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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old April 30th, 2005, 02:05 AM   #1
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Z1u Waterproofing

I am looking at some of the waterproof "bags" for the Z1u, and wondering if anyone has had any experience with these enclosures. How well do they work? How safe are they? Do they keep the camera floating? What is the best one offered for the Z1u? I am looking for a generally cheap waterproofing method so that I can take it out this summer to catch me and my friends wakeboarding. It probably will never go under a foot deep, and for the most part stay out of the water. It will be interesting to see how the Z1u will do for compression with all the moving water.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 09:55 AM   #2
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I take it no one really get their cameras wet.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 12:49 PM   #3
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I have used an old DV camera in one of those special made bags with the glorified zip-loc, they leak unless you are very carefull. Fortunately you can see right away and you should have a little towel in there underneath it BUT I would not consider this a good solution for anything other than sedate shallow work. I would not take a rig like that on a class 5 because it would end up with you in the water. One solution would be to take a pelican case and store the camera in it when you are not shooting.

Here is one that could easily be criticized but I have seen it work in action and it was cool. I live near a lake that has some weeds in it that has allegedly caused some drownings and clogs peoples boats. I used to work local news so they would do stories on this lake weed every at least once a week. We were always trying to top each other in creative ways, this guy from the local fox station carries a 5 gallon fish tank with him to these. He sets it in the water and gets tha camera right against the glass and then angles the tank down while looking at the viewfinder. you can get about a foot deep. Go to the petstore, these tanks have gotten cheap and are one solid piece of plastic, so no leaks. It works great to get pictures of the weed and the special carp they have released by the thousands to eat it. It produced some very cool shots of carp being spilled out of a giant tanker into the lake plus you still have sound and wireless capabilty, can lift it up and use it right away without the bag getting in the way.
When shooting in an enclosure like a zip bag, get one of those silica bags to absorb the moisture and plan on setting it in the sun to dry back out frequently, because condensation is a huge problem otherwise. Good luck and keep that camera dry. I undertstand the uniqueness of this camera limits the options you have, I would much rather use an old almost dead DV camera in a zip bag.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 11:21 AM   #4
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I just purchased an Epic elite housing for my camcorder. Arrived today so I can't speak for how it works in the field, but it looks great.

http://www.epiccam.com

It's really designed for consumer cameras, but might work for a Z1u. It's not really meant for diving, but it is fully waterproof. Very limited access to controls (one button for pause/record & that's it!). But for filming in the surf, snorkelling or in my case, river running, it should work fine.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 12:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link. That was exactly what I was looking for. It is so hard to find information for this kind of stuff. I emailed epiccam.com to confirm if it would fit for the Z1u.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 02:11 PM   #6
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Hope they have one that fits. Their largest model specs out to 7 inch diameter by 16 inches. Lengthwise you should be fine, but the camera might be too tall.

You are right; finding out about waterproof housings is tough, even using Internet search engines. Not much info out there & links usually lead you to ultra expensive items (Ikelite -- great stuff, but $900 is a bit much) or marginally useful (water proof bags -- bad idea).

Good luck!
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Old May 10th, 2005, 05:52 AM   #7
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Hi there,
Just thought I'd add, though maybe slightly late, that I've recently got back from a six week shoot involving lots of shallow water footage - swimming pools, beaches etc - and have been using the Ewa Marine Splashbag. Apart from taking a good 10/15 mins to set up properly I've managed to get some great shots with it. Of course, access to controls is very limited, but shooting wide and letting the assisted focus get on with it i've been pretty pleased - especially since it's about 1/5th the price of the cheapest hard housing options.
Give the Ewa Marine a go. The VFX housing will fit with the FX1 and the Z1. But as mention above, absolutely make sure you get condesation pouches for the bag!
http://www.ewa-marine.de/english/index.htm
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Old May 10th, 2005, 05:54 AM   #8
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Should have added that the UK cost was about 220, so expect to pay US$300+ for the Ewa Marine option. Still far far cheaper than hard housing and more than adequate in shallow water <1m.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 08:06 AM   #9
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Actualy, my hard housing, from Epic, cost around $270. Their largest housing, which may not be large enough for the Z1, is about $100 more. Used it for the first time this past weekend & I'm very pleased. Flipped the kayak trying to negotiate between rocks, debris and a bridge abutment. You can hear the camera housing hit a rock, which frees it from the deck. The camera surfaces and begins to float downstream. Fortunately it was on a tether. My little accident presented me with the best footage of the day! Bottom line: if you can find an Epic that fits, it will do a great job of protecting your camera!
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Old May 10th, 2005, 09:14 AM   #10
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It seems odd that none of the UW housing manufacturers are building LANC control into the housing. An integrated waterproof Varizoom-like work panel on the outside that plugs in to the remote connection of the camera seems like a much more graceful solution. The rudimentary mechanical controls to start/stop record and such seem like a real weak point that would make it hard to trust the integrity of the housing. Are any of them doing this?
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Old May 11th, 2005, 03:10 PM   #11
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Lanc control is available, but you're talking serious custom rigs. Here's a link to one such outfit: http://www.evs-co.com/Index.htm

I only know about them because Justine Curgenven uses their gear. Don't know they have any HD options as yet. Guys who did Step Into Liquid used all custom housings I believe (mostly Super-16 not video).

You've got to go with what you can afford & hope your creativity (and luck) will carry you past any technical limitations!
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