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Old April 28th, 2010, 02:38 PM   #1
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Ewa Marine or Ikelite for 5D

I'm looking to get underwater housing for the 5D, and am trying to decide between these two. I shouldn't go more than 20-30 feet below.

My lenses are all manual Nikon - a 28 F2, 50 F1.4, and 105 F2.8 - attached via the Fotodiox EOS adapter.

My concerns are that with the Ewa Marine, I won't be able to focus and use the controls very easily. I understand the bag is durable, but I've read some people have had experiences with the bag leaking. Needless to say, I can't afford that to happen.

With the Ikelite(besides the cost), my concerns are that I'm not sure if it is suited to work with Nikon lenses.

I don't mind spending more for the Ikelite, especially if I get more involved in Scuba diving and do more deep sea shoots, but as of right now all the work I have is all shallow under water work, so I don't have an immediate justification for the Ikelite if the Ewa Marine will do the job.

If anyone has had any experiences with either, I'd love to hear them to help make my decision. Thanks.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 04:25 AM   #2
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Hi Bradford

I've had 2 ewa marine SLR bags. Both split! - The first I'd noticed before going on the dive....phew! The second failed on the dive (15M) and I had to watch the camera die in front of me. That said I had used it for a full week in Egypt and got ok results. That said as you've mentioned below 3M/10ft ish you will not be able to control much at all and they are a pain to work with. - For me they are surface/splash bags only !

Mat
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Old April 29th, 2010, 10:11 AM   #3
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Mat,

They split twice on you! And to watch your camera die in front of you - I'm sorry for your loss. That sucks. Well, good to know about the Ewa-Marine and its real limitations versus advertised specs that claim it can go like 50 feet under.

So did you get yourself another brand of underwater housing? And what was the cam that you used(or watched die)? And do you have any links to the videos you achieved with it?

Also, at less than 10 feet depth, are you able to focus and control the camera? Or is it only useful on the immediate surface of the water?

Thanks for the info.

Brad
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Old April 29th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #4
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EWA Marine bags are just zip locks on steroids. Not to mention the water pressure compresses the air in the bag which then pushes on control buttons which causes all kinds of problems. The only place I'd use a EWA Marine is at the air/water interface or above water in very wet conditions. Get a real housing to go underwater.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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For shallow dives/sub subsurface filming with the 5D, I use a Scubacam XL1 housing. The 5D mk2 produces stunning UW footage and really come into it's own when using only natural light and puts most camcorders in the shade during lower light levels. I've actually been filming UW with the 5D in France & Italy these past weeks and some of the footage I got this afternoon just blew me away.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 02:04 AM   #6
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Rick - thanks for the extra info on the Ewa Marine - I hadn't even thought about the water pressure itself pushing on the buttons. I can see that being an absolute hell.

Tony - you give me the confidence of investing in housing for the 5d, because with the inexpensive route of the ewa-marine off the shelf, I've been considering abandoning the $1500 + it would take for me to get an underwater housing and just use a Go Pro Hero.

I won't ever be going super deep, but this'll be my first venture into underwater videography, so I'm not sure if that low light and lack of control will be a huge drawback. It's not like I'll be taking advantage of shallow depth of field underwater, because I'd most likely use a wide lens more often than not (especially considering whenever I toss my 105 on it's jello city if I'm handheld). And the Go Pro has the 60p feature which I'm attracted to (Canon - give us 60p on the 5d damn it!). Slow motion (for the work I have right now) is somewhat important - I was intending to twixtor the 5d footage to slow it down.

Side question - does shooting underwater ease camera shake when operating handheld?

Sorry for the lengthy post and myriad of parentheticals.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 05:07 AM   #7
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Hi again Bradford

To be honest if you've never shot any video underwater while diving then personally I'd go and buy a cheap secondhand rig and shoot the hell out of it. A lot of the skill with underwater photography is your skill as a diver and being able to maintain boyancy, control how you're moving and using the topology of the seabed (if you are near it!) to help you out. - Can I ask how much diving you've done !? Also the bigger/heavier the housing the better as its inertia will flatten out any water movement. - Also even in the clearest water the light levels/colour falls off at over 15M. - I guess all in all it depends on what your plans are and what you want to achieve !?

Mat

Last edited by Mat Thompson; May 1st, 2010 at 04:08 AM.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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Mat,

Sure you can ask!

Diving experience = zero hours. Snorkeling, plenty! What prompted me to first look into the underwater housing was that I'm going to Hawaii with my girlfriend at the end of June, and I've read the water is crystal clear, so this'd give me a great opportunity to get some experience under my belt and have some fun. I'm interested in taking a Scuba class, but not 100% about it as of yet.

So how do I have work lined up for underwater shots since I'm not an underwater videographer you might ask?

Well, this one client I edited a product spot short for the website wants an alternative/avant guarde style commercial. Their product is essentially athletic watershoes. The one idea I pitched (since I was already considering UH for personal reasons) is merely a single shot of a person treading water with the watershoes on taken from underwater as classical music plays. Not the most original idea but fun to do. I'd want slow motion (whether it be with Twixtor - which I've had okay success with or native to the camera) - which is why I mentioned the GoPro. The client loved the idea, and I explained to her the caveats of "this will be a first for me" and 'I don't have UW housing yet". She was cool though.

