings to power of the camera to underwater photo and video shooters in the style that Aquatica is known for; performance that works, no matter what, for whatever shooting style you pursue. A new power saddle extends battery life so that divers aren't limited by the short battery life of the a6300 (no needing to change batteries on the rocking wet bangka in between dives). Interchangeable viewfinders make it easy to travel and swap viewfinders in and out for wide-angle and macro shooting. And adjustable hand grip lets you customize the grip to your finger size, or between your bare finger trips and dry gloves trips. An exaggerated AF-On lever makes back button focus a breeze. And overall, the rounded, streamlined design just looks sexy!

 

Purchase:  Aquatica A6300 Housing

U.S. Retail Price:  $1,650

Availability: late-September/October at Bluewater Photo

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Introducing Aquatica A6300 Housing

The Aquatica A6300 is a housing designed to be small, compact and easily handled just like the camera that it is designed for. With 24 MP stills and 4K video capabilities coming in at a retail cost of $1000 dollars, the SONY Alpha a6300 is a great camera for the beginner and professional Underwater Photographer alike.

 

The Sony A6300:

  •  Advanced Auto Focus (4D FOCUS)
    • Fastest Auto Focus for an interchangeable lens digital camera.
    • 425 focus points, the largest number focus points for a Mirrorless camera
  • Electronic Viewfinder
    • 2.4 m-dot XGA (1024 x 768) OLED
    • 120 FPS refresh rate
  • 4K Video
    • First APS-C mirrorless camera capable of 4K video capture
  • Built from a Magnesium alloy and includes dust and moisture resistance

 

Our Innovations:

This camera is a powerhouse of technology. That being said, it requires a lot of energy to power. Aquatica has carefully looked at all the strengths and challenges of housing a compact camera and used this opportunity to create some options only available with the Aquatica A6300 housing:   

 

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. 

 



Purchase the Aquatica A6300 Housing


 

Interchangeable Viewfinders:

Aquatica Digital is proud to announce the support of our Aqua View Finders. The A6300 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 A6300’s smaller size. We have been able to include these grips as part of the A6300 package in the form of highly modular tray to mount either strobes or video lights to the top of the grips. The tray it self can be moved left and right for added comfort. Furthermore, the tray brackets can be independently adjusted to a forward, mid and back position while the grip brackets can be adjusted to an inward, centered and outward position from the housing, thus allowing for you to have 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 A6300 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. 

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. 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. 

 

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.

 

The 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.  

  • #34000-OPT our fiber optic version will feature our industry standard L-type fiber optic cable connectors
  • #34000-NK our Nikonos type connector with universal hot shoe 
  • #34000-IKE our Ikelite type connector with universal hot shoe

 



Special Offer:

With the purchase of the A6300 housing, add one TLC #77514 DELTA 3 ARM and get a second one free

 


 

Port Selection:

We felt that a camera like the Sony a6300 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 10-18 and 16-50 “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 Fiberoptic Ports
  • Extended Trigger adapter
  • Extra main sealing O-Ring
  • Extra Port O-Ring
  • Aquatica Standard Eye Piece

 



Purchase the Aquatica A6300 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!

 


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

 

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Ikelite presents three housings for Nikon D500, new Dry Lock port system and other features for this much-anticipated DSLR
By Chino Mendoza

Ikelite Housings for Nikon D500 Overview

Chino Mendoza
Ikelite presents three housings for Nikon D500, new Dry Lock port system and other features for this much-anticipated DSLR

Ikelite introduces their 3 new housings for Nikon D500 and the new Dry Lock port mount.  Ikelite offers 3 underwater housings for Nikon D500; standard four lock port mount, 50ft water housing with Dry Lock port mount and 200ft Dry Lock port mount.

The new Dry Lock port mount was based on the design of Ikelite's mirrorless port system, which has redefined the concept of their port system.

The 20.7 MP Nikon D500 raises the bar in DX format Nikon cameras. The best feature is the revamped autofocus system, which boasts 153 AF points, 99 of which are cross-type. Improved focus tracking and a joystick for quickly adjusting the focal point location help capture fast action. This is a major jump for Nikon and puts the D500 into the consideration set of those who would have previously chosen Canon's dual-pixel AF technology.

In addition, the Nikon D500 has a large viewfinder with 100% coverage, 4K video resolution, and 10 fps continuous shooting with a buffer far larger than similar camera bodies (using XQD mem cards)... that's some processing power! If you haven't yet, you can read our Nikon D500 Pre-Review.

 

Purchase:  Ikelite D500 Housing with Four Lock Mount / Ikelite D500 Housing with Dry Lock Mount

U.S. Retail Price:  $1,395 / $1,595

Availability: Pre order for Early September on the Four Lock Mount and Pre-order for October on the Dry Lock Mount

 

Press Release

The "Best Enthusiast DX Offering"

Nikon has finally given us a successor to the D300s camera with fantastic speed and processing power in a relatively compact and durable body. Some highlights include:

  • Same 153-point Autofocus system and EXPEED 5 processor as the Nikon D5
  • 4K/UHD video recording
  • 20.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Excellent low light performance with an ISO range of 100-51,200
  • Same rugged weather sealing as the Nikon D810

The D500 is up to almost any photographic challenge—so it's fitting to offer a housing system that can be built to suit almost any need. Three base housing versions are available to suit the Nikon D500 DSLR camera. Skip to the side-by-side comparison...

All three versions start with a fully functional, white ABS-PC housing front which is depth rated to 200' (60m).


Form + Function

The D500 slides into the form fitting housing using a simple tripod-style attachment. Controls are provided for all important camera functions and positioned intuitively to take advantage of the muscle memory you develop when using the camera on the surface. A unique universal gearing system puts zoom or focus at the tip of your finger with a brand new soft-touch, 5-lobed knob.

 

The AF-ON Trick

Take full advantage of the camera's superb autofocus system and fast continuous frame rate by using AF-ON to lock focus. A convenient lever on the side of the housing feels so natural that we promise you'll never think about half-pressing the shutter again.

 

Groovy Groove-less O-ring

O-ring channels trap dirt and debris, and cause the o-ring to twist and deform in various ways. Our unique groove-less design is the most user friendly and reliable sealing method currently available. For added assurance, the all-clear back allows you to see the o-ring form a solid, black line once the housing is sealed.

 

Very Flashy

Optical slaves have come a long way, but electrical sync cords are still the fastest and most precise way to trigger a strobe under water. Each housing comes equipped with a manual flash hot shoe and Ikelite ICS-5 bulkhead. The hot shoe and bulkhead are user changeable for in-field modifications and serviceability.

An optional TTL hot shoe and Nikon TTL Converter provide industry leading accuracy in exposure when combined with a compatible Ikelite DS strobe.

The flash system is almost endlessly expandable with lots of options for remote units triggered by extension cords, optical slaves, Pocket Wizards, and more. It's time to get creative with your lighting and think way beyond the classic two-strobe set-up.

 

Lens Port Authority

And now... the main event. Introducing the NEW Dry Lock (DL) Port Mount. Building off of our popular port system for compact mirrorless cameras, we have re-designed and refined the concept and it's ready for the big leagues. Key features include:

  • A unique exterior o-ring which prevents water from dripping onto your camera when the port is removed;
  • Solid, sure-stop press fit with no threading, turning, or twisting of the ports or extensions;
  • Built for reliability in remote locations with standard locking thumbscrews and no complex moving parts;
  • Accommodates large diameter lenses with ease;
  • A new compact 8" dome port provides the optical quality of a large dome with the size of a much smaller dome—perfect for close-focus wide angle work;
  • Plus the new featherweight full 8" dome is less than half the weight of its predecessor and several pounds lighter than the glass alternatives with nearly identical optical quality!

 

Not quite ready to let go of your legacy ports? The Four Lock (FL) version can be sent in at a later date for upgrade to the DL mount. However, our original standard flat, 6" dome, and modular port components are not adaptable to the new system. We promise that once you switch over, you won't miss them anyway...

 

Our new white ABS-PC blend is specially formulated for added strength and durability. Compared to black, colored, or clear alternatives, the white shell keeps the camera running cooler, longer in hot, sunny climates.

 

Two Faced... and Two Backed?

The new 50ft (15m) Water Housing version features a slimmed down acrylic back and paired down control set which is over 1/2 pound lighter and streamlined for use at the surface of the water, in surf and pool work. The two backs are interchangeable and can be purchased separately so you can pack lighter when shooting the whale sharks in Isle Mujeres or dolphins in the Red Sea.

 

Two Faced... and Two Backed?

The new 50ft (15m) Water Housing version features a slimmed down acrylic back and paired down control set which is over 1/2 pound lighter and streamlined for use at the surface of the water, in surf and pool work. The two backs are interchangeable and can be purchased separately so you can pack lighter when shooting the whale sharks in Isle Mujeres or dolphins in the Red Sea.

 

Side-by-Side Comparison

Three housing versions are available to suit the Nikon D500 DSLR camera. All versions feature:

  • Controls for Shutter-release button, Power switch, Movie-record button, Sub-command dial, Exposure compensation (+/-) button, ISO button, MODE button, WB button, Metering button, BKT button, Lens release button, AF-ON button, Main command dial, Multi selector, Info button, Live view selector, Lv button, i button, Playback button, Trash button, MENU button, Key/? button, Magnify + button, Magnify - button, OK button, Fn2 button
  • Ikelite ICS-5 bulkhead and manual flash hot shoe
  • Aluminum base with Left-Hand Quick Release Handle
  • A completely clear back for an unobstructed view of the camera and o-ring seal
  • Control symbols laser etched into the back for easy to read labeling that will never fade or rub off
  • A quick install camera mount plate which does not need to be removed for battery or memory card access
  • 1 year limited warranty
 
200ft Underwater Housing
with Four Lock Port Mount
50ft Water Housing
with Dry Lock Port Mount
200ft Water Housing
with Dry Lock Port Mount
Model Number6812.57300571005
PurposeSupport older lens ports for legacy usersLightweight for pool, surf, and use near the surface of the waterFully functional and fully depth rated
Depth Rating200ft/60m200ft/60m Front-50ft/15m Back200ft/60m
Port SystemLegacy Four Lock (FL)Dry Lock (DL)Dry Lock (DL)
Vacuum SystemOptionalIncludedIncluded
Additional Controls
i Button
Trash Button
Key/?Button
Maginfy + Button 
Maginfy - Button
Fn2 Button
None
i  Button
Trash Button
Key/?Button
Maginfy + Button 
Maginfy - Button
Fn2 Button
Spare 1/2-20 Threaded Ports211
ViewFinder
SuperEye Viewfinder
Optional Straight
45° Magnified Viewfinder
Glass Viewfinder
Optional Straight
45° Magnified Viewfinder
SuperEye Viewfinder
Optional Straight
45° Magnified Viewfinder
US MSRP$1,395$1,395$1,595
AvailabilityPre-order for Early SeptemberPre-order for OctoberPre-order for October
Full DetailsSee 200ft Housing with Four Lock MountSee 50ft Housing with DryLock MountSee 200ft Housing with DryLock Mount

 

 

 


 

Purchase:  Ikelite D500 Housing with Four Lock Mount / Ikelite D500 Housing with Dry Lock Mount

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chino Mendoza , is an avid diver and underwater photographer and tries to go everytime he can.  He is based in Manila which is a few hours Anilao which is the “critter capital of the Philippines”  He likes to shoot macro and his favorite subjects are nudibranchs and frogfishes.

