ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSINGSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSINGSHOUSINGS REVIEWSIKELITE ACTION G7X IINAUTICAM NA G7X11OLYMPUS PT-EP13IKELITE EM5 MKIINAUTICAM NA-EM5IIIKELITE NIKON D810NAUTICAM NA-D810HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSINGSBUDGETAVAILABILITYACCESS TO CONTROLSERGONOMICSDEPTH RATINGHOUSING MATERIALEXPANDABILITYSTROBESWET LENSESTRAYS AND ARMS Electronics and water don’t mix, so choosing the right protection for your camera while diving is essential and you need to find the best underwater camera housing. These can range from simple bag type housings costing relatively little to ones machined out of solid aluminum blocks costing thousands of dollars, but which is the right one for you? Many of the considerations have been outlined in our guide to the best diving cameras, but here we will examine these in more depth. If you are looking to house a camera that you already own then the choice of the best housing will necessarily be restricted to those available for your camera. By letting you know they key features to look for we can guide you in your choice. If you are buying your camera and underwater housing together then you have many more options. For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: BCDs | Regulators | Gauges | Masks | Fins | Dry Snorkels Wetsuits | Boots | Gloves | Drysuits Travel Bags | SMBs | Knives | Lights | Compasses Rebreathers | DPVs | Tanks | Watches | Computers Cameras | Housings | Lenses | Strobes LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR AFELLOW DIVER?Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your diving friends.From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone. VIEW NOW QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSINGS 1. IKELITE ACTION G7X II VIEW AT AMAZON 2. NAUTICAM NA G7X11 VIEW AT BACKSCATTER 3. OLYMPUS PT-EP13 VIEW AT AMAZON 4. IKELITE EM5 MKII VIEW AT AMAZON 5. NAUTICAM NA-EM511 VIEW AT BACKSCATTER 6. IKELITE NIKON D810 VIEW AT AMAZON 7. NAUTICAM NA-D810 VIEW AT BACKSCATTER COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSINGS PICTUREHOUSINGCAMERA MODELBEST FORMATERIALDEPTH RATINGPRICERATING PICTUREHOUSINGCAMERA MODELBEST FORMATERIALDEPTH RATINGPRICERATING Ikelite Action G7X IICanon G7X IICompactPolycarbonate200ft$4.2 Nauticam NA G7X11Canon G7X IICompactAluminum330ft$$$5 Olympus PT-EP13Olympus EM5 MKIIMirrorlessPolycarbonate150ft$4.4 Ikelite EM5 MkIIOlympus EM5 MKIIMirrorlessPolycarbonate200f$$4.5 Nauticam NA-EM5IIOlympus EM5 MKIIMirrorlessAluminum330ft$$$4.8 Ikelite Nikon D810Nikon D810Full Frame DSLRPolycarbonate200ft$4.5 Nauticam NA-D810Nikon D810Full Frame DSLRAluminum330ft$$$5 DIVE TRAVELPACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free dive gear packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time underwater!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical diving advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. You can always opt out of these emails. HOUSINGS REVIEWS IKELITE ACTION G7X II Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Divers on a limited budget MATERIAL: Polycarbonate DEPTH RATING: 200ft / 60m PROS: Affordable, 67mm thread allows wide range of wet lenses, great access to important camera functions, lightweight (1lb 2oz.) CONS: Built in flash cannot be used with this housing (this means that you cannot use external strobes with this housing and are restricted to constant light sources such as torches or video lights that aren’t as bright), cannot access all camera functions, slight positive buoyancy NAUTICAM NA G7X11 Check out the latest price on: Backscatter BEST FOR: Divers wanting a small setup that has the potential to add strobes MATERIAL: Aluminium DEPTH RATING: 330ft /100m PROS: Rated to 330ft, 67mm thread port allows a range of wet lenses, easy change port system allows the user to change ports quickly and easily, comes as standard with a vacuum check and leak alarm system (vacuum pump extra), fibre optic strobe connection. CONS: As expensive as some housings for higher range cameras OLYMPUS PT-EP13 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Divers not wishing to exceed the depth rating of 150ft MATERIAL: Polycarbonate DEPTH RATING: 150ft/45m PROS: Access to all camera functions, range of accessories, including 67mm threaded port adaptor to allow use of wet lenses, included port is suitable for use with a range of lenses, fibre optic strobe connection CONS: Shallowest depth rating of any of the housings