The other project is for an exercise-comedy video a friend of mine has already shot an episode for. He wants underwater exercise shots in a pool - shallow work and fun.

The more long-term investment (though this isn't a guarantee) is through my main employer. For the past 5 months, I've been editing and shooting tons of skiing and snowboarding - mostly with my EX-1 since so much is on the fly, and I have yet to achieve great results with the 5d in that setting as its a recent acquisition. I'm intending to try some more staged shots this weekend, so we'll see how that goes. Well, the company has been discussing that they want to start a surf division - hence where the waterhousing would come into play. Now, they SHOULD hire experienced professionals, but the company pays crap, and experience would command a ton more money than they give. BUT, for someone like me, it provides an opportunity to learn on the job, invest in myself via UW housing or scuba lessons or whatever (tax write off since I'm a private contractor with them), and I get to expand my repertoire of skills.

Hope I didn't go on too long!
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Old April 30th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradford Holt View Post
I'd want slow motion (whether it be with Twixtor - which I've had okay success with or native to the camera) - which is why I mentioned the GoPro. The client loved the idea, and I explained to her the caveats of "this will be a first for me" and 'I don't have UW housing yet". She was cool though.
Keep in mind the GoProHD's picture is a little soft underwater. Do a Google search on the subject to confirm. As with all things in broadcasting/video you get what you pay for.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #10
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Dear Brad,

Read and reread Mat's last message. Diving is great fun, but the first 10 dives or so, you will (or should) be learning how to dive safe, and return to the surface. You could be messing around with your camera, and not notice that you are raising to the surface. That could be bad, like dead bad!

Get certified and do a few dives without your camera, or other things to confuse yourself. Diving is great fun, and is easy once you understand a few very important things. Crawl first, walk second, then run!

Ken
Good Diver, getting better video guy.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 03:38 PM   #11
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Thanks all for the advice. Certainly don't want to die down there!

Though I think I might not have expressed myself well, however. I have no intention of saying - hey, I just got certified, now I'm a world class underwater videographer. I realize scuba diving is an acquired skill that takes countless hours to develop and includes some perilous risks. I'm more looking to do shallow underwater video work (the type that wouldn't require scuba gear) and wondering what housing people have had experience with with the 5d. A bonus would be for the gear to have the ability to go deeper for more rigorous adventures IF I go down the scuba path. I prefer to make long term investments. Although, I'm sure by the time I'd get good enough at scuba diving, the 5d will be long obsolete - so there's a catch 22!

I've always been interested in getting certified for scuba, and with my upcoming trip to Hawaii, I thought that now's the time to take the classes.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 01:23 AM   #12
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DO NOT PUT YOU CAMERA IN A PLASTIC BAG AND DIVE/SNORKEL WITH IT!
It can work one time or ten or more, but it will flood.

Mat's camera died, mine too...
if you going to shot UW, get a real housing and have fun
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:21 PM   #13
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Lots of stuff to tell you.. hope I get it mostly down for you...

1) Ikelite housing - its the cheapest, cost wise, that you can get. It works very well.
2) For the work you are talking about... you will also need the 8" Dome Port and the
port extender for the desired lenses you want to work with...
3) A lens for underwater work considered wide for the 5DMKII is the Canon 15MM fisheye... yes, fisheye.
4) If your 105 is the macro version then you have to use a " Flat" port, not the "Dome" port.
5) If your not going to shoot with underwater lights you will need to put in a "Magic Filter " -
M A G I C - F I L T E R S
6) Some footage to give you an example
YouTube - Backscatter 5DMKII Video
7) yes the housing will work with your Nikon lenses, the housing comes with focus gears that fit all lenses
8) For over/under shots you have to use the 8" Dome...
9) Youll need to learn how to do manual white balance.

If you have questions I'll try to answer them...
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Old May 14th, 2010, 10:50 AM   #14
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Ray,

THANK YOU for your detailed list of what to do. Sorry for the delay in responding, I was away on a shoot for a week and then it took me another week of just getting things back in order. I'm going to hang onto that list for future reference. However, at the moment, looking at the financial end, I'm going to have to hold off.

I still might invest in the scuba lesson if I don't leave town again before the end of June and have a couple weekends to do the training, but for the moment I'll pick up a magic filter and cut it to shape it in the GoPro. It's a fisheye (a lens I lack on my 5d and one you recommend), it shoots 60p, and it's low risk.

Thanks again for your response.

Brad
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #15
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I've done a lot of diving, and I've done a lot of video. And quite honestly, the two simply do not mix for most recreational divers.

If you are snorkeling and taking video, that's one thing. But there is no way on Earth you're skills or buoyancy will be good enough in your couple of dozen dives to take anything like good video. And your awareness under water may not be good enough for your 100 dives or so to do it safely.

That's just my advice and experience from someone who's been certified for 17 years and is a cave diver and deep technical diver.

... leave the camera alone for a while and get some solid instruction.
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