Get in touch with him via email at lorenzo@bluewaterphotostore.com

View Chino's work:  Facebook     |     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!

 


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.

 


We review specs, innovative touch screen access, ergonomics, and sample content shot with the Fantasea FG9 X underwater housing
By Brent Durand

Fantasea Canon G9 X Housing Review

Brent Durand
We review specs, innovative touch screen access, ergonomics, and sample content shot with the Fantasea FG9 X underwater housing

 

The Fantasea FG9X housing is the latest in a great line of compact camera housings and will be a staple in the world of compact camera underwater photography. The housing is a great way or beginners to get their G9X into the water, but also allows access to all camera functionality, and when combined with wet lens accessories, strobes and lights, becomes a very powerful underwater imaging system.

The Canon G9 X is the smallest compact camera available with a 1" image sensor. This large high-sensitivity 20.9 megapixel CMOS sensor delivers stunning image quality on par with the best compacts on the market, combined with Canon's very fast DIGIC 6 processor. The lens shoots from f/2.0 - f/4.9 with a 3x optical zoom (equivalent to a 28-84mm lens) for great versatility above and below the surface. A minimum focus distance of 2 inches (in macro mode) enables you to shoot tiny macro critters even before adding a diopter.

Read our overview and comparison of the Best Compact Cameras of Summer 2016.

The Fantasea FG9X housing has been designed to optimize control of the G9 X underwater, with access to all camera buttons, ergonomic and clearly labeled controls, as well as access to essential contact points on the camera's rear LCD touch screen. We'll take a deeper look at the FG9X in this housing review and overview.

 

 


Learn more and purchase the Fantasea FG9X Housing


 

Jump to review section:

Housing Highlights     |     Overview and Controls     |     Advanced Features     |     Demo Video

Recommended Accessories     |     Sample Photos     |     Conclusion

 

Fantasea FG9X Housing Highlights

  -  Canon G9 X offers a handful of quality features, all so important to underwater photographers:

        -  Large 20.2 MP 1.0-inch CMOS sensor

        -  Bright F2.0 28-84mm lens

        -  Wide ISO range of 125-12800 for low light photography

        -  Full HD Videos (1080p/60p)

        -  Slim and Stylish - only 7.37 ounces (209g)

        -  Intuitive 3.0-inch touch panel

        -  Full manual control with Control ring and Mode Dial

  - The FG9X Housing introduces the highest and most professional standards of function, style and durability

  - Full access to camera controls and functions with clearly marked buttons

  - 67mm thread for macro and wide-angle wet lenses

  - Access to essential contact points on camera LCD screen with a new touch screen technology

  - Depth rated to 60 meters / 200 feet

  - Shock resistant construction

  - Ergonomic design

  - Double O-ring protection for a perfect watertight seal

  - Moisture Detector, Hand Strap and Port Cover Included

  - A complete accessory system available such as the following:

        -  Wide-angle and macro lenses

        -  Color correction filters, flashes

        -  Video lights

        -   All necessary adaptors and connectors

  - Manufacturer's warranty

 

 

FG9X Overview and Controls

The Fantasea FG9X housing is already proving popular among underwater photographers. Several Fantasea photographers and friends have been using the housing with great results - shooting both photo and video. I had a chance to get my hands on the housing for this review as well.

A big concern for using the G9 X underwater has been the need to rely on the rear LCD touch screen for full camera functionality. Fantasea has addressed this issue with 5 new buttons placed at essential points of the G9X's rear LCD screen. This ingenuitive idea will also help make the transition from using the camera on land to using it in the housing underwater even easier for topside shooters.

A view of the touch buttons accessible with the Fantasea housing.
Other controls are are accessed through traditional buttons and dials.

Fantasea housings are very easy to use underwater. The buttons have a large fingerprint that makes them easy to push, plus offer plenty of space for clear labeling. The knobs offer precise control of camera settings and respond the same as some very popular DSLR housings. Flared features on the right side thumb and fingers position make the housing very easy to hand hold, while the tripod mount allows you to attach a tray and build a larger system with strobes and/or video lights.

Inserting (and removing) the camera into the FG9X housing is easy, as it slides into place before being held steady by a spring-loaded pad on the housing's rear cover. This makes changing batteries and memory cards easy. The double o-rings are easy to access, inspect and clean.

A view inside the Fantasea Canon G9X housing.

The camera's front control ring, which is used to change exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) is controlled with a knob on the front left side of the housing. The knob requires your left hand to turn, which should be readily available when shooting, whether using it to stabilize the housing itself or whether you have the housing mounted to dual arms/handles.

Fantasea has also included a moisture detector with a sensor on the (inside) bottom of the housing. The LED light is tucked away on the right side but is clearly visibile when the alarm goes off.

The top of the housing has a cold shoe mount, which allows you to add a ball mount for accessories, like focus light, GoPro and more. The cold shoe mount is an essential, but be sure to attach the accessory to the housing with a lanyard in case the ball mount slips out of the cold shoe.

Top view of the Fantasea Canon G9X housing.


Fantasea FG9X Advanced Features

The FG9X housing has two areas where advanced users can add accessories, making the housing versatile in handling many different shooting situations.

Flash Diffuser

The housing flash window cover is removeable and adaptable. When using the camera's on-board flash (macro without strobe/light), you can add the diffuser over the housing flash window to evenly disperse and soften the light.

Advanced shooters will opt for the fiber optic connection cover instead of the diffuser, which allows you to plug in one or two fiber optic cables for strobes.

67mm Port Threads

This universal port threading allows use of the best wide-angle and macro wet lenses for compact cameras. We've included several below, but you can visit Bluewater Photo to view all the Wide-Angle Wet Lenses and Macro Wet Lenses.

 

Fantasea FG9X Demo Video

 

Recommended Accessories

The following are just a few of the many accessories available to help you get the most from your Canon G9 X and Fantasea housing. Be sure to contact the experts at Bluewater Photo if you're interested in learning more.

 

Bluewater +7 Macro Wet Lens

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasea Bigeye M67 Wide-Angle Lens

 

 

 

 

Fantasea Radiant 1600 Video Light

 

 

 

 

Sea&Sea YS-03 Flex Arm Strobe Package

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasea Nano Double Ray Set

 

 

 

 

Fantasea Canon G9X Photos

 

 

Conclusion

The Fantasea FG9X housing is a very affordable way to house your Canon G9 X without sacrificing access to controls or quality. The housing is compatible with a wide range of macro and wide-angle wet lenses, plus the essential strobes, lights trays and arms. The buttons are clearly labled for easy operation underwater and the ability to use the touch screen is very cool.

 


Learn more and purchase the Fantasea FG9X Housing


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer, story teller and image-maker from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Bali & Lembeh Strait Workshops (Sept '16)   |   La Paz Big Animal Photo Trip (Oct '16)   |   Sri Lanka Wrecks & Reefs OR Whales & Dolphins Workshops (Feb '17)   |   Alor, Indonesia small group Photo Trip (Oct '17)

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.

 


Acquapazza announces feature-rich underwater housing for the Sony A6300 mirrorless camera
By UWPG News

Acquapazza Sony A6300 Housing Overview

UWPG News
Acquapazza announces feature-rich underwater housing for the Sony A6300 mirrorless camera

Acquapazza has announced their housing for the Sony a6300 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Acquapazza housings have a great reputation for proven performance, along with a radical range of annodized aluminum colors.

One (unique) highlight of the Acquapazza housing is that the port opening is extra wide. This allows you to use Sony and Zeiss wide barrel lenses with ease. What does this mean? In competing housings we've seen to date, you must remove the port, then the lens, then open the back of the housing and remove the housing in order the change batteries (a frequent activity with Sony cameras). With the Acquapazza a6300 housing, you just open the back and remove the camera. Easy with much less time commitment and flood risk!

The Sony a6300 mirrorless camera is sure to be very popular with underwater photo and video shooters. Sony's impressive APS-C (crop) sensor is complemented by incredibly fast autofocus. Video shooters enjoy non-compressed file recording and up to 4K video resolution. Read our Sony a6300 Camera Review for Underwater.

Purchase:  Acquapazza Sony a6300 Housing

U.S. Retail Price:  $1,980

Availability:  Available for order now

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

ACQUAPAZZA announces the APSO-A6300

Key Features

  • An angled LCD viewing window.

  • The housing can accommodate the FE 90 mm F2.8 Macro G OSS easily.

  • It is also compatible with the ZEISS Touit 12mm f2.8, 50mm f2 and Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS lenses. These are all high definition.

  • Manual focus gears are available for all lenses in the system chart.

  • It is possible to use both power zoom and manual focus with the Sony SELP1650 E Mount - APS-C 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens.

  • The housing latch is made of aluminum.

  • Buttons are 8mm diameter.

APSO-A6300 is an APS-C mirrorless housing that ACQUAPAZZA has been developing for three years.

 

Angled LCD window

It features an angled window for viewing the camera’s LCD screen. This feature was popular on the ACQUAPAZZA housing for the Sony NEX5. Although this is normally a more expensive option, it was possible to do so without increasing the cost of the housing.

The angled window is very convenient when taking photographs using the LCD. This is especially true when the actiuon si quick and missing photographic opportunities is not an option. It is also a great option for capturing images of subjects that are close to the sea floor.

 

 

Wide Port Throat Offers Unique Lens Options

APSO-A6300 has been designed to accommodate the camera when it is equipped with an A mount lens. Thus, the diameter or throat of the port mount is large. This allows the use of “fat” bodied lenses like the Sony FE 90 mm F2.8 Macro G OSS, ZEISS Touit 12mm f2.8, ZEISS Touit 50mm f2 and ZEISS Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS lenses. In addition, this makes mounting or changing the lens much easier.

This is a big advantage. Other company’s housings either do not offer these lens choices or mounting/changing lenses is more complicated.

For example, when removing a camera with a wide lens from the APSO-A6300 housing you simply open the rear door and remove it.

With other housings, it is necessary to remove the port, dismount the lens, open the rear door and then remove the camera. In essence, this adds three additional operations. Of course, this is additionally complicated as it is required even to exchange camera batteries or memory cards and especially so if you forget to do so and have to repeat the process!

Power zoom and manual focus with Sony 16-50mm lens

In many markets, the a6300 is sold with the Sony SELP1650 16-50mm power zoom as a kit. ACQUAPAZZA offer the option of being able to use both the power zoom and manual focus with this lens simultaneously.

