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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old September 13th, 2003, 03:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Sydney Australia
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Water protection

Your advice has been spot on, so here's another question:

Im about to head away on a Tropical fishing holiday on a boat for 10 days and want to take my PDX10 with me. Can you please give me some advice on environment protection options. Salt air, sand, and water will be my main concerns. I have looked at the Portabrace rain slicker but wondered if somesort of cheap splash proof housing would be better... your comments appreciated!
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Old September 20th, 2003, 05:30 AM   #2
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Answering my own request

OK, it looks like there is not too much info out there so I have been doing some research of my own.

Without resorting to a full underwater housing, I have found two possible solutions.
I was able to take both home for a evaluation, here are my thoughts

1: EWA MARINE Soft underwater housing $AUD499

This is essentially a strong sealable plastic bag with a glass port at the front. It is waterproof to about 10 meters. However my feeling is that the controls would be very difficult to operate at this depth because of the water pressure on the plastic bag. As there are no external controls you have to turn the camera on, work the zoom etc by pushing through the plastic, this is clumsy at best above water although the limited manual says it will get better with practice.

There is a port at the back of the bag to look through the view finder or you could invert the LCD screen and fold back to the camera body, but its difficult to see when the camera is directly in front of you.

The physical fit for the PDX10 is also a little difficult to get right so that the front lens is firmly against the glass to reduce reflection etc. While you are supplied with a number of foam inserts to “chock” the camera some surgery would be needed to get it just right. Again I should imagine that some practice could make this procedure easier however if you used different sized batteries or changed lens you would have to custom different sized foam to get a good fit. It was impossible to fit both the large battery and the Sony wide angle lens in at the same time.

The bag will not accommodate the external microphone.

I thought the price was not good value for money, when you unpack it all it doesn’t “look” like $500 worth of equipment. My wifes’ very first comment was “you paid $500 for a PLASTIC BAG?!” and she was not far off, as in my opinion, it does waterproof the camera but its not very functional

2: SONY SPKDVF5 Sports pack $AUD549
I couldn’t find this on the Sony site but found this site which has pictures:

While not designed specifically for the PDX10 it does work if again you take the external microphone off. It will not fit the standard Sony wide angle lens but will accommodate the large battery. The hosing is made of hard clear plastic with a glass lens at the front. There is a tray that the camera mounts to through the tripod fitting and slides forward into the housing securing it snugly.

You can use the view finder or use the side mirror which also acts as a lens hood to view your folded back LCD screen. Due to this housing being designed for a number of cameras you do loose sight of about 10% of the LCD screen, but that’s not too much of a problem.

You can plug both the microphone the external zoom, on/off and photo controls into the camera

Waterproof to “about” 2 meters mean it is more for splash proofing than snorkelling and certainly not for diving. I would want to do a number of tests with the housing empty before I jumped overboard. It should however protect the camera from an accidental drop over the side of the boat or from the side of the pool and even more protection that say a Porta Brace rain slicker as you can keep out humidity and salt air.

Certainly looks more value for money than the bag, but wont go as deep if you want to dive

So I think I am going to go with the Sony sports pack, and will let you know how it performed after my fishing trip.
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Old September 25th, 2003, 06:05 PM   #3
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Location: Miami, FL
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Wrongly posted!!!

Sorry David,

I posted soon after yours except I stuck it in a wrong spot...go figure!

My post is actually about four down from your original. It's titled "OOPS..."

We prefer using the Gate's deepwater housings for all of our protective needs but they are very heavy, cumbersome and totally uncomfortable for above water use, that is unless you can nail it down somewhere or mount it on a tripod.

For "wet", contaminated (haz-mat) environments and just overall spur of the moment nastiness we opted for the EWA Marine soft housings. They are clear "baggie" types of housings which will protect your camera regardless of whether you are shooting in torrential rains or actually submerging the whole thing underwater. The only down side is, other than them being ugly and a bit uncomfortable to use is that the EWA costs approximately $400. Cheap insurance if you really want to protect your gear in the long run...also, completely submersible and able to be decontaminated without fear of trashing the gear inside.

By the way, we have the EWAs for the 950s and the XL-1S. The XL-1 housings, although effective, rate even higher in the looks sucky and is ungainly department! More a matter of operational neccessity than convenience.

Saw the website you posted for the shallow water housing, pretty impressive, I'll be looking into possibly purchasing a couple if they work out.

I'll be waiting to hear how your experience turned out.

Stay safe, RB
"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 01:11 AM   #4
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Mr. Rook,

Are you yet back from your holiday? I'm very interested in how time spent underwater with your PDX10 went. Which housing did you end up using? I might be doing some shallow snorkeling for a few days in April, and am looking into best low cost housings for my own PDX10. How did your footage turn out? Was low light a problem?
Thank you in advance.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 06:20 AM   #5
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I went with the Sony Handycam sports SPK-DVF5
It worked perfectly, protecting the camera from moisture and salt. I put a couple of packets of silicagel inside to be extra safe with humidity in the topical environment. One day we went out in the tender and over turned, the camera was perfectly protected, bobbing around on the surface.

I found the controls are very easy to use however you have to have focus and exposure etc on full auto as there are no controls for those on the outside.

The only down sides I saw was the fact it has positive boyancy and therefore resists going underwater more than 2 or 3 feet, and that the housing wont allow you to attach a circular polorising filter (the filter is double thickness and misses out by a couple of milimeters)

But as long as you are on the surface or just below no problems.

Light was also excellent. I filmed a large tuna underwater as it was being reeled close to the boat and was stunned with the results.

I know its not strictly DV info but If anyone is interested in the fish i caught go here

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Old December 9th, 2003, 12:42 PM   #6
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Heli-Fishing?!? ;^)
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