Biting the bullet - going underwater at

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.

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Old May 20th, 2005, 04:33 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3
Biting the bullet - going underwater

After suffering with a stills camera for the last 3 years I have finally decided to bring my first love of film making to my second love of diving. But shame on me for thinking it was going to be easy!

The choice of camera is thankfully massively reduced by my own desire to be able to shoot broadcast quality footage. I know it's not always the primary concern when looking for a first setup but as I work with broadcast footage I just know I'll be dissapointed with domestic quality.

My problem is this.. The Sony PD150/170 is standard broadcast, but as it has a b+w viewfinder the only way to get colour correct balancing for your shot is to add an external colour monitor or go for a cam with a colour viewfinder. Now if money was no option I'd go straight for the Gates housing with a wide angle port, but as the PD170 is at least £1800 and the Gates housing a staggering £3460 with monitor - well lets just say that's a little over the budget!

So I have almost swayed to the Canon GL2/XM2 which has colour viewfinder as well as the flip out monitor. But these scare stories of the fatal but fixable "remove cassette" error coupled with complaints of excessive motor noise or hiss being transmitted to tape and the new threads talking of impromptu powering down are all getting me a little edgy on relying on the GL2/XM2 to work flawlessley when in remote locations filming. On the up side it does have LANc conectivity for an electronic housing and there are a wide range available. So really I'm hoping that you guys and gals who bought the GL2 when it first came out might be able to advise me on it's overall reliability.

I spoke with a dealer today and they advised against the Ikelite housings for larger cameras as they can be very unweildy underwater (even though they are cheaper!), plus you use the eyepiece when filming and you can't add a monitor to these without drilling the housing (*alarm bells ringing!*)

So I'm now stuck between going for the fully electronic Dolphin housing, or the Equinox/Aquacam manual housings. - what I really need to know is how likely is it that the electronic components will fail? I totally understand the logic for going totally manual, but surely if the electronic controls are constantly breaking then people wouldn't buy the housings?!?! It's not like I'll be using the housing everyday, more like using it for about a week solid on holiday then giving it a month-or-so rest. - Has anyone got an electronic housing from dolphin? Can you tell me how reliable they are, or if you have had issues with them and had repairs done - how did that go?

Many thanks in advance for your help and advice. - and when I get all the info together I'll make sure to come back and post it here as I can't tell you how much the posts on this forum have helped me to decide to use the GL2 over the Sony PD170.

Adam Stokoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2005, 03:39 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Welcome aboard (H) Adam! Hopefully this little bump will result in
someone being able to answer your question. Unfortunately I don't have
any knowledge in that area.

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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Old May 30th, 2005, 05:52 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: tyringe, sweden
Posts: 17
hi adam,
been filming underwater for a few years and has just moved up to a xl2. so i am saving up for a gates housing...
i used gates before and ikelite, light&motion and now tha latest eqinox. eqinox is crap. the controls are not placed in any good way! there is now way you can zoom without letting go of one of the handels. and unless, dont even know how to describe it,you can be supersteady holding it with one hand you cant use the clips during zooming, its to shaky!
the plate that holds the dome port is clear. and gives reflections. i had to roll the housing with a saftysausage to block the sunlight! and the plate that was holding the camera was drilled wrong so my lcd couldnt open correctly.
well i did 100 dives with it and no leak or mailfunction thats the only good thing about it, i guess.
ikelite, nothing but good things to say about those housings. and i dont think its to "unweildy underwater" if so just tape an xtra wight on it. or the batteri pack for the lights would do the trick (you woudl get the housing and lights for the same price as for an electronic housing). i had a misscolouring in my domeport of my ikelite. after sending them a picture, they dhl me a new port for free! to africa! (was filming there for 8 months)
and it´s ok with the pd170, having a b/W view finder. just make sure you fix the withbalance. (zip-tie a slate to one of your fins)
if you end up going for a electronic housing dont worry. they last and if you´re only gonna be away for a few weeks at a time you´re gonna be fine.
rinse it after everydive and dont leave it in the sun.
have fun, its much better than taking stills
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