 

Aluminum Housing Latch

Many housings have latches made of plastic. As this part is crucial to ensure that the housing closes properly and hence keep the camera kept dry, ACQUAPAZZA makes it from aluminum. This will ensure both ease of use and long life.

8mm diameter buttons.

 

Buttons on the APSO-A6300 have an 8mm Diameter

This makes them easier to use, even at depth or while wearing thick gloves.

 


 

Purchase the Acquapazza A6300 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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Sea & Sea proudly presents MDX-D500 Underwater Housing for the Nikon D500 camera.
By UWPG News

Sea & Sea MDX-D500 Underwater Housing Overview

UWPG News
Sea & Sea proudly presents MDX-D500 Underwater Housing for the Nikon D500 camera.

Sea&Sea has just announced their housing for the Nikon D500 DSLR camera. Sea&Sea has a long reputation for making great, innovative housings, and this camera / housing combo is sure to be very popular with Nikon underwater photo and video shooters.

The 20.7 MP Nikon D500 raises the bar in DX format Nikon cameras. The best feature is the revamped autofocus system, which boasts 153 AF points, 99 of which are cross-type. Improved focus tracking and a joystick for quickly adjusting the focal point location help capture fast action. This is a major jump for Nikon and puts the D500 into the consideration set of those who would have previously chosen Canon's dual-pixel AF technology.

In addition, the Nikon D500 has a large viewfinder with 100% coverage, 4K video resolution, and 10 fps continuous shooting with a buffer far larger than similar camera bodies (using XQD mem cards)... that's some processing power! If you haven't yet, you can read our Nikon D500 Pre-Review.

The Sea&Sea MDX-D500 housing brings ergonomic control of the D500 to underwater shooters. There are several new features, including a diopter adjustment dial and redesigned levers. The housing is also compatible with the Sea&Sea Optical YS Converter.  Below is the press release with full info.

 

Purchase:  Sea & Sea MDX-D500

U.S. Retail Price:  $3,599.95

Availability: On-going pre-order; Shipping in July 2016

 

Press Release

Most Anticipated Housing Since MDX-D300

SEA&SEA announces the MDX-D500 Underwater Housing for the Nikon D500 camera, the most anticipated housing since the MDX-D300. Newly designed features of the MDX-D500 housing greatly surpass its predecessor. New features include the compatible internal Optical YS Converter of the MDX-D500 versus the external TTL converter connector of the MDX-D300. The MDX-D500 housing also has redesigned levers and luminescent buttons that increase their visibility while shooting in low light conditions.

The Nikon D500 HD-DSLR camera is an upgrade to its predecessor the Nikon D300S with many improved features in a lighter camera body. The Nikon D500 has vastly improved sensor technology with a high-resolution 20.9 MP sensor, sports an Advanced Multi-CAM 20K AF system with 153 focus points, and can also focus in very low light conditions with its -4EV AF detection range, making it a great choice for underwater photographers.

       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).

Shutter lever, AF mode lever, AF-ON lever, and movie-record lever all have been re-designed with ergonomic shapes.

      Most levers and buttons will glow in dark environments.

      Conveniently switch lenses 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.

The camera's diopter adjustment dial can be operated from the housing.


 

Housing Features:

  • Equipped with two (2) Fiber-Optic Cable Sockets

  • Grip: Corrosion-Resistant Die-Cast Aluminum Alloy

  • Equipped with one (1) N-Type (2-pin) connector and one (1) HDMI accessory port 

  • Depth Rating: 100m / 330ft

  • Equipped with two (2) Sacrificial Zinc Diodes (front/ rear)

  • Dimension (WxHxD): 324 x 210 x 141mm / 13.9 x 8.3 x 5.6inch    

  • Compatible with Optional VF45 and VF180 View Finders

  • Weight: Approx. 3,200g / 112.9oz (housing only)         

  • Built-In Leak Detector Sensor (Optional)

  • Compatible with SEA&SEA Strobes, Sea Arm 8, Fiber-Optic Cable II, Electronic sync Cords, Vacuum Pump System (TBA)  

  • Body: Corrosion-Resistant Aluminum Alloy (machined)

 

 

 


 

Purchase the Sea & Sea MDX-D500 Underwater Housing

 


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Aquatica announces housing for Nikon D500, with ergonomic control layout, advanced connectivity to strobes and more
By UWPG News

Aquatica Nikon AD500 Housing Overview

UWPG News
Aquatica announces housing for Nikon D500, with ergonomic control layout, advanced connectivity to strobes and more

Aquatica has just announced their housing for the Nikon D500 DSLR camera. This camera and housing combo will be very popular with Nikon underwater photo and video shooters who want a proven and reliable housing.

The 20.7 MP Nikon D500 raises the bar in DX format Nikon cameras. The best feature is the revamped autofocus system, which boasts 153 AF points, 99 of which are cross-type. Improved focus tracking and a joystick for quickly adjusting the focal point location help capture fast action. This is a major jump for Nikon and puts the D500 into the consideration set of those who would have previously chosen Canon's dual-pixel AF technology.

In addition, the Nikon D500 has a large viewfinder with 100% coverage, 4K video resolution, and 10 fps continuous shooting with a buffer far larger than similar camera bodies (using XQD mem cards)... that's some processing power! If you haven't yet, you can read our Nikon D500 Pre-Review.

The Aquatica AD500 housing brings pro-level control of the D500 to underwater shooters. Below is the press release with full info.

Purchase:  Aquatica AD500 Housing

U.S. Retail Price:  $3,195

Availability: mid-July at Bluewater Photo

Press Release

 

Introducing Aquatica AD500

 

Aquatica AD500 - Available on mid-July 2016

The new Aquatica AD500 housing is designed specifically for the long awaited Nikon D500 camera. With 21mp still image, 4K video possibilities, impressive level of low light performance, this Nikon D500 is a worthy addition to the DX format, a much appreciated sensor size for underwater photography.

 

The Nikon D500

The Nikon D500 camera finally joins the rank of the popular DX format Nikon DSLRs, to the underwater photographer. It brings interesting features.

The 20.7 MP Nikon D500 raises the bar in DX format Nikon cameras. The best feature is the revamped autofocus system, which boasts 153 AF points, 99 of which are cross-type. Improved focus tracking and a joystick for quickly adjusting the focal point location help capture fast action. This is a major jump for Nikon and puts the D500 into the consideration set of those who would have previously chosen Canon's dual-pixel AF technology.

In addition, the Nikon D500 has a large viewfinder with 100% coverage, 4K video resolution, and 10 fps continuous shooting with a buffer far larger than similar camera bodies (using XQD mem cards)... that's some processing power! If you haven't yet, you can read our Nikon D500 Pre-Review.

 

Nikon D500 Key Features:

  • UHD 4k from a 1.5x crop sensor

    • With flat picture profile for added post processing

    • On screen highlight warning

    • Power aperture control

  • Impressive AF performance

    • 153 point AF module

    • 55 selectable AF points

  • 100% viewfinder, with 1.0x magnification

    • The largest in cropped sensor DSLR

  • 10 frames per second rates

    • With 200 Raw files buffer using XQD

  • Rugged construction of Magnesium Alloy and Carbon fiber composite

 

The Aquatica AD500 Underwater Housing

Control Layout:

Aquatica designed the AD500 housing by carefully selecting the features that will improve performance for underwater imaging. We then ergonomically placed the vital controls where they were most needed, right at your fingers tips. At the core of this housing design one can trace over 30 years of expertise in this field. Years of knowledge that have pushed us forward in incorporating new ideas, concept and technological advances to these constantly evolving imaging tools.

ISO is one of the key controls in managing the exposure in video, hence particular attention was made in bringing this control at your thumb fingertip. Exposure compensation been crucial as well, a dedicated lever has been implemented for engaging it quickly when needed. The control pad can also be accessed quickly via a set of extended controls that brings it close to your right hand for easy access, same goes for the AF-ON lever with its wide range of options available through the CSM menu of the camera. The Fn1 lever located in front and Fn2 button on the rear also gives you access to a range of CSM features. Two oversized and conveniently placed buttons give a speedy access to the info and Live View activating features on the camera, recording is as easy as pressing on the dedicated lever placed strategically close to your thumb.

HANDLING THE HOUSING, THE BEST GRIPS IN THE INDUSTRY:

Handling is made with a pair of grips that have become the bench mark in comfort since their introduction over a quarter of a century ago. These grips are a perfect example of Aquatica’s philosophy, change should be implemented to improve a product, and not for the sake of novelty, when grips are as perfect as these are, leave them alone! Our grips are light, sturdy and form fitting. They contribute to making your underwater photography experience more pleasing and comfortable. Mounting points on top of them allows strobes arms, such as those from our Delta 3 line, to be mounted securely, freeing the top of the housing from unnecessary clutter.

VIEWING OPTIONS:

The Nikon D500 already is boasting the largest and best view finder on its category, viewing can further be improved underwater with a choice of two enhanced view finders. Two Aqua View finders are available to improve underwater viewing through the camera finder. The Aqua View 180o finder offers straight through line of sight viewing with a generous viewing area while the Aqua View 45o offer definitive comfort in viewing while shooting upward or for those down in the sand macro situations. Both accessory viewfinders are designed in such way as to minimize the blockage of the rear LCD when shooting using the rear LCD screen.

As a standard feature, the housing comes equipped with a quality multiple elements Galileo type eyepiece and the rear LCD has been angled to give the viewer a more comfortable viewing angle when using this one.

STROBE CONNECTION OPTIONS:

The Nikon D500 already is boasting the largest and best view finder on its category, viewing can further be improved underwater 

  • 20080-UWT This AD500 housing  features our optional integrated TTL converter circuit board which is compatible with a wide range of underwater strobes. This converter is offering both automatic strobe exposure, either through optical relay using optical fiber or via standard and readily available electrical sync cords from your strobe manufacturers. Alternating between types of triggering is an easy affair, even in the field, with our easily replaceable bulkhead strobe connector design.

  • 20080-OPT Included with this optically set up housing version is the LED flash trigger. This LED trigger is powered by two popular “off the shelf” CR 2450 batteries and averaging 4,000 to 5,000 burst of light. This LED trigger slides into the hot shoe of the camera like any other hot shoe accessory would. The 20080-OPT version of this housing is ready to accept standard optical fiber sync cable commonly found on the market, there is no need for special proprietary or custom type cord, the optical fiber cord supplied by the strobes manufacturers are ready to use as is.

  • 20080-NK This version is set up with a pair of time proven Nikonos bulkheads connectors, the same available on all our current Aquatica DSLR housings. It is a well-established standard, which has been the back bone of strobe technology for decades and still by far the most distributed type of strobe connectors in the whole underwater photography industry, every strobe manufacturer offering then as a means of connection. This 20080-NK housing comes with not one, but two of these connectors installed. These, as well as the optical ones are easy to replace in the field, should one decide to alternate between way of triggering their strobes, no special tools are required and the operation is done in minutes.

