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Old February 16th, 2010, 07:59 AM   #1
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3 cameras: Waterhousing?

I have the Canon HV20 (Which got me started into video and I am still learning) Canon 7D which I bought for video mainly as well. Then there's my trusty Nikon D700 which I use for photography.

In April I'm going to Okinawa (Ishigaki Island to be exact). It's the first time I'll be in a tropical area of the world with clear water. I want to buy a housing unit for snorkeling. I don't plan on any diving. I will likely bring all 3 cameras with me for the 5 day trip (Only 3 hours by plane to get there). I will do most of my photography with the D700 and most of my land HD video with my 7D. My wife will carry around the HV20 and her Canon IXY for photos.

I'm trying to figure out what I should do about water proofing. I want to bring 1 camera into the water with me. I have no experience filming underwater.

The expensive housing units are too much for a 1 time deal. I say 1 time because I have no plans for tropical waters again YET. I need something that will work though and I saw some Eiwa-Marine gear that looked affordable.

Looking for any advice really on how I should prepare for my water adventures. There will be plenty of out of water fun as well...it's in the water that has me scratching my head on what to do.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #2
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The Ewa Marine UW splashbag for SLR/DSLR will fit the bill for what you want. It will work well for near surface/shallow dive swimming for both stills and video with the D700 and 7D.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #3
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Which of the cameras you mention are you planning/hoping to take with you in the water? I've never used the Ewa-marine housings, but they look very awkward to use for any serious work mainly because there is no way to focus or zoom manually (that I can see), so I don't see how you can use an SLR with them, not to mention all the small buttons and other settings you may need to use.
Your best solution would would be to either get an inexpensive housing for your HV20 - since it's smaller, the housing will be less expensive and easier to maneuver in the water which is a big plus if it is your first time in the water with a camera. Is there a place where you can rent a housing in Japan if buying it is not an option? Also, which Canon IXY do you have? The housings for those are very cheap - cheaper than an Ewa housing for an SLR and they will give you full control of the camera.
Let me know your thoughts - hope this helps
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Old February 16th, 2010, 03:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Khalil
Which of the cameras you mention are you planning/hoping to take with you in the water?
I would love to get the 7D into the water for video. Since it's a stills camera I could use it for that in the water as well. I would love to have an extra unit dedicated to my D700 but I'm not going to spend that kind of money right away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Khalil
Is there a place where you can rent a housing in Japan if buying it is not an option?
I've been looking and looking. The island I'm going to is very small. They have aquatic stores, but I don't know whether they have anything to support DSLR for water. Getting in touch with those stores over the internet is more difficult than I thought. I also considered renting something in Osaka (Where I live) in order to get something BEFORE I go, but haven't had any luck just yet. I do know (Confirmed by the travel agent) that the islands down south all have waterproof disposable cameras. She said that when she went the carried something similar to a zip lock bag called Dicapac. A quick search and saw it seemed to do the job similar to Eiwa, but with a less expensive material, and price tag. I would get this for my wife's camera, but I don't know that I would trust it with my gear.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Khalil
Also, which Canon IXY do you have? The housings for those are very cheap - cheaper than an Ewa housing for an SLR and they will give you full control of the camera.
Let me know your thoughts - hope this helps
Her's is the Canon Canon IXY 910IS. I saw it in action with one of those Dicapac zip lock type bags for 35USD. However, a hard-case for that camera is something I would invest in since I'm sure they are more reasonable than the gear for DSLR and camcorders.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #5
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If you'd like to use your 7D in the water, I don't really see how you can without an actual underwater housing designed for the camera - perhaps renting one from somewhere else and getting it shipped would work? Also, keep in mind that a DSLR+underwater housing is not small and compact. Because of the size and weight (my camera/lens/housing are between 10-15 lbs when fully rigged) there's quite a learning curve that you may not get a chance to fully go through if you're enjoying your vacation unless you try it out in a pool before going for a few hours.
If you can't find one to rent and/or don't want to put up with housing an SLR, perhaps buying a housing for the IXY 910is is the next best thing - I see them online for under 200 dollars, which will be much better than trying to use a camera in one of the 'ziplock bag housings' and will be nice and small. I'm not sure if the IXY shoots video, but if not the housing for the HV20 is under $1000.00 - I'm guessing that's still beyond your budget, but worth considering as a solution for shooting video.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #6
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Yes. I'm trying to figure out whether to get something now for the HV20 or something for the 7D. The reason for not knowing which way to invest is that the HV20 seems like it would be the easiest to use underwater BUT the 7D used properly underwater would IMO give a better looking picture quality.

I may breakdown and buy a unit for the HV20. Any suggestions on a good brand, hardcase unit?
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Old February 16th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #7
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If you match the 7D with the Tokina 10-17mm you'll be able to get a lot of good footage by leaving the lens at a fixed focus and aperture because most of the subjects will remain within the depth of field.

Remember that Jason is going to be doing surface and subsurface snorkle work, not deep diving, so he'll obtain plenty of decent underwater footage and stills, even without extra underwater lighting if water clarity and sun penetration is adequate.
He'll be able to re-adjust settings by surfacing between each 12-min of filming. Also, if needed, a simple remote control could be placed inside a sealed plastic bag or cheap dive bag.

If you want more control with the 7D underwater and need to dive deeper, then you'll need something like the A7D Aquatica housing.

Here is a good article for you to read Jason, if you fancy spending more on underwater housings for the 7D or D700:

Underwater Camera Articles: Canon 7D underwater housing


Although the cheaper Ewa will work if you only want short clips during snorkeling.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 05:54 PM   #8
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Yes, I agree the housing depth ratings are not a big deal if you're only snorkeling, I'm just wondering how to zoom and such or even focus if you need to when using the Ewa bags as well as the lens size that will fit in the bag - I think it's a very in-between situation. The Aquatica Housing in the review is gorgeous, but not cheap at all after adding a dome port - it will probably be closer to 4-5k.
Jason is right that the 7D will produce incredible underwater footage - if you are going to invest in a housing and plan to do this more often, I would recommend putting the money towards the 7D. In my experience, Ikelite makes amazing housings and since they make them out of polycarbonate instead of aluminum, they are cheaper and make you feel secure since you can see inside the housing to make sure there's no water/moisture inside. They also make a very good housing for the HV20 if you'd like to go that route.
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