When looking at waterproof housing for your SLR, there are more options available than you might expect. I have been in the market for a waterproof case for my GH2, which I am using on my current feature film. For me, this case is a great option and will serve my needs very well and I will explain why. However, for many this simply may not be useable based on the specific needs of the user.
The pros of this housing are quite simple. For starters, it’s low cost but still gets the job done. Image quality isn’t compromised as the build quality is better than I would have thought in this price range, and in fact the glass that covers the lens is UV coated and it shows. I have only done test shooting with the housing so far, but the images looked fantastic and there was no question after testing it that I could use this for my purposes. The case itself is essentially a waterproof bag shaped for your camera. The mechanism for keeping the case waterproof is a ziploc-lock seal at the top of the case which when closed can roll up to be locked in place with two strips of velcro. It doesn’t sound secure, but I was impressed with how well it actually worked. There is no risk of any leakage as long as you use it properly. The back of the case is nice and clear making it easy to see the screen or use the EVF.
Some of the features that should be strengths of the product seem to fall short and are often it’s weaknesses. For example the case has two finger holes near the lens and one near the shutter. This is supposed to allow you to change your focus/aperture ring and use any functions in and around the shutter area. Unfortunately it is quite difficult to change focus this way especially with certain lenses. I’ve tried it with three lenses and the worst was my Lumix Leica 25mm 1.4 lens. It is quite a small lens and the focus ring is quite delicate which makes using the finger holes in the housing very difficult. I found it was only useable if I were to set the focus first and then place the camera in the case, which was an annoyance as this is the lens I need to use. My SLR Magic lens is easier to work with since it has a built on gear ring for the focus. An idea to help with this would be to attach a follow focus gear to your lens to see if that makes it easier to grip through the housing. Also, the product is advertised as being adjustable to different sized lenses. This feature of the case is not precise. In order to adjust the length of the sleeve for your lens, you basically deflate the bag until it fits snugly around your lens. Again, this doesn’t work perfectly by any means. On my small 25mm lens, it was difficult to get it short enough so I ended up having to grip the glass part of the case and pull it close to the lens while shooting, which worked. My 12mm SLR Magic lens is far too wide to use in the case as you can see nearly the entire ring of the case in your shot.
All in all, this case was good value for the money. For $140, I wouldn’t imagine anything more than this, especially considering any better solution that would solve the problems listed above would likely cost at least $3000 – $4000. If I had to shoot a ton of underwater footage I would definitely invest in a different product. But for a single shot, I can make it work and know that my gear is safe. And who knows when I’ll use it next now that it’s just sitting there.
I’ll update soon with a video from our underwater shoot.