  • 20080-KT This version is equipped with a trusted Ikelite strobe connector. Since many hard working underwater professional photographers prefer using Ikelite strobes and connectors for their ruggedness and reliability, Aquatica has made a point to have this housing version available to its users. 

PORT SELECTION:

The Aquatica AD500 uses our excellent line up of existing ports for the DSLR line of housings. And simply put, a lot of effort has gone into giving you access to the most appealing lenses for this camera with the best port combination for them.

Since ports are such a vital part of the optical formula in any underwater photographic system, we at Aquatica, have built one of the most comprehensive selection available for underwater imaging. Our flexible modular system of extension rings, dome and flat ports is ready to face the challenge of constantly evolving lenses coming out on the market. The irreproachable optical quality of these ports have long made them the choice of demanding professionals from around the world.

Wide angle imaging requirement can be addressed with dome of 4”/100mm, 6”/150mm, 8”/200mm and 9.25”/230mm, from ultra wide angle close up situations to top quality over/under images. Our dome ports have you covered.

Macro imaging needs can be fulfilled using our recently introduced Mini Macro port, a vital part of the Aquatica ACU System, this port has a narrow frontal signature making lighting in tight corner easier. A bayonet mount is located on its front end for attaching our convenient ACU system flip holder with the potential of attaching up to two ACU wet diopter close-up lenses.

Tying the port system together are a set of fourteen locking extension rings, ranging in length from .65”/16.5mm to 3.82”/97.5mm. Port extensions are strategic partners in the optical chain, they serves two purposes, in the case of wide angle lenses, it helps optimize the performance of wide angle lens by properly placing their optical center with that of the dome port and for macro lenses, it give added length for accommodating longer focal length lenses such as the 105mm, or when using internal accessories such tele converter which may contribute to the added magnification of a given lens.

SAFETY FEATURES:

The Aquatica AD500 comes standard with our own Surveyor moisture and vacuum monitoring sensor circuit installed at the factory. The housing can also be ordered with the optional pressure extracting valve and pump installed at the factory. The visual and audio signal will attract your attention should any of the O-ring become damaged or hindered by sand, hair or any foreign objects that would compromise the sealing integrity of the housing. All that is required are a few simple steps for your peace of mind and knowing that your equipment is safely protected from the environment.

Securing of the housing is done with time proven stainless steel latches equipped with safety tabs. These are non-gimmicky, their solid track record has demonstrated that what they lack in fashion style, they more than make up in resistance to failure, jamming up or corroding over time. Chosen as a standard mean of securing highly valuables assets and equipment by scores of sensitive scientific and military equipment manufacturers, this method of securing is beyond reproach when it comes to reliability. Their simple and efficient design makes them reliable and they are a reflection of Aquatica’s commitment to rely on time and field proven technology.

 


 

Purchase the Aquatica for Nikon D500 Underwater Housing

 


SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

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Worth the Wait? You Betcha! Complete housing review, detailed feedback and underwater photos from Aquatica’s Sony a7 II housing
By Andy Sallmon

Aquatica Sony A7R II Housing Review

Andy Sallmon
Worth the Wait? You Betcha! Complete housing review, detailed feedback and underwater photos from Aquatica’s Sony a7 II housing

Aquatica waited. They were late to the party in releasing their housing for the much celebrated Sony A7RII. While other manufacturers raced each other to market with early A7 versions, Aquatica stayed cool, took a step back and looked more carefully at the A7 camera design. They watched the evolution of the A7 series become what it is today - a very noteworthy high performance camera. The payoff? They released a pro level housing for the Sony A7R II the first time out. No kits, no retrofits, no redesigns. They did it right the first time. Definitely worth the wait!

 

Designed for Serious Photographers

While other underwater housing manufacturers tried to design housings for the A7 series that focused on being small and compact, Aquatica took a different approach. Rather than try to make the housing really small, they opted instead for a slightly larger body that is still substantially smaller than most SLR housings. This has a two-fold benefit. First, it allowed the housing to accept all existing Aquatica ports and optical viewfinders, and second, the slightly larger platform offered much better stability underwater, yielding less camera shake when shooting finicky super high-resolution stills and video. So it’s true that bigger is better!

 



Purchase the Aquatica A7RII Housing

Additional resources:

Sony a7R II Review for Underwater   |   Sony a7R II Settings Guide   |   Sony a7R II Best Video Settings


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo left:  Aquatica A7RII Housing, Canon 8-15mm fisheye with Metabones adapter. ISO 400, f/11, 1/250
Photo right:  Aquatica A7RII Housing, Canon 8-15mm fisheye with Metabones adapter. ISO 200, f/11, 1/40

 

Housing Features

Grips – Aquatica’s great-fitting and comfortable grips are the same ones used on their SLR series housings for many years now. They are easy to hold with gloves on and have a smooth surface that will not rub against bare hands.

Camera Tray – A very well designed quick-release tray that indexes easily over two stainless steel rods and keeps the camera located rock-solid. The tray has a clever spring-loaded release tab that is easy to use and positively click locks. No accidental release of the camera and fewer alignment issues with controls.

External Port Release Lever – Sits low on the right and is tucked out of the way to prevent accidental damage caused by rough handling, or getting rolled in surf.

External Lens Release Button – A stainless steel button located on the lower left side recessed below the port mount so it does not interfere with port mounting.

Sacrificial Zinc Anodes – Two zinc anodes located on the bottom of the housing, one for the front and one for the rear half.

Vacuum and Moisture Sensor System - The housing comes standard with Aquatica’s built-in vacuum and moisture sensor circuit. A small window on the housing back with an LED light indicates good vacuum with a green light, or leak with a red light.  A vacuum pump and external valve hardware version is also factory available at a modest cost and is recommended. My test housing was fitted this way.

 

Controls

The Aquatica A7RII housing has every control necessary to create world-class images. Most are located so that hands do not have to leave the grips, and with a few dives for familiarization my eye did not need to leave the viewfinder. Here’s my short list of the most important controls.

 

Housing Left Side

 Zoom/Focus - A large, easily reached knob by the left index finger and middle finger together allows zoom/focus control while still maintaining hold of the left grip.  The control has the added benefit of being spring loaded so it will disengage with the internal gears for easier camera mounting.

Review Lever – “Chimping” is made quick and easy by a small lever mounted high on the left that is thumb activated without removing your hand from the left grip.

 

Housing Right Side

Shutter Release Lever – The shutter release lever has a large (and easy to reach with the index finger) surface and a very nice progressive pull to it. It is easy to find while looking through the viewfinder so there won’t be any “hair trigger” shots.

Front Dial Control Knob - This controls aperture (can be set for shutter speed control too) and is reachable from the right grip by holding the grip low and rotating it with middle and ring fingers.

Rear Dial Control Knob - This controls shutter speed (can be set for aperture control too) and was easy to reach with the right thumb while maintaining a grip on the handle.

Video Record Lever – This is located under the Rear Dial Control and tucked away so it doesn’t interfere with still shooting. It was reachable by thumb while maintaining a slight low grip on the right side.

 

 

Housing Top

On/Off Lever – A large easy to access on/off lever sits on the top right.

Mode Dial Access Knob – On the top right near the viewfinder.

Exposure Compensation Control Knob – On the top right next to the Mode Dial Knob

C1 lever – A special lever controls the C1 function control. It is primarily used to toggle between the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and the rear LCD. This was a very welcome control as it made reviewing images and changing back to the EVF quick and easy. Housings without this feature are difficult and slow to use. The C1 lever is easily right thumb accessible without releasing the right grip.

 

Housing Back

 Set Lever – A large very conspicuous lever with the word set on it is easily reached by the right thumb while still maintaining hold on the right grip. It activates the center rotary dial set button. This is a must-have control for anything requiring fast changes in menu.

Control Wheel (Rotary Dial) Access Knob – A large knob on the lower right allows access and scroll control. It is reachable by right thumb but requires the right grip to be partially released.

ISO Button – Is at the right (3 o’clock position) stainless steel button (of 4 buttons) that when depressed, allows access to ISO. It is reachable from the right by thumb. Note that the Control Wheel (Rotary Dial) Knob listed above must be rotated after the button is pushed. The ISO button is directly above the Control Wheel Knob, so it is easy to access and then change ISO with this housing.

There are other controls including two more assignable C buttons. A lever for C2 on the right side and a button for C3 on the back, an AE-L AF/MF lever and set button, menu and delete button, and an Fn button all on the back.

 

 

Diving the Aquatica A7RII Housing

Like Aquatica, I waited too. I am not one to adapt early, I am “old school” (originally a film guy), but had heard great things about the Sony A7R II camera, so was excited to try one out. Being a “Canon guy” too, I was especially excited at the prospect that I would be able to use my Canon lenses (with an adapter).  I had been looking at A7RII housings, but none currently had all the controls that I required, nor offered them in an easy to reach design. When Aquatica announced the A7RII all that suddenly changed though. So, I took a new Aquatica A7RII housing and Sony A7RII camera with a Metabones MkIV adapter, along with my trusty Canon 8-15L f4 zoom and 100L f2.8 IS lenses on a trip to Raja Ampat, Indonesia to give it a try.  Here’s what I found out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo left:  Aquatica A7RII Housing, Canon 8-15mm fisheye w/ Metabones adapter. ISO 400, f/22, 1/250
Photo right:  Aquatica A7RII Housing, Canon 8-15mm fisheye w/ Metabones adapter. ISO 400, f/18, 1/250

 

Viewfinders

Not having an optical viewfinder was a big change for me at first, but once used to the electronic viewfinder I found that the display, though smaller than my DSLR, was more like looking at the image on a computer screen. I still prefer the optical VF on my Canon 5D Mark III, but the EVF on the Sony had some good points that my Canon did not. It gave me a more accurate display of what the final image would look like and also adjusted the available light levels. The Aquatica A7RII housing is compatible with Aquatica’s very easy to use 180 viewfinder and the magnified view that it provides really helped me to make the transition from optical to electronic finder much easier. For SLR shooters thinking about switching to an A7RII system, I would highly recommend the 180 VF. For compact and mirrorless shooters upgrading to the A7RII, it is still a very useful accessory and I would also recommend it, if the budget allows.

Weight and Balance

The port system for Aquatica housings is vast. I chose the Aquatica 6” acrylic dome for the Canon 8-15mm for its compactness, ease of travel and movement underwater because I knew that I’d encounter some high current dives in Raja Ampat. For the Canon 100mm macro, Aquatica’s new conical shaped mini macro port (with an extension ring) did the job well.  Aquatica also provided their new ACU close up lens kit with a double flip holder and both a +5 and +10 wet diopter.  With a 100mm macro lens and all this glass up front I was a little worried that the system would nose dive, but to my surprise it remained fairly well balanced underwater in the macro configuration and did not pitch down. The 6” dome (being acrylic) did not add appreciable weight, even with the extension and my heavy 8-15 zoom, so was also well balanced. I added about 40 ounces of positive buoyancy to my strobe arms that helped offset the weight and the little housing was by my estimate just about 1 lb. negative in wide configuration and a little more in macro - maybe about 1.5 lbs. Nicely balanced, yet still able to set it down on the bottom if necessary, without blowing away in the current.