reviewed IKELITE EM5 MKII Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Divers wishing to go beyond 150ft but no deeper than 200 ft MATERIAL: Polycarbonate DEPTH RATING: 200ft/60m PROS: Uses Ikelite TTL system for strobes, uses the camera’s hot shoe rather than an accessory flash unit, (thus reducing shutter lag and extending battery life), includes tray and handle with quick release function, clear polycarbonate construction enables you to check easily for leaks CONS: Does not include a port (you need to purchase a port suitable for the lens you wish to use), depth rating of 200ft NAUTICAM NA-EM5II Check out the latest price on: Backscatter BEST FOR: Divers wishing to go beyond 200ft MATERIAL: Aluminum DEPTH RATING: 330ft/100m PROS: Depth rating to 330ft, access to all camera functions, wide range of accessories available, comes as standard with a vacuum check and leak alarm system (vacuum pump extra), fibre optic strobe connection. CONS: Does not include a port (you need to purchase a port suitable for the lens you wish to use) IKELITE NIKON D810 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Divers on a budget or not wanting to exceed 200ft MATERIAL: Polycarbonate DEPTH RATING: 200ft/60m PROS: Access to all important camera functions, capable of electrical TTL strobe exposure, comfortable rubber grips, clear polycarbonate construction enables you to check easily for leaks, includes tray and handles CONS: Only rated to 200ft, cannot access some control buttons, you need to purchase a port suitable for the lens you wish to use NAUTICAM NA-D810 Check out the latest price on: Backscatter BEST FOR: Divers on a budget or not wanting to exceed 200ft MATERIAL: Polycarbonate DEPTH RATING: 200ft/60m PROS: Access to all important camera functions, capable of electrical TTL strobe exposure, comfortable rubber grips, clear polycarbonate construction enables you to check easily for leaks. Includes tray and handles CONS: Only rated to 200ft, cannot access some control buttons, you need to purchase a port suitable for the lens you wish to use PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIPPLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIPEnter your name and email to get instant access to the Quick Starter Guide to Liveaboard Diving, which has been used by hundreds of people to plan and prepare for their diving adventures! Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your scuba safari!UNLOCK THIS GUIDE* You will get weekly emails with practical diving advice that complement the information contained in the guide. You can always opt out of these emails.LET US HELP YOUGET YOUR SCUBA FIXFor more email-based advice and inspiration, select additional areas of interest below. GET STARTED DIVINGLIVEABOARD DIVINGDIVE TRAVEL DEALSDIVE DESTINATIONSGEAR UP FOR SCUBA UPDATE PROFILE SKIP FOR NOW HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSINGS BUDGET If you are buying a new housing and camera it makes sense to consider your budget. You need to decide how much of this you need to spend on the housing. As a general rule the larger the camera, the more expensive the housing will be. For smaller cameras, such a compact cameras you should expect to pay at least as much on the housing as on the camera. For medium sized cameras, such as micro 4/3rds, then you can expect to pay more for the housing than the camera. For larger cameras, such as DSLRs then you can pay at least double, or even more, than the price of the camera. This often means that the housing is the single most expensive part of an underwater camera rig. AVAILABILITY For many cameras the only housings available are those offered by the manufacturer. It is possible that no third party alternative is available. So it makes sense to see what housings are available before you buy a camera. ACCESS TO CONTROLS Some housings won’t give you access to all the camera controls. The omission of a control may be cost cutting by the housing manufacturer. Sometimes though it could be that it is because the control is in a place that is difficult to reach. It doesn’t matter why access to a control is missing if it makes it impossible to do what you want. If the housing you are considering has been out for a while it is worth checking reviews from other users. There are specialist underwater photography websites such as Wetpixel where you can do this. ERGONOMICS By this I am referring to how well the various buttons fall to hand and how easy they are to operate. If you are going to be doing any diving where you