Smallest Underwater DSLR: Ikelite Canon SL3 Housing

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

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

 

Canon EOS Revel SL3 Retail Price: $749.99

Ikelite SL3 Housing Retail Price: $1294.95

 

 


 

 

Bluewater Photo Canon SL3 Packages:

 Ikelite Canon SL3 Housing

 

 


 

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

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

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

DIGIC 8 Image Processor

Built In flash

Compatible with Canon EF Lenses

Dual Pixel Auto Focus

9 AF points

1/200sec sync speed

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

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

 

Underwater Performance

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

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

 

Ikelite 2000DLM/C Underwater TTL Housing for Canon SL3

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

3 lbs, 7.5 X 5.9 X 6 in 

Depth rated to 200ft (60m)

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

  • For Macro: Canon EOS Revel SL3 Camera, Ikelite Housing, Ikelite flat macro port (budget friendly), Canon 60mm EF-S f/2.8 Macro USM (budget friendly, and excellent image quality), and Ikelite DS-160 strobes (work’s great with TTL). The perfect macro set up for a budget conscience photographer looking for a compact start-up DSLR. 

 


 

Bluewater Photo Canon SL3 Packages:

 Ikelite Canon SL3 Housing

Tokina 10-17mm lens for Canon EF

 


 

 

Who should buy this camera and housing combo?

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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