 

Housing In Use

Raja Ampat delivered and I was able to put the system through its paces. I was challenged with strong nutrient rich currents and quickly changing torrential down pours to partly cloudy to full sunny skies all in the length of one dive. With underwater visibility ranging from 20’ to 100’, the environment ran the little Aquatica A7RII housing through the gauntlet for 10 days straight. I shot lots of reef scenics, schooling fish, wobbegongs, manta rays and got into some great macro at night. The housing really shined when I needed to access controls fast. It is well designed and rugged. All the controls necessary to make images in rapidly changing situations, like current, clouds to sun and vice-a-versa, and fast approaching animals worked consistently, were smooth and efficient. The design team and engineers at Aquatica are to be applauded and should take a bow as their well thought out housing shows off their understanding of just what it takes to produce a high quality product that works and that has the quick reflexes a pro requires when on assignment. I am a fan!

I enjoyed my time shooting with the Aquatica A7RII housing and look forward to more time in the water with the system. A couple of things worthy of note for anyone intending to use Canon macro lenses with this camera: don’t! It requires an adapter and from my online research it appeared that the Metabones Mark IV adapter for Canon EF (full frame) to Sony E-Mount would be exactly what I needed, and it was. On the Metabones website it lists the Canon 100mm f2.8L macro IS as compatible, and it worked fine in the office pre-trip. Once underwater, however, it would focus, but not lock on and hold, hunting badly instead. It was so frustrating that I finally gave up using it altogether. Metabones does note that longer telephoto lenses will likely hunt more than others and I did not experience any hunting with my 8-15mm. So for a Canon lens user I have to recommend that for macro at least, to stay with the Sony 90mm macro G OSS lens. I haven’t been able to try one yet, but have heard from those using it that it focuses just fine. One other point to make for Canon lens users if you plan to do video capture with this camera. On the Metabones website it also notes that in video capture mode the phase detection autofocus will not work and it will be contrast based AF only. To me, that would kind of defeat the purpose of this camera with Canon lenses for video shooters. So for video the Sony 16-35 or their 28mm with wide adapter are better choices. Stills were fine with the Canon 8-15 and many other lenses are also listed as compatible.

 

 

Conclusion

The Aquatica A7RII housing is one of the finest currently available for the Sony A7RII camera. It offers the shooter professional level control, is well balanced and very rugged. My test housing had no visible scratches after being flogged for 10 days in high current and bouncing around the bottom of small inflatables. Aquatica’s powder coated exterior is tough as nails and probably the reason that many tech, wreck, cave divers and the U.S. Navy have designated Aquatica as their number one choice for the everyday tough environments they use them in.  That and it is manufactured in nearby in Canada using all USA-made aluminum marine alloy. The housing’s vacuum system was simple and worked well everyday. I left it on purposely overnight to see if it would “eat” batteries. It remained on all day for 10 days of diving and the battery never blinked.

Overall the Aquatica A7RII housing’s build quality, reflexive easy to use control set, underwater balance and rugged exterior make this a “two-thumbs up” housing for the Sony A7RII. It is priced very competitively too.

 



Purchase the Aquatica A7RII Housing

Additional resources:

Sony a7R II Review for Underwater   |   Sony a7R II Settings Guide   |   Sony a7R II Best Video Settings


    

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Sallmon is a freelance underwater photographer specializing in marine wildlife, scuba diving and ocean natural history. His images have been published in numerous magazines and books, some even gracing the walls of notables such as the Smithsonian Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

When not on assignment Andy stays busy as a manufacturers representative for several leading brands of underwater photographic equipment including Aquatica Digital, Beneath the Surface, Light & Motion and Sea and Sea.

His website is: www.seait.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 housing for the Nikon D500 with new TTL trigger and important ergonomic updates
By Brent Durand

Nauticam Nikon D500 Housing Available

Brent Durand
Nauticam releases housing for the Nikon D500 with new TTL trigger and important ergonomic updates

Nauticam has just released their housing for the much anticipated Nikon D500 DSLR camera. This is the first housing announcement we've seen for the camera, which is expected to be very popular with the Nikon camp of underwater photo and video shooters.

The 20.7 MP Nikon D500 raises the bar in DX format Nikon cameras. The best feature is the revamped autofocus system, which boasts 153 AF points, 99 of which are cross-type. Improved focus tracking and a joystick for quickly adjusting the focal point location help capture fast action. This is a major jump for Nikon and puts the D500 into the consideration set of those who would have previously chosen Canon's dual-pixel AF technology.

In addition, the Nikon D500 has a large viewfinder with 100% coverage, 4K video resolution, and 10 fps continuous shooting with a buffer far larger than similar camera bodies (using XQD mem cards)... that's some processing power! If you haven't yet, you can read our Nikon D500 Pre-Review.

The Nauticam NA-D500 housing will bring the full power of the D500 to divers' fingertips. Below is the press release with full info.

Purchase:  Nauticam Nikon D500 Housing

U.S. Retail Price:  $3,500

Availability:  Now

PRESS RELEASE

 

Introducing NA-D500

 

A New Era of DX Format Performance

Nauticam NA-D500, Model Number 17220
Shipping May 23, 2015

 

Nauticam is pleased to unveil NA-D500, the latest release in the world's finest line of underwater camera housings.  Nauticam is the market leader in ergonomics, build quality, and reliability.  Built on a foundation of innovative product design and modern manufacturing technology, NA-D500 is the ultimate accessory for the exciting new Nikon D500 camera. And it's available now...

 

The Nikon D500

The new Nikon D500 may be a reboot of the popular segment last featuring D300s six years ago.  It could be the D400 that never came, or it might be an entirely new product segment. Regardless of classification, there has never been a Nikon DX camera with this level of autofocus and continuous shooting performance before, and D500 provides a compelling alternative to pro bodies for fast action capture in remote environments. 

The D500 features autofocus speed, continuous shooting speed, and a deep buffer unlike any DX body to come before it. It uses the same Multi-CAM 20K  focus system as the professional D5, with 153 focus points (99 cross-type sensors). D500 has more cross-type focus points than the previous pro body D4s had total focus points, and they are spread wider across the frame.  In fact, they are spread right to the edges. The difference between D500 and previous APS-C systems is even more striking; both the Nikon D300s and D7200 feature a total of 51 focus points (15 cross-type). The D500 a shooting experience can really only be compared to pro cameras, but in a compact body size and attractive price point.  Pro performance for the masses!

The D500 also introduces a new, 180k pixel RGB metering sensor.  This metering sensor drives the advanced Nikon exposure system, and is also used to provide scene data for 3D focus tracking, improving accuracy.  The autofocus system in the D4s was already one of the best available, and the improvements offered by D500 will elevate performance even further in a body at 1/3 the price!  
 
The 10 fps continuous shooting speed (with AF) and a 200 shot RAW buffer (using XQD cards) keeps up with the fastest action.  This is an incredible increase in continuous shooting capability.  The D7200 camera can only buffer 17 14-bit Raw frames, and the Canon 7D Mark II can only buffer 31.

The D500 viewfinder is the largest Nikon has ever featured on an APS-C camera, with 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage.  The EN-EL15 battery is capable of 1,240 shots per charge (according to the CIPA rating). The camera can record 4k video at 30 frames per second, and is weather sealed for use in extreme environments.

The Nikon D500 is an extremely important camera for underwater photographers, and one of the most exciting Nikon product releases in years.  The APS-C format has distinct advantages in available underwater optics and travel size, and the D500 will no doubt produce amazing image sequences in fast action, fast moving situations.

 

Nikon D500 Key Features:

 

  • 20.7 MP APS-C (DX Format) sensor

  • 153 point AF module with 99 cross-type points

  • 180,000 pixel RGB sensor for metering and subject recognition

  • AF point joystick

  • 10 fps shooting for up to 200 shots (lossless compressed 14-bit Raw to XQD card)

  • 4K (UHD) video from 1.5x crop of sensor

  • 100% coverage viewfinder with 1.0x magnification

  • 2.36m dot tilt up/down touchscreen

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with NFC for setup

  • Mic and headphone sockets

  • USB 3.0 connector

 

The Nauticam NA-D500 Underwater Housing

Nauticam housings are evolutionary marvels, with advancements from previous sixteen Nauticam for Nikon systems providing the foundation that this new model was built from.  Customer feedback is integrated at every possible opportunity. The cumulative experience of the Nauticam user base provides constant inspiration for innovation, and is a key strength of the brand.

The new Nauticam NA-D500 housing further enhances the market leading Nauticam ergonomic experience with improved control placement, a new more sophisticated flash triggering system (with optional TTL upgrade), and reduced size / weight thanks to cutting edge manufacturing processes.                         

External Flash Triggering

The entire external flash triggering system has has been reworked from the ground up in NA-D500, increasing ease of use, setup convenience, and reliability.  A new LED flash triggering system is standard in every housing!

This optical flash trigger can fire at the full 10 fps of the camera, making it the ideal solution for the rapid fire fast action shooting that the D500 is so well suited for. Optical systems, with fiber optic cables linking the external flashes to the housing, are far more reliable than any electrical sync cable system.  There are no connections to flood, or fragile wires to break, and nearly every popular underwater strobe supports optical triggering.                         

The LED trigger circuitboard is mounted directly to the front of the housing, and connected to the camera with a hotshoe cable.  This new system is more powerful than the hotshoe mounted LED triggers used in the past, and is compatible with all currently available optically triggered flashes!  Powered by two CR2032 batteries, battery life is measured in the tens of thousands of flashes, driven by incredibly efficient electronics.  With good batteries, we expect 3-5 years of service, up to 50,000 exposures.

Users of legacy flashes without optical triggering are able to add accessory Nikonos (26074) or Ikelite (26075) style bulkheads for electrical flash sync.  These bulkheads plug into the LED trigger board for clean cable routing, and reliable connection.

 

The redesigned LED Flash Triggering System has allowed for a much lower housing height.  This the smallest, easiest to pack Nauticam DSLR housing for Nikon yet!                     

 

Accessory TTL Converter

 

NA-D500 will also be compatible with the new Nauticam TTL Converter!  This user installable upgrade provides accurate automatic TTL flash exposure with a number of popular flashes, and offers both optical and electrical strobe triggering in a single unit!


Optical triggering, using an led integrated into the board and fiber optic cable, works well with modern flashes like Inon Z-240, Sea & Sea YS-D2, and more.  Electrical triggering supports Ikelite DS- and Sea & Sea YS-250 strobes connected via an electrical sync cord.

Accurate automatic TTL flash exposure has been a favorite feature of Nauticam photographers using cameras with pop up flashes, and we are excited to bring this advanced flash control functionality to the NA-D500 housing!

