Sea & Sea Sony Universal Housing Review

An Incredible New Housing for the Sony A1, A7R V, A7S III, A7R IV, A7 IV, and A9 II
By Nirupam Nigam

Have you ever wished for an underwater housing compatible with any camera? Although this has yet to come to fruition, Japan's foremost housing manufacturer, Sea & Sea has manage to produce a "universal" housing for the Sony alpha line of full-frame cameras. The Sea & Sea Sony Universal Housing is compatible with six of Sony's top cameras - the Sony A1, A7R V, A7S III, A7R IV, A7 IV, and A9 II! It will likely be compatible with many future Sony cameras as well. Sony tends to produce cameras with bodies that are almost identical to the previous model. So if you have multiple Sony camera bodies, or intend to buy a video-oriented body like the A7S III and a photo-oriented body like the A7R V, the Sea & Sea universal housing is the most economical and obvious choice.

That said, not ever combination is easy to swap out in the field, so contact the friendly staff at Bluewater Photo to find out what conversion kit you'll need for your specific combination of cameras. In some cases, the conversion will need to be done by Bluewater.

Fortunately for us, Sea & Sea sent us North America's first housing and we immediately jumped into the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest with this exciting new product. Check out our video review of the Universal Housing below and read on for our full thoughts, specifications, sample photos and more. 


Sea & Sea Sony Universal Housing Specifications

  • US MSRP: $4399.95 - 4599.95
  • Compatible with the Sony A7R V, A1, A7S III, A7R IV, A7 IV, and A9 II
  • Depth rating: 100m/330 ft
  • Dimensions: 12.9 inches x 6.6 inches x 5.4 inches
  • Weight: 2900 grams
  • Corrosion resistant anodized aluminum alloy construction (machined)
  • A larger clear back panel
  • Fiber optic cable cover
  • Luminescent (glow-in-the-dark) button labels
  • New Leak Alarm Unit Included
  • Optical viewfinder 0.5x 
  • Easy to use port and lens lock release system
  • Compatible with optical YS TTL converter
  • Sacrificial zinc diodes to protect from electrolysis damage
  • Focus and zoom dials pull out for larger lenses

Taking the Sea & Sea Sony Universal Housing Diving with the Sony A7 IV

Key Features

A Larger Back Panel

Perhaps our favorite improvement of the universal housing over previous MDX housings is the large back acrylic panel. It is more than twice as large as previous models. This allows the user to better see the camera, any issues that could be going on inside the housing, and reduces weight overall in the system. A large panel also ensures that future camera models will likely be visible in the housing. On our dives were able to easily see everything that was going on with the Sony A7 IV we were shooting - from the photo/video mode switch to the autofocus point acquiring our subject on the LCD. 

A larger back on the Sea & Sea Sony Universal Housing

New Fiber Optic Cable Cover

Perhaps one of the most frustrating situations to occur when shooting a photo underwater is having your fiber optic cable come out of its port right when you take the shot. That is no longer a worry with a new fiber optic cable cover! This rubber piece easily fits over your fiber optic cables and secures them to the housing. It was great to have that piece of mind underwater when we were diving.

Luminescent Button Labels

Luminescent (glow-in-the-dark) buttons have always been a favorite feature of mine when it comes to Sea & Sea housings. Glowing buttons allow you to easily see your settings and controls on night dives or in limited visibility. While all our diving with the universal housing was during the day - my past night dive experiences with Sea & Sea housings has shown I've been missing out with other housings. So if you are a night diver, the Sea & Sea universal housing might be the right housing for your Sony camera.

One of our first photos with the Sea & Sea Sony Universal Housing

A New Leak Alarm System (Included)

We were pleasantly surprised to see that Sea & Sea had updated their leak alarm unit and included it with the housing. No longer are they using the Vivid Leak Sentinel, but rather their new engineers have developed an easy to use vacuum system. The electronics come pre-installed and are able to detect if moisture has entered the housing - keeping it safe from any water that may enter. An audible alarm allows you to reach the surface before a flood becomes catastrophic. But even before entering the water, an easy-to-use vacuum system allows you to test if your seal is suitable for a dive. All it takes is a few simple pumps with the hand pump and an LED indicator will tell you that your seal is good.

Conversion Kits for Different Camera Models

As we mentioned before, the Sea & Sea Sony Universal Housing is compatible with multiple cameras, but some camera combinations require conversion kits. Some kits can be installed in the field as they only require a change of the camera tray with a few screws. However, some kits require an adjustment of controls and should be installed by Bluewater Photo. If you are interested in a specific combination of cameras of a future Sony model, be sure to contact Bluewater Photo for help understanding which kit you need and if you can install it in the field.

We converted our Sea & Sea A1 universal housing to the Sony A7 IV in the field with an easy-to-use conversion kit


Overall, we found the construction of the Sea & Sea universal housing to be elegant and on par with previous models. You would think that a universal housing would be larger than a housing made for a single camera model. But we've found the larger acrylic panel has actually reduced weight in the housing itself - making it lighter underwater than other aluminum brands.

Aluminum housings are known for their durability. But to protect from corrosion (electrolysis), the housing is equipped with two sacrificial zinc diodes - extending the lifespan of your housing. These diodes can be replaced years down the line if necessary.

The buttons on housing aren't too stiff or too lose and the controls are well placed. The only complaint we've had so far about the universal housing is that the buttons are not always going to be labeled 100% correctly if you have to switch models of camera. However, this makes sense. Generally these labels have to do with the custom buttons as essential controls are usually in the same place. 

Sea & Sea universal housing


If you are a Sony shooter, the universal housing from Sea & Sea is worth some serious consideration. While you are paying a premium for a premium housing brand, the universal housing ends up being the most economical option for Sony shooters due to its ability to fit multiple camera bodies and most likely future bodies as well. During our review we found the system to be surprisingly light and compact and just an overall pleasure to use. Sea & Sea has thought of everything with this housing - from a new leak alarm system to a fiber optic cable holder. So if you want versatility, excellent ergonomics, luminescent buttons, and an easy-to-use leak alarm system, the Sea & Sea Sony universal housing would be the right choice. 

Sea & sea Sony A1 housing


Nirupam Nigam is the Editor-in-Chief of the Underwater Photography Guide and the President of Bluewater Photo - the world's top underwater photo & video retailer. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. After receiving degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, Nirupam worked as a fisheries observer on vessels in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. Since then, Nirupam has been a full time underwater photographer and photo gear head. Check out more of his photography at!


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