have to wear thick gloves then this is very important. Large, prominent and well spaced buttons will be easier to operate than if they are small and cramped. The shutter button is probably the most important. This is because pressing the button half way locks the focus and evaluates the scene. Pressing the button all the way then activates the shutter. So you need to be able to get the half press/full press technique mastered in the housing. A long lever makes this easier than one that moves straight up and down. This beginners guide has more great tips. DEPTH RATING The depth rating of the housing should be at least equal to the maximum depth to which you plan to take you camera. Slightly exceeding this depth may not result in the housing leaking or cracking. However, it is likely that the springs behind the buttons will not cope with the added pressure. This will result in the buttons getting stuck in the pressed position and the camera jamming up. HOUSING MATERIAL Housings are usually made from polycarbonate (a very tough plastic) or from aluminum. Polycarbonate housings are generally cheaper than an aluminum housings for the same camera. They will also be lighter in weight and more buoyant underwater. However they are usually rated to a shallower depth than an aluminum housing, typically 100 – 130 ft (30 – 40 meters). Aluminum housings are often rated to 300ft or more (100m). Polycarbonate housings have a tendency for the port to fog unless properly prepared. This is due to the glass rapidly becoming the coldest object in the housing when you enter the water. This leads to condensation on the inside of the glass. Any spectacle wearers will be familiar with this. Aluminum housings are much tougher. This means that they are better at taking the knocks you get on a dive boat. EXPANDABILITY Whatever type of camera you are looking to house there may come a time when you want to add other things. Add ons like wet lenses or strobes are popular. Many of these add ons can be moved from one setup to another. If you are starting out your choice of housing will determine the range of add ons available to you. If you are upgrading your system then the add ons that you already own may influence your choice of housing. Add ons break down into three main types: STROBES If you wish to bring out the full color of the underwater realm then you need to take your own light source. Underwater flash units are called strobes. These are better than constant light sources as they can be much brighter. These are triggered by the camera in one of two ways. The most common is to use an optical link (optical fiber). This detects the on camera flash and uses this to trigger the strobe. This system has limitations. It relies on the camera’s own flash unit. This drains the battery faster and builds up heat in the housing. It also means that you need to wait for the flash to recharge before you can take another shot. Because of this many higher end systems use an electronic link. This uses the hotshoe on the camera to fire the strobes. So the choice of housing will influence the choice of strobe or vice versa. WET LENSES Wet lenses are ones that can be attached while underwater to the outside of the housing. The most common type use a 67mm thread and can be either wide angle or macro. Wide angle lenses will have a multiplier less than 1 e.g. x 0.56. Macro lenses will have a multiplier greater than 1 e.g. x10. Less common now are housings that use a bayonet type fitting. There are also flip up lens holders which makes using them even easier. TRAYS AND ARMS If you are looking at a strobe then you may also need a tray and arm to join the strobe to the camera. The tray fits underneath the camera. The arm is attached to the tray and is flexible. This allows the strobe to be put into the best position for the shot. Some housings come with built in handles that you can attach the arms without using a tray. Some manufacturers use non-standard attachments so that you have to use their tray. SCUBA DIVING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSSCUBA DIVINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. BASICS 5. SCUBA EQUIPMENT 2. DIVING COURSES 6. UW PHOTOGRAPHY 3. SPECIALTY DIVING 7. LIVEABOARD DIVING 4. DIVE SAFETY 8. DIVING DESTINATIONS 1. BASICS 2. DIVING COURSES 3. SPECIALTY DIVING 4. DIVE SAFETY 5. SCUBA EQUIPMENT 6. UW PHOTOGRAPHY 7. LIVEABOARD DIVING 8. DIVING DESTINATIONS Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. 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