  • TTL Converter for NA-D5 and D500, Sea & Sea YS-D and Inon Series Strobes (26307)
  • TTL Converter for Ikelite DS- Strobes, Sea & Sea YS-250 Available Soon

 

Unmatched Ergonomics

The right grip is mission control for the D500 camera, accessing many of the frequently used camera functions.  Oversized levers are identifiable by feel, allowing tactile operation while framing with the optical viewfinder.  The most frequently accessed fingertip controls (Shutter Release, Main Command Dial, and Sub Command Dial, Video Record, and AF-ON) are located here. ISO, the primary exposure control used by DSLR video shooters,  is accessed by a convenient thumb lever under the right grip.  INFO, useful for calling up the camera settings on the 3.2" rear color LCD, is placed at the right thumb.

A "pinky lever", placed just under the front sub-command dial, accesses the Fn1 button.  This can be linked to a number of assignable functions.         

The new AF-Mode Lever is a significant improvement, and one based on feedback from Nauticam customers in the field.  Nikon AF Area modes have become so powerful that shooters are regularly switching between 3D Tracking, Auto Area AF, and Single Area modes.  The AF-Mode lever is now easily located by feel from the left handle!  A separate AF-M lever is positioned above this lever, and identifiable by feel.

A double thumb lever accesses playback and the assignable Fn2 Button. 

 

Extensive Customization for a Tailored Ergonomic Experience

 

The Nikon D500 camera in a Nauticam NA-D500 housing offers three assignable pushbuttons (AF-ON, Fn1, and Fn2) that can all be accessed from the housing handles. 

These custom functions can be overwhelming at first, but the creative options they unlock can be incredibly valuable in the field.  In short, these assignable buttons mean less time digging through camera menus to change camera functions, and more time capturing the scene as it unfolds.  There isn't a right way configure these systems.  Every photographer and shooting scenario has unique demands.  Some ideas are listed below:

  • 1 Step Spd / Aperture, allows changing exposure settings in full f-stop increments.  Think about changing from a wide angle scenic mode with relatively open aperture and slow shutter speed to a close focus wide angle shot that requires a closed aperture to shrink a sun-ball.

  • My Menu, a customized panel with frequently accessed menus settings

  • Access Top Item in MY MENU, actually jumps into a frequently accessed sub menu structure for the top level My Menu selection, saving at least two button presses.  (ie min shutter speed in auto iso mode, or quickly define a preset white balance)

  • Quickly access another metering mode, toggling between the selected metering pattern and an alternate that more appropriately evaluates the current scene.

  • Flash disable / enable, this is a big one!  Toggles external flashes on and off, allowing a switch between artificial light shooting (continuous shooting speed limited by flash recycle, and shutter speed limited by the strobe max sync speed at 1/250) to silhouette mode using only ambient light (full 12 fps continuous shooting speed, unrestricted flash sync speed). 

  • AF-area mode + AF-ON – very cool functionality, for a quick way of accessing a focus mode other than the mode currently assigned and activating it while held down.  Placed at the right thumb via the re-positioned PV lever, the current focus mode be overridden with something like auto area focus for quick grab shots where there isn't time to move the selected autofocus point, or change focus area patterns.

 

Nikon DX Underwater Advantages 

 Smaller rig, lenses, smaller domes, and more money for dive trips. Full frame systems have been all the rage in recent years, but it is hard to ignore the benefits of the APS-C sized sensor in Nikon DX bodies for underwater photography.  DX lenses tend to be less expensive than their full frame counterparts, as do the smaller domes that they work well with.  This savings adds up, and the available lens selection is an extremely versatile one.

  • A fisheye that zooms!  The Tokina 10-17 is the ultimate super wide field of view range, and full frame systems don't have it.  The 10mm end, with 180 degree diagonal field of view, is the perfect angle for close focus wide angle subjects or big animals that are approachable.  The 17mm end covers more skittish subjects that won't come close, or more portraits styles shots of medium and large subjects.

  • Super Wide Zooms.  The full frame rigs require really big dome ports and expensive lenses, to cover this 110° range without fisheye distortion.  DX cameras, paired with the Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Zoom provide amazingly good overall sharpness and corner performance even in smaller 180mm dome ports.  This is a tremendous benefit for travel, as the smaller dome is much easier to pack, and significantly lower in weight.

  • Extra Macro Reach.  Take the most macro magnification possible with a full frame system and a Nikon 60 or 105mm lens, then crop the center 2/3 of the frame.  That is the image framing that a DX camera grabs in camera!   Adding a Nauticam Super Macro Converter to the 105, or Compact Macro Converter to the AF-S 60 allows for incredible magnification.

  • Handy Mid-range Zooms.  Several mid-range zoom lenses, most notably the Sigma 17-70 series, provide coverage for a wide variety of almost wide angle to closeup shooting scenarios. These lenses handle a range very similar to that covered by the built in zooms in the compact cameras that many underwater photographers cut their teeth on.

 

Key Features

 

Patented Port Locking System


Unveiled on the very first Nauticam DSLR housing in 2009, this locking lever has become a signature of the Nauticam brand.  No twisting or threading action is required to mount a port,and it locks securely in place with this lever.  Nauticam also offers locking extension rings, meaning a dome will never twist, even when used with a long extension ring.          

 

 

Housing Locking Latches


The industry's easiest to use housing closure system, requiring very little hand strength to close, secures the housing back in place. The latches are safely locked, but easy to open for a quick battery or memory card change.

 

 

 

Multi Controller Pad


Located within easy reach of the right thumb, virtually recreates the Nikon D500 multi selector allowing full multidirectional use of this powerful too. No other manufacturer has it, and with 55 user selectable focus points to choose from, photographers need it.                     

 

 

 

Integrated Vacuum Monitoring and Leak Detection


Circuitry included as standard equipment provides constant monitoring of water tight integrity when combined with an optional Nauticam M16 Vacuum Valve II (PN 25625). 

 

 

 

Vacuum Reset Button in Port Mount


A simple vacuum reset pushbutton placed in the port mount allows the vacuum system to be calibrated and initialized from the housing front.  Ideal for quick lens swaps!

 

 

 

Stainless Steel Handle Brackets

Stiffening handle brackets are included with the housing.  These brackets eliminate any flex or wobble when using big strobes, and provide multiple attachment points for lanyards, a hand strap, and other accessories.

 

 

Ergonomic Rubberized Grips

Another legendary Nauticam feature, these rubberized grips have been used every Nauticam DSLR housing release, and are some of the most comfortable in the business.                     

 

 

 

Clear Control Labeling

 

All camera controls are clearly labeled, allowing easy identification.     

 

 

Integrated Vacuum Check and Leak Detection System

The Nauticam vacuum check and leak detection system is shipped with NA-D500 as standard equipment.  Combined with an accessory vacuum valve (PN 25625), this monitoring system provides constant updates on the water tight and safe-to-dive status of the housing.  A simple color coded LED lighting system lets the user know that the vacuum is solid, or that the housing is losing vacuum. Leak detection is built into the same circuit, so if there is water intrusion, an audible and visual indication will occur. 

The Nauticam system is temperature compensated, eliminating false alarms caused by a change in outside temperature, or from a camera heating up on an action packed dive.                         

 

 

Ease of Use

No system is easier to assemble or break down.  The camera drops into the housing with a quick release camera tray.  The camera tray has an extending bracket that allows the AF-M selector to be easily positioned to match the camera.  No controls need to be preset, as housing functions for dials and switches align automatically (on/off, af-m, still photo/video).   The large 120mm housing port opening allows even the largest popular pro Nikon wide angle lens (14-24 /2.8G) to be used, and the camera can even be mounted in the housing with this large lens attached.

 

Viewfinders

The standard optical glass viewfinder is very good and travel friendly, but many photographers prefer the ease of a magnified viewfinder with adjustable diopter. Nauticam produces a “straight” 180º enlarging viewfinder and a 45º angled enlarging viewfinder to enhance the ease of close quarters work often associated with macro shooting. Both viewfinders have high quality optics, and allow bright viewing of the entire image. A patented external dioptric adjustment allows personal adjustment to a sharp-as-a-tack standard underwater and viewfinder changes can be executed in less than 30 seconds without using tools. Exceptional composition and focus accuracy have never been more accessible.

 

Premium Professional Optics

Experienced shooters know a camera is only as good as the lens in front of it, and the same is true when choosing optics for an underwater camera system.  Four optically coated glass dome ports (250mm, 230mm, 180mm, and 140mm diameters) and a series of acrylic ports support popular lenses from Nikon, Sigma, and Tokina. Port configurations are extensively tested at Nauticam to determine the ideal extension ring length for best performance.

For macro and super macro shooting, the Nauticam Super Macro Converter is a revolutionary accessory. This is an entirely in house design, optimized for use in water.  The water contact correction offers the highest overall sharpness, free from chromatic aberration and purple fringing, with reproduction ratios exceeding 2:1 when used with a Nikon AF-S 105mm /2.8 VR Lens.

Build Quality

Nauticam build quality is simply unmatched, using cutting edge product design and modern, innovative manufacturing techniques that result in service-free reliability. A bit like a fine Swiss time piece, the complexity under the hood results in a trouble free user experience that just works, and keeps working for years to come.

 

Recommended Accessories

Magnifying Viewfinders

  • 180º Enhancing Viewfinder (32201)
  • 45º Enhancing Viewfinder (32203)

Optical and Electrical TTL Converter

  • TTL Converter for NA-D5 and D500, Sea & Sea YS-D and Inon Series Strobes (26307)
  • M14 Nikonos 5-pin Bulkhead II with Red Micro-Match Connector (26074) 
  • M14 Ikelite Style Bulkhead II with Red Micro-Match Connector (26075)

Other Accessories

  • Patent Pending Super Macro Converter (81201), providing 2.3:1 reproduction ration with the popular AF-S 105mm /2.8G VR Macro Lens
  • M16 Vacuum Valve (25625)
  • Complete line of flat and dome ports for all major lenses, available in acrylic and glass
  • Locking port extension rings from 10mm to 90mm
  • Monitor/Recorder Housing for Atomos Ninja2 (17902) or Shogun (17904)
  • Monitor Housing for SmallHD 502 Monitor (17906)
  • Fiber optic cables for Inon (26211) and Sea&Sea (26212)
  • Full line of mounting accessories for lighting, including mount balls, strobe adapters, arms, clamps, and specialty items
  • Multiple styles of lanyards
  • Lens holders, including flip-up 
  • Focus and Zoom gears for many Nikon, Tokina, and Sigma lenses
  • Port Adapters for Aquatica, Hugyfot, Ikelite, Inon, Nexus M5 & M6, Sea & Sea NX, Seacam, Subal Version 3 & 4, and Zillion
  • Handle accessories including smaller handles, handle extensions for cold water diving
  • Spare Housing O-Ring (90134)
 
 
 

Details and Specifications

  • Depth Rating:  100m
  • Weight: 3.02 kg
  • Dimensions: 354mm x 188mm x 134mm (W x H x D)

Model Number: 17220
USA Retail Price: $3500
Availble Now at Bluewater Photo

 


 

Purchase the Nauticam Nikon D500 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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Feature packed with double o-rings, moisture detector, wet lenses and more, we review the Fantasea Sony RX100 IV housing
By Brent Durand

Fantasea FRX100 IV Housing Review

Brent Durand
Feature packed with double o-rings, moisture detector, wet lenses and more, we review the Fantasea Sony RX100 IV housing

The Fantasea FRX100IV housing delivers full access to the controls of the Sony RX100 IV, allowing you to shoot incredible images, 4K video and much more. The Sony RX100 IV packs a whopping 1" sensor into the body of a compact camera, and sits at the top of Bluewater Photo's Best Compact Cameras list.

If you haven't yet, be sure to read our Sony RX100 IV Camera Review.

The polycarbonate plastic Fantasea FRX100 IV is the lightest housing available for the RX100 IV. The clearly labeled controls, affordable price and wide range of accessories make it a great choice for underwater photo and video shooters. In this review we will take a deeper look at the housing.

Available for Purchase:  Fantasea FRX100 IV Housing

MSRP:  $499.95

 

Fantasea FRX100IV Key Specs

  • Works for both the Sony RX100 IV and RX100 III

  • Wide (easy to push), clearly labeled controls

  • Ergonomics mirror camera (ideal for those who shoot topside as well)

  • Double o-ring closure

  • Built-in moisture detection system

  • Clear polycarbonate back (easy to see the camera)

  • Cold shoe accessory mount (i.e. focus light)

  • Depth rating:  200ft / 60m

  • Size:  15.5 x 14.5 x 12 cm \ 6.25 x 5.75 x 4.75 inch (W x D x H)

  • Weight (without camera):  600g

 

FRX100IV In the Lab

[photos holding housing]

Housing Ergonomics and Controls

The Fantasea RX100 IV housing is easy to hold in your hand, with nooks for your fingers and thumb to settle into. The shutter release is a button pressed vertically, which is nice for a handheld housing. The control placement mirrors the button layout on the camera body, which is nice for those who transition back and forth from using the camera on land and underwater - no hunting around for a button that has been moved to a mysterious position.

The plastic button heads are wide, making them easy to push with bare fingers or thick gloves, and each is very clearly labeled. The housing provides a knob for adjusting the front control ring, however since it is on the left side of the housing, it requires a second hand to adjust.

The video record button is easy to reach and press, but this makes accidental video recording very easy.

A standout feature is the knob for spinning the rear control dial, which is a feature unique to Fantasea.

Opening and Closing

To open and close the housing, you depress a small plastic lock tab, then twist the side latch. While this may not feel robust at first, a closer inspection reveals a very secure locking mechanism. The camera can be set into place within the housing, making it easy to replace batteries and memory cards - and no need to unscrew the camera from a tray each time. The clever spring action of the back LCD skirt holds the camera in place in line with housing controls.

There is also enough space in the housing to remove the camera with fingers (instead of shaking the housing upside down, as is the method with many compacts). A double o-ring seal provides extra safety and is still easy to inspect and service.

Housing Accessories

One huge bonus is the built-in leak detection system. The sensor is place at the absolute bottom of the housing, meaning it will be triggered at the first presence of water in the housing.

The housing comes with a hand strap and flash diffuser in the box, so you're ready to go whether you are shooting with or without external strobes.

A lens port adapter is also included, opening up the world of m67 mount wet lenses for macro and wide-angle photography. Check out our recommended accessories for the Fantasea FRX100IV.

 

Video Review by Scott Gietler

 

In the Water

The Fantasea FRX100IV housing performs as promised in the water. All the photos you see in this review were shot with the housing.

 

 

Recommended Accessories

Use the following accessories to get the most from your Sony RX100 IV and Fantasea housing.

 

Bluewater +7 Macro Wet Lens

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasea Bigeye M67 Wide-Angle Lens

 

 

 

 

Sea&Sea YS-03 Flex Arm Strobe Package

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

The Fantasea FRX100IV is a great all around housing at an even better price point. Lightweight and reliable, the housing is designed with solid ergonomics that will perform for both beginner and more advanced underwater photo and video shooters. You can use the housing handheld or build up a kit with dual video lights or strobes.

Pros

  • Affordable price

  • Lightweight

  • Easy-to-use controls for photo and video

  • Knob to spin rear control dial

  • Includes primary accessories

  • Add and remove camera body effortlessly

  • Wide range of macro and wide-angle accessories available

Cons

  • Video record button could be pressed accidentally if camera is clipped off to BCD

 

Overall, the Fantasea FRX100IV is a great housing for those who want an inexpensive way to get their Sony RX100 IV in the water, whether for photo or video. You can contact the team at Bluewater Photo for personalized advice on the housing and recommended accessories.

 



Fantasea FRX100IV Housing


 

Fantasea's video promo, shot with FRX100 IV.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer, story teller and image-maker from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Bali & Lembeh Strait Workshops (Sept '16)   |   La Paz Big Animal Photo Trip (Oct '16)   |   Sri Lanka Wrecks & Reefs OR Whales & Dolphins Workshops (Feb '17)   |   Alor, Indonesia small group Photo Trip (Oct '17)

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.

 


Complete underwater housing guide for the Sony RX100 IV, including Acquapazza, Fantasea, Ikelite, Nauticam and Recsea
By Brent Durand

Sony RX100 IV Housing Guide

Brent Durand
Complete underwater housing guide for the Sony RX100 IV, including Acquapazza, Fantasea, Ikelite, Nauticam and Recsea

The Sony RX100 IV is arguably the best compact camera for underwater photography and video. Packing a 20.1 megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor, the RX100 IV has one of the largest sensors in a compact camera body, delivering excellent image quality.

Pair the image sensor with features like 4K video recording, 720p super slow motion video, ultra fast processor, f/1.8-2.8 lens with a 5.2 cm minimum focus distance, and wifi, and it's apparent why this camera excels over many other compacts. Additionally, there are many underwater housing options. We will review these options (all available at Bluewater Photo) in this housing guide.

Read our Sony RX100 IV Review for Underwater Photography.

 

RX100 IV Quick Specs

  • 20.1MP 1.0-type Exmor RS CMOS Sensor

  • ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T lens (f/1.8 - f/2.8) with focal length 8.8 - 25.7mm

  • Lens minimum focus distance: 0.17ft

  • BIONZ X Image Processor

  • Super Slow Motion Video (maximum of 40x)

  • 4K Video Recording

  • 16 frames per second burst shooting

  • Front control ring (great for underwater settings adjustments

  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

  • 180 degree tiltable LCD screen

 

 

Sony RX100 IV Housing Guide

We discuss each housing for the RX100 IV in detail, providing objective feature checklists and overviews. I've also asked two separate reviewers to provide hands-on commentary for each housing. Scroll down or use the quick links below.

Acquapazza   |   Fantasea   |   Ikelite   |   Nauticam   |   Recsea

Our Housing Summary

 

 

 

Acquapazza Sony RX100 IV Housing

Housing material:  Compact aluminum housing with aluminum port and threads. Acquapazza housings are anodized and available in 15 different colors!  Features a large LCD window for easy viewing.

Button material:  Brushed aluminum buttons, tiered for easy use by feel. Deep lobed knobs for easy operation.

Control labels:  Most labels engraved into aluminum at each control. May be difficult for some to see.

Shutter release:  Vertical lever on housing front. Housing ridge allows you to rest finger to help with precise control of shutter (i.e. for half depress).

Movie record button:  Tightly positioned right above rear control dial. It is unlikely to hit accidentally but requires greater thumb dexterity to depress.

Control dial placement (front and rear):  Front control ring dial is ergonomically placed at right forefinger. Rear control dial has been moved slightly up on housing back, above the buttons, into a more ergonomic position.

Overall ergonomics:  The housing feels nice for handholding and one-handed operation. Control action is smooth.

Inserting/removing the camera:  Easily drop into place and remove by tilting housing back.

Latch:  Press to close. Open by pushing top and bottom of latch. Housing uses one hinge on left side.

O-rings:  One of only two RX100 IV housings to feature dual o-rings. Very easy to inspect for debris.

Accessories:  Two M10 mount threaded accessory holes. Built-in flash strobe mask for fiber optic cables. Rails on rear LCD to attach a magnifying monitor hood (also good for viewing LCD in bright conditions).

Leak detect and vacuum:  No.

Housing weight:  26.2 oz.

Depth Rating:  100m (328ft)

Retail price:  $899.  On sale at Bluewater Photo for $799.95!

 

View more detailed purchase info and accessories:  Acquapazza Sony RX100 IV Housing

 

Personal insight, reviewer #1:

"I really like this housing - it is the lightest of all of the housings, has great controls, very ergonomic dials, no slippage in my hand. The flash up/down is implemented amazingly well, and the buttons are nicely separated from rear dial. I found it easy to use with one hand, and the record button hard to press accidentally. The port is a little longer, which means it may not be the best choice if you are using the internal flash. I like the latching system a lot. The housing has 4 solid mount points (screw in) but no hot shoe. One downside is that the buttons not labeled, and there is not a leak detector. But other than that, this may be my favorite RX100 IV housing."

Personal insight, reviewer #2:

"The colors are definitely a fun breakaway from the traditional black housings, and this housing performs well overall. All camera functions are accessible and easy to use. Personally, I am not a fan of the housing latch, as I feel it is very easy to undo. The controls are nice to manipulate and well positioned, and the shutter lever is very sensitive. I like the more secure M10 mount, but one downfall for the Acquapazza housing is that accessories such a monitor hood or diffuser can be difficult to get, or are not available. "

 

 

 

 

Fantasea Sony RX100 IV Housing

Housing material:  Compact and lightweight plastic housing with plastic port and threads. Clear housing back makes LCD viewing easy.

Button material:  Plastic caps with aluminum shafts. The buttons are tiered for easy use by feel, with wider inside buttons for quicker thumb placement.

Control labels:  Very clearly labled buttons and knobs.

Shutter release:  Vertical button. Button sits on top of the housing in an ergonomic position for hand-holding the housing.  

Movie record button:  Matches camera placement and is easy to reach/press. Downside is that it could be pressed by accident.

Control dial placement (front and rear):  Front control ring dial has been placed on left side of port, requiring use of left hand. Rear control dial sticks out past buttons for easy thumb operation.

Overall ergonomics:  The housing feels nice for handholding and one-handed operation, with a nice indentation for the thumb. Control action is smooth.

Inserting/removing the camera:  Very easy to drop in the camera. The LCD skirt on housing back is on springs to hold camera in place when housing closes. There is ample space for removing camera with fingers instead of tipping housing upside down.

Latch:  Twist to close. Depress a red lever and twist to open. At first glance this feels weak, but upon use it's apparent that the twisting motion creates very strong and secure closure.

O-rings:  One of only two RX100 IV housings to feature dual o-rings. Very easy to inspect for debris.

Accessories:  Cold shoe mount for accessory. Removeable flash strobe mask for fiber optic cables. Lens port adapter included for use of standard 67mm wet lenses.

Leak detect and vacuum:  Leak detect system is buildt in, positioned on bottom of housing to be triggered at first instance of water. Vacuum system not available.

Housing weight:  20.8 oz.

Depth Rating:  60m (200ft)

Retail price:  $499.95

 

View more detailed purchase info and accessories:  Fantasea Sony RX100 IV Housing

 

Personal insight, reviewer #1:

The Fantasea housing is a less expensive plastic housing. The latch is ok, I prefer the Acquapazza or Recsea latches. It is nicely labeled, but hard to single hand. The controls work well, but the dials need "grabbed" where on the aluminum housings they are easier to turn. There is a cold shoe mount point on top. It does have a leak detector. For the price, I give this housing high marks.

Personal insight, reviewer #2:

I have definitely been impressed by the housings being produced by Fantasea lately. They are well thought out and offer full camera control which is not something you get from every polycarbonate housing. While available the controls dials are a bit more challenging to work with, requiring the use of my forefinger and thumb to turn the dial, making this a two handed operation underwater. It is comfortable to hold in my hands, and with threaded ports allow for easy addition of different lenses to improve your photos and shooting experience.

 

 

 

Ikelite Sony RX100 IV Housing

Housing material:  Polycarbonate housing with plastic port and threads. Clear housing makes it easy to see the entire camera, including the LCD screen.

Button material:  Brushed aluminum buttons, slightly tiered for easy use by feel. Textured knobs provide more grip.

Control labels:  Most button labels are clearly engraved and easy to see.

Shutter release:  Vertical lever along right side of housing.

Movie record button:  Anodized red! Button lines up with camera and is sheltered by control dial to block accidental record, but still enough room to easily press.

Control dial placement (front and rear):  Front control ring dial has been placed on top of the housing, requiring use of left hand. Rear control dial has been moved up soas not to interfere with button operation and easier thumb rotation.

Overall ergonomics:  The housing feels a little bulky on land, but with neutral buoyancy in water you can reposition hand with finger set back onto trigger, reaching a comfortable position.

Inserting/removing the camera:  The RX100 IV erquires a tray to be attached to the tripod mount, which then slides securely into base of housing. It's very simple to slide the camera/tray in and out of housing, however the tray must be unscrewed in order to access the battery and memory compartment - a serious consideration since the battery lasts about 1 dive.

Latch:  Dual hinge latches will take any abuse you can dish out. Very robust and secure, however require two hands to open. The entire back of the housing is removed, versus the popular single hinge design that swings the back open.

O-rings:  Very easy to visually inspect, remove and clean.

Accessories:  No accessory mount provided on housing. The strobe mask is now inside of the housing - much nicer than the older velcro mask kits on the outside of the housing. It supports 1 or two fiber optic cables.

Leak detect and vacuum:  No.

Housing weight:  43.5 oz.

Depth Rating:  60m (200ft)

Retail price:  $549.95

 

View more detailed purchase info and accessories:  Ikelite Sony RX100 IV Housing


Personal insight, reviewer #1:

 

The Ikelite housing seems to be bulletproof, very strong construction and the housing most likely to survive being run over by a tank. If you live in the USA, you have access to excellent service if there are any housing issues. The clear design means you can immediately see if water were ever to enter the housing. Downsides are the weight of the housing, and the fact you need to unscrew the housing from the tray to change the battery.

Personal insight, reviewer #2:

The Ikelite housing is a classic, back to basics underwater housing. Completely clear it allows you to see the o-ring seal as well as how your buttons are interacting with the camera, which makes troubleshooting any issues fairly simple. Controls are not moved and can be more difficult to access, but everything works smoothly and consistently. The biggest issue I have is that the zoom control is not spring loaded, which means once you reach the desired zoom level you need to turn the knob back to center to stop the camera from zooming in further. The shutter is OK, but not as sensitive as other options and the housing is definitely largest out of all choices. One nice benefit is that it is made in America and they have great customer service and support with their housings.

 

 

 

 

Nauticam Sony RX100 IV Housing

 

Housing material:  Compact aluminum housing with aluminum port and threads.

Button material:  Plastic caps with aluminum shafts. The buttons are tiered for easy use by feel. Knobs have different size lobes for best ergonomics.

Control labels:  Most labels engraved into aluminum at each control. Very clear and easy to read.

Shutter release:  Vertical lever on front of housing. Wide lever and indentation create a natural place for the finger to sit. Nauticam has also included a new shutter release trigger extension, which places the trigger at fingertip when using handles (see photo below).

Movie record button:  Red button matches position on the camera. Open placement for easy reach but not likely to start recording accidentally.

Control dial placement (front and rear):  Front control ring dial is ergonomically placed at right middle finger. Rear control dial has been moved slightly up and to the right side on housing back into a more ergonomic position for thumb.

Overall ergonomics:  The housing feels nice for handholding and one-handed operation. Control action is smooth.

Inserting/removing the camera:  Easily drop into place and remove with fingers.

Latch:  Twist to close. Open by pushing red button and twisting. Very secure. Housing uses one hinge on left side.

O-rings:  Easy to visually inspect, remove and clean.

Accessories:  M14 and M16 bulkhead ports to support optional vacuum check and external monitor. The housing top also has a coldshoe mount and one M10 mount threaded accessory hole.

Leak detect and vacuum:  Yes. The housing is sold with leak detect system and light/switch for the vacuum check system, however vacuum bulkhead must be purchased separately.

Housing weight:  29.6 oz.

Depth Rating:  100m (328ft)

Retail price:  $995

 

View more detailed purchase info and accessories:  Nauticam Sony RX100 IV Housing

 

Personal insight, reviewer #1:

This housing feels *slightly* little bigger than the other aluminum housings. It has 2 bulkheads so you can use a vacuum system or a video monitor. I found it a little harder to handhold in 1 hand, and if you did the record button could be easily pressed accidentally, but not that easily. It has a hot shoe and 1 screw-in mount point on the side. The buttons labeled really nicely, and it has a leak detector. It has some nice features that make it worth the price it is at.

Personal insight, reviewer #2:

Nauticam housings are always very appealing. Designed to accomplish anything you could want the housing to do, short of making you an espresso, they are loaded with extra features, are well laid out and have nicely labeled buttons. On the flip side there is alot going on inside which can make it more difficult to insert the camera, or troubleshoot if something isn’t working right. An abundance of accessories from diffusers, vacuum bulkheads, lenses and more make this a system you can easily expand upon. I am a big fan of their locking system as its basically impossible to accidentally open the housing, in addition the shutter button is nice and sensitive making it easy to focus and take photos. 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recsea WHS-RX100IV Aluminum Housing

 

Housing material:  Compact aluminum housing with aluminum port. Port has a quick-adapt system for using standard 67mm wet lenses. Smallest housing for the RX100 IV.

Button material:  Plastic caps with aluminum shafts. Rear of housing has a control wheel, so instead of pushing buttons, you press the side of the wheel as you would on the camera itself.

Control labels:  Controls not labeled but there is a sticker on left of housing for reference.

Shutter release:  Horizontal lever on front of housing. While not as ergonomic for hand-holding, the horizontal action of the shutter lever is ideal when using a tray and handles (like a DSLR).

Movie record button:  Red button is moved to upper right of housing back. It is nestled against a plastic shield to avoid accidental recording but still easy to press.

Control dial placement (front and rear):  Front control ring is an actual ring on the port, which requires the left hand to spin. Rear control dial rotates and presses to mimic the actual camera control dial.

Overall ergonomics:  The housing is nice to handhold and operate controls. The front control ring requires a second hand, and the shutter trigger direction feels ideal when using handles.

Inserting/removing the camera:  Easily drop into place and remove by tilting housing.

Latch:  Press to close. Open by pressing a lever while also pulling the latch away from housing. Very secure.

O-rings:  Easy to visually inspect, remove and clean.

Accessories:  One M10 mount threaded accessory hole and a coldshoe mount.

Leak detect and vacuum:  No.

Housing weight:  27.7 oz.

Depth Rating:  100m (328ft)

Retail price:  $920

 

View more detailed purchase info and accessories:  Recsea Sony RX100 IV Housing

 

Personal insight, reviewer #1:

The recsea housing is small, and will support a "quick adapt" system for wet lenses that is very nice. The buttons and dials work well, although the large front dial can be a little hard to turn. This housing not the easiest to hand hold with a single hand, you will want to use 2 hands or a tray and handle. Because of where the record button is, it might be pressed accidentally. The control dials a little hard to reach with one hand compared to the aquapazza. The buttons are labeled off to the side which is OK but not nicely labeled like the Nauticam or Fantasea. The latch works really well and it is secure when shut. One note - the shutter pulls towards you, which I don't mind and find easy to use.

Personal insight, reviewer #2:

I like the Recsea housing, it feels very solid in my hands and the integrated dials mimic the actual Sony camera nicely. I find it easier to turn the control wheel on the back of the housing without activating other camera functions by mistake. The large dial that surrounds the port is nice, however I am not able to manipulate it well with just one finger, so I need to remove my hand from the side of the housing to really control the camera. Its easiest to do on the left hand side, making this a two handed operation housing. The other downside is that the controls are not individually labeled, so unless you memorize your camera buttons, make sure to refer to the included key on the back of the housing. 

 

 

Sony RX100 IV Housing Summary

Bluewater Photo has published a one sentence summary of each housing in their Best Compact Cameras for 2016 guide, and we feel that each housing fits a different person. All the housings offer access to great macro and wide-angle wet lenses, letting you get the most from the RX100 IV.

If budget is a factor in your purchase, then the Fantasea RX100 IV housing will deliver the best value. For those on a budget who want a tough housing, then Ikelite is the way to go. The Acquapazza housing sits at the medium budget level, offering the improved ergonomics of the more expensive housings in a compact package with an undisputed cool factor (anodized colors). On the more expensive side, we have the Nauticam and Recsea housings. The Recsea is easily the most compact housing, however the Nauticam has very clearly labeled and ergonomic controls, plus aluminum port threads and optional vacuum check system.

Best Value:  Fantasea ($499.95)

Easiest O-ring Maintenance:  Ikelite ($549.95)

Most Compact:  Recsea ($920)

Best Value to Advanced Ergonomics:  Acquapazza ($899.95 - on sale for $799 at time of publication)

Ergonomics with Most Accessory Options:  Nauticam ($995)

 

Be sure to check out all of the Sony RX100 IV housings on Bluewater photo and call or email with any questions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer, story teller and image-maker from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is the editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and leads several photo trips and workshops for Bluewater Photo (see below).  Email Brent at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

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